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Wichita State hires Donnie Jones as men’s assistant coach

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 16:26

WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State has hired veteran Donnie Jones to fill its men’s basketball assistant coaching vacancy, head coach Gregg Marshall announced Wednesday.

Jones, 50, worked as a college scout for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers during the 2016-17 season. Prior to that, he spent nine years as a Division I head coach, first at Marshall University (2007-10) and most recently at the University of Central Florida (2010-16).

Jones launched his coaching career with 19 years as an assistant, including 13 under current Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan. The pair led Florida to consecutive national championships in 2006 and 2007, along with a national runner-up finish in 2000.

Marshall said: “I’ve known Donnie for over 20 years. He’s not only one of the great coaches, but one of the great people in our business. We have talked about potentially working together for many years. He will bring his wonderful family to Wichita and will quickly become a strong, active member of our community. From his nine years of head coaching experience at the Division I level to his back-to-back national championships that he was a part of as an assistant coach, we are getting a very qualified, professional college basketball coach.”

“I look forward to joining the Shocker family,” Jones said, “and to continuing the winning tradition that Coach Marshall and his staff have built there.”

Jones has had a hand in the recruitment and development of 13 NBA Draft picks, most recently seven-footer, Hassan Whiteside, who led the NCAA in blocks during his lone season at Marshall. Currently a member of the Miami Heat, Whiteside was the NBA’s 2016 blocks leader and captured the league’s rebounding crown in 2017.

In addition, Jones signed Tacko Fall – the American Athletic Conference’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year – as part of his final UCF recruiting class.

Jones also excelled on the recruiting trail as an assistant. During his 11 years at Florida (1996-2007), the program signed 11 McDonald’s High School All-America selections and boasted top-five national recruiting classes on five occasions. Following Florida’s second national title in 2007, five of Jones’ pupils — Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard – were selected in the draft.

The Point Pleasant, W.Va. native is married to the former Michelle Gibson. The couple has three children: Madisyn Michelle, Sophie Louise and Donald Isaac.

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3 Kansas universities will ban guns at large sporting events

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 13:45

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – The state’s three largest universities will be allowed to ban guns at large sporting events beginning in July.

The Kansas Board of Regents’ governance committee on Wednesday approved a request by The University of Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State to install security measures such as metal detectors and guards – either temporary or permanently – at games.

Kansas universities are required to allow concealed handguns on campuses beginning July 1 but the universities can ask for exceptions.

Kansas and Wichita State will ban guns from any event expected to draw more than 5,000 people. Kansas State will provide temporary security at its football and basketball stadiums for all ticketed athletic events.

Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State did not seek approval to ban guns at any events.

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O’Reilly out at Fox News Channel

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 13:36

NEW YORK (AP) — Bill O’Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations.

21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday that “after a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.

He had been scheduled to return from a vacation next Monday. O’Reilly was photographed in Rome shaking Pope Francis’ hand on Wednesday.

It marks a stunning end to a near perfect marriage between a pugnacious personality and network. For two decades O’Reilly has ruled the “no spin zone” with cable news’ most popular show, and his ratings had never been higher.

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Renewal of student testing contract tabled after problems

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:56

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas education officials are holding off on renewing a contract with the state’s student assessment provider amid problems.

State Education Commissioner Randy Watson told state school board members Tuesday that there are “many other options” for delivering the test. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Watson says officials “want things to be reliable.”

Following Watson’s recommendation, board members pulled the renewal of the $6.2 million contract with the University of Kansas’ Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation from the agenda. Technical issues began April 4 when 15,000 students were simultaneously taking the assessments. A testing center official says the problem was fixed the next day.

Results of the 2014 tests were tossed because of cyber attacks and other technical issues. Problems also arose last year after a fiber cable was cut.

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Wichita man sentenced to 12 years in jewelry store robbery

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:42

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita man who held a jewelry store owner at gunpoint was sentenced today to twelve years in federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said Terence Thomas, 25, of Wichita pleaded guilty to one count of brandishing a firearm during a jewelry store robbery and one count of bank robbery in a separate incident.

Thomas admitted he had a knife when he first approached the owner of Kim Chee Jewelry at 2038 N. Broadway. The owner then drew a gun in self-defense. The two men wrestled and shots were fired before Thomas got the gun. He forced the owner to open the door to the business. When Thomas tried to drag the owner’s wife into the business, she fell to the ground, feigning a heart attack. Thomas fled the scene after the owner locked him out of the business. A witness took photos of Thomas’ car as he fled, which helped police to identify Thomas and arrest him.

In a separate incident a month earlier, Thomas robbed the Fidelity Bank at 3525 E. Harry. He told the teller, “This is a robbery,” and counted down from twenty while the teller put cash in his bag. He fled the bank with the money.

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Nebraska mayor complains to Kansas about smoke

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:25

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The mayor of Nebraska’s capital city has complained to Kansas officials about smoke from its agricultural burning that sometimes makes it unhealthy to breathe in some parts of Nebraska.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department issued health warnings about the smoke three times earlier this month.

Officials have said the smoke originates mostly in the Flint Hills area of Kansas, where farmers and ranchers burn grassland yearly to stave off invasive species, preserve pasture, improve cattle forage and limit fuel for wildfires.

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler suggested in a letter dated Tuesday that the Flint Hills smoke management plan should be revised to spread out the burning and the smoke and particulate levels that result.

Kansas officials have said rainy weather compressed the period of burning this year.

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Kansas students invited to Washington correspondents’ dinner

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:22

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) – Six Kansas high school journalists who published a story that led to the resignation of their school’s new principal will be special guests at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The Pittsburgh High School students and their teacher, Emily Smith, are receiving an all-expenses paid trip to the April 29 dinner in Washington D.C., courtesy of the Huffington Post.

The group made national news after a story published last month in the student newspaper questioned the credentials of Amy Robertson, who had been hired to become principal at the school. The questions eventually led Robertson to resign.

Pittsburg Superintendent Destry Brown told the Pittsburg Morning Sun he’s excited the students will get a “once in a lifetime” experience.

The students will be in Washington from April 28 to April 30.

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Police: Man hit with a baseball bat under bridge in downtown

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:21

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are investigating after a homeless man was approached by three suspects and hit in the back of the head with a bat.

It happened around 1 a.m. Wednesday at 1st and Waco. The man was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Right now, police are still looking for the three men responsible.

If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 267-2111 or detectives at 268-4407.

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Regulators to rule on $12.2B Westar-Great Plains deal

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 11:48

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas regulators are preparing to decide whether the state’s largest electric company can be acquired by a Missouri-based utility in a $12.2 billion deal.

The Kansas Corporation Commission planned to issue its order Wednesday afternoon.

Great Plains Energy of Kansas City, Missouri, says its acquisition of Westar Energy of Topeka would create nearly $2 billion in efficiencies over the next decade to keep electric rates in check.

Critics of the deal contend that Great Plains is paying too much for Westar. They argue that the combined company would be so fragile that regulators would be forced to boost rates to keep it stable.

The combined company would serve 1.5 million customers from central Kansas to central Missouri. Great Plains is the parent of Kansas City Power & Light Co.

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22nd Oklahoma City bombing anniversary remembrance ceremony underway

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:15

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Survivors and family members of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing will gather for a remembrance service Wednesday, the 22nd anniversary of the attack.

The explosion killed 168 people. It was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil until the Sept. 11 attacks six years later.

Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the 1995 bombing and was later executed. Terry Nichols was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the bombing and is serving life in prison.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says its secretary, Ben Carson, will speak at the ceremony.

Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Building housed HUD offices as well as employees from other federal agencies. HUD lost 35 employees when the building was bombed. Fifty workers from the agency survived.

The 22nd Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony is underway. #WeRemember pic.twitter.com/o3Stkcbkid

— OKC Memorial (@OKCNM) April 19, 2017

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Body found by BNSF railroad workers in Hamilton County

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:33

HAMILTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – An investigation is underway after the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office received a report of a body found four miles west of Syracuse.

The body was found Tuesday around 1:20 in the afternoon by BNSF railroad workers who say they found the decomposed body near the railroad tracks.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigations was called in to assist with the investigation. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause and time of death.

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Car with bad brakes crashes into Kansas school; no one hurt

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:20

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Authorities say a car with malfunctioning brakes has crashed into the front of a Manhattan elementary school after students left for the day.

The Manhattan Mercury reports that the front doors to Lee Elementary were damaged when the car collided with the school around 9 p.m. Monday.

Principal Nancy Kole says she is “thankful” the crash happened at night and that no one was hurt. She also stressed that the crash was “truly an accident” and that the driver “was not trying to harm the school.”

Riley County Police Department’s spokesman Alexander Robinson said Tuesday that he believes the brakes on the car stopped working. After the crash, maintenance workers were able to clean up the mess and secure the building.

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Governor signs budget fix to get state through June

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:56

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will use $291 million in internal government borrowing to avoid a deficit in its current budget and pay bills on time through June.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed the budget bill into law Tuesday. The measure allows the state to avoid short-term cuts in aid to public schools, social services and other programs.

The state plans to liquidate a special investment fund and loan most of the proceeds to its main bank account to cover general spending before the fiscal year ends on June 30. The loan would be paid back over seven years.

Kansas would still face projected budget shortfalls totaling $989 million for the two years starting in July. However, the gaps could shrink Thursday after state officials and university economists issue new revenue projections.

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Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez dead after hanging self in cell

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:00

MILFORD, Mass. (AP) — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, acquitted of a double murder just days ago, died after hanging himself in his prison cell Wednesday morning, Massachusetts prisons officials said.

Hernandez, 27, was found by guards in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m., Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.

The former New England Patriots tight end was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster about an hour later.

Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He hanged himself using a bed sheet that he attached to a cell window, Fallon said.

Hernandez tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.

Hernandez was moved to tears on Friday after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston.

But he was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister.

Massachusetts State Police remain on the scene investigating the death.

The Department of Corrections released a statement stating:

On April 19, 2017 Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m., lifesaving techniques were attempted on Mr. Hernandez and he was transported to UMASS Leominster where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital.  Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing.  Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window.  Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.  The Massachusetts State Police are on scene and the investigation continues.  Mr. Hernandez’s next of kin have been notified.”

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Riverside residents will have chance to speak out about senior housing proposal

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 06:52

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Residents in the Riverside neighborhood will now have the chance to express their concerns and have their questions answered about a proposed controversial apartment building.

In an update to a story KSN reported on last week, the proposal for a three-story, 60 unit senior citizen apartment building near the popular corner of 13th and Bitting will be presented at the District VI Advisory Board (DAB VI) meeting tonight.

At the meeting, Rob Snyder, owner of Central Plains Development, will take questions and listen to public comment before requesting a resolution of support for application for Housing Tax Credits (HTCs).

HTCs are a credit to federal taxes that developers can use to put into projects such as this proposed senior citizen apartment complex. The extra money would lower the amount developers need to charge rent, allowing the apartments to be rented out to people with lower incomes.

KSN talked with Janet Miller, Wichita vice mayor, about the process for getting approved for HTCs.

“As part of the application process, the developers are asked to get a resolution of support from their local jurisdiction, which in this case is the City of Wichita, that says that the City of Wichita is supportive of their application,” Miller said.

The city’s Housing and Community Services Department already recommended approval of the project but before Central Plains Development can move forward, they’ll need support from the DAB VI, before the plans make their way to city council.

“It will go to the District Advisory Board. Generally they will vote on an issue to recommend approval or denial and then I take that into consideration when it comes next to the city council for consideration,” Miller said. “I’ll be one of seven votes at that time as to whether or not to offer a letter of support.”

Some Riverside residents told KSN they fear for the businesses and homes nearby the proposed construction site, while others expressed concerns with communications surrounding the proposal.

“My concern is if we build an apartment that it isn’t a cookie cutter; that it matches the neighborhood and we’re not getting any communication on that,” said Danny Mason, a Riverside resident.

Some concerns residents are expressing are based on circulating misinformation, according to Snyder. For example, closing local businesses such as the popular Riverside Café, is not in the plans, he said.

As part of tonight’s DAB VI meeting, some of those concerns should be faced with explanations before any decisions are made. Miller said.

“I think the best thing to do at this point is to have it presented at the District Advisory Board so that anyone who’s interested can hear about it, ask questions, have those questions answered, an then at that point everybody will be operating off the same page and can make public comments about it,” she said.

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Moundridge Public Schools canceled Wednesday

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 06:39

MOUNDRIDGE, Kan. (KSNW) – Moundridge Public Schools are canceled Wednesday due to a boil water advisory.

Moundridge residents are urged to boil their water. A boil water advisory was issued as a result of a loss of pressure in the city’s water system. Customers are urged to boil water for at least one minute, dispose ice cubes and do not use ice from home ice makers.

Water for bathing generally does not need to be boiled. The Moundridge boil advisory will remain in effect until conditions are deemed safe by the Kansas Department of Health.

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KSN Threat Tracker for Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 05:54

6:00AM Late this afternoon we will have the risk of strong to severe storms developing in parts of NC and SC Kansas. Hail and high straight line winds will be the primary concern with any storms that develop.

5:00AM Off to another nice mild start to the day today. Temps are very mild and south winds are getting gusty, but it’s that wind that will bring us into the 80s this afternoon.

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Wichita Junior Thunder celebrate Thorne Cup title back in Wichita

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 23:54

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been a tough journey for the Wichita Junior Thunder hockey team. But now they have officially made it to the top.

For the first time ever, the Junior Thunder are Thorne Cup champs after knocking off Idaho 4-3 in the title game. It marks the culmination of years of hard work for many of the leaders on the team, and the Junior Thunder came home to Wichita today to celebrate with family and friends.

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Wichita police: 40 car break-ins reported near New Market Square

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 22:45

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are warning residents in northwest Wichita to be vigilant after a rash of car break-ins.

“It’s kind of nerve-racking. It kind of makes me worry,” said Wichita resident Katie Eilrich.

“I was just really surprised,” said shopper Becky McPeak.

Wichita police said there have been more than 40 car break-ins near and around New Market since the beginning of 2017.

“There are a lot of cars parked up there in that area so they have been noticing both cars locked and unlocked are getting broken into and valuables are being taken out of it,” said Wichita Police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow. “Just because it’s in the middle of daylight on a Tuesday, doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a victim of it.”

On Tuesday, Wichita police posted a message to Facebook warning people who live, work, shop or hang out it in the area of Maize and 21st Street and Tyler and 21st Street to remove all of their valuables from their vehicles.

“It’s so easy to walk by a car and try a door handle and if it’s unlocked, reach in, grab a couple things and go,” Woodrow said. “Don’t be an open invitation for thieves.”

Police said there is some surveillance video of people breaking into cars, but right now they do not have any leads. Woodrow said the department is increasing patrols in the area, talking with business owners about the issue and installing signs reminding people to lock their doors and remove their belongings.

“We are putting those up in that area as well, just as a constant reminder to people, lock your car doors, don’t become a victim if you don’t have to be,” Woodrow said.

Woodrow said it’s unclear if the thefts are related, but she said police have not ruled it out either.

“Thieves sometimes rely on patterns and, you know, if they are in a parking lot and they pull 10 car doors and five of them are open, they are more likely to go back to that parking lot because they are easy targets,” she said.

Police said the car break-ins have happened during all times of the day and night. They said thieves have broken car windows to gain entry into some vehicles.

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Intrust Bank Arena Neighborhood Development hoping to prosper

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 22:34

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Landing the NCAA Tournament for 2018 and 2021 is not just good news for basketball fans, but for businesses in downtown Wichita.

Imagine $10 million pouring into downtown over the course of a weekend. According to city officials, that’s exactly what’s going to happen when people visit for the tournaments.

Elizabeth Stevenson’s art gallery, Fisch Haus is right across the street from Intrust Bank Arena where the first and second rounds of the 2018 and 2021 NCAA tournaments will take place.

Her business is on Commerce Street, a small enterprise district with a mind of its own.

Stevenson tells KSN that she hopes to see more businesses and restaurants added to this area, to bring more life and choices to the downtown district.

“I hope they probably offer tax rebates perhaps or a sales tax incentive of some sort and that might bring businesses down here. I think that could be a lot of fun. I mean the more the merrier,” explained Stevenson.

KSN spoke to several other business owners in the Commerce District who say they’re hoping their own shops will reap the benefit of March Madness in Wichita.

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