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Headlines for Tuesday, May 5, 2020

 

UPDATED: Kansas Reports More than 5,400 COVID-19 Cases, Including 137 Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — As of Tuesday morning, Kansas health officials reported 5,458 cases of COVID-19, including 137 deaths.  Cases have been reported in 82 of the state's 105 counties.  (Get the latest Kansas numbers here.)  

Counties with the Most Cases of COVID-19

Wyandotte County (Kansas City, Kansas) - 896
Ford County (Dodge City) - 869
Seward County (Liberal) - 606
Leavenworth County (Leavenworth) - 602
Finney County (Garden City) - 518
Johnson County (Overland Park) - 513
Sedgwick County (Wichita) - 411
Lyon County (Emporia) - 265    

(–additional reporting–)

Kansas Reports 213 New Coronavirus Cases, One More Death

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas reported a 4% increase in new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, with large numbers being reported in communities with meatpacking plants. Confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas rose by 213, up to 5,458 total, though the actual number is thought to be higher because of limited testing and because people can be infected without showing symptoms. Reported COVID-19-related deaths increased by one to 137. Four counties with meat packing plants — Seward, Ford, Finney and Lyon — have a combined 2,258 confirmed cases, 41% of the state’s total.

Number of COVID-19 Cases Among Lansing Inmates Grows

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The number of inmates infected with the coronavirus at Kansas’s largest prison has grown to more than 550 amid widespread testing at the facility. The Kansas Department of Corrections plans to finish testing all the more than 1,700 inmates at the state’s largest prison in Lansing this week. As the test results trickle in, Leavenworth County, where the prison is located, reported a 13.8% increase in cases Monday. Most are tied to the prison, where 551 inmates and 88 staff members are infected. Rebecca Witte, the corrections department spokeswoman, said three inmates have died, four are hospitalized and 469 aren’t showing symptoms. 

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Part of Interstate 70 Shut Down After Storm Hits Power Lines

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a portion of Interstate 70 in central Kansas was shut down after strong winds blew down power lines. The patrol says the interstate between Manhattan and Wamego closed Monday morning and remained closed for most of the afternoon.  The I-70 has since reopened.  Downed power lines also closed Kansas Highway 177 just south of the interstate. The storm packing strong winds and hail moved across Kansas Monday, leaving thousands of people without power in Topeka through the Kansas City metro area. There was no immediate word of injuries.  

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1 Dead After Tree Falls on Home During Missouri Storm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One person died after strong winds knocked a tree into a house in western Missouri. The Bates County Sheriff's office said emergency response personnel were called to a home in rural Butler Monday morning after the tree hit the house. Rescuers used an excavator and chain saws to remove the tree but found the person dead inside. No details about the victim have been released. The death came as a storm system with winds up to 80 mph moved through western Missouri. Thousands of people in the Kansas City metro area were left without power and there were several reports of trees and power lines down.

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UPDATE: Records Show Man Who Shot Kansas Officer Had Violent History

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Court records indicate a Kansas man who died in a gunfight with a police officer had become increasingly threatening while awaiting trial on burglary and assault charges. Phillip Michael Carney, of Overland Park, died Sunday in the confrontation with Overland Park police officer Mike Mosher, who also died. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Carney was a suspect in several burglaries in Lawrence. Douglas County prosecutors filed a motion Friday to revoke his bond from previous cases. And a family member wrote a judge in February saying she feared Carney was a threat to her family. Police have not said what led to the gunfight after Mosher stopped Carney Sunday. 

(–related–)

Shootout Leaves Overland Park Officer, Hit-and-Run Suspect Dead in Kansas

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas say a shootout left both a police officer and a hit-and-run suspect dead. Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez says Officer Mike Mosher died at a hospital Sunday. Police on Monday identified the suspect as 38-year-old Phillip Michael Carney, of Overland Park. A police spokesman says Mosher was off-duty but in uniform when he pursued a suspect in an apparent hit-and-run. Carney and Mosher exchanged gunfire. Carney died at the scene. Police have not said what led to the exchange of gunfire. Mosher had been with the Overland Park department for nearly 15 years.

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Some Kansas Businesses Eagerly Reopen, but Others Hesitate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Restaurant dining rooms, retail stores and some offices in Kansas have begun began reopening after lifting of the state's stay-at-home order, though some business owners say they'll wait a while. Governor Laura Kelly plans to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy in four stages between now an at least June 15.  The first stage began when the her stay-at-home order expired at midnight Sunday, allowing dine-in service in restaurants and the reopening of stores with social distancing. Sarah Bagby said she wasn't ready yet to reopen Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita to in-person shoppers. But in Colby, Junelle Hills said she was ready for business to return to normal at her quilt, curtain and cabin business.

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Missouri's Governor Says He "Chose Not to" Wear Mask in Store

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson has a simple reason for not wearing a face mask during a visit to a southwestern Missouri thrift store. He says he simply chose not to. Businesses reopened across most of Missouri Monday, a day after Parson’s stay-at-home order ended. The Republican governor spent the morning visiting several businesses in southwestern Missouri. Among them was a thrift shop in Joplin operated by the Disabled American Veterans. A photo posted on Parson’s Twitter account shows him bare-faced but surrounded by mask-wearing veterans. Parson said at his afternoon news conference that wearing a mask shouldn't be mandated by the government.

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Lawrence Hospital Furloughs Staff Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The hospital in Lawrence is furloughing more than 220 employees because it is struggling financially after temporarily halting elective surgeries and treatments amid the coronaivurs outbreak. Lawrence Memorial Hospital said Monday in announcing the furloughs that it has experienced revenue declines of more than $1 million per week since the pandemic began, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. Confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas rose by 4.3% on Monday, up 215 to 5,245 total, though the actual number is thought to be higher because of limited testing and because people can be infected without showing symptoms. Reported COVID-19-related deaths increased by two.

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Kansas Couple Settles Lawsuit over Botched Raid for $150,000

LEAWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City-area couple whose home was raided in a 2012 search for marijuana has settled for $150,000 their federal lawsuit against the Johnson County deputies who led the operation. The amount of the settlement with Robert and Adlynn Harte, of Leawood, was unsealed Thursday. KCUR Radio reports the deal ends years of litigation that began in 2013 when the Hartes sued the sheriff's office and deputies. Deputies raided the Harte's home after Robert Harte bought hydroponic gardening supplies and deputies found vegetation in the family trash. No marijuana was found in the raid and the vegetation turned out to be loose-leaf tea.

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Teenager Arrested After Ford County Chase Involving Stolen School Bus

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 16-year-old boy is in custody after he led authorities on a chase through several counties in a stolen school bus. Ford County authorities say they were notified Saturday about the bus being stolen out of Cheney in Sedgwick County. Sheriff Bill Carr says the driver evaded deputies for several miles, driving west on and off county roads and Highway 54. The driver eventually stopped and surrendered near Kingsdown in Ford County. Carr says the teenager was a runaway from another county.

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Joe Biden Wins Kansas Primary Conducted with All-Mail Balloting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Joe Biden overwhelmingly won a Democratic presidential primary in Kansas conducted exclusively by mail balloting by the state party because of the coronavirus pandemic. The former vice president had been expected to prevail and he captured 77% of Saturday's vote. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was still in the race when the Kansas party began mailing ballots at the end of March, but he suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden. The Democratic party says participation more than tripled over four years ago, with 34.7% of registered voters participating. Party chairwoman Vicki Hiatt says this proves that mail-in voting can be successful.

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Court Documents Detail Killing of 18-Year-Old Wichita Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A friend of the suspect in the April shooting death of a Wichita woman told police his friend chased down the car the woman was in and “unloaded" a semi-automatic rifle on it. The Wichita Eagle reports that the statement on the April 13 attack that killed 18-year-old Aubrey Resendez is detailed in court records. Prosecutors have charged 32-year-old Joshua Johnson with first-degree murder in the death. Police say a friend of Johnson's told investigators that Johnson showed up at his home the day of the shooting holding an assault rifle and saying he had argued with two men at the trailer park where he lived before the shooting.

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Kansas Police Find 19-Year-Old Man Dead with Gunshot Wound

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — Suburban Kansas City police responding to a welfare check found a 19-year-old man dead with a gunshot wound, a shooting they say they are investigating as a homicide. Prairie Village police said in a news release that they found Kiven Maquial of Mission, Kansas, at 6:18 a.m. on Tuesday lying on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by local police as well as the Johnson County crime lab and medical examiner.

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Treasury to Begin Distributing Virus Relief Money to Tribes

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department says it will begin distributing billions in coronavirus relief funding to tribes. The announcement Tuesday comes more than a week after a congressional deadline to get $8 billion to tribal governments. Tribes sued to keep the funding from Alaska Native corporations, which own Native land but aren't tribal governments. The Treasury Department says tribes will receive a combined $4.8 billion based on population over the next several days and the rest will be doled out later. Tribes are relying on the money to stay afloat, respond to the coronavirus and recover after shutting down casinos, tourism operations and other businesses.

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Dropping Oil Prices Damaging Kansas Ethanol Industry

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A sharp drop in gas prices is hurting the ethanol industry in Kansas. Two of the state's ethanol plants are idle and nine others have cut production by at least 40%. Gas prices were declining before the coronavirus spread, but prices fell more than 50% after the pandemic started. That caused prices for ethanol, which makes up 10% of much of the fuel in the U.S., to plunge. Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy in Phillipsburg has temporarily stopped production, as has the state's newest plant in Colwich. In response, some plants have begun producing ethanol that can be used in hand sanitizer.

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Missouri Man Asks for New Judge, New Venue in Murder Case of Wisconsin Brothers

KINGSTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man is asking for a new judge and a change of venue before his trial for killing two brothers from Wisconsin. An attorney for Garland Joseph Nelson, of Braymer, entered the motions during a court hearing Monday in Callaway County. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and several other counts in the deaths of Nick Diemel, 35, and Justin Diemel, 34, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. The brothers’ father told authorities his sons went to Nelson’s northwestern Missouri farm to collect a $250,000 debt. They were reported missing July 21. Their remains were found in Missouri and Nebraska.  

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Solo Truckers Struggle to Get Rolling with Stimulus Fund

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rodney Morine, a trucker from Louisiana, has little confidence the government is going to grant his request for a loan through a government program intended to help small businesses like his survive the pandemic. His pessimism highlights the perils of trying to rapidly dispense billions of dollars in federal aid to contain the economic damage caused by the pandemic. Much of the relief effort hurriedly approved by Congress and managed by the Trump administration has been beset by confusion and red tape. And those worries haven't been erased by the addition of $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, a key initiative to shield small businesses from the financial fallout.

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KU Lowering Basketball Season Ticket Prices 

UNDATED (AP) — The University of Kansas is lowering prices for season tickets at Allen Fieldhouse for next season for the first time in more than a decade in an attempt to help Jayhawks basketball fans who are feeling a financial pinch from the coronavirus pandemic.  The school announced Tuesday that it will expand the number of pricing tiers from three to eight, including four levels that will be lower than they were last season. The new structure will drop the cost of tickets almost 45 percent for those who had tickets last year, and it will create a level of tickets at $500 for the upcoming season. KU has sold out 306 consecutive games dating to the 2001-02 season. Ticket prices have remained steady or climbed since the 2008-09 season, when the Jayhawks were coming off their most recent national championship. Jayhawks coach Bill Self says that ``it is unfortunate to see how this pandemic has hit so many, so hard, but hopefully the addition of tiers and lower ticket prices will allow our fans to enjoy Kansas basketball together again soon.''

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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