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Headlines for Monday, April 26, 2021

Kansas Population Grows 3%; State Keeps 4 U.S. House Seats

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas saw its population grow 3% from 2010 to 2020 and the state will keep its four U.S. House seats. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday that the state had 2.9 million residents, or some 84,700 more than after the 2010 census. The state’s population growth over the decade was less than the national figure of 7.4%. Even without the loss of a congressional seat, the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature and Democratic Governor Laura Kelly face a contentious battle next year over redrawing the state’s political boundaries. More detailed census figures will be released later this year showing populations by race, Hispanic origin, gender and housing.

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Reporter Dies After Being Struck by Stray Bullet in Her Apartment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A young public radio journalist has died after being struck by a stray bullet inside her Kansas City apartment. The reporter, 24-year-old Aviva Okeson-Haberman, was struck by a bullet Friday afternoon while she was in her first-floor apartment, according to KCUR Radio, where she worked. Okeson-Haberman had been covering Missouri government and politics at the station where she had worked since 2019 after graduating from the University of Missouri. After news of Okeson-Haberman's death broke Sunday, many colleagues and public officials, including Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, offered memories and condolences on Twitter. Okeson-Haberman's reports aired on KCUR, Kansas Public Radio and other radio stations across the state.

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Police: Man Shot and Killed Sunday Becomes Kansas City's 47th Homicide Victim of 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a man was shot and killed early Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri. Police Department spokeswoman Officer Donna Drake said officers were called to the area near East 29th Street and Jackson Avenue around 5 am Sunday when gunshots were reported. About a block away from where the shooting was reported officers found a man with gunshot wounds inside a vehicle. The man died at the scene. Police did not immediately release the victim’s identity and no arrests were reported Sunday morning. The shooting death is the 47th homicide reported in Kansas City so far this year.

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Kansas Governor Signs Bill to Modernize Unemployment System

UNDATED (AP) – Governor Laura Kelly has signed a bipartisan bill to give the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature more oversight of the modernization of the state’s troubled unemployment system. The bill Kelly signed on Monday will require the Kansas Department of Labor to complete computer upgrades by the end of 2022.  The new law also calls for an audit of the impact of fraudulent claims and improper payments beginning last year. The state has acknowledged a flood of fraudulent unemployment claims and attempts by scammers and internet bots to access the system.

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Kansas Plans to Resume Single Dose J&J COVID-19 Vaccinations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials will resume using the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after federal agencies concluded its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clots. Administration of the shot was paused on April 13 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration following reports that some recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots. Federal health officials lifted an 11-day pause on the vaccine on Friday. The state’s next supply of the J&J vaccine is expected the week of May 3 with 1,700 doses.

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62 Kansas Counties Turn Down Vaccine Doses as Demand Wanes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More than half of the state's counties have turned down their weekly allotment of coronavirus vaccine doses because demand for the shots has declined. The state said 62 of Kansas' 105 counties declined their weekly allocations of vaccines from the state last week. A spokesperson for Governor Laura Kelly said it appears that many Kansans are delaying getting the vaccine after there has been a steady drop in the number of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the state. Officials are planning a campaign to encourage people who are indifferent or reluctant to get the vaccine to consider getting the shots.

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Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Totals More than 307,000, Death Toll Nears 5,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports there have been 307,865 cases, including 4,970 deaths related to the virus, since the pandemic began. That's an increase of 493 cases and two deaths since Friday. Another update is expected Wednesday.

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Kansas Agency Missing $72,000: 4 Years of Probing Reveals Few Answers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More than $72,000 in seized cash went missing from a central Kansas sheriff's department sometime after a drug bust on Interstate 70 in January 2017. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it still has open cases involving employees of the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department in Abilene, though investigations of the former sheriff and the missing money are closed. The ex-sheriff lost his August 2020 primary race to a former, long-term employee and two top KBI officials said in a court document that the agency's investigations were hindered by a "fear of retribution." And there's still no explanation of what happened to the missing money.

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Autopsy Indicates Topeka Inmate Died from Natural Causes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says a preliminary autopsy indicated a 35-year-old female inmate at the Topeka Correctional Facility died of natural causes related to heart failure. Jessica Chapman died Monday after she collapsed at a scheduled appointment at the prison's medical clinic. The KBI says Chapman had received medical treatment the previous weekend for chest pains. A corrections department spokeswoman says Chapman's death is not believed to be related to COVID-19. The KBI investigates all deaths of inmates at prisons or jails, unless the person is under the care of a doctor. Chapman was serving time for a drug conviction in Barton County and forgery from Rice County.

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Man Who Escaped from Kansas Jail Caught About 48 Hours Later

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — An inmate who is accused of threatening an officer with piece of lumber after escaping from a Kansas jail was captured early Saturday. The Atchison County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that 20-year-old Taggart Darnell Lee escaped about 48 hours earlier when staff failed to follow several security procedures, allowing him to manipulate a door lock and make his way into an unsecured area of the jail. From there he made his made outside, where an officer chased him for several blocks. Lee had been in custody since January on charges of aggravated robbery.

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Pedestrians in Separate Cities in Kansas Killed in Crashes

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in separate cities in Kansas say two pedestrians died after being hit by vehicles late last week. Investigators say the incidents happened at nearly the same time Friday night in Kansas City, Kansas, and about 40 miles away in Lawrence. The first happened in Lawrence around 8:40 p.m., when police say a 60-year-old Lawrence woman was hit by a vehicle on West 19th Street and pronounced deceased at the scene. The second fatality occurred around 8:50 p.m. in Kansas City, when police were called to 10th Street and Central Avenue and found a person who had been hit by a car that had fled the scene. That pedestrian was taken to a hospital and later died.

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Police: 1 Dead, 3 Injured in Historic Kansas City District

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say one person has died and three others have been injured in a shooting in Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district. Police say officers were called to the area just after 10 p.m. Sunday for reports of a shooting. Police say all four were taken to area hospitals, where one man was pronounced dead. Mayor Quinton Lucas, who lives in the neighborhood, identified the man Monday as Gary Taylor, a personal trainer. Police say the other victims' gunshot wounds were not believed to be life-threatening. Investigators said the shooting apparently began with an argument and fight inside an establishment in the district before shots were fired outside the business.

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Kansas City Southern in Talks on Dueling Rail Takeover Bids

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — As deal talks begin, Canadian National railroad says it is receiving broad support for its $33.7 billion bid to buy Kansas City Southern. Canadian National said Monday that more than 400 shippers and other stakeholders have submitted letters supporting its offer, including some who previously supported Canadian Pacific’s $25 billion bid to buy Kansas City Southern. That’s similar to the level of support Canadian Pacific says it has received for its offer. On Saturday, Kansas City Southern said it would negotiate with CN about its unsolicited offer because it “could reasonably be expected” to be considered a superior proposal although KCS’s board hasn’t yet determined that it is.

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Police Say 1 Killed, 1 Injured in Wichita Apartment Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A teenager was killed and another was injured in a shooting at a Wichita apartment complex. Police said 17-year-old Eric Stokes died in the shooting Sunday evening at Morgan's Landing Apartments. Another 17-year-old was treated and released from a hospital after suffering minor injuries. Police say five people were in an apartment when three unknown suspects forced their way in. The five people went into a bedroom and the suspects, who wore masks, began shooting and then fled. No arrests have been made.  Police say it wasn't a random shooting and drugs may have been involved.

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Man Killed in Coffeyville; Suspect Arrested in New Mexico

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 46-year-old man has died after being shot in Coffeyville. Officers were called to a shooting Friday morning. Witnesses told police the victim was taken to the Coffeyville hospital by private vehicle. Police say 46-year-old Christopher Temple, of Coffeyville, was flown to a Tulsa hospital, where he died from his wounds. Coffeyville Police Capt. Darin Daily says a suspect, 24-year-old Ruben Alfonso Ruiz Robles, of Coffeyville, was arrested Monday in New Mexico. No further information was released.

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Oklahoma Man Sentenced in Shooting at Missouri Police Car

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — A 61-year-old Oklahoma man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in a case involving shots being fired at a Seneca, Missouri, police car during a chase. Kenneth Nelums, of Picher, Oklahoma, was sentenced Monday after entering Alford pleas to first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. The shooting occurred September 12 during a chase that began when a Seneca officer tried to pull over a pickup truck. Shots were fired at the officer's car. No one was injured but the shots hit the police vehicle. Another Oklahoma man and a man from Baxter Springs, Kansas, were sentenced earlier to 15 years in prison for their roles in the shooting.

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Woman Sentenced for Fatal Shooting of Teen at High School

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A woman has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for fatally shooting a 15-year-old girl outside a Kansas City high school as the teen left a basketball game. Twenty-four-year-old Jamya Norfleet was sentenced Friday for second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon in the February 2019 death of An’Janique Wright. The shooting happened outside the Central Academy of Excellence after two groups of people got into an argument at the game and were escorted out separately. Wright was not enrolled at the school but was there for the game. Charging documents say Norfleet told investigators, “I let the fire go.”

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Two Kansas Women Arrested in January 6 Capitol Riot

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two Kansas women arrested in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol told the FBI they expected to participate in a peaceful protest supporting former President Donald Trump that day. Court records show that Jennifer Ruth Parks and Esther Schwemmer were both arrested Friday. An affidavit filed in Parks' case describes how the two women entered the U.S. Capitol after protesters broke into the building and remained inside for 30 minutes to an hour. Parks is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, but the charges against Schwemmer had not been released as of Sunday.

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Small Earthquakes Rattle North-Central Kansas

SMITH CENTER, Kan. (AP) — Several small earthquakes have rattled north-central Kansas. The largest had a magnitude of 3.5 and was reported Friday in Jewell County. Two other quakes measuring 2.3 and 2.5 on the Richter scale were recorded Saturday in Smith County, while a third with a magnitude of 2.5 was reported in Jewell County. There are no reports of damage. The threshold for damage usually starts at a magnitude 4.0.

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Student Leader with Record Wore "White Lives Matter" Mask

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man who once threatened to storm the Sedgwick County Courthouse and shoot officers is again the subject of controversy after wearing a "white lives matter" face mask when he was sworn in as a student senator at Wichita State University. The Wichita Eagle reports that 27-year-old Sam McCrory donned the mask Thursday, the day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd. McCrory, an electrical engineering major, said he wore the mask to make a political point and to push back against "the modern left" which he said "hates white people."

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Man and Woman Found Dead After Shooting in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man and a woman were found dead after a shooting was reported at a mobile home park in southeast Wichita. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department said deputies found the two bodies with gunshot wounds early Saturday after forcing their way into a home in the Englewood mobile home park. A 42-year-old man and 41-year-old woman were found dead, but authorities did not immediately release their names. The sheriff's office said deputies are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting.

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Kansas Governor Vetoes Measures to Tighten Election Laws

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed two Republican-backed election bills, including one that would have limited most individuals to delivering 10 ballots during each election, and required candidates to deliver ballots only from immediate family members. The other would have barred the governor, secretary of state or the courts from changing election rules. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the bills this month, but did not have the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. Republican lawmakers pushing the ballot-collection bill say they're making it less likely that ballots will go missing or get altered, while Democrats counter with cases of voters who don't have reliable transportation.

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Kansas Governor Vetoes Bill to Lower Concealed Carry Age

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a bill that would allow people as young as 18 to carry concealed weapons after Kansas legislators approved the bill by margins that weren't large enough to override a veto. The legislation would have created a provisional license for those 18 to 21, issued by the state attorney general. Permit holders would have had to complete a background check and undergo gun safety training. Some Republican legislators say 18-year-old Kansans can already carry firearms in the open and those as young as 18 are allowed to serve in the military. Democratic lawmakers argued that those under 21 are less mature and more prone to risk-taking.

Kansas Governor Vetoes GOP-Backed Education Measures

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed two Republican-backed education bills. One of the measures the Democratic governor vetoed last week would have required high school students to pass a civics test to graduate. The other would have allowed districts to incorporate gun safety courses into their curriculums. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved the bills this month, but not by large enough margins for override attempts to succeed. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone who opposed either bill initially might back one or both bills in an override attempt, or even if attempts would be made. Some Republicans who opposed the bills agreed with state Board of Education members who said the measures would have infringed upon the board’s constitutional authority to set graduation requirements.

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Black Neighborhoods in Kansas Hard Hit by Property Tax Sales

UNDATED (AP) — Residents in historically Black neighborhoods in the Kansas City, Kansas, risk losing their homes amid the pandemic as delinquent property tax sales resume under a practice critics decry as racist and government officials laud for revitalizing communities. Even though it is just the state's fourth largest county, the number of delinquent tax properties put up for sale by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County dwarfs those of much larger Kansas counties. It typically offers about 2,200 properties annually at its three tax auctions. Most are unsold and end up in the Wyandotte County Land Bank, a unit of its economic development department. Wyandotte is the only county in Kansas to have its own land bank, although some cities in the state also have them.

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TikTok Restores Account of Young Disabled Wichita Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — TikTok has restored an account featuring a young Wichita man with a debilitating skin condition after celebrities blasted the video-sharing site for banning it. The Wichita Eagle reports that Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco and media personality Perez Hilton were among those who came to the defense of Marky Burrola-Jaquez on Friday. Screenshots collected by his mother, Melissa Jaquez, who manages the account show that TikTok was labeling pictures of her son as "violent and graphic content." TikKok contends the account was removed because someone had flagged it as a possible violation of a rule that prohibits children under 13 from having an account, not because of his appearance. Marky is 20, although his disability makes him look younger.

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Maryland Hires Ex-Wake Forest Coach Danny Manning as Assistant

UNDATED (AP) – The University of Maryland has hired former Wake Forest coach Danny Manning as an assistant on Mark Turgeon's staff. Manning spent the past year as an analyst for ESPN. He was fired after his team finished with a losing record in five of six seasons at Wake Forest and just one NCAA Tournament appearance. Manning and Turgeon were teammates at Kansas in the 1980s. He was an assistant on Bill Self's national championship-winning team at Kansas in in 2008. He coached at Tulsa for two seasons before getting the job at Wake Forest. Maryland is coming off a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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