Local KSN News
KINSLEY, Kan. (KSNW) – The same milo often used to feed cattle could end up in your next cocktail.
A man in Kinsley, Kansas, has figured out how to turn the grain sorghum into vodka and a small business.
“Making drinking liquor from 100% sorghum grain is unique to the world,” said Tim Kyle, as he demonstrated the still he set up.
He uses milo because it grows easily in Kansas, but turning it into vodka is anything but easy.
“From when I put the grain in until it gets in the bottle takes about three weeks,” said Kyle.
Not only are there several steps to ferment the grain and then distill it, but Kyle is the only employee.
“I’m a one-man band right now because I’m the only one I can afford,” he said with a smile.
From the production of the vodka to the bottling of it, Kyle does it all by hand. He puts a label on each glass container, uses a filling machine to add the liquor, and then corks and shrink-wraps each bottle.
Even the name of the liquor, “Ornery Brother,” is personal.
“Let’s just say for the four or five generations I’m aware of, I don’t know a male in my family that doesn’t qualify,” he said laughing.
Kyle opened his micro-distillery in a once-vacant building in downtown Kinsley.
“They’re just happy we’ve taken a building that was basically abandoned in the 1990’s and are putting it back to use.”
Someday, he hopes to create a few jobs for the town.
“The help I’ve gotten from everybody in the community makes it feel much more like a communal effort instead of a one man, one guy against the world kind of thing,” said Kyle.
But right now, he can barely keep up with demand from liquor stores. With every box he sells, this “Ornery Brother” is becoming a legitimate success.
The milo vodka is now available in more than 100 liquor stores in Kansas.
If you are not a fan of vodka, just wait– Kyle is also working on a recipe for gin!
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The parent of a Wichita school student emailed KSN because of a possible case of lice at his daughter’s school, and he’s concerned not enough is being done about it.
Thursday KSN looked into USD 259 policy.
The coordinator for health services for Wichita Public Schools says the policies have changed with lice.
She says they and other large school districts follow recommendations from the Kansas Classroom Handbook of Communicable Diseases.
A Wichita parent says she’d like to know if there’s lice in her child’s classroom.
“You may see it at home, so it’s good to be prepared I remember in elementary school being notified before,” said Natasha Creasman, Wichita.
But today the district says it doesn’t let parents know if there’s a child with lice in class.
“We do not do that, we look at that as a HIPAA violation, a lot of times kids are aware when another student has lice if we send a note home, then that is kind of bringing light to that student,” said Kimber Kasitz, WPS health services coordinator.
Kasitz says instead they have school nurses send letters home to parents several times a year about lice and how to manage it. She says after the holidays where there is a lot of head to head contact with family and friends, is a good time to remind parents of it.
“Slumber parties, close family sleepovers, everybody at grandmas house that type of thing,” said Kasitz.
Another policy change started last year with students being allowed to stay when it’s discovered they have lice until the end of the school day.
Kasitz says this is because it’s not considered to be an emergency.
“They can remain in school for the remainder of that day but they do need to be treated before they return back to school,” said Kasitz.
Kasitz says there’s no state law regarding lice, but school districts also follow guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health.
Kansas doesn’t require children to be nit free before returning to the classroom. But the lice does need to be treated and students cannot come back with it the next day.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A trial date has been set in the case of the Wichita man accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl last year.
Today, the DA and the defense decided on a trial date, but before that could happen, the suspect in the case had a lot to say.
Corbin Breitenbach is charges with attempted first-degree capital murder. Wichita police say he broke into an apartment, choked a 7-year-old girl to unconsciousness and then sexually attacked her in June.
Today in court, Breitenbach filed two motions. One saying his council was ineffective and not doing enough to win his case.
“Where Jason Smart told me that I wasn’t a Cadillac of interest of defense, it just shows that he is not ready to provide me with the defense that I need, not that I need the Cadillac of defense, but just that he’s willing to state that shows he’s prepared to cut corners,” said Breitenbach.
In the end, the judge denied Breitenbach’s motions. His trial is set for April 16.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination for an ambassador’s post was approved Thursday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Brownback is one of dozens of officials who was renominated last week by President Donald Trump after Democrats refused to allow their nominations to roll over into the new year.
Brownback was first nominated last July to become ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom but the nomination was opposed by Democrats and LGBT groups.
Under the Senate’s rules, an appointee who has not received a confirmation vote by the end of the year must be nominated again unless senators agree unanimously to carry the nomination into the following year.
Brownback’s departure would elevate current Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer as the next governor of Kansas. His nomination now goes to a full senate vote for approval, the same place where his nomination was stalled at the end of last year.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Federal prosecutors are accusing several current or former law enforcement officials, including a two former Wichita police officer of obstruction of justice for their roles in identifying a suspected undercover officer who was investigating illegal gambling.
An indictment unsealed Thursday charges Brock Wedman, Michael Zajkowski and Bruce Mackey with obstruction of law enforcement. Wedman was also charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Michael Zajkowski and Bruce Mackey are both former WPD police officers.
Court records do not indicate whether the men have attorneys.
Prosecutors allege Wedman and an unindicted co-conspirator owned an illegal gambling business that involved five or more people and grossed more than $2,000 in a day.
The charges stem from a February 12, 2014, poker game during which the three men allegedly used police department resources to determine the ownership of a vehicle driven by a player suspected of being an undercover police officer.
KSN reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s office and the department tells up these indictments are a ll part of an ongoing investigation.
KSN has also learned a retired highway patrol trooper, Michael Fredericksen, of Derby, is charged with towo counts of making false statements to FBI investigators. The indictment says he was filmed taking part in an illegal cash poker game in 2014, when he was still a trooper and lied to federal agents about being at that poker game.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the case against the parents of 13 children found malnourished, some chained to furniture, in their Perris, California, home (all times local):
The parents of 13 malnourished children found in alleged captivity in Southern California have been charged with committing years of torture and abuse and could face up to life in prison.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced the charges against 57-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin at a press conference Thursday.
The two are scheduled to make their first court appearance later in the day.
Authorities say the situation came to light early Sunday when a 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window of their home, called 911 and showed deputies photos that substantiated her story. Deputies found some of the children chained to furniture when they entered.
The grandparents of 13 starved and tortured children say their son’s family looked happy and healthy when they last visited California six years ago.
Betty and James Turpin of Princeton, West Virginia say they were in shock when they learned of the arrest of their son David Turpin and his wife, Louise Turpin this week.
They told the Southern California News Group that their grandchildren all called each other “sweetie” when they visited their home in Murrieta, California six years ago, and none of them appeared malnourished.
Betty Turpin says her son told her he had so many kids because God wanted him to. She says her son shared her Pentecostal Christian faith but he wasn’t affiliated with a church in California.
David and Louise Turpin are expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday.
PRATT, Kan. (KSNW) – A Pratt man pleaded guilty to two counts of child sex crimes, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
Matthew T. Gamblin, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The crimes occurred between October 2014 and May 2015.
Judge Francis E. Meisenheimer accepted the pleas in Pratt County District Court. Sentencing is scheduled for February 26 at 10:30 a.m.
The case was investigated by the Pratt Police Department.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Black Hills Energy, Westar, and KCP&L are among the companies agreeing to pass 100 percent of the benefit from the tax cut on to their customers.
In December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In addition to reducing the burden for the majority of taxpayers, the legislation also lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Since utility companies benefit directly from this rate decrease, Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer wrote to Kansas utility companies requesting they provide relief to Kansas utility consumers by sharing the savings.
“I am extremely encouraged by the response my letter has received from the Kansas utility community. Black Hills Energy, KCP&L and Westar understand, just as I do, how much energy costs affect every household in Kansas. I am pleased that they have agreed to pass these savings on to consumers,” said Lt. Governor Colyer.
In his response to Lt. Governor Colyer, Black Hills Energy General Manager, Jerry Watkins said, “Black Hills is [..] committed to working expeditiously with the Kansas Corporation Commission to develop a plan which provides customers the benefit of the corporate tax reduction in their rates.”
Mark Ruelle, President and CEO of Westar, added, “We agree with the KCC Staff and others that all these tax benefits should go to our customers,” said President and CEO of Westar Mark Ruelle.
It’s been a chilly morning, but temperatures are rising quickly across the state, with some already in the 50s as of 11 AM.
And we will only be getting warmer this afternoon with highs in the 50s and 60s, lots of sunshine, and breezy southwest winds. Enjoy it!
This nice, warm weather sticks around through the weekend, but changes are on the way as our next storm system arrives on Sunday.
We’ll start out with rain showers, but this will transition to snow as colder air settles in, especially for northwestern Kansas.
And we desperately need this moisture… Our latest drought monitor shows conditions continuing to worsen, especially for southwestern Kansas.
I’ll have more on our weekend storm system and how much cooler we’ll get next week, straight ahead on KSN News at Noon! Or you can watch my latest forecast right here: http://ksn.com/2017/03/08/weather-forecast-discussion/
~Katie the Weather Lady
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A plan for a new state prison in Kansas is in limbo after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback postponed a meeting aimed at getting the final go-ahead from legislative leaders.
Brownback and the Legislature’s top eight leaders were scheduled to meet Thursday morning to discuss the Department of Corrections plan to have private-prison operator CoreCivic Inc. build a new prison in Lansing. The 2,400-bed facility would replace the state’s oldest and largest prison there.
Brownback postponed the meeting indefinitely just before it was to start.
His move suggests the plan doesn’t yet have enough support among legislative leaders. Under a law passed last year, five of the eight must approve for the plan to go forward.
Tennessee-based CoreCivic would lease the prison to Kansas for its first 20 years in operation.
DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Fire crews in Derby battled a house fire Thursday. It happened in the 800 block of East Morningview Drive just before 9 a.m.
Crews found heavy fire on the side of one home when they arrived.
“We did have some extension to the property to the house to the east that caused some damage to the siding,” said Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith. “Now, we got that under control, and we are checking for hot spots and extension into both residents.”
Derby fire crews said all made it out of the homes safely. No word on what caused the fire or the damage estimates.
Amazon has narrowed its hunt for a second headquarters to 20 locations, concentrated among cities in the U.S. East and Midwest. Toronto made the list as well, keeping the company’s international options open.
The online retailer said Thursday that after sorting through 238 proposals, the potential locations still include tech-strong places like Boston and New York. Other contenders include Chicago, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, in the Midwest.
Los Angeles was the only West Coast city on the list. Both Texas and Pennsylvania had two cities that made the cut: Austin, Dallas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the South, Miami and Atlanta are being considered.
Officials in cities that made the short took the opportunity to further tout their cities, with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney noting “all that Philadelphia has to offer” and officials in Allegheny County, including Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto citing the region’s “world-class talent pool” and other advantages.
The other contenders: Denver, Washington D.C., Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; Northern Virginia; and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Amazon.com Inc. said it will make a final selection sometime this year.
The company’s announcement last fall that it was looking for a second home launched a fierce competition among cities looking to lure Amazon and its promise of 50,000 new jobs and construction spending of more than $5 billion.
State and local governments played up the amenities they think make their locations the best choice for Amazon’s second headquarters. Other’s pulled off stunts to standout, such as New York, which lit the Empire State Building in Amazon orange. Some stunts didn’t work: Tucson, Arizona, which sent a 21-foot tall cactus to Seattle, did not make the list. Neither did Birmingham, Alabama, which installed giant replicas of Amazon’s Dash buttons.
The company had stipulated that it was seeking to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.
But Amazon also made it very clear that it wanted tax breaks, grants and any other incentives.
Some state and local governments have made public the details of the financial incentives they are dangling. Boston’s offer includes $75 million for affordable housing for Amazon employees and others. Before he left office Tuesday, Republican Gov. Chris Christie approved a measure backed by Democrats to allow New Jersey to offer up to $5 billion to Amazon. Newark also proposes to give Amazon $2 billion in tax breaks, although the city has yet to release its application to the AP.
But many of the state and local governments competing for the headquarters have refused to disclose the tax breaks or other financial incentives they offered. Of the 20 finalists, 13 including New York, Chicago, and Miami declined requests from the AP to release their applications while other requests were still pending. Applications from Columbus, Denver, Los Angeles, and Raleigh, North Carolina, were submitted by outside groups not typically bound by the same disclosure rules.
Nearly 20 cities and states across the U.S. that originally applied turned down requests from The Associated Press to detail the promises they’ve made. Boston published its application online, while Philadelphia released its application to the AP, but with information on proposed tax incentives redacted.
Several say they don’t want their competitors to know what they’re offering, a stance that open-government advocates criticized.
Amazon plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the second home base will be “a full equal” to it, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had said.
The extra space will help the rapidly-growing company, which It had nearly 542,000 employees at the end of September, a 77 percent jump from the year before. Some of that growth came from Amazon’s nearly $14 billion acquisition last year of natural foods grocer Whole Foods and its 89,000 employees.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – Matthew Snyder, the grandson of K-State football head coach Bill Snyder and son of assistant coach Sean Snyder, died Wednesday at age 22 according to the Manhattan Mercury.
The paper reports personnel responded to a medical call Wednesday afternoon in the 3300 block of Claflin Avenue in Manhattan.
The K-State Athletics Department had no comment when reached late Wednesday night.
DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Derby Public Schools is set to have a bond election on February 20.
Residents in the school district will be presented with three different bond questions.
The first bond question will focus on safety and security, efficiency and growth, deferred maintenance, and curriculum and program equity. These areas were identified by a community committee as major concerns in the school district.
The bond will address safety and security by adding storm shelters to Park Hill, Tanglewood and Wineteer Elementary Schools.
Sedgwick County Emergency Management has looked at Derby schools and made recommendations on what spaces are safest to use as a shelter, but officials said the areas aren’t safe enough.
“When you have buildings that have over 500 students and staff members, using the bathrooms like we’ve been taught to use when we were kids in school, you can’t get all those folks in the bathroom,” said operations director Joe Dessenberger. “Somebody is left out in a less protected area.”
The district also wants to add intruder locks to classrooms.
“We’ve had incidents that have occurred in our neighborhoods, around our schools or at our schools, where we’ve had to go into lockdown,” said Dessenberger.
If an intruder was to come into a school, teachers would have to exit their classroom to lock the door from the outside, putting students in harm’s way.
“The intruder locks would provide for a panic mechanism on the inside of the door that would allow the teacher to quickly lock down the room,” Dessenberger said.
Another area of focus is maintenance, such as: boiler replacements, HVAC upgrades and plumbing system replacements.
According to school officials, many of the schools were built in the 1950’s and are starting to show their age.
“We fight steam leaks everyday during the heating season,” said Dessenberger. “We see spikes in classroom temperatures of up to 100 degrees because the unit ventilators in the rooms are failing.”
Dessenberger added that these environmental issues cause teachers and students to lose concentration and it become a distraction.
The bond plan also includes closing Pleasantview Elementary.
Other areas the bond hopes to address include:
- Efficiency and growth: Officials want to build a new elementary in the Stone Creek area
- Curriculum and program equity: The district wants to add more physical education space at Derby High School and address the limited student resource spaces.
This plan would cost around $114 million.
The other two bond questions ask residents to vote on the renovation of the Panthers Athletics Center and upgrades of athletic facilities.
The total bond amount is around $124 million.
Officials said Bond Question 1 must pass, in order for the other two bond questions to pass.
If all three bonds are approved, the average homeowner would pay an extra $118 a year in property taxes.
The district is holding an information session today at 10 a.m. at the Educational Support Center, and January 23 at 7 p.m. at Derby High School.
For more information on the bond election, visit the website.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Last year’s Women’s March on the Air Capital made headlines for its participation, with hundreds of women marching for equality. This year, the name of the game is voting.
Saturday will be the second annual Women’s March with nine female speakers and dozens of volunteers, working to get everyone registered and informed to vote.
“Making sure they know where they polling place is, making sure they have proper ID to vote, making sure they know who their candidates are, which usually makes people more passionate about voting when they know who their candidates are,” organizer Brandi Calvert said Wednesday.
Calvert cites last year’s success in getting women to the polls: high woman voter turnout in the 2017 special election.
“We make up the majority of the population so if we’re voting, we’re creating the change,” Calvert said.
The group is making signs at Fusion restaurant on Douglas tonight from 5-9pm.
If anyone is interested in participating, all you have to do is show up on Saturday. Calvert said the event is for anyone who believes in equal rights for women.
“We will create a ripple effect for the rest of the country. So however our elections go in November of 2018, will be a ripple effect for the rest
of the country. Get out and vote and make it a positive one,” Calvert said.
The march begins at City Hall, 455 N. Main at 11am on Saturday.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kellogg and I-235 will be closed again this weekend starting on Friday night at 5 p.m. All lanes will be closed by 7 p.m.
Crews continue to install eight steel bridge beams for the northbound I-235 ramp bridge to westbound Kellogg.
Detours will be used during the closure. Traffic should return by Monday at 6 a.m.
Detours will use the diamond ramps of the interchange
• WB US 54 Detour: onto NB I-235 to Central. Turn left at Central then left onto SB I-235. Exit to WB US 54.
• EB US 54 Detour: onto SB I-235 to K-42. Turn left at K-42 then left onto NB I-235. Exit to EB US 54.
• NB I-235 Detour: onto EB US 54 to Edwards St. Turn left on Edwards then left onto WB US 54. Exit to NB I-235.
• SB I-235 Detour: onto WB US 54 to Dugan St. Use Dugan turnaround onto EB US 54. Exit to SB I-235
An additional weekend closure at the interchange is planned for the weekend beginning February 2.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican lawmaker’s discovery of a magnetic box containing a high-tech tracking device affixed to the bottom of his truck is being investigated by Oklahoma officials, who also revealed that four other GOP legislators have reported concerns they were being followed.
The mysterious discovery has stunned Oklahoma’s political class, and raised questions about who would spy on lawmakers.
“This is outrageous behavior and very reckless and foolish, and it could lead to somebody getting hurt,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Wednesday, adding that the tactics could lead to felony stalking charges. “They (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) are investigating it, and I’m going to be very aggressive in the prosecution of these matters if in fact they have the evidence to prove the case.”
Rep. Mark McBride said he discovered the device on his truck on Dec. 4 and reported it to local police, who forwarded the investigation to the state agency, which has jurisdiction over threats against public officials.
McBride initially told police he suspected someone connected to the wind industry may be responsible. A longtime supporter of oil and gas and a frequent critic of the wind industry, McBride told a Moore police officer he was writing legislation that could negatively affect Oklahoma wind farms.
“It’s very unsettling,” said McBride, who also has filed a lawsuit seeking to identify whoever is responsible for placing the device on his truck. “I stopped hanging out with some of my friends and narrowed down what I did.”
Telephone and email messages left Wednesday with Oklahoma Wind Coalition officials were not immediately returned.
Prater says four other GOP legislators approached him last year with concerns that they were being followed, but no charges were filed in connection with those reports.
Prater said whether a case rises to the level of criminal charges depends on a number of factors, including why someone is tracking or following a legislator.
“When you’re talking about lobbyists and certain industries that potentially may have the opportunity to experience a windfall or lose a lot of money based on legislation, money drives a lot of activity, good and bad, and that’s what’s going on here,” Prater said. “When people see that their business or livelihood may be helped or hurt by some certain legislation there, they potentially have the motivation to do something a bit nefarious.”
In 2014, Prater pursued criminal charges of blackmail and computer crimes against a tea party activist who sent an intimidating email to a state senator. The activist was found guilty and fined, but the conviction was later thrown out on appeal.
“We know this kind of thing occurs a lot more than it is ever reported to us,” Prater said.
Follow Sean Murphy at http://www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A gas line break in northwest Wichita is causing evacuations.
Around 3:30 a.m., a car ran into the side of a house in the 11000 block West 17th Street North.
The car dislodged a gas line and caused the leak.
An evacuation order is in place and authorities are shutting down the area.
Good Thursday morning! Temperatures on the rise heading into the weekend.
A delightful winter day is in store. Under sun drenched skies temperatures to climb into the 50s and 60s.
By tonight, winds relax and temperatures fall back into the 20s under mostly clear skies for everyone.
The spring fling continues into the weekend with highs soaring into the 60s! Make sure to make the best of it because cooler changes are coming by Sunday.
Our next storm system is on the way for the second half of the weekend. Light snow to spread across northwest Kansas late in the morning on Sunday.
Still for Wichita we’re expecting to stay in liquid form although there may be a moment where we see a burst of snow in the mix. Most of the winter weather appears to stay to the north! This system clears out heading in the new week. Temperatures don’t tumble back too hard behind this next cold front. In fact, above normal temperatures are expected for the next seven days.
I’ll have your forecast coming up on Kansas Today from 4:30-7. – Laura Bannon
WICHITA, Kans. (KSNW) – A local donut chain used the latest social media stunt, called the Tide Pod challenge, to promote a new kind of donut Wednesday.
The challenge involves people, mostly teenagers, eating the laundry capsules on video for others to see on social media.
Hurts Donut joined in on the craze by selling the donut version of the laundry capsule.
“We just kind of put out the post as just a funny alternative to a more serious topic,” said Trista Patterson, owner of Hurts Donut. “We see so much heavy stuff everyday that we’re just putting a little lighter approach on a serious subject.”
It was a pretty popular decision according to some people who decided to test it out.
“I got the Tide Pod donut because-I got it because it’s a popular trend on Facebook and Twitter,” said Clayton Cheatum, a Wichita resident. “I was like well you know I’m on a diet right now but you know i don’t think Tide Pods got carbs in them, might as well try it.”
Some even made the trip to the popular donut spot to take some home as a gift.
“My 16-year-old son has been making all these jokes about Tide Pods and showing me all the memes with them and he saw that they had them here with the donuts and so I told him I would buy him some,” said Melissa Beshirs, a Haysville resident.
But, not all were amused by the imitation capsules.
On a Facebook post by the donut shop announcing the Tide Pod donut, one person commented “I’m sad people think this is so funny. So what if there is a size difference. This is bad. Children are going to see these and associate them with Tide Pods.”
Another said “This is uncalled for.”
But, Patterson assures people she is not encouraging people to eat the actual capsules.
“Hurts Donut company in general has never really claimed to be a serious business anyways so we’re just kind of poking fun at it and saying you know putting out our own PSA saying eat this not that,” she said.
Patterson said they sold more than 50 of the Tide Pod donuts Wednesday, the only day they were selling them.
KSN reached out to Tide. They did not address the donuts, but did say in part “laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke.”