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Headlines for Monday, June 13, 2022

 

UPDATE: Strong Winds Did About $10 Million in Damage in Riley County

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The National Weather Service says straight line winds, not a tornado, caused nearly $10 million in damage in Riley County during the weekend. The weather service office in Topeka said winds exceeding 100 mph around and in Manhattan Saturday night did not have the rotation to be classified as a tornado. Riley County officials said preliminary assessments found 41 residential and business properties were damaged, with 20 properties sustaining major damage and three homes destroyed. The weather service said four EF1 tornadoes touched down in Marshall and Pottawatomie counties on Saturday night. No serious injuries were reported from any of the storms.

(–Earlier Reporting–)

Two Sorority Houses Among Manhattan Buildings Damaged by Saturday Storms

MANHATTAN, Kan. (The Wichita Eagle) - The Wichita Eagle reports that two sorority houses at Kansas State University were among the 41 residential and business properties in Riley County damaged by severe storms over the weekend. The preliminary storm damage assessment for the county is estimated at more than $9.7 million. No injuries were reported. Authorities declared five buildings condemned and unsafe to occupy in the McCain neighborhood, just east of the K-State campus. The buildings included the Chi Omega house and the Kappa Alpha Theta house. Both were unoccupied at the time of the storm Saturday evening.  Three single-family homes in the neighborhood also were severely damaged. Downed power lines and large tree limbs were the most reported damage.

In Marysville, north of Manhattan, police chief Matt Simpson, said that while there was damage in the city’s downtown area from the storms, no injuries were reported. Evergy said the storms caused more than 25,000 outages in its service area with Manhattan and Marysville being the areas with the most outages. Crews were able to restore 80% of the power by Sunday morning, the power company said.  A long-lived super cell thunderstorm developed over southeast Nebraska Saturday evening and tracked south across the entire state of Kansas, the National Weather Service in Wichita said on Twitter. The storm produced tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail as it dove south through the state. (Read more.)

Severe Weather Spawns Tornadoes, High Winds, and Hail in Eastern Kansas 

UNDATED — Severe weather moved through portions of the KPR listening area on Saturday, leaving behind damage in Marysville, Blue Rapids, Manhattan and many other areas in northeast and east-central Kansas. WIBW reports 80 mile-per-hour winds on the east side of Manhattan toppled power lines, leaving some 14,000 Riley County customers without power. KVOE reports that The Symphony in the Flint Hills event in Chase County was cut short by the weather, forcing the thousands who had gathered there to leave the area early. Kansas Public Radio reports that thousands of concertgoers made it to their vehicles but were trapped for hours inside Irma's Pasture, where the event was held, as high winds, heavy rains and hail swept through the area. There was only one, single-lane road in and out of the pasture.  The Kansas City Symphony began its program near Bazaar, but a line of strong thunderstorms moved into the area around 8 pm, forcing the cancellation of the event.  The theme of the concert was "Weather in the Flint Hills."  KVOE Radio reports several hundred Evergy customers in Eureka remained without power Sunday morning. WIBW reports that a tornado did touch down in Marysville, leaving debris and damaged roofs in its wake, but no injuries were reported.

(–AP Reporting–)

Kansas Storms Damage Sorority House, Cancel Outdoor Symphony Event

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP/KPR) — Strong winds and storms forced crowds who gathered in a rural Chase County, Kansas field for a Kansas City Symphony performance to evacuate, or try to evacuate.  Kansas Public Radio reports that with only one road leading in and out of the event, thousands of people were trapped inside their vehicles for up to two hours as heavy rains, hail and high winds swept across the area. The theme of the concert was "Weather in the Flint Hills."  Elsewhere, a severe storm damaged a sorority house at Kansas State University and other areas of Manhattan. Nearby Marysville sustained storm damage as well.  The Kansas City Star reports that about half a dozen tornado warnings were issued Saturday evening in eastern Kansas. National Weather Service meteorologist Daniel Reese said crews were on the ground Sunday morning, working to survey the damage, including downed power lines and trees, likely caused by a combination of tornadoes and straight line winds.

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Park University Pianist Advances at Prestigious Van Cliburn Music Competition

PARKVILLE, Mo. (KPR) - A graduate student at Park University in Parkville, Missouri, has advanced in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. According to school officials, Park University International Center for Music graduate student Ilya Shmukler (pronunciation --- ill-yah shmook-ler) has advanced to the finals. The final round, which begins Tuesday night and ends Saturday afternoon, consists of each finalist performing two concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The concerts will be broadcast free via Cliburn.org. The awards ceremony will be held Saturday night.

The 27-year-old Shmukler studies under Park ICM founder and artistic director Stanislav loudenitch, who won the Cliburn event in 2001. Fellow Park ICM graduate student Kenny Broberg placed second in the Cliburn in 2017. Considered one of the renowned international music contests, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition began in 1962 in honor of Cliburn, who won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958.

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Yes, the Moon Looks Larger than Usual. What to Know About the "Strawberry Supermoon"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) - You’re not imagining it. June’s full moon might look bigger and brighter than usual, NASA said The “Strawberry Supermoon” will happen Tuesday, June 14, according to NASA. It will be at its fullest at about 7:52 am on the east coast, but will look full to people overnight on Monday, June 13. “The Moon will appear full for about three days centered on this time, from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning,” NASA said on its website. The full moon will also be a “supermoon,” so it will look especially big to skywatchers. The Kansas City Star reports that June’s supermoon is the second of 2022, according to Space.com.

What’s a supermoon?
A supermoon happens when a full moon reaches the closest point to Earth during its orbit, according to NASA. During that time, the moon looks bigger and brighter to people on Earth but will still be about 226,000 miles from the planet.

Will the “Strawberry Supermoon” be pink?
While the name might make it sound like the moon could be red or pink, that’s not the case. The Strawberry Moon got its name because it happens at about the same time as strawberry season.

June’s supermoon won’t be the last this year. It’s the second of four consecutive supermoons, according to Space.com. The next ones will happen July 13 and August 11.
(Read more.)

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Lawsuit: Death of Black Teenager at Juvenile Center Foreshadowed

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal civil rights lawsuit says the death of a Black teenager at a Kansas juvenile detention center was foreshadowed by a 2016 state inspection of the facility that noted systemic deficiencies in its handling of children with mental health issues. Cedric Lofton's foster father called authorities in September 2021 seeking help because the 17-year-old was hallucinating and needed to go to a mental health facility. Wichita police instead took him to the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center, where was held there facedown for more than 30 minutes. He died two days later. On Monday, his brother sued Sedgwick County, the City of Wichita and others. A Sedgwick County corrections official has said corrections workers followed policy in restraining the teen.

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Pedestrian Killed Sunday Morning in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (WDAF) — The Overland Park police said a pedestrian was killed by a vehicle Sunday morning. Police responded to the 12100 block of Quivira Road in response to a crash around 10:17 am. WDAF TV reports that investigators said that a vehicle was attempting to turn northbound onto Quivira when it collided with another vehicle traveling southbound. This caused the southbound vehicle to lose control and veer off the roadway, striking the male pedestrian who was doing lawn work. The victim, identified as 71-year-old Phillip Shannon, of Overland Park, was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries but later died. One of the drivers was also transported to a hospital for minor injuries.

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Drivers Beware: 3 Bike Tours Rolling Through Kansas; 3 Cyclists Killed in Past 5 Years

SALINA, Kan. (Salina Journal) - While Biking Across Kansas will send about 600 cyclists streaming through the area this week, the annual non-competitive ride isn’t the only bicycle-related event that passes through central Kansas this month. The Salina Journal reports that three riders have been killed while traveling through the state over the past five years.  As a result, cyclists and event organizers are asking motorists to be aware and share the road. State law requires at least 3 feet of space between a cyclist and a vehicle when passing, so drivers should pass like any other vehicle, only when it is safe to do so with sufficient space.

Two races — the Trans Am and the RAAM — should reach the western Kansas border around the third week of June, if not sooner. Those races follow different routes. The Trans Am Bike Race is an annual ultra-distance cycling race that travels about 4,200 across 10 states. The route uses the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, which passes through northern Reno County and into Harvey County. Cyclists in the event enter Kansas from Colorado on K-96 and travel through Leoti, Scott City, Rush Center, Larned, Reno County, Newton, Eureka, Chanute, Girard, and then Pittsburg. The eighth edition of the race began in Astoria, Oregon, on June 5 and will end in Yorktown, Virginia.

In 2017, a 61-year-old Trans Am race participant, Eric Fishbein of San Luis, California, was killed when hit from behind by a car about eight miles from Leoti, while a second man from California was left paralyzed after being struck by a car near Newton. In 2018, a cyclist from Minnesota, John Egbers, was killed at practically the same spot as Fishbein. A monument was installed on the highway last year to memorialize Egbers.

The other major race passing through the area is the annual Race Across America (RAAM), which starts in Oceanside, California, and ends 3,000 miles later in Annapolis, Maryland. In Kansas, the RAAM route follows U.S. 160 and U.S. 400, from Ulysses to Kingman. The race's halfway point is near Haviland.

The third rider killed in the state, incidentally, was not part of either of these races but was in Kansas to participate in the 200-mile Unbound Gravel 2022 race near Emporia. Authorities say 61-year-old Gregory Bachman, a Colorado high school math and science teacher, was struck at a rural Lyon County intersection the evening of June 3 while on a warmup ride the day before the race. (Read more.)

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Kansas Woman Jailed on Felony Drug Allegations

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Hays Post) — Law enforcement authorities are investigating a Kansas woman on drug allegations following a traffic stop in Topeka. According to the Hays Post, it was just after 11 pm Thursday that a Shawnee County Sheriff's deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with an expired registration. During the investigation, illegal narcotics were located. The driver, 31-year-old Faith C. Johnson, of Topeka, was arrested and booked into the Shawnee County Department of Corrections. Johnson was jailed on charges that include possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license suspended, operating a vehicle without registration and no vehicle liability insurance.

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Trucker Gets 45 Years for Crash that Killed 4 Siblings, Injured their KC Father

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — A truck driver whose semitrailer crashed into a car in an eastern Indiana road construction zone, killing four siblings, has been sentenced to 45 years in prison. Thirty-three-year-old Corey Robert Withrow, of Camden, Ohio, pleaded guilty Wednesday to nine charges related to the July 9, 2020, crash on Interstate 70. A Wayne County judge sentenced Withrow to nine years for each of the five felonies that Withrow will serve one after another. The fiery crash killed 15-year-old Anesa Noel Acosta, 13-year-old Quintin Michael McGowan, 8-year-old Brekkin Riley Bruce and 6-year-old Trentin Beau Bruce. Their father, Aaron Bruce of Kansas City, Missouri, suffered severe injuries.

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Governors Forming Task Force to Address Mass Shootings

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The National Governors Association says it's forming a working group of governors to come up with recommendations to stop mass shootings following the Texas school massacre. Reaching consensus could be a tall order given that the nation's governors have been divided along partisan lines on how to approach issues of gun control and school safety. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told the White House in a letter that their group is creating a panel of six to 10 governors to look at the issue. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly could be part of that group. Their letter left open the possibility the recommendations could include gun control proposals.

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Additional Child Rape Charge Filed Against Former Kansas Nurse

MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Another charge has been filed by the Riley County Attorney’s Office against a former preschool nurse who was arrested in relation to sex crimes earlier this year. KSNT TV reports that 44-year-old Joshua Penabaz, of Manhattan, was previously charged with rape, indecent liberties with a child and criminal sodomy charges when he was arrested in February 2022. Penabaz was charged on Friday with aggravated criminal sodomy, two counts of rape and four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child related to incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2011 involving a female victim between the ages of two and four at the time. He has also been charged with another count for rape in light of newly discovered information connecting him to a reported September 2021 incident involving a five-year-old female student at a preschool within the USD 383 district where he was employed at the time. These new charges are unrelated to his February 18 arrest. Those sex crimes were reported to have occurred over the course of many years and were unrelated to his previous employment. Penabaz has remained at the Riley County Jail since his arrest in February.

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Northeast Kansas Crash Leaves 1 Dead, 6 Ejected when Car Rolls Multiple Times

WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Six people were ejected in a crash Sunday in northeast Kansas.  KSNW TV reports that it happened when an SUV rolled multiple times from the I-435 southbound ramp to eastbound I-70.  The Kansas Highway Patrol says the 35-year-old driver, Wilfredo Lopez Cartagena of Kansas City, was traveling too fast for the curve, lost control, and the SUV rolled. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers say all seven passengers have suspected serious injuries. Three children, ages 2, 10, and 15, were transported to Children’s Mercy and Overland Park Regional. The other four occupants are between 20 and 30 years old.  Troopers say two people inside the SUV were wearing seatbelts when the crash occurred.

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Geico Facing Payout to Woman Who Got STD After Sex in Geico-Insured Vehicle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Geico may have to pay $5.2 million to a woman who says she contracted a sexually-transmitted disease during sex in a car with a man insured by the company. Last week, a Missouri Court of Appeals panel upheld the award to a woman identified in court records as M.O. She alleged a man she was in a relationship with did not tell her before they had sex in his car that he had HPV, the human papillomavirus. The Maryland-based insurance company argued in its appeal that it had not been given due process and the arbitration agreement was unenforceable. Geico has filed a separate federal lawsuit contending the man's insurance policy doesn't cover the claim.

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Hutchinson Turns into Superman's Hometown of Smallville

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (The Hutch News) - Hutchinson is transforming itself into Smallville, Kansas, Superman's childhood hometown... at least for a few days.  The Hutch News reports that the Smallville Festival involves various events, live music, food trucks and costumes. Nearly the entire town has become involved in the town's celebration of all things Superman. On Thursday evening, a proclamation will be read that officially renames Hutchinson to Smallville for the weekend, beginning a citywide festival of comics, video games, film and literature. Organizers say there will be a "metropolis of possibilities" at the event.

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Missouri Governor Signs Property Rights Bill

SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson has signed a bill on property rights. Parson signed the bill Saturday at the Missouri State Fairgrounds after meeting with cattle ranchers. The legislation deals with the seizure of private land for public projects. The measure approved by the Republican-led Legislature this year will require farm owners to be paid at least 150% of market value if their properties are taken through eminent domain. The law only applies to new projects. That means it won't affect plans for a large wind-energy power line called the Grain Belt Express.

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Topeka Man Found Not Guilty in Douglas County Rape Case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - Jurors in Douglas County District Court have acquitted a Topeka man who was accused of raping a former University of Kansas student. On Friday, the jury found 22-year-old Thomas John Zarse not guilty of one count of rape. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the verdict came after jurors heard conflicting accounts from Zarse and the woman he was accused of raping.  She testified that Zarse had assaulted her in her apartment between January 11 and January 12, 2020, after she repeatedly said no to his advances; Zarse maintained that the encounter was consensual. (Read more.)

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Kansas City Police: Man, Woman Die in Apparent Murder-Suicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBC) - Kansas City police are investigating a fatal shooting that took place late Friday afternoon (in the 7100 block of Lee's Summit Road). KMBC TV reports that police officers were called to the area just before 5 pm on a reported shooting. When they arrived, they found a man and woman inside a vehicle who had been shot. Authorities say the woman died at the scene. The man was taken to a hospital, but died a short time later. Investigators said that based on witness accounts and a preliminary investigation, the shooting appears to be a murder-suicide.

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Lawrence Community Gathers to Honor Black Men Lynched 140 Years Ago

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - Community members gathered in Lawrence Friday to honor and remember three Black men who were lynched more than a century ago. It was in 1882, the Lawrence Journal-World reports, that a mob of about 100 white men took Pete Vinegar, Isaac King and George Robertson from their jail cells and lynched them from the Kansas River bridge. But on Friday, 140 years to the day since the lynching, a different kind of crowd gathered. On the bank of the Kansas River, about 100 men and women of all races came together to commemorate the lynching. Together, they said the names of the three victims, whom the mob lynched in the early morning hours of June 10, 1882. Together, they watched as a marker for the lynching was unveiled. (Read more.)

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Kansas' First Transgender Lawmaker Not Seeking Reelection

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The first transgender state legislator elected in Kansas is not seeking reelection. Democratic state Representative Stephanie Byers, of Wichita, said Friday that she is moving to Texas so that she and her wife can take care of her wife’s aging parents. Byers was elected in 2020 and quickly became a leading legislative opponent of unsuccessful Republican proposals to ban transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s school and college sports. Byers also found herself in a media spotlight in April when a Republican Wichita-area lawmaker complained in an email about the “transgender female who is now in our restrooms in the Capitol.” Byers said those comments did not influence her decision.

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White Kansas Fire Department Supervisor Suspended over Racist Sweater

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A white Wichita Fire Department supervisor who texted a photo of himself wearing a sweater featuring a naked Black man has been suspended for three days without pay in one of the harshest penalties yet over racist, homophobic and sexist texts that were shared among the city’s SWAT team members. The Wichita Eagle reported Sunday that Captain Keith Niemann, who was punished this month, shared the image in a WhatsApp chat with the message, “having a good morning at the firehouse.” A firefighters union official said the city was trying to “make an example” out of Niemann because the police department was criticized for giving light punishments to its implicated officers.

Clarification: Wichita-SWAT Team-Racist-Messages Story

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — In a story published June 12, 2022, The Associated Press reported that a white Wichita Fire Department supervisor has been suspended in an investigation of racist, homophobic and sexist texts that were shared among the city’s SWAT team members. The story should have made clear that Capt. Keith Niemann’s text was not in the chain of texts shared among SWAT team members, some of which were racist and homophobic. The text for which Niemann was punished was discovered during that investigation.

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Kansas City Man Charged After Allegedly Shooting, Killing Victim in Car Sale

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — A Kansas City man is accused of shooting and killing another man he was selling a vehicle to. KSHB TV reports the victim was Charles Bradham. Authorities say 28-year-old Andrew Keyvoun Young is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, attempted robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon and first-degree assault. According to court documents, Young and Bradham discussed the transaction of a 2004 Mazda Protégé through Facebook, text and phone calls. On June 1, Young allegedly went to Bradham's residence to complete the sale. At some point, Young allegedly took out a handgun and shot Bradham and another woman. Investigators interviewed the woman who survived the shooting. Young denied ever being at the Bradham residence. However, investigators matched DNA from Young left at the scene. (Read more.)

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$30,000 in Copper Wiring Stolen from Kansas Grain Elevator

SALINA, Kan. (KSNT) – Authorities say about $30,000 worth of copper wiring has been stolen from a grain elevator in Salina. Police say they received a report of a burglary June 8 at the former Western Star Mill grain elevator. KSNT TV reports that the caller reported that an unknown number of suspects entered the building and took a substantial amount of copper wiring with an estimated value around $30,000.  Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Crimestoppers at (785) 825-TIPS.

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Odd Kansas Connection to the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II

UNDATED (KPR) - People in Great Britain and around the world are celebrating the Queen of England's Platinum Jubilee, her seven decades on the British throne. While few Kansans are aware, there's an odd but important Kansas connection to the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Find out what it is here

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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, 11 am weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today

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