USS Wichita officially commissioned Saturday

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH/WIBW) — The USS Wichita has set sail.

The ship was commissioned with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) in Florida Saturday.

Two Wichita area natives in the U.S. Navy are serving aboard the littoral combat ship that will bear their city’s name.

Isaac Davis, a Wichita native and Derby native Brian Tanner are serving aboard the future USS Wichita as chief petty officers.

Davis, a 1993 Wichita Heights High School graduate is an operations specialist aboard ship, homeported in Mayport, Fla. Tanner, a 2001 Derby High School grad, is an information systems technician responsible for voice and data communications aboard the ship, the Navy says.

As chief petty officer, the Navy says Davis and Tanner’s duties vary "depending on the needs and equipment of the ship." These duties include service as combat air controller, navigation and plotting specialist and warfare operator.

“I like the diversity of the command and the closeness of the crew,” said Chief Davis. "You get to meet new people that you wouldn’t get to meet or experience in my hometown."

The Navy describes the USS Wichita as "a resilient flexible warship, designed from the keel up to affordably take on new capabilities – from the most advanced sensors, to the latest missiles, to cutting-edge cyber systems."

"Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to help our sailors achieve the mission," the Navy says.

Davis and Tanner say they’ve carried lessons learned from their hometowns into their military service.

“Living in my hometown taught me the importance of respect,” Davis said. "You work with a lot of sailors from different ranks and backgrounds, so it’s important to be a team player in order to complete the mission."

“I love the fact I am serving on a ship that bares the same name as the area where I grew up,” Tanner said. "It really gives you a sense of pride."

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How To Find The Best 2 Bedroom Apartments Wichita KS Has To Offer

Have you been thinking about making the move to Wichita Kansas but are concerned about the state of housing and rentals in the area? Wichita is a great city to live in, yet like so many other areas, finding the right rental can be difficult. WIth that in mind, we have decided to show you three things that you need to get in order to help you find the best 2 bedroom apartments Wichita KS has to offer. If you follow these three simple tips you should have no problems finding a great apartment. Are you ready to start searching? Let’s go!

One of the first things you are going to want to do is to get all of your finances in order. Renting an apartment in Wichita can be expensive just as in any other city. With that in mind, you are going to want to decide how much you can afford on a monthly basis. Many people are not sure of how much they can afford for a good rental. This can easily be done by deciding that you should only pay about 30% of your monthly income. For example if your monthly income is $3000, you should not pay more than 900 per month. If you follow this simple rule of thumb, you should not have any problems paying for rent.

Once you have decided upon how much rent you can afford, you will need to consider the options that are needed for you and your family. When we are talking about what you need, it is important to understand that there is a big difference between wants and needs. While you may want a gourmet kitchen or an incredible city view, do you really need them. More than likely not, however, you may need a bottom floor apartment or a building that offers a laundry service. Take the time to decide on the items that are going to be of the most important to you in a two bedroom apartment. You will want to take some time to write down the features and amenities that are most important to you in the apartment, building and surrounding area. This is going to come into play for the next aspect of finding the perfect apartment.

At this stage, you should have the price range and vital needs for your apartment decided upon. The last stage is deciding where you would want to live in the WIchita area. The easiest way to do this is by searching online through one of the many city data websites. These are free websites that offer all of the data of a particular city online. Through one of these websites you can find out about crime, education, median rental prices, etc. It is one of the best ways to laser focus on a particular neighborhood to ensure that it has everything you want and need.

As you can see, these simple steps are going to help you find the best 2 bedroom apartments Wichita KS has to offer!

Homicides, stolen guns and keeping Wichita safe

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –

"Crime ebbs and flows, and we’re we’re seeing that increase in violence," said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. "And, you know, we want to turn it around."

Wichita police blame stolen guns and drugs for a record number of killings in the city last year. It’s a crime trend police want stopped.

INCREASING HOMICIDES

The number of homicides rose by 13 percent in 2018, the highest in decades, justifiable homicides more than doubling. The chief sat down with KAKE’s Pilar Pedraza to take a closer look at what’s going on.

"A significant number of the homicides in 2018 have a drug connection," he said.

Police investigated a total of 44 homicides in Wichita last year. A homicide legally is when one human kills another. Some homicides are legal, some are crimes.

It started on January 8th with what’s called a justifiable homicide, a case of self-defense.

"Our first two homicides were one incident – where a homeowner…had people at his door with guns and he shot and killed both of them," Ramsay said. "And that’s how the year started out, was our first two homicides were justifiable."

Justifiable homicides climbed to a high of nine confirmed last year, with Chief Ramsay expecting a shooting last week to become number ten on that list.

"You know when we look at last week’s, very obviously justified you know, with a store being robbed. He had had a gun pointed in his face."

Legal or not, all homicides require the same investigative work and Ramsay says he re-arranged officers early in 2018 to make sure they’d be able to handle the increased case load.

Wichita isn’t alone in seeing an increase in homicides. According to the FBI, there’s been a slow but steady increase in illegal killings across the country over the last ten years, from 398 in 2007 to 429 in 2017, and a nearly 40 percent increase in justifiable homicides, from 257 in 2007 to 353 in 2017. National numbers for 2018 aren’t available yet.

STOLEN GUNS

Here in Wichita, along with drugs and mental illness, the chief says most of the cases also involved stolen guns.

"You know, we had two law enforcement officers shot last year, both with stolen guns from vehicles," he said. "Our number of stolen guns is very high. Over the last three years (we’ve seen) over 2000 stolen guns in burglaries, cars."

Those guns aren’t just ending up on sale at pawn shops. The chief says many are ending in the hands of violent criminals.

"It’s a result of the evolution of gun laws and where we are today as a society and how we view guns and people carrying them."

He says the problem comes in two parts.

"We believe that a certain certain number of individuals are looking for guns," he said. "Oftentimes in homes and businesses. They get information that there’s guns there, whether it’s a friend of a friend or acquaintance, coworker, someone knows that there are a stash of guns in this house or business and then it is specifically targeted for those weapons."

And, there are just more guns out there, ever since laws changed in 2012.

"Another concerning area is the amount of guns used in domestic violence, (a) 100 percent increase since 2012," Ramsay said.

He says the city has worked to get ahead of the problem, assigning more officers to handle violent crime investigations, debuting the ShotSpotter technology to respond more quickly to shootings, and looking for ways to divert youth who make up most of the gun offenders from violent lifestyles.

"The effort is intended to prevent versus react," he explained. "To try and get ahead of it. And, you know, I think that’s where many cities have seen their success and we want to emulate that here."

HOW YOU CAN HELP

But, Ramsay says, police can’t do it all. They need your help, too.

If you have a gun, he asks, keep it locked up, safe from thieves and opportunists.

"There are a number of different types of locks for your car and safes for your car as well as your home," he suggests.

Ramsay says Kansas lawmakers could put a big dent in the problems his department faces, as well.

"One of the things I would like to see is, I would love to see gang members that meet their criteria definition, fit the definition of a gang member, they should not be allowed to carry a firearm," Ramsay said.

He’d also like to see lawmakers stiffen penalties for felons who are caught with guns they’re not legally allowed to have.

"I would like to see an increase penalty with mandatory minimums."

Finally, he says, increased funding for treatment for those with drug problems and mental illnesses would help a lot.

"The majority of our property crimes are drug related, right? So people get upset at the police and, as we try and find resources for those suffering from addiction…should it be over at the jail or can we get them help and end this problem once and for all?"

The 2019 legislative session begins in two weeks on January 14th.

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5 New Houses For Sale In The Wichita Area

WICHITA, KS — Looking for a new home nearby, but getting tired of seeing the same old property listings over and over? Not to worry! To keep you up to date, we’ve compiled an up-to-date batch of five new listings nearby.

Here are the five latest properties to hit the housing market in the Wichita area — including one with 3 beds and 3 baths for $83,000, and another with 5 beds and 3 baths for $340,000.

Click on any address for additional pics and details. Happy house hunting!

Price: $179,900
Size: 1,787 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $120,000
Size: 1,164 sq. ft, 3 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $83,000
Size: 1,461 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $340,000
Size: 3,072 sq. ft., 5 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $114,900
Size: 1,208 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths

Hungry for more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or check out our Wichita area real-estate section for a complete list of nearby homes.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Wichita: 5 Newest Homes To Hit The Market

WICHITA, KS — When you’re looking for some new digs, keeping tabs on all the latest listings can be a laborious task. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and done the prepwork for you.

Below is a list of the five latest homes to go up for sale in the Wichita area — including one with 4 beds and 2 baths for $85,000, and another with 5 beds and 6 baths for $679,000.

Looking for more information on one of the houses listed below? Just click on any address to learn more. Enjoy!

Price: $141,000
Size: 1,894 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $679,000
Size: 4,137 sq. ft, 5 beds, and 6 baths

Price: $85,000
Size: 1,456 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $99,000
Size: 1,992 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 1 bath

Price: $189,900
Size: 2,271 sq. ft., 5 beds, and 3 baths

Still want to see more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or you can always find a full list of local homes in our real-estate section for the Wichita area.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Shootings in Wichita, Haysville no longer believed related

WICHITA, Kan. — Authorities say they no longer think that a deadly shooting at an event venue near Wichita is related to another shooting that left a man critically wounded.

The Wichita Eagle reports that police initially thought a vehicle connected the shootings. But on Tuesday, Capt. Brent Allred said that is no longer the case.

One man was killed in the first shooting, which happened early Sunday in Haysville after a party. Little information has been released about what happened.

The next day, a man in his 20s was shot once in the chest in Wichita. Police say the driver of the vehicle involved in that shooting has been arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant but the suspected shooter hasn’t.

Haysville is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Wichita.

Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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Looking to buy a home in Wichita? Expect rising prices, fewer options, forecast says

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Wichita area next year, you’ll probably have to move quickly.

“If you’re not prepared to look at it on the day it comes out on the market . . . you might lose out on it,” said Stan Longhofer, director of the Center for Real Estate at Wichita State University.

According to the Center for Real Estate’s 2019 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast, released Tuesday, buyers looking to purchase a home in the Wichita area will continue to find tight inventories of existing homes for sale, and practically no increase in the pace of new home construction.

Still, overall sales are expected to rise 1.4 percent to 10,640 houses, the forecast said.

Inventories for used houses will be tightest among those priced between $150,000 and $250,000, which Longhofer said is “the meat of the market.”

“That’s really the most popular price range,” he said.

What’s more, overall home prices in the Wichita metro area — Butler, Harvey, Kingman, Sedgwick and Sumner counties — are projected to rise 4.6 percent in 2019. That’s after a 3.8 percent price increase this year, the forecast said.

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My Home: This WaterWalk condo has double the space

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Frank Russold gives a tour of his condo at WaterWalk Place, which doubled in size a few years ago when he purchased an adjacent unit. It’s a hip spot with unparalleled views of downtown fireworks. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

By McClatchy

The increase in home prices, the forecast said, will continue to be driven by the inventory of homes for sale, which will be well below a three months supply. Nationally, inventories of homes available for sale is now above four months, the forecast said.

As for construction of new homes, the pace of that work is expected to remain flat: About 1,040 new homes will be built in 2019. The forecast said that will make the sixth consecutive year for new home construction at around the 1,000 mark.

Longhofer said that’s because the price of materials to build houses has been increasing at a faster pace than home prices. And home builders have struggled to find enough workers to build them. That means the workers they do have are earning higher pay.

And with the cost of materials increasing, partly from tariffs and partly from the effects of recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence, Longhofer said buyers are going to find that they’re going to get more for their money in the $150,000 to $250,000 range by buying used over new.

“It’s sometimes easier to buy a home that’s two or three years old … and get a little more home for your money,” he said.

Sales of homes priced $500,000 and above, however, are expected to continue to be soft.

“Those homes are still sitting a long time,” Longhofer said. “It’s always been a thinner market . . . and we’re not seeing the kind of price appreciation on the upper end that we are seeing in the middle of the market.”

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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Wichita school warns students about ‘happy crack’

The Wichita Eagle reports the candy is Kool-Aid mixed with sugar or crushed smarties. The email said the candy has caused disruptions at the school several times.

WICHITA, KS (AP) — A Wichita middle school is asking parents to be sure their children aren’t bringing a candy known a "happy crack" to school.

Truesdell Middle School officials sent an email to families Monday saying the school’s teachers are seeing more students bringing in powder candy in plastic bags.

The Wichita Eagle reports the candy is Kool-Aid mixed with sugar or crushed smarties. The email said the candy has caused disruptions at the school several times.

Wichita school district spokeswoman Susan Arensman said she hadn’t heard about other schools having problems with "happy crack." .

The powdered candy isn’t new. In 2011, officials at a Maize elementary school asked parents to discuss drugs with their children after some fifth-graders reportedly sold baggies of Kool-Aid and sugar to classmates on the bus.

___

Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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Rise in guns stolen from cars, homes

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –

There is a rise in the number of guns being stolen from cars and homes in Wichita.

"We do have a large amount of firearms beings stolen from vehicles," said Officer Charley Davidson, Wichita Police. "If you have a firearm and you can’t take it with you, perhaps put it in a lock box or somewhere secure."

One of the owners of Range 54, by Kellogg and Edgemoor, recommends that people buy safes for both their cars and homes.

"It’s on us, as gun owners, to maintain control over them. We need to keep them secured, locked up, out of the way of unauthorized people, whether it’s children in the home, children visiting the home, or somebody that breaks into the home and maybe steals it," said Ken Grommet, co-owner of Range 54.

As a retired police officer, Grommet knows too well that criminals are opportunistic, especially around cars.

He recommends a gun safe for less than $50 to store the gun in a locked box and can be connected to the seat.

"If you break into a car and you come across the safe and it’s cabled down, unless you have the tools to deal with it, you’re moving on to something else," said Grommet.

The number guns stolen out of cars is rising from year to year, as well as the number of guns taken from homes in Wichita.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 219 guns taken from cars and 382 guns taken from homes.

"When they get stolen, often times, they don’t get returned. It’s on us, as owners, to maintain control over the firearm. Keep it locked up, keep it on our possession, or whatever it may be, but we’re responsible," said Grommet.

While police don’t track the number of stolen guns used in violent crimes, two high-profile cases have been noted with suspects having stolen guns.

In July, a Wichita police officer shot and killed an intruder, who broke into his home. That suspect stole a gun from a car.

Last week, Deputy Robert Kunze was shot and killed by a suspect with a stolen gun.

"These are tragedies that we hear about guns being stolen and them being used on people," said Grommet.

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Downtown Wichita will get a little piece of Paradise on Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, downtown Wichita will find a sweet new addition on Douglas.

That’s opening day for the new Paradise Donuts, whose owners recently closed their store at 3107 W. Central and moved it to a smaller — but much more high-profile — spot just across the street from all the Naftzger Park and Spaghetti Works District construction in the 600 block of East Douglas.

Marilyn Wright and husband Hervey Wright III, who also own Paradise Donuts at 10607 W. Maple, will open the doors at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. After that, they’ll be open from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. The new shop will be closed on Mondays.

It took over the former 86 Cold Press site inside The Renfro at 612 E. Douglas, a spot that became free when 86 Cold Press owner Austin Dugan moved his juice store and cafe to a larger space at 600 E. Douglas, a few doors to the west.

The Wrights had to only slightly alter the interior, freshening it up and adding a big new display case at the entrance. Customers who walk in are greeted with a splash of color from the festively decorated doughnuts, and the case also has cinnamon rolls and apple fritters. The shop sells breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, sausage rolls and meat pies, too. There’s also coffee.

The little space is bright with lots of natural light and has room for two tables and a little couch. The owners are planning to add LED lights to their old Paradise sign from West Central and hang it up in the new space, where it will be visible from the street.

Marilyn Wright, who now has a front-row view of all the construction going on across the street, said she’s excited about what’s happening on the block. The project, scheduled to be done by next fall, will include the redevelopment of Naftzger Park, the addition of 41 new apartments in the old Spaghetti Works building and the construction of a new office and retail complex that’s expected to have four to five new restaurants.

“It’s going to be great when they get in there,” she said. “The more businesses down here, the better.”

Marilyn Wright said she’s also looking forward to the opening of the new Cargill building not too far away.

Paradise will likely add some evening hours for Final Fridays, she said, and it may add more evening hours in the future.

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A tour of the future Spaghetti Works site

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The Spaghetti Works District on E. Douglas will be home to at least four restaurants.

By Courtesy of the Spaghetti Works District

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