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Headlines for Saturday, October 31, 2020

JoCo Health Official: Misinformation Fueling COVID Spike

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The largest county in Kansas has reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases, and its health director says the spread of misinformation is a significant factor in the spike in cases. The Kansas City Star reports that Johnson County health officials confirmed 287 new cases on yesterday (FRI), along with two additional deaths. Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of the county health department, says the spread of misinformation is proving problematic and contributes to the spread of the virus. He says rhetoric promoting herd immunity and suggesting masks don’t work are hurting efforts to combat the pandemic.

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Deputy Killed in Collision with Tonganoxie School Bus

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas deputy is dead following an accident involving a school bus. The Kansas Highway Patrol said the accident happened yesterday (FRI) afternoon in Leavenworth County near the town of Tonganoxie. Deputy Corporal Daniel R. Abramovitz was driving an unmarked sheriff’s vehicle when it collided with a school bus. The bus driver was hospitalized with injuries characterized as not life-threatening. A child on the bus had minor injuries that did not require hospitalization. The patrol has released no further information about the accident, which remains under investigation.Abramovitz leaves behind a wife and three children.

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KU Study: Counties Without Mask Mandates See More Rapid COVID Spread

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A study has found that Kansas counties that require masks have seen about half as many new coronavirus infections as counties that don’t mandate face coverings. The University of Kansas study, “Do Masks Matter in Kansas,” found that counties that require masks saw a decrease in their seven-day rolling average of daily cases per 100,000 population starting 14 days after the mandate was issued. Counties without mask mandates have seen the seven-day rolling average of daily cases per 100,000 steadily increase. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has tried to issue a statewide mask mandate, but most of the state’s 105 counties opted out.

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Wichita Police Investigating Fatal Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are investigating after a man was shot to death early Friday at an apartment complex. Wichita police say in a news release that officers were called to the complex around 2:15 a.m. for reports of a shooting. Arriving officers found 34-year-old Stephen Muriithi, of Wichita, with a gunshot wound. Officers administered medical aid, but Muriithi died from his injuries at the scene. Police say an investigation showed a disturbance occurred at one of the apartments involving several people stemming from an earlier physical fight.  A shot was fired that hit Muriithi. No arrests had been reported by yesterday (FRI) afternoon.

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Suspect in Kansas Killing Arrested in Seattle Area

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Kansas man has been arrested in the Seattle area and is awaiting extradition. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 31-year-old Latrelle Sheneice Praylow was charged yesterday (FRI) with first-degree felony murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon in the death of 38-year-old Christopher McMillon. A family member found him dead in his home October 3rd while checking to see why he failed to appear at a youth basketball game. Topeka police spokeswoman Gretchen Spiker said Praylow was arrested Thursday evening and is jailed in King County, Washington. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said an extradition hearing is set for Monday.

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Ex-Wichita Nurse Pleads to Medicaid Fraud

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita nurse accused of stealing drugs and mistreating patients has pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud and other counts. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said yesterday (FRI) in a news release that 41-year-old Melissa Ann Seiber pleaded guilty Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court to three counts of Medicaid fraud, one count of mistreatment of a dependent adult in a nursing facility and three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors say the crimes took place between June 2018 and November 2019 while Seiber was employed at three nursing facilities in Wichita. Seiber is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15th.

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Leavenworth Father Charged with Killing Two Sons, Kidnapping Two Daughters, Waives Extradition

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A man who is charged in the deaths of his two sons will soon be returned to Kansas from Oklahoma where he was arrested with his two daughters after the killings. KMBC-TV reports that 40-year-old Donny Jackson Jr. has signed a written extradition waiver. That will allow him to be returned to Leavenworth County, Kansas, where he was charged Tuesday in the killings of 14-year-old Logan Jackson and 12-year-old Austin Jackson. After an Amber Alert was issued, Jackson was arrested near Erick, Oklahoma.  The boys' sisters, aged 3 and 7 years old, were returned to their family.

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Kansas Expects Record-setting Turnout for Election

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas election officials predict that the state will see record-setting turnout for this year’s presidential election. The Kansas Secretary of State’s office said it anticipates 70% of Kansas voters will participate in the election. It anticipates that about 1.35 million Kansans will cast a ballot. While the 70% figure itself is not a record, every number behind it is. Kansas has about 1.94 million registered voters, almost 100,000 more than in 2018. Their projection is based partly on record-setting turnout so far.  As of Thursday, 346,489 advance by mail ballots have been returned to local election offices and 220,908 voters have cast in-person ballots.

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