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Headlines for Monday, July 26, 2021


Kansas Hospitals Report Surge in Delta Variant COVID Cases

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) —Kansas hospitals continue to report higher numbers of COVID-19 patients as the delta variant spreads. Dr. Sam Antonios is chief clinical officer for Ascension Via Christi hospitals. He says workers watching the mushrooming COVID cases feel discouraged. “Our medical staff is just disappointed," he said. “They obviously don't want to have to go back to the same level of severity of illness.” During the past three weeks, Ascension Via Christi’s St. Francis Hospital in Wichita went from 13 COVID-19 patients to 46. Nearly all the people dying now from coronavirus in the U.S. are unvaccinated.


Some Kansas Hospitals Offering Incentives for Employees to Get Vaccinated

LIBERAL, Kan. (KNS) —With the highly contagious delta variant spreading, hospitals continue to urge employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Sandy Cain is the chief nursing officer at Southwest Medical Center in Liberal.  Only about half of the facility’s workers have gotten the vaccine shots so far. The hospital is offering 10 hours paid time off as an incentive for the rest to follow suit. “If the sun is shining when we go outside, we put on sunscreen. So I liken it to that. We just need to manage our risk and get vaccinated," she said.  COVID cases are growing rapidly. In mid-June, Kansas was seeing hundreds of new cases a week. Now, that figure is in the thousands.


Kansas City-Area Summer Camp Shut Down After COVID Outbreak

SHAWNEE, Kan. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City summer camp has been shut down after eight COVID-19 cases were reported and hospitals were raising alarms about a rise in infected patients. The Kansas City Star reports that the camp, which was put on by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, was held at Clear Creek Elementary School in Shawnee. The county health department said masks were only recommended, not required, and many children didn’t wear them.


Strike at Frito-Lay Ends as Union Members Ratify New Contract

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A nearly three-week strike at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka is over. Union members have ratified a new two-year contract. The contract gives union workers at the plant a 4% pay raise over two years and guarantees employees at least one day off a week. Union workers went on strike July 5, complaining of forced overtime and a lack of pay raises in recent years. Workers said they were often required to work back-to-back days of 12-hour shifts, with only eight hours between. They said the long shifts were caused by a severe shortage of workers at the plant.  Employees are returning to work today (MON).  


Kansas Highway Patrol: 2 Killed in Wrong-Way Interstate Crash

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a wrong-way driver on Interstate 35 caused a head-on collision that killed him and the driver of the pickup truck he hit. The patrol says the crash happened early Saturday morning in the Kansas City suburb of Mission when a pickup traveling south in the northbound lanes of the interstate hit another pickup head-on. Investigators say 23-year-old Sam Wilson, of Greenwood, Missouri, was driving his vehicle the wrong-way and died at the scene. The driver of the second truck, 23-year-old Robert Mangelsdorf Jr. of Tonganoxie, was rushed to a hospital, where he later died from his injuries.


Authorities Identify 2 Killed in Van Crash Near Newton

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified two people killed in the crash of a passenger van near Newton that also injured five others. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 35-year-old Stephanie Manyseng and 43-year-old Rudy Perez-Marcial, both of Wichita, died in the Saturday morning crash. Investigators say the crash occurred when the 16-passenger van carrying seven people went off Interstate 135 between two bridges, down an embankment and hit a bridge pillar. Officials say it's unclear why the van left the road. Officials say Manyseng and Perez-Marcial died at the scene. Two others were critically injured and three others were seriously injured.


Topeka Police Arrest Man for Manslaughter After Fatal Crash

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 39-year-old man was arrested after a fatal weekend crash in Topeka. Police Lt. Joe Perry said one person died in the crash that happened early Saturday morning. Police didn't immediately identify the person who was arrested or release many details about the crash. Shawnee County jail records show that a 39-year-old man was booked Saturday morning on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence. The man was also arrested on suspicion of driving without a license and improper driving on a laned road. The man was being held without bond.


Maintenance Work Affects 911 Service in Shawnee, Sedgwick Counties

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Maintenance work affected 911 emergency call service in two Kansas counties over the weekend. Sedgwick County officials said Sunday that callers to 911 in the Wichita area heard a recording instead of reaching a live dispatcher overnight Saturday, but it wasn't immediately clear how many calls were affected. Officials said Shawnee County's 911 call center in Topeka was also affected. Sedgwick County said the outage was caused by work AT&T was doing on its phone system that wasn't supposed to cause problems for the emergency call centers. Sedgwick County officials said they discovered the problem after they received a call about the issue on an administrative phone line.


Lawsuit: Professor with ADHD Alleges Discrimination

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas State University professor with ADHD alleges in a lawsuit that he was discriminated against because of the condition, which can cause inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The Wichita Eagle reports that Sanjoy Das, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court. Das alleges in court documents that he requested reasonable work accommodations as allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but was denied. He claimed the denial of accommodations and retaliation he experienced for complaining about discrimination led to a new anxiety disorder diagnosis and work-related stress.


Teen Critically Hurt in "Hill Jumping" Crash in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police said a teen girl was critically injured after the car she was riding in flipped and crashed while “hill jumping” in Kansas City, Missouri. The crash was reported early Sunday morning. Police Capt. Leslie Foreman said the driver was headed north on James A Reed Road at a high speed when the crash happened. Foreman said a 15-year-old passenger in the Toyota Corolla who wasn’t wearing a seat belt was thrown from the car and critically hurt. She was hospitalized after the crash. The 16-year-old driver was treated for injuries that weren’t life threatening. A 19-year-old passenger who had minor injuries refused medical treatment.


3 Inmates Escape from Southwest Missouri Jail After Assaulting Officer

PINEVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are searching for three men who escaped from a jail in southwest Missouri after allegedly attacking an officer. The McDonald County Sheriff’s office in Pineville, Missouri said 49-year-old David Molina, 27-year-old Carmelo Miguel Burgos and 23-year-old Shun’tavion Ladarrias Thomas escaped from the jail Saturday evening. Pineville is about 190 miles south of Kansas City. All three men had been jailed on suspicion of violent crimes, and the sheriff’s office said all three of them should be considered armed and dangerous. Authorities continued to search for the suspects Sunday, and officials urged people in the area to lock their homes and vehicles.


Couple Accused of Sex and Physical Abuse at Reform School Released from Prison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri couple facing multiple charges of abuse against girls at a Christian reform school have been released from jail after reporting health issues. A southwest Missouri judge on Friday released Boyd and Stephanie Householder from jail, and placed them on home confinement while awaiting their trial. Their attorney said in a court filing that Boyd Householder has contracted COVID-19, and his wife has a serious blood clot condition. Prosecutors argued the couple has not provided any medical records to confirm their illnesses. The Householders are charged with sexual and physical abuse against girls residing at the Circle of Hope Girls Ranch near Humansville.


Second Man Arrested in Fatal Shooting of a Wichita Teen

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A second man has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old in Wichita earlier this month. Wichita Police said 20-year-old Tyler Eugene Kelly was arrested Friday on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in connection with the July 17 shooting death of 16-year-old Joseph Florence. A 16-year-old boy had already been arrested on suspicion of felony murder. Police have said that Kelly and the 16-year-old who was arrested both knew Florence, and a fight broke out between the three of them after the suspects went to Florence's home in north Wichita and all three were struck by gunfire.


Former Kansas Teacher Charged with Child Sex Crimes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas school teacher has been jailed and charged with child sex crimes. The Wichita Eagle reports 48-year-old Shawn Wingfield was arrested Saturday on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. A Wichita Northwest High School spokeswoman says Wingfield began working there in 1997. He resigned July 19. Wingfield posted on Facebook last week that he was resigning for his personal health and wellbeing. He's in the Sedgwick County Jail on a $50,000 bond.


Kansas Basketball Coach Bill Self in Isolation After Testing Positive for COVID-19

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self says he is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. Self, who is fully vaccinated, said in a statement on the school's Twitter account that he was "feeling pretty good right now." He will continue to isolate at his home in Lawrence. Self was tested after feeling minor symptoms late last week as he was preparing to travel to watch recruits at various tournaments. He said two tests confirmed that he has the virus. Self said he believes he would be feeling much worse if he had not been vaccinated, and encouraged others to get the vaccine.


Wichita-Area Water Park Reopens After Illness Outbreak

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita-area splash park that closed after an illness outbreak has been allowed to reopen. Sedgwick County health officials said the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard has exceeded health recommendations and could for reopen this weekend. The splash park closed June 18 after several people became ill with bacterial infections. The approval to reopen comes after the facility made several changes and after testing done on July 21 and an inspection on July 16. Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns told the park in a letter on Friday that the health department is satisfied the park meets all requirements and there is no risk of infection.


Retired KU Professor Receives Polish Medal for Fighting During WWII

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A retired University of Kansas professor received Poland's Medal of Valor this weekend more than 75 years after he fought with the Polish resistance against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Polish Air Force Major Gen. Cezary Wisniewski who is based at the Polish embassy in Washington D.C. visited Jarek Piekalkiewicz's home in Lawrence on Saturday to give him Poland's second-highest combat honor on his 95th birthday. Wisniewski said the honor was overlooked during the war and then the post-war communist government of Poland refused to honor the country's wartime resistance fighters. The recommendation that Piekalkiewicz receive the medal was recently discovered in Poland's archives.


As Drought Cuts Hay Crop, Cattle Ranchers Face Prospect of Culling Herds

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — As the drought worsens across the West, cattle ranchers are among those feeling the pain. Northern Colorado rancher Jim Stanko fears he'll have to sell off half his cattle herd if he can't harvest enough hay to feed them because of the drought. Stanko ranches along Colorado's Yampa River, which is at historically low water levels. To avoid the high cost of animal feed, many ranchers grow hay to nourish their herds through the winter when snow blankets the grass they normally graze. This year, Stanko's hay harvest is even worse than it was during last year's drought.


Here Come the Brides: Engaged Couples, Wedding Planners Flock to Bridal Expo in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) — Last summer, many weddings were postponed or down-sized to smaller, backyard celebrations. This year, organizers say, brides are trying to make up for lost time. Cindy Uloho is a promoter for the Wichita Bridal Expo, which was held recently at the Century II Exhibition Hall.  She says brides are going all out this year because virtual alternatives just don’t compare to the real thing. “People like to get together,” Uloho said. “This is your family and friends. You get to see and hear people exchange vows and it’s important to be in person for that.” In addition to dozens of event vendors, the bridal expo also featured a live fashion show and wine and food tastings.


With Eye on SEC, Oklahoma and Texas Move Toward Leaving Big 12 Conference 

UNDATED (AP) — Oklahoma and Texas took the first formal step toward moving to the Southeastern Conference. They notified the Big 12 that they would not be renewing an agreement than binds the league's members through 2025. The schools sent out a joint statement that made no mention of the SEC and said they intend to honor agreements that give the conference control of the school's media rights. Those arrangements run concurrent with the Big 12's television contracts with ESPN and Fox. Texas and Oklahoma have been in discussions with the SEC about joining the league, though neither the two schools nor the powerhouse conference has acknowledged that publicly.


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and by 1 pm on weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!   

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