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Headlines for Thursday, May 4, 2023

A colorful image of old radios introducing a summary of today's news headlines.
Kansas Public Radio

Kelly Announces Program to Increase Broadband Access

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly has announced a new program to increase high-speed internet access in communities across the state. Kelly announced a plan Wednesday to provide $30 million in competitive funding opportunities to build the infrastructure needed for broadband access in more homes and businesses. Governor Kelly said the Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity (LINC) program aims to increase access, reduce internet service costs, and improve performance. WIBW reports that internet service providers, tribal governments, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations are all eligible to apply for the funding. Projects in higher-cost, rural areas are eligible for greater public matches. She says robust broadband access is crucial for attracting new businesses and workers to Kansas. Kelly said the Kansas Office of Broadband has been holding meetings across the state to solicit feedback for its five-year broadband access strategic plan.


EPA Will Allow Sales of EF-15 Fuel in Kansas

TOPEKA (KSNT) - The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to a request from Kansas officials to allow the sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol, known as E15. The blend is about $0.25 cents less expensive per gallon than regular E10. KSNT reports that the federal agency announced Wednesday that it will allow the sale of the cheaper blend this summer. The EPA previously allowed the sale of E15 when the country was experiencing record-breaking high gas prices during 2022 and says that helped U.S. motorists save at least $57 million in fuel costs.


Lung Association Report Says Air Quality Poor in KC Area

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KNS) - A report from the American Lung Association gives poor air quality grades to parts of the Kansas City metro area, including Wyandotte County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri. Those counties received D grades and are the worst of any counties in Kansas and Missouri. Bill Barkman is an environmental health specialist for the University of Kansas Health System. He said the pollution in the metro area is mostly an issue for people with pre-existing lung or heart conditions. “In the summer, you want to track the ozone if you have asthma,” Barkman said. “If you're gonna exercise, you want to be sure you do it at the proper time and not when the levels are highest.” The American Lung Association says about 43,000 children and 195,000 adults in the Kansas City area have asthma.


Kansas Child Shot to Death While Playing in Front Yard

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — One or more shooters opened fire on a child playing in the front yard of a Kansas home, killing him, authorities said. The attack Wednesday evening in Kansas City, Kansas, when it was still daylight, doesn't appear to have been a “random act,” police Major Violeta Magee told reporters at the scene. Police didn't release the name or age of the child but described him as a “young juvenile.” Officers found the wounded boy in the front yard. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Magee said. Police found more than 30 shell casings at the scene. They are looking for a maroon Subaru Legacy with a missing front bumper that may be connected to the attack. Police haven't said whether they think more than one person was involved in the attack, or whether the intended target was the boy or the adult he was with. Police didn’t immediately respond Thursday to phone and email messages seeking additional information.


KU Researchers Develop App to Treat Eating Disorders

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) - Researchers at the University of Kansas have created a smartphone app that can help treat eating disorders. The app uses existing eating disorder resources, but gives participants more control over when to access those materials. It also includes virtual check-ins with trained providers that can be difficult to schedule in-person due to long waitlists or transportation challenges. Research team member Kara Christensen says university health centers are already overwhelmed and a lot of them don’t have someone trained to treat eating disorders. The app provides a new treatment option. “When students are identified as having a disorder, they're referred out. And that typically means they don't get care,” Christensen said. “We're hoping that this could be a program that could fill some of those gaps.” Christensen says the next step is testing the app on other college campuses across the country. TheNational Eating Disorders Association says 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder during their lives.


Critics Warn of Possible Repercussions from New Anti-Trans Laws

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - One of the country’s most sweeping laws limiting transgender rights will take effect in Kansas in July and critics are worried it will cost the state business. The law, called the “women’s bill of rights” by supporters, will force transgender people to use bathrooms and other public spaces that align with their sex assigned at birth. It will also prevent them from changing their gender designation on state ID and other official documents. It’s one of the most far-reaching laws of its kind in the country, and critics say it could have a negative impact on the state’s economy. They say the new laws could make it harder for Kansas to compete for employers and workers. Suzanne Wheeler is with the LGBT Mid-America Chamber of Commerce. She says many large companies are staying away from states with aggressive restrictions targeting the LGBTQ community. “Our Legislature keeps doing things to chase workers away from our state instead of enticing them to come to our state,” Wheeler said. Supporters of the law say those concerns are unfounded. There’s a long history of businesses boycotting states with controversial laws, ranging from gay marriage to voter suppression but it’s unclear how companies will respond to laws restricting transgender rights.


Kobach Announces $2 Million in Funding for Substance Abuse Services

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach has announced an additional $2 million in funding to support substance abuse and addiction services in the state. WIBW reports that the funding comes from money recovered by the state through opioid legal settlements. The funds will be available for agencies and nonprofit organizations that deal with addiction treatment, recovery, and harm reduction associated with substance abuse. Organizations may apply for the grants through a Request for Proposal grant application process. Applications will be accepted starting May 8. Kobach says the Kansas Fights Addiction (KFA) Grant Review Board will prioritize prevention, providers and first responders. Federal officials estimate that in 2021, more than 107,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S., with opioids involved in 75% of those deaths. In Kansas, the number of overdose deaths has risen steadily since 2019. Kobach says Kansas has reached multiple settlements with major pharmaceutical companies as part of efforts to bring accountability to those that fueled the opioid-addiction crisis and to provide funds to support addiction services. He says the state has secured more than $340 million in settlements to be paid to the state over the next 18 years. Learn more about the KFA board and the opioid settlements HERE.


$42 Million Catholic Church Opens in Tiny St Marys, Kansas

ST. MARYS, Kan. (KPR) - After several years of construction and 45 years of fund-raising, a new $42 million Catholic church was consecrated Wednesday in the small northeast Kansas town of St. Marys. The Society of St. Pius X hosted the consecration ceremony for the new Immaculata Church. With a seating capacity of more than 1,500 people, it is the largest church in the world built by the Society. James Vogel, communications director for the Society of St. Pius X, says they've been raising money to build the church since 1978, when the last one was destroyed by fire. "This magnificent Romanesque church is the result of 45 years of prayers from around the world and around $42 million in donations from all 50 states and over 35 countries,” Vogel said. About 3,000 people were expected in St. Marys to attend the consecration. Photos of the church can be viewed online at: anewimmaculata.org.


ACLU Lawsuit Takes on a Kansas Highway Patrol Maneuver

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KNS) — A trial is underway in Kansas City, Kansas, in a lawsuit challenging a Kansas Highway Patrol maneuver for detaining out-of-state drivers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas argues that state troopers violate constitutional rights by subjecting drivers to unwarranted drug searches. The lawsuit alleges the Kansas Highway Patrol uses a maneuver where a trooper will complete a traffic stop but then quickly return to the driver to initiate a consensual drug search. A man from Colorado testified that troopers used it to detain him and his family. The subsequent search of the family’s RV found no drugs. The ACLU of Kansas wants the procedure permanently banned. The Kansas Highway Patrol argues the search was legal because a police dog alerted troopers of drugs.


Lawrence Police Investigate Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) -Police in Lawrence are investigating after a man suffered life-threatening injuries in a shooting Wednesday night. The Lawrence Journal World reports that officers were called to a scene in the 2400 block of Ousdahl Road in central Lawrence just before 7:00 pm. They found a man who’d been shot and he was taken to a trauma center in Overland Park with life-threatening injuries. Witnesses told police that the injured man arrived at the scene in a vehicle and told residents he’d been shot in the chest. Police are trying to determine the exact location of the shooting and identify a suspect. No further details have been released.


Iowa Couple Charged With Abandoning Child During Road Trip to Kansas City

DES MOINES, Iowa- (KCCI) - A couple from Des Moines, Iowa is accused of leaving their 7-year-old behind while on a road trip to Kansas City. KCCI in Des Moines reports that 31-year-old Chancee Mariah Raelynn Daggett Buford, and 30-year-old Jacob Morrill reported the boy missing Tuesday morning when they returned to Iowa. They told police the boy wandered away at a gas station while they were on their way to a funeral in Kansas City May 1st. Passing drivers found the 7-year-old walking along near a busy intersection near the Des Moines International Airport. The couple has now been charged with child endangerment, public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 7-year-old and other children in the couple’s custody are now staying with relatives.


Leavenworth Man Sentenced for Threatening Officers with Sword

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (KCTV) - A Leavenworth man has been sentenced to more than three and a half years in prison for threatening police officers with a sword in December. KCTV reports that a judge ordered 56-year-old Lonnie Bailey Jr. to serve 43 months in the Kansas Department of Corrections after being convicted of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Bailey was arrested while officers were on patrol in downtown Leavenworth. They say Bailey was carrying a large sword and when they ordered him to drop it, he became agitated and started threatening the officers with sword. He was taken into custody and has been held in jail since the incident. He will receive credit for the 152 days he he has already served.


Senators Back Solar Tariffs, Oppose Prairie Bird Safeguards

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would reinstate tariffs on solar panel imports from several Southeast Asian countries after President Joe Biden paused them in a bid to boost solar installations in the U.S.

Lawmakers also approved a separate plan to undo federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, a rare grouse that’s found in parts of the Midwest and Southwest, including one of the country’s most prolific oil and gas fields.

The two measures are part of efforts by newly empowered Republicans to rebuke the Democratic president and block some of his administration's initiatives, particularly on the environment. Republicans control the House and have strong sway in the closely divided Senate, where California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein remains out for health reasons and conservatives such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., often side with the GOP.

Congress voted earlier this year to block a clean water rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and a separate Labor Department measure that allows retirement plan managers to consider the effects of climate change in their investment plans. Biden vetoed both legislative measures.

The solar tariffs measure was approved, 56-41, and now goes to the White House, where Biden has vowed to veto it. Nine Democrats supported the measure, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican who opposed it.

The measure to undo the bird protections was approved 50-48 and now goes to the Republican-controlled House, where there is strong support for the plan.

The Senate action follows a House vote last week to reinstate fees on solar panels imported from Asia. Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns about what many call unfair competition from China.

Some U.S. manufacturers contend that China has essentially moved operations to four Southeast Asian countries — Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia — to skirt strict anti-dumping rules that limit imports from China.

Biden paused the tariffs last year amid complaints from the solar industry that the threat of up to $1 billion in retroactive tariffs and higher fees had led to delays or cancellations of hundreds of solar projects across the United States. Solar installations are a key part of Biden's agenda to fight climate change and achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.

The White House said Biden’s action was “necessary to satisfy the demand for reliable and clean energy” while providing “certainty for jobs and investments in the solar supply chain and the solar installation market.″

A Commerce Department inquiry last year found likely trade violations involving Chinese products and recommended steep penalties. Biden halted tariffs for two years before the Commerce investigation was completed. The White House has said Biden will not extend the tariff suspension when it expires in June 2024.

The U.S. industry argues that solar panel imports are crucial as solar installations ramp up to meet increased demand for renewable energy. Less than 30% of solar panels and cells installed in the U.S. are produced here, although that number is increasing as U.S. manufacturers take advantage of tax credits included in the landmark climate law adopted last year.

But Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said tariffs were needed to hold China accountable while protecting U.S. jobs and workers.

“It’s disgusting that Biden’s actions would shield Chinese solar companies — many of which are using child and slave labor — and allow them to circumvent U.S. trade laws,'' Scott said in a statement. “We need to be taking every step possible to hold Communist China and these companies accountable for breaking U.S. law.''

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., sponsored a separate measure repealing federal protections for a rare prairie bird that’s found in parts of the Midwest and Southwest, including one of the country’s most prolific oil and gas fields.

The lesser prairie chicken’s range covers a portion of the oil-rich Permian Basin along the New Mexico-Texas state line and extends into parts of Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. The habitat of the bird, a type of grouse, has diminished across about 90% of its historical range, officials said.

The crow-size, terrestrial birds are known for spring courtship rituals that include flamboyant dances by the males as they make a cacophony of clucking, cackling and booming sounds. They were once thought to number in the millions, but now hover around 30,000, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Environmentalists have long sought stronger federal protections for the bird, which they consider severely at risk due to oil and gas development, livestock grazing and farming, along with roads and power lines.

Marshall and other Republicans say greater protections aren’t needed and that the government instead should rely on voluntary conservation efforts already in place.

“Farmers, ranchers, and others in Kansas and the region have been instrumental in the recovery of the species to this point, while the climate activists demanding (federal protections under the Endangered Species Act) have no understanding of the threat it poses to Kansas’s economy, especially the energy and ag industries,'' Marshall said in a statement.

Lew Carpenter, director of conservation partnerships with the National Wildlife Federation, said voluntary efforts are not enough.

“We hope partisan politics will not put a halt to federal efforts to recover one of our region’s iconic birds. And recovery means recovery of the habitat, too,'' said Carpenter, who also serves as vice president of the North American Grouse Partnership, a Colorado-based conservation group.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., said reinstating solar tariffs would jeopardize 30,000 jobs nationwide, including thousands in Nevada, which has the nation's most solar jobs per capita.

“Enacting retroactive tariffs on imported solar panels and cells will absolutely kill the American solar industry, and it will kill any chance we have to meet our climate goals, and it will kill the current American solar jobs,” Rosen said.


KBI: Two Arrested on Drug Charges in Parsons

LABETTE COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – A man and woman have been arrested in southeast Kansas on various drug and gun charges. Late Tuesday morning, police in Parsons conducted a traffic stop that led to the search of a residence, where officers recovered pills believed to conatin fentanyl. Police also confiscated cocaine, meth, firearms and assorted drug paraphernalia. After the search, 56-year-old Vincent Janssen Sr and 50-year-old Melissa Oja, both of Parsons, were taken into custody and booked into the Labette County Jail. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), Parsons Police Department and the Labette County Sheriff’s Office were all involved in the investigation and execution of the search warrant in Parsons.


Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Pursuing Larger Facility

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KNS) - The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, is pursuing plans for a new home, to be built next to the historic Paseo YMCA building where the leagues were founded. The new, larger, building is estimated to cost about $25 million and will be built mostly with privately raised funds. But museum President Bob Kendrick isn’t ruling out the possibility of public funding at a later date. He says the timetable for groundbreaking will depend on how fast the museum can raise money: "Typically you want to raise half or three-quarters of your money before you break ground because you feel like you’re less likely to fail in raising the required funds to do this," Kendrick said. Bank of America kicked off the funding with a one-million dollar grant. The 30,000-square-foot building is planned for the corner of 18th Street at the Paseo in Kansas City.


Jackson Mahomes Charged with Sexual Battery

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Jackson Mahomes, the brother of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, was briefly jailed Wednesday on aggravated sexual battery charges over an alleged altercation at a Kansas restaurant in late February.

Jackson Mahomes, 22, was charged Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas, with three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of battery. He was released later Wednesday after posting $100,000 bond. During a brief virtual court appearance, the judge scheduled the next online hearing for May 11.

Under conditions of his bond, Jackson Mahomes won't be allowed to discuss his case publicly.

The probable cause affidavit in the case was not immediately available. But The Kansas City Star reported that police previously confirmed they were investigating a Feb. 25 incident involving Jackson Mahomes at a restaurant in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.

Jackson Mahomes’ attorney, Brandan Joseph Davies, said in a statement that the court prohibited him and his client from commenting. But he released a statement in March, when the allegations first surfaced, saying there was “substantial evidence refuting the claims of Jackson’s accuser," The Star reported.

Aspen Vaughn, the owner of Aspens Restaurant and Lounge, told the newspaper in early March that Jackson Mahomes was friends with her stepdaughter and had frequented the restaurant, where her stepdaughter works. She said he had been there earlier on the day of their encounter and had been pleasant.

Vaughn said after he returned to Aspens that night, Jackson Mahomes grabbed her neck with enough force that it left a faint bruise while they were talking in her office about an incident in which he allegedly shoved a member of the wait staff.

She provided The Star with a photo of a bruise on her neck and a video that she said showed Jackson Mahomes grabbing her by the throat and kissing her at least twice.

“He forcibly kissed me out of nowhere,” she said, calling the advances unwelcome and shocking and noting that she thought he was intoxicated.

Aspen Vaughn didn’t immediately reply to a Facebook message, and the restaurant didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment about the charges.

The Chiefs declined to comment, saying it was a personal matter involving the relative of a player but not a member of the organization. Patrick Mahomes doesn't have a spokesperson and he hasn't commented about the matter on Twitter.


National Professor's Group Says ESU Violated Academic Freedom, Tenure Rules

UNDATED (KNS) — A national group of college professors says Emporia State University violated academic freedom and tenure when it fired more than 30 faculty members last year. A new report from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) calls the firings a major event in higher education. It also calls Emporia State administrators and members of the Kansas Board of Regents "unfit to lead." Group spokesman Michael DeCesare says ESU did not prove it was under extreme financial pressure when it laid off 33 faculty members. “A number of those faculty members were outspoken critics of the administration and the Board of Regents. So, there’s a direct assault on tenure but also on academic freedom," he said. Emporia State officials have said an overhaul was needed to keep the university viable. The AAUP says it could add Emporia State to its list of censured universities.

(-Additional coverage-)

AAUP Investigation: Emporia State, Kansas Board of Regents Members "Unfit to Lead"

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Lawrence Times) — An investigation into Emporia State University’s realignment plan, which included the firing of tenured professors, faults the university for “shifting and incoherent rationales” and concludes university administrators and Kansas Board of Regents members are “unfit to lead.” The American Association of University Professors released its findings Monday following months of interviews and review of documentation. According to The Lawrence Times, investigators said the actions taken by ESU president Ken Hush, with the blessing of KBOR, amounts to an attack on academic freedom.

ESU fired 30 tenured and tenure-track professors in September 2022 under a temporary COVID-19 emergency policy that was put in place January 2021, before vaccines were widely available, and set to expire December 31, 2022. The university cited “extreme financial pressure” when presenting its “framework” for campus realignment to KBOR. The university subsequently reinvested in new programs, handed out secret “performance bonuses,” offered to rehire fired professors as adjuncts, and is looking to hire new professors with the same qualifications as ones who were fired.

Last week, an appeals officer for the state Office of Administrative Hearings reinstated Michael Behrens, an associate professor of English. He is the third fired faculty member to get his job back through the appeals process, with 10 more awaiting decisions. All three were reinstated for the same reason: The university refused to say why they were fired.


Firm that Hired Kids to Clean Meat Plants Keeps Losing Work

OMAHA, Neb. (AP/KPR) — The slaughterhouse cleaning company that was found to be employing more than 100 children to help sanitize dangerous razor-sharp equipment has continued to lose contracts with the major meat producers since the investigation became public last fall. Federal officials have said they are concerned about the potential exploitation of migrants and they have urged the entire meat processing industry to make sure children aren't being hired.

For its part, Packers Sanitation Services Inc., or PSSI as it is known, says it has taken a number of steps to tighten up its hiring practices but it says the rising number of child labor cases nationwide is likely related to the increase in the number of minors crossing the U.S. border alone in recent years.

The scandal that followed the February announcement that PSSI would pay a $1.5 million fine and reform its hiring practices as part of an agreement with investigators also prompted the Biden administration to urge the entire meat processing industry to take steps to ensure no kids are working in these plants either for the meat companies or at contractors like PSSI.

Federal investigators confirmed that children as young as 13 were working for PSSI at 13 plants in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas. It wasn't immediately clear if any additional children have been found working for the company because PSSI declined to answer that and government officials haven't offered an update on the investigation since February.


Feds: Kansas, Missouri Hospitals Broke the Law When They Denied Provision of Emergency Abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — A first-of-its-kind federal investigation has found two hospitals put a pregnant woman's life in jeopardy and violated federal law by refusing to provide an emergency abortion when she experienced premature labor at 17 weeks. The findings are revealed in documents obtained by The Associated Press. The findings serve as a warning to hospitals around the country as they struggle to reconcile new state laws banning or severely restricting abortion with a federal mandate for doctors to provide abortions when a woman's health is at risk. The hospitals in question are in Missouri and Kansas. The hospitals haven't responded to requests for comment.

The competing edicts have been rolled out since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion last year. But federal law, which requires doctors to treat patients in emergency situations, trumps those state laws, the nation's top health official said in a statement. "Fortunately, this patient survived. But she never should have gone through the terrifying ordeal she experienced in the first place," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. "We want her, and every patient out there like her, to know that we will do everything we can to protect their lives and health, and to investigate and enforce the law to the fullest extent of our legal authority, in accordance with orders from the courts."

The federal agency's investigation centers on two hospitals — Freeman Health System in Joplin, Missouri, and University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas — that in August refused to provide an abortion to a Missouri woman whose water broke early at 17 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors at both hospitals told Mylissa Farmer that her fetus would not survive, that her amniotic fluid had emptied and that she was at risk for serious infection or losing her uterus, but they would not terminate the pregnancy because a fetal heartbeat was still detectable. Ultimately, Farmer had to travel to an abortion clinic in Illinois. "It was dehumanizing. It was terrifying. It was horrible not to get the care to save your life," Farmer, who lives in Joplin, said of her experience. "I felt like I was responsible to do something, to say something, to not have this happen again to another woman. It was bad enough to be so powerless."

Farmer's complaints launched the first investigations that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, has publicly acknowledged since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year. Across the country, women have reported being turned away from hospitals for abortions, despite doctors telling them that this puts them at further risk for infection or even death.

President Joe Biden's administration has prodded hospitals not to turn away patients in those situations, even when state law forbids abortions. Weeks after the Supreme Court's ruling, the Democratic administration reminded hospitals that federal law requires them to offer an abortion when a pregnant woman is at risk for an emergency medical condition. The federal government can investigate hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid money — which encompasses most facilities in the U.S. — for violations of the law.

CMS has not announced any fines or other penalties against the two hospitals in its investigation, but it did send them notices warning that they were in violation of the law and asking them to correct the problems that led to Farmer being turned away. Federal Medicare investigators will follow up with the hospitals before closing the case.

Abortions are largely banned in Missouri, but there are exceptions for medical emergencies. In Kansas, when Farmer visited the hospital, abortions were still legal up to 22 weeks. It's unclear why University of Kansas Health refused to offer Farmer one. Neither hospital responded immediately to a request for comment on the case.

Nationwide, doctors have reported uncertainty around how to provide care to pregnant women, especially in the nearly 20 states where new laws have banned or limited the care. Doctors face criminal and civil penalties in some states for aborting a pregnancy.

But in a letter sent Monday to hospital and doctors associations that highlights the investigations, Becerra said he hopes the investigations clarify that the organizations must follow the federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA.

"While many state laws have recently changed," Becerra wrote, "it's important to know that the federal EMTALA requirements have not changed, and continue to require that health care professionals offer treatment, including abortion care, that the provider reasonably determines is necessary to stabilize the patient's emergency medical condition."


NFL Draft Draws National Attention to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — The 2023 NFL Draft has wrapped up and the event drew plenty of national attention to Kansas City. The league says a total of 54.4 million viewers in the U.S. tuned into the draft on television. Viewership for the 2023 NFL Draft was up 12% from 2022. The NFL says the daily average audience for the draft improved year-over-year when compared to 2022. KSHB TV reports that more than 300,000 fans visited the area around Kansas City's Union Station during the three day event.


Former Kansas Jayhawk Joel Embiid Named NBA MVP

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - A former University of Kansas basketball player has been named the league MVP of the NBA. Former Jayhawk Joel Embiid is now a center for the Philadelphia 76ers. He has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2022-23 season. WIBW reports that Embiid played 66 games while recording 10.2 rebounds per game and was named the NBA scoring champion — scoring 33.1 points per game. Embiid played only one season for the Jayhawks, 2013–14 , but he was a Naismith College Player of the Year finalist, earned honors as Big 12 Defensive Player of the year and was named second-team All-Big 12.


List of the Largest Governor's Estates in America Puts Cedar Crest in Kansas at #1

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Daily Mail) — Cedar Crest, the official governor's residence in Kansas, features the largest official governor's estate in the U.S. The Daily Mail reports that the French-Norman style home in Topeka sits on a sprawling 244-acre estate, making it the largest such estate by far in the country. Oddly, the Kansas governor's home itself is one of the smallest among all governors.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Cedar Crest estate is nearly 12 times larger than that of the governor with the second largest estate, Brian Kemp, of Georgia. A study by MoverDB used public sources and estimates from Google Maps to rank the size of the estates of 31 U.S. governors. All findings were based on the size of the entire estates and not the houses on them.

Cedar Crest was built in 1928, bequeathed to the state in 1955 and became the official governor's residence in 1962. It overlooks the Kansas River from the south.

Though built on a larger estate, Cedar Crest is perhaps not as grand as the Georgia governor's mansion in northeast Atlanta. Though the second-largest official home amongst all governor's residence, it is significantly smaller than the Cedar Crest property, sitting on a comparatively small 16 acres of land. Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington State, lives on the third-largest estate, which is next to the state's capitol building.

The New Mexico governor's mansion sits on the fourth largest plot - 12 acres in Santa Fe. The fifth-largest governor's residence, with a Neo-Renaissance house on a 10-acre plot of land, is in Jefferson City, Missouri.

It is one of the oldest governors' homes in the U.S. and has been the official residence since 1872.


Highly-Touted Michigan Basketball Player Will Transfer to Kansas Next Season

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — All-American forward Hunter Dickinson, arguably the top player in the transfer portal after deciding to leave Michigan, said in a social media post Thursday that he was headed to Kansas for the upcoming season.

Dickinson chose the Jayhawks after visits to Villanova, Kentucky, Maryland and Georgetown.

The 7-foot-1 center led the Wolverines to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the Elite Eight as a freshman during the 2020-21 season. Dickinson averaged 18.6 points in helping them reach the Sweet 16 two years ago and 18.5 points and a career-best 9.0 rebounds last season, when he was voted an honorable mention All-American.

“The initial decision for me to enter the portal was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Dickinson said in confirming Wednesday night that he would not return to Michigan, which had been a possibility. “The thought of potentially leaving the place I love and called home for three years was and is extraordinarily difficult to process. After conversations with my family and a lot of time in thought, I realized entering the portal was the best decision for myself and my future."

Dickinson had been quiet throughout his closely watched recruitment, though he did say on the “RoundBall” podcast this week that deciding where he would play next season had been weighing heavily on him.

“If I knew where I was going, I would have happily made the decision sooner,” he said. “I really am struggling trying to pick a school. The good thing about all this is, all my options, I feel like if I went there, I would succeed. But it’s just trying to figure out which one out of them is the best and the one I’m most comfortable at, stuff like that.”

Turns out that answer was Kansas.

With him in the fold, the Jayhawks suddenly become one of the national title favorites heading into next season. They return starting point guard Dajuan Harris Jr., versatile forward KJ Adams and have added former five-star guard Arterio Morris from Texas and Towson sharp-shooter Nick Timberlake to go with one of the nation's best freshman classes.

Elmarko Jackson and Jamari McDowell are 6-foot-3 guards capable of running the point or playing off the ball, Chris Johnson is a touted 6-6 wing and Markus Adams Jr. is a 6-8 inside-outside forward. Jackson and Johnson are both top-10 prospects.


This summary of area news is curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Tom Parkinson and Kaye McIntyre. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day. These ad-free headlines are made possible by KPR members. Become one today. And follow KPR News on Twitter.