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Headlines for Saturday, May 9, 2020

Kansas GOP Leader Announced Retirement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A top Republican legislator who worked with Democratic Governor Laura Kelly on a plan for expanding Medicaid in Kansas is not seeking re-election. Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Friday that it’s time for him to focus again on his wife and business. The Overland Park Republican is the retired CEO of an eye care and optical surgery company and was expected to have a tough re-election race this year. Denning has been majority leader since 2016. He helped block Medicaid expansion in 2019 but drafted his own plan in October and worked with Kelly on a bipartisan proposal that stalled.


Kansas Official Encourages Cleaning, Reusing N95 Masks

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ top public health official is encouraging medical personnel to sterilize N95 masks for reuse to preserve their supplies. State health department head Dr. Lee Norman on Friday discussed the state's making sterilization equipment available as coronavirus cases increased another 5.8% and the state prepared to update the public less often about the virus’ spread.  Norman said the health department is borrowing massive sterilizing equipment for six months from an Ohio-based research company. The equipment is in a state warehouse south of Topeka and can process 10,000 masks a day.  He announced his department would update case numbers only Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


Violent Week in Kansas City: 7 Dead in 5 Days

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are concerned about a rise in deadly shootings across the region. The Kansas City Star reported Thursday that seven people died over a five-day period. The killings included an 18-year-old shot in a vehicle, a homicide outside downtown lofts, a fatal police shooting and two men allegedly killed by one shooter. Three homicides also were reported over the past week in Johnson County, Kansas. Data maintained by the Star shows there have been 60 killings so far in 2020, compared to 48 at this time last year.


Wichita Worker Pepper-Sprayed by Robber

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An employee of a payday loan business in Wichita is recovering after an armed robber doused the man with pepper spray. Police say the crime happened Thursday afternoon at a Check N’ Go business. The robber, wearing a scarf over his face, demanded that the 49-year-old worker open the cash drawer. During the crime, police say, the employee suffered minor injuries after being doused in pepper spray. The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled in a car.


Kansas Parks See Surge in April Visits

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas state parks saw a “significant” increase in visits last month, especially with new users. State Parks Director Linda Lanterman says the increase in the last weeks of April offset the revenue state parks lost in March, when Kansas issued its stay-at-home order. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the number of visits is up about 200,000 from last April.


Kansas GOP Leader Moves to Curb Governor's Emergency Power

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s top Republican legislative critic on Thursday launched an effort to curb the governor’s power in emergencies. Senate President Susan Wagle also wants to impose oversight over the spending of federal coronavirus aid and force Kelly to provide tax relief to struggling businesses. Wagle is a Wichita Republican and U.S. Senate candidate and she announced Thursday that she is directing the chairs of four Senate committees to have meetings ahead of May 21st, the last and only other day the Legislature is set to be in session this year. Democratic leaders saw Wagle's move as partisan.


NCAA: Alleged Kansas Basketball Violations "Egregious"

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The NCAA struck back at the University of Kansas and its men’s basketball program Thursday, calling five Level I violations that are alleged to have occurred “egregious” and arguing that they undermine and threaten” college athletics. It was the latest in a series of back-and-forth filings that set up a likely infraction hearings. The case came out of an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption. It centers on whether two Adidas representatives were acting as boosters for the Jayhawks when they paid prospective recruits to lure them to the program.


Flags to Fly at Half-Staff to Honor Kansas Officer

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has ordered flags throughout the state to fly at half-staff to honor an Overland Park officer who was killed in the line of duty. Officer Mike Mosher died Sunday. Mosher was off-duty but in uniform when he took off in pursuit of a suspect after an apparent hit-and-run. Police say the suspect stopped his vehicle, Mosher approached and a shootout began. The suspect, 38-year-old Phillip Michael Carney of Overland Park, also died. Kelly’s order, issued Wednesday, requires flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Mosher’s memorial service, which has not been set.

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