Governor Urges GOP-Led State Council to Extend Declaration
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas residents' lives will be on the line when a Republican-led council votes on whether to extend an emergency declaration she imposed in response to the spread of the coronavirus. The state disaster declaration is set to expire Tuesday. The State Finance Council is scheduled to vote Friday on Kelly's request to extend the declaration. Kelly says not extending the declaration would hamper the state's ability to respond to many impacts of the pandemic. Kansas Adjutant General David Weishaar said several services provided by emergency officials across the state would end Tuesday if the declaration is not extended.
UPDATED: Authorities Say Kansas Man Shot After Firing Shotgun at Police
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says a Junction City man was shot and injured by law enforcement after he fired shots at police. The agency released details late Wednesday about the incident that began at 2:45 am that day when officers from the Junction City Police Department and deputies from the Geary County Sheriff's Office responded to a 911 call from a female reporting a domestic disturbance with shots fired. The KBI says 70-year-old James Marsh exited the house holding a shotgun and fired at police. One deputy and one police officer returned fire, striking him. No officers were hurt. Marsh is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.
KBI: Reward Offered in Murder Investigation of Independence Man
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Independence Police Department have announced that a Governor’s Reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of 37-year-old Detreck Foster, of Independence. Governor Laura Kelly recently signed an executive order offering the $5,000 reward. Detreck Foster was reported missing on May 12. He was last seen around April 12 in Independence. KBI agents and detectives from the Independence Police Department are conducting the case as a homicide based upon findings during the investigation into Foster’s disappearance. Foster was a black male, 5' 9" tall, who weighed approximately 190 lbs. He had black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or the Independence Police Department (620) 332-1700. Tips can also be submitted online. Individuals with information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for Detreck Foster’s disappearance or murder are eligible for the $5,000 reward.
Governor: Kansas Faces Deep Cuts Without More Federal Funds
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has told the U.S. House Financial Services Committee that the state faces “drastic and damaging” cuts if the federal government doesn't provide more funds in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Kansas is already facing deep revenue shortfalls because of the pandemic. Kelly said in remote testimony Thursday that state and local governments will have to further cut services if federal funds are reduced. Also Thursday, the state health department said those who traveled to Aruba or attended out of state gatherings for more than 500 people will no longer be expected to quarantine when they return to Kansas.
COVID-19 Death Toll Among Kansas State Prisoners Reaches 5
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State prison officials say a fifth inmate has died from COVID-19. The Kansas Department of Corrections announced Thursday that 68-year-old Junior Lee Chrismon died from the coronavirus. Chrismon tested positive for COVID-19 Aug. 15 and was taken from Larned Correctional Facility to a hospital, where he died Monday. The agency says Chrismon had underlying health conditions. He was in prison for drug charges out of Montgomery County. Four inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility have also died from the virus, as well as two staff members at Lansing and an employee from the Topeka Correctional Facility.
Resident Who Died at Larned Correctional Facility Had COVID-19
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Department of Corrections reports a resident at the Larned Correctional Facility, who died Monday, had tested positive for COVID-19. This is the fifth resident death related to COVID-19. In a news release, KDOC said 68-year-old Junior Lee Chrismon tested positive for the virus on August 15 and was transferred to the hospital the same day. Chrismon had underlying medical concerns that contributed to his condition. According to KDOC, the official manner of death for all COVID-19 deaths is natural causes. Chrismon was serving a 52-month sentence for drug-related charges. He had been imprisoned since May 2019.
Kansas Reports Over 47,000 COVID-19 Cases, 495 Deaths Since Start of Pandemic
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas health officials say the state has recorded more than 47,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health and Environment reported Wednesday that there are now 47,410 cases, including 495 deaths. Coronavirus cases have been reported in every Kansas county. A new metric has been added to the state's statistics available at the KDHE's coronavirus webpage. The tables and graphs there now include a comprehensive count of so-called COVID clusters in the state, detailing where these clusters exist and the number of people who have tested positive for the disease. Currently, the KDHE is monitoring 177 clusters, accounting for 5,099 cases and 63 deaths. The largest currently active clusters are associated with correctional facilities, food processing and meatpacking plants, and (as a general group) long-term care facilities. Another update will be released Friday.
Meatpacking Plants Have Highest Number of Active COVID Cases
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — New data released by Kansas health officials shows meatpacking plants continue to report the most active clusters of COVID-19 cases. State health officials for the first time released data on Wednesday that identified specific active clusters throughout the state. Governor Laura Kelly has said the information would help the public be better informed about where the virus is spreading. Leaders of several large business organizations had urged the governor not to release the data, saying it could hurt businesses trying to recover from the pandemic. Seven active clusters were identified at meatpacking plants, with 2,159 cases leading to 76 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.
Missouri Adds More than 1,300 Coronavirus Cases on Wednesday
O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri health officials added 1,362 COVID-19 cases to the state’s confirmed total on Wednesday as the number of people known to have contracted the virus reached 96,475. The actual number is likely higher because some people who have the coronavirus do not have symptoms and testing has not been widespread, especially at the start of the pandemic. The Department of Health and Senior Services also reported 12 more deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to 1,673.
Pause in AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Affects Testing in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — A worldwide coronavirus vaccine trial that included two Kansas City-area hospitals as test sites has been paused. KSHB TV reports that the AstraZeneca trial, which was set to include the University of Kansas and Children's Mercy as sites, is on a "temporary hold" to determine if a side effect that a participant had was related to the vaccine, according to an Associated Press report. That participant was not affiliated with KUMC or Children's Mercy's trial sites. A spokesperson with KUMC confirmed to 41 Action News the stall in the trial's progress. Oxford University developed the vaccine in the AstraZeneca trial. Sites throughout the U.S. were expected to conduct trials with roughly 1,500 participants each, for a total of 30,000 nationwide. More than 60 locations are listed in detailed information about the trial on a clinical trials website.
Kansas Prosecutors: Criminal Cases Risk Being Dismissed
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) - Accused criminals could soon get a free pass if Kansas lawmakers don’t act to extend the governor’s coronavirus-related State of Emergency Declaration. As KCTV reports, the right to a speedy trial is what’s at the heart of the issue. The doors of the Johnson County Courthouse are cluttered with notices about all kinds of restrictions due to COVID-19. That’s made it hard to keep up with cases. “Everybody wants justice to be done in a timely manner,” said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe. He said getting that done with all the health restrictions in place requires re-defining what’s speedy. “Our ability to do in-person hearings has been pretty much shut down,” said Howe. Johnson County has a virtual system for hearings but a jury trial is another story. Kansas Courts are still working out the logistics for that. “The biggest challenge is bringing in hundreds of jurors to do jury selection. No longer are we going to be able to pack the courtroom with 60, 70, 80 jurors,” Howe explained. Kansas Law defines a speedy trial as 150 days for someone in custody and 180 days, about six months, for someone not in custody. When Kansas Governor Laura Kelly declared a State of Emergency in March, that set the stage for a pause on the ticking clock for a speedy trial. The governor’s office said Tuesday that she plans to extend or initiate a new state of emergency declaration. (Read more.)
UPDATED: Sheriff Identifies 7-Year-Old Kansas Girl Hit, Killed at Bus Stop
ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified a 7-year-old Kansas girl fatally hit by a car while she crossed a street to board her school bus. Dickinson County Sheriff Gareth Hoffman says Cecilia Graf, a first-grader at St. Andrew's Catholic School in Abilene, was hit by a car Wednesday morning. Hoffman says the bus was stopped with its flashing red lights on when a car driven by a 15-year-old high school student hit the girl, who died at an Abilene hospital. No charges or citations had been announced in the case by Thursday morning.
George Washington University Professor Who Posed as Black Resigns
WASHINGTON (AP) — The George Washington University history professor who confessed to posing as a Black woman for her entire career has resigned. The university announced on Twitter that Jessica Krug, “has resigned her position, effective immediately.” Krug, who taught African American history and specialized in issues of African culture and diaspora, admitted last week in a blog post that she had presented herself as Afro-Caribbean from New York when she is in fact a white Jewish woman from suburban Kansas City. She expressed deep remorse and blamed her years-long deception on “unaddressed mental health demons” dating back to childhood.
Wichita Man Arrested After Child Accidentally Shoots Man
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police arrested a 21-year-old man after a child accidentally shot and killed a man. Captain Jason Stephens said Christian Enrique Concha was arrested after officers found 18-year-old Jeremy Retana dead from a gunshot wound Tuesday afternoon. Stephens says Concha showed a gun to two children, ages 9 and 10, and left it loaded and unattended while he and a woman who was babysitting the children left the house. Stephens says the 9-year-old picked up the gun and accidentally fired it, hitting Retana in the head. Concha was booked on possible charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child endangerment and domestic violence battery.
51 Bison Relocated from North Rim of Grand Canyon to Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — Dozens of bison have been relocated from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to Native American lands in several states, Grand Canyon National Park officials say a roundup begun in August and completed earlier this month led to the transfer of 51 bison to the InterTribal Buffalo Council. The bison were then successfully transported to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, the Santee Sioux Tribe in Nebraska, the Modoc Nation in Oklahoma and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. The relocations are part of an effort to reduce the size of the herd on the Kaibab Plateau.
Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis Retiring After 53 Years
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Education Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis is retiring after a 53-year-career with the department. The agency announced Tuesday that Dennis will retire effective September 30. He joined the education department in 1967, was named deputy commissioner in 1976 and has been interim commissioner of education four times since July 1995. As deputy commissioner of fiscal and administrative services, Dennis supervises the distribution of about $5 billion in state and federal funds to schools. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly praised Dennis as a “relentless advocate” for Kansas schools. Craig Neuenswander, who is director of school finance, will take over Dennis’s position.
Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran Announces Retirement
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran has revealed he'll retire at the end of the year. The Capital-Journal reports that Cochran's retirement, effective January 1, was announced Tuesday at a Topeka City Council meeting. Cochran, who turns 56 in November, has been a Topeka police officer since 1987. He was appointed by city manager Brent Trout as interim police chief in November 2017, then as police chief in January 2018. Cochran says he and his wife recently became grandparents and that, "It's time to be a grandpa." City officials on Tuesday praised Cochran's efforts to defuse tensions and reach out to the community during a tumultuous time for police departments nationwide.
Kansas Gold Star Families Monument to be Unveiled this Month
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — The first monument in Kansas to honor Gold Star families will be unveiled later this month in Olathe. KSHB TV reports that at least 30 families, whose loved ones have died in service to their country, are expected to attend the ceremony September 25 at Olathe's Veterans Memorial Park. The tribute – a two-sided monument made of black granite – will be the latest addition to the park, which already features a POW/MIA flagpole, and is part of the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation’s mission to construct Gold Star family memorials in communities throughout the country. Williams himself will speak at the event, along with members of two area Gold Star families:
● Dale Duncan, of Olathe, whose son was killed in 2011 in Afghanistan.
● Debbie Murchison-Perri, of Overland Park, whose son was killed in 2007 in Iraq.
The ceremony is scheduled to coincide with the weekend observance of Gold Star Family Day on September 27. The event, which begins at 11 am, is open to the public. For more information, visit the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation website.
Former Kansas Basketball Coach Roy Williams Pays Tribute to Gene Budig
UNDATED (AP) — Former University of Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams has paid tribute to Gene Budig, the former American League president who also headed three major universities. Budig, who died Tuesday at the age of 81, was chancellor at the University of Kansas in 1988 and strongly backed the decision to hire Williams as its next head basketball coach. The coaching job at KU came open after Larry Brown left for the NBA. At the time, Williams had been a longtime assistant coach at North Carolina. Some Kansas backers wanted the school to hire a high-profile coach. Williams, who is now head coach at North Carolina, says Budig “was the guy that gave Roy Williams a chance.”
Return of Football Renews Fears over More Virus Spread
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A football-starved nation is getting its games back with the start of the NFL season, but many worry that attending games or get-togethers will lead to a new surge in coronavirus infections. NFL football will kick off Thursday in Kansas City at a stadium that's allowing 17,000 fans inside. Those spectators may be able to physically distance in the stands, but whether they're able to do so at concessions or in bathrooms is a different story. Experts fear more outbreaks as the virus has started to slow its spread.
Chiefs Required to Keep Fan Health Data
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs will be required to keep a record of fans in suites and whoever purchased blocks of tickets in the stands for their game Thursday night so that contact tracing can be done in the event of an outbreak. Disease investigators also will question anybody they interview for 2 1/2 weeks after the game whether they were in attendance. Public health officials believe those measures will help to quickly identify whether Arrowhead Stadium was the cause of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Chiefs Line Up to Support Social Justice Causes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs lined up along the goal line about 30 minutes before kickoff Thursday night in a show of solidarity for social justice initiatives while a video played on the screens in each end zone of Arrowhead Stadium. Along with the words “It Takes All of Us” on the screens, the video showcased Alicia Keyes performing the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” It was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and is often referred to as the “Black national anthem.”
Chiefs Nix Headdresses, Face Paint to Start NFL Season
MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs fans who file into Arrowhead Stadium for a masked and socially distanced start to the NFL season won’t be wearing headdresses or face paint amid a nationwide push for racial justice following the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The move by the reigning Super Bowl champions has pleased Native Americans as a good first step. But it frustrated some of the 17,000 fans who will be in the stands today (THUR). The team will be the first to take the field in front of a crowd amid the coronavirus pandemic. The team also announced last month that it's discussing the future of its tomahawk chop celebration.
Chiefs' Duvernay-Tardif Set for Harvard Online Classes
MONTREAL (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will spend the next few months studying at one of the world’s most prestigious universities instead of playing football. The Canadian addressed the media Wednesday, speaking about his decision to opt out of the 2020 NFL season after spending the past few months as an orderly at a long-term care facility an hour away from Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Duvernay-Tardif will take online classes at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The 29-year-old McGill University medical school graduate first revealed he would try to take classes in nutrition, biostatistics and epidemiology in an article with Sports Illustrated released Wednesday.
Coastal Carolina Visits Kansas in Opener Saturday Night
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Still a newcomer to college football’s highest level, Coastal Carolina was looking forward to a visit from its first opponent from a major conference. The University of Kansas was due to visit Brooks Stadium in late September. The shakeup caused by the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans. Now, the Chanticleers will instead visit the Jayhawks on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams. It’s the lone non-conference game for KU, which will have a week off before visiting Baylor to open its nine-game Big 12 slate.
Big 12 Opens Virus-Delayed 25th Season with Only 7 Games
UNDATED (AP) - The Big 12 Conference is opening its 25th season a week later than expected, and with just seven of its 10 teams playing. No. 15 Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor all had their scheduled openers and only non-conference games postponed because of the coronavirus. No. 23 Iowa State opens against an FBS opponent for the first time in coach Matt Campbell's five seasons. No. 14 Texas is a six-TD favorite over UTEP, while five-time defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma plays its first game with redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler starting at quarterback. He is the fourth different starter in four seasons for the fifth-ranked Sooners. The Kansas Jayhawks will face Coastal Carolina at 9 pm Saturday.
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.