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Headlines for Tuesday, October 4, 2022

 

Former Republican Senator Kassebaum Endorses Democrat Kelly for Governor

TOPEKA. Kan. (Kansas Reflector) — Former U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum, the first woman to represent Kansas in the U.S. Senate and the daughter of 1936 G.O.P. presidential nominee Alf Landon, has endorsed Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s campaign for reelection. The Kansas Reflector reports that Kassebaum, a Republican, cites Kelly’s bipartisanship and commitment to “work with both sides of the aisle for solutions to real problems.”  Kassebaum says that makes Kelly the better choice over Republican candidate Derek Schmidt or independent Dennis Pyle. Schmidt, who is currently serving as Kansas attorney general, worked as a legislative assistant to Senator Kassebaum for six years in the 1990s. Kassebaum also was a co-chair of Schmidt’s initial campaign for attorney general in 2010 but has often endorsed Democrats in recent years. She endorsed Kelly in her successful 2018 campaign against Republican candidate Kris Kobach. Kassebaum, served in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1997. Her father, Alf Landon, was Kansas governor and was nominated in 1936 by the Republican Party to challenge President Franklin Roosevelt.

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Police Shoot and Kill Burglary Suspect in Lawrence 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has launched an inquiry into a fatal police-involved shooting that happened on Sunday night in Lawrence. A KBI-issued press release says that police received a report of a burglary and broken window at a residence on East 21st Terrace around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. When officers arrived, they learned a male suspect was inside the residence. The man was later identified as Michael S. Blanck, age 43, of Lawrence. The homeowner was not present at the time, and police did not enter the house. Blanck exited the house around 7:20 p.m. and the officers attempted to make verbal contact with him. The KBI says that during that interaction, Blanck pulled out a handgun and pointed it at officers. Three of the five responding officers fired, and multiple rounds struck Blanck. Blanck was pronounced dead at the scene. No law enforcement officers were injured. The KBI will conduct an independent investigation into the incident, and the findings will be turned over to the Douglas County District Attorney for review. 

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Death Investigations Underway in Labette County  
                            
         

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Labette County Sheriff’s Office are investigating after two people were found dead Monday in rural Mound Valley. Investigators say a man discovered two bodies when he went to a home in Mound Valley to check on his friends. He called the sheriff’s office. Deputies responded along with the KBI’s Crime Scene Response Team. Investigators discovered the decomposing bodies of a male and female subject. The victims have not yet been identified but the circumstances of their deaths are considered suspicious. The investigation is ongoing and autopsies are scheduled. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME.  Tips can also be submitted online at https://www.kbi.ks.gov/sar.

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Birds Need Help During Peak Migration Period Over Kansas

TOPEKA. Kan. (KNS) - It’s peak bird migration season in Kansas and Missouri. Scientists are asking people to turn out their lights at night to help birds survive the trip. On nights with favorable wind, tens of millions of birds fly over Kansas and Missouri this time of year. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology scientist Andrew Farnsworth says to turn off any outdoor lights you can and to use curtains to keep indoor light indoors. “As little light at night as possible,” Farnsworth said. “That’s super important because it allows birds not to be attracted or disoriented.” North America’s bird population is dropping dramatically, and migration is a vulnerable time. On nights with clear skies and tailwinds, tens of millions of birds migrate over our region. The Cornell ornithologists predict heavy migration over Kansas and Missouri Wednesday night, considered the peak of the bird migration season.

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Kansas Revenues Exceed Forecasts Again for September

TOPEKA. Kan. (KNS) - Kansas tax revenue for September came in $96 million higher than expected. The report marks the 26th month in a row where revenue outpaced projections.  Kansas collected a total of $961 million during September. That’s 11% more than the state estimated and nearly 10% more than the state collected during the same time last year. The largest increase came from corporate taxes. They were almost $50 million higher than expected. Governor Laura Kelly says stronger tax collection comes from the state’s focus on job creation and attracting new businesses.

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Two Dead in Kansas City Fire, Homicide Suspected

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCStar) - Two people are dead following a fire early Saturday in Kansas City’s Midtown neighborhood. The Kansas City Star reports that KCPD is now conducting a homicide investigation. Officers were called to the scene of a fire just before 5:00 a.m. near 41st and Oak Street. Firefighters say they found two people suffering from apparent trauma inside the apartment building after putting out the fire. The two, who have not been identified, were declared dead at the scene. Homicide detectives are investigating the fire and the deaths. Anyone with information on the homicides is asked to call KCPD at 816-234-5043, or the anonymous TIPS Hotlines at 816-474-TIPS. The killings mark the 125th and 126th homicides in Kansas City this year. 

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Alert Eudora Officer Spots Kidnapping Suspects

OLATHE, Kan. (KSHB) – Officers from Douglas and Johnson County rescued a child after an armed kidnapping in Topeka. KSHB reports that a Eudora police officer spotted a vehicle early Friday morning associated with the kidnapping in eastern Douglas County on Kansas Highway 10, near the Johnson County line. Eudora and Olathe officers along with Douglas and Johnson County deputies conducted a "high-risk" stop on K-10 near the K-7 interchange. Three adults were taken into custody and the 3-year-old child was rescued. Deputies turned the suspects and the child over to the Topeka Police Department. Authorities say the child was unharmed. No additional details have been provided.

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Kansas Farm Bureau Donates $5 Million for K-State's New Agriculture Buildings Project  
 
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KPR/ Kansas State) — The Kansas Farm Bureau has pledged $5 million over five years to support the Kansas State University College of Agriculture's innovation centers for grain, food, animal and agronomy research. It’s the largest donation in the Farm Bureau's history. The two new innovation centers will focus on the development and diversification of the food and agricultural economy, both in Kansas and around the world. This investment will fund new facilities, renovations of current buildings and improvements in the technology and equipment necessary for interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research and continue to enhance the college's exceptional student experience.  (Read more)

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Kansas Hospitals Urge Lawmakers to Increase Number of Mental Health Beds

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas hospital officials are urging lawmakers to increase the state’s capacity for mental health care. The Kansas News Service reports that the shortage of such beds is causing a burden for local hospitals. A lack of mental health resources in Kansas is often forcing hospitals to take in people experiencing mental health emergencies. Hospital leaders recently told a special legislative committee that the lack of mental health beds is leading to emergency rooms filling up. Val Gleason is the CEO of NMC Health in Newton. She says ERs aren’t fully equipped to provide mental health care, so people needing those services get little support. “Heart attacks in the ER, we know how to do that. But behavioral health is vastly different," she said. The Kansas Hospital Association is asking the Legislature to create an annual $5 million fund to reimburse hospitals for taking in mental health patients.

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Governor Kelly Attends Groundbreaking at New Dodge City Cheese Producer

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KPR/Office of the Governor) – One of the world's largest producers of American-style cheese and whey products has broken ground on a new production facility in Dodge City. The Hilmar Cheese Company's $600 million investment in the region is expected to create 250 new full-time jobs. Governor Laura Kelly attended the groundbreaking ceremony, touting projections that the facility could bring an additional $500 million in investments and 750 jobs to the Dodge City area by late 2023. The Hilmar Cheese Company, based in California, produces American, Monterey jack, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese. The company already runs facilities in California and Texas. Company officials say milk for the Dodge City plant will largely be sourced from southwest Kansas dairies.

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Missouri Deputy Injured, Suspect Dies After Shooting

KANSAS CITY, MO. (WDAF) - The suspect in a police shooting Saturday in Excelsior Springs has died at a local hospital. The Clay County, Missouri, Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting that also left a police officer wounded.  Fox-4 News reports that Excelsior Springs police approached a man in a parking lot who had a warrant out for his arrest; he fled the scene in a truck and then shot at police after they stopped his truck.  An officer was shot in the shoulder and the hand.  The suspect, identified as 65-year-old Carl Carrel, was pronounced dead on Sunday. The officer has non life-threatening injuries, but a police department spokesman says the officer will require additional surgery.

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Lawrence Man Arrested in Topeka Murder

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A Lawrence man has been arrested as a suspect in a Friday morning homicide at the Meadowlark Apartments in Topeka. Topeka Police say they arrested 20-year-old Bruce Holloway Jr. of Lawrence on Saturday. WIBW reports that Holloway is charged with 1st degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Keith Gaylord, Jr. of Topeka. Another person at the apartment was also taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Holloway is being held at the Shawnee County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.   

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Junction City Man Arrested After Fatal Shooting

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - A 34-year-old Junction City man has been arrested following a deadly shooting early Sunday morning. Officers responding to reports of gunshots fired found Justin J. Rose, 38, of Junction City, suffering from a gunshot wound. WIBW reports that Rose was pronounced dead at Geary Community Hospital. Sunday evening, Junction City Police arrested 34 year-old Joshua Sturgis on charges of 2nd Degree Murder and 2 Counts of Aggravated Assault. The Missouri Highway Patrol spotted Sturgis driving in Saint Charles County Missouri, where he is being held on $1,000,000 bond pending extradition.

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Leavenworth Chosen as Regional Veterans Day Site

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (KFDI) - The Veterans Day National Committee has selected Leavenworth as a regional site for celebrating the holiday. The Committee is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. KFDI reports that this Veterans Day will mark the 103rd consecutive year for the Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade. The parade was first held on November 11, 1919, the one-year anniversary of the armistice agreement of World War I between the Allies and Germany in France. The celebration is recognized as the largest parade west of the Mississippi River.  Retired U.S. Army Tech Sgt. Wilbur Grisham, who served in World War II, will be the Grand Marshal of the parade.  More information about the Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade can be found at lvvetsparade.com. 

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Kansas Gets Ready to Help Small Businesses Hurt by Pandemic Orders

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - Financial help is now on the way for small business owners in Kansas, specifically for those who didn't get much help from the government during the height of the pandemic. Kansas Public Radio reports that small business owners can recoup some of their COVID-19 pandemic losses through a program established by the Retail Storefront Property Tax Relief Act, passed in the final days of the Kansas Legislature’s 2022 session and signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly in June. The law earmarks $50 million in federal COVID tax dollars for partial property tax refunds to retail businesses forced to close or cut occupancy during the pandemic. Businesses with pandemic-related losses in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for up to $10,000 – $5,000 for each year. The Kansas Department of Revenue will start processing refund applications in October. Revenue Secretary Mark Burghart said the agency is putting the finishing touches on a one-page application that business owners will complete online. A date hasn’t been set for the start of applications, he said, because the agency is still testing its website. (Read more.)

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Enrollment Numbers Decline at Most Kansas Colleges and Universities but Not at Wichita State

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW/TCJ) - Enrollment at most Kansas universities fell again this fall. The Kansas News Service reports that the latest enrollment numbers released Thursday show increases at some schools but significant declines at others. Over the past five years, enrollment at the largest universities in Kansas is down 6%. The data from community colleges is even worse — a decline of more than 15%. The largest drop at a Regents school was at Fort Hays State, which enrolled 8% fewer students this fall and is down more than 14% over the past five years. K-State’s enrollment has dropped almost 14% over five years. KU’s has fallen 4%. Wichita State University is bucking the trend — up more than 12% over the same time period. WSU officials credit their recruiting efforts and partnership with WSU Tech, which is up nearly 18% over the past five years. (Read more about declining enrollment in the Topeka Capital-Journal.)

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Six Kansas Creeks Renamed After Concerns Were Raised

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) –  Six creeks on federal land in Kansas, which had names that included the word "squaw," now have new names. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Interior’s Board on Geographic Names approved new names for nearly 650 geographic features around the country that formerly contained the word that is considered derogatory to Indigenous women. In Kansas, the creeks with new names include: Oaks Creek in Brown County, Potato Creek in Cherokee County, Hogback Creek in Chautauqua County, Elk Creek in Montgomery County and Horseshoe Branch in Norton County.  The word "squaw" was formally declared derogatory last November in an order issued by Deb Haaland, the nation's first Native American secretary of the interior.

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Western Kansas Lake Offering Fish Free-for-All... Before All the Fish Die

ELLIS COUNTY, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas is letting people grab as many fish as they want from a shrinking western Kansas lake — where the animals will likely die soon anyway. The Kansas News Service reports that anyone can grab fish at Ellis City Lake by hand, or by scooping them them up with a net, or by just reeling them in with a pole.  The state really doesn’t care. State wildlife officials say people can take as many as they want because officials expect the bass, bluegills and other fish in the lake will soon die. The same severe drought that is affecting western Kansas crops is preventing the 30-acre lake west of Hays from getting the recharge water it needs. Weather scientists expect the drought to continue for months more. (Read more.)

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Proud to Be an American: 76ers Star and Former KU Basketball Standout Joel Embiid Now U.S. Citizen

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Joel Embiid is an American citizen. Embiid said he was sworn in as a citizen two weeks ago in Philadelphia. Embiid is a native of Cameroon and also has French citizenship. Embiid said it's way too early to think about which country he could potentially represent in international basketball. Embiid played one season of college basketball at the University of Kansas. The 28-year-old Embiid averaged a career-best 30.6 points in 68 games and won the NBA scoring title.

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Williams Inducted into Kansas Sports HOF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCStar/KPR) - Former University of Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams has been inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.  The Kansas City Star reports that Williams is being honored for his 15 seasons as men's basketball coach at KU, a career which included nine regular-season conference titles, four trips to the Final Four, and two NCAA title games.  He went on to coach North Carolina for 18 years. The inductees at a ceremony Sunday in Mulvane also included baseball historian and writer Bill James of Lawrence, NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer of Emporia, and Negro Leagues Baseball League All-Star Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss of Topeka. 

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Transfers Making a Big Impact for Big 12's Early Leaders, Including KU and TCU

UNDATED (AP) – Some of the Big 12's lesser-known transfers are making big impacts so far for the teams at the top of the conference. When No. 17 TCU visits No. 19 Kansas on Saturday, a combined eight starters and several key backups will be first-year players for the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks after having played at other schools. At TCU, linebacker Johnny Hodges, strong safety Mark Perry and cornerback Josh Newton lead the defense. At Kansas, defensive end Lonnie Phelps and linebacker Craig Young have been keys and offensive lineman Dominick Puni is the highest-graded pass blocker.

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Leipold Happy at No. 19 Kansas Despite Links to Wisconsin

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — University of Kansas football coach Lance Leipold says he's happy to be with the Jayhawks. Kansas is No. 19 in this week's Associated Press poll plays No. 17 TCU on Saturday. But Leipold's happiness doesn't mean there isn't going to be plenty of interest in hiring a coach that took a downtrodden program to 5-0 this season. The rumors began when Nebraska fired Scott Frost a few weeks ago, but they really built up steam this week after Wisconsin fired Paul Chryst. Leipold grew up in Wisconsin and was a graduate assistant for the Badgers. He also played at Wisconsin-Whitewater and later led it to six Division III national titles.

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KU and K-State Improve in Football Poll Rankings After Weekend Wins

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) -The University of Kansas Jayhawks are now ranked 17th in the USA Today Week 6 Coaches Poll after posting a 5-0 start for the first time in more than a decade. WIBW reports that the Jayhawks defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 14-11 on Saturday afternoon in Lawrence. KU will play TCU on Saturday, October 8, in the last of its three straight home games. The Jayhawks and the Kansas State Wildcats were both ranked in the latest in the AP Top 25 poll. KU ranked at No. 19 in the poll. The Kansas State University Wildcats moved up to No. 20 in the AP poll following their win against Texas Tech on Saturday.

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Kansas Public Radio Searches for New Statehouse Bureau Chief

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio (KPR), at the University of Kansas, is seeking a new Statehouse Bureau Chief(link is external).  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(link is external).

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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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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