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Headlines for Monday, April 6, 2020

UPDATE: COVID-19 Cases in Kansas Climb to 845, Including 25 deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — As of 11 am today (MON), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 845 COVID-19 cases from 53 Kansas counties, with 25 deaths. KDHE reports there have been 198 of 407 cases (32.7%) that required hospitalization.

Earlier reporting...

Kansas Coronavirus Cases Up to Nearly 850, with 25 Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting nearly 100 more cases of the coronavirus, with 25 deaths. Health officials said 845 cases have been confirmed as of Monday morning, up from 747 cases on Sunday. While Johnson and Wyandotte counties in eastern Kansas still have the vast majority of cases, the virus has spread to 53 Kansas counties. At least 183 people have been hospitalized with the virus. The increase comes after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly warned last week that the state could run out of personal protective gear for medical personnel and others fighting the disease by Tuesday. 

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Gov. Kelly: Kansas Is Scouring the State for Health Supplies

UNDATED (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly says officials are scouring the state to find supplies to help frontline workers treating people with the coronavirus. The governor said Monday that Kansas should finish distributing supplies it received from a federal national stockpile by Tuesday. But she noted Kansas has not received any of the millions of supplies it has requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That comes on a day when Kansas reported confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 845, nearly 100 more than on Sunday, with 25 deaths. Health Director Dr. Lee Norman said he expects the increases to continue, in part because more testing is being done.  

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State Prison at Lansing Announces More COVID-19 Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas reported 49 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday. The state has confirmed 747 cases, up from 698 on Saturday. Twenty-two virus-related deaths have been confirmed, one more than on Saturday.  State health officials say 183 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19. The ill include a an inmate and the fourth staff member to test positive at the Lansing Correctional Facility. Corrections officials say the illnesses and employee absences at the state's largest prison have prompted some operational changes. For example, movement of inmates will be reduced to ensure they stay in the assigned groups.

 

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Virus Cluster Found at Kansas Rehabilitation Center

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A cluster of coronavirus cases have been found at a rehabilitation center in Kansas City, Kansas. Seventeen residents and two staff members at Riverbend Post Acute Care Center have tested positive for the virus. The chief medical officer with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas says six of those residents have been hospitalized. Riverbend has 135 residents. Statewide, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grew Saturday to 698, up 78 from a day earlier. Twenty-one deaths were reported in Kansas.

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Missouri Coronavirus Cases Rise as Stay-at-Home Order Takes Effect

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri reported 10 more COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, although a national database has recorded even more deaths in the state. State health officials said 34 people had died from the disease, up from 24 reported on Saturday. A database operated by Johns Hopkins University was reporting 44 deaths in Missouri on Sunday. State officials said Missouri's official count lagged behind because the state was not requring that deaths be reported within 24 hours. That procedure was scheduled to change starting Sunday. The increases came as a statewide stay-at-home order was scheduled to take effect at midnight this (MON) morning.  

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Missouri Seeks Retired Medical Staff, Others to Fight Virus

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri is asking medical professionals who are not working to join a specialized state team that responds to critical health emergencies. Selected medical workers would become part of the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team. The state is asking health care students, retired health care workers or those whose professional registration recently expired to apply online for the team. Individuals are needed with background in medicine, nursing, allied health, dentistry, biomedicine, laboratory science, logistics and communications. Medical personnel from the team have already deployed to Golden Valley Hospital in Clinton and Western Missouri Medical Center in Warrensburg.

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U.S. Supreme Court Overrules Kansas Supreme Court, Backs Police in Traffic Stops

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is ruling that police can pull over a car when they know only that its owner’s license is invalid, even if they don’t know who’s behind the wheel. The court said in a decision Monday that unless there’s reason to believe otherwise, it’s common sense for an officer to think the car’s owner will be driving. The high court reversed a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found police violated a driver’s constitutional rights when they stopped his pickup based only on information that the truck owner’s license had been revoked.

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Man Arrested After Standoff at Kansas Police Station

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man armed with an ax was taken into custody after a standoff at a police station in southern Kansas. Arkansas City Police Chief Dan Ward says the man entered a lobby Sunday afternoon and hit the interior door to the police department's secured area with a long-handled ax. He says the man, 38-year-old Douglas Gleaves, yelled at officers for more than two hours before he was subdued with a Taser. Gleaves was taken to South Central Kansas Medical Center for a mental health evaluation. Ward says possible charges include aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, criminal damage to property and criminal threat.

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Group Wants Riley County Official Gone over Virus Remarks

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — An activist group is pushing for the resignation of Riley County Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez over comments he made related to coronavirus and Chinese people. The Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice said Monday that Rodriguez should resign for saying at a March meeting that Manhattan, Kansas, wasn't at high risk for the coronavirus because it doesn't have many Chinese residents. The advocates contend such remarks fuel hatred toward Asians, by promoting a belief that China is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic. Rodriguez had earlier apologized for his remarks, saying he likes Chinese food and has Chinese friends. 

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Topeka Police Investigate Man's Shooting Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating the shooting death of a 28-year-old man in central Topeka. D'Angelo Payne was found dead Saturday night. Lt. Ron Ekis says officers responded to the scene after a report that shots were fired and a vehicle had crashed. Officers found D'Angelo Payne dead at the scene. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports details of the crash and the shooting have not been released. Shawnee County District Court records show Payne was scheduled to appear May 7 on charges that included felony drug possession, which were filed after his arrest in December. No arrests have been made in his death.

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Divers Recover Body of Trash Truck Driver from Kansas River

PERRY, Kan. (AP) — Divers have recovered the body of a Kansas trash truck driver who was reported missing on Friday. Authorities say 32-year-old Bernard Singleton, of Topeka, apparently lost control of his truck west of Perry during inclement weather Friday morning. The truck hit a guard rail and overturned in the river, where it sank. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig said Deffenbaugh Industries contacted the sheriff's office Friday evening after Singleton didn't return from his route. Authorities used his phone to find Singleton's location. His body and truck were recovered Saturday afternoon.

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Pittsburg Man Arrested After Father is Fatally Shot

PITTSBURG, Kan. (The Joplin (Mo.) Globe) — A southeast Kansas man is jailed after he allegedly called police to say he had fatally shot his father. Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith said 29-year-old Michael Woodson called the department Sunday night to say he had just shot his father at their home. Deputies found 53-year-old David Buckley dead inside the home and arrested Woodson without incident. The Joplin Globe reports that Smith would not say how many times the father was shot and investigators are still trying to determine a motive. The two men were the only ones home at the time. 

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Kansas Man Charged in Killings of Girlfriend, Her Daughter

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of his girlfriend and her daughter. The suspect, Daniel Lopez, hasn't been arrested. He is charged in the deaths of 25-year-old Mickayla Sorell and 8-year-old Natalya Sorell. Their bodies were found last Monday at their home in Wichita after Sorrell's colleagues reported that she hadn't turned up for work. Police believe the shooting occurred March 28. KWCH reports Wichita police presented the case to the Sedgwick County Attorney's office Friday. Lopez is also charged with criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated assault.

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3 Charged for Robbery, Assault in Missouri Cemetery

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says three people are charged with robbing and assaulting a woman in a Kansas City, Missouri-area cemetery. Prosecutors charged 32-year-old Harrisonville resident Maggie Jestice, 31-year-old Lancaster, Kansas, resident Dustin Richardson, and 59-year-old Harrisonville resident Glen Downton. No attorneys were listed for any of them Friday. The Kansas City Star reports a 35-year-old Blue Springs woman told officers she went to a cemetery near Harrisonville with a friend on Thursday. Then she says the friend and two other people assaulted her. Jestice, Richardson and Downton are in jail on a $50,000 cash only bond.

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Kansas Searchers Find Body of Child Swept Away in River

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say searchers looking for a 20-month-old girl missing since March 11 found her remains Saturday in the Little Walnut River. The Wichita Eagle reports that the girl was a passenger in her father's truck when he ran from the Leon Police Department. Christopher Johnson was allegedly drinking when he took off from police and crashed into the Little Walnut River near Leon, Kansas. Johnson died after being pinned in the truck that landed on its top.

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Search for Body of Missing Missouri Woman Could Cost $500,000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The search for the body of a Missouri woman presumed to have been murdered by her husband could cost at least $500,000. Authorities in Columbia believe the body of Mengqi Ji was dropped in the Lamine River, near Booneville in Cooper County, after she disappeared October 8. In February, a grand jury indicted her husband, Joseph Elledge, on first-degree murder for allegedly killing her. The Kansas City Star reported Friday that Ji’s family has reached out Missouri’s congressional delegation asking to tap into money from the U.S. Army Crops of Engineers to help fun the search.

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Kansas Governor Signs Bill to Launch New Transportation Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has signed legislation to launch a new, 10-year transportation program she and other officials see as a $10 billion stimulus to counter the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. The program will use use existing funds to pay for $1 billion a year in projects, with projects designated every two years. The measure Kelly signed Friday allows the state to expedite $300 million worth of big projects with a fast-track, designing-while-building process. The program commits $85 million over 10 years to improving the infrastructure for broadband service. The legislation also allows the state to build three toll roads.

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Topeka Zoo Changes Annual Fundraisers in Wake of Outbreak

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT-TV) — The Topeka Zoo has announced it will make changes to two major fundraisers as officials look to slow the spread of COVID-19. Television station KSNT reports that the zoo announced the changes Sunday. The Roar & Pour Wine Fest will be held online as a Facebook Live Event on April 25. The zoo's Brew At the Zoo event has been pushed to July 24. It had been scheduled for early June. Those who have already bought tickets will receive new tickets with the rescheduled date. The zoo is also offering refunds for those who want them.

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New Coronavirus Limits Bring New Tensions to Religious Freedom

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite state and local limits on public gatherings, some faith leaders have persisted in holding in-person services -- a matter of religious freedom, they say, as the nation approached its fourth Sunday battling the coronavirus pandemic. Law enforcement officials in Florida, Louisiana and Maryland took separate action this week against pastors who continue to hold in-person services in the face of stay-home orders in most states. But more than a half-dozen of those state orders provide a degree of exemption for religious activity, underscoring the political sensitivity of the decisions being made by states and localities.  

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In Years Before Outbreak, Investment in Public Health Fell

UNDATED (AP) — In the decade before the coronavirus outbreak, state and local officials across the United States made steady and sometimes dramatic cuts to their first line of defense against pandemics and other public health emergencies. Funding for public health was slashed at the federal level and for state and local departments after the 2008 recession caused serious budget problems. But as the economy recovered, public health funding did not. A shortfall persisted despite several alarming outbreaks, from H1N1 to Ebola, and experts say that's left the U.S. more vulnerable now to COVID-19.

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Kansas City-St. Joseph Adds Priest's Name to Abuser List

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (The Kansas City Star) — The Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic diocese has added the name of a priest who served in the 1940s to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. The diocese said Sunday on its website that allegations against the Rev. Peter Clement Vatter had been substantiated. The diocese says the abuse occurred in the late 1940s, when Vatter was pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Moberly, which was renamed St. Pius X Parish in 1955. Vatter died in November 1950. The diocese has now named 25 credibly accused clergy who have served in the diocese. 

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Local Newspapers Facing Their Own Coronavirus Crisis

NEW YORK (AP) — Just when Americans need it most, a U.S. newspaper industry already under stress is facing an unprecedented new challenge. Readers desperate for information are more reliant than ever on local media as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. But newspapers, magazines and digital publishers are feeling the pressure as advertising craters. They are cutting jobs, staff hours and pay, dropping print editions -- and in some cases shutting down entirely. Some researchers warn that the next recession, which has almost certainly begun already, could be an “extinction level event” for newspapers. In Washington, the industry is looking for federal aid that won't compromise its independence.

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