Stamps to increase in price

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KSNF/KODE — The United States Postal Service has announced price increases due to operating expenses and a lack of revenue.

The increase in prices are expected to take effect on January 22nd, 2023. Prices for standard 1oz. letters will increase from 60 cents to 63 cents. Domestic postcards will increase from 44 cents to 48 cents and international postcards and letters will both increase by five cents to $1.45.

The Postal Service’s expenses have exceeded its revenues year-after-year since 2007. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Postal Service is able to remain in business by increasing its debt and missing required federal payments funding retiree pension benefits, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

USPS has lost $87 billion over the past 14 fiscal years, including over $18 billion since the beginning of the pandemic. The Postal Service did receive $10 billion in COVID relief funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, but according to the GAO, the USPS business model is unsustainable, and all retiree health benefits would be depleted by 2030 if a major restructuring doesn’t take place.

In March of this year, the U.S. Senate passed a major financial relief bill that would fund USPS with $50 billion over the next decade and would require retirees to enroll in a federally sponsored health insurance plan — but like the CARES Act relief, it still may not be enough for the Postal Service to stay afloat.

Four States 2022 Year in Review

KSNF/KODE—2022 will run out tomorrow. It’s been a busy year for the Four States – everything from legalized betting and marijuana to deaths that rocked the region.

The legal landscape saw some big changes in the Four States in 2022… starting with marijuana. In Missouri, voters approved the move from medical marijuana only to recreational use starting at age 21.

“Right now the state is doing about 35 million a month through all the 190 dispensaries that are open right now but they expect that to two and a half times that. So they believe that will generate 84 million a month,” said Tom Bommarito, Greenlight Dispensary.

Missouri was also one of the first states to take action after the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade. It triggered a statewide ban against abortions unless there is a medical emergency.

Sports betting was a big change across state lines in Kansas. The legislature passed the measure in the spring and it took effect in September.

“The next time we go to the Super Bowl or hopefully the World Series we can be in a position that people will be able to bet on things going on here in Kansas,” said Sen. Rob Olson, (R) Olathe.


Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, jail reform took center stage. House Bill 4369 changes the rules for parole for certain inmates, factoring in the type of crime and time served. It’s estimated 3,600 inmates will be eligible for release under the changes.

And a former member of the legal community found himself on the other side of the law. Former Ottawa County prosecutor Daniel Thomas Giraldi was charged with bribery of a public official, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and use of a communication facility in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Then on Halloween, a Joplin double murder led to a standoff in Newton County.

“Had a handgun, kept us at bay for a couple hours. While negotiations went on, the Joplin Police Department was talking to him over the telephone about the case. Went as long as individual thought he could go and at that point, the individual shot himself,” said Newton Co. Sheriff Chris Jennings.

34-year-old David Rush of Wyandotte had two days earlier killed Stacy Rush of Joplin and Eric Stampfli of Grove at a home on the 2200 block of South Annie Baxter.

Another high-profile crime involves the deadly kidnapping of a pregnant Arkansas woman. Amber and Jamie Waterman, both of Pineville, are charged in the case that left both Ashley Bush and her baby dead.

“Suspect fled the area, a pursuit ensued,” said JPD Assistant Chief Brian Lewis.

And finally, 2022 is a year the Joplin Police Department will never forget, leaving not just one but two officers deceased in a deadly shooting. Corporal Ben Cooper and Officer Jake Reed passed away after a disturbance call near 4th and Range Line. Officer Rick Hirshey was injured but survived.

Capt. Will Davis fired the shots that ended the pursuit near 9th and Connecticut.

Your guide to the best after-Christmas clearance sales

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KSNF/KODE — It’s beginning to look a lot like clearance! After-Christmas clearance sales offer mega discounts on holiday décor, gifts, toys, and so much more. If you thought the holiday shopping season ended on Christmas Eve, think again. You won’t find deals like these any other time of year, and the discounts get better and better until everything’s gone.

Each store has a different after-Christmas clearance schedule, so it helps to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Thanks to The Krazy Coupon Lady, here are the current (as of 12/29) Christmas clearance schedules for your favorite stores:

What are the After-Christmas Clearance markdowns right now?

  • Target: 50% off Holiday Clearance and 30% off food in stores.
  • Michaels: Up to 70% off the Mega Clearance Event online and in stores.
  • Home Depot: 50% off Christmas Clearance online and in stores.
  • Lowe’s: 75% off Christmas Clearance online and in stores.

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  • Kohl’s: Up to 70% off clearance and up to 50% off closeout deals.
  • Macy’s: Up to 60% off the After-Christmas Sale, Plus up to 80% off holiday décor, ornaments, dinnerware, and more.
  • JCPenney: Up to 50% off After-Christmas Blowout, plus an extra 25% off with coupon.
  • Walgreens: 50% off Christmas Clearance in stores.
  • CVS: 50% off Christmas Clearance in stores.
  • Rite Aid: 75% off Christmas Clearance and 50% off food and candy in stores.

You can find the most up-to-date Christmas clearance sales from The Krazy Coupon Lady, HERE.

New Year’s superstitions that might be worth trying

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KSNF/KODE — When it comes to superstitions (even the ones that sound ridiculous) wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Even if that means carefully avoiding cracks on the sidewalk and never walking under ladders — some may say it’s not paranoia, it’s just precaution.

On top of those New Year rituals (and superstitions), there are plenty of popular traditions from around the world that might just bring you good luck and positive energy in the new year. From foods you should eat to garments you should wear, 2023 should be in pretty good shape if you sample some of these practices from traditions around the world. Thanks to Cosmopolitan, you can start visualizing all that happiness you’ll be receiving in the months to come.

Step Only With Your Right Foot

Many cultures think that if you step into the New Year leading with your *right* foot, you’ll start it out, well, on the right foot.

Burn A Scarecrow

Not sure if you have any of these lying around, but if you do, throw them in the bonfire (safely… please). In Ecuador, some “burn” any lingering bad vibes from the previous year.

Throw On Some Polka Dots

Got an outfit with a polka-dotted pattern? December 31st is the day to throw it on. In the Philippines, some believe that the dots, which look like coins, will bring wealth, abundance, and success in the new year.

Keep An Eye On The Weather

Allegedly, if the wind blows from the south in the wee early hours of New Year’s Day, the next year will bring prosperity. But if it’s coming from the north, get ready for a year of bad weather. Meanwhile, wind coming from the east brings famine and calamities. If the wind is from the west, the year will “witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish, but also see the death of a very important person.”

Wake Up Early On New Year’s Day

It’s literally the last thing you want to do on January 1st, but a Polish tradition suggests that waking up early on New Year’s Day means you’ll easily wake up early for the rest of the year.

Kiss Someone At Midnight

I’m guessing you’re already familiar with this superstition since everyone makes such a big deal about it every year. But, apparently, the midnight smooch is more than just an excuse to lock lips. Superstition says that if you kiss someone who gives you goosebumps when the clock hits 12, your love will last all year long.

Carry An Empty Suitcase

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to use your passport more often, listen up. In Colombia, some walk around with an empty suitcase on New Year’s Eve, as it’s believed to ensure you’ll travel throughout the next 12 months.

Eat Black-Eyed Peas And Collard Greens

Southerners will probably be familiar with this New Year’s Day menu. Eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on the first day of the new year is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Don’t Clean Your House

Looking for an excuse not to tidy up? According to Chinese lore, tidying on New Year’s Day is thought to clean away the good luck you’ve stored up for the new year.

Eat 12 Grapes At Midnight

If you’re in Spain for New Year’s this year, don’t be surprised when everyone tosses back a dozen grapes at 12 a.m. The midnight snack is supposed to bring good luck for every month of the new year.

Toss Some Dishes At Your Neighbor’s House

This Danish tradition encourages you to break dishes on the doorsteps of all your friends and family for good luck. The more doorsteps you have to hit up, the luckier you’ll be. But if you live in America, I’d give your loved ones a heads-up before you bring this custom across the pond — they might not appreciate it otherwise.

Throw Furniture Out A Window

In Italy, people toss their belongings — including furniture — out the window (literally) as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, as it’s thought to help make room for only positive vibes in the new year.

Snack On Some Soba At Midnight

In Japan, it’s traditional to eat buckwheat soba noodles at midnight because the long, skinny noodles signify prosperity and longevity.

Make Sure You Don’t Loan Your Friends Any Cash

People think that loaning money out on New Year’s Eve serves as a preview of what the rest of your year will look like. So, if you don’t want to be shelling out money to your friends all year long, wait until January 2nd to lend them a few bucks.

Get Loud

Firecrackers and noisemakers became part of New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world because folklore says the loud sounds will ward off evil spirits.

Stock Your Cupboards

Tradition says that empty cabinets on New Year’s Day could indicate you’ll struggle in the next 12 months, particularly financially, so hit up the grocery store before everything closes for the holiday.

Pop The Door Open At Midnight

In the Philippines, some open all the doors and windows in their homes at midnight to clear out the bad vibes and allow good luck to come on in.

Steer Clear Of Lobster And Chicken

As delicious as they are, eating lobster and chicken on January 1st might mess with your luck in the new year. The thinking goes that because chickens have wings, your luck could fly away, and since lobsters walk backward, consuming ’em might hold you back. It sounds a bit kooky but can’t hurt to stick to a vegetarian menu just in case.

Eat King Cake When The Clock Strikes 12

King cake is that delicious doughnut-like dessert famous in New Orleans, and eating it signifies you’re satisfied with the end of the Christmas season and ready for a new year. If you’re lucky enough to get served the slice with a gold coin (or in some cases, a tiny plastic baby) tucked away in the batter, you’ll have an especially wealthy and prosperous new year.

Whip Out Your Red Underwear

If you’re hoping 2023 will be a spicy year for you, make sure to put on red underwear before heading out for any celebrations. In Latin America, wearing red underwear on New Year’s is believed to bring passionate relationships for the next 12 months.

Kelly bans TikTok on state-owned devices, prohibits access to state network

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Governor Laura Kelly has signed an executive order that bans the use of the video-sharing app TikTok from state-owned devices.

The order also prohibits access to the state network. It applies to all state-owned devices for Kansas executive branch agencies, boards, commissions, and their employees.

The order is in response to warnings from both the FBI and FCC that user data from TikTok is potentially being shared with the Chinese government. Kansas joins Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Nebraska and the federal government in implementing the ban.

“Today, I am taking common-sense steps to protect Kansans’ privacy and security,” said Gov. Kelly in a news release. “TikTok mines users’ data and potentially makes it available to the Chinese Communist Party — a threat recognized by a growing group of bipartisan leaders across the United States.”

The order does not apply to the Board of Regents, Regents Institutions, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of Secretary of State, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the Office of the State Treasurer, the Department of Education, the Judicial Branch, nor the Legislative Branch of Government.

However, Gov. Kelly is encouraging other state agencies and departments to also impose a ban. You can view the executive order here.

What climate scientists were predicting in the 1970's

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KSNF/KODE — Global temperatures in 2021 were among the highest ever observed, with 25 countries setting new annual records, according to scientists from NOAA. Climate scientists say as glaciers and polar ice melt, plant and animal species go extinct at a rapid rate, and sea levels rise. With information like that, it’s likely the public isn’t asking, “Are we at the dawn of a new ice age?” However, if that question was asked just 40 years ago, a large number of people — including some climatologists — would have answered yes.

On April 28th, 1975, Newsweek published an article called, “The Cooling World,” in which writer and science editor, Peter Gwynne, described a significant chilling of the world’s climate, with evidence “accumulating so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.” He raised the possibility of shorter growing seasons and poor crop yields, famine, and shipping lanes blocked by ice, perhaps to begin as soon as the mid-1980’s. Meteorologists, he wrote, were “almost unanimous” in the opinion that our planet was getting colder. During the years that followed, Gwynne’s article became one of the most-cited stories in Newsweek’s history.

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The scientific study of the climate is not very old. Collection of global temperature data started in the 1870’s. It wasn’t until 1963 did J. Murray Mitchell bring together information from hundreds of weather stations around the world to build a modern representation of Earth’s temperature. His work suggested a steady increase in global temperatures from around 1880, followed by a cooling of the planet from about 1940. In addition, satellites of the early 1970’s spotted more snow and ice across the Northern Hemisphere, and people were well aware of unusually harsh winters in North America during 1972-73.

Some years before, scientist Charles David Keeling took atmospheric measurements from posts atop Mauna Loa and in Antarctica. Keeling launched an investigation of the changes in the levels of carbon dioxide. By 1965 he had found that CO2 was rapidly increasing. A presidential scientific advisory committee that same year advised that a rise in temperatures worldwide, from CO2-related emissions, could result.

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How wide-spread were worries about global warming, then? An examination of peer-reviewed scientific literature conducted by a group of researchers in 2008, covering the mid-1960’s through the 1970’s, revealed that papers warning of global warming outnumbered those projecting cooling by a factor of six. We can then infer that climate change in the form of global warming was a widespread topic of concern during this era, and there was no consensus that the Earth would cool in the immediate future.

In this light, the Newsweek article of 1975 is a fascinating artifact of a scientific era of the past. For journalists, it can often be humbling to revisit old work, especially stories more than 40 years old. But in recent years, Peter Gwynne mustered the courage to look again at “The Cooling World.” Writing in Inside Science Minds, an independent editorial publication of the American Institute of Physics in 2014, he explained how he produced the 1975 article.

“While the hypotheses described in that original story seemed right at the time, climate scientists now know that they were seriously incomplete. Our climate is warming, not cooling, as the original story suggested,” Gwynne explained. “Put simply, climate science evolved and advanced, resulting in new knowledge,” Gwynne said.

Several fatalities on Kansas roads over holiday weekend

KANSAS — According to the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), multiple crashes occurred on state highways on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, including three fatalities.

On Christmas Eve, the KHP Crash Log states that three fatalities and two injury crashes happened on Kansas highways.


Graham County At 9:00 p.m., a 96′ Cadillac Deville was headed east on N Road when they failed to negotiate a curve at 255th Ave. The vehicle left the roadway, rolled, and came to a rest on its top. Driver: 40-year-old, Ali Swanson of Salina
Franklin County At 3:00 p.m., the driver of a 07′ Buick Lucerne was traveling south on I-35 when, for an unknown reason, left the roadway to the left and struck a guardrail at mile marker 183. Driver: 61-year-old, Robert Rogers of Muscatine, Iowa
Finney County At 6:15 p.m., a 08′ Ford Edge was headed west on Kansas Highway 156 when it left the roadway toward the right. The driver overcorrected, reentered the roadway, then left the roadway for a second time. The vehicle began to rotate clockwise as it entered a ditch, going into a side vault and rolling repeatedly before resting on its side. Driver: 23-year-old Melina Chavez of Great Bend

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On Christmas day, the KHP Crash Log states that five injury crashes happened on Kansas highways. None of those crashes were fatal.

These are the top 10 leading causes of death for Kansas residents

TOPEKA (KSNT) — A recent report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment shows what the leading causes of death for Kansans are.

In the KDHE’s 2021 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics report, one section delves into the top ten leading causes of death for residents of the Sunflower State. The leading causes have remained unchanged for the most part with the exception of COVID-19 being added to the list in 2020. The KDHE said these are the most likely causes of death for Kansans:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. COVID-19
  4. Unintentional injuries
  5. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  6. Cerebrovascular Disease
  7. Diabetes Mellitus
  8. Alzheimer’s Disease
  9. Suicide
  10. Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome and Nephrosis

The KDHE said these causes accounted for 72.3% of all deaths for Kansas residents in 2021. Statistically significant increases in age-adjusted rates for heart disease, COVID-19 and unintentional injuries were recorded for 2021.

Breaking the numbers down by age group, the KDHE numbers show that the leading causes of death are:

  • Infants: congenital anomalies
  • 1-44: Unintentional injuries
  • 45-84: Cancer
  • 85+: Heart Disease

A total of 31,637 Kansans died in 2021, marking a slight decrease from the 31,667 deaths recorded in 2020, according to the KDHE. The death count for 2021 remains higher than the 27,312 recorded in 2019 due to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crude death rate in 2021 was 1,078.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

The average age at the time of death for Kansans was 73.1 years, according to the KDHE. This marks a decrease of 1.6% from 74.3 in 2020.

The 2021 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics contains more information on births, deaths, marriages, divorces and other topics. Vital statistics are gathered annually and released by the KDHE at the end of the year. To find this year’s report, click here. To access other statistical information for the state of Kansas provided by the KDHE, click here.

Summons pulled against man found vaping marijuana in hospital

HAYS, Kan. — The Hays, Kansas Police Department says they’ve resolved the case against a man who reportedly used a marijuana vape and THC paste in his hospital room.

According to an article in the Wichita Eagle, Police were called to Hays Medical Center on December 16th. A hospital worker called police about a patient, 69-year-old Greg Bretz who was allegedly using a marijuana vape.

The patient told the Wichita Eagle that he’s terminally ill from cancer and had been vaping and eating THC paste with bread to relieve symptoms of his condition.

State law requires medical facilities to report incidents, such as this one. The hospital was also concerned that the vaping was a fire hazard.

Responding officers issued Bretz a summons. However, after further review, Hays Police Chief, Don Scheibler pulled the summons and all issues are now resolved.

You’ll find the original story which was published online by the Wichita Eagle, HERE. The “opinion and commentary” article also appeared in the Kansas City Star.

Police raid hospital room of terminally ill patient

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HAYS, Kan. (KSNF/KODE) — A terminally-ill Kansas man’s hospital room was raided by police because he used a weed vape and THC paste to ease the symptoms of the cancer that will kill him within weeks.

On December 16th, Hays, Kansas police raided the hospital room of 69-year-old Greg Bretz, who is suffering from terminal cancer, after a hospital worker at Hays Medical Center caught him vaping marijuana. Bretz said he has been vaping, as well as eating THC paste with bread, to relieve symptoms of his condition, since being hospitalized roughly three weeks ago. 

Bretz is in the final stages of terminal, inoperable cancer and told The Wichita Eagle that he most often lies ‘flat on his back’ in his hospital bed and can’t stand up without being assisted. Bretz told the Kansas City Star that his doctor told him to use whatever was necessary to relieve his pain, including products containing THC — the active ingredient in cannabis.

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Police told Bretz that his vaping device could potentially be a fire hazard, due to the presence of oxygen in the room. In many vaping devices, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge or reservoir for inhalation. However, Bretz said he’s not on oxygen.

Bretz was cited for drug possession and is set to appear in court after the new year on January 2nd, 2023.

Medicinal cannabis is illegal Kansas, despite 68% of state residents support state-sanctioned medical marijuana access, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Idaho and Nebraska also ban the practice.