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Headlines for Monday, July 12, 2021

Kansas Sees COVID Surge as Delta Variant Cases Keep Rising

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is seeing increasingly larger numbers of new COVID-19 cases and a surge in cases of the faster-spreading delta variant. State Department of Health and Environment data showed that Kansas averaged 371 new cases a day for the seven days ending Monday. That was the highest figure in more than four months, since the agency’s data showed an average of 404 new cases a day for the seven days ending Feb. 26. The department also reported a nearly 28% increase in confirmed cases of the delta variant since Friday. Meanwhile, Wyandotte County's health department announced plans to expand an existing vaccine lottery.

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KU Health, Olathe Health, Others Don't Publish Prices Online

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) - The KU Health System, Olathe Health, Children’s Mercy and Mercy Hospital Columbus are among local hospitals that don’t post all their prices online.  The federal government requires them to do that. A few hospitals told the Kansas News Service they haven’t published the information yet, but that they are working on it.  Suhas Gondi (SOO-hoss GONE-dee) co-authored a Harvard University study on the rule. His findings suggest most hospitals nationally aren’t complying. “Prices have traditionally been very opaque," he said. "And this lack of price transparency has often been thought to be one of the reasons why health care costs so much.”  At the start of this year, hospitals were supposed to reveal all their cash discount prices and the prices that apply for each insurance plan.  It’s a Trump administration rule that hospitals sued to block but lost in court.  (Read more.)

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Kansas City Police Searching for Shooter in Man's Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Police in Kansas City are searching for a killer who fatally shot another man following an argument.  Officers were called just after 4 pm Sunday to the Ingleside neighborhood just south of Interstate 70 for reports of a shooting. Arriving officers found a man who has been shot, and medics rushed him to a local hospital, where he died.  An initial investigation shows the victim and another man were were arguing when the victim was shot. Police say the suspect then fled before police arrived. Police have not yet released the names of the victim or the suspect.

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Authorities ID Human Remains Found in Osage County

OSAGE COUNTY, Kan. (AP/KPR) - Kansas authorities have identified human remains found this spring as a man who had been missing for years.  And they are investigating his death as a homicide.  The sheriff’s departments in Osage and Franklin counties say the remains that were found in a remote part of Osage County in March have now been identified as Jeffrey Myers.  The 43-year-old Ottawa native was reported missing in Franklin County eight years ago.     

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Summer Camps Hit with COVID Outbreaks -- Are Schools Next?

UNDATED (AP) — The U.S. has seen a string of COVID-19 outbreaks tied to summer camps in recent weeks in places such as Texas, Illinois, Florida, Missouri and Kansas, offering what some fear could be a preview of the upcoming school year. The clusters have come as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reversed course, surging more than 60% over the past two weeks from an average of about 12,000 a day to about 19,500. The rise in many places has been blamed on too many unvaccinated people and the highly contagious delta variant.

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Former KU Football Player Claims School Paid Him to Go Away

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A former University of Kansas football player says the university offered him more than $50,000 in benefits if he left the program and stayed quiet about harassment he experienced from four other players on the team. Caperton Humphrey told the Kansas City Star that he received little help from school officials after he reported the harassment.  Humphrey, who played at Kansas in 2017 and 2018, said the feud he had with several teammates culminated in a confrontation between Humphrey and the other players in his apartment when the players threatened him and his family.  Current KU officials declined to comment and former coach Les Miles didn't respond to questions about what happened.  

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Kansas City Cops Facing Criminal Charges Are Still on the Job

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Five Kansas City police officers who are facing criminal charges remain on the job, with four on administrative duty. The Kansas City Star reports that community leaders who have been critical of the Kansas City Police Department say they say they are particularly angry that a detective charged with manslaughter remains on administrative duty and is being paid.  Police spokeswoman Captain Leslie Foreman said department's policies give supervisors discretion to determine whether to suspend officers and whether that suspension should be paid or unpaid.  Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said officers charged with felonies should be suspended with pay. But Lucas said the department's policies need to be clarified.  

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Group: Feds Should Investigate Police in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Activists and faith leaders are demanding a federal investigation into Kansas City, Kansas, police. Lora McDonald, executive director of MORE2, the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, says her group plans to file a request with the U.S. Department of Justice to review the police department.  The department came under scrutiny in 2017 when Lamonte McIntyre was exonerated after spending 23 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit. A lawsuit filed by McIntyre claims officers manipulated eyewitnesses and wrote police reports with fabricated information.

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South Carolina Woman Who Conned Widow Set for Sentencing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A South Carolina woman who admitted to swindling an elderly Wichita-area widow out of more than half a million dollars in a romance scam is due to be sentenced today (MON) in Sedgwick County District Court. Sixty-eight-year-old Kathy Heistand pleaded guilty in May to the mistreatment of an elder person and theft. Court records say a 74-year-old recently widowed woman was contacted on Facebook in 2020 by someone with whom she began an online romance.  He then asked to borrow money that was funneled through Heistand.  Prosecutors say they are recommending probation because Heistand had a lesser role in the fraud scheme.    

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Man Charged with Murder in Death of Pregnant Wichita Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A 37-year-old Wichita man is charged with first-degree murder and several other counts after a crash that killed a pregnant woman while he allegedly was fleeing from police. KAKE-TV reports Javan Jermaine Ervin made his first court appearance Friday. He is charged in the death of by 22-year-old Samantha Russell. Investigators say Ervin was fleeing from police after a suspected robbery Tuesday. Police ended the case shortly after it started but prosecutors say Ervin was still speeding when he ran a red light and crashed into three vehicles, including Russell's. She was 33 weeks pregnant. Russell died but doctors were able to deliver her son, Mac.

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16-Year-Old Arrested in Newton Girl's Shooting Death

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Newton police say a 16-year-old suspect is in custody after the shooting death of a 14-year-old Hesston girl. The girl, whose name has not been released, was shot Sunday night at a home where several teenagers were gathered. Police said in a Facebook post that the suspect was drunk and waving a gun around when the girl was shot. The suspect was arrested Monday morning.

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Kansas Man Shot Woman Five Times, Left Her to Die

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (Hays Post) - A Kansas man who shot a woman and left her to die in south Sedgwick County has been sentenced to life in prison.  The Hays Post reports that a judge sentenced 43-year-old Darnell Coleman, of Wichita, to life in prison with parole eligibility after 50-years.  On October 30th, 2017, a motorist found the body of Tamsen Kayzer next to railroad tracks a mile north of Peck on south Meridian. The 40-year-old woman had been shot five times.  More than two weeks later, Sedgwick County Sheriff detectives arrested Coleman at his Wichita home.  A jury found Coleman guilty of 1st degree murder in April. The judge also ordered Coleman to pay $3,245.75 in restitution to pay for the victim's burial.

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Oklahoma Car Crash Claims Life of Kansas Man

KAY COUNTY, Okla. (KSNW) – A Kansas man has been killed in a car crash that happened Saturday morning about 7.5 miles north of Newkirk, Oklahoma.  KSNW TV reports that 28-year-old Andrew Banta, of Arkansas City, was pronounced dead at the scene along U.S. Highway 77 and County Road State Line in Kay County.  According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office, Newkirk EMS, and Arkansas City EMS, Banta was northbound on U.S. 77 when he veered into the center median striking a delineator. He continued to drive another 1/10 mile when he hit a yield sign and rolled three times. Banta, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected 15 feet from his vehicle. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

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Former Sheriff's Deputy Found Dead Before Fraud Sentencing

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - A former Nebraska sheriff's deputy was found dead the day before he was scheduled to be sentenced in a nearly $11 million fraud scheme.  The former Dodge County deputy, 50-year-old Craig Harbaugh was found dead in his Fremont, Nebraska, apartment last week. Prosecutors say a preliminary investigation found no indication of suicide or foul play.  Harbaugh operated "Tactical Solutions Gear," a federal firearms licensee formerly located in Fremont. Harbaugh pleaded guilty in February to defrauding a bank and several individuals out of nearly $11 million by using false purchase orders and service contracts. He falsely claimed to have orders for firearms and tactical gear from law enforcement agencies in Illinois, Kansas, Kansas City and Nebraska.

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Missouri Attorney General: Strickland Is Guilty of 3 Murders

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Attorney General's office says longtime inmate Kevin Strickland is guilty of killing three people in Kansas City in 1978. In a motion filed Monday, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Clarke asked a judge to deny a petition seeking to exonerate Strickland and free him from prison. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, prosecutors who convicted Strickland, and other officials have said Strickland is innocent and should be released. In Monday's filing, the attorney general's office said Baker's office has avoided, overlooked or misinterpreted evidence in the case against Strickland. On Monday, Circuit Judge Ryan Horsman set an evidentiary hearing in Strickland's case for August 12-13.

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Top Republicans Campaign in Missouri for Eric Greitens' U.S. Senate Bid

ROBERTSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Several high-profile conservatives joined former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens at a rally for his Senate campaign. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik joined Greitens at a campaign event Saturday in rural Franklin County. Greitens was forced from the governor's office by scandal. He's vying to replace retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Greitens was once viewed as a rising Republican star, but his political career was derailed after he was charged with invasion of privacy and campaign finance misdeeds. The charges were dropped after he resigned in 2018.

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These area headlines, compiled by KPR news staffers, are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and by 1 pm on weekends.  This news summary, free of pop-ups and ads, is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!  

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