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Headlines for Monday, September 6, 2021


Johnson, Morris Counties Sued over Mask Mandates

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Lawsuits have been filed challenging a mask mandate for students and staff in elementary schools in Johnson County and another mandate requiring everyone five-years-old and older in Morris County to mask. The suits, are believed to be the first since the state’s Supreme Court granted a stay last week allowing enforcement of a law that allows those who oppose mask requirements or pandemic-related restrictions on public gatherings imposed by Kansas counties to challenge them in court and obtain a ruling within 10 days.


Stormont Vail Turns Away 20 COVID Patients Amid Vaccine Protests

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — Twenty coronavirus patients were turned away from Stormont Vail hospital in Topeka last week.  The hospital's website reports that six COVID-19 patients were admitted last Thursday, but staffing shortages required the hospital to turn away 20 patient requests from other hospitals. Meanwhile, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that several dozen people gathered near Stormont Vail Saturday to protest the hospital's new COVID-19 vaccine mandate.  The hospital has announced that all staff will be required to receive the vaccine by October 31st.  The Capital-Journal reports that many of the protestors were from out of town.


More Kansas and Missouri Hospitals Requiring Staff Vaccinations

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KNS) — Hospitals in several Kansas communities and in the Kansas City area are requiring their employees to get shots against COVID-19.  LMH Health in Lawrence and Stormont Vail, Topeka’s largest hospital, have joined several other health systems in setting deadlines for employees to get COVID vaccines. The Ascension health system, which owns facilities in Wichita, Pittsburg and Manhattan announced last month that it will require all staff members to be vaccinated. In the Kansas City area, the University of Kansas, Truman Medical Centers, and St. Luke’s health systems have taken the same steps. COVID hospitalizations have climbed back up to where they were in January. Kansas hospitals are caring for about 800 coronavirus inpatients.


Kansas Prisons Tamp Down COVID Spread

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — Correctional facilities were sites of multiple COVID-19 clusters early in the pandemic, but the state's prisons have not seen a spike in cases as the delta variant surges. Kansas correctional facilities had only 63 COVID-19 cases from March through August among a population of more than 8,500 inmates. Low case counts are due in part to inmates having at least a 75% vaccination rate. Statewide, just over half of Kansans have at least one dose. Cases in some correctional facilities did increase in August, but most of those new cases were among staff members.


Kansas Health Officials: Don't Take Ivermectin for COVID-19

HAYS, Kan. (KNS) - As COVID-19 cases rise across Kansas, the state health department is warning people not to take Ivermectin to try to fight off the disease.  The medicine, mostly used in livestock, is already making some Kansans sick.  At least seven people have landed in Kansas emergency rooms after taking Ivermectin. And nine more have called the state poison control center.  It’s part of a nationwide trend of people believing false claims that the horse and cattle dewormer helps COVID symptoms. But the state health department warns that it hasn’t been proven to fight the virus, and taking it could be deadly.  Because the medicine is meant for large animals, it’s highly concentrated and toxic to humans. Symptoms of ivermectin overdose include vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations and seizures.  In a statement, health secretary Lee Norman said the vaccine remains the most effective way to prevent COVID-19.   Find a free COVID-19 vaccine near you.

There will be NO update of Kansas COVID-19 statistics on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. 


White House Urged to Shutter Leavenworth Prison

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Civil rights advocates and federal public defenders are urging the White House to intervene to ensure that a privately run federal prison in Leavenworth shuts down when its contract expires at the end of this year. The letter to a White House office and local Leavenworth officials contends that the Leavenworth Detention Center is dangerously understaffed, unsafe and poorly managed. It details stabbings, suicides and a homicide that have happened there this year. The prison's operator, CoreCivic, says its critics' claims are “false and defamatory." The letter was signed by officials from the American Civil Liberties Union's affiliates in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska, and by the heads of several federal public defender offices.


Exhibit on KC LGBTQ History Reopened After Removal from Missouri Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) —  An exhibit on the history of the LGBTQ community in Kansas City has reopened in a state building in Jefferson City after being removed from the Missouri Capitol last week. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said the exhibit opened over the weekend in the Lohman Building near the Capitol.  The display was removed from the Missouri State Museum after Republican lawmakers complained.  State Senator Greg Razer, a Democrat from Kansas City, criticized the decision to take down the exhibit.  DNR Director Dru Buntin apologized for how the incident unfolded and that it is important to tell the history of all Missourians.


Cattle Producers Have a Beef with 35-Year Marketing Campaign

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — It’s one of the nation’s most iconic marketing slogans, but today the checkoff program that created the “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign is under attack by the cattle producers who pay for it. The beef checkoff program forces ranchers to pay $1 per head of cattle sold — purportedly to get consumers to eat more beef.  But opponents are urging cattle producers to sign a petition calling for a referendum vote on terminating the program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last month granted an extension until October 3rd for them to collect the required signatures due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Police Identify Two Killed in Murder-Suicide Near Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _  The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office has identified a man and a woman found dead last week in an apparent murder-suicide. The Sheriff's Office says the bodies of 21-year-old Connor O'Hara and 20-year-old Hannah King, both of Topeka, were found Friday afternoon in a home just south of Topeka. The Capital-Journal reports that investigators believe an altercation occurred inside the home and that O'Hara fatally shot King before turning the gun on himself. Sheriff Brian Hill said investigators do not believe anyone else was involved in the fatal shooting, although detectives continue to investigate. 


Dodge City Man No Longer Facing Wichita Murder Charge

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 28-year-old Dodge City man who was facing a possible first-degree murder charge in a shooting death near a Wichita park is no longer facing those charges and they are searching for another suspect. Police said that Caesar Hermosillo was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the death of 32-year-old Jason Huber of Wichita. But police now say that Hermosillo no longer faces those charges. He remains in custody on a pending warrant. Police are now searching for another man in connection to Huber's death. Huber was found last week suffering from gunshot wounds near South Riverside Park in Wichita. He died later at a hospital.


Detectives Investigating Homicide in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Detectives are investigating a homicide in Kansas City, Kansas. Officers were dispatched on a shooting call Saturday night. They discovered a man in his late 20s who had been shot. The police department said in a news release that the man was transferred to an area hospital where he died of his injuries. A suspect is in custody. No further details have been released. 

Firefighters Extinguish Blaze at Topeka Multi-Family Dwelling

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze at a multi-family dwelling in Topeka Saturday night. The Topeka Fire Department said in a news release that it responded shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday to a two-story structure and made what it calls an "interior offensive attack." Two occupants who were inside the building were able to get out unhurt before firefighters arrived. The preliminary investigation says the cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation. It estimated the loss at about $11,000, mostly due to structural damage. 


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Tom Parkinson and Kaye McIntyre.  Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!  


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