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Headlines for Thursday, April 29, 2021

 

UPDATE: Vocal Trump Ally Kobach Opens Launches Bid for Kansas AG

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Polarizing conservative Kris Kobach has launched a campaign for Kansas attorney general. His kickoff Thursday means he is attempting a political comeback in 2022 after losing nationally watched races for governor and U.S. Senate. Kobach is a former Kansas secretary of state who built his political brand by advocating restrictive immigration policies and tough voter identification laws. He also was the first prominent Kansas elected official to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2016 and was vice chairman of a short-lived Trump commission on voter fraud. But he lost the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in 2020 after losing the 2018 governor's race.

(–Earlier reporting–)

Kobach Signals Intent to Run for Kansas Attorney General

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Polarizing conservative Kris Kobach has appointed a treasurer for a run for Kansas attorney general. It's a strong signal that he plans another attempt at a political comeback after losing races for governor and U.S. Senate. Kobach’s appointment of a treasurer is necessary under Kansas law for him to raise money for a 2022 campaign, and he did it late Wednesday. He scheduled a 1 pm news conference in Wichita to announce his plans. Kobach is a former Kansas secretary of state known nationally for advocating restrictive policies against illegal immigration and tough voter identification laws. He also was the first prominent Kansas elected official to endorse President Donald Trump in 2016.

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Battle Brews over How to Spend COVID Relief Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A big political battle is brewing over whether top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature will have the final say over how the state spends more than $4.8 billion it expects to receive from the latest federal COVID-19 relief package. The move comes as elected officials voted Thursday to drop mask mandates in Johnson and Riley counties in coming days.  Masks have been part of an ongoing fight that has pitted Democratic Governor Laura Kelly against the GOP-controlled Legislature. This week, Kelly vetoed a provision in a spending bill that would have given legislative committees more power over how to allocate federal relief funds.

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Doctors: More Parents Refuse COVID Tests for Their Sick Kids

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Doctors are reporting that more parents are refusing to have their sick children tested for the coronavirus because they don’t want to deal with the hassle if the result is positive. The Kansas City Star reports that Pediatric Partners in Overland Park recently posted an alert on its Facebook page exhorting parents to stay vigilant because so many weren’t following testing advice. Pediatrician Kristen Stuppy says that “from a public health perspective it scares me.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens who have COVID-19 symptoms should be tested immediately — “especially important if they have in-person in school, sports or jobs, so that anyone who may have been exposed can be alerted." They also need to isolate.

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Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Totals More than 308,000; Death Toll Nears 5,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports there have been 308,510 cases of COVID-19, including 4,978 deaths related to the coronavirus, since the pandemic began. That is an increase of 645 cases and eight deaths since Monday. Another update is expected Friday. 

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Missouri COVID-19 Cases Top 500,000; More than 8,700 Deaths

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The number of Missourians who have been infected with the coronavirus has now topped the half-million mark. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Tuesday cited 524 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 500,071. The state also reported 37 new deaths, though 34 of those occurred between November and earlier this month and were uncovered in the state’s weekly review of death certificates. All told, 8,732 Missourians have died from the virus.

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Kansas Plans to Resume Single Dose J&J COVID-19 Vaccinations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials will resume using the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after federal agencies concluded its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clots. Administration of the shot was paused on April 13 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration following reports that some recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots. Federal health officials lifted an 11-day pause on the vaccine Friday. The state’s next supply of the J&J vaccine is expected the week of May 3 with 1,700 doses.

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KBI Investigates Unattended Death in Coffeyville

Coffeyville, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Coffeyville Police Department are conducting a death investigation at a residence in Coffeyville.  On Wednesday evening, the Coffeyville Police Department received a request from a citizen to check on the welfare of a resident (at 1709 S. Spruce Street).  When police arrived at the home, they discovered a deceased male inside. Due to the state of decomposition, the man has not yet been positively identified.  The KBI was asked to assist and special agents and the Crime Scene Response Team arrived at the residence.  Anyone with information related to this death investigation is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME or the Coffeyville Police Department at 620-252-6160.  An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.  

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Friend of Homicide Victim's Son Charged in Topeka Killing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The friend of a Topeka woman's son has been charged in her death. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay announced Thursday that he charged a 16-year-old as a juvenile in the death of 46-year-old Hester Workman. Kagay said he plans to seek to try the teen as an adult. Workman was found lying dead in the attached garage of her home on Saturday. Kagay said she died from severe head trauma. At a hearing Thursday, defense attorney Mike Francis recommended a mental health evaluation and asked the judge to release his client to the custody of his grandmother. The judge instead ruled that the teenager will remain in custody.

(–Related–)

Police Dub Suspicious Topeka Death as Homicide, Arrest Teen

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Topeka have determined that the death of a woman initially dubbed suspicious was a homicide and have arrested a teenager in the case. Police say officers sent to a Topeka neighborhood Saturday night for a 911 call requesting medical help found the body of 46-year-old Hester Workman, of Topeka. On Monday, police declared her death a homicide and arrested a 16-year-old on suspicion of first-degree and felony murder, as well as burglary, theft and obstruction. Police have not said how Workman died.

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Patrol: Crash in Northwestern Kansas Kills 16-Year-Old Girl

PLAINVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl was killed this week when a pickup truck crashed into another vehicle that was broken down on the side of the road in northwestern Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports that the crash happened just before 10 pm Wednesday on state Highway 18 a few miles west of Plainville. The patrol says a westbound truck crashed into the disabled sport utility vehicle, when then hit another truck. Troopers say 16-year-old Carole Adamson, of Plainville, was standing outside the SUV at the time of the crash and was hit. A 21-year-old Iowa woman standing outside the vehicles and the 20-year-old Stockton man driving the truck that crashed into the SUV were injured.

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KBI Conducts Probe After Human Skeletal Remains Discovered Along Mitchell, Cloud County Line

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Just before noon Monday, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was asked by the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office and the Cloud County Sheriff’s Office to investigate after they located human skeletal remains near Highway 9 and County Road 757, east of Beloit.  KBI agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded.  Authorities began searching the area after a resident notified law enforcement of the discovery late Monday morning.  The KBI is working to determine what caused the person’s death. The remains have not yet been positively identified.

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Deputies Find Woman Dead at Mobile Home Park; Man Arrested

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Deputies in northeastern Kansas have arrested a man on suspicion of killing a woman whose body was found by law enforcement officers earlier this week at a mobile home park south of Topeka. The Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County Sheriff's deputies were called around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to the mobile home in the unincorporated community of Pauline. Officials have not released the woman's name or said how she died. On Wednesday, deputies arrested 61-year-old Jon Kelly Ewing, of Topeka, on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter. He remained Thursday in the Shawnee County Jail on $1 million bail.

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Sheriff: Man Hit Last Week in Wichita Parking Lot Dies

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a man hit last week by a truck in the parking lot of a Wichita airplane parts manufacturer has died from his injuries. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says 48-year-old Jason Lee Patrick, of Haysville, died Tuesday night in a hospital. Officials say Patrick was an employee of Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita and was walking in the company's parking lot early Friday morning when he was hit by a pickup truck driven by a 39-year-old man.

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Governor Laura Kelly Vetoes Some Budget Items Amid Strain with Legislature

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a ban on the use of state dollars to enforce mask mandates and 17 other budget provisions amid ongoing strain between the first-term Democrat and the GOP-dominated Legislature. Kelly said in a statement Monday she supported the majority of the budget but that some pieces were unnecessary, had been resolved in other bills or should have been vetted better. The Kansas News Service reports other provisions that were vetoed included one that would give legislative committees more power over how to allocate federal relief funds. The rejections come after Kelly last week vetoed a ban on transgender school athletes, civics and financial literacy requirements for high schoolers and gun safety education for students using National Rifle Association materials.

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Kansas City Plans Village of Tiny Homes for Homeless

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City officials say they are planning a village of tiny homes for homeless residents. Officials announced on Wednesday that initial plans call for a 150-bed village of tiny homes ranging from single person to family size. A site for the development is not yet decided. City Manager Brian Platt says the goal is to establish a pilot project of about a dozen homes in the next several weeks. From there, he said, the city would begin working with homeless people currently being housed in area hotels and encouraging them to take advantage of the new option.

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Willow Gets Maximum Matching Funds from HSN; Takes Home $11,000 in Donations

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - The Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence will soon get $11,000 thanks to a partnership with HSN, formerly known as the Home Shopping Network.  All day Wednesday, HSN profiled the domestic violence shelter and encouraged viewers to make donations to Willow on the HSN website.  HSN donated $1,000 and then matched up to $5,000 in donations made online.  Willow's Communications Director, Will Averill, says it was gratifying to see his agency qualify for the maximum amount of matching funds from HSN. Willow operates two domestic violence shelters in Lawrence and serves Douglas, Jefferson and Franklin counties.

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Judge Won't Dismiss Charges Against Kansas City Detective

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has denied a motion to dismiss felony charges against a 42-year-old Kansas City police detective who shot and killed a Black man in 2019. Eric DeValkenaere was charged last year with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the death of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb. DeValkenaere's attorneys argued he did not act recklessly in shooting Lamb, who was killed while sitting in his pickup truck in his backyard. They contend Lamb created the risks that led to his shooting. Lamb's family has disputed police accounts of the shooting. The Jackson County prosecutor said the judge could not determine before trial if the state has enough evidence to convict the detective.

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Kansas City Police Probing City's 50th Homicide of 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City are investigating the city's 50th homicide of the year. Police report that the fatal shooting happened early Thursday morning at the East Hills Village Apartments near the south end of the city. Police have not released any information on the victim or details of the shooting, other than to say crime scene investigators and homicide detectives are on the scene. The Kansas City Star reports that the killing marked the city's 50th homicide for 2021. The city saw a record 182 homicides in all of 2020.

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Oil Pipeline Disputes Raise Tensions Between U.S. and Canada

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP/KPR) — Months after President Joe Biden snubbed Canadian officials by canceling the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a new showdown over a second crude oil pipeline threatens to further strain ties between the two neighbors. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has set a May 12 deadline for Canadian energy company Enbridge to shut down its Line 5, which delivers oil from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and eastern Canada. Whitmer agrees with environmentalists who consider the pipeline an environmental hazard, mostly because one 68-year-old section crosses a channel linking two Great Lakes. Canadian officials say closing the pipeline would hurt the economy and cost jobs in both countries.  Biden angered many in the energy sector earlier this year when he canceled construction on the remainder of the Keystone XL pipeline, resulting in the loss of more than 11,000 pipeline-related jobs.  The original Keystone pipeline runs north and south through east-central Kansas, as well as portions of Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and North Dakota.

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Kansas Population Grows 3%; State Keeps 4 U.S. House Seats

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas saw its population grow 3% from 2010 to 2020 and the state will keep its four U.S. House seats. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday that the state had 2.9 million residents, or some 84,700 more than after the 2010 census. The state’s population growth over the decade was less than the national figure of 7.4%. Even without the loss of a congressional seat, the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature and Democratic Governor Laura Kelly face a contentious battle next year over redrawing the state’s political boundaries. More detailed census figures will be released later this year showing populations by race, gender and housing.

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Faith Leaders Urge Overland Park Police Chief to Resign over Teen's Death

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A group of faith leaders is seeking the resignation of Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez because of the department's response to the fatal shooting of a teenager in 2018. The organization, called MORE2, on Monday said Donchez has misled the public since 17-year-old John Albers was shot by an officer in his family's driveway. Albers' parents have criticized the department's lack of transparency in their son's shooting and in actions the department has taken since then. The department says it will release a redacted report this week that explains the investigation into the officer’s actions.

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St. Joseph Police: Northwestern Missouri Child Dies After Hit-and-Run

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Police in northwestern Missouri say a 4-year-old has died from injuries sustained last week in a hit-and-run crash, and a woman has been charged in the child's death. The News-Press reports that the crash happened April 22 on a St. Joseph street. Police say the child walked out into the street in front of the car around 8 pm and was hit. The child was taken to a local hospital, then flown to a Kansas City hospital. Police confirmed on Monday that the child had died. Police say officers stopped Suani Karsom about a block from the crash scene, and she admitted to hitting the child and driving off. Police say she was driving without a valid license and has been charged with leaving the scene of an injury crash.

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Police: Arrest Made in Wichita Apartment Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have announced an arrest in a weekend shooting at an apartment complex that killed one teen and injured another. Police said in a news release Wednesday that 18-year-old Easton Palmer, of Wichita, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the death of 17-year-old Eric Stokes. Stokes died in the Sunday evening shooting at Morgan's Landing Apartments, while another 17-year-old was treated and released from a hospital after suffering minor injuries. Police said that following the release of surveillance video of suspects in the shooting, tips from the public led police to arrest Palmer.

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Officials ID Man, Woman Fatally Shot in Wichita; Arrest Made

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified two people shot to death inside a Wichita mobile home and have announced an arrest in the case. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that detectives arrested 30-year-old Steven Fessenden, of Wichita, on Tuesday on suspicion of killing 42-year-old Nathan Brock and 41-year-old Trisha Benjamin. Brock and Benjamin were found shot to death on Saturday after deputies forced their way into in a home at the Englewood mobile home park following reports of gunfire there. Sheriff's officials did not offer details on what led to the shooting or why Fessenden is suspected in their deaths.

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Judge Nixes Plea Deal for 2 Accused of Super Bowl Field Run

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has rejected a proposed plea deal for two men accused of running onto the field during the final quarter of Super Bowl LV in February. The Tampa Bay Times reports that an attorney for Yuri Andrade and Douglas Schaffer told a Hillsborough County circuit judge during a Tuesday video conference hearing that they had reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to misdemeanor trespassing charges at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. In exchange, the men would serve six months of probation, complete 25 community service hours, pay off court costs and write a letter of apology to the National Football League. The judge said that was unacceptable and rescheduled the case for next month.

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