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Headlines for Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus Surge in Kansas Touches Inmates, Taxes, Pastures

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are looking for extra hospital beds, releasing jail inmates and bracing for a slump in state tax collections because of the coronavirus pandemic. They also on Thursday added farmers' and ranchers' springtime practice of burning pastures to the list of things to avoid during the coronavirus pandemic. Confirmed coronavirus cases have almost quadrupled over the past week, to 168, with three deaths reported since March 11. More than 1.7 million of the state's 2.9 million residents are facing local stay-at-home orders. That's taking an economic toll, and Gov. Laura Kelly says it's likely already hurting state revenues. 

(– earlier reporting –)

As Virus Cases Surge, Kansas Wants People to Stay Home

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top health official in Kansas is frustrated with people looking to get around local stay-at-home orders meant to check the spread of the coronavirus, while Governor Laura Kelly has an issue with the federal government. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas jumped Wednesday by about 30 in a single day and approached 130 with three COVID-19-related deaths. State health secretary Lee Norman said he expects the number to approach 400 by the end of March and that makes social distancing and self-isolating important. Kelly said the U.S. government should "get their act together" and require industries to manufacture medical supplies.

The Kansas News Service maintains this resource about the pandemic: Updated Regularly: What Kansans Need to Know About COVID-19 and Coronavirus   
KPR's Coronavirus Information and Resources Guide


Missouri Reports More than 350 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri health officials say the state has 356 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday, an increase of 101 from Tuesday. Eight people have died, including a 31-year-old Red Cross employee who was buried Tuesday in St. Louis as her family watched from their cars. Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday took several steps in response to the spread of the virus, including asking for a federal disaster declaration that would allow the state to receive federal assistance to help the unemployed and to remove biohazardous materials. The governor also shifted another $11 million from state funds to buy more personal protective equipment.


Kansas Sees 1,250% Increase in Initial Unemployment Claims

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The number of jobless workers in Kansas who filed initial unemployment claims last week was 12 times as high as it was the week before as measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus took their toll on the economy. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that Kansas had almost 23,700 initial claims for unemployment for the seven-day period ending Saturday. The department said the figure for the previous week was less than 1,800. The increase was 1,250%. It was easily the largest percentage jump in at least 20 years. Some 62% of the state's residents face local stay-at-home orders.


FBI: Bomb Suspect Dead After Warrant Served near Kansas City

BELTON, Mo. (AP) — The FBI says a man who was fatally injured by agents in Missouri was the subject of a long terrorism investigation. The agency said in a news release Wednesday that 36-year-old Timothy Wilson died Tuesday in Belton while agents were trying to serve a warrant. The statement says Wilson was planning a bombing at a Kansas City-area hospital that was providing critical care during the current coronavirus pandemic. The FBI says Wilson was driven by racist, religious and anti-government beliefs. It also said Wilson had taken steps to acquire what he needed to build a bomb. The statement did not detail what happened when agents arrived or how he died.


Kansas Firefighters Battling Wildfires in Barber County

MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas National Guard has sent two helicopters to help local firefighters battle wildfires burning about 20-25 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in Barber County. The agency says in a news release that the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation out of Salina are equipped with collapsible 660-gallon water buckets. The Kansas Forest Service has also deployed an air tanker to make water drops. Governor Laura Kelly has issued a disaster declaration for the fires.


Colorado Residents Ordered to Stay Home

DENVER — A statewide stay-at-home order is now in effect in Colorado to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus.  Governor Jared Polis announced Wednesday that he was taking the “extreme measure" because the restrictions taken to date haven't been enough to reduce the spread of the virus. Polis says if people don't follow the order there will be a much worse economic disaster with greater disruption for a longer time.  Starting today (THUR), the state's 5.7 million people should only leave home for grocery shopping, medical care, exercise or taking care of a vulnerable person. The order remains in effect until April 11.


Court Filing: Kansas Coach "Encouraged" NCAA Rule Violations

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Athletics Inc. contends in a newly unsealed court filing that it has evidence former football coach David Beaty "allowed and encouraged NCAA violations" while at the University of Kansas. The memo was filed by the university's lawyers in January and unsealed this past week. It says those alleged violations has "resulted in several hundred thousand" dollars in legal fees for Kansas Athletics. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the filing includes transcripts of interviews with players and members of the football staff that that the university says suggest that NCAA rule violations occurred under Beaty.


Man Killed, Oklahoma Trooper Wounded After Shootings

FAIRLAND, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say a man shot and killed one man and wounded two others, including a state trooper, in northeast Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Oklahoma Highway Patrol said in a joint statement that 48-year-old Edwin Ball was taken into custody early Wednesday after barricading himself inside his home in Fairland. They say Ball shot and killed 25-year-old Brendan Van Zwell and wounded a second man Tuesday before barricading himself inside his home. The release says a trooper who arrived on the scene was hit in the eye with a shotgun pellet while setting up a perimeter. He was taken to a hospital in Joplin, Missouri.


KCI Terminal Construction Continues Despite Pandemic

KANSAS CITY, MO. (KCUR) —  While many businesses in the Kansas City metro have suspended operations due to the coronavirus, it's business as usual so far on construction of a new terminal at KCI Airport. Building the new terminal remains on schedule amid the metro-wide coronavirus shutdown, says Airport spokesman Joe McBride.  Project developer Edgemoor has issued safety protocols, but since the work is outside, McBride says social distancing recommendations are not difficult and no layoffs are anticipated. "Nearly 900-million dollars in bonds were issued last year and that's enough to keep the project going forward into the future and so that's not going to be a problem,” McBride said.  He also said the projected completion date for the new terminal hasn't changed. It’s still set for the spring of 2023.


With Isolation, Abuse Activists Fear an "Explosive Cocktail"

UNDATED (AP) —  Families across the country and the world are hunkering down at home during these days of isolation. That means another danger that's less obvious than the coronavirus - a potential spike in domestic violence. It's a time when victims are spending day and night trapped at home with their abusers. They've got no idea when it will end, and fewer ways to ask for help. In cities and towns everywhere, concern is high and meaningful numbers are hard to come by.


Dreaming of Lottery Riches? Virus Could Cut Jackpots

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Here's another thing affected by the coronavirus pandemic: Lottery jackpots. They are going to shrink as the coronavirus pandemic tamps down lottery sales. The group that oversees the Powerball game announced Wednesday night that it would cut minimum jackpots in half, from $40 million to $20 million, after there is a winner of the current big prize. The jackpot also could grow more slowly, with minimum increases of $2 million instead of the normal $10 million after each twice-weekly drawing. The other national lottery game in the United States, Mega Millions, is considering a similar move. The move by Powerball won't affect the current $160 million jackpot.


Bill Braum, Ice Cream and Burger Chain Founder, Dead at 92

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores says its founder, Bill Braum, has died. He was 92.  The company announced the death Tuesday. The company says in a statement that Braum died Monday at his home in Tuttle, Oklahoma. He grew up in Emporia (Kansas), where he worked for the small butter and milk processing plant his father ran. He inherited the plant, but later sold it. Braum launched the chain bearing his name in 1968 with 22 Oklahoma stores. The chain has grown to nearly 300 stores with locations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.


Missouri Newspaper Suspends Publication Amid Outbreak

KIRKWOOD, Mo. (AP) — Another St. Louis area newspaper is suspending its print publication as businesses stop advertising amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus. KMOX reports that the Webster-Kirkwood Times is halting its print edition after Friday. Editor Don Corrigan says he will try to post stories online and hopes for a full comeback at the end of the pandemic. He says the local paper relies on local retailers and restaurants to advertise. But they're being forced to shut down or change operations due to the stay-at-home order in St. Louis.


AP Was There: Chalmers, Jayhawks Best Memphis for 2008 NCAA Title

A panel of Associated Press sports writers has come up with the top 10 men's basketball games in the history of the NCAA Tournament. The sixth game on the list is Kansas's 75-68 victory against Memphis in the 2008 national championship game. Mario Chalmers tied the game with a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation and the Jayhawks pulled away in overtime to win their first title in 20 years. The late heroics nullified an explosive second half for the Tigers' Derrick Rose, who finished with 18 points.


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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