HOLCOMB, Kan. (KSNW) — A small Kansas community is coming together to help a family who lost everything in a fire over the weekend. Luckily, all escaped unharmed, but now they have to start over.
“You don’t ever imagine that everything could be taken away in the blink of an eye,” said Juanita Perez, “but when it does happen, you kind of feel worthless and hopeless and you don’t really think people are going to come together.”
For Perez, the hopelessness she felt after her home was destroyed by fire did not last long.
“Our community has come together and brought me clothes and shoes,” said Perez.
She says people from all over Finney County have donated so many clothes for her and her six children that they’ve filled her sister’s shed.
“You just never think that people are going to reach out and really help you as much as people have helped us.”
She says anything they don’t use will go to charities like the Red Cross.
Wiley Elementary School students have a concert at the high school tonight, and attendees will be able to donate to the family.
“Money, gift cards, anything that will help the family get through the next few weeks, through Christmas,” said Deana Novack, the principal of Wiley and Holcomb Elementary Schools, which three of Perez’s children attend.
“I just want to tell everybody thank you,” said Perez, “and I hope everybody’s holidays are as good as they’ve made mine, because my holidays are going to be a lot better because of the people here.”
Juanita and her family are currently staying with her sister, but they’re trying to find a new home for all eight of them. Supporters can donate here to the family’s Go Fund Me campaign.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department is working on building a strong relationship with immigrants in the city. The department will host an informal meeting to go over its policy that deals with undocumented foreign national who live in Wichita.
The purpose of the meeting is to continue keeping teh relationship strong between the undocumented individuals and officers.
Police officials said the meeting in informational for immigrants in Wichita, and will conduct the meeting entirely in Spanish. Officer Paul Cruz, who is conducting the meeting, said he will be discussing WPD services that can help undocumented immigrants and will be taking questions about current department policy.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Faith Chapel in the 6800 block of E. Harry.
GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — A Great Bend elementary school is experiencing a rash outbreak.
Jefferson Elementary School’s principal sent an email to parents alerting them about the rash virus, called Fifth Disease.
Barton County health officials said its symptoms are similar to the common cold — a runny nose, fever, cough and sneeze.
According to the county’s Health Department director, it’s more common in children than adults — and there’s one way to know if your child has it.
“The tell tale sign is that red, lacy rash on their cheeks, like somebody slapped them,” said Shelly Schneider.
That rash extends down to the arms and legs. Officials said the person can also get stiff, painful joints.
Schneider said the virus is spread through respiratory secretions, such as saliva or mucus. KSN’s Amanda Aguilar asked when are people most contagious — Schneider said it’s during the cold symptom phase.
“By the time the disease presents itself to where you can see it, they’ve already exposed everybody,” Schneider said.
According to officials, it is likely this virus can spread to other schools. They advise parents and children to remember to wash their hands.
“Don’t put your hands in your mouth if they’ve been somewhere else. Don’t share drinks. Don’t share food and don’t share eating utensils, and you should be okay,” said Schneider.
In an email sent out to Jefferson parents, officials said they are disinfecting rooms as often as possible and trying to limit interactions that may spread the virus.
County officials told KSN about 25% of Jefferson Elementary’s students were impacted by Fifth Disease. We reached out to the school district about the outbreak, but they did not want to provide any comments.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – An employee at Osawatomie State Hospital is suing the state of Kansas after she allegedly was raped at the institution.
The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges female employees at the hospital were sexually and verbally abused by male patients, creating a “sexually hostile work environment.”
The Kansas City Star reports the woman says in the lawsuit that she was raped while working at the hospital in October 2015. She says she was not aware the man had made “multiple” attempts to strangle his wife and was involuntarily admitted to the hospital because it was likely he could cause injury or abuse to himself or others.
The lawsuit says two patients helped stop the attack before hospital security arrived.
Miami County charged the man with rape.
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Lee Richardson Zoo is mourning the passing of a popular resident. Payton, a 15-year-old mountain lion, was euthanized by veterinary care staff Wednesday due to his declining quality of life.
“Payton had been dealing with chronic arthritis for a number of years and while veterinary and animal care staff were able to help him continue to enjoy his final years with medication, we had reached a point where we could no longer effectively treat his pain,” said General Curator Jordan Piha.
The median life expectancy for mountain lions is 13.6 years.
Payton was a wild-born mountain lion brought into captivity as a cub after he walked up to a small group of hunters. Two female mountain lions, Bailey and Mika, both three years old, currently reside at the zoo.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee mayor says that the death toll from wildfires earlier this week has increased to 10.
Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said Thursday afternoon that authorities had discovered three additional deaths. He did not release any details about the fatalities and said authorities are still working to positively identify the remains.
Hurricane-force winds fueled wildfires on Monday night, forcing more than 14,000 residents and tourists to evacuate the city of Gatlinburg.
PELLA, Iowa (AP) — A pickup truck smashed into an Iowa Wal-Mart store on Thursday, killing three people, scattering merchandise on the floor and stopping at the fresh produce section in what authorities believe was a tragic accident.
A photograph posted by the Des Moines Register showed the pickup resting under a sign that said “Fresh Produce,” with boxes and other debris behind it.
“At this time, we don’t have any reason to believe it was intentional,” said Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig, who was at the scene of the crash. Ludwig said officials are investigating all possible scenarios.
The crash in Pella, Iowa, just before 10 a.m. killed three people — all outside the vehicle — and injured the driver and another person, Ludwig said. None of those killed or injured were children.
Authorities had not released the identities of those involved by early Thursday afternoon as officials worked to inform family members of the casualties. Ludwig said he did not have the medical conditions of those hurt.
Wal-Mart management said in a statement: “We’re heartbroken by what appears to be a tragic accident.”
Pella — a city of 10,000 known for its Dutch roots and fully functional 1850s-style windmill — is 38 miles southeast of Des Moines.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The tedious task of recounting Wisconsin’s nearly 3 million votes for president began Thursday with scores of hastily hired temporary workers flipping through stacks of ballots as observers watched their every move.
The action in Wisconsin could soon be duplicated in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was pushing for recounts. Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton in all three states, but recounts were not expected to flip nearly enough votes to change the outcome in any of the states.
The Wisconsin recount marked the first time in 16 years there was a candidate-driven recount of a presidential recount. But it doesn’t carry the same drama as the drama of the Florida presidential recount of 2000, when the outcome of the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush hung in the balance.
“This is certainly not Bush v. Gore,” said Wisconsin’s chief elections administrator, Mike Haas.
Even so, the campaigns for Trump, Clinton and Stein all had observers spread throughout the state to watch the process. The recount will have to move quickly. The federal deadline to certify the vote to avoid having the fate of Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes decided by Congress is Dec. 13. Even if that were to happen, the votes would almost certainly go to Trump, since Republicans control both chambers of Congress.
Most counties will manually recount the ballots, although Stein lost a court challenge this week to force hand recounts everywhere. The state’s largest county, Milwaukee, was recounting the ballots by feeding them through the same machines that counted them on election night. In Dane County, where Clinton won 71 percent of the vote, the ballots were being counted by hand.
Workers in Dane County are being paid $20 an hour and will work two shifts over about 12 hours a day to get the recount done by the deadline, said County Clerk Scott McDonell. He didn’t expect much change in the results.
“I think we will be very close to what was reported on election night,” McDonell said Thursday.
Clinton lost to Trump by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin, or less than a percentage point.
Stein has argued, without evidence, that irregularities in the votes in all three states suggest that there could have been tampering with the vote, perhaps through a well-coordinated, highly complex cyberattack.
“Verifying the vote through this recount is the only way to confirm that every vote has been counted securely and accurately and is not compromised by machine or human error, or by tampering or hacking,” Stein said in a statement Thursday.
Stein’s critics, including the Wisconsin Republican Party, contend that she’s a little-known candidate who is merely trying to raise her profile while raising millions of dollars. Stein has taken in nearly $7 million for the recounts, which is about twice as much as her longshot presidential campaign took in.
The Wisconsin recount was estimated to cost about $3.9 million. Stein paid $973,250 for the recount in Michigan, which could begin as early as Friday.
In Pennsylvania, a hearing is scheduled for Monday on Stein’s push to secure a court-ordered statewide recount, a legal maneuver that has never been tried, according to one of the lawyers who filed it.
Stein’s attorneys want a forensic analysis of electronic voting machines in Pennsylvania to see if there any evidence that their software was hacked. But counties where Green Party-backed voters have sought a recount are refusing to do such forensic examinations.
NEW YORK (AP) — Drake owned the year on Spotify: He’s the most streamed act on the platform with 4.7 billion streams.
The rapper has the most streamed album and song — “Views” (2.45 billion) and “One Dance” (970 million) — on Spotify this year, it was announced late Wednesday.
Justin Bieber, Rihanna, twenty one pilots and Kanye West round out the top five artists of the year. The top albums following “Views” are Bieber’s “Purpose,” Rihanna’s “Anti,” twenty one pilots’ “Blurryface” and The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness.”
Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza — Seeb Remix” came in second after Drake’s “One Dance” for top songs, followed by The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.”
“One Dance,” though, placed third on Google Play’s top songs of the year, announced Thursday. “Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots took the top spot, followed by Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”
Drake is the most streamed act of all-time on Spotify with 8.7 billion streams. Zayn, the former One Direction member who released a solo album this year, is Spotify’s top breakout artist.
HERINGTON, Kan. (AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency says it has reached a proposed settlement with Union Pacific Railroad over a sulfuric acid spill in Herington five years ago.
The EPA said Wednesday the railroad has agreed to pay a $24,000 civil penalty and complete a $338,100 environmental project because the spill violated federal clean water laws.
The Salina Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2gqpiHj ) the railroad agreed to install earthen berms and other structures to minimize runoff from the railroad’s yard in Herington into Lime Creek.
Two railroad tank cars at the yard collided in January 2012, releasing 11,000 gallons of sulfuric acid. The EPA says the spill affected about two miles of the creek and caused a fish kill.
The settlement doesn’t become final until a public comment period ends Dec. 15.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – A physician’s assistant who provided aesthetic services including Botox injections to clients in Garden City and Scott City pleaded guilty Thursday to violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
Joel Erskin, 53, Garden City, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving and dispensing misbranded drugs. In his plea, he admitted the crimes occurred while he owned and operated Renovo Medical, LLC, also known as University Medical. Erskin purchased cheaper versions of Botox and Juvaderm from Canadian pharmacies. The Botox he purchased was misbranded and failed to meet labeling requirements. The Juvaderm was adulterated and not approved for distribution in the United States.
Erskin did not inform his clients that the drugs were purchased from Canada and did not meet federal standards.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 20. He faces a penalty of up to a year imprisonment and a fine up to $100,000.
BOUNTIFUL, Utah (AP) — Police said a quick-acting parent disarmed a student who brought two guns to a Utah middle school Thursday and fired a round into the ceiling, with no injuries reported.
Bountiful Police Lt. Dave Edwards said police were still trying to determine Thursday morning if the student intentionally fired the gun inside Mueller Park Junior High in the northern Utah city of Bountiful or if the gun accidently went off while the parent was disarming the student.
The parent managed to detain the student until a police officer who happened to be down the street arrived soon after and took custody of the student, Edwards said.
Police recovered two guns from the student, but Edwards did not immediately have details about the weapons or where the student obtained them.
Edwards did not have details about why the student had guns or how the parent encountered the student in the school. The identities of the parent and student and whether they knew each other were not immediately available.
The school, about 11 miles north of Salt Lake City, remained on Lockdown as officers went room-by-room through the building to ensure it was safe. Parents arriving at the school were allowed to pick them up at a church across the street.
Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams had no further details but praised the parent who intervened, saying “It’s all of our jobs to keep kids safe.”
Williams had no immediate information about the student but said, “Whoever it is certainly faces a lot of trouble.”
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – With winter precipitation in the forecast, the city of Wichita announced its plans to keep drivers safe this winter.
The city said it has 200 employees for snow response in the city. Those employees will work 12 hour shifts and during weekends and holidays during a snow event.
The city has 61 snow plows for 1,800 miles of snow routes. Primary snow routes account for 1,500 lane miles, and 300 miles are secondary routes. Secondary routes are located around schools.
As for salt and sand, the city said they are completely stocked and will reorder when supplies are used.
“We have 7,500 tons of 50/50 mix, half salt and half sand, and another 8,000 tons of pure salt. When you add half of the sand to it, we have 16,000 tons of our salt and sand mix,” said Alan King, Director of Wichita Public Works.
Kellogg, I-235, and I-135 are taken care of by KDOT crews.
For more on snow removal in the city of Wichita, click here.