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Headlines for Monday, September 21, 2020


Justice Ginsburg's Death Puts Focus on Roe v. Wade

UNDATED (AP) - The Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is heightening a sense of alarm among supporters of abortion rights. And it's fueling a surge of optimism among abortion opponents. If President Donald Trump is able to install his nominee in that seat, both sides agree there's a better chance than ever that the court could overturn or undermine Roe v. Wade, the court decision legalizing abortion. During his 2016 campaign, Trump won over skeptical anti-abortion leaders with multiple pledges to combat abortion, including choosing Supreme Court justices open to dismantling Roe.


Kansas Senators Roberts and Moran Say They're Ready to Move Forward on Approving Supreme Court Nominee 

UNDATED (Kansas News Service) – Both U.S. senators from Kansas say they’re ready to vote on President Trump’s eventual nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg before the end of the year. Today (MON), Republican Senator Pat Roberts said that he supports a confirmation vote before the next inauguration. In 2016, he opposed confirming a Supreme Court choice put forward by President Barack Obama because it was an election year. Roberts tweeted that the difference between 2016 and now is the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party. Republican Senator Jerry Moran said much the same thing shortly after Ginsburg died Friday. Trump has said he may announce a nominee by week’s end.


Kansas Senator Roberts Backs Filling Ginsburg Vacancy This Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas supports replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on U.S. Supreme Court this year. Roberts tweeted Monday that the Senate has an obligation under the U.S. Constitution to fill high court vacancies. Fellow Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran already has said he supports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to move head with consideration of a nominee from President Donald Trump. Trump said Monday that he plans to nominate a replacement for the late liberal justice by the end of the week. Many Democrats have argued that the vacancy shouldn’t be filled until next year, after the presidential election and next inauguration.


Kansas Candidates for U.S. Senate Debate Supreme Court, Climate Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Republican nominee for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas has called for quick action to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Congressman Roger Marshall also dismissed his Democratic opponent's disavowal of Green New Deal environmental proposals so often during a Saturday debate that she admonished him to "stop deceiving voters." Marshall repeatedly attacked Democratic nominee and state Senator Barbara Bollier for switching parties in late 2018, suggesting she had embraced liberal values. She said several times that she opposed the Green New Deal as unrealistic and told Marshall he was "running over the truth." The debate was the first for the candidates.


Construction Begins to Fix Deadly Section of Kansas River

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Crews are beginning work to fix a dangerous stretch of the Kansas River where three people have drowned since 2007. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the two-year, $5.7 million project starts Monday and aims to make a river weir in Topeka safer.  Friends of the Kaw executive director Dawn Buehler says the problem is that calmer, slow-moving water suddenly speeds up around the weir, creating a dangerous "washing-machine effect." Kelly Ryan, levee engineer at the Topeka Utilities Department, said construction will be done in two phases. That construction is expected to be completed by this winter, and once complete, kayakers should be able to pass by the weir without having to leave the water.


Police: Body Pulled from Missouri River at Sugar Creek

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — For the second time in as many months, a body has been pulled from the Missouri River in a small western Missouri city. The Kansas City Star reports that Sugar Creek police, firefighters and the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded late Sunday afternoon to La Benite Park after someone reported spotting the body. Officials recovered the body of a man, but have not released his identity. Police also said they don't yet know how the man died. Sugar Creek Sgt. Tom Butkovich says police have no reason to think the incident is connected to one last month when another body was found in the river at the same park.


COVID-19 Case Total in Kansas Closes in on 54,000 and Includes 600 Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas health officials say the state has recorded nearly 54,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  The Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that the state has 53,959 cases, including 600 deaths.  Another update on Kansas case numbers will be released Wednesday.


Kansas Governor Concerned About State's Ability to Slow COVID-19 Spread 

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she is concerned about the state's ability to slow the spread of the coronavirus as newly confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise. She says the state's lack of coherent statewide mask mandates and an ineffective, patchwork response to the pandemic endangers state residents and could slow economic recovery because employers want to be sure their employees have access to good health care. State health officials reported on Monday 53,959 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 600 deaths since the pandemic began _ an increase of 1,674 cases and four deaths over the weekend.


Missouri Reports Nearly 1,400 New COVID-19 cases

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri added nearly 1,400 new COVID-19 cases and 13 more deaths on Saturday. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported that the 1,387 new cases bring the total to 111,516 since the pandemic began. The death toll in the state now stands at 1,793. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Missouri has risen over the past two weeks from 1,317.57 new cases per day on September 4 to 1,567 new cases per day on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But data from The COVID Tracking Project shows that the positivity rate dropped over that period, going from 13.75% to 11.69%.


Kansas School Wants 100 to Quarantine; Parents Protest

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Johnson County health officials are recommending more than 100 people quarantine after being in contact with a person at an Overland Park elementary school who tested positive for COVID-19. But some parents are pushing back, saying the recommendation is an overreaction. County health officials said they are investigating exposures at Timber Creek Elementary School in the Blue Valley district. They did not say whether a staff member or student tested positive. Several parents who want schools to fully reopen held a rally at the school Sunday to protest the quarantine. Christine White, a pediatrician, led the rally. She called the quarantine a “massive overreaction.”


Former Kansas Board of Regents Executive Dies at Age 63

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former top executive at the Kansas Board of Regents and longtime University of Kansas administrator and professor has died. Reggie Robinson, who was the current president of the Kansas Health Foundation, died Saturday at age 63. Robinson served as president and CEO of the governing body of the state's public universities from 2002 to 2010.  After that, he led Washburn University's Center for Law and Government for several years.  He then returned to KU, where he led the School of Public Affairs and Administration before becoming the university's vice chancellor for public affairs.  (Read more in the Lawrence Journal-World.)


Pedestrian Dies After Running onto Kansas Interstate

HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (AP) — A pedestrian died after he ran onto an interstate in south-central Kansas Saturday night. The Kansas Highway Patrol said 20-year-old Kalub Rowson, of Minneapolis, died after he was struck by an SUV on Interstate 135 about 12 miles north of Wichita. The crash happened around 10:15 pm Saturday. The three occupants of the SUV were not hurt.


Driver Dies in Missouri After Going Wrong Way on Interstate 49

BELTON, Mo. (AP) — One person is dead after driving the wrong way on Interstate 49 in the Kansas City area. Belton, Missouri, police Lt. Dan Davis said the crash happened around 11:50 pm Saturday on Interstate 49 in Belton. The exact location of the crash wasn’t immediately provided. Davis said the driver who died was driving the wrong way on the interstate. The victim’s identity was not immediately released.


Wichita Man Pleads Guilty to Having 20 Pounds of Meth, Guns

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a man pleaded guilty to drug and gun crimes after authorities say they found 11 weapons and 20 pounds of methamphetamine at his Wichita home. Wichita officers who searched the rental home of 40-year-old Luiz Hernandez in December 2018 found several baggies apparently full of methamphetamine in the house and a barrel full of the drug in a detached garage. Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and unlawful possession of firearms by a person in the U.S. illegally.


Performer Shot in Wichita During Kansas History Museum Reenactment

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A performer has been wounded during a reenactment at a Kansas history museum in a shooting that police say appears to be accidental. The Wichita Eagle reports that the shooting was reported at 9:05 pm Friday at an event near the Old Cowtown Museum, where reenactors were supposed to use blank rounds. Police Officer Kevin Wheeler said in a news release that the 24-year-old victim was shot in the upper body and taken to a hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.


Lawrence Ordinance Makes It Easier to Crack Down on Partiers

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials are giving police more power to enforce crowd size limits and other health orders designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The moves come after neighbors raised concerns about large house parties near the University of Kansas campus. The university reported 882 positive cases as of Friday.  City commissioners voted Thursday to approve an ordinance that gives police the authority to issue up to a $500 ticket to violators. And on Friday, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced it would be conducting checks to make sure bars and restaurants are complying with orders to stop serving alcohol at 9 pm.


Johnson County Rebukes Commissioner over Anarchy Post

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The Johnson County Commission has agreed to rebuke one of its members for a Facebook post where he warned of impending anarchy and a "coming war." The Kansas City Star reports that the 4-3 vote to rebuke Commissioner Mike Brown was approved Thursday.  Brown, a Republican, wrote the post the previous weekend after two sheriff's deputies were shot in California. He warned of a violent uprising and conflict with the left, then urged constituents to "buy a firearm and ammunition" and "learn how to safely use it to defend yourself and your property."


Missouri Paramedic Admits Tampering with Ambulance Narcotics

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri emergency medical technician has pleaded guilty to stealing painkillers from an ambulance and diluting the drugs with water and saline to cover his tracks. The Joplin Globe reports that 37-year-old James Poole, of Webb City, faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty last week in federal court in Springfield to a charge of tampering with a consumer product. The U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield said in a news release that the investigation began earlier this year after paramedics with Mercy Hospital Carthage noticed puncture marks on a fentanyl vial and then drew fentanyl from a vial that didn’t contain enough fluid for a full dose.


Baylor Football Coach Optimistic Team Will Play Big 12 Opener vs Kansas

WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor coach Dave Aranda says he's optimistic about the Bears being able to play their Big 12 opener this week. The Bears have had scheduled non-conference games the past two weeks called off because of COVID-19. Baylor didn't play last weekend against Houston after positive tests affected one of the Bears position group. Aranda hasn't said which group that is, but says the Bears expect about five guys back at that position this week. They are scheduled to play the University of Kansas at home on Saturday. Louisiana Tech was supposed to play at Baylor on Sept. 12 before the Bulldogs had a widespread virus outbreak.


Chiefs Fan Allowed into Box Seat Without Negative Virus Test

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Health officials say a Chiefs fan who tested positive for COVID-19 one day after attending the season opener was allowed into a lower level box seat without a negative test through a lapse. The Kansas City Star reports that the fan should have been tested for COVID-19 before being admitted to the box, per the Chiefs policy, which applies only to those sitting in suites, including the lower level field boxes. Kansas City Health Department spokesman Bill Snook said the agency is working with the Chiefs, who are responsible for the testing, to strengthen the protocol.


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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