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Headlines for Thursday, May 28, 2020

Susan Wagle Drops Bid for U.S. Senate Seat in Kansas

UNDATED (Kansas News Service) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle has dropped out of the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat. Wagle announced her decision today (THUR) in a news release, saying she's had --quote--personal and political trials. Wagle says the possibility of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo getting in the race has made it hard to raise money.  She also cited the challenges of working on coronavirus-related efforts in the Statehouse and the death of her daughter. Wagle was the only Republican woman running for Pat Roberts's seat. There are still several men in the race, including Congressman Roger Marshall and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

(–additional reporting–)

Susan Wagle Leaves U.S. Senate Race in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle says she will not seek election to the U.S. Senate. Wagle said Thursday that “personal and political trials” in the last year and her concern that a divisive Republican primary could give the seat to a Democrat prompted her decision not to run. The announcement leaves U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall of western Kansas and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the main GOP rivals for the nomination. Wagle cited difficulty raising campaign funds, her fight with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly over the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and her daughter's death as factors in her decision.

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Police: Fort Leavenworth Soldier Saved Lives by Stopping Shooter on Bridge

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Fort Leavenworth soldier is being credited with saving lives after he stopped a person who was randomly shooting on a bridge that connects Kansas and Missouri. Leavenworth police chief Patrick Kitchens says officers responding to the Centennial Bridge Wednesday found one person with a gunshot wound and the suspect seriously injured under a car. Kitchens says a man was randomly shooting at people on the bridge when the solider hit the shooter with his car, putting an end to the situation. Kitchens says the person who was shot, who is also a Fort Leavenworth soldier, was a random victim. The suspect and the soldier are both in serious condition.

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UPDATE: Construction Resumes at Biosecurity Lab in Manhattan 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Construction has resumed at the national biosecurity lab in Manhattan after a brief shutdown because a worker tested positive for COVID-19. Officials stopped the work Tuesday to clean potentially contaminated areas where the worker might have been. Work resumed on Wednesday. Project officials did not provide the ill worker's gender, age or county of residence. Workers at the site are not being routinely tested for COVID-19 but they are required to wear face coverings, follow social distancing and answer health screening questions when they arrive at work. 

(–earlier reporting–)

Biolab Construction Stops in Manhattan After Case of COVID-19 Identified

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Construction at a national biosecurity lab in Manhattan has stopped after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. Timothy Barr, program manager at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, said construction stopped Tuesday after a worker with a construction contractor tested positive. The contractor will determine what areas, tools and materials might need additional cleaning. It is unclear how long construction will be stopped but an extended shutdown is not expected. The worker is not from Riley County, but no details about the person were provided.  

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Ford Halts Production at Kansas City Plant Due to Coronavirus Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  (FOX Business) — Production has been temporarily suspended at the Ford assembly plant in Kansas City.  FOX Business reports that Ford will temporarily halt production for deep cleaning at the auto plant in Claycomo after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.  The production pause comes as U.S. automakers are adjusting to a new normal after resuming operations earlier this month.  Company officials say an infected employee and those who came in contact with the employee will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

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Kansas Reports More Than 9,300 COVID-19 Cases, Including 205 Deaths 

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — As of Wednesday, state health officials had reported 9,337 cases of COVID-19, including 205 deaths.  Cases have been reported in 88 of the state's 105 counties.  (Updated COVID-19 case numbers for Kansas are released Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)  

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El Dorado Refinery Pays $4 Million Fine; Reaches Agreement over Clean Air Violations

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — The owners of an oil refining plant in El Dorado have agreed to pay a $4 million fine for violations of federal clean air regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Kansas announced the agreement with HollyFrontier on Thursday. Regulators say the plant exceeded emission limits and did not comply with chemical accident prevention and safety requirements. As part of the agreement, the company agreed to make improvements at the refinery to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, and to improve risk management practices. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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Kansas Governor Nominates Public Defender for Appeals Court

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has nominated a public defender in the federal court system to the state's second highest court. Kelly on Wednesday cited Carl Folsom III's experience in handling criminal cases as an asset for a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The 39-year-old Folsom lives in Lawrence and works as an assistant federal public defender in Topeka. Folsom would replace retired Appeals Judge G. Joseph Pierron Jr. The Democratic governor's appointment of Folsom is subject to confirmation by the Republican-controlled state Senate. Kelly is asking senators to consider the nomination during a special legislative session that convenes June 3.

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Kansas Governor Vetoes Limits on Her Power but Loosens COVID-19 Restrictions

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The state's Democratic governor has vetoed a sweeping Republican coronavirus measure that would have curbed her power to direct the state's pandemic response. But Governor Laura Kelly also ceded to local officials the power to keep restrictions on businesses. Kelly not only killed a bill approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature last week but also issued a new state-of- emergency declaration to replace one set to expire.  Kelly also is calling the Legislature back into special session on June 3 to extend the new state of emergency past June 10.  Some Republicans declared victory because Kelly backed off statewide restrictions on businesses.

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At Least 8 Lawsuits Filed Against Kansas Care Center over COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — At least eight wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against a Kansas care facility where 36 people have died from the coronavirus. The lawsuits allege Riverbend Post-Acute Rehabilitation in Kansas City was negligent in its handling of the spread of the coronavirus. They say the home lacked adequate staff and failed to notify residents' families of the outbreak. Another 132 residents and staff have tested positive for the virus at the home. Riverbend officials have said its staff took reasonable actions given the information about the virus available at the time. Attorneys representing the home have transferred the lawsuits to federal court.

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Kansas Counties Reconsider Approach to Virus Restrictions

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — The state's top health official is urging county officials to continue following guidance from Governor Laura Kelly's phased reopening of the state's economy. Dr. Lee Norman said Wednesday that Kelly's plan is the best way to ensure the continued health of Kansas residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Norman's comments came a day after Kelly gave county officials authority to determine their own coronavirus restrictions. Initial reactions from county officials varied, with some saying they will continue restrictions on public gatherings, businesses and entertainment venues. Other counties said the restrictions will now be only guidelines, meaning businesses openings and gatherings can resume.

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UMKC to Reopen Campuses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri-Kansas City says it will begin bringing back faculty, staff and students to its two campuses in Kansas City starting next week following its shutdown during the coronavirus outbreak. The university said today (THUR) in a news release that the campuses will open in three phases. The first phase will begin Monday, when a small group of employees engaged in critical operations will be brought back through July 5. The second phase will bring back senior administration and departmental leaders from July 6 through Aug. 2. The final phase would bring back all remaining faculty, staff and students from Aug. 3-24, except for those with individual medical exemptions.  

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2 Companies Each Fined $1 Million in Atchison Chemical Leak

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two companies that caused a chlorine gas leak over Atchison in 2016 have each been fined $1 million. Harcos Chemicals and MGP Ingredients had pleaded guilty earlier to negligently violating the Clean Air Act. They were officially fined during a court hearing Wednesday. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said the fines have been paid. The chlorine gas cloud formed over Atchison in October 2016 when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid was mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite at MGP's plant. Nearby homes and schools were evacuated and residents were told to shelter in place. About 140 people sought medical attention.

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Witness: Fatal Stabbing in Kansas City May Have Involved Shoplifter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say a person was stabbed to death outside a store on the eastern side of Kansas City, and a witness told investigators the stabbing may have stemmed from a shoplifting incident. Police say officers were called Tuesday night to 18th Street and Prospect Avenue for a stabbing and found a wounded person at the scene. Officers performed CPR and other attempts to save the victim's life, but the person died at the scene. Police said a store employee indicated the incident involved a shoplifter. Police said an arrest was made, but have not release the name of the person taken into custody or the name of the victim.

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Wichita Police Make Arrest in Nearly 2-Year-Old Murder Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita have announced an arrest in a nearly 2-year-old murder case. Police say 27-year-old Juan Carlos Caballeros-Yescas was arrested May 9 in El Paso, Texas, and extradited to Kansas on Tuesday. Caballeros-Yescas is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated burglary in the July 7, 2018, shooting death of 41-year-old Lucy Mojica in her Wichita home. Police say Caballeros-Yescas was dating Mojica at the time of the killing and quickly focussed on him as the primary suspect. But he had fled the area and couldn't be found until he was tracked down in Texas earlier this month.

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Kansas on Alert as 2 Inmates Escape from Prison Camp in Southern Colorado

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — Authorities are looking for two inmates who escaped a minimum-security federal prison camp in southern Colorado. The Pueblo Chieftain reports 35-year-old Jose Rodriguez and 42-year-old Raul Guzman were noticed missing during Wednesday morning's inmate count at the Federal Bureau of Prisons facility south of Florence. A prison spokeswoman says the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been notified. Investigators have not said how the men escaped. Rodriguez was serving a 6-year sentence out of Kansas, and Guzman was serving a 10-year sentence out of Northern California. Both were convicted of distributing methamphetamine.

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Kansas Boy Trapped Under Vehicle That Crashed Into His Room

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 9-year-old Kansas boy was trapped for more than an hour under a vehicle that crashed through his bedroom wall this week. Television station WDAF reports that the crash happened around 2 a.m. Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas. The boy, Jamison Langley, tells the station he was awake and watching online videos when he suddenly found himself under the crashed Jeep, unable to move and having trouble breathing. After about an hour, rescue crews were able to free Jamison, who suffered only cuts and bruises. But almost everything in his room — and even his bike that had been parked outside the house — was destroyed or damaged in the crash.

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Man Charged in Death of 17-Year-Old in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 22-year-old man is charged with killing a teenager in Wichita during a drug deal. Malcolm Louis Ganther was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the death of 17-year-old Marcus Sain. Police say two teenagers got into the back of Ganther's car on May 20. A disturbance led another suspect to get out of a different car and shoot the teenagers in Ganther's car. Sain died the next day. The second teenager was treated and released at a hospital. Prosecutors say the shooting occurred as part of a marijuana deal. Police are searching for the second suspect, whose name has not been released. 

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KU Athletics Imposing New Pay Cuts, Furloughs to Cut Costs

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas athletic department has imposed pay cuts and furloughs for all employees in response to financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Kansas City Star reports that Athletic Director Jeff Long announced the moves in an email to donors Wednesday. Long, men's basketball coach Bill Self and football coach Les Miles already said last month that they would take 10% pay cuts for six months. The department's top-paid employees now face pay cuts of 10% and its lowest-paid employees will be furloughed for three weeks. Some employees will have a choice between a furlough and a pay cut.

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U.S. Appeals Court Denies Request to Revive Pipeline Permit Program

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. appeals court has turned down a request by the Trump administration to revive a permit program for new oil and gas pipelines that was canceled by a lower court. The case originated with a challenge to the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. but has affected oil and gas pipeline proposals across the nation. Government attorneys had argued the cancellation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit program would hamper construction of pipelines needed to deliver fuel to power plants and other destinations. The permit allows construction of pipelines across wetlands and other water bodies with minimal review if they meet certain criteria.

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Not in Missouri Anymore: Royals Move Legal Home to Delaware

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Kansas City Royals have moved -- not actually, but legally. The Royals changed their legal home from Missouri to Delaware last fall during the process of the team’s sale from David Glass to a group headed by John Sherman. The switch was mentioned in court papers in a suit by minor leaguers against Major League Baseball. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp., a Missouri corporation, became Kansas City Royals Baseball Club Inc., a Delaware corporation, on Nov 19. That corporation became Kansas City Royals Baseball Club LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.

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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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