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2,000 head of cattle die in Kansas heat

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — At least 2,000 head of cattle died during the heat in southwest Kansas last weekend.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirms the loss and the cause of death.

“The combination of high temperatures, humidity and not a lot of wind made it difficult for the cows to stay cool,” Matt Lara, KDHE communications director, said.

The KSN Storm Track 3 Weather team said the high temperature was 102 degrees in and around Garden City and Dodge City on Saturday and Sunday. The mornings were humid, and the wind speed ranged from 7.2 to 11.8 mph.

Lara said that the KDHE became involved when facility owners contacted the agency to assist with the disposal of the carcasses.

He said cattle deaths from heat are normal, but this many is higher than usual.

A.J. Tarpoff, a beef veterinarian with Kansas State University Research and Extension, said cattle will often acclimate to hot temperatures, but factors like humidity, diet, and even the color of their hide, can drastically change their ability to handle the heat.

“Each animal within a group or pen is not affected the same way,” he said. “Animals with higher body condition scores, or with darker hides, or finisher steers and heifers that are getting ready to go to harvest are at higher risk of heat stress.”

Tarpoff said ranchers and feedlot operators can do things to help cattle survive the heat.

“This all has to do with heat load,” he said. “The internal temperature of cattle will peak two hours after the hottest point of the day. So our strategy for keeping cows cool needs to be built around knowing that.”

He said cattle also produce heat about four to six hours after eating.

“So if we feed animals within the wrong period of time, we can actually increase their heat load because the heat of digestion and the heat from the environment are building on top of each other,” Tarpoff said. “We want to keep that from happening.”

Best management practices to reduce heat stress:

  • Handling. Receive, ship or move cattle only during the coolest parts of the day, preferably before 10 a.m.
  • Feeding. Modify feeding times. Feed 70% of the animals’ ration as late in the evening as possible, which puts the peak heat of digestion overnight when temperatures are likely cooler. Decrease feeding during the day.
  • Managing heat.
    • Split cattle between pens or reduce stocking density.
    • Maximize airflow by removing obstructions around facilities, including weeds.
    • If feasible, install shade structures to reduce the temperature on the pen’s floor. Due to solar radiation, a dirt floor can get up to 140 degrees.
    • If you cannot provide shade, put dry bedding over the dirt. Straw can reduce the heat of the pen floor by about 25 degrees.
    • Install sprinklers to wet cattle down at night or early morning so as not to increase humidity.
  • Providing water. Tarpoff said that cattle will drink about double the amount of water when the temperature goes from 70 to 90 degrees. He said cattle should get about five times as much water as the dry food they eat.

“Cool, clean and readily-available water is critical during heat stress events,” Tarpoff said. “We may have to increase the water tank capacity within a pen to meet these needs with portable water troughs. Producers need to be prepared for that.”

Tarpoff said he follows two sources for help in making a decision when to put a heat stress management plan into full effect.

  • The U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) maintains a seven-day forecast tool for the United States, taking into account temperature, humidity and solar radiation.
  • The Kansas Mesonet at Kansas State University is a network of observation towers across the state that updates climate information every hour.

Tarpoff said heat stress accounts for about $370 million in losses yearly for the beef cattle industry.

For more information or assistance, contact your local extension agent.


KBI: Missing mother and daughter found murdered

SPEARVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Ford County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the murders of a mother and daughter from Spearville.

On Wednesday, June 15, at approximately 1:20 p.m., the Ford County Sheriff’s Office received a call from 203 W. Avenue B in Spearville. When they got to the home, sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Spearville Police Department spoke to a man who reported that his girlfriend and daughter were missing.

Michael A. Peterson (Courtesy Ford County Sheriff’s Office)

While they were inside the house, the KBI said law enforcement officers noticed evidence that a crime had occurred in the home. The man, identified as Michael A. Peterson, 31, of Spearville, was detained for questioning.

Just before 4 p.m., the Ford County Sheriff’s Office requested KBI assistance. KBI agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded to the scene to investigate.

KBI agents and deputies from the Ford County Sheriff’s Office began an extensive search for 31-year-old Kayla Vasquez and 4-year-old Aalilyah Vasquez. They were later assisted by the Edwards County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 4:15 a.m. Thursday, authorities found Kayla’s body in rural Ford County. Then at around 5:40 a.m., the Aalilyah’s body was discovered in Kinsley. Autopsies will be conducted.

At approximately 7:35 a.m. Thursday, Peterson was arrested on suspicion of capital murder connected to the deaths of Kayla and Aalilyah Vasquez.


Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME or the Ford County Sheriff’s Office at 620-227-4501.


Body found in Fort Scott park

FORT SCOTT, Kans. — Fort Scott investigators are determining the cause of death for an individual found Thursday.

The body, discovered shortly before 11 AM, was found in the northern area of Gunn Park and near the Marmaton River, according to a Facebook post by FSPD.

The cause of death is unknown at this time as authorities work to learn more.

This is a developing story and we will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.


Destruction of local café, saved by wind direction during fire

DIAMOND, Mo. — A small town police officer saves the day when a fire erupts just outside the back door of a Café.

Gordon Skogsberg, Fire Chief of the Diamond Area Fire Protection District, said 9-1-1 dispatch sent fire crews and police officers to a possible structure fire around 2:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon (6/14).

Cooking oil from an outdoor fryer behind “WH Farm Café,” located at South Main and Highway V (West Market Street), was the culprit of the fire.

SLIDESHOW: View Photos From The Scene Of The Outdoor Fire

Despite the closest fire station just blocks away, it was a Diamond Police Officer who arrived on scene first, and saved the restaurant from catching fire.

Fire Chief, Skogsberg said the officer used a fire extinguisher from the patrol vehicle to put out the fire.

Damage from the flames was limited to an outdoor awning, which covered the Cafe’s outdoor frying area.

The location of WH Farm Café, at South Main and Highway V (West Market Street) – Courtesy: Google Maps

A fire extinguisher wasn’t the only saving grace for WH Farm Café.

Southerly winds, although strong, kept the flames from reaching the Café roof.

“If the wind was blowing from the north, it could have been way worse, the building could have caught on fire then.”

Gordon Skogsberg – Fire Chief, Diamond Area Fire Protection District

No injures resulted from Tuesday’s fire.


Warm and windy for Wednesday; Rain staying north tonight

Clouds and winds will increase through Wednesday, keeping temperatures near 90° this afternoon–the coolest day this week. Heat index values will likely still warm into the upper 90s as southerly winds gust up to 30 MPH.

Later this evening and tonight, a cold front will pass to our north, providing a small chance for showers and storms from areas stretching from Wichita to Kansas City. This could clip parts of Southeast Kansas and areas near Nevada in Missouri, but most–if not all–of us should remain dry with additional cloud cover tonight as we cool into the middle 70s.

Clouds will decrease through Thursday, and we’re going to see a lot of sunshine as temperatures warm even higher through the end of the week. Some temperatures could even near the 100° mark into next week. Heat index values will return to the 100s tomorrow and stick with us for a while.


Former Fairland police chief cleared of wrongdoing following investigation

FAIRLAND, Okla. – The former Fairland police chief was cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with an investigation after a town trustee accused him of falsifying time sheets, according to an Oklahoma Attorney General investigator.  

“We have filed no indictment – no indictment clears (Aaron) Richardson,” said Steven Johnson, investigator.   

The investigation was launched after Brent Davis, a Fairland Board of Trustee member, made public comments about former Police Chief Aaron Richardson saying he was under investigation and would be indicted by the state’s Attorney General’s office on grounds he falsified time sheets.  

Johnson declined to comment on the details of the investigation other than to say, “there is no indictment” and “he (Richardson) is cleared.”  

Town trustees and former Fairland police officers publicly said Davis’ vendetta centers around the outcome to a domestic situation investigated by Richardson that didn’t favor Davis.  For months Davis complained during town meetings and privately sought to have Richardson removed from office.  

Davis did not respond to email requests seeking comment on the Attorney General’s office decision.  

Richardson said he hopes the community can heal from the division and strife.  

“I encourage the community to support the men and women law enforcement officers that protect the community, school, and businesses,” Richardson said.  

“I am thankful for the hard work that the Attorney General put into this matter,” Richardson said.  

“Although I have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, I am keeping all my options that are available to me by law open,” Richardson said. 

Under the advice of legal counsel, Richardson declined to make any further statement on this matter at this time.  

“I know this (investigation) has caused him (Richardson) a lot of undue stress, his reputation, and a job,” said John Finnell, former mayor.

There’s no amount of money that can repair the damages, he said.

“He has my support if he chooses to file a lawsuit,” Finnell said. “Maybe then, people will open their eyes and get more involved with town meetings and elections.”

In a 13-minute audio recording, obtained by KODE/KSN, between Davis and Finnell, dated June 30, 2020, Davis is heard saying derogatory comments about Richardson –

Mark 5:08:

Finnell: You still go after chief.  

Davis: And I am gonna go after him because he is crooked.  

Finnell: No, he’s not.  There has been nothing proven.  

Davis: He lied. 

Finnell: There is no proof – still – you still have not been able to wrangle up any proof.  

Davis: Because he won’t let me do a background check.  

Finnell: You saw the background check and you said you were okay with that. Did you not? When we presented….When the town attorney…  

Davis: He told me what I needed to know.  

Finnell: The town attorney provided you with a background check that was done by Tony Wisely (former Fairland Police Chief) and he wasn’t even employed with Jasper County at the time.   

Davis: Okay.  

Finnell: You were all …I’ll make this all go away is what you said if you can provide a background check and we provided you with a federal background check. 

Davis: That Tony Wisley filled out.  

Davis: That Tony Wisley did.  

Finnell:  You can’t just forge a federal background check  

Davis: I understand how it works. But you can hide stuff and when I asked to see what was in there and he told me no – I know what’s (unintelligible)    

Finnell: He has the right to say no to certain things.  

Richardson, a 26-year career law enforcement officer, passed a federal background check and has been awarded many professional citations.  He resigned in August citing “a hostile work “environment” and “slanderous allegations.”  

“We knew from the beginning this was personal vendetta and he (Davis) never gave the police chief a moment’s peace,” said Lisa Jewett, the former police commissioner.   

Davis’ actions resulted in division among the community and the town’s businesses, she said.  

Jewett called for Davis’ resignation “for the good of the community” and he should pay for the town’s attorney fees associated with the “fraudulent investigation.”    

“Because of his (Davis) personal vendetta we lost a good police chief and the entire police department,” Jewett said.  

When Richardson resigned, eight officers under his leadership resigned, but some officers subsequently returned to the police force.  

Mayor Nick Bowers and town attorney Eric Wade did not respond to email requests seeking a comment.   


Man in custody after Blue Springs mass shooting threat on Snapchat

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — JUNE 15 NOON UPDATE: A 19-year-old man could face a felony charge of making terroristic threats after officers say he posted plans on social media to carry out a mass shooting, according to police.

Those threats caused at least nine school districts in the eastern suburbs to cancel summer camps and classes Wednesday.

Police say someone saw the threat on Snapchat Tuesday and forwarded it anonymously to the police.

The FBI worked with police to identify a suspect. Detectives say the 19-year-old Blue Springs resident is a former student in Blue Springs schools, and someone police say they are familiar with, based on previous 911 calls.

Police say the threat specifically mentioned killing people and the phrase “mass murdering.”

Police staked out three locations overnight before the teen surrendered peacefully to officers Wednesday morning at his home.

Although he was not armed when taken into custody, police say the arrest should warn others to compose their social media messages carefully.

“The First Amendment ends when you threaten violence against other individuals, especially in this world we live in, with recent mass shootings that have been happening since 1999,” said Det. Sgt. Keenan Hughes of the Blue Springs police. “We have to take all these threats seriously and if you post these messages we are going to figure out who you are and we’re going to try to prosecute you.”

The Blue Springs School District says it will resume all summer activities Thursday.

This case will be forwarded to the Jackson County prosecutor for criminal charges.


PREVIOUS UPDATE: The suspect in a mass shooting threat toward the Blue Springs School District is in custody and charges are pending, the Blue Springs Police Department said.

According to police, they received a call at about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday about a threat about “killing people – mass murdering” on Snapchat.

The suspect is identified as a 19-year-old male Blue Springs resident. Once identified, police conducted overnight surveillance at the suspect’s residence before he was taken into custody Wednesday morning.

Police said, the threat was general and never mentioned a school. The suspect could face charges of making a terroristic threat which is a felony.

Police said there is no threat to the public.


EARLIER: The Blue Springs School District has decided to cancel all summer school classes and activities on Wednesday, June 15 after an unspecified mass shooting threat.

The FBI has confirmed the suspect’s whereabouts are unknown and they are dangerous.

The district made a statement on a Facebook post:

“We believe the best course of action is to close our summer school sites and all school programming until further notice. We know this will be a burden to many of our families and we ask for your understanding and flexibility as we continue to keep our students, staff and schools safe. Another update will be sent out at 7 p.m. Wednesday.”

The Independence School District and Lee’s Summit R-7 School district also closed on Wednesday out of an abundance of caution.

Due to the threat related to the BSSD of an unspecified mass shooting, the ISD will cancel summer school and activities and closed Early Education sites for Wednesday, June 15th. No threat has been made in relation to the ISD, but we are canceling out of an abundance of caution.

@DrDaleHerl – Superintendent of Independence School District

Safety and security are top priorities in LSR7. As a proactive safety measure, all summer camps, student activities and summer school programming are cancelled tomorrow, Wednesday, June 15.

This evening the Blue Springs School District notified its school community that it is canceling all school activities on Wednesday after receiving information from the Blue Springs Police Department of a possible threat related to an unspecific mass shooting. We have received no information that suggests this possible threat has a connection to our district but are also cancelling all student activities in an abundance of caution while we stay in close communication with our law enforcement partners.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

Grain Valley Schools and the Fort Osage and Odessa School Districts joined the other districts in closing summer programs on Wednesday due to the threat.

At this time, our district has received NO information that suggests this possible threat has a connection to Grain Valley.

However, in an abundance of caution and for the safety of our entire school community, we are canceling all summer school, Valley Kids, and any camps or student activities for Wednesday, June 15.

Grain Valley Schools

At this time, the Fort Osage School District has received NO information that suggests this possible threat has a connection to our district.

However, in an abundance of caution and for the safety of our entire school community, Fort Osage School District will also cancel all summer school, Fort Discovery, and any camps or student activities for Wednesday, June 15.

Fort Osage School District

While there has not been a threat specific to Odessa schools, in an abundance of caution, Summer School and all activities are cancelled for today 6/15/22.

Odessa R-VII School District

All Summer School and Summer Activities are cancelled for today June 15, 2022.   We will release more information as we have it.  Sorry for the late notice as we know this is always an inconvenience to our families, but the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority.  Thank you. 

Oak Grove R-VI School District

Please see email with further information regarding all LJC6 activities and summer school sessions being cancelled for today.

Lone Jack Elementary

Out of an abundance of caution to a threat at a neighboring school district, HMC-1 has canceled summer school classes and all sports activities for today, Wednesday, June 15.

Hickman Mills C-1 School District

The Shawnee Mission School District Pleasant Hill R-III School District, Liberty School District and Center School District announced they would continue summer operations, but will work to increase police presence at their schools.

This is a developing story, check back with FOX4 for more updates.


Parsons man damages 9 cars, property, after domestic dispute

PARSONS, Kans. — A Parsons man was arrested early Wednesday morning after a call for a domestic disturbance escalated into thousands of dollars worth of civilian property being damaged.

Officers arrested 22-year-old Parsons resident, Travis Caine Kellogg, with help from residents that witnessed the rampage. Under police custody, Kellogg confessed to the causing the damage and faces 11 counts of Felony Criminal Damage for his actions.

Prior to PPD’s arrival, Kellogg was reportedly not wearing a shirt and yelling at a woman near the 1700 block of Stevens in Parsons. Before locating their suspect, officers discovered his trail of destruction involving several nearby vehicles with their mirrors broken off, and a damaged mailbox and large flowerpot. Windows were also broken at the Parsonion Apartments – reportedly costing $6,000 to replace.

Charges remain pending through the Labette County Attorney’s Office


Webb City crash leaves motorcyclist dead

WEBB CITY, Mo. — A Webb City man died Tuesday after being ejected from his motorcycle in a crash.

Around 10:23 PM Tuesday, Webb City Police responded to the intersection of Rangeline and Zora in Webb City for a traffic crash between a motorcycle and car.

The motorcycle, heading southbound on Rangeline at a high speed according to witnesses, struck the northbound car traveling along Rangeline as it’s driver turned westbound onto Zora.

The driver of the motorcycle, 28-year-old Juan Gabria Gonzalez-Correa, was ejected from his bike and sustained serious injuries. He was taken to a local hospital by ambulance but later died.

The 22-year-old driver of the car was a Webb City resident and their status is unknown at this time.

Officers with the Webb City Police Department are continuing their investigation of this crash.


Grand Lake's Shangri-La takes home tourism award

GROVE, Okla. – Grand Lake’s entertainment jewel, Shangri-La Resort, took home a coveted Redbud Award on Tuesday evening.

The Anchor at Shangri-La Resort, one of the many attractions at Shangri-La, landed the “Outstanding Attraction” award during the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association ceremony.

The RedBud Awards is the highest honor given in the Oklahoma tourism industry. The awards recognize Oklahoma’s top tourism attractions, events, programs and organizations for outstanding efforts to serve and promote Oklahoma’s tourism industry. 

“It was quite the accomplishment,” said Donnie Crain, Grove Area Chamber of Commerce president.  “We are very pleased they (Anchor)came out on top.”

The Anchor at Shangri-La Resort is a state-of-the-art recreational experience.

There were 37 awards given in 17 categories. All entries were evaluated by a slate of tourism professionals on specific criteria including customer service and experience, marketing effectiveness, media relations, variety of audiences reached, value and overall creativity.  

“This year’s RedBud Award submissions were highly competitive,” said Debra Bailey, OTIA President and CEO in a prepared statement. “With travel picking back up, each submission is an example of why Oklahoma is a perfect travel destination and we are thrilled to be honoring these entries.”

With a nautical-themed backdrop visitors to the Anchor can experience virtual reality games, golf and shooting simulators, arcade games, pool table, ping pong tables, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts and Mini-Fenway Park replica offering Wiffle ball.