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Updated: 1 hour 1 min ago

Kansas lawmakers call for reform after secrecy story breaks

1 hour 8 min ago

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas lawmakers from across the political spectrum say they’ll push to fix the state’s culture of secrecy after a newspaper highlighted alarming levels of opacity in state and local government.

The Kansas City Star reports that Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer pledged last week to address the problem of transparency. Colyer is set to take over as governor if Gov. Sam Brownback is confirmed as an ambassador.

The Star’s series on secrecy highlighted several examples of state and local agencies hiding information from the public. Examples include KanCare recipients who were asked to sign blank plans of care.

Colyer didn’t weigh in on specific questions raised in the series, nor did he offer policy moves he’d pursue to increase transparency, as some of his competitors for the 2018 Republican nomination did.

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Hutchinson man dies after crash in Reno County

2 hours 38 min ago

RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A Hutchinson man has died following a crash in Reno County Friday.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Angel Montiel, 25, of Hutchinson, was traveling southbound on Wilson Road when the Chrysler he was traveling in left the roadway and sideswiped a tree. Montiel was ejected from the vehicle.

The crash happened just before 10:00 p.m. It is unclear what caused Montiel’s vehicle to leave the roadway.

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Kansas unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in October

4 hours 20 min ago

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas says its unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in October, but the state continued to see a decline in the number of non-farm jobs over the previous year.

The state Department of Labor reports that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was lower than September’s 3.8 percent and 4.3 percent for October 2016. Monthly unemployment rates have stayed below 4 percent since March.

But the number of private-sector, non-farm jobs was 4,700 lower in October than in October 2016, a drop of four-tenths of a percentage point.

It was the seventh straight month with lower private-sector job numbers than in 2016.

Kansas also lost 1,700 private-sector jobs from September to October, a decline of one-tenth of a point. Labor Department officials said Friday that retailers hired fewer seasonal workers than anticipated.

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AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

4 hours 45 min ago

NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64.

AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where Young died.

Young was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. A statement says he died peacefully with his family by his side.

Band representatives didn’t immediately return emails seeking comment. Young formed the group with his brother, Angus.

AC/DC were remarkably consistent for over 40 years with its mix of driving hard rock and bluesy shuffles, selling over 200 million albums, surviving the loss of its first singer and creating one of the greatest rock records ever in “Back in Black,” the world’s second best-selling album behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

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Western’s Weather Wrap: Windy & Colder Saturday

8 hours 4 min ago

Light showers have been moving across Kansas this morning. Get the latest look at radar right here: http://ksn.com/weather/interactive-radar/

Not only has this morning’s cold front brought a little rain, but it’s also bringing very gusty winds – a *Wind Advisory* is in place until 4 PM, so please be cautious and hang on tight to the wheel!

The winds are already out of the northwest at 20-30 mph this morning, gusting upwards of 45 mph. Phew!

Because of the winds and falling temperatures, it feels very chilly in the 20s and 30s to start our Saturday in Kansas.

Showers will end this morning, then sunshine will take over for the rest of the day. But, we’ll keep with gusty northwest winds, dropping our highs to just the low to mid 50s.

Stay warm today, and get a look ahead to your Thanksgiving forecast right here: http://ksn.com/2017/03/08/weather-forecast-discussion/

~Katie the Weather Lady

 

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Crews battling structure fire in Newton

15 hours 42 min ago

NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – According to Harvey County dispatch, Newton Fire/EMS is responding to a structure fire in the 200 block of North McLain. 

Bystanders say a garage is on fire. 

This story is developing. Courtesy Steve Rankin

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Friday Football Fever: Week 12 Video

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:35

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The FFF Game of the Week was Scott City vs. Holcomb.

Be sure to check out the Friday Football Fever scores on our scores page.

This week’s video highlights include:

  • Scott City vs. Holcomb
  • Andale vs. McPherson
  • Bishop Carroll vs. Goddard
  • Derby vs. Wichita Northwest

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Kansas farmers say yes to Tyson

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:49

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Some Kansas farmers are encouraging Tyson officials to invest in a chicken plant in Sedgwick County.

In recent weeks, opponents to the proposed chicken plant have been vocal, holding meetings and protesting Tyson. Those against the company have told KSN they’re concerned the plant could contaminate their water supply, cause home values to plummet, among other things. However, some people have now come forward saying they welcome Tyson and its jobs.

“There’s a lot of good that will come from it,” said farmer AJ Lanier.

“Anyone with the basic knowledge of economics can only see this as a good thing,” said farmer Josh Patterson.

Patterson, who is a fifth generation farmer near Valley Center, said the “No Tyson” group recently approached him.

“She called me wanting me to put up a “No to Tyson” sign in my front yard because she thinks if farmers would put it up it would carry more weight than the city folk,” he said.

Patterson said he then asked the woman representing the “No Tyson” group what research she had done about the proposed chicken plant. According to him, she didn’t have the answers he was looking for. He said he replied by telling her he did not want a sign to for his yard or farm.

“No way and if one shows up I’m always looking for something to start a fire with,” Patterson said.

KSN asked the farmers why they want the chicken plant in Sedgwick County.

“There’s a reason they are looking at South Central Kansas because we have some of the cheapest grain in the state. They are going to buy our grain,” Patterson said. “Now, we have another avenue for marketing our grain. We have Cargill in town who produces bean meal, so it’s a win, a win for Cargill, Tyson and the farmers and the consumer in the end.”

“It will help agriculture, you know, there is a local place for farmers to take grain, another place. It’s an option. It brings more competitiveness to the market,” said Lanier.

Lanier and Patterson also said it’s an opportunity for the county to invest in jobs outside of the aviation industry.

“If you think about it Sedgwick County has put all its eggs in one basket with the aircraft industry for what 50-plus years? Why not diversify?” Patterson said.

Tyson’s chicken plant is expected to bring in 1,600 new jobs to the area. Economy experts told KSN the jobs would benefit the county’s working poor.

“I think what people fail to understand is there are upper management jobs. They are going to spend a lot of money. They are going to buy nicer cars,” Patterson said. “They are waiting for this magical, unicorn job sector to come in. That will never happen. Why not embrace Tyson and pro agriculture for Sedgwick County?”

There are still three counties in the running for the potential Tyson plant. Before any county or site is chose, officials said there will be numerous research projects completed and there will be multiple public meetings for residents to voice their concerns.

 

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Officials still investigating cause of North Newton co-op fire

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:55

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Fire officials say they’re still looking for a cause behind Thursday’s co-op fire in North Newton.

Officials say they will be conducting interviews with the building owners and responders who helped put out the flames Thursday night.

Fire crews didn’t leave until 6 am Friday.

This was to make sure the fire was completely out.

Today investigators walked in and around the building to look for a cause.

This fire was different than others and fire crews had to move position while putting it out for safety reasons. Because of very thick black smoke, the team also had to be cautious.

“The amount of smoke and low visibility that they encountered as well as the height of the pile of debris inside the stored products it was just an unsafe atmosphere for our folks to be in,” said Steve Roberson, Deputy Chief Newton Fire/EMS

The area is taped off for safety reasons and officials say to not enter or go near it.

The part of the building damaged was not being used by the co-op, but rather a recycling company.

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Congressman Ron Estes shares his reaction to chemical testing proposal at Chilocco

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:14

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Over the last week, there have been protests and meetings near the Kansas/Oklahoma state line over concerns regarding proposed chemical testing at the Chilocco Indian School.

Republican Congressman Ron Estes of Kansas, says his legislative staffer that covers the Department of Homeland Security attended one of meetings seeking more information.

“There’s a lot of concern at the citizens in and around Ark City,” said Estes. “You know, that’s only five miles away from where the school is. So, you know, questions around air quality, around water and soil quality and issues there.”

The DHS is aiming to test inert chemical and biological agents at the site next year.

They say it’s solely to experiment on how to better prepare if the U.S. faces a biological or chemical attack.

But, Estes also has questions of his own at this time.

“I’ve seen the report in terms of what they’ve announced they’re wanting to do,” he said. “But, we’re wanting to try to understand what are the gases that they’re going to use. How they’re going to do it? What is it that they’re really doing to do this testing?”

He says the first he heard about the possible testing was from the news.

“I think the Homeland Security did a pretty poor job in presenting what they’re trying to accomplish trying to get this presented to us,” said Estes. “And so as a result, people are much more anxious of what they’re really trying to accomplish.”

Estes says until he has more answers from the DHS, he will not be taking a stance.

He also says citizens’ safety is his primary concern.

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City manager answers questions about selection process for Wichita fire chief

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:09

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) –  Wichita has been without a permanent fire chief for months.

However, yesterday, city officials promoted Interim Fire Chief Tammy Snow to that post.

Now, there are questions about how much community involvement and input went into that selection.

Last week, the Wichita Firefighters Union President said he wasn’t happy about the selection process and wanted the union to be more involved.

The union wondered why it wasn’t similar to the forums that were held as part of the selection process for the city’s latest police chief, Gordon Ramsay, back in 2015.

City Manager Robert Layton is responsible for making the ultimate decision on who will lead a department here in Wichita. Layton says the selection process for a new fire chief took about three months.

He says it was a nationwide search, looking at candidates from here in Kansas, to as far away as California. Every step of the way, Layton says, he was engaging with a variety of community members.

This included a group of stakeholders that were citizens and business representatives, department directors and others.

“Mayor and council spent a little time with the candidates, as well as, representatives of the fire union and I received feedback from all of those folks and made my decision,” said Layton.

So KSN asked why did this process not mirror the process used for selecting a police chief two years ago.

“The police chief was different because we had gone through a year-long assessment of the department and its operations, the work was performed by Wichita State, one of the things they pointed out was a lot of concern about public input into the process,” said Layton.  “I thought it was really important that when we got down to final candidates, we could address the issues that were expressed during that WSU department assessment,” added Layton.

Layton says he didn’t feel the fire chief search needed the same level of community involvement. The reason being, Layton says, is that the fire department tends to rank in the 90-percent approval range when they conduct yearly surveys with the community.

Moving forward, he believes the selection of Chief Snow for the fire department’s top spot will end up being the right choice.

“I think so, I think a year from now when we are talking about Tammy’s performance, people will be really pleased,” said Layton.

KSN did speak briefly with one union official on the phone today.

He tells us that this is a new day for the Wichita Fire Department and that they are excited to see what Chief Snow will bring to the table as the new leader of the department.

Fire Chief Snow is now in charge of a multi-million dollar operation.

There’s a total of 453 positions in the fire department, 268 are firefighter positions.

The staffing numbers will stay the same through 2018.

The budget for next year is more than 46-million dollars.

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Bombardier to bring 100 aviation production jobs to Wichita

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 18:38

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) Good news for the aviation industry in Wichita. Bombardier says it will add 100 jobs as the company ramps up production of its global 7000 jet.

The company will move interior completion of its older Global 5000 jet to Wichita.

Besides the wiring, the planes will come to Wichita as a hard shell and the interior will be installed here.

The Global 5000 will also undergo flight testing in Wichita and will then be delivered to the customer from here.

This was a very exciting announcement for Bombardier, company officials say because they already do interior work for Learjet, Wichita is the perfect fit for the jobs.

Tonya Sudduth, General Manager, Learjet programs, says “It is a great opportunity for us here in Wichita. It is a chance for us to work on our premier product in business aircraft and it will just open so many doors.”

Announcements about the jobs are expected in early 2018.

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USD 259 collects food to feed nearly 1,200 families in time for Thanksgiving

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 18:38

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita students and their parents showed just how giving they can be — by helping to collect food in time for Thanksgiving.

All the USD 259 schools took part in the food drive.

Items collected will got to the United Methodist Open Door program. The event is not only meant to help those less fortunate but to get the students involved as well.

“It used to be for years we struggled to get enough food but the students just love those activities and the students just love to give back as well,” said Deanne Smith, Executive Director of United Methodist Open Door.

Open Door organizers for the food drive say the items they collected Friday will go to feed nearly 1,200 families in the Wichita area.

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Teachman’s Take: Gusty Winds Usher in a Cooler Weekend

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:52

Temperatures have been nearly 20 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year.  This won’t last much longer as a cold front is on the way overnight.

A few showers are possible, especially north of I-70 this evening through the early overnight.  Closer to the Kansas/Colorado state line, a few flurries could mix in.

As the rain shifts to the southeast, it will fall apart.  While a sprinkle or brief shower is possible in southern Kansas, including the Wichita metro, most of us will stay dry.

 

Once it’s here, you’ll know it because you’ll hear the strong winds.

A Wind Advisory kicks into gear after midnight and lingers through Saturday afternoon.  Once we get closer to sunset, the winds will ease.  Gusts could easily hit 50 MPH.  This will impact temperatures.  How much we’ll drop and how long we’ll stay cool before another pleasant warm up tonight on KSN News at 5, 6 and 10. – Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman

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Travis Becker Jr. charged with first-degree murder in the death of Perla Rodriguez

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:32

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Travis J. Becker Jr., the boyfriend of Perla Rodriguez, was charged with first-degree murder Friday.

Becker was charged in the murder of his girlfriend Perla Rodriguez. Rodriguez, 42, was found dead by blunt force trauma in her home on Parkridge Street earlier this week.

His bond has been set at $250,000. His next court appearance is set for November 30. Should Becker bond out, he must wear an electronic monitoring system.

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Wichita Wingnuts names new manager

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:39

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One of the greatest outfielders in Wichita Wingnuts history will be back in the dugout in 2018, but not as a player. Former Major Leaguer Brent Clevlen has been named the fourth manager in franchise history for the upcoming season, the Wingnuts and General Manager Josh Robertson announced Friday.

The announcement marks the end of a storied playing career for Clevlen, one that spanned 16 professional seasons and more than 1,700 total hits. The Austin, Texas native spent six of the last seven seasons with the Wingnuts, becoming the franchise’s career leader in virtually every offensive category. In 398 games, Clevlen amassed 513 hits, including 131 doubles and 71 home runs, driving in 312 runs while scoring 315 of his own. Each mark tops the Wingnuts all-time leaderboard, while the doubles total places him in the top five in American Association history.

In 2017, Clevlen helped propel the Wingnuts to Game Five of the American Association Championship Series, hitting .302 and pacing the circuit with a career-best 34 doubles. His best season in a Wichita uniform came as a part of the Wingnuts 2014 championship campaign, when he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player with a .372 average and 20 home runs.

Clevlen, who recently celebrated his 34th birthday, was originally drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 2nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft. He spent four years in the Tigers minor league system before making his MLB debut in 2006, homering twice in his third game with Detroit. The outfielder ultimately appeared in 59 Major League games, recording 18 total hits for the Tigers and the Atlanta Braves.

Clevlen succeeds Pete Rose Jr., whose contract was not renewed following the conclusion of the 2017 season.

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FCC approves rules to block robocalls from fake phone numbers

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:36

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – A new rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission will allow telephone providers to block calls originating from certain fake phone numbers, a move aimed at reducing the amount of robocalls consumers receive, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt, along with a bipartisan coalition of 29 other state attorneys general, submitted a comment letter in July in support of the new rules, which will allow providers to block several types of “spoofed” calls, in which a call appears to be coming from one number, but is actually coming from a different number. Scammers frequently use spoofed calls to hide their identity and to trick consumers into believing that their calls are legitimate. The use of these spoofed numbers is particularly prevalent in scams where the caller pretends to be calling from the Internal Revenue Service, law enforcement agencies or utility companies.

Under the new rules, providers would be allowed to block calls coming from invalid numbers, unallocated numbers, and numbers whose owners have requested they be blocked. For example, phone providers would be able to block a scammer that is using a telephone number that clearly can’t exist because it hasn’t been assigned.

“Combating the plague of robocall scams requires technological solutions,” Schmidt said. “The adoption of this rule by the FCC will allow telephone providers to block calls that are clearly fraudulent and protect consumers from these scam artists. This won’t solve the robocall problem entirely, but it should help.”

In its release announcing approval of the new rule, the FCC states that U.S. consumers received approximately 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016. In a pilot project using the new system that now is approved nationwide, the amount of IRS scam calls was reduced by about 90 percent, the FCC said.

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Walmart cashier talks about random act of kindness

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:26

CLARKSDALE, Miss. (WMC) – A random act of kindness is going viral after a Walmart cashier helped a customer count the change to pay for his items.

Tracy Conner said she was simply doing her job when she checked out a customer who had lots of change, despite a line behind him.

“I love people, I love them,” Conner said.

For the past 12 years at the Clarksdale, Mississippi Walmart, that’s been obvious. Conner said what she did on the job is something she hopes more of us would do.

“It’s nothing special, and why they’re making such a big issue out of it I can’t wrap my brain around it,” Conner said.

She was in shock though when someone showed her a Facebook post by customer Spring Bowlin applauding her patience and generosity when she helped an older regular customer who forgot his wallet and only had change to pay.

Bowlin was a customer in line behind the man and snapped the photo.

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Body found in Texas identified as Liberal man

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 13:58

SHERMAN COUNTY, Texas (KSNW) – A Texas Sheriff’s Department said a body found in Texas is that of a Kansas man. That is according to Myhighplains.com

Officials say the body has been identified as 39-year-old Luis Eduardo Moreno from Liberal.

Moreno was reported missing on Nov. 2. His body was found north of Highway 54 on County Rd 15 along a fence line.

Officials are expecting to see autopsy results Friday afternoon.

The investigation continues and Sherman Co. Sheriffs office and the Texas Rangers are investigating his death as a homicide.

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Coffeyville man sentenced for trying to buy bomb online

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 13:49

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Coffeyville man who tried to buy an explosive on the internet was sentenced Friday to two years in federal prison.

Carlos Francisco Martin, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to obtain an explosive with intent to destroy property. In his plea, he admitted he ordered an explosive from an internet site where users seek to remain anonymous and purchases are paid for in bitcoins.

Investigators tracked Martin’s purchases on the internet site, which included more than $4,000 worth of illegal drugs such as MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. In his plea, Martin admitted he tried to buy the explosive for the purpose of intimidating a rival drug dealer.

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