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Headlines for Friday, October 9, 2020

Kansas Reports Over 65,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 763 Virus-Related Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - State health officials say Kansas has recorded more than 65,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health and Environment reported today (FRI) that the state had 65,807 cases, including 763 deaths. That's an increase of 1,855 cases and 20 deaths since Wednesday. The next update will be released Monday.  


Top Health Official: Kansas 'Losing the Battle' on COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’s top public health official has warned the state is “losing the battle” against the coronavirus as it reports another record increase in new cases. The state health department on Friday reported 1,855 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Wednesday to bring the total for the pandemic to 65,807. The state also reported another 40 COVID-19-related deaths, increasing the total to 763. Kansas saw an average of 671 new cases a day for the seven days ending Friday, breaking the state’s previous record of 667 for the seven days ending Sept. 28. Health department head Dr. Lee Norman said Kansas is doing worse than other states.


Kansas COVID-19 Hospitalizations Spike; Emergency Extended

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators have signed off on Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s request to extend a state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic. Their action Wednesday came as the state set another record for COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Eight leaders of the GOP-controlled Legislature, six of them Republicans, quickly and unanimously approved Kelly’s plan to extend the state of emergency until November 15. Meanwhile, the state health department reported that Kansas had another 1,244 new coronavirus cases since Monday, an increase of 2%. 


Missouri Cases, Hospitalizations, Unemployment Claims Rise

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri reported a jump of more than 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and hospitalizations of confirmed and suspected cases reached the highest number since the pandemic began. The state health department on Thursday said Missouri confirmed 1,505 more cases and 23 more deaths, for totals of 137,156 cases and 2,259 deaths since the pandemic started. State health data shows 1,344 Missourians were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Wednesday. The seven-day average for hospitalizations was 1,204, also a new high since the pandemic began. And the state labor department reported initial unemployment claims rose last week, after falling steadily in the previous three weeks. 


Kansas Governor Seeks Nonpartisan Panel After GOP Senate Leader's Talk of Gerrymandering

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is calling for the creation of nonpartisan commission to handle redrawing state legislative and congressional districts after a video surfaced of a top Republican lawmaker discussing how gerrymandering can help oust the state’s sole Democratic member of Congress. Senate President Susan Wagle can be seen in the video talking to a conservative Wichita group in September that it's crucial Republicans have the votes to override an anticipated Kelly veto of a GOP-drawn congressional map. Redrawing the map is seen as part of an attempt to unseat Kansas Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids, who represents the 3rd congressional district in the Kansas City area.


More Voting Options, Fewer Polling Sites Planned in Kansas

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters will have more options this year to cast their ballot, easing the pressure on fewer, available, in-person polling sites on Election Day. The plans come amid pandemic concerns that have closed traditional voting locations in many churches and nursing homes. Local election officials have been scrambling to find alternative handicap-accessible sites that are large enough to allow for social distancing on Election Day. They are counting on more voters using advance ballots that can be mailed in, dropped in new ballot boxes or taken to polling sites. Some Kansas counties are also opening more in-person polling sites — and opening them sooner than usual — for in-person early voting this year.


Judge Rules Kansas Polling Site Buffer Zone Constitutional

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled a Kansas law that prohibits electioneering within a 250-foot buffer zone of a polling location is constitutional and does not infringe on the First Amendment. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Holly Teeter dismissed the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas against Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Johnson County election commissioner. In her ruling, Teeter cited a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Burson v. Freemen, that rejected a challenge to a similar Tennessee statute. Teeter noted the Kansas electioneering law has also stood unchallenged for nearly 60 years and that all 50 states have similar laws.


KU Football Coach Les Miles Tests Positive for COVID-19

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas head football coach Les Miles has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantining in his home, where he plans to fulfill his head coaching responsibilities remotely as the Jayhawks spend a week off before visiting West Virginia. Miles announced his positive test in a statement Thursday. The school did not say whether any other players or staff have tested positive, though the Jayhawks have had clusters of positive tests since the beginning of the season.


Lawrence Leaders Approve Temporary Campsite in Park for Homeless

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Lawrence City Commission has approved a campsite in a city park for the homeless, but made clear the move was temporary while community leaders seek other ways to address homelessness. The Journal-World reports that the commission voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve a 6-month special event permit for a temporary homeless campground at Woody Park. The move comes as the Lawrence Community Shelter recently reduced its capacity from 125 to about 25 people in an effort to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The campsite will provide portable trailers, toilets, showers and social services for 20-25 people who are homeless.


Washburn Students Push Back After Spring Break is Canceled

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Students are urging Washburn University officials to reconsider their decision to cancel spring break in an effort to minimize COVID-19 transmission.  The Washburn Student Government Association passed a resolution Wednesday calling on the administration to consider an alternative that would add three "mental health days" into the spring calendar, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.  The student leaders said they were blindsided by last week's announcement that students would go through 15 uninterrupted weeks of classes, with "finals week" held one week earlier, between May 1 and 7.  "We understand the need for safety, but we can't sacrifice safety for mental health," said student body president Victoria Smith.  JuliAnn Mazachek, vice president for academic affairs, said in an email late last week that spring break was being eliminated to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students.  "As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow both nationally and in our state, it is incumbent upon the university to design an academic schedule that minimizes opportunity for contraction and transmission of this virus," Mazachek wrote.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported another 1,244 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases from Monday to Wednesday to bring the pandemic total to 63,952, which includes 723 deaths.  The number of new deaths rose by 17.  


Man Charged After 6-Year-Old Boy Shot at Friend's Home

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence man has been charged after a 6-year-old boy was shot at a friend's home. Rashun Lewis was charged with aggravated endangering a child, which alleges he allowed the child to be placed in a situation where his life or health was endangered. The boy, Tayshawn Mack Harris, was flown to a Kansas City hospital in critical condition on Aug. 5 after being shot at a friend's home. Lawrence police have not disclosed circumstances of the shooting except to say they do not suspect foul play. Lewis has been issued a summons and his first court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 5.


Man Arrested in 2019 Shooting That Killed Topeka Teen

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a man has been arrested in the shooting death of a teen in his Topeka home last year. The Capital-Journal reports that 23-year-old Darnell Tyree-Peppers, of Topeka, was arrested Thursday. Police say Tyree-Peppers is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated robbery in the Nov. 12 shooting death of 15-year-old Owen Hughes. Also killed in the shooting was 21-year-old Reginald McKinney Jr. Prosecutors have said Hughes died after McKinney and others forced their way into Hughes’ home, where McKinney and others fired guns and Hughes returned fire. Also charged in Hughes’ death is Larry Huggins III, 23, who is set to appear at an Oct. 27 pretrial hearing.


Construction Begins on Disputed Tribal Casino near Wichita

PARK CITY, Kan. (AP) — After years of legal battles, construction has begun on a tribal casino near Wichita. The Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma opened a small casino in a trailer on Wednesday in Park City, on land where it plans to build a larger casino. For now, the tribe can offer only gaming devices like electronic Bingo games. The state has asked a federal court to set aside a decision that allows the Wyandotte Nation to operate a casino in Park City. The state's lawsuit continues a decades-long dispute over the tribe’s legal authority to build a casino on the land. 


Pregnant Kansas City Woman Arrested by Police Attends Rally

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A pregnant woman whose arrest by Kansas City police ignited an occupation of city hall grounds cried and could not speak at a rally with supporters. But Deja Stallings said in a statement read by her attorney that she cries every day out of fear for her unborn child. Stallings' arrest last week sparked outrage after videos showed an officer with a knee on her back as she was on the ground. Civil rights groups set up a "people's city" and are camping on the grounds of City Hall, demanding the firing of any officers involved and Police Chief Rick Smith, and a 50% reduction in the police department's budget. 


Police Arrest Man After 3 Shot, Wounded Outside Topeka Hotel

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say they have arrested a man after an overnight shooting outside a Topeka hotel that injured three people. Police say in a news release that officers were called around 2:40 am Thursday to a Holiday Inn in north Topeka for a report of a fight. Arriving officers found two people suffering from gunshot wounds. Both gave police a description of the shooter and were taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening. More than two hours later, police found a third shooting victim, who was also treated for injuries. Police say they arrested 20-year-old Jacob Reisinger on suspicion of two counts of aggravated robbery, three counts of aggravated battery and criminal damage.


Remains in Crawford County Identified; Homicide Suspected

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified remains found in rural Crawford County as a man who was reported missing on July 1. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Crawford County Sheriff's office says the remains were those of 19-year-old Joseph Ruttgen. A family member reported him missing to Erie police. He was last seen in Parsons. The remains were found Aug. 10 in western Crawford County. DNA was used to identify the body. Authorities say Ruttgen's death is being investigated as a homicide but did not provide further details.


Deputy Who Fatally Shot Missouri Woman Reinstated to Force

SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) — A sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a Missouri woman in June is back at work. The Pettis County sheriff's deputy returned to work last week after an internal investigation found he had not violated any department policies in the June 13 shooting death of 25-year-old Hannah Fizer. A special prosecutor announced last month the deputy would not face criminal charges. The deputy's name has not been released. The deputy told investigators that Fizer said she had a gun and threatened to shoot him after he stopped her car for traffic violations. Her family and friends have questioned that story. No gun was found in Fizer's car.


Lawsuit Filed over Man's Death After Arrest in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The husband of a man who died after he was found unresponsive in a Kansas City police station is suing the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. Terry Farmer died at a hospital on Dec. 31 and his death was ruled a suicide. His husband, Bradley Farmer, alleges in the wrongful death lawsuit that detention officers at a police station in northern Kansas City did not provide proper medical care to Terry Farmer when they knew he was suicidal. Terry Farmer used a metal telephone cord to hang himself in the holding cell. Police declined to comment on the lawsuit.


Kansas City Area Principal Sorry for Demanding Girls Remove Controversial T-Shirts

RIVERSIDE, Mo. (AP) — An interim principal at a Kansas City-area high school has apologized for storming onto the volleyball court and demanding that the girls team take off their racial unity T-shirts before a game. The shirts were emblazoned with the words “Together We Rise” and depicted three raised fists in different skin tones. WDAF-TV reports that the Park Hill South School’s girls volleyball team wore the T-shirts for warm-ups before their September 29 game.  Interim principal Kerrie Herren made them put on different shirts.  He has since repeatedly apologized, saying he made a mistake and that the girls can wear them from now on.


Man Charged in Fatal Stabbing in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Prosecutors have charged a man in the fatal stabbing of another man last weekend in Kansas City, Kansas, as well as for a police chase the suspect is accused of instigating. The Kansas City Star reports that 40-year-old Gerald Chatman, of Kansas City, Kansas, has been charged in Wyandotte County District Court with second-degree murder and fleeing law enforcement charges. He is accused of fatally stabbing 45-year-old Thompson Stephenson on Saturday before fleeing. Officers called to the scene found Stephenson in the grass suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to a hospital where he later died. Police say Chatman fled the scene and was arrested after a car chase that involved the Kansas Highway Patrol. 


Wichita State University Launches Misconduct Inquiry into Coach Gregg Marshall

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita State University is conducting an internal investigation into allegations that men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall mistreated players. Stadium, a multiplatform sports network, says the inquiry began after the university learned it was conducting an investigation in which it interviewed 36 players and former coaches. Wichita State said in a statement Friday that it “acknowledges the allegations within its Men’s Basketball program brought forth by media” and that the investigation was being handled in an “expeditious and deliberate manner.” Marshall wrote in a text message Thursday to The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website, that he was fully participating in the process.


Clint Bowyer to Retire and Move to Fox NASCAR Coverage in 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Clint Bowyer will retire at the end of the NASCAR season and join the Fox Sports booth as an analyst. Bowyer is in his 15th full season and heads into Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway facing elimination from the playoffs. In a two-page letter posted to Twitter on Thursday night, Bowyer said he’s pursuing a new opportunity and will move into a full-time television job. Bowyer is a popular veteran who has won races for Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota during his career with Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and now Stewart-Haas Racing.


Big 12 Takes Hit from Shoddy Defenses of Oklahoma, Texas

UNDATED (AP) - Oklahoma and Texas are struggling on defense again, and it's cost both programs and the Big 12 Conference. The league's two marquee teams started off with national title hopes. Neither are where they expected to be as they prepare to meet Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. Texas is barely ranked at No. 22 and Oklahoma is out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2016. Oklahoma probably has no shot at the College Football Playoff after getting there the past three years and Texas likely would be out of the running with a loss.


K-State to Open Men's Basketball Season as Host of Little Apple Classic

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State University men's basketball team will open its season by hosting the inaugural Little Apple Classic. The four-team event features Colorado, Drake and South Dakota State. It will consist of doubleheaders taking place Nov. 25 and Nov. 27 at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats will face Drake on the first day while Colorado will meet South Dakota State. On the second day, Kansas State faces Colorado and Drake plays South Dakota State. The NCAA has delayed the start of the season to Nov. 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Little Apple Classic replaces the canceled Cayman Islands Classic on the Wildcats' schedule.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day. KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.  


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