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Headlines for Thursday, April 7, 2020


Kansas Still Mulling Inmate Releases Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says she's still considering releasing some prison inmates early because of the coronavirus pandemic even though an outbreak of hundreds of cases has one prison under quarantine. Kelly confirmed last week that the state moved six inmates into house arrest before being forced to stop early releases because of an outbreak at the Lansing Correctional Facility. As of Wednesday, 609 inmates and 88 staff members there were infected.  But Kelly said Wednesday that the issue of releasing inmates early is "ongoing." Kansas saw a 5.1% increases in coronavirus cases largely because cases in the prison's home county jumped.


Kansas Reports More than 6,100 COVID-19 Cases, Including 147 Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — As of Thursday morning, Kansas health officials reported 6,144 cases of COVID-19, including 147 deaths.  Cases have been reported in 82 of the state's 105 counties.  (Get the latest Kansas numbers here.)  

Counties with the Most Cases of COVID-19

Wyandotte County (Kansas City, Kansas) - 951
Ford County (Dodge City) - 933
Leavenworth County (Leavenworth) - 887
Seward County (Liberal) - 647
Finney County (Garden City) - 589
Johnson County (Overland Park) - 560
Sedgwick County (Wichita) - 430
Lyon County (Emporia) - 311    


Kansas Legislature to Return for 1 Day in May

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature is expected to focus on issues related to the coronavirus when it reconvenes for a single day later this month to wrap up the 2020 session. A panel of legislative leaders on Wednesday decided that lawmakers will return May 21. The truncated session is aimed at limiting exposure to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman told the Topeka Capital-Journal that it appears no vote will take place on a proposed constitutional amendment on abortion, with focus squarely on the pandemic.


Senate President Moves to Curb Kansas Governor's Emergency Power

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's top Republican legislative critic launched an effort today (THUR) 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 today (THUR) that she is directing the chairs of four Senate committees to have meetings ahead of May 21, the last and only other day the Legislature is set to be in session this year. Democratic leaders saw Wagle's move as partisan. 


Flags to Fly at Half-Staff to Honor Slain Kansas Officer

Kansas Governor 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.


Kansas Planning to Deploy Protective Equipment for Election Workers, Voters

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters will encounter masked election workers seated behind plastic panels when they head to the polls this fall and use disposable stylus pens to cast their ballots. Secretary of State Scott Schwab said in a news release Thursday that the state is receiving $4.6 million in federal aid to prepare for the election, with $2.6 million going to county election officials. The state also plans to spend $1 million on personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, face masks and disposable gloves. Each polling site also will receive two plexiglass shields to protect election workers and voters, as well as disposable stylus pens for voters. 


Top 2020 Kansas Contenders to Get Out-of-State Donations

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (The Kansas City Star) — Kansas’s top two contenders in the Senate election and competitive congressional races will be getting majority of their money from out-of-state donors, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Kansas City Star reported Democrat Barbara Bollier and Republican Kris Kobach have received roughly two-thirds of their individual contributions from non-Kansan donors. The amount excludes donations from political action committees. Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids and Republican Rep. Steve Watkins have also received donations from out of state. Both are top targets for the opposing party in 2020. Kansas Republican chairman Mike Kukelman says he’s concerned that so much money is flowing into the state. 


NCAA Calls 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 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.


Northeast Kansas Teacher Charged with Having Sex with Student

OSKALOOSA, Kan. (AP) — A teacher at a northeast Kansas school is charged with having a sexual relationship with a student. WIBW reports court records filed this week show Anthony Kuckelman, of Lawrence, is charged with three felony counts of unlawful sexual relations with a student while he taught at McLouth High School. The alleged crimes occurred between December 2017 and March 2019. McLouth Superintendent Steve Lilly says Kuckelman, who taught science, has been suspended from all duties and activities.


Crews Search for Butler County Man Who Tried to Swim in Walnut River

AUGUSTA, Kan. (KWCH-TV) — Authorities in Butler County are searching for a 19-year-old man who went missing while swimming in the Walnut River. KWCH-TV reports that the search began Wednesday near Augusta. The Butler County Sheriff's Office said the man was with at least two other people walking along the river when he decided to go for a swim and jumped in near the Osage Street dam. A woman who was with the man told authorities he never resurfaced. Search crews remained on the scene overnight. The man's family has been notified but his name has not been released.


Kansas Man Banned from Providing COVID-19 Related Services

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man already banned from doing autopsies in Kansas is now barred from providing services related to the coronavirus pandemic. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Tuesday he has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Shawn Parcells, of Leawood, from offering any services related to the human body. Schmidt says Parcells formed new businesses and websites offering consulting on the coronavirus that violated the state's consumer protection laws. Parcells' attorney says he won't appeal the temporary restraining order. Last year, Parcells was accused of performing illegal autopsies and billing for autopsies he didn't conduct. He is facing criminal charges and a lawsuit over those autopsies.


Judge Dismisses Missouri Lawsuit over Meat Worker Safety

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a Missouri meatpacking facility over employee safety. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays ruled that oversight of the Smithfield Foods plant's measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus falls to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, not the courts. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said Wednesday his agency is working with OSHA on that. The issue of worker safety has loomed large as President Donald Trump ordered plants to stay open amid the virus crisis. Some big grocers this week began limiting meat sales. Perdue said consumers should soon see the meat supply “fully back up.”


Records Show Man Who Shot Overland Park Officer Had Violent History

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly will order flags statewide to be flown at half-staff to honor 37-year-old Overland Park police officer Mike Mosher, who died in the line of duty.  Mosher died Sunday after he was involved in a shootout with a Kansas man suspected in a hit-and-run crash.  Court records indicate the suspect who died in the gunfight with Mosher had become increasingly threatening while awaiting trial on burglary and assault charges. Phillip Michael Carney, of Overland Park, died Sunday in the confrontation.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports Carney was a suspect in several burglaries in Lawrence. Douglas County prosecutors filed a motion Friday to revoke his bond from previous cases. A family member wrote to a judge in February saying she feared Carney was a threat to her family. Police haven't said what prompted the gunfight after Mosher stopped Carney.  Flags will be flown at half-staff on the day of officer Mosher’s memorial service. The flag order will be distributed once that date is announced.


Coronavirus Cited in Wichita Drive-by Shootings Spike

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Drive-by shootings are up sharply in Wichita so far this year, and Police Chief Gordon Ramsay believes boredom stemming from the coronavirus lockdown is partly to blame. The Wichita Eagle reports that Ramsay spoke in a Facebook video Tuesday. Ramsay says drive-by shootings are up 82% compared to the five-year average.  Ramsay says many of the shootings involved young people, and he noted that with recreational centers closed and many restaurants closed, many youths have a lot of idle time. He also cited an uptick in crimes like vandalism and domestic assault.


Prairie Village Police Find 19-Year-Old Man Dead with Gunshot Wound

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — Suburban Kansas City police responding to a welfare check found a 19-year-old man dead with a gunshot wound, a shooting they say they are investigating as a homicide. Prairie Village police said in a news release that they found Kiven Maquial of Mission, Kansas, at 6:18 am Tuesday lying on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by local police as well as the Johnson County crime lab and medical examiner.


Missouri Will Seek Death Penalty in Deaths of Wisconsin Brothers

KINGSTON, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri plans to seek the death penalty for a man suspected of killing two Wisconsin brothers.  Attorney Patrick Berrigan told the St. Joseph News-Press Wednesday that he has been appointed to defend Garland Joseph Nelson in the death penalty case. Nelson is accused of killing Nick and Justin Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin, in July. Nelson pleaded not guilty Monday. Circuit Judge Kevin Walden has been appointed to hear the case. Court records report the brothers disappeared after they went to Nelson’s northwestern Missouri farm to collect a $250,000 debt. Their remains were found in Missouri and Nebraska.  


Trucker from Iowa Charged in 1990s Slayings of 3 Women; Suspect Once Lived in Missouri

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Investigators in Iowa have arrested a former long-haul trucker suspected of killing two women in Wyoming and a third in Tennessee in the early 1990s. Police arrested 58-year-old Clark Perry Baldwin on Wednesday at his home in Waterloo, Iowa, on warrants from Tennessee and Wyoming charging him in the three killings. He’s being held in the Black Hawk County jail pending extradition proceedings. The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation says in a news release that “advances in technology” linked Baldwin to the crimes. He's charged in the 1992 killings of two unidentified women in Wyoming and the 1991 slaying in Tennessee of a pregnant woman, Pamela McCall, and her fetus.  According to the Des Moines Register, federal authorities are looking into other cold cases to see if there is a link to Baldwin.  He previously lived in Nashua, Iowa, and Springfield, Missouri, where he worked as a cross-country truck driver for Marten Transport.  


Missouri River Flood Risk Down as Levee Repairs Proceed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crews working to finish fixing levees busted in last year’s deluge are getting some help from the weather. John Remus, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Thursday that it is “much better shape" than a year ago. The flooding last spring along the Missouri River and its tributaries inundated thousands of acres of farmland in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. Among 61 levees approved for repair in an area spanning from Rulo, Nebraska, to the mouth of Mississippi River, 39 have been restored to the height they were before last spring’s deluge. Upstream of Rulo, all but one levee has been repaired. 


Four MLS Teams Allow Individual Workouts, Including Sporting Kansas City

UNDATED (AP) — Four Major League Soccer teams have taken the first small step toward returning to play by allowing players to use team training fields for individual workouts. Sporting Kansas City, Atlanta United, Orlando City and Inter Miami had players in on the first day they were allowed by the league. Nashville, LAFC, Real Salt Lake, Houston and Portland are among the league's 26 teams that plan to start Thursday, with more lined up for individual workouts next week.  


Big 12 Schools Intend to Open in Fall, Giving Hope that College Football Will Return

UNDATED (AP) — All 10 schools in the Big 12 Conference expect their campuses to be open in the fall, a key step toward launching fall sports. Conference commissioners have stressed to Vice President Mike Pence that college sports cannot return until campuses reopen. The football season is slated to begin August 29, though Big 12 schools don't begin play until the following week.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.  


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