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Headlines for Tuesday, October 11, 2022

 

GOP Kansas Lawmaker Calls on State to Halt Work with Foster Care Contractor

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ/KNS) - A top Republican on child welfare issues has called on the state to end its relationship with Cornerstones of Care, a foster care contractor in the Kansas City area. The comments from state Senator Molly Baumgardner, of Louisburg, come as Cornerstones of Care and the Department for Children and Families have come under fire for pushing to remove a child from her foster home placement to allow her to be adopted with siblings hours away, despite being taken in by the family days after birth. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the case has garnered significant media attention in the Kansas City area and has been used by lawmakers to argue it is an example of why hundreds have stopped serving as foster families in the state.

But to Baumgardner, the case raises broader concerns regarding Cornerstones of Care, the Missouri-based firm that was selected in 2018 to handle child placement and other services in Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Atchison counties. Baumgardner pegged the state's deal with Cornerstones of Care as being worth at least $12 million per year and says if it were up to her, she'd terminate the deal.

The contractor has come under fire in recent months for other issues as well. In April, a teenage foster child was forced to spend a night in a Cornerstones of Care office, ran away and was found dead days later in a vacant Kansas City, Kansas, lot. The contractor also accounted for roughly 60% of all cases where children slept in offices last year. (Read more from the Kansas News Service.)

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Fatal Turnpike Accident Caused by Attempted U-turn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The crash that killed three Topeka children over the weekend happened during a U-turn on the Kansas Turnpike.  WIBW TV reports that the children -- two 9-year-olds and one 8-year-old -- all from Topeka -- were killed Saturday morning when a van they were in was struck by a semi-tractor trailer. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the van’s driver, 32-year-old Amber Peery, of Topeka, attempted a U-turn when her vehicle was struck by a semi. Peery was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. While three children were killed in the crash, two other children -- ages 5 and 9 -- were taken to the hospital with suspected serious injuries. The driver of the semi was not injured. Officials say all three children that died attended schools in the Auburn-Washburn District. A family friend of one of the victims said the van had been headed to a Girl Scout event in Kansas City.

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Kansas Governor's Race Turns to Name Calling

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - The race for Kansas governor is focusing on political leaders who won’t be on the ballot this fall. The Kansas News Service reports the two leading candidates are both trying to attach the other to unpopular politicians. During a stump speech in Shawnee over the weekend, Republican Derek Schmidt said he is trying to stop President Joe Biden and national Democratic policies. Biden is polling poorly nationwide, especially among Republicans. Schmidt argued Democratic Governor Laura Kelly follows Biden’s policies and hurts Kansas. Other Republicans, like Senator Roger Marshall, said at the event that Kelly and national Democrats closed Kansas schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Do we want Joe Biden in charge of our schools? Do we want a governor who locks kids out of school and locks parents out of schools?," he said. Kelly’s campaign has tried to attach Schmidt to former Republican Governor Sam Brownback. During his tenure, he at times polled as one of the least popular governors in the country.

(Additional reporting...)

Candidates in Kansas Focus on People External to Campaigns
 
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - Political candidates in Kansas are trying to connect their opponents to other political leaders who aren’t even on the ballot. During a stump speech in Shawnee over the weekend, Republicans focused on beating Democrats -- namely, President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Both have unfavorable ratings nationwide, especially among Republicans. Republican candidate for governor Derek Schmidt says his campaign is about stopping Biden’s agenda and Democrats nationwide. He says his opponent, Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, is one of them. “This is an election that requires voters to hold accountable those Biden Democrats who have made those bad decisions in public policy," he said. Kelly’s campaign has also tried to attach Schmidt to former Republican governor Sam Brownback. During his tenure, he at times polled as one of the least popular governors in the country. Election Day is November 8. The last day to register to vote is October 18.

Talk About Police Bias Scrutinized in Kansas Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ Republican attorney general told a racial justice commission two years ago that racial bias “obviously” exists in law enforcement. But Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Tuesday that he wasn’t saying systemic racism exists and he stood by campaign attacks on Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly for using that phrase. Schmidt and fellow Republicans are portraying Democratic Governor Laura Kelly as anti-police as Schmidt tries to unseat Kelly in November. George Floyd’s death in 2020 led Kelly to form a racial justice commission. As she did, she declared that systemic racism within law enforcement must end. Schmidt argues that Kelly is calling police officers racist. Her campaign accuses him of false smears.

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Kansas Voter Registration Deadline Nears for November Election
 
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) – The 2022 November election is just weeks away, and Kansans have just a few days left to register to vote. The state’s deadline to register for the general election is October 18. WDAF TV reports that residents can register to vote online. A valid Kansas driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card is required. Without one of those forms of ID, Kansas residents must register using a paper application. Kansans can also register to vote in person at their county election office, the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office, or at their local Department of Motor Vehicles. Once you submit your voter registration application, your local county election office will notify you. You must re-register every time you change your name, address or party affiliation for voting, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office. One day after the registration deadline, advance voting will begin in Kansas for the general election.

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Rural Kansas Towns Face Elevated Fire Risk, Struggles to Find Volunteer Firefighters

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Rural towns across Kansas face continued drought conditions compounded by a shortage of volunteer firefighters. KWCH TV reports that the small community of Paradise has seen first-hand how bad an emergency fire situation can get and how valuable volunteer firefighters can be. Last December, a fire devastated the town. With aid from volunteers from outside the community, they were able to put it out. But now, Paradise is among communities needing more of its own volunteers. A shortage of volunteer firefighters in rural communities makes it difficult for fire departments to always be staffed.  In small Kansas towns, the first step in becoming a volunteer firefighter begins with contacting the local fire department.

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Chiefs Hold on to Beat Raiders 30-29 on MNF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KPR) - The Kansas City Chiefs held on for a 30-29 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs fell behind, 17-0, but came back to win in the second half. Tight end Travis Kelce, who caught four touchdown passes, says the crowd helped the team rally after a questionable roughing-the-passer call that went against them. ""Got not only us fired up, but that entire stadium fired up. Arrowhead had our backs and we just rallied together and really fought through that one," he said. The Raiders scored the game’s final touchdown with 2:58 left in the game and could have drawn even with an extra point. They chose instead to go for a two-point conversion, but didn’t make it.

(Additional coverage...)

Controversial Call Prompts Scrutiny as Chiefs Escape Raiders

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Kansas City Chiefs got the best of the Las Vegas Raiders, beating the silver and black 30-29 at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday Night Football. A controversial roughing-the-passer penalty against the Chiefs just before halftime delivered another blow to the NFL and its beleaguered officiating crew. Kansas City's Chris Jones sacked Raiders quarterback Derek Carr from behind and stripped the ball.  But the Pro Bowl defensive tackle landed on the Raiders quarterback and was flagged for roughing the passer.
Replays showed the ball was clearly loose and that Jones clearly recovered it, but referee Carl Cheffers threw a flag. Despite the controversial call, the Chiefs prevailed. Kansas City will host the Bills on Sunday in a rematch of January's playoff overtime thriller.

(-Related-)

Native American Protest KC Chiefs and Team Traditions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR) - People representing Native American tribes protested before the Kansas City Chiefs game Monday, decrying traditions like the “war drum” and “tomahawk chop.”  Protesters say the team’s celebrations and name feed into racist stereotypes of Native Americans.  The Chiefs released a statement recognizing Indigenous People’s Day and promising to continue creating dialogues with local and national Native groups.  But protesters like Tokeya Richardson say the team should be doing more. “And they had this whole spiel in their newsletter talking about how they’re honoring us and about how they’re recognizing Indigenous People’s Day. You can recognize us but you don’t have to be like this," he said. The Kansas City Indian Center says they will continue organizing protests until they are satisfied with changes made by team officials. (Read more from WDAF TV.)

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Sports Gambling Brings in More than $1 Million in Casino Profits
 
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - The first month of legal sports gambling in Kansas generated more than $1 million in profit for casinos. The Kansas News Service (KNS) reports that about $130,000 of that will go to the state government. Governor Laura Kelly announced three of the state’s four casinos took in about $1.3 million during the month of September. The state taxes 10% of those funds. Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City and Draft Kings, its online betting partner, did not report any profit for the month. Legal sports betting in Kansas began September 1 and this is the first update on how much it’s bringing in. The Kansas Lottery reported 2.4 million bets were placed in the first 10 days. Kelly said the state expects to see revenues grow over time.

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Study: Midwest at Risk for Increased Winter Run-Off

UNDATED (HPM) - The Midwest is at-risk of increased nutrient run-off pollution during the winter.  That's according to a new study from the Gund Institute for Environment.  Scientists say climate change is causing warmer and wetter winters - meaning that chemicals that would have been frozen until spring are thawing and polluting waters. Dennis Todey, the Midwest Director of the USDA Climate Hub, says farmers can help prevent this by not applying nitrogen or manure to fields in the fall. “If you're losing the nitrogen to the water that's nitrogen that you don't have available for your crop, so it's a lose-lose in that situation." he said. More of these chemicals in the water can lead to toxic algae blooms and dead zones.

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Midwest Farmers Face Too Wet, Then Too Dry Conditions

UNDATED (HPM) - Hot, dry conditions scorched crops across the Midwest and Great Plains over the summer. But earlier this spring, some of those fields actually started out TOO WET. Harvest Public Media reports that this type of moisture whiplash is becoming more common. Farmers have been begging for rain throughout most of the growing season. But this spring, some farmers in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri were actually grumbling about TOO MUCH rain. The wet, cold conditions kept them from planting. But then dry, hot conditions crept east and baked some fields. Trent Ford, Illinois’ state climatologist, says that juxtaposition will likely lower yields: "So April to June was extremely wet, had planting delays, some problems with germination. And then after that, it goes bone dry." Ford’s research shows the transition from wet to dry has been happening more frequently, and will continue to occur more often.

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Police: Woman Held Captive for a Month, Repeatedly Raped

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Charging documents say a Missouri woman was held captive in a basement room for about a month and was raped repeatedly before she was able to escape. The suspect, 39-year-old Timothy M. Haslett of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, was arrested Friday. He is charged with first-degree rape or attempted rape, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault. He is jailed and does not yet have a listed attorney. The woman was found early Friday. A probable cause statement says she was able to escape when the suspect took his child to school. Police say they're trying to determine if there have been other victims.

(–Earlier Reporting–)

Police Investigate Kidnapping and Rape in Missouri Town Near KC

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) _ Authorities are investigating a suspected kidnapping and sexual assault in a small Missouri town just northeast of Kansas City that was discovered when a malnourished woman escaped and screamed for help. Clay County prosecutors charged a man with rape, kidnapping and assault after the woman ran from his house in Excelsior Springs Friday morning. She was hospitalized in stable condition Friday where she reunited with her family. The woman told police there may have been two other victims, but authorities haven't said whether any additional victims have been found. Investigators have continued to search the home the woman escaped from, and Excelsior Springs Police Chief Greg Dull asked the public Saturday to be patient.

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Kansas Public Radio Seeks New Statehouse Bureau Chief

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio at the University of Kansas is seeking a new Statehouse Bureau Chief.  This position works primarily at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. The position duties include managing all aspects of KPR’s capital news bureau, which provides broadcast and digital news reports to a number of radio stations in Kansas and Missouri. This position is primarily responsible for reporting on all aspects of state government. This includes but is not limited to covering the Kansas legislative session, the governor, attorney general, supreme court, the state’s congressional delegation and statewide elections. The KPR Statehouse Bureau Chief researches, writes, reports and produces spot news, digital stories and long-form audio features for KPR and its reporting partners. Learn more about this position.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy.

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Thieves Trade Stolen Bus for Kansas Farm Pickup

HARPER, Kan. (KSNW) — The Harper County Sheriff’s Office is trying to track down a stolen pickup truck and an ATV taken early Monday morning following a school bus theft. KSNW TV reports that someone stole a school bus from the City of Harper sometime around 2 am Monday. That school bus was later found parked at a farmhouse just outside of Harper. In its place, thieves made off with a silver flatbed dual-axle pickup. The truck, with a Kansas license plate of 504 GCW, remains missing. Authorities say someone also stole a Honda Rancher ATC with a 25-gallon tank on the rear near Freeport on Monday. It was last seen traveling south through a field. All activity happened between the hours of midnight and 6 am, however, it remains unclear if these thefts are related.

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No. 19 Kansas Likely Missing QB Daniels for Trip to Oklahoma

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas football team will likely be without star quarterback Jalon Daniels when the 19th-ranked Jayhawks visit struggling Oklahoma on Saturday. Daniels hurt his right shoulder in last week’s loss to TCU. His injury means backup Jason Bean is in line to start. Daniels was hurt just before halftime of the 38-31 loss when he was scrambling toward the sideline and was sacked. Bean nearly rallied the Jayhawks past the Horned Frogs, throwing for 262 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. The QBs have similar styles, which means Kansas won't have to alter its game plan too much.

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AP Source: Raiders' Adams Could Be Suspended for Shoving Photographer

UNDATED (AP)  Las Vegas Raiders receiver Davante Adams could face a possible suspension or fine for shoving a photographer to the ground as he ran off the field following a loss at Kansas City. A person familiar with the process tells The Associated Press that the NFL is reviewing Adams' actions. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hadn't made the review public. Detectives from the Kansas City Police Department's assault unit are investigating the incident. NFL Network was the first to report that Adams could face discipline. 

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AP Big 12 Midseason Honoree Martinez Enjoys Winning Feeling; KU Coach, QB Also Recognized

UNDATED (AP) – Adrian Martinez is getting that winning feel at Kansas State after four losing seasons at Nebraska. Martinez is the Big 12's top first-year transfer at midseason in voting by Associated Press writers. K-State is 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play with Martinez at quarterback. TCU quarterback Max Duggan is the top offensive player and K-State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah is the top defensive player. Kansas' Lance Leipold is the top coach and his quarterback Jalon Daniels is the most surprising player. Oklahoma was voted most disappointing team. West Virginia's Neal Brown is on the hot seat.

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These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre, and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays, 11 am weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today. And follow KPR News on Twitter.
 

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