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Headlines for Monday, July 27, 2020

Kansas Reports More than 26,000 COVID-19 Cases, 335 Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas health officials have recorded 26,172 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.  State health officials also reported Monday that the virus, now confirmed in 103 of the state's 105 counties, has also claimed 335 lives.  The next update is expected Wednesday.     

(Kansas health officials release new data on COVID-19 case numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

(– Related –)

Kansas Reports Another Bad Spike in COVID-19-Related Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has reported another bad week-long spike in COVID-19-related deaths and its total number of reported coronavirus cases rose past 26,000. The state Department of Health and Environment said Monday that Kansas had another nine deaths since Friday to increase the total for the pandemic by 2.8% to 335. The state had 28 new reported deaths during the seven days ending Monday, an average of 4.0 a day for a new high mark since June 1. The worst seven-day average since the pandemic began was 5.0 for the seven days ending April 13. Kansas had an additional 1,063 reported coronavirus cases since Friday, up 4.2% to 26,172.

Kansas Governor Could Push Counties to Shut Down Bars Again

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly says she is considering recommending that Kansas counties shut down bars again and limit public gatherings to 15 people in hopes of reversing a resurgence in reported coronavirus cases. Kelly said Monday that the resurgence in cases is making the state’s previous work to check it “for naught.” Kelly said she will push next week to close bars and lower the limit on gatherings if the state doesn’t get the spread of the novel coronavirus under better control. The Democratic governor can issue orders calling for statewide restrictions, but state law allows Kansas's 105 counties are allowed to opt out of her directives.


Reopening of Kansas City, Kansas School Buildings Delayed

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A local health official has ordered public schools in the Kansas City, Kansas, area not to reopen their buildings until after Labor Day because of the coronavirus pandemic. Wyandotte County Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Allen Greiner said Monday that he issued the order to give the county’s four school districts more time to prepare for the reopening of in-person classes with health and safety precautions. His order came as Kansas reported another bad week-long spike in COVID-19-related deaths and its total number of reported coronavirus cases rose past 26,000. The state health department said Kansas had another nine deaths since Friday to bring the total to 335. 


KC Health Officials Urge Safe Practices as COVID-19 Cases Rise

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Health officials in Kansas City and three surrounding counties are urging residents to follow safe practices as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase in the region. Leaders in Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri, and in Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas have issued a letter saying front line workers are being overwhelmed by increasing coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, which are higher than when the pandemic first began in March and April. They warned that if residents don't socially distance themselves, wear masks and limit the size and number of social gatherings... the situation will get worse. More businesses will close and even stronger pandemic restrictions will likely be put in place.


Two Counties in Western Kansas Still Have Zero Cases of COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Rawlins and Wallace counties in western Kansas are the only two of the state's 105 counties that haven't had a reported coronavirus case. Some businesses there aren't requiring customers to wear face masks, but a few are asking customers to tell them whether they have traveled outside the county. The two counties are among the 10 counties with the lowest testing rates in the state and a spokeswoman at Rawlins County hospital says it's possible someone in the county already has the coronavirus.


No One Should Have to Pay for COVID-19 Testing

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas officials say getting a coronavirus test generally shouldn’t cost you anything. If Kansans think they were wrongly charged for a test, and can’t get answers from the insurance company, they should call the Kansas Insurance Department. The agency says there are all sorts of caveats to the federal law, but there’s also evidence that some patients are getting charged fees they shouldn’t have to pay, so the department put out a consumer alert. It says fees related to the test, like for visiting a clinic to get diagnosed, also should be covered.  


Strange Seed Packets from China Prompt Agriculture Officials to Issue Warning

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KPR/KNS) - Authorities are investigating something strange taking place in several farm states, including Kansas. The Kansas Department of Agriculture says some residents have received unsolicited seeds in the mail that the agency believes are coming from China. The agency says some packages are labeled as jewelry. Officials say people should not open the sealed seed packages nor should they plant the seeds, because they could be invasive species that might damage crops and harm livestock. Instead, people should get ahold of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. This isn’t just happening in Kansas. Agriculture departments in Utah, Virginia and Washington state are reporting similar events. The agencies say they don't know who is sending the packages or why they are being sent.  


Overland Park Police Officer Injured; Protesters Arrested

OVERLAND PARK, Kan (AP) - A 26-year-old Kansas man is charged with battery of a law enforcement officer during a protest against racism and police violence in Overland Park. Darrien Richmond, of Shawnee, was charged Saturday and was released on $2,500 bail. Overland Park police spokesman Sean Reilly says an officer suffered scrapes and bruises. Protest organizers say Richmond was running to protect his wife when he was arrested. He was one of four people arrested during the protest involving about 30 people.


Kansas City Protesters Remember Local Men Killed by Police

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — At least 100 people gathered in the Kansas City, Missouri neighborhood of Westport this weekend to call for police accountability. The Kansas City Star reports protesters chanted Saturday night the names of men killed by Kansas City police. Organizer Oluwatoyin Keji Akinmoladun said they were there to tell the stories of those killed by Kansas City police: Ryan Stokes, Donnie Sanders, Terrance Bridges and Cameron Lamb. Another speaker questioned why officers needed to wear riot gear for a group of 30 protesters who came out Friday night in neighboring Overland Park.


Kansas City Makes Addressing Systemic Racism Budget Priority

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — City leaders in Lawrence say addressing systemic racism will be a key budget priority in the coming years. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Lawrence City Commission on Saturday outlined the goal as part of the city's new strategic plan. The plan will be used to guide city budget decisions for the next three years. Protesters in Kansas and across the U.S. have been taking to the streets to speak out against the death of George Floyd in Minnesota police custody. Lawrence Commissioner Lisa Larsen says the city now needs to take bold action against systemic racism.


Affidavit: Body of 3-Year-Old Kansas Girl Covered in Bruises

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Investigators say in court papers that a 3-year-old Kansas girl whose remains were found earlier this month was covered in bruises and died of a brain bleed. The remains of Olivia Ann Jansen of Kansas City, Kansas, were discovered after her father, Howard Jansen III, reported her missing. The 29-year-old father and his girlfriend have since been charged with felony murder and other crimes. WDAF-TV reports a court affidavit says her face, arms and legs were covered in bruises. An autopsy showed significant bleeding on the back of her brain. Her grandparents have said they had raised concerns about her safety with child protective services.


Police: AutoZone Employee Fatally Shot in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say an employee at an AutoZone store was fatally shot Sunday night in southeast Wichita. Police say three employees were in the business at the time of the shooting. KWCH-TV reports one worker was in the restroom, the other was in the back getting a part. Emergency crews responded to the scene around 9 pm Sunday after an employee found a co-worker with a gunshot wound on the main floor and called police. Police don't know whether robbery was the motive. They are working to get surveillance camera footage. No one has been arrested.


Woman Dies, 4 Others Injured in Boat Crash at Lake of the Ozarks

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - The Missouri State Highway Patrol says one woman died and four other people were injured when two boats collided on the Lake of the Ozarks. The driver of one of the boats was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. The patrol says 42-year-old Dawn Steinkuehler, of High Ridge, died in the accident just after midnight Saturday. The collision occurred on the lake's main channel when another boat hit Steinkuehler's boat. Two people in Steinkuehler's boat were seriously injured and two others suffered minor injuries. The driver of the second boat was not injured.


Fight over Water Rights at Central Kansas Refuge Resolved

ST. JOHN, Kan. (AP) — An agreement over water rights at a man-made wildlife refuge in central Kansas has been signed. The Hutchinson News reports the agreement between the federal government and local farmers over water rights in Quivira National Wildlife Refuge was signed Saturday. The plan is to end water rights in sensitive areas of the wildlife refuge and allow water rights in less sensitive areas. The water-filled refuge is a hotspot for wildlife migration. The newspaper reports that the agreement means local farmers can continue irrigating their crops. The next step in the water-rights agreement is to conduct environmental testing. 


Felony Charges for 2 Kansas City Cops Recorded During Arrest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two Kansas City police officers are now facing felony charges after their arrest of a Black transgender woman was recorded. The Jackson County Prosecutor's office says a grand jury indicted officers Matthew Brummett and Charles Prichard with third degree assault, a felony. The officers originally faced a misdemeanor assault charge after their arrest of Breona Hill in May 2019. Two new witnesses came forward after the officers were indicted in May. The grand jury found the officers slammed Hill's face against the concrete sidewalk, and kneed her several times while she was handcuffed. A police union official says the union continues to support the officers.

Lee's Summit Man Charged with 2nd Degree Murder

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - A 23-year-old Lee's Summit man is charged with second-degree murder in a shooting death in Independence, Missouri. Arieous Walton-Merritt is charged in the death of 26-year-old Matthew Bland Williams on Thursday. Police found Bland-Williams suffering from a gunshot wound at a home in Independence. He died later at a hospital. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows Walton-Merritt firing two shots at Bland-Williams before the two men struggled over the gun. Bland-Williams got control of the gun and fired two shots as Walton-Merritt drove away. Walton-Merritt was later found in front of another home suffering from gunshot wounds.


Horse and Cattle Virus Outbreak in 20 Kansas Counties

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Agriculture has now identified positive cases of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in 20 Kansas counties.  The virus primarily affects horses and cattle. The KDA's Division of Animal Health continues to respond to the VSV outbreak that began in south central Kansas in mid-June and has now spread to the north and east. VSV is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas.  At this time, the vast majority of confirmed cases of VSV in Kansas have been horses, although some cattle have also been diagnosed. KDA has advised the beef industry to be vigilant in monitoring their cattle for symptoms. In horses, VSV is typically characterized by lesions which appear as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands, or ventral abdomen.  (Read more.)


Remembering Dick Bond, Former Kansas Legislative Leader

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Family, friends and colleagues are remembering Dick Bond, a former Kansas legislative leader who spearheaded the renovation of the state Capitol building. Bond died Thursday at the age of 84. He was president of the Kansas Senate from 1997 through 2001. During an interview in 2018, he said the Kansas Statehouse had become dangerous after decades of neglect. “I had an architect look at the building when I became president. And he said, ‘you know if there’s a fire that starts on the first floor and you’re on the fifth floor, you have five minutes to live,” Bond said. Bond secured the first $40 million for a renovation project that wound up costing more than $320 million. The moderate Republican from Overland Park continued to influence Kansas politics even after leaving office. Reacting to the GOP’s shift to the right, he backed Democrats for governor in 2014 and 2018.


1 Dead After Train Collides with Tractor in Kansas

HALSTEAD, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say one person was killed when a train and tractor collided in central Kansas. KSNW reports that the crash happened just before 4 p.m. Monday south of U.S. 50 between Burrton and Halstead in Harvey County. No other details were immediately released, including the name of the victim. 


Oklahoma-Missouri State Football Game to be One Week Earlier

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma-Missouri State football game scheduled for September 5 in Norman has been moved to one week earlier, August 29. University of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Saturday that the NCAA has approved a waiver requested by both schools and allow them more flexibility in dealing with potential issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. The 10 FBS conferences that make up Division I football's top tier are in the process of adjusting schedules and hoping to play a regular season that has billions of dollars in media rights deals attached to it.


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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