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Headlines for Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Frito-Lay Workers on Strike in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/TCJ) - About 600 workers have walked off the job at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that workers went on strike Monday morning over issues of pay and forced overtime. Frito-Lay's parent company, PepsiCo, issued a statement Monday saying the local union had encouraged workers to approve their contract. Despite that, hundreds of workers are now on strike and picketing outside the Topeka plant. Plant workers are represented in collective bargaining by Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union. 

(AP version)

Hundreds of Workers Strike at Frito-Lay Plant in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — About 600 workers are on strike at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka. Workers voted on Friday and Saturday to reject a proposed two-year agreement that had been supported by the union leadership after months of negotiations. The strike began at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Workers said the main disagreements are over pay and forced overtime. The plant is one of seven divisions of PepsiCo. The company said in a statement that it did not anticipate any negotiations with the union for the foreseeable future. The plant is continuing to operate during the strike.

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Southeast Kansas Seeing Upturn in COVID-19 Variant

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Health officials in southeast Kansas are urging residents to get vaccines against COVID-19 as the delta variant spreads across the region. The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas counties have higher vaccination numbers than Missouri counties across the border, but they lack the herd immunity needed to insulate the community from a new outbreaks. Over the past two weeks, 18% of COVID-19 tests in Crawford County have been positive, a sign of increasing community spread and inadequate testing. And in Cherokee County, the positivity rate is is 27%. Meanwhile, the delta variant is the dominant strain in Kansas, with 289 confirmed cases, hitting Sedgwick, Johnson, Riley and Crawford counties particularly hard.

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Kansas Governor Expands Parental Leave for State Employees

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has expanded the paid leave that Kansas state employees can take from their jobs when they become parents or act as caregivers. Kelly issued an executive order Tuesday that provides an extra two weeks of paid leave for state workers who are a child’s primary caregiver and an extra week for secondary caregivers. The order also makes foster parents eligible for the same paid leave. Primary caregivers will now receive up to eight weeks of paid leave, rather than six. Secondary caregivers will receive four weeks instead of three. Kelly said the state is demonstrating a commitment creating a supportive environment for families.

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Teenager Dies After Shooting in Topeka; Suspect in Custody

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say a 17-year-old girl who was shot over the holiday weekend has died from her injuries. Police announced Monday that Navaeh Martinez, who was shot late Saturday, had died. A 21-year-old suspect, Daisha Butler, was arrested Sunday. She is being held in the Shawnee County jail on updated potential charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery. Police have not released any other information about the shooting.

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Rural Leavenworth Man Arrested in Brother's Death

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Leavenworth County officials say a 25-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his half-brother during the weekend. Cody Huninghake made his first court appearance Tuesday in 17-year-old Robert Nelson's death. Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley said officers who went to a home outside of Leavenworth city limits on Saturday found the victim dead from a gunshot wound. Sherley said the shooting resulted from a disturbance at the home. Huninghake said during his court appearance on Tuesday that a family member is planning to hire an attorney for him. His next court date is scheduled for July 16.

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Police: Man Shot to Death at Lenexa Apartment Complex

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Lenexa say a 20-year-old man is dead following an apparently accidental shooting at an apartment complex. Police say the shooting happened around 1 p.m. Monday at the Lenexa Crossing Apartments. The victim was identified Tuesday as Adam Carroll, of Lenexa. Police said he was shot accidentally after a friend "negligently discharged' a gun he was handling. The suspected shooter called 911 to report it and stayed on the scene until police arrived. The name of the suspected shooter has not been released.

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KC Police Investigate Fatal Shooting Near Police Headquarters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police in Kansas City are investigating an early Monday shooting death that happened near police headquarters. The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Monday at 12th and Locust streets. Arriving officers found a man, later identified as 28-year-old Deangelo Wallace, at the scene with gunshot wounds. Medics who also responded to the scene declared Wallace dead. Police say they have no information on who the shooter may be. Officials say the death marked Kansas City's 77th homicide of the year.  

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Dole, Roberts Back Kansas AG Schmidt in 2022 Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas political icons Bob Dole and Pat Roberts have endorsed Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt for governor in 2022. Today's (TUE) announcement came as Schmidt worked to solidify support among fellow Republicans early enough to blunt a serious primary challenge from former Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer. The 97-year-old Dole is a former U.S. Senate majority leader and the 1996 GOP presidential nominee. The 85-year-old Roberts served four terms in the U.S. Senate before retiring this year. Both Dole and Roberts said Schmidt can defeat Democratic Governor Laura Kelly in the November election. Colyer's campaign manager responded to the endorsements by saying, "Elections are about the future not the past."

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Former Naval Officer Running for Kansas 2nd Seat in Congress

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A former U.S. Navy intelligence officer is running as a Democrat for Congress in eastern Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that 30-year-old Patrick Schmidt announced his candidacy Tuesday and is the first Democrat seeking to challenge freshman Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner in 2022. Schmidt's campaign finance director said he moved to Topeka after leaving active duty military service earlier this year and that five generations of his family lived in Pittsburg in the district's southeast corner. LaTurner's campaign spokesperson took a dig at Schmidt for so recently moving to Topeka, saying LaTurner's campaign is happy to recommend a good realtor if that's helpful. 

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Kansas Lawmaker Launches Campaign for AG with Dig at Kris Kobach

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker has launched a campaign for Kansas attorney general with a dig at polarizing conservative and rival Kris Kobach. State Senator Kellie Warren, of Leawood, immediately played to some Republicans' fears about whether Kobach can win in November 2022. Warren is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was at the center of debates over thee state's coronavirus pandemic response. She released a campaign video declaring that she fights for conservative values and wins. It was a dig at Kobach. He lost the governor's race in 2018 and a GOP primary for U.S. Senate in 2020. Kobach suggested Warren isn't qualified to be attorney general.

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Man, Dog Killed After Semi-Truck Collision in Northeast Kansas

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) - A 39-year-old man and a dog were killed Monday morning in a crash involving a semi-truck in Douglas County. KAKE TV reports that the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Baldwin City Police Department and Johnson County Sheriff's Office responded to a crash around 8 am Monday on U.S. Highway 56 at the Douglas/Johnson County line. According to a Facebook post from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, initial reports were that a semi-truck and van had collided and both drivers were pinned in their respective vehicles. The driver of the semi, a 66-year-old Missouri man, was flown to the hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the van, David Hosch, of Olathe, and the dog were pronounced dead at the scene. There were no other occupants in either vehicle.

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Ventilator Shortage Hits Missouri as Hospitalizations Spike

MISSION, Kan. (AP) - Parts of Missouri are running out of ventilators as the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped by nearly 27% over the Fourth of July weekend in a hard-hit area of Missouri where immunization rates are low. And that spike has led to a temporary ventilator shortfall and a public call for help from respiratory therapists. The Delta variant of the virus is spreading rapidly, straining hospitals in Springfield, and raising fresh fears that the situation could soon grow worse as holiday gatherings seed fresh cases. Missouri leads the nation with the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days.  

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Officials ID Man Whose Body Was Pulled from Topeka Creek

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities have identified a man whose body was pulled late last week from a creek just outside Topeka. The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office says the body of 25-year-old Lashawn Mady, of Topeka, was recovered Friday afternoon from Shunganunga Creek just east of Topeka. Investigators say no foul play is suspected. No other details have been released. (Read more in the Topeka Capital-Journal.)

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Wichita Among Kansas School Districts Offering Free Meals to All Students

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) Turns out, there is a free lunch after all, at least for student in some Kansas school districts. The largest school district in Kansas, Wichita Public Schools, will offer free meals to all students next year. Supporters hope the extension of pandemic aid will set a new precedent for other districts across the state. Anti-poverty groups spent years trying to persuade the Wichita district to stop charging for school meals. But officials resisted, citing logistical concerns and a funding formula that ties a portion of state aid to free-lunch paperwork. Then the pandemic happened. Federal waivers allowed schools to distribute millions of on-site or grab-and-go meals, no questions asked. Haley Kottler is with Kansas Appleseed, a nonprofit that advocates against childhood hunger. She hopes other districts will follow suit. “In some ways the pandemic has shown us what we need to do -- that these programs work, that we can feed kids at no cost to them or their families," she said. Some Kansas school districts, including Topeka and Kansas City, offered free meals even before the pandemic.  

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Kansas May Not be Ready for Electric Vehicle Revolution

HAYS, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas is one of the worst states in the U.S. for buying an electric vehicle. That’s according to a new analysis by the advocacy group Consumer Choice Center. Elizabeth Hicks, one of the authors of the index, says Kansas prevents people from buying electric vehicles directly from manufacturers and requires higher fees for registering electric vehicles. Hicks says that could leave Kansas behind the curve on electric vehicle sales. “If the government decides to push for electric vehicles but does not open the market to allow consumers to purchase electric vehicles, we're not going to see the results that we're hoping for," she said. Hicks says Missouri, which allows direct-to-consumer car sales and doesn’t charge higher registration fees, was one of the top states in her group's ranking. Federal statistics say just over 3,000 electric vehicles were registered in Kansas last year, compared with nearly 7,000 in Missouri.

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Large Barn Fire Erupts in Miami County

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A large barn fire broke out Monday afternoon on Moonlight Road in Miami County. KSHB TV reports that the owner of the barn called 911 and said he heard an explosion or loud bang and then saw the barn was on fire. No humans or livestock were hurt in the blaze.  An investigation continues.

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Civil Right Lawsuit Filed Against a Former Northwest Missouri Sheriff

BETHANY, Mo. (AP) - A woman has alleged in a civil rights lawsuit that a former northwest Missouri sheriff gave her drugs and sexually assaulted her. The St. Joseph News-Press reports that the claims involve former Harrison County Sheriff Joshua Eckerson. He killed himself last year after a special prosecutor charged him with misdemeanor counts of misuse of official information by a public servant, trespassing and domestic assault. It's unclear if those charges are related to the lawsuit, because the criminal court documents are sealed.  

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Kansas Bar Association Hosting "Call-A-Lawyer" Night on Thursday

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSN) - The Kansas Bar Association is hosting its "Call-A-Lawyer" night on Thursday. Anyone who needs legal advice is encouraged to call between 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Callers may speak to volunteer lawyers to answer questions and provide legal advice and information. Lawyers will be able to answer questions about probate, family law, landlord-tenant issues and other matters involving property, as well as employment issues. The number to call Thursday night is: (800) 928-3111.

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Chiefs' Mahomes Joins USA Football in Youth Football Support

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes is teaming with USA Football to host three youth football coaching clinics across Missouri this summer while his 15 and the Mahomies Foundation has provided grants to 15 youth football leagues. The collaboration between the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and USA Football was announced today (MON). It is another example of the investment that Mahomes and his wife, Brittany Matthews, are making in their adopted community. Mahomes recently purchased a minority interest in the Kansas City Royals while Matthews, who played professional soccer in Iceland, is part owner of the Kansas City franchise in the National Women's Soccer League.

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Jayhawks' Agbaji Withdraws from NBA Draft Ahead of Deadline

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Ochai Agbaji withdrew from the NBA draft Tuesday and announced he would return to the University of Kansas for his senior season, joining sophomore teammate Jalen Wilson in getting feedback from pro scouts before ultimately returning to the Jayhawks. The only player that has not decided to play next season for Kansas is Remy Martin, a high-scoring point guard who intends to transfer from Arizona State should he withdraw his name from the draft before Wednesday’s deadline.

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These area headlines, compiled by KPR news staffers, are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and by 1 p.m. on weekends. This news summary, free of pop-ups and ads, is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!

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