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Headlines for Tuesday, October 20, 2020


10 Residents Dead Amid Virus Outbreak at Northwest Kansas Nursing Home

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A coronavirus outbreak has killed 10 residents in a northwestern Kansas nursing home.  The facility in Norton County already had, proportionally, the nation’s largest increase in cases over two weeks. The health department in Norton County reported Monday night that all 62 residents and an unspecified number of employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the virus. The nursing home's outbreak came after more than 100 cases were identified at the state prison in Norton. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Norton County had the largest number of new cases per 100,000 residents of any county in the U.S. for the two weeks ending Sunday.


Kansas Approaches 73,000 COVID-19 Cases, with 872 Virus-Related Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - State health officials say Kansas has recorded nearly 73,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that the state had 72,968 cases, including 872 deaths. That's an increase of 2,133 cases and 13 deaths since Friday. The next update will be released Wednesday.


State Averages 700 New Cases a Day; Kansas County Sees Top U.S. Jump

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is seeing an average of more than 700 new coronavirus cases a day, and a county in the northwestern part of the state had proportionally the nation’s largest increase over two weeks. The state Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that Kansas had 2,113 new coronavirus cases since Friday to bring the pandemic total to 72,968. Kansas had an average of 729 new cases a day for the seven days ending Monday. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins, Norton County had the largest number of new cases per 100,000 residents of any U.S. county for the two weeks ending Sunday.  A nursing home in Norton County saw 10 residents die from the virus.  Officials say all 62 of the facility's residents have been infected.

UPDATE: Man Charged with Threatening Wichita Mayor over Mask Mandate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 59-year-old man who prosecutors say threatened Wichita's mayor because he was upset about a mask mandate has been charged. Meredith Dowty, of Wichita, was charged Tuesday with three counts of criminal threat. The retired firefighter is accused of threatening to kidnap and kill Mayor Brandon Whipple over his role in requiring masks in Wichita in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Police say the suspect sent text messages to a city official threatening Whipple's life. The charges come a day after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly urged residents to tone down the “anti-science, anti-mask” rhetoric sparked by the pandemic.

(–Earlier Reporting–)

Governor Kelly Says It's Time to Tone Down 'Anti-Mask Rhetoric'

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says it's time to tone down the “the anti-science, anti-mask rhetoric,” after a retired firefighter who was upset about Wichita’s mask ordinance was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the city's mayor. Police have said the man could face a charge of criminal threat in relation to a series of text messages sent to a city official that appeared to threaten the life of Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple. The Wichita Eagle reports that prosecutors said the man, who was arrested Friday, could be arraigned as early as Tuesday afternoon.


Missouri's Confirms 1,405 More COVID-19 Cases After Record Weekend

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — State health officials say Missouri confirmed 1,405 new COVID-19 cases Monday, which is a drop from record numbers reported over the weekend. The new cases confirmed Monday bring the state's total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 158,101. On Saturday, the state reported a record 2,357 new cases, and another 1,768 cases on Sunday. Deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 2,590 Monday.  The Park Hill School District in suburban Kansas City reported Monday that a college student who worked with several of the school's athletes died Sunday of COVID-19. The district said LeAndra Breann Stang was working to become an athletic trainer.


Kansas Counties Make Their Own Rules on Poll Worker Masks

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas counties are making their own rules about whether to require poll workers to wear masks as the public votes. Secretary of State Scott Schwab has not issued a mandate requiring masks for poll workers statewide, even though the state spent $1.28 million to buy personal protective equipment for every polling location. Schwab's spokeswoman says every county election office works with its local health department to determine COVID-19 protocols. That's created a patchwork of masking practices around the state. While the state's more urban counties generally require poll workers to mask up, rural counties often don't.


Police: Man Upset with Mask Mandate Threatened Wichita Mayor

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a retired firefighter who was upset with a mask ordinance in the city of Wichita has been arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the mayor. The Wichita Eagle reports that police say the 59-year-old suspect could face a charge of criminal threat. Democratic Mayor Brandon Whipple said someone had read him text messages received by another city official that asked about the mayor's address and threatened his life. Whipple says the suspect talked about tyranny in the messages and was upset about the mask mandates and not being able to see his mother because of coronavirus restrictions.


Body Found in Shawnee County Was Man Missing for 2 Years

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police say a body found this spring in Shawnee County was that of a man who was reported missing in 2018. KAKE-TV reports Tuesday that police confirmed the body was Gregory McGovern. He was last seen in Topeka in June 2018. The bones were found along the Kansas River in April, along with a backpack. Police Chief Bill Cochran said forensic scientists this month match DNA from McGovern's family to identify the body. Cochran said investigators found nothing suspicious with the bones.


Kansas Police Arrest Man in Connection to 2 Killed Friday

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested an 18-year-old man in the Friday deaths of two men in southeast Kansas. KSNT TV reports that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Independence police served an arrest warrant Sunday night at the Labette County Jail to 18-year-old James Gofourth, of Independence, who was already in the jail on a separate case. The arrest warrant accuses Gofourth of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 27-year-old Tyler Cook and 24-year-old Rodricus Dawson, and one count of attempted first-degree murder for injuring a 27-year-old Independence woman, who remains hospitalized. Officers found all three inside inside a vehicle that had crashed into an apartment building early Friday morning after someone reported gunshots in the area.


Multi-Vehicle Crash Shuts Portions of I-435 

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) - A three-vehicle crash on Interstate 435 in suburban Kansas City, Kansas, has seriously injured one person and shut down parts of the area's thoroughfare. Officials say the crash happened around 4 a.m. Tuesday, leading authorities to shut down the southbound lanes of I-435 in Lenexa. The Kansas Highway Patrol had initially reported that a person died in the crash, but later said the person was critically injured. The patrol says the crash involved two semi-trucks and a passenger vehicle. No other details of the crash - including the name of the person injured- were immediately available. Officials say southbound I-435 traffic is being detoured at 87th Street.


Kansas City Cop Pleads Not Guilty to Assaulting Black Teen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Kansas City, Missouri, police sergeant accused of kneeling on a Black 15-year-old who complained he couldn't breathe has pleaded not guilty to a felony assault charge. Sgt. Matthew Neal entered the plea to third-degree assault during a brief arraignment hearing Tuesday. Prosecutors allege that the teen and a man were stopped last November by an officer who thought a robbery might occur. They say the boy was handcuffed and on the ground when Neal arrived and put his knee on the teen's head during the arrest, breaking some of his teeth and causing bruising. A grand jury indicted Neal in August. 


Kansas City Police Say Man Found Fatally Shot in Parking Lot

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say a man has been found fatally shot in a fast-food restaurant parking lot in the Hickman Mills neighborhood on the south side of the city. Police say in a news release that officers were called to a McDonald's parking lot around 11 am Monday and found the victim inside a vehicle with gunshot wounds. The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have not yet released the victim's identity and say no arrests have been made in the case. Police ask anyone with information on the shooting to contact detectives or the TIPS Hotline.


First Kansas City-Area Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — The first medical marijuana dispensary in the Kansas City area was a popular spot when it opened. Dozens of people lined up outside Fresh Green in Lee's Summit Monday to receive marijuana for medical needs. The state's first two dispensaries opened Saturday in the St. Louis area. Voters approved medical marijuana in 2018. Supplies and the variety of marijuana are limited because only a few cultivators in the state have plants mature enough to harvest. Anyone wanting to buy the drug must have a state-issued medical marijuana card. Most of the 192 approved dispensaries are expected to be open by the end of the year.


Feds to Execute Woman Who Killed Victim, Cut Baby from Womb

WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman convicted of fatally strangling a pregnant woman, cutting her body open and kidnapping her baby is scheduled to be the first female inmate put to death by the U.S. government in more than six decades. The Justice Department says Lisa Montgomery is scheduled to be executed December 8 in Terre Haute, Indiana. She'd be the ninth inmate to be put to death since the federal government resumed executions in July after a nearly 20-year hiatus. Officials also scheduled the execution of Brandon Bernard for December 10. He was convicted in the 1999 killing of two youth ministers in Texas.  A co-defendant in his case was executed last month.


Topeka School Considers Racist Past of Its Namesake

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Leaders of a high school in Topeka, Kansas, are considering how the community should react to a report that the man the school is named for was a chief officer of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century. The Seaman High School newspaper reported last week that Fred Seaman, a prominent Kansas education figure, was an exalted cyclops in the KKK. Tristan Fangman and Madeline Gearhart, co-editors of The Clipper, said someone provided a newspaper clipping to their history teacher about Seaman. That prompted them to do more research and find other articles detailing his KKK activities.


Amazon Plans Large Fulfillment Centers in KCK, Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Amazon is planning to build two fulfillment centers in Kansas and says the centers will create a combined 1,000 jobs — 500 in each location. The online retailer announced the expansion Friday, with new one-million-square-foot centers in Kansas City, Kansas, and in Park City, near Wichita. Both are expected to open next year. Amazon already operates more than 110 fulfillment centers across North America, and already has one in Kansas City, Kansas, as well as in the Kansas towns of Lenexa and Edgerton. Amazon also Amazon recently selected a Wichita site for another distribution center. That 140,000-square-foot delivery station opens later this year.


Deer Hunters May Have Hard Time Finding a Butcher this Fall

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — Deer hunters across Kansas may have trouble finding a local butcher to process their deer this fall because many of them are booked up for weeks or even months. The situation is a byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic. More ranchers turned to small and medium-sized meat processors after the virus forced many major meatpacking plants to shut down temporarily or reduce production in the spring and backlogs developed in the system. So this fall, Burkhart Meats is unable to process deer at its shop in Kinsley for the first time in 50 years. Smoky River Meats in Salina is also turning away deer hunters.


Kansas City Chiefs, Edwards-Helaire Run Away with 26-17 Win over Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Clyde Edwards-Helaire showed new teammate Le'Veon Bell and the rest of the NFL how dominant the Kansas City Chiefs' running attack is already. The rookie had 161 yards rushing and Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes to Travis Kelce, leading the Chiefs to a 26-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. Monday night's game was originally scheduled for last Thursday. Mahomes finished 21 of 26 for 225 yards. His first scoring toss to Kelce was the 90th of his career in his 37th game, breaking the NFL record for fewest games to 90 TD passes. Josh Allen had a quiet night for Buffalo, going 14 of 27 for 122 yards and two touchdowns.


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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