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Headlines for Monday, July 5, 2021

Officials Confirm Additional Bacteria Types at Goddard Water Park

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says visitors to a splash park near Wichita may have been exposed to two additional types of bacteria. The department has added coliform and E. coli to the list of bacteria possibly encountered by patrons of Tanganyika Wildlife Park water park in Goddard. State health officials had previously reported three people who attended the park tested positive for Shigella. That number is now at six. The state health department said people who visited the splash park also have tested positive for the norovirus, sapovirus and a type of E. coli. The splash park has been closed since June 19.

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Kansas Infant Dies from COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - An infant has died from COVID-19. State health officials say the infant died in November but the child's death certificate wasn't finalized until last week. Due to privacy concerns, state health officials won't release information about the child's gender or location. Of the more than 5,000 deaths related to the coronavirus in Kansas, two victims have been under the age of nine.

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Kansas Sees Another Surge in COVID Cases from Delta Variant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KPR) - As Kansans headed into the holiday weekend, the state experienced another surge in new COVID-19 cases from the fast-spreading delta variant. Health officials identified another 75 delta variant cases on Friday, which was an increase of 27% in just three days. The state has now recorded more than 350 cases of the Delta variant. Meanwhile, the state health department reports that 39% of the state's 2.9 million residents were fully vaccinated and 44.4% had received at least one of two required shots.

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Missouri Considers Offering Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccines

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KPR) - Missouri Governor Mike Parson's administration is floating the idea of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination incentive program and the possibility of a "substantial grand prize." The Kansas City Star obtained notes from a Zoom meeting in June in which a senior state health official shared the idea. The notes from the meeting said a potential program would likely start in July. A spokesperson for the governor says only that work is continuing on potential incentive options.

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Officials ID Man Whose Body Was Pulled from Topeka Creek

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified a man whose body was pulled late last week from a creek just outside Topeka. The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday that the body of 25-year-old Lashawn Mady, of Topeka, was recovered Friday afternoon from Shunganunga Creek just east of Topeka. Investigators say no foul play is suspected in Mady's death, but an investigation into how he died is continuing. Sheriff's officials say authorities were notified of Mady's death around 3:15 p.m. Friday. No other details have been released.

(– Additional Reporting –)

Sheriff IDs Body Found in Kansas Creek Near Topeka

SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (JC Post) — Authorities have identified a body found in Shunganunga Creek Friday afternoon as 25-year-old Lashawn D.L. Mady, of Topeka. The JC Post reports that the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the body Friday afternoon. Authorities have released few other details but Shawnee County Deputy Abigail Christian says no foul play is suspected at this time.

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State of Kansas Pulls in More Revenue than Expected

TOPEKA, Kan.- Kansas pulled in more tax revenue than expected for the fiscal year that ended last week. Kansas ended the year strong with 22 percent more tax revenue than expected in June. That helped the state finish the fiscal year with almost $760 million more than anticipated, which is 9% above the forecast. Individual and corporate taxes beat projections. So did retail sales. The healthy revenue numbers have Republican legislative leaders calling for tax cuts. That could spell tension next session with Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, who has previously argued for spending more on services like education.

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Kansas Has Work to Do Before Electric Vehicles Take Off

HAYS, Kan. (KNS) - President Biden recently pitched a $174 billion plan to electrify transportation nationwide, including $15 billion for new vehicle charging stations. But a new analysis says Kansas has some work to do to before it's ready for an electric vehicle revolution. The U.S. Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index puts Kansas tied for dead last in a ranking of how easy states make it to buy electric vehicles. Elizabeth Hicks, an author of the Consumer Choice Center index, points to a law the state Legislature passed in 2019 that increased electric vehicle registration fees to $100...more than twice as much as gasoline vehicles. She says the law intends to recoup money the state will lose in gas taxes but puts an unfair burden on those car owners. “So unfortunately, we're seeing these electric vehicle consumers being punished by doing exactly what the gas tax intended, which was to use less gas," she said. Hicks also points out that Kansas law prevents people from buying electric vehicles directly from companies like Tesla, which doesn’t have a dealership in the state.  

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Group Plans to Pressure Kansas Senator Moran on Infrastructure

WASHINGTON (AP) - A dark money group founded by former Vice President Mike Pence's ex-chief of staff plans to launch an ad campaign next week to pressure Kansas Senator Jerry Moran into dropping his support for a bipartisan infrastructure plan. The Kansas Republican stands for re-election in 2022 and is one of 21 senators who signed on last week to the $973 billion package negotiated with President Joe Biden. The Kansas City Star reports that the campaign from The Coalition to Protect American Workers is expected to feature television spots in the Wichita and Topeka markets. The anti-tax group was formed in March by former Pence chief of staff Marc Short.

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Groups Seek Injunction to Block New Kansas Voting Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) Kansas civil rights groups are asking a judge to temporarily block a law that took effect last week. They say the law will hinder voter registration drives. Voter rights groups say the new Kansas law against impersonating election officials is so vague, if someone mistakes you for one, it’s a felony. Pedro Irigonegaray is a lawyer for the League of Women Voters and other groups that are suing. He says the new law will scare volunteers from helping with voter registration drives. “It’s so obviously intended to diminish the vote. Impersonating a law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor. This is a felony," he said. Republican lawmakers who pushed for tighter voting rules say it will make elections safer.

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UPDATE: Police ID Man Killed in Triple Shooting in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Police have identified a man who was killed in a Wichita shooting over the weekend that also injured two other people. Police say 49-year-old Shay Prewitt, of Wichita, was found dead by officers early Sunday morning in southeast Wichita. Officers also found a 14-year-old boy and a 36-year-old man who had gunshot wounds. The boy and injured man were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released. Police say the incident began when Prewitt and the 36-year-old man confronted another man at the request of a woman. A fight ensued before shots were fired. Police say they are not seeking additional suspects.

(Earlier reporting...)

Man Killed, Two Injured in Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A man was killed and two other people were injured after a shooting in southeast Wichita. KWCH-TV reports that police responding to multiple calls of a shooting around 1:30 Sunday morning found a 49-year-old man dead. A 14-year-old boy and a 36-year-old man also had gunshot wounds. The boy and injured man were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released. Police believe there was an altercation that led up to the shooting. While the investigation continues, police say they are not looking for additional suspects at this time.  

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Kansas City Police Investigate Early Monday Shooting Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City are investigating an early Monday shooting death that happened near police headquarters. Officials say the shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. at 12th and Locust streets, and arriving officers found a man, later identified as 28-year-old Deangelo Wallace, at the scene with gunshot wounds. Medics who also responded to the scene declared Wallace dead. Police believe he was shot during an argument with another person. Police have said they have no information on who the shooter may be. Officials say the death marked the city's 77th homicide this year.

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Authorities Investigate Fatal Shooting in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a fatal shooting in Kansas City. Police officers responding to a shooting call Saturday night found 27-year-old Bryant Boyd in a parking lot. Emergency medical responders pronounced him dead at the scene. Witnesses said they heard an argument and then the sound of of shots. Police said they do not have suspect information at this time.

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Fatal Crash in Frontenac Kills 73-Year-Old Man

FRONTENAC, Kan. (AP) - A 73-year-old Kansas man was killed after a crash in southeast Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol said Virgil McCulloch was driving Saturday night in Frontenac when his SUV went off the road. The vehicle hit a set of mailboxes and a driveway, then sped up rapidly and hit a concrete storm ditch culvert. He was taken to a hospital in Pittsburg where he died. 

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Johnson County Has Most Seats on Redistricting Committee

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The state's most populous county -- Johnson County -- has the most seats on legislative committees that will draft redistricting proposals next year. Three legislative leaders will serve on the Senate's panel. Three of nine members of the Republican-controlled Senate Redistricting Committee are from Johnson County and so are four of 17 House committee members. Johnson County is not only the state's most populous county but also a county likely to gain political clout because of population shifts. Lawmakers redraw congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts once every decade. The Senate committee's chair is Vice President Rick Wilborn. Its vice chair is President Ty Masterson, and Minority Leader Dinah Sykes is a member.

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Kansas Bar Association Hosting "Call-A-Lawyer" Night on Thursday

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSN) - The Kansas Bar Association is hosting its "Call-A-Lawyer" night on Thursday. KSN TV reports that anyone who needs legal advice is encouraged to call (800) 928-3111 between 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Callers may speak to volunteer lawyers who are donating their time to answer questions and provide legal advice and information. Lawyers will be able to answer questions about probate, family law, landlord-tenant issues and other matters involving property, as well as employment issues including wrongful termination and work place conflicts.

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Group Offers Rewards for Reporting Animal Abuse Cases

UNDATED (KNS) - A Kansas group is now offering rewards to encourage people to report animal abuse. The Northeast Kansas Animal Welfare Foundation announced the Cruelty Stoppers Fund this week, which will pay for rewards for animal abuse reports that lead to arrests and convictions. Foundation President and CEO Bill Acree says people should report animal abuse to law enforcement because it’s often connected to other problems, like domestic violence and child abuse. For now, the rewards are only available in northeast Kansas, but Acree says they may expand the program if they can raise additional funding.

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These area headlines, compiled by KPR news staffers, are generally posted by 10 a.m. weekdays and by 1 p.m. 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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