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Headlines for Tuesday, October 18, 2022

 

Proposal Aims to Slow Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer in Western Kansas

HAYS, Kan. (KNS) - A new proposal in western Kansas could slow the depletion of the declining Ogallala Aquifer by limiting irrigation. Under the plan, four counties in western Kansas might soon limit the amount of water farmers can use to irrigate crops. The Kansas News Service reports that a dozen area farmers gathered Monday at a public hearing in Scott City to learn more about the proposal. Here's how the plan would work: Farmers who have been pumping the most would need to cut their water use by up to 25%. But those who have been conserving water voluntarily might not get hit with any new restrictions. Camron Shay, who farms in Lane County, still has some questions about how to make the plan fair for everyone, but says it seems like a good first step. “People have concerns. Rightly so, rightly so. I was concerned when I came here. And I talked to a couple people and I feel a lot better about it," he said.

The public hearing in Scott City marked a big step toward establishing a new Local Enhanced Management Area or LEMA.  It’s a plan created by a board of local farmers that would require irrigators to cut their water use by an average of 10%. Katie Durham directs the groundwater district and says the survival of these communities depends on prolonging the aquifer’s life. “This is do or die. I mean, we want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. And I think doing it from the local level is always going to be more efficient and more publicly supported than doing it from the top down," she said. If the state approves the plan, the water use restrictions would go into effect early next year.

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Kansas Voter Registration Deadline Is Today (TUE)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - The deadline for Kansans to register to vote for the upcoming midterm elections is today (TUE).  To register to vote in time, Kansans can visit the website VoteKansas.gov or register in person at their county election office. Midterm elections in Kansas include the governor, attorney general and other statewide offices. Also on the ballot is an amendment to the state constitution that would allow the Legislature to overturn rules and regulations set by the governor's administration. Also on the ballot, retention votes for six of the seven Kansas Supreme Court justices. Election Day is November 8.

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University of Kansas Returning Native American Remains

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas says it is returning Native American remains and sacred objects in its museum collections. The university says it recently was made aware that it possessed Indigenous remains, funeral objects and other sacred objects. The exact number of remains and artifacts found has not been disclosed. The university said in a statement that it is verifying inventory of its Native American artifacts across campus. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer has apologized to the Native American community. The university plans to form an advisory committee, consult with tribal nations and create institutional repatriation policies.

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Police Investigating Death in Connection with Kansas City Apartment Fire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBC) — Police in Kansas City are now investigating a death in connection with an apartment fire early Monday morning. KMBC TV reports that the fire started just before 2:30 am at a three-story apartment building at 918 Benton Blvd. Firefighters said multiple people were trapped on the upper levels of the building and had to be rescued. Two people were injured in the fire. Later Monday morning, Kansas City police said they launched a death investigation in connection with the fire. Officers could not immediately say whether the death was one of the people previously reported as injured. KCPD bomb and arson investigators responded to the scene to search for a cause of the fire. Twenty-seven people living inside the building were displaced. The Red Cross is assisting those families.

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Shooting Victims Found at Kansas City QuikTrip

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — The Kansas City Police Department is investigating after two people were found at a QuikTrip with gunshot wounds. WDAF TV reports that officers were called on reports of a shooting just after 1 pm Monday. The victims showed up at the QuikTrip on 87th Street near I-435 Highway, both in serious condition. Police say the shooting did not happen at the QuikTrip and they are working to find out where it occurred. No suspect information is available at this time.

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One Killed, Another Injured in Kansas City Double Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Kansas City police say one person is dead and another injured in a double shooting Sunday afternoon.  WDAF TV reports that officers responded to Northeast Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway for a shooting. Police saw a crash involving multiple vehicles just north of the intersection. Officers found two victims with apparent gunshot wounds inside one of the vehicles. They were both taken to the hospital. One of the victims, a man, was pronounced dead at the hospital. The second victim is in critical but stable condition. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at
(816) 234-5043 or TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

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Man Dies when Vehicle Driven by 12-Year-Old Boy Crashes in Western Kansas

QUINTER Kan. (WIBW) - Authorities say a man was killed Sunday afternoon when the pickup truck he was riding in - and that was being driven by a 12-year-old boy - crashed in Gove County, in western Kansas. WIBW TV reports that the crash was reported Sunday afternoon about two miles east of Quinter. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 1977 Chevrolet pickup truck was traveling south on County Road 78 when, for an unknown reason, the vehicle began to skid sideways. The patrol said the pickup truck then entered a ditch, where it rolled over before coming to rest on its roof. A passenger in the truck, 36-year-old Benjamin J. Keller, of Quinter, was pronounced dead at the scene. The patrol said Keller wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The driver of the pickup truck, 12-year-old Landen Schmid, of Quinter, was transported to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita with serious injuries. The patrol said Schmid also wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

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Help Wanted: Kansas Public Radio Seeks New Statehouse Bureau Chief

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio is seeking a new Statehouse Bureau Chief. This position works primarily at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. 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. 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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Mental Health Report Ranks Kansas Worst in the Nation for Mental Illness, Access to Care

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW) - A new report by Mental Health America ranks Kansas worst in the country on measures like the prevalence of mental illness and access to care. The Kansas News Service reports that on top of of high rates of youth substance abuse and adult mental illness, the report found it’s harder to access mental health care in Kansas than almost anywhere else in the country. Mary Jones, with the Mental Health Association of South-Central Kansas, says that’s partially due to a shortage of mental health workers. Nearly a third of the group’s positions are unfilled at any given time. “It has been going on for years, but I think it hit a crisis point during the pandemic," she said. The report also found many Kansans can’t afford the care they need. Debbie Plotnick, with Mental Health America, points to the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. “Medicaid is the largest payer of mental health services in the entire country. So, states that have not expanded (Medicaid) tend to have much lower access," she said. (Read more.)

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Kansas Historical Society to Search Grounds of Former Native American School

FAIRWAY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Historical Society plans to search the grounds of a former Native American boarding school to determine if any children were buried there. The site in Fairway, Kansas, housed students from several tribes in the 1800s and early 1900s. It was one of many schools across the country designed to assimilate Indigenous children into white American culture and Christianity. Leaders of Native American tribes want to determine if children were buried in unmarked graves at the site. Leaders of the Shawnee Tribe raised concerns about the proposal, saying they were not consulted about the search. Kansas officials contend they have consulted with the tribes.

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1 Killed, 1 Wounded in Sunday Shooting at Busy Intersection in KC’s Northland

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) - One person was killed and another was critically wounded in a shooting Sunday afternoon in Kansas City’s Northland. The Kansas City Star reports that police were called just before 3:30 pm to the area of North Oak Trafficway and Northeast Vivion Road on a reported shooting. Authorities came upon the scene of a multi-vehicle crash just north of the intersection. Two victims suffering from gunshot wounds were found inside one of the vehicles. Both victims were taken to the hospital where one victim, a man, was pronounced dead. The other victim, who has not been identified, suffered critical wounds. The killing marks the 133rd homicide reported this year in Kansas City.

Investigators don't know yet if the crash preceded the shooting. Detectives were also investigating where the shooting happened. Police also found some evidence up the road and marked off a secondary crime scene there. As homicide detectives walked around the area, one car inside the police tape sat with its doors open. A shoe, turned on its side, was nearby. The back passenger door was riddled with about a dozen bullet holes. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call KCPD detectives at (816) 234-5043 or the anonymous Tips Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

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Two People Found Dead Sunday in Kansas City's Northland Woods

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) - Police are investigating after two people were found dead Sunday in Kansas City’s Northland. The Kansas City Star reports that officers responded to a medical call just before 2 pm in the area of Northeast 48th Street and Randolph Road. Citizens near the scene flagged down officers and took them to an area in the woods where two bodies were found suffering from “apparent trauma.” Both victims, neither of whom have been publicly identified, were declared dead at the scene.

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Trial for Accused Kansas City Serial Killer Set for January
 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — The trial for a man accused in multiple killings is scheduled to begin early next year. WDAF TV reports that Fredrick Scott is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Steven Gibbons, John Palmer, David Lenox, Timothy Rice and Michael Darby. The five men were killed along Indian Creek Trail in 2017. Scott is also charged with first-degree murder for the death of Karen Harmeyer. She was killed in Grandview. Scott was in court Friday for a pretrial conference. A judge scheduled Scott’s trial to begin January 9, 2023. There have been multiple delays in the case that was originally scheduled to go to trial in September.

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Nationwide Railroad Strike Still Possible

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR) - Railroad workers continue to vote on a tentative agreement with the five major U.S. freight railroads. That includes Kansas City Southern and BNSF. So far, one union has voted not to ratify the proposed agreement and that could trigger a costly, nationwide rail strike. The Biden administration hashed out the proposed labor agreement last month, narrowly averting a rail strike. It would boost workers’ pay by 24%, but it leaves work rules that union members consider to be harsh largely unchanged. So far, one of the 12 unions representing railroad workers has rejected the agreement, and six have approved it. But if one strikes, the others will strike in solidarity. The two largest unions, the ones representing locomotive engineers and conductors, won’t finish voting until mid-November. If there is a strike, it will likely come sometime afterward. A freight rail strike would be costly, but likely short lived. Congress has authority to impose a settlement if workers and railroads reach an impasse.

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Advocates: Easier for Wealthy Kansans to Avoid Legal Trouble, Get Diversion Agreements

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Avoiding criminal charges in Kansas can cost hundreds of dollars. Advocates say that makes it easier for wealthy Kansans to avoid legal trouble. The Kansas News Service reports that Kansans charged with some crimes, like DUIs or misdemeanor charges, can avoid harsher punishments through diversion programs. This court process will substitute time in jail for community service or other forms of restitution. But these programs often come with a charge, sometimes topping $1,000. Joanna Weiss, with the Fines and Fees Justice Center, says diversion should be free so anyone can access it. “For most people going through the criminal legal system, any amount is the difference between paying your bills and supporting your family and not being able to," she said. Cities that run these diversion programs say they offer flexible payment options and diversion programs are not free to run, so the person using it should pay.

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Just Food Changes Thanksgiving Meal Distribution Plan Due to Inflation, Supply Chain Issues

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - Just Food, the Lawrence food pantry, is adjusting its Thanksgiving meal distribution this year in response to ongoing inflation and supply chain issues. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Thanksgiving food items will be distributed based on a “holiday points” system, similar to the points that patrons typically use to shop at the food bank. Each shopper who has signed up for Thanksgiving meals prior to October 31 will receive 14 of those “holiday points” at check-in. The following items will be stocked separately from Just Food’s general merchandise and marked with orange point stickers:

     • Frozen turkeys (10-12 pounds): 6 points
     • Frozen chickens (5 pounds): 3 points
     • Vegetarian lasagna: 6 points
     • Canned goods: 1 point
     • Bagged produce: 1-3 points
     • Gravy packets: two for 1 point
     • Rice (one-pound bags): 2 points

Supplies are limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons are also limited to one turkey or chicken per household. “Holiday points” can only be used during a single visit to Just Food. Thanksgiving meal distribution will be available for six weekdays in mid-November — Tuesday, November 15, through Tuesday, November 22. Just Food will be open from 9 am to 6 pm on November 15, 17 and 22, and from 9 am to 3 pm on November 16, 18 and 21.

Only existing Just Food patrons with an account in the food bank’s database prior to November 1 can sign up for this year’s Thanksgiving meal distribution. Enrollment forms are available at the food bank, 1000 E. 11th St., during normal business hours or online here.

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North Carolina No. 1 in Preseason AP Top 25 Men's Basketball; KU Tied for Fifth

UNDATED (AP) – North Carolina is No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 men's basketball poll. The national runner-up from last season returns four of five starters and received 47 of 62 first-place votes. Gonzaga is No. 2, followed by Houston and Kentucky. Kansas and Baylor, the last two national champions, are tied for fifth. Duke, led by new coach Jon Scheyer, is seventh with UCLA, Creighton and Arkansas rounding out the top 10. The Big 12 and SEC lead the way with five teams apiece in the Top 25.

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Hold Your Breath: Big 12 Games Keep Coming Down to the Wire

UNDATED (AP) – Just about every game in the Big 12 this season has come down to the final minutes. Of the 17 so far, 12 have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Nine games have been decided by one possession and three in overtime. Iowa State has lost four times by a combined 14 points. TCU and Kansas State are still unbeaten in Big 12 play. They have combined to win four one-possession games. The Horned Frogs and Wildcats play each other on Saturday.

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Big 12 Conference Football to Go Without Divisions as 14-Team League in 2023-24

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Big 12 will continue to operate without divisions in football next season. That's when Central Florida, Cincinnati, BYU and Houston join the league to create a 14-team conference. It will end the current round-robin scheduling framework. Every school will play nine conference games, just as they have since it became a 10-team league, and schools will play each other at least once in each two-year period. Traditional rivalries, or at least those left after realignments, will be preserved. The schedule is due out in December.

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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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