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Headlines for Sunday, December 19, 2021

Wichita Police Chief Announces Resignation

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita police chief -- who was one of the first law enforcement officials to call the death of George Floyd a murder -- has announced that he is resigning. The Wichita Eagle reports that Gordon Ramsay announced Friday morning that he plans to resign from his position on March 1st. Ramsay said he wanted to spend more time with family and is weighing a run for St. Louis County Sheriff in Duluth, where he was police chief before getting hired in Wichita. Ramsay said his diversification of the police department is one of his proudest accomplishments.

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Kansas Reports Second Omicron Case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has confirmed a second case of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment notified the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health on Friday that the variant had been found in the community. The announcement came one just day after the state’s first case of the variant was confirmed Thursday in neighboring Franklin County. Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, deputy county health officer, said detection of the variant in the county does not come as a surprise as it has rapidly spread across the country since the first confirmed U.S. case of Omicron was identified on December 1st.

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Hospitals in Kansas, Missouri Report Spike in COVID Cases

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — An increase in COVID-19 cases has hospitals in Kansas and Missouri delaying surgeries, turning away transfers, holding patients in emergency rooms while they wait for beds to open up and desperately trying to hire traveling nurses. Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas, said in a news conference with hospitals throughout the region that he is particularly alarmed that the surge is coming even before the omicron variant hits the region in full force. In Merriam, Kansas, the number of COVID-19 patients with active infections at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission tripled from 12 in mid-November to 37 as of Thursday.

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Kansas Selected for Expanded School Lunch Pilot Project

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas is one of eight states selected for a pilot project to expand the school lunch program. In making the announcement this week, Governor Laura Kelly says the program will use Medicaid eligibility to certify students for free and reduced-price school meals. That means less paperwork for families, fewer applications for school districts to process and verify, and fewer kids in need left out of the program. Families can also be deemed eligible if they receive SNAP or TANF programs.

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Missouri Man Sentenced in KC-Area Road Rage Fatality

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri man has been sentenced to back-to-back life prison terms for fatally stabbing a Missouri Air National Guard member during a road rage confrontation near Kansas City. Sixty-one-year-old Nicholas Webb of Pleasant Hill was sentenced Friday for the death of 23-year-old Cody Harter of St. Joseph. A jury convicted Webb of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in August. Harter was fatally stabbed in May 2018 after a confrontation on Interstate 470 near Lee's Summit.

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