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Headlines for Tuesday, October 27, 2020

 

Kansas Man Faces Capital Murder Charge in Death of 2 Sons

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas man will face a capital murder charge in the death of his two sons, whose bodies were found in their Leavenworth home Saturday. Donny Ray Jackson Jr. has also been charged with two alternative counts of first-degree murder. Investigators allege the 40-year-old Jackson killed his 14-year-old son Logan and 12-year-old Austin and then took their younger sisters from the home.  Jackson was stopped and arrested Saturday night in Oklahoma and the girls were found safe.  Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson would not discuss a possible motive, or how the boys were killed. Jackson remains jailed in Oklahoma awaiting extradition proceedings.

- Earlier reporting -

Father of Two Slain Kansas Boys Has Been in Midst of Divorce

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a man accused of abducting his two daughters from a Kansas home where their two brothers were killed has been going through a divorce with the children's mother. Major James Sherley of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office said Monday that 40-year-old Donny Jackson and his wife are estranged and that he had "on-again, off-again access to the children."  The homicide-abduction investigation began around 1:30 p.m. Saturday after the bodies of 14-year-old Logan Jackson and 12-year-old Austin Jackson were found in their father's home. Their sisters _ 3-year-old Aven Jackson and 7-year-old Nora Jackson _ were found unharmed later that night in Oklahoma after an Amber Alert was issued.  Their father, Donny Jackson, was arrested after police stopped the car near Erick, Oklahoma. The girls were unharmed and were returned to their mother. Jackson is jailed in Oklahoma while awaiting extradition to Kansas. The Leavenworth County Attorney said he is waiting for the investigation to be complete before making a charging decision.

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Haskell University President Accused of Violating Student's Free Speech Rights

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) - A free speech organization is accusing the president of Haskell Indian Nations University of violating the First Amendment rights of a student journalist.  The Foundation For Individual Rights In Education, which goes by the name FIRE, says it obtained a letter from the university that threatens disciplinary action against the editor of the student paper.  In the letter, Haskell president Ronald Graham says the student acted inappropriately by requesting information from the Lawrence Police Department about a university employee's death. Graham also accused the student of verbally attacking university employees in letters and at public forums.  FIRE says it filed a complaint with the Department of the Interior over the letter, calling it unconstitutional. Haskell has not responded to requests for comment.  

(AP version)

Haskell Indians Nations University Accused of Violating Student's Free Speech Rights

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The president of Haskell Indian Nations University has directed the editor of the school's student newspaper to not contact any government agency for information while representing the paper. He also told him not to "attack" any student, faculty member or staff. The editor says the directives violate his First Amendment rights. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the October 16 letter from Haskell President Ronald Graham further instructs Jared Nally, editor of The Indian Leader student newspaper, to not record anyone at the university during interviews without first getting their permission. Graham did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

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GOP Leaders Want 3 Officials to Resign over False Ad Plot

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A growing number of GOP leaders in Kansas are calling for the resignation of three elected officials who were recorded planning a cover-up of their role in a plot to smear the Democratic mayor of Wichita, the state's largest city.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the controversy stems from an ad that falsely suggested Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple was accused of sexual harassment when he served in the state legislature.  The ad was published on YouTube during the mayoral election last year.  Following the release of a pair of recordings about the plot, Republican Congressman Ron Estes joined the growing call for Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell to resign.  A growing number of Republican leaders are also calling for Wichita City Council member James Clendenin and state Representative Michael Capps to resign.

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Roger Marshall Campaign Staffer Contracts COVID-19

A member of Republican Congressman Roger Marshall’s Senate campaign team has contracted the coronavirus.  The campaign's chief of staff, Brent Robertson, says the staffer was on the Kansas Republican Party bus tour in the Kansas City area, but was exposed at a non-political event.  Marshall has not had contact with the staffer since the exposure, and his campaign says Marshall is regularly tested.  With a week left before the election, Marshall and Democratic state Senator Barbara Bollier’s race has tightened, with last week’s Siena/New York Times poll showing Marshall up by 4 percentage points.

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Topeka Long-Term Care Facility Hit with Virus Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Nursing homes are facing an increasing strain combatting the coronvirus as cases rise statewide and residents and families grow distressed about limits on visits. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that one of the latest outbreaks has infected 12 residents and employees at the Topeka Presbyterian Manor. The facility says none of them are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19.  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports 250 clusters associated with long-term care facilities, accounting for more than 3,800 cases of COVID-19.

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Kansas Reports More than 78,600 COVID-19 Cases, Including 976 Deaths 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the state has now recorded more than 78,600 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  KDHE released the latest numbers Monday, reporting 78,676 cases of COVID-19, which includes 976 deaths.  Coronavirus cases have increased by 2,446 since last Friday, but only one new death has been recorded.  The next online update of COVID-19 cases will be released Wednesday afternoon.

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Kansas Sets New Marks for COVID-19 Cases; Governor Pushes for Statewide Mask Mandate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas has reported record highs for its seven-day rolling averages of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. A spokesman for Democratic Governor Laura Kelly said Monday that she was considering calling the Republican-controlled Legislature into a special session to discuss imposing a statewide face-mask mandate. Kelly spokesman Sam Coleman confirmed that the governor planned to meet with top legislative leaders Tuesday by Zoom to discuss how the state can impose a mandate for people to wear masks in public. Kansas is seeing its largest surge in new coronavirus cases of the pandemic, with an average of 815 new cases and 32 new hospitalizations a day for the seven days ending Monday.

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KC Sees Record Virus Deaths; St. Louis Hospitals Filling Up
 
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Hospitals in Kansas City and St. Louis are filling up with coronavirus patients at an alarming rate, and experts say many of those patients are coming in from other areas of the state. Over the past week, the Kansas City area recorded its highest number of deaths over a one-week period, with more than 80 people dying from COVID-19.  Missouri is among several states across the U.S. seeing a spike in confirmed cases and hospitalizations related to the coronavirus.  Today (TUE), Missouri's health department announced 1,695 additional confirmed cases and 28 more deaths.  Missouri has reported 172,717 cases and 2,838 deaths since the pandemic began.

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Missouri Virus Hospitalizations Rising as Data Problem Fixed

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri health officials say a problem with data on COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state has been fixed. Last week, Missouri officials said hospitalizations had been underreported for about a week because of data entry problems. On Monday, the COVID-19 dashboard said the problem was resolved. According to updated data, Missouri hospitals were caring for 1,399 COVID-19 patients as of Friday. On Monday, the state had 171,022 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,527 from Sunday. Also Monday, the Missouri Veterans Commission announced that it will ask for an additional $16.4 million as it struggles to operate seven state-owned veterans homes amid rising COVID-19 deaths.

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Doctors: Getting Flu Shot Will Ease Strain on Kansas Hospitals

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KNS) — Physicians say flu shots will help reduce the number of people showing up at hospitals with symptoms that can look like COVID-19.  Compared to a normal year, some clinics and hospitals say more workplaces are inviting them to give flu shots on site and more people are coming to drive-through and walk-in testing locations.  Konza Prairie Community Health Center, which serves Junction City and Manhattan, typically uses up its 400 to 600 doses over the course of several months. This year, it ran out of flu shots in October and had to order more supplies.  Salina Regional Health Center held a community event early this month and administered 300 more shots to children than last year.

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Both U.S. Senators from Kansas Vote to Confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Nation's Highest Court

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ The two Republican U.S. senators from Kansas both voted Monday night to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Barrett will replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in late September. It was a mostly party-line decision, 52-to-48 and the first time in 151 years that no member of the minority party voted to confirm the nominee. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says Barrett’s character is exemplary and that she has a deep understanding of the Constitution. He also called her the most impressive nominee he’d interviewed. Senator Pat Roberts says Barrett showed "careful reasoning and strong personal integrity."

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Kansas Democrat Raises $25 Million in Bid for U.S. Senate Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democrat Barbara Bollier has raised $4.3 million this month in her campaign for the state's open U.S. Senate seat. That extends her fundraising advantage over Republican Roger Marshall and boosts her state record for fundraising to nearly $25 million. Reports filed by their respective campaigns show Bollier has raised more than five times as much money as Marshall so far in October. Marshall’s total for October so far was about $791,000, to bring his fundraising to about $6.3 million dollars. The race is the most expensive political contest in Kansas history. The campaigns and outside groups are expected to spend more than $55 million on advertising.

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Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids, GOP Rival Amanda Adkins Trade Barbs in 3rd District Debate

MISSION, Kan. (AP) - Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids and Republican challenger Amanda Adkins sought to portray each other as too extreme to represent the Kansas 3rd Congressional District in the suburban Kansas City, Kansas area.  The two met for a debate in Mission Monday night. They sparred over how to respond to the coronavirus and about calls for police reform. Davids repeatedly tried to limk Adkins to former Republican Governor Sam Brownback, while Adkins tried to connect Davids to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The hour-long debate was sponsored by "4Star Politics," a joint effort of The Kansas City Star and WDAF-TV.  Davids unseated four-term GOP Congressman Kevin Yoder in 2018, gaining national attention as the nation's first Native American and openly LGBTQ candidate to win a seat in Congress.

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Police Investigate Kansas Woman's Death as Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas City, Kansas, police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in a home Monday afternoon as a homicide. Police say family members of the woman found her body and called authorities. Arriving officers found a woman in her late 30's dead inside the home and say it appears foul play had been involved in her death. Police did not release the victim's name or indicate how she had died. Detectives have asked anyone with information about her death to call police or the the TIPS Hotline.

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Lawrence Commission Looks for Ways to Shelter Homeless During Pandemic

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ The City of Lawrence is looking for ways to shelter more than 100 homeless people who are sleeping outside as the city's shelter operates at reduced capacity in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Commissioners could consider as soon as November 3 whether to allow schools, event centers, recreation centers and other such buildings to operate as temporary overnight homeless shelters. Currently, only churches and other religious organizations can operate temporary shelters without a permit. The commission has already approved increasing the occupancy for temporary shelters from 15 to 40. The discussions come after the Lawrence Community Shelter reduced its capacity from 125 to 40 people amid the pandemic. That has contributed to more people camping near the Kansas River and on city parkland. The shelter is working to make changes too, including adding a tiny home village on the shelter's property that will house up to 48 people when it opens in May. The shelter also is using federal relief funding to help house people in hotels and move them into permanent housing. The city is using some of the money for portable trailers that will house facilities for those staying at a temporary campsite.

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Kansas Voters Will Elect Two Board of Education Members in November

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansans are electing two state Board of Education members this fall. The panel has gained attention amid the coronavirus pandemic for its decision not to mandate a delay in the start of school. Democrat Melanie Haas is running against Republican former state legislator Benjamin Hodge for an open seat representing northern Johnson County. Republican incumbent Kathy Busch and Democrat Betty Arnold are running for the board seat representing Wichita, home to the state’s largest school district.

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Woman Charged with Making False Rape Report Files Federal Lawsuit

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A woman who was charged with filing a false rape report while at the University of Kansas is suing the city of Lawrence, several police officers and the university. The woman reported to Lawrence police in September 2018 that she was assaulted by a University of Kansas student but decided she did not want to press charges. She was charged in 2019 with filing a false rape report but those charges were later dismissed. The woman contends in her federal lawsuit that Lawrence police were poorly trained and did not conduct an unbiased investigation of her complaints. She also alleges the university didn't investigate her complaints about the alleged perpetrator before the assault.

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Kansas Highway Patrol says Weather Was a Factor in Fatal Central Kansas Crash

NEWTON, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Highway Patrol says snowy, icy weather was a factor in a crash near Newton that killed a Goddard man. Television station KAKE reports that the crash happened Monday night on U.S. Highway 50 west of Newton in Harvey County. Investigators say a car moving slowly on Highway 50 because of weather conditions was rear-ended by a pickup truck, causing the truck to roll several times. The patrol says the truck's driver, 33-year-old Brandon Albert, was thrown from the truck and died of his injuries. The driver of the car was taken to a Wichita hospital with serious injuries.

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