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4:44 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving: A Time For Food, Family And Myths

Librarian Holly Morgan reading to children at Peterson Elementary.
Credit Sean Sandefur

Families across the country all have different traditions for Thanksgiving. It could be a special recipe for cranberry sauce or an honorary turkey carver.

In many schools, you can also count on hearing the story of the First Thanksgiving—a harvest celebration shared by pilgrims and native populations nearly 400 years ago. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur looks at the history of this holiday and has this report…

“Thanksgiving is a holiday of giving thanks,” says librarian Holly Morgan.

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Crime and Courts
1:51 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Suspect Now Charged With Capital Murder - Victim in Park Attack Near WSU Has Died

Cornell A. McNeal
Credit Sedgwick County Correctional Facility

UPDATE 11-26-14-

(AP)  A man accused of raping and setting a Kansas woman on fire at a Wichita park was charged Wednesday in the death of the mother of four.

The amended charges against Cornell McNeal, 26, of Wichita, include one count of capital murder or an alternative count of first-degree murder in the death of Letitia "Tish" Davis, said Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office spokesman Dan Dillon.

Before Davis' death Saturday, McNeal was charged with attempted capital murder, rape and arson in the Nov. 14 attack.

Firefighters were responding to a late-night grass fire when they found Davis, 36. Police have said McNeal was linked to the attack by forensic evidence obtained after Davis was taken to a hospital suffering from burns on more than half her body and cuts on her head. Authorities have said investigators believe she was attacked following a "random encounter."

McNeal is being held on a $1.25 million bond in Sedgwick County. His attorney, Mark Rudy, declined to comment.

Dillon said District Attorney Mark Bennett hasn't decided whether to seek the death penalty.

UPDATE 11-24-14-

An autopsy has begun on a Kansas woman who died this weekend, days after she was sexually assaulted and set on fire in a Wichita park, a county official said Monday.

Sedgwick County spokeswoman Brittany Clampitt said coroner's office officials were investigating, but it wasn't clear when the examination would be complete. 

Family members held a memorial for Letitia "Tish" Davis on Sunday evening in Wichita's Fairmount Park, where she was found Nov. 14 with burns on more than half her body and cuts on her head. Cornell McNeal has been jailed and charged with attempted murder and rape. He doesn't yet have a lawyer, according to court records and the Sedgwick County Public Defender's office.             

District attorney's office spokeswoman Georgia Cole said Monday that prosecutors would determine "what charges are appropriate based on new evidence," which would include the results of the autopsy.                       

UPDATE 11-22-14-

Police confirm that the victim of last Friday's attack in Fairmount Park died on Saturday morning. Her family was with her.

UPDATE 11-21-14-

Prosecutors have filed attempted capital murder charges against Cornell A. McNeal, a Wichita man accused of raping a woman and setting her on fire at a public park.

Bond was set Friday at $250,000 during McNeal's first court appearance on charges stemming from the Nov. 14 attack. The 26-year-old man also was charged with rape and arson after allegedly setting fires at the park and at a garage on that same day.

The Sedgwick County Public Defender's Office says it has not yet assigned him a lawyer, and a woman who answered the phone at his house declined to comment.

Firefighters were responding to a late-night grass fire at Fairmount Park when they found the 36-year-old victim with severe burns on more than half her body.

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Science
1:34 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

State Council Delays Kansas NBAF Bonds

The Kansas State Finance Council, which is composed of lawmakers and Governor Sam Brownback, has delayed issuing bonds for a federal disease lab being built in Manhattan.

The bonds will help construct the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF. Stephen Koranda reports...

Lawmakers have approved a total of $300 million in state bonds.

They have stipulations, saying the state wouldn't be responsible for cost overruns and the bonds wouldn't be issued until the federal governments supplies its full share of the cost, which hasn't happened yet.

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Crime and Courts
1:20 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Foster Dad Pleads Guilty In Hot Car Death

A foster dad pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter for leaving a 10-month-old girl inside a sweltering car outside of his house in July while he and his partner smoked marijuana.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett has said Seth Jackson went to a drug dealer's house July 24 before picking up the girl from a baby sitter. After arriving home, he went inside with a 5-year-old child, but left the baby in the vehicle.

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Government
12:58 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Four Kansas Insurance Dept. Directors Set To Retire In December

Four directors are retiring from the Kansas Insurance Department on December 5th.

Directors Marlyn Burch, life division; Neil Woerman, information technology; Steve O'Neil, consumer assistance; and Ted Clark, anti-fraud, will retire. The department has 11 directors.

Burch has worked for the department for 53 years.

O'Neil joined the department in 1987, while Woerman and Clark joined the department in 2003.

The department will wait to fill the positions until Ken Selzer becomes commissioner in January.

Art Review
5:00 am
Wed November 26, 2014

The Art Of Gratitude

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to share some things for which I’m thankful.

I am thankful for all former Ulrich curator Jodi Throckmorton accomplished in her short time here. She was the force behind a number of excellent shows: Vital Signs, Stephanie Syjuco’s FREE TEXTS, Lisa Solomon’s Sen, and the current Bruce Connor retrospective. She brought us some amazing contemporary art, and her upcoming Evan Roth show at the Ulrich looks promising.

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Community
3:43 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Wichita Community Leaders, Activists React To Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson

Wade Moore, president of the Greater Wichita Ministerial League, describes the decision by a grand jury not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson as an injustice.
Credit Sean Sandefur

Community leaders gathered in Wichita Tuesday morning in reaction to the events in Ferguson, Missouri - where a white police officer won't be indicted in the killing of an unarmed black teenager. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports…

Members of the Greater Wichita Ministerial League, local activists and politicians stood beside Pastor Wade Moore, who says he believes it’s an injustice that a grand jury decided against criminal charges for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. He says incidents of young black men being killed by police officers are happening throughout the country.

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Government
12:58 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Gov. Brownback Won't Rule Out Tax Increase To Fix Budget

Governor Sam Brownback is staying tight-lipped about his plans to fix a hole in the state budget. But as Stephen Koranda reports, Brownback says he's looking at all the options.

Following a meeting at the Statehouse, Brownback gave few details to the media about what he'll propose. He says all options are on the table, including tax increases or slowing future scheduled decreases.

Brownback also won't say whether he'll make budget cuts, known as allotments before lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January.

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Health
12:52 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Donor Breast Milk Gives Preemies A Fighting Chance

Credit Courtesy Wesley Medical Center

More than 6,000 babies are delivered annually at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, 1,000 of them require special care. And for a certain at-risk population in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit even more care is needed. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports…

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Health
12:51 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Kansas Health Centers Seek New Clinic Sites

Even with the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans still lack health insurance. For them, safety net clinics are a lifeline. These clinics provide primary care for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Today there are federally-funded clinics in 21 Kansas counties, but as Bryan Thompson explains, there soon could be more.

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