Vikings Cut Struggling Kicker Blair Walsh

Blair Walsh

Minneapolis (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings have cut struggling kicker Blair Walsh, two days after he missed his league-leading fourth extra point in a 26-20 loss to the Washington Redskins.

The Vikings announced the move on Tuesday. Walsh was 12 of 16 on field goals and 15 of 19 on extra points in nine games this season. The Vikings started the season 5-0, but have lost four straight games.

After Walsh missed an extra point, had a field goal blocked and misplaced a kickoff in a loss to Detroit two weeks ago, the Vikings brought in six kickers for a tryout. They ultimately decided to give Walsh one more chance, but his miss just before halftime against the Redskins sealed his fate.

© 2016 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

Twitter Adds New Options To Curb Abuse, Harassment

Twitter

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter, long criticized as a hotbed for online harassment, is expanding ways to curb the amount of abuse users see and making it easier to report such conduct.

Twitter said Tuesday that it is expanding a “mute” function that lets people mute accounts they don’t want to see tweets from. Now, users will be able to mute keywords, phrases and conversations they don’t want to get notifications about. Users who decide to mute things won’t see them.

The words, phrases and conversations will continue to exist on Twitter, and anyone who doesn’t mute them will continue to see them. But the company is also making it easier to report hateful conduct, and said it has re-trained its support teams about its policies and hateful conduct.

Abuse can easily spread on Twitter due to its public, real-time nature, where tweets are easily amplified by retweets and users can easily and openly attack others. While Twitter prohibits “specific conduct that targets people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease,” this policy has not been enough to stomp out abuse.

Not even celebrities are immune. Over the summer, “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones publicly abandoned Twitter after becoming the target of sexist and racist abuse on the service. She has since returned.

Twitter has been trying to get a handle on its Wild West reputation as a haven for online harassment and abuse while still holding onto its commitment to free speech. It’s been tricky, to say the least.

“We don’t expect these announcements to suddenly remove abusive conduct from Twitter,” Twitter Inc. said in a blog post . “No single action by us would do that. Instead we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.”

© 2016 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

Dakota Access Protesters Disrupt Train Traffic

Dakota Access Pipeline

Hundreds of protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline gathered outside a work staging area west of Mandan, North Dakota, and disrupted freight train traffic.

Morton County sheriff’s spokesman Rob Keller says protesters on Tuesday morning put a pickup truck and tree branches on BNSF Railway tracks. It wasn’t immediately clear how many trains were affected.

Officers in riot gear responded. There were no immediate reports of arrests.

Mandan is about 50 miles north of a camp where hundreds of protesters have gathered in recent months to oppose the $3.8 billion pipeline that’s to carry North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was slated to visit the camp later Tuesday. He’s an environmental attorney and president of Waterkeeper Alliance, which seeks to protect watersheds worldwide.

© 2016 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

Trump Huddling With Pence As He Nears Cabinet Decisions

NEW YORK (AP) – Sequestered in his Manhattan high-rise, Donald Trump huddled Tuesday with Vice President-elect Mike Pence as he moved closer to filling out his Cabinet, including top national security posts. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has emerged as the favorite to serve as secretary of state, a senior Trump official said.

Although Giuliani has little foreign policy experience, the official said there was no real competition for the job as the nation’s top diplomat. However, a second official cautioned that John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, remained in contention for the key post. Both officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the process by name.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker also expressed interest in the State Department post and said his team has had “some conversations” with Trump officials. However, the Tennessee Republican told MSNBC there were others who were more “central” to Trump’s presidential campaign for the post.

Even as Trump narrowed in on top appointments, there were signs of tumult within his transition team. Former Rep. Mike Rogers, a well-respected Republican voice on national security, announced his resignation from the transition team on Tuesday, a move likely to rattle GOP officials who worry about Trump’s lack of foreign policy credentials.

Trump had already rejiggered his transition team after winning the election, putting Pence in charge and demoting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The switch has slowed Trump’s ability to coordinate with the White House. Pence has yet to sign a memorandum of understanding facilitating interactions between transition officials and Obama administration officials, effectively pausing those efforts. Christie had previously signed the document, but it’s no longer valid given Pence’s promotion. And Pentagon and State Department officials say they have yet to hear from the transition team.

Pence ignored shouted questions from reporters as he arrived at Trump Tower, a thick briefing book tucked under his arm. Trump and Pence have made no public comments this week.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller cast the meeting with Pence as a significant step in the process toward nominating Cabinet secretaries.

“If the vice president-elect is getting together with the president elect to discuss names, I would say it’s getting serious,” Miller said.

Giuliani, 72, would be an out-of-box choice to serve as secretary of State. A former mayor, federal prosecutor and top Trump adviser, Giuliani is known for his hard-line law-and-order views. Bolton has years of U.S. foreign policy experience, but he has also raised eyebrows with some of his hawkish stances, including a 2015 New York Times op-ed in which he advocated bombing Iran to halt the country’s development of nuclear weapons.

A spokeswoman for Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his interest in the job. But during an appearance in Washington late Monday, Giuliani said that Bolton would be a “very good choice” to serve as secretary of state. Asked if there was anyone better, Giuliani replied: “Maybe me, I don’t know.”

The New York billionaire also was considering tapping Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a move that would bring some experience and diversity to his nascent administration. Grenell, who served as U.S. spokesman at the U.N. under President George W. Bush, would be the first openly gay person to fill a Cabinet-level foreign policy post.

The transition planning comes amid an intense and extended backlash from Trump’s decision on Sunday to appoint Steve Bannon, a man celebrated by the white nationalist movement, to serve as his chief strategist and senior adviser.

“After winning the presidency but losing the popular vote, President-elect Trump must try to bring Americans together — not continue to fan the flames of division and bigotry,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Echoing concerns from officials in both parties, she called Bannon’s appointment “an alarming signal” that Trump “remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign.”

Until joining Trump’s campaign this summer, Bannon led the Breitbart website that appealed to the so-called “alt-right” — a movement often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been a frequent Breitbart target. Asked about Bannon’s appointment, Ryan said, “I would just simply say the president will be judged on results.”

Meanwhile, Trump, who has no foreign policy experience, spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone on Monday.

His transition office said in a readout that Trump “is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia.” Trump has spoken in recent days with the leaders of China, Mexico, South Korea and Canada.

© 2016 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

Giuliani The Favorite As Trump Weighs Secretary Of State

NEW YORK (AP) — Sequestered in his Manhattan high-rise, President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to fill key foreign policy posts. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has emerged as the favorite to serve as secretary of state, a senior Trump official said.

Although Giuliani has little foreign policy experience, the official said there was no real competition for the job as the nation’s top diplomat. However, a second official cautioned that John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, remained in contention for the key post. Both officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the process by name.

The New York billionaire also was considering tapping Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a move that would bring some experience and diversity to his nascent administration. Grenell, who served as U.S. spokesman at the U.N. under President George W. Bush, would be the first openly gay person to fill a Cabinet-level foreign policy post.

The personnel moves under consideration were confirmed by people with direct knowledge of Trump’s thinking who were not authorized to publicly disclose private discussions.

Giuliani, 72, would be an out-of-box choice to lead the State Department. A former mayor, federal prosecutor and top Trump adviser, Giuliani is known for his hard-line law-and-order views. Bolton has years of federal government experience, but he has also raised eyebrows with some of his hawkish stances, including a 2015 New York Times op-ed in which he advocated bombing Iran to halt the country’s development of nuclear weapons.

A spokeswoman for Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his interest in the job. But during an appearance in Washington late Monday, Giuliani said that Bolton would be a “very good choice” to serve as Trump’s secretary of state. Asked if there was anyone better, Giuliani replied: “Maybe me, I don’t know.”

Vice President-elect Mike Pence was expected to join the incoming president at Trump Tower on Tuesday to review “a number of names” for the incoming administration, according to spokesman Jason Miller.

“If the vice president-elect is getting together with the president elect to discuss names, I would say it’s getting serious,” Miller said.

The transition planning comes amid an intense and extended backlash from Trump’s decision on Sunday to appoint Steve Bannon, a man celebrated by the white nationalist movement, to serve as his chief strategist and senior adviser.

“After winning the presidency but losing the popular vote, President-elect Trump must try to bring Americans together — not continue to fan the flames of division and bigotry,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Echoing concerns from officials in both parties, she called Bannon’s appointment “an alarming signal” that Trump “remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign.”

Until joining Trump’s campaign this summer, Bannon led a website that appealed to the so-called “alt-right” — a movement often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”

President Barack Obama avoided any direct criticism of Trump’s personnel moves during a Monday news conference, suggesting that the new president deserves “room to staff up.” The outgoing president encouraged Trump, however, to embrace a unifying tone.

“It’s really important to try to send some signals of unity and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign,” Obama said. “And I think that’s something he will — he will want to do.”

Meanwhile, Trump, who has little foreign policy experience of his own, spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone on Monday.

His transition office said in a readout that Trump “is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia.” Trump has spoken in recent days with the leaders of China, Mexico, South Korea and Canada.

Trump is also weighing whether to select Michigan GOP chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, a niece of chief Trump critic and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. She would be the second woman ever to lead the Republican National Committee — and the first in four decades.

“I’ll be interested in whatever Mr. Trump wants,” McDaniel told The Associated Press.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Bannon’s selection “a sad day.”

Bannon “presided over the rise of Breitbart as a haven online” for the “alt-right,” Greenblatt said. The website under Bannon’s leadership, he said, “trafficked in the some of the worst tropes, not just only against Jews — but the anti-Semitism is real — but also against other minorities, particularly Mexicans and Muslims.”

© 2016 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani

Storm Center Update Tuesday AM – November 15

The first winter storm of the season is on the way. First, the weather ahead of the storm will be very nice, including today’s forecast.

We expect more nice weather tomorrow, with 60s likely across much of southern KELOLAND.

Now take a look at Thursday’s forecast. Clouds, rain showers, and even snow in the west will be possible late in the day as the main storm develops to the south in Colorado.

The storm tracks northeast on Friday as rain changes to snow in eastern KELOLAND.

Keep in mind this is just one track. However, it appears the storm track is shifting more south and east, increasing the odds of accumulating snow in southeastern KELOLAND. The combination of wind and snow could make for hazardous travel Friday across parts of the region, so we urge you to stay tuned to the latest forecasts.

© 2016 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

Storm Center Update- Friday AM, March 4

A warm front is advancing across KELOLAND this morning with a few pockets of light rain and light freezing rain.  Warmer weather is the big weather story for the weekend and much of next week.

First, be aware of the chance for light mixed precipitation this morning in eastern and northern KELOLAND.  We have a freezing rain advisory for much of northern and northeastern KELOLAND for the early morning.  Amounts look light and temperatures will quickly climb through the late morning.  Afternoon highs in the mid 40s are likely in Sioux Falls, with 50s in both Aberdeen and Pierre.

Tonight’s forecast looks quiet as high pressure moves into KELOLAND from the north.  This will set the stage for pleasant weather tomorrow with highs still in the upper 40s in Sioux Falls, with warmer 60s West River.

This warmer weather will expand east on Sunday with highs in the 60s in many spots.  A few 70s are possible in southcentral KELOLAND.

Looking ahead to Monday, thunderstorm chances are still in the forecast, but mainly in the southeast Monday evening.  Most of next week looks above normal with another surge of very mild air likely by late next week.  Sounds like spring!

Flu Now Widespread In South Dakota

Flu season has officially hit South Dakota.  The virus is now widespread in the state.

That means at least half of South Dakota’s reporting districts have outbreaks.

The latest update from the state Department of Health shows there were almost 50 new cases in one week.

That includes one death and six hospitalizations.

Hy-Vee Recalls Maytag Blue Cheese Products

Hy-Vee is voluntarily recalling Maytag Blue Cheese because it may contain Listeria.

Included in the recall are all products labeled as “Maytag Blue Raw Milk,” “Maytag Blue” or “Maytag Iowa Blue Cheese” and with PLU numbers beginning with 854089001 and with “use by” dates between Jan. 20, 2016 and May 3, 2016.

The cheese included in the recall was sold in whole wheels, but some of it was re-packaged in foil, plastic wrap or plastic containers. Hy-Vee said the product was sold in all of its 240 stores between Nov. 20, 2015 and March 2, 2016. All sizes and forms of Maytag Blue Cheese products are included.

If you have some of the cheese in question, you can either throw it out or return it to the store for a full refund.

Summit League Organizers To Talk About Tournament

Two days before the Summit League Basketball Tournament tips off, organizers will answer questions about the event.

A tip-off news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple, Sioux Falls Sports Authority Executive Director Bryan Miller and Denny Sanford PREMIER Center General Manager Terry Torkildson are among the people who will speak.

Awards to league leaders will be announced prior to news conference.