Abigail Beckman

Reporter

Abigail Beckman joined the KMUW team in April 2014. Born and raised in a small Colorado mountain town, she is still getting used to being a flatlander.

She graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., with degrees in journalism and Spanish in 2012. Immediately following, Abigail worked as the news editor of the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kan., where her primary focus was covering crime news. She graduated with a Master of Arts in communication from Wichita State University in the spring of 2015.

Her work has been featured on NPR’s "Only A Game” and “Weekend Edition Sunday.” She has recorded and produced stories for Harvest Public Media and various public radio stations across the state of Kansas. In 2015, she wrote and produced the radio documentary “The Pieces that Remain: Remembering the Wichita State University Plane Crash which won a 2016 Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media, a 2016 regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a first place in the News Documentary category from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) in 2016, was named Outstanding Graduate Professional Project by the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University for 2015, and took first place in the 2016 special program category from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

For another piece called Reaching Out: The Ongoing Relationship Between the WPD and the Homeless," Abigail earned a national Edward R. Murrow Award. The Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) awarded Abigail second place in the 2016 spot news category for her story on budget cuts within Wichita Public Schools that nearly closed the city's adult learning centers. A group project looking into the tight-knit community of Hesston, Kansas following a mass shooting that Abigail completed with co-workers Carla Eckels, Deborah Shaar and Aileen LeBlanc was awarded first place from the KAB in 2016, as well.

The Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) awarded Abigail second place in the spot news category and news feature categories in 2015 for two pieces — Taps: The Hardest 24 Notes and Reaching Out: The Ongoing Relationship Between the WPD and the Homeless."

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Music Theatre Wichita.

Music Theatre Wichita is looking to purchase a 30,000-square-foot warehouse to store props, sets and costumes. The company has been leasing the space near downtown for about two years at a price tag of $75,000 a year. They also own a second warehouse on Washington.

Development director Angela Cassette says the building is used to house rental inventory including sets, props and costumes for more than 70 shows. The organization rents the items to other theatre companies.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now offering additional assistance for farmers and ranchers affected by recent wildfires. More than 700,000 acres in 21 Kansas counties were scorched by a series of blazes that tore across the state.

The NRCS is offering $2 million in funding to restore cropland, rangeland, and forestland destroyed by the wildfires. The initiative also extends to Oklahoma, and Texas.

The agency is working with local conservation districts to identify specific concerns within various counties.

vox_efx / Flickr / Creative Commons

The Sedgwick County Election Office will begin mailing out advance voting ballots today for the 4th Congressional District special election.

The winner will replace Mike Pompeo, who stepped down from the U.S. House of Representatives to fill his new position as CIA director. The election will be the first congressional election to take place since Donald Trump became president. Many are considering the race to be an early test of the new president’s agenda.

Courtesy Wichita Police Department Twitter

The Wichita Police Department has released more information about an officer-involved shooting over the weekend that left a man and a police dog dead.

At a news briefing, Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay identified the dead man as 25-year-old Kevin C. Perry.

Ramsay says officers were called to a domestic disturbance at a home on west MacArthur, when Perry exited the residence. That's when the canine officer, named Rooster, was sent after the suspect to stop him from re-entering the home. 

Courtesy Wichita Public Schools.

Wichita Public Schools has named a new Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools. Michele Ingenthron will fill the position that is soon-to-be-vacated by Dr. Alicia Thompson as she transitions to the role of future Superintendent for the entire district.

Ingenthron, who is currently the principal of Colvin Elementary, will begin her new position after Spring Break. She previously served as principal at Ortiz Elementary and Lincoln Elementary, as well as an assistant principal at Mueller. Ingenthron began her teaching career in Dodge City.

Ark Valley Fire Buff / Flickr

Roads, bars, and restaurants in Wichita will be busy this afternoon and evening, not only because of St. Patrick's Day, but also because KU, K-State and Wichita State are all scheduled to play in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

At a news briefing this morning, Sgt. Nikki Woodrow with Wichita Police Department encouraged everyone to be safe, and to avoid drinking and driving.

Courtesy / Wichita State University

The student government association at WSU passed a vote of "no confidence" as part of a resolution concerning Wichita State University President John Bardo this week.

In the resolution, which passed by an overwhelming majority, the student government association said President Bardo and his administration "have failed to adhere to shared governance of the institution with appropriate student representation."

The vote of no confidence also extends to WSU's Provost and Senior Vice President Tony Vizzini.

Courtesy Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has identified more cases of mumps in the state.

Courtesy Wichita Public Schools

The Wichita Public School District has close to 10,000 students in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, with more than 109 unique languages represented in the district. More than 19 percent of the total student population in Wichita speaks a language other than English at home.

Other than the U.S., the largest numbers of students have come from Mexico, Vietnam, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Honduras. In total, students in the district represent 94 different countries.

Reno County Fire District #6/Facebook

Updated Friday at 7:51 p.m.

The Reno County Sheriff's Office said Friday evening that the wildfire that had burned since last weekend is now contained. 

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