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Headlines for Tuesday, October 13, 2020

 

Kansas Records Another Spike in Coronavirus Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has recorded another record spike in cases. The state saw an average of 736 new cases for the seven days ending Monday, or 9.8% higher than the previous record of 671 set for the seven days ending Friday. Since Friday, the state added 2,055 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 3.1%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 67,862. The number of COVID-19-related deaths increased by eight to 771. Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the state health department, predicted earlier this month that the state's reporting of new cases could increase to as many as 900 a day on average in the coming months.

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Kansas Reports Nearly 68,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 771 Virus-Related Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - State health officials say Kansas has recorded nearly 68,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that the state had 67,862 cases, including 771 deaths. That's an increase of 2,055 cases and 8 deaths since Friday. The next update will be released Wednesday. 

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Governor: Kansas Won't Jump into Local COVID-19 Hot Spots

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she doesn’t plan to have the state health department use its power to manage disease outbreaks by shutting down businesses or imposing other restrictions in local coronavirus hot spots. The Democratic governor’s statement Tuesday went further than a public promise she made last month to top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature not to issue orders to close businesses statewide, as she did in the spring. She says that although the state will work with local officials in areas with big outbreaks to help them check the spread of the virus, it won’t dictate the steps they’ll take.

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Missouri Agency Working to Fix State's COVID-19 Dashboard

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two days after a “database extract error” incorrectly showed a massive one-day increase in coronavirus cases in Missouri, the problem remains unresolved. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Lisa Cox said Monday that the state is still working to pinpoint the cause of the problem, which is related to the automated, rather than manual, entry of data. On Saturday, Missouri reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases, which would be nearly 3,000 more than the state's previous record for a single day. But on Sunday, the health department said that number was wrong. Cox says the state expects to relaunch the dashboard Wednesday morning.

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Lawrence Bar Sues over COVID-19 Restrictions

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Even as Kansas recorded another record spike in COVID-19 cases, Lawrence health officials were hit with a lawsuit over an emergency health order that limits bar hours in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.  Rita “Peach” Madl, the owner of The Sandbar, is asking to be freed from rules requiring establishments with liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol by 11 pm and shut their doors to in-person clientele by midnight. A previous order required establishments to stop selling alcohol even earlier.  The Kansas Justice Institute, which helped file the lawsuit, issued a news release Monday claiming the county order “disregards constitutional rights such as due process and equal protection.”  George Diepenbrock, a spokesman for the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said the agency would not comment on pending litigation.

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Lawrence School District Modifies Plans for In-Person Classes

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A public school district in northeast Kansas has modified its plans to move from online classes to having students attend in person part of the week because of concerns expressed by teachers and other staff. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Lawrence district plans to have its high school students attend in-person classes only one day a week, instead of the two days initially planned. Students in lower grades will have in-person classes two days a week, but the school board decided late Monday to delay that until Nov. 9 for elementary schools. The district’s decisions come with Kansas reporting nearly 68,000 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases for the pandemic.

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Kansas City Police Investigating Body Found in Wooded Area of Swope Park

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City are investigating the death of a person whose badly decomposed body was found in a wooded area of Swope Park. Police say officers were called to the area around 7 pm Monday, and a person at the scene led officers to the body, which was located just off a road. Police say the body was in an advanced state of decomposition, but that investigators were able to determine that the victim had suffered significant trauma. Police are treating the death as a homicide. Police say an autopsy will need to determine the cause of death. The victim has not yet been identified.

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Truck Driver Killed in Northern Kansas Crash

MANKATO, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a truck driver died in a crash on a rural road in northern Kansas.  Wichita's KAKE TV reports that the crash happened Monday afternoon in Jewell County just outside Mankato. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 59-year-old Robert Newell, of Mankato, was negotiating a curve when his tractor-trailer overturned. Investigators say Newell had not been wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and died at the scene.

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Democrat's Praise for Strict Gun Laws Roils U.S. Senate Race in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republicans are circulating a video of Democrat Barbara Bollier's praise of strict Australian gun laws that she said "took them all away." Bollier, a former Republican, is the Democratic nominee running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas.  GOP nominee Roger Marshall's supporters are trying to undermine Bollier's campaign, which depicts her as a moderate.  Bollier's campaign accused Marshall's campaign of being "duplicitous" and ignoring her statement at the same event in support of protecting gun rights. Audio provided by Bollier's campaign showed that she praised Australian gun laws and said after the government there took guns away, "It's pretty darn safe."

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Kansas Democrat Says She Raised Nearly $13.5 Million for U.S. Senate Bid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democrat Barbara Bollier says she raised nearly $13.5 million in three months for her U.S. Senate campaign in Kansas. The figure announced Monday is a Kansas record that brought Bollier's total fundraising to more than $20 million in an unexpectedly tough race for Republicans in the conservative state. The Democrat issued a statement giving a broad summary of her fundraising from July 1 through September 30, promising additional details later, when her campaign files a finance report.  Republican Roger Marshall’s campaign plans to release fundraising information when it files its report. The campaigns and outside groups have already spent a record $32 million on advertising.

Senate Democrats' Fundraising Success Puts GOP on Defensive

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Senate candidates are mounting a push in Republican states that few would have thought were competitive just a few months ago, putting GOP control of the chamber at risk. In South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham's challenger, Democrat Jaime Harrison, shattered fundraising records with a $57 million haul. MJ Hegar in Texas reported raising over $13 million in her race against Republican Senator John Cornyn. And even in deep-red Mississippi, Mike Espy reported raising $4 million in his rematch against Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. The windfall speaks to the energy coursing through a Democratic base that hopes to oust President Donald Trump and flip control of the U.S. Senate.

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Missouri Voter Rights Case in Hands of Appeals Panel

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — With the election just three weeks away, a federal appeals panel in St. Louis is expected to rule soon on whether Missourians casting mail-in ballots can drop them off in person, despite a state regulation requiring them to be delivered via mail.  On Friday in Kansas City, U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes issued a temporary restraining order, allowing voters to return mail-in ballots in person. But a day later, Wimes granted Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s request for a temporary stay, pending a ruling by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s unclear when the three-judge panel will issue its ruling.

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Missouri Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Carjacking in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Missouri man has pleaded guilty Tuesday to an armed carjacking in Kansas. The crime was solved by testing DNA on a hat and wig he left behind. The U.S. attorney’s office says that 43-year-old Antonio Duane Simpson of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of carjacking. The crime occurred in December 2018 in Topeka. Prosecutors say Simpson shot the victim during a struggle and then drove away in the victim’s Toyota Tacoma. Both sides are recommending a 15-year prison sentence. Sentencing is Feb. 2.

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Kansas City Police Investigating Early Monday Shooting Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City are investigating an early Monday shooting that left one person dead. Police say officers were called around 6 am to a report of shots fired in the Santa Fe neighborhood. Arriving officers found one person dead from apparent gunshot wounds. Police have not released the victim's identity and have not announced any suspects or arrests in the case.

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Residents Return to Nicodemus After Fire Forced Them to Evacuate

NICODEMUS, Kan. (AP) — Officials in northwestern Kansas say a large fire sparked by downed power lines led officials to evacuate the tiny town of Nicodemus in norhwest Kansas. Television station KSN reports that the fire was sparked by strong winds that knocked down utility poles and power lines Sunday night. The Graham County Sheriff’s Office says the fire led to the evacuation of the historic town. Residents began returning home early Monday morning.  No injuries and no damage to any homes or buildings were immediately reported. Nicodemus is an unincorporated town of around 60 people. 

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'Extremely Disturbing': Man Gets 35 Years for Stalking

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man who federal prosecutors say they suspect in a Missouri decapitation killing has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for stalking Kansas massage parlor workers in an unrelated case. The Kansas City Star reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner told 69-year-old Robert Gross that his history of violence was ``extremely disturbing'' in sentencing him for the stalking and firearms charges. Although he has not been charged with homicide, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess Michaelsen said Gross had long been suspected in the August 2016 killing of Ying Li whose body was found inside her burning Kansas City apartment. Federal law allows prosecutors to present information about uncharged crimes at sentencing. 

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Prosecutors Ask the Missouri State Highway Patrol to Investigate the Kansas City Police Shooting of an Unarmed Black Man 

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Prosecutors are asking the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate the police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kansas City.  Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutor's office, said Tuesday that Kansas City police recently submitted the findings from their investigation into the shooting of Donnie Sanders. But Mansur said prosecutors still wanted an outside agency involved, even though Sanders was killed in March, before the patrol began to investigate Kansas City police shootings.

``It is clear, I am guessing, why we don't want people investigating themselves, so we need to make sure we have the best investigation that we can have,`` Mansur said.  Police said at the time that Sanders raised his arms ``as though he had a weapon`` as he ran away from a traffic stop. An officer then ordered him to get on the ground and fired when Sanders didn't follow the commands, police said.  One of Sanders's sisters, Reshonda Sanders, said her brother had been released from the hospital just one day earlier after undergoing hernia surgery. ``We knew he was in intense pain,`` she said, suggesting he may have been moving slowly. He was 47. Kansas City Police spokesman Capt. David Jackson said the department is not naming the officer because no charges have been filed. He declined to comment further, saying police have an agreement with the prosecutor not to comment on active cases. 

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Man Killed in Shooting at South Wichita Apartment Complex

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a shooting at a Wichita apartment complex has left one person dead. KAKE reports that the shooting happened Monday afternoon at the complex in the southern part of the city. Police Captain Wendell Nicholson said the victim is a man in his late 40s to early 50s. He reportedly walked down the stairs of the apartment complex and called 911 to report he had been shot. Crews arrived to find him with a gunshot wound to his upper body. He was taken to a nearby hospital with life threatening injuries where he later died. Police didn’t immediately release any other details.

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Report: About 74% of Winter Wheat Planted in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A government report shows Kansas growers have planted about 74% of next year’s winter wheat crop. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Tuesday that wheat planting is well ahead of the 56% that is average for this time of year. About half of the wheat crop has emerged. Kansas farmers are also busy bringing in fall-harvested crops. The state’s corn harvest is 63% complete. About 40% of the soybeans and 30% of the sorghum crops have been cut. The agency also reported that 22% of sunflowers and 2% of cotton crops have been harvested.

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Patrol: 9-Year-Old Boy Killed in Western Missouri Crash

LONE JACK, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in western Missouri say a 9-year-old boy has been killed and two other children injured in a crash near Lone Jack. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the crash happened just after 12 am Sunday at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 and a county road.  Investigators say a northbound car, driven by a 31-year-old Leavenworth man, pulled in front of an eastbound car driven by a 28-year-old Wichita man, leading to the crash. The patrol says a 9-year-old boy in the northbound car died at the scene. His name has not been released. That car's driver and a 12-year-old boy in his car suffered injuries, as did a 9-year-old boy in the other car.

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Sheriff IDs 3 Killed in Kansas Train Collision

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan.  (KPR) — Johnson County authorities have identified three people who died in a weekend crash after a train struck their vehicle as 40-year-old Troy Hamlin and 37-year-old Brent Moroney, of Overland Park, and 40-year-old Kevin Corbin, of Stilwell.  All three died in the crash just after 6:30 pm Saturday at a private property crossing where there were no lights or bars (16600 Block of Mission Road).  A fourth occupant in the Jeep remained in critical condition late Sunday.

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Kansas Man Sues over Crash that Kills Wife, 4 Children

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man is suing a over a crash that killed his wife, three of his children and his stepdaughter. The Wichita Eagle reports that Jeffrey Williams, of Viola, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages in the wrongful death lawsuit filed this month against Andrew Specht and his employer, Wellington-based L.B. White Trucking Inc. The suit alleges that Specht was driving a tractor-trailer loaded with grain at a “reckless speed” on September 25 when he ran a stop sign and slammed into the sport utility vehicle in which Williams’ family was riding in southwest Sedgwick County.

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Kansas Audio-Reader Network Hosting Donation Drive October 17

LAWRENCE, Kan.  (KPR) — The Kansas Audio-Reader Network will host a donation drive Saturday, October 17 (9 am to 1 pm) at the Lied Center of Kansas.  The public is asked to donate gently used audio equipment (modern and vintage), vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes and musical instruments. The Audio-Reader Network’s annual benefit sale, For Your Ears Only, has transitioned to a series of monthly Facebook Live sales for this year.  Audio-Reader will provide a contactless drop-off for items. Donors can choose to either remain in their car while Audio-Reader staff removes the items, or donors may place their items on tables provided. Per KU requirements, all Audio-Reader staff and donors will wear face masks during the event.  Donors will receive a tax receipt. The most popular items at the sales are rock 'n' roll records, turntables and vintage audio equipment.

Audio-Reader’s next Facebook Live sale will be on Thursday, October 15 at 6pm.

This sale will feature audio equipment, including receivers, speakers and turntables as well as vinyl records. Darrel Brogdon, Kansas Public Radio program director and host of the "Retro Cocktail Hour," will also make a guest appearance with a specially curated selection of Retro Cocktail Hour vinyl records.  Proceeds from the sale benefit Audio-Reader, a service organization providing free reading and information services for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The University of Kansas has ceased direct funding to Audio-Reader, making fundraisers like these virtual benefit sales vital to Audio-Reader’s operation. Funds from the sale go directly to helping Audio-Reader listeners stay connected with their communities and live a life of personal independence.  More information is available at Audio-Reader's website: reader.ku.edu.

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Missouri University of Science and Technology Gets "Transformative" $300 Million Gift

ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis businessman and his wife have donated $300 million to a foundation to support Missouri University of Science and Technology in what the university said is believed to be the largest single gift to a higher education institution in Missouri. Missouri S&T announced the gift Monday from Fred and June Kummer. He is the founder and chairman of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., a design and build firm for health care. Kummer is a 1955 graduate. The university will use the gift to establish a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, develop new areas for research, and provide scholarships and fellowships for students. Chancellor Mo Dehghani called it “transformative.”

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USDA Predicts Slightly Smaller Kansas Corn Harvest

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers are expected to harvest slightly less corn than than last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this year’s crop is forecast at just under 800 million bushels, down 2% from last year. The Hays Daily News reports this year’s average yield of the 5.75 million acres planted is forecast at 137 bushels per acre, up by four bushels from 2019. As of October 5, 44% of Kansas corn was harvested. This is 34% ahead of last year, but behind the 49% average by this time during the past five years. More than half of the corn already harvested is either good or excellent.

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Police: Man Upset About Chiefs' Loss Pointed a Gun

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Kansas City Chiefs fan who was upset about the team’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders pointed a gun at a victim in a neighborhood about 10 miles away from Arrowhead Stadium. Police in Kansas City, Kansas, said in a tweet that officers responded to disturbance call around 5 pm Sunday, after the game ended. A victim and witnesses then told officers that a person, upset over the Chiefs’ 40-32 loss to the Raiders, pointed a gun. One of the witnesses then fought to disarm the suspect, who fled.

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Kansas State QB Skylar Thompson to Miss Rest of Season

UNDATED (AP) – Kansas State University quarterback Skylar Thompson will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his throwing shoulder. That leaves freshman Will Howard to lead the No. 22 Wildcats the rest of the way. Thompson was hurt two weeks ago when Texas Tech’s Rico Jeffers drove him into the ground after unloading a pass in the Wildcats’ 31-21 victory. The Red Raiders were penalized and Jeffers was ejected for the late hit. The Wildcats are off before facing KU on October 24.

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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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