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Headlines for Tuesday, April 27, 2021


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 City Star 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.


Kansas Soon Could Have Just 3 Counties with Mask Orders

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Fewer than five of Kansas’s 105 counties still require masks, and those still in place might not last much longer. Johnson County, which is the state’s largest county with more than 600,000 residents, is set to consider Thursday whether to allow its mask order to expire. Health officials there have said they won’t resist dropping the requirement. Such action would leave mask orders in place in just three counties _ Riley County in the Manhattan area, Douglas County in the Lawrence area and Wyandotte County in the Kansas City, Kansas, area. And commissioners in Riley County indicated at a meeting this month that they won’t seek to extend their order further after it expires in mid-May.


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.


Kansas Governor Signs Bill to Modernize Unemployment System

UNDATED (AP) – Governor Laura Kelly has signed a bipartisan bill to give the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature more oversight of the modernization of the state’s troubled unemployment system. The bill Kelly signed on Monday will require the Kansas Department of Labor to complete computer upgrades by the end of 2022. The new law also calls for an audit of the impact of fraudulent claims and improper payments beginning last year. The state has acknowledged a flood of fraudulent unemployment claims and attempts by scammers and internet bots to access the system.


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 on Friday. The state’s next supply of the J&J vaccine is expected the week of May 3 with 1,700 doses.


62 Kansas Counties Turn Down Vaccine Doses as Demand Wanes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — More than half of the state's counties have turned down their weekly allotment of coronavirus vaccine doses because demand for the shots has declined. The state said 62 of Kansas' 105 counties declined their weekly allocations of vaccines from the state last week. A spokesperson for Governor Laura Kelly said it appears that many Kansans are delaying getting the vaccine after there has been a steady drop in the number of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the state. Officials are planning a campaign to encourage people who are indifferent or reluctant to get the vaccine to consider getting the shots.


Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Totals More than 307,000, Death Toll Nears 5,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports there have been 307,865 cases, including 4,970 deaths related to the virus, since the pandemic began. That's an increase of 493 cases and two deaths since Friday. Another update is expected Wednesday.


Police Classify 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.


Faith Leaders Urge 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.


Kansas Agency Missing $72,000: 4 Years of Probing Reveals Few Answers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More than $72,000 in seized cash went missing from a central Kansas sheriff's department sometime after a drug bust on Interstate 70 in January 2017. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it still has open cases involving employees of the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department in Abilene, though investigations of the former sheriff and the missing money are closed. The ex-sheriff lost his August 2020 primary race to a former, long-term employee and two top KBI officials said in a court document that the agency's investigations were hindered by a "fear of retribution." And there's still no explanation of what happened to the missing money.


No Charges Against R&B Artist Trey Songz over NFL Scuffle

UNDATED (AP) – R&B artist Trey Songz will not face charges in an alleged altercation with police officers at the AFC championship game in Kansas City. Jackson County prosecutor's office spokesman Mike Mansur said Tuesday that there was “insufficient evidence.” He declined to comment further. Songz, whose real name is Tremaine Aldon Neverson, was arrested and jailed overnight in January. Police have said he had scuffled with officers during his arrest for allegedly not following coronavirus protocols and other rules at the game. Police subsequently shared video from a camera inside Arrowhead Stadium that showed a scuffle. Songz’s representative, Sydney Margetson, declined to comment.


Pedestrians in Separate Cities in Kansas Killed in Crashes

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in separate cities in Kansas say two pedestrians died after being hit by vehicles late last week. Investigators say the incidents happened at nearly the same time Friday night in Kansas City, Kansas, and about 40 miles away in Lawrence. The first happened in Lawrence around 8:40 pm, when police say a 60-year-old Lawrence woman was hit by a vehicle on West 19th Street and pronounced deceased at the scene. The second fatality occurred around 8:50 pm in Kansas City, when police were called to 10th Street and Central Avenue and found a person who had been hit by a car that had fled the scene. That pedestrian was taken to a hospital and later died.


Reporter Dies After Being Struck by Stray Bullet in Her Apartment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A young public radio journalist has died after being struck by a stray bullet inside her Kansas City apartment. The reporter, 24-year-old Aviva Okeson-Haberman, was struck by a bullet Friday afternoon while she was in her first-floor apartment, according to KCUR Radio, where she worked. Okeson-Haberman had been covering Missouri government and politics at the station where she had worked since 2019 after graduating from the University of Missouri. After news of Okeson-Haberman's death broke Sunday, many colleagues and public officials, including Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, offered memories and condolences on Twitter.  Okeson-Haberman's reports aired on KCUR, Kansas Public Radio and other radio stations across the state.


Police: 1 Dead, 3 Injured in Historic Kansas City District

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say one person has died and three others have been injured in a shooting in Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district. Police say officers were called to the area just after 10 pm Sunday for reports of a shooting. Police say all four were taken to area hospitals, where one man was pronounced dead. Mayor Quinton Lucas, who lives in the neighborhood, identified the man Monday as Gary Taylor, a personal trainer. Police say the other victims' gunshot wounds were not believed to be life-threatening. Investigators said the shooting apparently began with an argument and fight inside an establishment in the district before shots were fired outside the business.


Kansas City Southern in Talks on Dueling Rail Takeover Bids

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — As deal talks begin, Canadian National railroad says it is receiving broad support for its $33.7 billion bid to buy Kansas City Southern. Canadian National said Monday that more than 400 shippers and other stakeholders have submitted letters supporting its offer, including some who previously supported Canadian Pacific’s $25 billion bid to buy Kansas City Southern. That’s similar to the level of support Canadian Pacific says it has received for its offer. On Saturday, Kansas City Southern said it would negotiate with CN about its unsolicited offer because it “could reasonably be expected” to be considered a superior proposal although KCS’s board hasn’t yet determined that it is.


Police Say 1 Killed, 1 Injured in Wichita Apartment Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A teenager was killed and another was injured in a shooting at a Wichita apartment complex. Police said 17-year-old Eric Stokes died in the shooting Sunday evening at Morgan's Landing Apartments. Another 17-year-old was treated and released from a hospital after suffering minor injuries. Police say five people were in an apartment when three unknown suspects forced their way in. The five people went into a bedroom and the suspects, who wore masks, began shooting and then fled. No arrests have been made.  Police say it wasn't a random shooting and drugs may have been involved.


Man Killed in Coffeyville; Suspect Arrested in New Mexico

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 46-year-old man has died after being shot in Coffeyville. Officers were called to a shooting Friday morning. Witnesses told police the victim was taken to the Coffeyville hospital by private vehicle. Police say 46-year-old Christopher Temple, of Coffeyville, was flown to a Tulsa hospital, where he died from his wounds. Coffeyville Police Captain Darin Daily says a suspect, 24-year-old Ruben Alfonso Ruiz Robles, of Coffeyville, was arrested Monday in New Mexico. No further information was released.


Oklahoma Man Sentenced in Shooting at Missouri Police Car

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — A 61-year-old Oklahoma man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in a case involving shots being fired at a Seneca, Missouri, police car during a chase. Kenneth Nelums, of Picher, Oklahoma, was sentenced Monday after entering Alford pleas to first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. The shooting occurred September 12 during a chase that began when a Seneca officer tried to pull over a pickup truck. Shots were fired at the officer's car. No one was injured but the shots hit the police vehicle. Another Oklahoma man and a man from Baxter Springs, Kansas, were sentenced earlier to 15 years in prison for their roles in the shooting.


Man and Woman Found Dead After Shooting in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man and a woman were found dead after a shooting was reported at a mobile home park in southeast Wichita. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department said deputies found the two bodies with gunshot wounds early Saturday after forcing their way into a home in the Englewood mobile home park. A 42-year-old man and 41-year-old woman were found dead, but authorities did not immediately release their names. The sheriff's office said deputies are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting.


Black Neighborhoods in Kansas Hard Hit by Property Tax Sales

UNDATED (AP) — Residents in historically Black neighborhoods in the Kansas City, Kansas, risk losing their homes amid the pandemic as delinquent property tax sales resume under a practice critics decry as racist and government officials laud for revitalizing communities. Even though it is just the state's fourth largest county, the number of delinquent tax properties put up for sale by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County dwarfs those of much larger Kansas counties. It typically offers about 2,200 properties annually at its three tax auctions. Most are unsold and end up in the Wyandotte County Land Bank, a unit of its economic development department. Wyandotte is the only county in Kansas to have its own land bank, although some cities in the state also have them.


Big 12: Spring Sees Unexpected Changes at Texas and KU

UNDATED (AP) – There were two Big 12 football teams with different coaches this spring when it had appeared there would be no coaching turnover in the league. Former Alabama offensive coordinator has completed his first spring at Texas after replacing the fired Tom Herman. Interim head coach Emmett Jones leads Kansas through its spring game Saturday. He led spring drills after Les Miles was dismissed because of allegations from his LSU tenure. Second-year Baylor coach Dave Aranda got to go through his first spring drills after they were canceled last year because of the pandemic.


Maryland Hires Ex-Wake Forest Coach Danny Manning as Assistant

UNDATED (AP) – The University of Maryland has hired former Wake Forest coach Danny Manning as an assistant on Mark Turgeon's staff. Manning spent the past year as an analyst for ESPN. He was fired after his team finished with a losing record in five of six seasons at Wake Forest and just one NCAA Tournament appearance. Manning and Turgeon were teammates at Kansas in the 1980s. He was an assistant on Bill Self's national championship-winning team at Kansas in in 2008. He coached at Tulsa for two seasons before getting the job at Wake Forest. Maryland is coming off a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.


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