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Headlines for Saturday, March 20, 2021

Topeka Mayor Will Not Seek Reelection

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla says she will not run for reelection in 2022.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that De La Isla made the announcement yesterday (FRI), saying she plans to stay in Topeka but is exploring options outside of politics.  De La Isla was elected in 2018, the city's first Latina to serve as mayor.  She ran for Congress in 2020, but lost the general election for the 2nd congressional district to then-State Treasurer Jake LaTurner. De La Isla says in her time still in office, she hopes the city of Topeka will approve funding the city's housing trust funds.


About 40% Prison Staff, 30% Inmates Decline COVID Shot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — About 40% of Kansas prison staff and about 30% of inmates have declined to be vaccinated for COVID-19 despite outbreaks that have infected thousands inside lockups. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Kansas Department of Corrections is in its sixth week of offering vaccinations to inmates and staff. It plans to continue operating vaccination clinics through mid-April. As of Thursday, the prison system had reported 1,277 cases among staff and 6,117 among inmates since the pandemic started. There also have been 21 deaths among prisoners and staff. The agency doesn’t require employees or inmates to explain their reasons for declining the vaccine.


Board of Regents Approves KU Admissions Change

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - The University of Kansas will be a little easier to get into under a policy approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that starting in 2022, incoming freshmen will not be required to take a standardized admissions test like the ACT or SAT.  Those students who do opt for a standardized test will be able to get into KU with a high school grade point average as low as 2.0.  The Board of Regents approved the changes unanimously this week, but did question KU officials on whether the new standards will affect graduation and dropout rates.  A KU spokesperson says the university proposed the changes in hopes of creating more opportunities for more students.


Kansas Lawmakers at Odds over How to Legalize Sports Betting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — With the first round of college basketball’s March Madness underway, Kansas legislators are moving closer toward legalizing sports betting. But action yesterday (FRI) by a state House committee showed that lawmakers disagree about where sports fans should be able to place live wagers. The House committee approved a bill that would allow live sports wagering at four state-owned casinos, racetracks and as many as 1,200 retail stores that current sell Kansas Lottery tickets. The Senate approved a proposal earlier this month to limit live wagering to four state-owned casinos. Both bills would allow online and mobile-app betting but with different players operating them.


Troopers Find Man Dead on Side of Kansas Interstate

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in northeast Kansas say the body of an Arkansas man was found on the shoulder of Interstate 70, and the Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating. The Manhattan Mercury reports that the Geary County Sheriff’s Office initially received a call around 5:15 a.m. Thursday about a person down by the interstate near Fort Riley. Kansas troopers responded and found the body of 18-year-old Bennet Trotter, of West Memphis, Arkansas, on the eastbound shoulder of the interstate. Investigators believe Trotter had been walking along the road when he was hit by one or more vehicles that left the scene. No arrests had been reported or suspects named in the case by Friday morning.


Wichita Police Shoot, Injure Domestic Violence Suspect

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita say officers shot and injured a man after being called for a report of a domestic violence incident in southeast Wichita. Police say the shooting happened Thursday night in a restaurant parking lot, after a man threatened to kill his ex-wife and children. Police say when officers confronted the man in the parking lot, he brandished a gun, and officers fired on him. The man was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. No officers were injured, and police say it's unclear whether the man fired his gun. Police said the woman reportedly threatened was also present, but was not hurt.


Recent Rains Close More than 100 Missouri Roads

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — More than 100 roads are closed across largely rural areas of Missouri as waters rise following recent rain, putting officials on guard as repairs continue on some levees that were damaged previously. National Weather Service hydrologist Scott Watson said the flooding “is pretty typical of what we see in most springs.” It comes after 2 to 6 inches of rain fell over the past week in an area stretching from Nebraska down through eastern Kansas and into parts of Missouri. Watson said levees are holding up and most of the areas taking on water are unprotected lowland and agricultural areas.


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