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Headlines for Saturday, July 11, 2020

COVID-19 Spike in Kansas Raises Questions on Local Rules

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas hasn't contained a resurgence in coronavirus cases and that is raising questions about whether the state made a mistake in allowing local officials to set rules for businesses and public gatherings. State health department figures show Kansas experienced its worst spike in confirmed new cases since the pandemic began in the two weeks ending Friday. Counties have had the power to set the rules since May 26th. Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley says Kansas was doing better when Kelly was in control. Republican Senate President Susan Wagle disagrees, suggesting the virus is less deadly than it was.

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KCK Police: Body Found, Thought to be Missing Toddler

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities believe they have found the body of a 3-year-old girl who was reported missing Friday morning from her Kansas City, Kansas, home. A police spokesman says investigators are “pretty sure” the body found Friday afternoon is Olivia Jansen's. The body was found about nine blocks from her home, from which her father had reported her missing. Police Officer Dustin Dierenfeldt said the father told investigators he last saw the child around 11 p.m. Thursday when he went to sleep. He said noticed she was gone Friday morning and a door was open when he awoke.

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Haskell Fees Hold Steady, Despite Switch to Virtual Classes

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Haskell Indian Nations University students are complaining after learning they will still pay the same amount for a fee that typically covers housing, food and activities, even though classes will be taught fully online because of the coroanvirus. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the university’s website shows that Haskell students will be charged $715 for the online fall 2020 semester, the same price on-campus students were previously charged. Off-campus students, meanwhile, previously paid $240 per semester.

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KC Strips Marijuana Possession from City Code

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City will no longer punish people for marijuana possession, effectively decriminalizing it throughout much of the city. The Kansas City Star reports that city council members voted Thursday to strip the crime from the city code. Users can still be charged for possession by county prosecutors who still pursue those cases. In Jackson County, prosecutor Jean Peters Baker had already pledged to stop charging most people for possession after local voters decided overwhelmingly in 2017 to eliminate jail time for possession. But in parts of Kansas City that lie in Clay, Platte and Cass counties, people could still face state possession charges.

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Wichita Police Arrest Father in Drowning Death of Toddler

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested a father in the drowning death of his 2-year-old son in a neighborhood swimming pool in Wichita. Police Officer Charley Davidson said Friday that 44-year-old William Kabutu of Wichita has been arrested on suspicion of felony murder and two counts of aggravated child endangerment, stemming from the boy’s death Tuesday. It wasn’t known whether he has an attorney. He said the father took the 2-year-old and his 4-year-old brother to the pool, where they slipped through the bars of a fence that surrounded the pool. The younger child then went into the water but the toddler’s father was too large to get through the bars and the gate was locked.

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Forecast: Kansas Farmers Harvesting Fewer Bushels of Wheat

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A new government report shows Kansas farmers are harvesting fewer bushels of winter wheat this year. The forecast released Friday is based on crop conditions July 1st.  The Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service revised the government’s earlier estimate downward to 307 million bushels in Kansas. That is 9% fewer bushels than were cut last year in the state. The latest forecast is based on an average yield of 48 bushels per acre, down 4 bushels from 2019.  It also estimates growers in Kansas will cut 6.4 million acres of wheat, down 2% from last year.

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Missouri Man Charged in Deadly Olathe Burglary

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 42-year-old Missouri man was charged Thursday in the death of a woman whose body was found by police responding to a burglary call in Olathe. The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office said in a Twitter post that Clyde J. Barnes Jr., of Kansas City, Missouri, has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, unlawful tampering with electronic monitoring, criminal threat and violation of a protection order. The burglary was reported around 3. a.m. Sunday, police said in a news release. The victim was identified as 42-year-old Jessica L. Smith.

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