UPDATE: Kansas Reports More than 85,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 1,029 Virus-Related Deaths
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the state has recorded more than 85,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. That figure includes 1,029 deaths. KDHE released the latest numbers today (FRI), reporting 85,181 coronavirus cases. This marks an increase of 3,136 cases and 22 deaths in Kansas since Wednesday. The next online update of COVID-19 cases will be released Monday afternoon.
Suspect in Kansas Killing Arrested in Seattle Area
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Kansas man has been arrested in the Seattle area and is awaiting extradition. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 31-year-old Latrelle Sheneice Praylow was charged today with first-degree felony murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon in the death of 38-year-old Christopher McMillon. A family member found him dead in his home Oct. 3 while checking to see why he failed to appear at a youth basketball game. Topeka police spokeswoman Gretchen Spiker said Praylow was arrested Thursday evening and is jailed in King County, Washington. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said an extradition hearing is set for Monday.
Man Charged in Deaths of Two Sons Signs Extradition Waiver
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A man who is charged in the deaths of his two sons will soon be returned to Kansas from Oklahoma where he was arrested with his two daughters after the killings. KMBC-TV reports that 40-year-old Donny Jackson Jr. has signed a written extradition waiver. That will allow him to be returned to Leavenworth County, Kansas, where he was charged Tuesday in the killings of 14-year-old Logan Jackson and 12-year-old Austin Jackson. After an Amber Alert was issued, Jackson was arrested near Erick, Oklahoma, and the boys 3- and 7-year-old sisters were returned to their family.
License Plate Racial Slur Concerns Lead to Recall
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is recalling hundreds of license plates that have the letter combination NGA amid concerns that the lettering could be seen as a racial slur. Department of Revenue spokesman Zach Fletcher said that 828 Kansas license plate holders have received letters telling them that they must return the plates or risk being ticketed for having invalid tags. The Kansas City Star reports that he explained in an email that the “plate combination, if read as a phrase, can be perceived to read as a racial epithet.” Kansas also recalled more than 700 plates in 2018 that contained the letters JAP.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita nurse accused of stealing drugs and mistreating patients has pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud and other counts. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Friday in a news release that 41-year-old Melissa Ann Seiber pleaded guilty Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court to three counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of mistreatment of a dependent adult in a nursing facility and three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors say the crimes took place between June 2018 and November 2019 while Seiber was employed at three nursing facilities in Wichita. Seiber is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15.
KU Medical Center Cleared to Continue Coronavirus Vaccine Trials
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KNS) — The University of Kansas Medical Center has resumed Phase III clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine that was halted last month after an enrollee in the United Kingdom developed an adverse reaction. The trials had barely gotten underway when they were paused late last month. But after the FDA reviewed safety data from trials around the world, it concluded last week that it was safe to resume them. Dr. Mario Castro, co-principal investigator for the local trials, says the medical center is hoping to enroll 1,250 volunteers over the next 60 days. “We’re targeting that at least 25% of our enrollees will be elderly over the age of 65” Castro says. “With at least 20% African American involvement and 20% Hispanics.” The vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford and purchased by drug maker AstraZeneca.
Kansas Governor Unveils COVID-19 Testing Plans
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has announced details of a statewide plan to rapidly increase the number of coronavirus tests in the state. The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases are surging across Kansas. Kelly plans on using federal coronavirus relief dollars to double the state’s testing capacity. That could mean 400,000 additional tests by the end of the year. The governor says that will let Kansas do more screening tests at schools and high-risk locations like nursing homes. “This is especially important for populations at high risk but also for businesses across the state worried about keeping their workforces safe and their doors open,” Kelly said. Kansas reported hundreds more cases between Monday and Wednesday than it saw in the same three-day period last week. The highest rates of infection now mostly come from rural counties and western Kansas.
Virus-Plagued Northwest Kansas Nursing Home Loses Federal Funding
NORTON, Kan. (KNS) - A nursing home in northwest Kansas has lost its Medicare certification after a report found staff members didn’t do enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus. At least 10 residents at the facility have died. The federal government found workers at the Andbe Home in Norton didn’t use proper protective equipment. According to the Kansas City Star, an observer saw workers not wearing masks even after six residents had died from the virus. The facility also didn’t properly isolate people who were sick. All 62 residents of the home eventually tested positive for the coronavirus. Norton County has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the country, with more than 550 cases among its roughly 5,500 residents.
Finney County Sees Dramatic Rise in COVID Cases
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KNS) - Finney County in southwest Kansas has a coronavirus positivity rate of 31%. County commissioners say they still recommend mask wearing, social distancing and other virus precautions, but they’re not likely to institute a mandate. Colleen Drees is the head of the county health department. She says the virus isn’t confined to a few clusters, but is spreading widely across the community. In recent weeks, the spread of the coronavirus in Kansas has accelerated in rural areas, particularly in Norton and Sheridan counties in northwestern Kansas.
Kansas Expects Record-Setting Turnout for General Election
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas election officials predict that the state will see record-setting turnout for this year's presidential election. The Kansas Secretary of State's office said it anticipates 70% of Kansas voters will participate in the election. It anticipates that about 1.35 million Kansans will cast a ballot. While the 70% figure itself is not a record, every number behind it is. Kansas has about 1.94 million registered voters, almost 100,000 more than in 2018. Their projection is based partly on record-setting turnout so far. As of Thursday, 346,489 advance by mail ballots have been returned to local election offices and 220,908 voters have cast in-person ballots.
U.S. Senate Race in Kansas is Most Competitive in Decades
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Some public opinion polls show voters almost evenly divided between two-term Republican Congressman Roger Marshall and Democrat Barbara Bollier in the race for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas. The two candidates differ sharply on a number of issues including how to increase access to health care and make it more affordable. Marshall wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Bollier, a state senator from the Kansas City suburbs and a former moderate Republican, wants to expand the ACA and increase subsidies to make coverage more affordable. Most polls show Marshall with a narrow lead, though a few polls have the candidates tied. Kansas voters haven’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since the Great Depression. The winner of the U.S. Senate race will replace longtime Republican Senator Pat Roberts.
Garden City's Tyson Plant Will Replace Federal Inspectors with its Own Workers
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KNS) - The Tyson beef plant near Garden City, in southwest Kansas, expects to replace some federal inspectors with its own workers next year. Reuters news agency reports that about 15 Tyson workers per shift at the Finney County plant will inspect carcasses before they’re sent through the butchering line. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave Tyson a waiver to replace some of the federal inspectors with its own plant workers in March, but that got delayed by the pandemic. Chicken and pork plants around the country have made similar moves, which are supposed to help with efficiency. Critics say it’s another case of deregulating the meat industry.
Coaches, Athletes Across the Nation Mourn Loss of Legendary Kansas Football Coach
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - Coaches and athletes across the country are remembering Dick Foster, who won national championships at both Fort Scott Community College and Coffeyville Community College. Foster died last week at his home in Lawrence. He was 86. According to the Montgomery County Chronicle, Foster is one of only two coaches in community college history to win national titles at two schools. Foster's career winning record of more than 87% over the span of 16 years put him in the highest echelon of coaches at all levels of college football. Among his career highlights was coaching future Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier. He also coached 30 future NFL players, as well as 47 NJCAA All-Americans. Foster also served as an assistant football coach at both the University of Kansas and Oklahoma University. Private family funeral services for Dick Foster will be held Saturday in Lawrence.
Kansas Man Gets Life Sentences for Killing Pregnant Woman
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to two life sentences for the killing of a pregnant Kansas mother who was found dead on Christmas Day in 2018. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says 35-year-old Dion Jamal Green was sentenced Wednesday to two consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole for the December 2018 deaths of 31-year-old Jenna Schafer, of Junction City, and her unborn child. Early in the case, prosecutors had said Green was hired to kill Schafer, who was found dead in a Junction City apartment on Christmas Day 2018. But a second man arrested in the case and accused of hiring Green, later had charges against him dropped.
KBI: Arkansas Man Under Pursuit Fatally Shot Himself
COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says a 32-year-old Arkansas man who died during a law enforcement pursuit last week shot himself. The KBI says an autopsy determined that Wesley Jordan, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the southeast Kansas town of Independence. The chase began last Friday after a reported robbery at an inn in Coffeyville. Authorities say Jordan and state troopers exchanged gunfire during the pursuit. When the chase ended, Jordan got out of the vehicle and officers fired at him. No officers were hurt.
Man Charged in Death of Woman Who's Body was Found in Ninnescah River
UNDATED (AP) - A Wichita man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of a woman whose body was found in a river earlier this year. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the charges against 48-year-old Robert Bruce Mans Jr. in the death of 27-year-old Shalan Niccole Gannon, also of Wichita. Mans was arrested in Wichita Thursday. Shalan Gannon was reported missing on April 11, and her body was found in June in the Ninnescah River in rural Sumner County. Authorities did not release any other information, including how she died or how Mans was connected to her death.
Court Revives Kansas City Man's Lawsuit in Wrongful Arrest
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit filed by a Black Kansas City man who was wrongfully arrested when he was 15 and held for three weeks without charge. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit filed by Tyree Bell and his mother against the two officers who arrested Bell in June 2016. They said they arrested him because he matched the description of a suspect who fled with a gun earlier that day. Evidence showed Bell was taller, wore different clothing and had a different hairstyle than the suspect.
Sporting KC Earns Playoff Berth, Beating FC Cincinnati 1-0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Roger Espinoza scored and Sporting Kansas City clinched a playoff berth with a 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night. Sporting Kansas City also moved into the Western Conference lead. Cincinnati lost its third straight match and was eliminated from playoff contention. Espinoza's shot from close range deflected off goalkeeper Spencer Richey's left foot in the 57th minute.
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