Warrant issued for NFL star after video shows butt swat

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr., police in New Orleans said Thursday.

The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer’s buttocks during LSU’s locker room victory celebration after Monday night’s college national championship game in the Superdome.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,”the Browns said in a statement. “They are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation.”

LSU players were seen smoking cigars — forbidden in the Superdome — in pictures from the Monday night celebration. Authorities reportedly warned them they could face arrest.

In a 27-second video available on Twitter, a security officer is seen standing over an LSU player sitting on a locker room bench. The officer appears to be searching around the bench and pointing to the floor. He can be heard talking about a “burn mark” just before Beckham approaches him from behind and appears to swat his backside.

The arrest warrant follows another post-game controversy involving Beckham.

LSU has acknowledged contacting officials from the NCAA and Southeastern Conference about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players on the field after the national championship game.

LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said initial information suggested that Beckham handed out “novelty bills” to players after LSU defeated Clemson on Monday night. However, further investigation showed that Beckham may have given away real money, Bonnette said earlier this week.

“We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position,” Bonnette said.

Beckham, who is from New Orleans, had an interesting first season with the Browns, who acquired him in March from the New York Giants in a blockbuster trade.

The 27-year-old three-time Pro Bowler skipped most of the team’s preseason training camp and his absence may have contributed to him seeming to be out of sync with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Beckham played most of the season with a sports hernia injury that may require surgery. Despite not being completely healthy, he still played in all 16 games and finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards. However, he had just four touchdowns, his fewest in a full season.

Late in the season, as the Browns were falling from playoff contention, Beckham dismissed reports he was telling opposing players to “come get me” during games. Beckham said he had no intention of leaving the Browns and was committed to helping them win while playing alongside Jarvis Landry, his best friend and former college teammate.

Quilt guild meets soon

HUMBOLDT — The next meeting of The Sunflower Quilter’s Guild will be at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 at the Humboldt United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall, 806 N Ninth St. in Humboldt.

The board meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.; the Guild meeting at 10 o’clock.

For the program, Carolyn Zellner of Heavenly Kneads & Threads, Humboldt, will demonstrate how to save fabric by using the Accuquilt Go! Cutter.

Pigeon wearing tiny sombrero discovered in Reno

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A pigeon wearing a tiny sombrero in Reno, Nevada, was discovered following sightings of its cowboy hat-wearing cousins in Las Vegas, a city manager said.

Reno City Manager Sabra Newby tweeted about the bird Wednesday, saying it’s quirky and fun but still inhumane, KOLO-TV reported.

It is the first known sighting of hat-wearing birds in the region, Washoe County Regional Animal Services officials said.

The sighting comes after a pigeon in Las Vegas with a miniature cowboy hat glued to its head died earlier this week, animal officials said.

People who see the bird are encouraged to call animal service dispatch officers, officials said.

It is unclear who put the hat on the bird.

“Reno cares about our animals,” Newby said. “They need protection and don’t need to become a punchline.”

Chiefs cheering section

McKinley Elementary School students were decked out in Red Friday, to cheer on the Kansas City Chiefs, who are vying for a trip to the Super Bowl this weekend in the AFC championship game. Students and teachers wore red shirts, and made up special headbands, shown at left, in honor of Chiefs all-pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his distinctive curly locks. The Chiefs take on the Tennessee Titans at 3 p.m. Sunday. COURTESY PHOTOS

Plane slides off runway at KCI

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A plane slid off an icy taxiway at Kansas City International Airport on Friday as a sprawling winter storm hit large sections of the Midwest and beyond, leading to the closure of schools, universities and government offices.

The Delta Air Lines flight was taxiing to be de-iced before flying to Detroit when the nosegear slipped off a taxiway, said Delta spokeswoman Martha Witt. There were no reports of injuries aboard the Airbus A319, which was carrying 123 passengers and a crew of six. Witt said the airline was trying to put passengers from Delta flight 1114 on other planes.

The slippery conditions come after the National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories, saying the storm will create hazardous travel conditions from the Plains into the Northeast through the weekend. Snow is forecast over much of the Great Lakes, with a blizzard warning for parts of the Upper Midwest.

The winter weather advisory extended south into western Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, where freezing rain was expected Friday.

In South Dakota and Minnesota, dozens of schools canceled classes Friday ahead of snowfall expected during the day.

In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly closed state offices in the Topeka area, urging people in a news release to “stay safe and warm, exercise caution and allow road crews to do their job.”

Sunflower drops coal plant bid

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sunflower Electric Power Corp. on Wednesday abandoned its proposed coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas after nearly 15 years of pushing for the project, handing a big victory to environmentalists who opposed the plan from the beginning.

The utility said in a news release that it will allow the air permit for the Holcomb expansion project to expire on March 27.

Sunflower Electric already operates one plant near Holcomb and proposed building an adjacent $2.2 billion, 895-megawatt facility. Sunflower Electric and its largest development partner, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, together invested more than $100 million in the now-abandoned project.

Proponents of the coal plant had argued the project would bring jobs to the area. Environmentalists objected to the facility, citing the potential for greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The battle over the plant eventually reached the Kansas Supreme Court, which cleared the way for construction in 2017. 

“Fifteen years ago, the price of natural gas was high, and wind generation was in its infancy,” Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Sunflower said in a prepared statement. “At that time, the expansion of the Holcomb station emerged as the best way to meet our members’ long-term needs for generating reliable, affordable energy.”

The electricity market has changed over the last decade, with the growth of renewable energy and changes in the economy, Sunflower spokeswoman Cindy Hertel said in an email. Hertel also cited the implementation of the Southwest Power Pool Integrated Market, which has joined the rest of the nation’s regional transmission organizations in operating a day-ahead market for electric power.

No new coal-fired plants have been brought online in the U.S. since 2015 and there are none under construction.

Crest schools release semester honor rolls

COLONY — Crest’s middle school and elementary school have announced their respective honor rolls for the first semester of 2019-20.

Crest Middle School

Sixth grade

All A’s: Maxwell Black, Theo Church, Kinley Edgerton, Kaelin Nilges, Levi Prasko, Peyton Schmidt, Allison Weatherman, Drake Weir and Shelby Womelsdorf.

All A’s and B’s: Aubrey Allen, Kelsie Benjamin, Kimora Coleman, Blaine King and McKenna Powell.

Seventh grade

All A’s: Matthew Beckmon, Janessa Buie, Carmen LeGrande, Gentry McGhee, Denton Ramsey and Ryan West.

All A’s and B’s: Karlee Boots, Ruthie Dietrich, Gunner Ellington, Breakin Jones, Halle Klotz and Clayton Scott.

Eighth grade

All A’s: Kaylee Allen, Liliana Blaufuss, Andie Burnett, Kayla Hermreck and Brooklyn Jones.

All A’s and B’s: Mia Coleman, Brenton Edgerton, Ryan Golden, Brayden Goodell, Brody Hobbs, Navaeh Meats, Caty Nolan, Jerry Rodriguez and Rogan Weir.

 

Crest Elementary School

Second grade

All A’s: Elle Beebe, Kasen Brand, Dillon Fermyn, Jaythan Pearish, Haylee Powell, Lukas Taylor, Gage Thompson and Kroy Walter.

All A’s and B’s: Jorden Allen, Lynnex Allen, Mackenzie Carter, Emaleigh Dietrich, Aubrey Allington, Faye Meats, Raylan Preston and Blake Ryback.

Third grade

All A’s: Chloe Burnett, Noah DeTar, Bentley Hammond and Jemma Womelsdorf.

All A’s and B’s: Lukas Blaufuss, Sunny Brewer, Danielle Burnett, Ty Coberley, Athena Cook, Braylee Edgerton, Violet Henderson, Easton King, Heather Prater, Aiden Ryback, Brailey Valentine and Remington Womelsdorf.

Fourth grade

All A’s: Gracyn Ellington, Koiy Miller, Hynter Pearish, Kallei Robb, Kole Walter and Adayrean West.

All A’s and B’s: Grady Allen, Trewit Luedke, Summer Valentine and Jonathan Whitcomb.

Fifth grade

All A’s: Preston Blaufuss and Lane Yocham.

All A’s and B’s: Tristan Boone, Ben DeTar, Wyatt Dickerson, Ethan Flyingman, Xander Fuller, Alecia Gonzalez, Jaycee Schmidt, Gavin Stanford and Phillip Warren.

CHS students earn honors

COLONY — Crest High School has announced its honor rolls for the first semester of the 2019-20 Crest High School school year.

Superintendent’s Honor Roll

(All A’s)

Freshmen — Haylee Beckmon, Trevor Church, McKenna Hammond, Kamryn Luedke and Brinley McGhee.

Sophomores —  Ursula Billings, Lindsey Godderz, Anna Hermreck, Vivian Noah, Ethan Prasko and Tucker Yocham.

Juniors — Tyson Hermreck, Ben Prasko and Victor Susko.

Seniors — Elka Billings, Greg Hardwick and Summer Starr.

Principal’s Honor Roll

(All A’s and B’s):

Freshmen — Avery Blaufuss, Bailee Griffeth, Kolden Ryberg, Stetson Setter and Jack White.

Sophomores — Joshua Sandness.

Juniors — Aubree Holloran and Kobey Miller.

Seniors — Zach Beckmon, Ridley Black and Annika Hobbs.

Putin fast-tracks effort to extend his rule

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin today fast-tracked work on constitutional changes that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024 while lawmakers quickly sealed his choice for new prime minister.

Speaking to a working group created to draft constitutional changes, Putin cast his proposals as a way to strengthen parliament and to bolster democracy. Kremlin critics described the proposed changes as an attempt by Putin to secure his rule for life.

The Russian leader proposed a set of sweeping amendments to the country’s constitution in Wednesday’s state of the nation address. Hours later, he fired Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was prime minister for eight years, and named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin to succeed him.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, quickly approved Mishustin by a unanimous vote today.

The reshuffle has shaken Russia’s political elites, who were left wildly speculating about Putin’s intentions and future Cabinet appointments.

A constitutional reform announced by Putin indicated he was working to carve out a new governing position for himself after his current six-year term ends in 2024, although it remains unclear what specific path he will take to stay in charge.

Putin has been in power longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin, who led from 1924 until his death in 1953. Under the current law, Putin must step down when his current term ends.

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, tweeted that Putin’s proposals reflected his intention to “rule until he dies.”

Putin suggested amending the constitution to allow lawmakers to name prime ministers and Cabinet members. The president currently holds the authority to make those appointments.

Speaking to the group tasked with drafting the amendments, Putin emphasized that they are intended to “strengthen the role of civil society, political parties and regions in making key decisions about the development of our state.”

“The role of parliament will grow, and the interaction between parliament and the Cabinet will strengthen,” he said.

At the same time, Putin argued that Russia would not remain stable if it were governed under a parliamentary system. The president should retain the right to dismiss the prime minister and Cabinet ministers, to name top defense and security officials, and to be in charge of the Russian military and law enforcement agencies, he said.

In his address, Putin said the constitution must also specify the authority of the State Council consisting of regional governors and top federal officials.

Observers speculated that Putin might try to stay in charge by shifting into the prime minister’s seat again after increasing the powers of parliament and the Cabinet and trimming presidential authority. Others suggested that he could also try to continue pulling the strings as head of the State Council.

Another potential option is a merger with neighboring Belarus that would create a new position of the head of a new unified state. That prospect that has been rejected by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an autocratic ruler who has been in power for more than quarter century.

Putin said that the constitutional changes need to be approved by a public vote, but officials said it doesn’t imply a referendum and it wasn’t immediately clear how it will be organized.

Upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko said that lawmakers will rush work on amending the constitution and complete it in the spring.

Observers say that Putin’s move to modify the constitution four years before the end of his term may reflect the Kremlin’s concerns that his popularity may suffer amid stagnant living standards. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2021, but some speculated that an early vote could be held.

Putin has kept his longtime ally Medvedev in his close circle, appointing him to the newly created post of deputy head of the presidential Security Council.

Medvedev served as president in 2008-2012, keeping the seat warm for Putin who continued calling the shots as prime minister when he was forced to step down from the top job due to term limits. Under Medvedev, the constitution was amended to extend the presidential term from four years to six, although it limits the leader to two consecutive terms.

The 53-year-old Mishustin is a career bureaucrat who has worked as the tax chief for the past 10 years, keeping a low profile and showing no political ambitions. He has won a good reputation among experts who praised him for boosting tax collection and streamlining Russia’s rigid tax administration system.

Mishustin vowed to focus on social issues and improve living standards.

“We have all the necessary resources to fulfill the goals set by the president,” he told lawmakers before the vote. “The president wants the Cabinet to spearhead economic growth and help create new jobs. Raising real incomes is a priority for the government.”