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Headlines for Monday, June 7, 2021


Pandemic Aid Available for Former Foster Children

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - A new federal law means more young adults who were once in foster care can get financial help for rent, food and more. Young adults who were taken from their homes at age 14 or later and put into custody of the state, tribal authorities or juvenile corrections can contact the Department for Children and Families for details. The federal law temporarily expands assistance so more people will be eligible to get help with housing, child care, college tuition, and other daily needs. And opportunities for support that are normally open only to people under the age of 21 are now open to people under the age of 27. 


Mother, Young Children Die in Boating Accident in Kansas

BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP/KPR) — A mother and two young children died over the weekend in a boating accident that also hospitalized the father. Kansas game wardens say the accident happened on the Neosho River in the area of the Burlington City Dam Saturday evening. The Department of Wildlife and Parks says the family of two adults and two children were boating on the river when their vessel stalled in rapid, aerated water. The operator lost control of the boat and everyone was thrown overboard. Rescue crews saved a man from Shawnee and took him to Burlington Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. One woman, identified as Maribel Moran, and the couple’s 3-year-old and 5-year-old children, were found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the hospital. 

This boating accident comes on the heels of another water accident last week in which a man's body was pulled from Tuttle Creek Lake. The victim was identified Friday as 24-year-old Okheem Riley, a soldier from nearby Fort Riley. While authorities continue to investigate the man's death, foul play is not suspected.


Kansas City Man Dies After Canoe Tips in Buffalo River

UNDATED - A Kansas City man has died after being rescued from the Buffalo National River in Arkansas Saturday afternoon. Officials say the unidentified 61-year-old Kansas City man was transported by ambulance to a hospital and later pronounced dead. KTLO reports that the incident happened as the man was in a canoe on the river. Witnesses say the canoe tipped over. 


Police: Teen Drowned in Wichita Apartment Complex Lake

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a teenager has drowned in a lake on a Wichita apartment complex grounds. Authorities say the drowning happened Sunday afternoon when emergency crews were called to the Kingston Cove apartments in south-central Wichita. Officials say the teen was with a group of friends swimming in the lake when he went under the water and did not resurface. The teen's friends tried to rescue him, and several onlookers jumped in the water to try to help, but could not find him. First responders called to the scene found the teen within 30 minutes and pulled him from the water, but were unable to revive him. His name was not immediately released.


Kansas City Man Gets Lengthy Prison Term for Killing 2 Women

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A 32-year-old Kansas City man convicted of killing two women a decade apart has been sentenced to life in prison for one of the killings and 15 years behind bars for the other, with the terms to run consecutively. Kylr Yust was convicted in April of second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Jessica Runions of Raymore, and voluntary manslaughter in the death of 17-year-old Kara Kopetsky of Belton. The Cass County jury that convicted him recommended life in prison for Runions’s death and 15 years in Kopetsky’s death, and Cass County Circuit Judge William Collins on Monday followed those recommendations. Yust's attorney says an appeal is planned.


Two Men Arrested for May Killing in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two men are now in custody in connection with a fatal shooting last month in Topeka. Police say the suspects were arrested Sunday on suspicion of first-degree murder. It wasn't immediately clear if the men have been formally charged. Both were arrested without incident. The shooting happened May 27, killing 49-year-old Aaron D. Shepherd of Topeka.


Former Chiefs Assistant Coach Pleads Not Guilty in Crash 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid has pleaded not guilty in a crash that left a young girl critically injured. The judge modified Reid's bond today (MON) to allow him to drive with an interlock device installed that requires him to pass a breathalyzer test before his vehicle will start. Reid, the son of Chiefs Coach Andy Reid, was charged in April with driving while intoxicated causing serious physical injury, two months after he hit two cars on an Interstate 435 entrance ramp near Arrowhead Stadium. The collision happened just days before the Chiefs played in the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida. The crash injured two children. One of them, a 5-year-old girl, suffered a traumatic brain injury. 


GOP House Leader Asks Missouri Governor to Pardon Kansas City Inmate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Republican House member says he and some other lawmakers plan to ask Missouri Governor Mike Parson to pardon a Kansas City man who has spent more than 40 years in prison for a triple murder that prosecutors now say he didn’t commit. Rep. Andrew McDaniel of Deering, who leads the Missouri House committee that oversees the state's prison system, said he plans to send a letter to Parson seeking a pardon for Kevin Strickland. McDaniel says three other Republicans and five Democratic lawmakers plan to sign the letter. Strickland has been in prison since being convicted of a triple murder in 1978.


Lawrence Murder Trial Delayed Again

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The murder trial for a man accused of a 2017 killing in Lawrence has been delayed yet again. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the first-degree murder trial for 24-year-old Steven A. Drake III had been scheduled to begin today (MON). Court officials have not said why the case is being delayed, but last week, Drake rejected a plea agreement by refusing to show up for his scheduled plea hearing. A new trial date has not been set. Drake is accused of shooting Bryce S. Holladay in the doorway of Drake's home because Holladay refused to leave the house.


Motorcyclist Killed in Crash with Pickup in Independence

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Police say a motorcyclist was killed Saturday after crashing into a pickup in Independence. The Kansas City Star reports that officers were called to the crash Saturday night at the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and Farview Drive. Independence Police Sgt. Steven Boles says the motorcyclist was riding a 2009 Honda motorcycle west on the highway before colliding with a 2006 Nissan pickup truck as it turned onto Farview Drive from the highway. Boles says the motorcycle rider, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to the hospital but later died. Two people were in the pickup, but neither was injured.


3 Hospitalized After Car-Bus Crash in Downtown Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say three people were hospitalized Saturday after a car and bus crashed in downtown Kansas City. Police say the car and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority bus collided Saturday evening. The Kansas City Star reports that the bus was headed east when it collided with a Ford sedan headed south. Kansas City Police spokeswoman Donna Drake says two women were in the car at the time. They were both taken to the hospital, where the passenger was listed in critical condition and the driver was listed in serious condition. The bus driver, who was the only person in the bus at the time, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries


Third Kansan Arrested in Connection with Wichita Teen's Shooting Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A third Kansan has been arrested in connection to a shooting that killed a teenager. The Wichita Eagle reports police arrested 19-year-old Jakob Oniel Cuble for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Court records didn't list an attorney for Cuble Saturday. He's the third person arrested in connection to the death of 17-year-old Marcus Sain last year in a Wichita apartment complex shooting, which police say occurred during a drug deal. Nathaniel Saunders and Malcolm Ganther have also been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery for Sain's death.


Burglary Leads to Fire, Injuring 4 Officers, Man in Garage

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man is hospitalized in critical condition after a burglary led to a fire that also caused minor injuries to four Wichita police officers. Police say the officers responded Sunday night to a 911 call about a burglary in progress inside a home’s detached garage. A news release from police says arriving officers found that the garage entry was barricaded from the inside. Officers eventually got inside and discovered a man had locked himself into a smaller room, where a fire had been set. Officers used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze and rescue the man. The officers were treated for smoke inhalation and released.


Wichita Police: Woman Tried to Run over Husband

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita woman is accused of trying to run over her husband, and running into a business in the process. Formal charges have not been filed against the 42-year-old suspect. Wichita Officer Charley Davidson said police were called Saturday night to a report of a vehicle striking a building on East Second Street. Officers discovered that a 2014 Dodge Challenger had struck a building, and found the suspect and her 45-year-old husband at the scene. No one was hurt. Davidson said the investigation determined that the woman tried “multiple times” to run over her husband before striking the business.


Kansas Seeing More Mountain Lions, Black Bears, Elk

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Some wildlife species that were previously absent or rare in Kansas are appearing more often now, including a mountain lion that was caught on video last month roaming through an alley in Wichita. The mountain lion sighting continues a trend in recent decades that has brought an increased presence of wildlife to Kansas, including elk, black bears, river otters and armadillos Matt Peek is an Emporia-based wildlife research biologist for the Department of Wildlife and Parks. He says some animal populations that been reduced significantly by hunting have also gone from “very rare to very abundant” in Kansas. Those animals include wild turkey, Canada goose and deer populations. (Read more.)


Kansas Board of Education Mulls Computer Science Credits for Graduation

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - The Kansas Board of Education will consider a proposal this week to let computer science classes count toward graduation. The board meets Tuesday to vote on the plan. It would allow high school students to count computer science as one of four required math credits or one of three required science credits. Ryan Weber, of the K-C Tech Council, says computer classes give students a leg up on the job market. "Understanding how those systems work, how code teaches a computer to run an application, are fundamental future employability skills," he said. Kansas is one of only two states that does not count computer science as a graduation credit.


Half of Kansas Adults Now Vaccinated

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Half of all adults in Kansas are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Though half of adults in Kansas are now fully vaccinated, that still leaves many thousands who aren’t. And when you count kids, less than 40% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. So far, the shots are only available for people ages 12 and up. They’re free, even without health insurance. Covid has killed about 600,000 people across the U.S., including 5,000 in Kansas. 


Kansas Orders Less than 1% of COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas has ordered less than 1% of its COVID-19 vaccine allocation from the federal government for this week. The state ordered fewer doses because it still has more than a half-million unused doses. Health officials say they ordered only about a thousand doses of their federal allocation of 147,000 vaccines. Officials say nearly 43% of the state's 2.9 million residents have received at least one vaccine shot.


Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Passes 315,000; Death Toll Rises to 5,100

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that there have been 315,099 COVID-19 cases in Kansas, including 5,100 virus-related deaths, since the pandemic began. That's an increase of 244 cases and 16 new deaths since Friday. Another update is expected Wednesday.


Could Be One of the Driest Seasons Ever Along Missouri River

NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) - Two years after Missouri River flooding ravaged parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa, officials are now dealing with what's shaping up to be one of the river's driest years. The Norfolk, Nebraska, Daily News reports that significantly less water is expected to flow into the river this year because conditions remain so dry and snowpack is below normal levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says its forecast from last month hasn't changed. The Corps estimates that 17.9 million acre feet of water will flow into the river this year. That is only about 69% of the average, which would make this year the 22nd driest in the upper basin since 1898.  


42-Year-Old Inmate Dies in Lasing Correction Facility

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - An inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility has died. Corrections officials say 42-year-old William Smith died late Friday. An autopsy is planned but the cause of death is not believed to be COVID-19 related. The Junction City Post reports that Smith was serving a 37-month sentence for drug and theft-related crimes in Sedgwick County as well as other offenses.


State Panel Recommends Kansas Prosecutor be Disbarred

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A state board has unanimously recommended that the Kansas Supreme Court disbar a prosecutor who’s accused of misleading juries in two separate cases, actions that caused those cases to be overturned by higher courts. The Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys argued that Jacqie Spradling embraced a “win at all costs” attitude in two cases: a 2012 double homicide case and a 2016 rape and sodomy case. Spradling is accused of falsely leading a jury to believe that Dana Chandler in Shawnee County had violated a protection order obtained by her ex-husband, who was killed along with his fiance. No abuse order was ever found to have existed. Similar accusations were made against Spradling in the case of Jacob Ewing, a Jackson County man convicted in a rape and sodomy case. In both cases, appeals courts tossed out the convictions. The report argued that Spradling’s actions undermine confidence in the judicial system and resulted in significant financial costs. Spradling, who works as a prosecutor in Bourbon and Allen counties, admitted in a December hearing that she erred in handling the cases, although her legal team has said the mistakes don’t rise to the level of misconduct. (Read more.)


Weston, Missouri, Hosts Juneteenth Celebration

WESTON, Mo. (KPR) - Weston, Missouri, will host its inaugural Junteenth celebration later this month. Organizers say Weston’s first Juneteenth Heritage Jubilee will honor the community's Black residents through song, spoken word, poetry, folk art and storytelling. The celebration will be held June 19 from 10 am to Noon at the Ben Holladay Pavilion in Weston City Park.  

Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Army general Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. President Abe Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery in Texas and the other states in rebellion against the Union almost two and a half years earlier, but enforcement of the president's proclamation generally relied on the advance of Union troops. Texas, as the most remote of the slave states, had a low presence of Union troops as the American Civil War ended; thus enforcement there had been slow and inconsistent before Granger's announcement.


Chick-fil-A Sauce Sparks Attack at Kansas Grocery Store

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man has been arrested for attacking a grocery store worker, apparently over Chick-fil-A sauce. Wichita police arrested 37-year-old James Adam Hirsh for aggravated assault. A police spokesman says the altercation was over the sale of Chick-fil-A sauce at Dillons. Police say Hirsh was asked to calm down or leave the store but then started throwing punches at an employee. The Wichita Eagle reports Chick-fil-A sauce has been limited because of shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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