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Headlines for Monday, May 4, 2020

Kansas Reports More than 5,200 COVID-19 Cases; Wyandotte County Leads the State with 879 Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas health officials are reporting 5,245 cases of COVID-19, including 136 deaths. Cases have been reported in 82 of the state's 105 counties. Wyandotte County, in northeast Kansas, leads the state with 879 cases; Ford County, in southwest Kansas, is second with 832.  (Get the latest Kansas Kansas number here.)

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Kansas Lifts Limits on Many Businesses - but Not All

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly's statewide stay-at-home order has expired and the state will allow many Kansas businesses to reopen today if they can maintain the required social distancing. Many Kansas restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to re open today (MON) but bars, gyms, theaters, barbershops, hair and nail salons and state-owned casinos will not be allowed to reopen until at least May 18. Details of the governor's four phase plan to reopen Kansas are now available at a new website: covid.ks.gov. 

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Some Kansas Businesses Eagerly Reopen, but Others Hesitate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Restaurant dining rooms, retail stores and some offices in Kansas have begun began reopening after lifting of the state's stay-at-home order, though some business owners say they'll wait a while. Gov. Laura Kelly plans to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy in four stages between now an at least June 15.  The first stage began when the her stay-at-home order expired at midnight Sunday, allowing dine-in service in restaurants and the reopening of stores with social distancing. Sarah Bagby said she wasn't ready yet to reopen Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita to in-person shoppers. But in Colby, Junelle Hills said she was ready for business to return to normal at her quilt, curtain and cabin business. 

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COVID Outbreak Prompts Kansas to Stop Prison Releases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda announced this (MON) morning that one staff member working at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the sixth Kansas correctional facility with confirmed cases, including Lansing Correctional Facility, Wichita Work Release Facility, Topeka Correctional Facility, Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex and El Dorado Correctional Facility. Governor Laura Kelly says the state began releasing inmates last week as a way to check the spread of coronavirus in its prison system but stopped when an outbreak mushroomed at the Lansing Correctional Facility. Kelly says that the outbreak created a danger of returning infected offenders to their communities. Health officials have recorded positive tests for 76 inmates and 75 staff members at the Lansing prison and two inmates at the facility have died from COVID-19. Inmates rioted there in early April, and family members of vulnerable inmates have questioned the precautions taken by employees. The Kansas Department of Corrections has placed the entire prison compound under quarantine for 14 days. 

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KU to Reopen for In-Person Classes in the Fall

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas will open its campuses for in-person classes in the fall after the shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The university has announced that in-person classes will resume “in some capacity” for the fall semester. KU closed to in-person classes in March. Last month, the university announced it would continue with all classes online for the summer semester.

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Kansas Secretary of State Prepares for Fall Elections in COVID Era

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab is preparing for the November election amidst a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections. The Secretary of State is encouraging county clerks to send applications for mail-in ballots to registered voters to avoid crowded polling places on election day. He says he thinks the rate of infection will reduce in time for the August primaries but says he's concerned about a possible second wave coinciding with the general election in the fall. Schwab says he plans to launch a statewide campaign to recruit young people to volunteer as poll workers in the November elections because he believes teenagers are less likely to contract COVID-19 and they are generally more comfortable than older poll workers with the technology needed to quickly check voters. 

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Kansas to Recruit Teens as Poll Workers in Response to Virus

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Secretary of State Scott Schwab says he plans to ask young people to volunteer as poll workers in the November elections when he expects a second wave of the coronavirus. Schwab told The Topeka Capital-Journal he believes teenagers are less likely to contract COVID-19 and they are generally more comfortable than older poll workers with the technology needed to quickly check voters. He says he thinks the rate of infection will reduce in time for the August primaries but that he's concerned about a possible second wave coinciding with the general election in the fall.

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Joe Biden Wins Kansas Democratic Primary with All-Mail Ballot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Joe Biden overwhelmingly won a Democratic presidential primary in Kansas conducted exclusively by mail balloting because of the coronavirus pandemic. The former vice president had been expected to prevail and capture a majority of the state’s delegates to the Democrats’ national nominating commission. He captured 77% of Saturday's vote. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was still in the race when the Kansas party began mailing ballots at the end of March, but he suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden. The primary determined how 39 of the state’s 45 national convention delegates would be allocated. The remaining six are party leaders.

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Part of Interstate 70 Shut Down After Storm Hits Power Lines

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a portion of Interstate 70 in central Kansas is shut down after strong winds blew down power lines. The patrol says the interstate between Manhattan and Wamego closed Monday morning and is expected to remain closed for most of the afternoon. Downed power lines also closed Kansas 177 just south of the interstate. The storm packing strong winds and hail moved across Kansas Monday, leaving thousands of people without power in Topeka through the Kansas City metro area. There was no immediate word of injuries.  

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Kansas Couple Settles Lawsuit over Botched Raid for $150,000

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City-area couple whose home was raided in a 2012 search for marijuana has settled for $150,000 their federal lawsuit against the Johnson County deputies who led the operation. The amount of the settlement with Robert and Adlynn Harte, of Leawood, was unsealed Thursday. KCUR-FM reports the deal ends years of litigation that began in 2013 when the Hartes sued the sheriff’s office and deputies. Deputies raided the Harte's home after Robert Harte bought hydroponic gardening supplies and deputies found vegetation in the family trash. No marijuana was found in the raid and the vegetation turned out to be loose-leaf tea.

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Body of Missing Man Who Was in Kayak Found in Tuttle Creek

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Riley County police say searchers have found the body of a man who went kayaking over the weekend at Tuttle Creek. Twenty-one-year-old Jose Francisco Ramos, of Fort Riley, was reported missing Saturday. He had been kayaking with a group of friends. Emergency crews spent hours searching and his body was recovered about 9:30 p.m. Sunday. 

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UPDATE: Shootout Leaves Overland Park Officer, Hit-and-Run Suspect Dead

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas say a shootout left both a police officer and a hit-and-run suspect dead. Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez says Officer Mike Mosher died at a hospital Sunday. Police on Monday identified the suspect as 38-year-old Phillip Michael Carney, of Overland Park. A police spokesman says Mosher was off-duty but in uniform when he pursued a suspect in an apparent hit-and-run. Carney and Mosher exchanged gunfire. Carney died at the scene. Police have not said what led to the exchange of gunfire. Mosher had been with the Overland Park department for nearly 15 years. 

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Johnson County Shootout Leaves Officer, Hit-and-Run Suspect Dead 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police in Overland Park say a shootout has left both a police officer and a hit-and-run suspect dead. Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez says Officer Mike Mosher died at a hospital Sunday. A police spokesman says Mosher was off-duty but in uniform when he saw an apparent hit-and-run and pursued the suspect. A shootout ensued. The suspect died at the scene and hasn't been identified. Mosher had been with the Overland Park department for nearly 15 years. 

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Spirit AeroSystems Announces Lay Offs of 1,450 Employees

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems is laying off 1,450 employees because demand for new airplanes has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. Boeing and Airbus have reported their first-quarter financial reports and indicated there would be a decline in demand for new airplanes. Spirit is a major supplier of parts for both companies. Affected employees in Wichita will start leaving on May 15th but some “may be asked to work during this 60 day period to provide cross training.” Employees working on the defense side will not be affected.

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Survey Shows Optimism Even as Economic Index Drops

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The latest survey of supply managers in a nine-state region of the Midwest and Plains shows many have hope for a rebound yet this year, even as the survey's other indices show the coronavirus pandemic has knocked the economy in Middle America for a loop. The latest Mid-American Business Conditions index fell from 46.7 in March to 35.1 in April — the lowest reading since February 2009. But the confidence index, which gauges supply managers' economic outlook for the next six months, rose to 45.5 from March’s record low 14.5. Any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while scores below 50 suggest decline. The survey covers Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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Dropping Oil Prices Damaging Kansas Ethanol Industry

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A sharp drop in gas prices is hurting the ethanol industry in Kansas. Two of the state's ethanol plants are idle and nine others have cut production by at least 40%. Gas prices were declining before the coronavirus spread, but prices fell more than 50% after the pandemic started. That caused prices for ethanol, which makes up 10% of much of the fuel in the U.S., to plunge. Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy in Phillipsburg has temporarily stopped production, as has the state's newest plant in Colwich. In response, some plants have begun producing ethanol that can be used in hand sanitizer.

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Kansas Teenager Arrested After Chase Involving Stolen School Bus

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 16-year-old boy is in custody after he led authorities on a chase through several counties in a stolen school bus. Ford County authorities say they were notified Saturday about the bus being stolen out of Cheney in Sedgwick County. Sheriff Bill Carr says the driver evaded deputies for several miles, driving west on and off county roads and Highway 54. The driver eventually stopped and surrendered near Kingsdown in Ford County. Carr says the teenager was a runaway from another county. 

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Kansas, Missouri Renew Football Border War

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas and Missouri are resuming their bitter Border War in football after the former Big 12 rivals agreed to a four-game series in which each school will play two home games beginning in September 2025. The fourth-longest rivalry in college football dates to 1891, but it has been on hiatus since Missouri departed for the Southeastern Conference. The schools recently announced a six-game series in men’s basketball beginning with the upcoming season that includes two games on each campus and two in Kansas City, Missouri.

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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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