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Tabatha Mills

Tabatha Mills

Tabatha Mills, Anchor/Reporter

Tabatha Mills is a Bakersfield, California native. She spent most of her childhood on a farm, in a ballet studio or on the basketball court. All three still hold a very special place in her heart. Given her basketball background she's very excited to now live in Lawrence, the home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Tabatha attended college at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. She majored in agribusiness and minored in agricultural communications, journalism, marketing, and theatre. After graduating she worked in the California rodeo system as a marketing and public relations manager. She then interned with the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida as an on-field in-game coordinator. After that, she found herself in front of the camera working as an anchor and reporter in east Tennessee. That was until that fateful day that she applied at 6News and knew from the first email she received from News Director Lindsey Slater that she wanted to join the 6News team!

Outside of work, Tabatha enjoys volunteering for various organizations whenever she can. She loves working with children and given her chipper attitude, they love working with her. She also enjoys the arts and all they encompass. From music, to movies, to art exhibits. There's a good chance you can find her enjoying something arts related.

Tabatha said it is her goal every day to bring a smile to someone's face. If you've ever spent 20 minutes with her, you'll probably leave with one.

In ending her bio, she had a few things to say. The first, something her father says to her nearly every day: "Gabba Gabba Hey."

The second, her favorite: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. You're playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson

You can find Tabatha on Facebook here and follow her on Twitter here.
Community members gathered together Wednesday evening following a devastating fire on Monday at Pet World Lawrence, 711 W 23rd St #26, to hold a candle light vigil for 27 minutes. It was one minute for every year the store has been open. In honor of that, here's 27 seconds, plus a tad bit more, of why the vigil was so special to some of Pet World's biggest fans. 

Pet World officials said they plan to open a small pet supply in the corner of their current shopping center. The temporary shop will sell food and small supplies. They ask that you follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.  To read our story about the fire, click here.

After a devastating fire at a local pet shop, a vigil is held to help the community find closure.

All of the birds and many small animals at Pet World died on Monday from smoke inhalation after a fire started in the back room of the store. The loss shocked many in the community.

On Wednesday, Pet World invited everyone who felt a connection to the store and situation to take part in a vigil.

"The Pet World staff and the Emerson family, we've started the healing process, but we realize that the larger Pet World community, the customers, the camp kids, everyone who's had a connection with Pet World, isn't getting that same sense of community. After getting many request on our Facebook page, in emails and phone calls, we decided that for our larger Pet World community we needed to have something, some kind of event to bring everyone together," said Rachel Cross, Manager at Pet World.

The vigil lasted for 27 minutes, one minute for every year the store has been open.

Pet World officials said they plan to open a small pet supply in the corner of their current shopping center. The small temporary shop will sell food and small supplies. Pet World hopes to begin selling items next week, if not earlier. They ask that you follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.

It's all about the "big picture" as Lawrence original, Van Go, Inc., kicks off its annual endowment campaign. The organization has served youth in the Lawrence community for the past 20 years. In order to continue that service for the next 20, the arts-based social service agency is asking for the community's help.

"We want Van Go to be here forever," said Sandy Praeger, an honorary chair and donor to the endowment campaign.

Marketing manager at Van Go, Eliza Nichols, echoed Praeger's statement, adding that the unique nature of the program is a great benefit.

"We are a very niche non-profit and we serve kids in a very holistic way in order for them to be sustainable in their life and we want to make sure we can do this forever and ever," Nichols said.

This year the goal of the Van Go "The Big Picture" campaign is to raise $750,000 to cover program costs. Which may seem like a lot to some, however, when looking at what the program does for children in the community, many say it is unparalleled in impact.

"You have to be at the unveiling of the benches, after the kids have created their product and it's unveiled. I just get tears in my eyes thinking about it. What amazing gratification they get and affirmation when they see people applauding something they've created. It's just a really special program," Praeger said.

Van Go Executive Director Lynne Green shared one story, of the many, that has touched her heart,

"One of the young people who has been a huge part of the program for the last four or five years also created a bench for Van Go. He came to us as a very shy, awkward and challenged young man. He just graduated from high school. Seeing him in his cap and gown, it just warms my heart to the core. That is what we are here to do, to see kids through the most difficult times of their lives and try to create a successful experience for our kiddos," Greene said.

Van Go kicks of their endowment campaign this Thursday, May 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Van Go alums Sista Faith and Paper Buffalo will perform an outdoor concert with food and drinks to help the organization reach its goal. So far $555,000 has been donated toward the $750,000 goal.

For more information about Van Go, click here.

 New data show that state hospitals in Kansas face persistent staffing shortages, with at least one facility posting a recent 40 percent staff vacancy rate.

Data provided by the Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services, the agency that oversees the facilities, demonstrate continued staffing shortfalls at the state hospitals.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Osawatomie State Hospital has a nearly 40 percent staff vacancy rate, and Larned State Hospital has a nearly 35 percent vacancy rate.

KDADS says while there are vacancies, patients are receiving appropriate care.

KDADS spokeswoman Cara Sloan-Ramos also says Larned and Osawatomie are both small communities and that recruiting and retention of staff is always a priority.

Lawrence Police Continue to investigate an early morning stabbing near McDonald’s on West Sixth Street.  According to Sgt. Trent McKinley with the Lawrence Police Department, officers were called to 1309 West Sixth Street at 6:15 Monday morning.  McDonald’s employees called 911 after a man collapsed in the restaurant’s parking lot near the drive thru.

"The report was that an individual was covered in blood and had arrived at that location.  Employees looked out, saw that person, called 911 and tried to render aid," McKinley said.

The victim, a 40 year old man, was treated by first responders and then transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital where he later died.  McKinley said the crime is being investigated as a homicide and physical evidence lead officers to a home on the 1700 block of Arkansas.

"We do not believe the individual was injured at the McDonald's instead what's likely is he probably walked toward that area tying to look for help or seeking assistance," McKinley said.

McKinley said a trail of blood lead investigators to the area.  Officers have been called to the home in question before.

“I think if you go back and look at local media reports, we have been here for various things in the past," McKinley said.

According to court documents, in 2013 a 23-year-old Hunter Wheeler, who reportedly lived at 700 Arkansas Street, was arrested on three charges of distributing meth in quantities of at least 3.5 grams, but less than 100 grams. He also faced two possession charges of meth with intent to distribute, and one possession charge of drug paraphernalia.  Police did not confirm if Wheeler is a suspect in the recent incident and at this time no arrests have been made. 

Police are not releasing the victim’s identity or any additional information at this time.  An application for a search warrant has been submitted.  Crime scene investigators are expected to work in the area throughout the day.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7509 or CrimeStoppers at 785-843-TIPS(8477).  Calls made to CrimeStoppers can be made anonymously.  A reward of up to $1000 is being offered by CrimeStoppers for information leading to an arrest in this case.

McDonalds was closed this morning but reopened later in the afternoon. 















 

You might call it a story about a girl and her horse, which it is, but for 14-year-old Emmie Noyes, it's also a story about growing up at the Abdallah Shrine Rodeo in Tonganoxie.

"She saw the women barrel racing and said 'that's what I want to do,'" said Lisa Noyes, Emmie's mother.

Emmie's grandfather is a Shriner and as far back as she can remember, she's been going to the rodeo with her family. Around the age of 9, while at the rodeo, Emmie found exactly what she wanted to do with her life.

"I definitely want to pro rodeo," said Emmie.

Almost every weekend, the soon-to-be eighth grader hits the road with her family and her trusty sidekick Pete to a rodeo. However, it's not just weekend fun on a horse, it's a lifestyle. Emmie gets up at 5:00 every morning to feed and care for Pete. Rain or shine, snow or sleet.

"If that means shoveling a path to the barn, that's what she does," Lisa said.

She spends at least four hours every day caring for Pete. On her downtime, she's still, caring for Pete.

"All kinds of veterinary textbooks and that's kind of what she does with her free reading time," said Lisa.

"Our animals are always definitely our first priority. I mean they're what we do," said Emmie.

Emmie will admit, some of her friends don't really understand her love of the sport. But Emmie doesn't mind because she has her family, her horse and the things both have taught her along the way.

"I'm really glad I got into this, I don't think I'd be the person I am today if I didn't," said Emmie.

The Kansas House has approved a measure that would move local elections to the fall in odd-numbered years. Supporters say the move would boost voter turnout because people are used to voting in the fall. However, Shannon Kimball, President of the Lawrence School Board, believes that would not be the case.

"There is no benefit to this move. The timing of an election is not the reason for low voter turnout during local elections," Kimball said.

The Lawrence School Board was one of more than 200 school districts across the state that previously passed a resolution, asking the legislature not to make the change.

"It will cause disruptions for our students and staff. New board members will be elected in November and take their seats in January. They will have missed the budgeting process and goal setting period for the school year," Kimball said.

Kimball added that the bill would also lengthen the campaign season for school board candidates. Primaries would also take place in early August when many families and voters are traditionally out of town on vacation.

"It begs the question, why do it in the first place?" Kimball said.

Kimball said she fears the groups supporting this bill have another motive, to make the elections partisan. Doing that would give parties more control over the spending and operations of school districts.

The House voted 64-58 to send the measure to the Governor Sam Brownback.

The bill also calls for the cancelation of the state's presidential primaries. Legislators have canceled the past five because of their cost, opting for caucuses funded by the Republican and Democratic parties. In addition, the bill would bar general election candidates from dropping out of a race unless experiencing "severe medical hardship."
Project Graduation was a-go on Wednesday night. Not sure what that is? Well, it's a parent and community sponsored event. It's not tied to any school, but it welcomes graduating seniors from each of the four high schools in Lawrence, as well as home-schooled students, to celebrate their graduations safely, drug and alcohol free.

"It's a great way to end their senior year and it's a safe way to end their senior year. We don't want graduation to be marked by a tragedy. That's why we offer this and the whole community supports it," said Karen Hill, Project Graduation Co-Chair.

"This sort of event really makes graduating something that doesn't have to be a celebration with alcohol and drugs, but it can be a celebration with family and friends and just fun activities like dancing and winning money and all that. So I think the fact that this is a safe event really is good for our community, my peers and myself," said Marlee Bird, a graduating senior at Lawrence High School.

Students even had the chance to win a Mustang donated by Laird Noller Automotive. Cash prizes and other items were given out though-out the night to encourage kids to celebrate safely. As the night went on the prizes got bigger. More than 500 students attended the event at Abe and Jake's Landing.

Thursday, 21 May 2015 18:37

Lawrence Public Schools out for summer

There was still tons of excitement from students on Thursday as Lawrence Public Schools officially kicked off summer break.

Here's what a few students had to say about school being out as well as school starting back up again in the fall.

Lawrence Police officers lifted the spirits of a young boy recovering after being hit by a car just a few months ago. On Wednesday they surprised him with something he's always wanted.

"Wow! This is the one I always wanted," said an excited Kylar Walters after officers presented him with a brand new bike and helmet.

6-year-old Kylar was hit by a car while trying to cross the street on his bike at Sixth Street and Rockledge just before Thanksgiving 2014.  He suffered eight broken ribs, a broken elbow, a skull fracture and a tear in his brain and a lacerated liver and kidney. Doctors weren't certain he was going to survive, but he did and the only thing he wanted was a new bike since his was damaged in the accident.

"Kylar needed a bike. Every little kid needs a bike. We were in a position where we could help. Helping doesn't just require us taking reports or answering calls for service. It's that little bit extra and today is that little bit extra," said Officer Brett Horner.

The officers that surprised Kylar with the bike were the same officers who responded the day he was hit by a car. Kylar's mom was overwhelmed and said she can't thank the officers enough for loving her son so much.

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