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Headlines for Wednesday, April 14, 2021

 

Kansas Suspends Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Distribution

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The top health official in Kansas said Tuesday that the state is suspending distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccines as federal health officials investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, predicted the pause won’t have a “big impact” on the state’s overall rate of shots. That’s because less than 4% of the shots administered in Kansas have been from Johnson & Johnson, according to KDHE data. However, Norman noted some clinics scheduled for Tuesday morning were put on hold.

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More than 1 Million Get at Least 1 Vaccine Dose in Kansas

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has crossed the threshold of vaccinating more than 1 million people as a third highly contagious variant is detected in the state. That means 35% of the state’s 2.9 million residents have received at least one shot, according to state data released Wednesday. The state hit the mark one day after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced that a particularly contagious variant of COVID-19 that is sweeping through Brazil has been detected for the first time in Kansas. The agency said it is investigating how someone in Sedgwick County became infected with the P.1 variant and whether others may have been exposed.

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Brazilian Coronavirus Variant Discovered in Sedgwick County

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - An emerging coronavirus strain known as the Brazilian variant has been identified in an individual in Sedgwick County. State health officials are conducting an investigation to determine how the person became infected with the P.1 variant and if others may have been exposed.  The variant was originally identified in four travelers from Brazil and was detected in the U.S. at the end of last year. It has so far and has been found in 31 U.S. states and territories. Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says the variant strain can reduce the effectiveness of some vaccines but he says, vaccines still provide strong protection against severe illness and death. “We continue to encourage people to take the appropriate precautions” Norman says. “This includes wearing a mask that fits snugly around the nose and face and has multiple layers of fabric.. Norman says Kansans should also continue to practice physical distancing, good hygiene and staying home if sick.

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Kansas COVID-19 Case Total Passes 305,000, Including 4,944 Deaths, Since Pandemic Began

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports that there have been 305,320 cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 4,944 deaths, since the start of the pandemic. That's an increase of 601 cases and 14 deaths since Monday. Another update of case statistics is expected Friday afternoon. 

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Kansas College Paying Staff $250 to Get COVID-19 Vaccines

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — The largest community college in Kansas is paying staff members to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and one of the county's largest public school districts is making in-home testing kits available to students who want them. KMBC-TV reports that Johnson County Community College is paying employees $250 to get their inoculations in hopes of bringing more students back to campus in the fall. Meanwhile, KCTV reports that the 22,400-student Blue Valley school district in Johnson County began a voluntary COVID-19 testing program Monday that sends rapid-testing kits home with students who sign up for them. State data showed that Kansas averaged 213 new cases a day for the seven days ending Monday.

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Kansas Colleges to Encourage, Not Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — An increasing number of colleges in the U.S. are requiring students to get a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus. Kansas universities are encouraging students to get vaccinated but they are not mandating it. In recent weeks, several universities around the country have said they’ll require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall. No Kansas universities plan to require the COVID vaccine. Universities in Kansas require students living on campus to show proof of vaccination against bacterial meningitis and to be screened for tuberculosis. The University of Kansas also requires students to have a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.

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Kansas Fight Shows How Election 'Reforms' May Favor One Side

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A political fight in Kansas illustrates how proposals on voting laws billed as reform or anti-fraud measures can be a help to a specific party or policy priority. The Republican-controlled Legislature has approved a measure that would limit people to picking up and delivering 10 absentee ballots for voters. GOP lawmakers who back the bill argue that they're protecting the integrity of elections. They've been joined in supporting the measure by anti-abortion groups worried about abortion-rights supporters using that tactic to help defeat an anti-abortion initiative on the August 2022 primary ballot. Democrats see the bill as an attack on get-out-the-vote efforts that some of them have used.

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4-Vehicle Crash in Kansas Kills 1 Child, Injures 3 Others

GARDNER, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in southern Johnson County say a four-vehicle crash has left a child dead and three others injured. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened Monday morning at a rural intersection west of Gardner. Investigators say a roofing truck crashed into a sport utility vehicle driven by a woman and carrying her three children. The impact of the crash sent the SUV into another truck, which then hit a van. Authorities say one child in the SUV was killed. The woman and other two children were taken to a hospital with injuries, but are expected to survive. Officials have not released the names of the child killed or those injured. No one in the other vehicles was seriously injured.

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Inmate Battling Terminal Cancer Freed from Kansas Prison

LANSING, Kan. (AP) — A 47-year-old man with terminal cancer was freed from a Kansas prison after officials agreed his medical condition is so severe he is not a danger to public safety. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says Christopher McIntyre was released Monday from the Lansing Correctional Facility in Leavenworth County where he was serving time for aggravated burglary. The Kansas City Star reports that McIntyre is among 105 ACLU clients who requested clemency from Governor Laura Kelly. McIntyre was originally scheduled to be released in 2024. His attorneys have said he could die before then. McIntyre said in his clemency application that he has cancer masses in numerous parts of his body.

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Ex-Wichita Officer Sentenced for Abusing Minors for Years

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita police officer and school employee was sentenced to five years in prison for molesting young boys for more than a decade. A judge ruled Tuesday that 58-year-old Alex Robinson will begin serving his sentence after he is paroled in Colorado, where he was also convicted of sex crimes against a young boy. In Kansas, Robinson was accused of molesting four boys, aged 11 to 14, in the Wichita area between 2000 and 2012. The abuse case in Colorado happened in the 1990s. After serving most of his sentence in Colorado, Robinson was transferred back to Kansas last year.

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Remains of Korea War Hero Priest Return to Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW) - The remains of Father Emil Kapaun (uh-MEEL kuh-PAHN) will return to Wichita. Kapaun died in a North Korean prisoner of war camp in 1951. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor and is being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church. His family and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita say Kapaun’s remains will be placed in a crypt inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown. If Kapaun were named a saint, his remains likely would be moved to a shrine or chapel honoring his life. Kapaun grew up on a farm near Pilsen, in Marion County. His remains were discovered just last month, nearly 70 years after his death. (Read more.)

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Bombardier Aviation Announces Learjet Layoffs 

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – Bombardier has formally notified the state of Kansas it plans to lay off more than 200 people at its Learjet facility in Wichita. The letter to the Department of Commerce says the layoffs will begin in June and continue for the next year. The move was expected after Bombardier announced in February it would stop building the iconic Learjet business jet. Learjet currently employs about 1,200 people at its plant in west Wichita. The plant will continue to serve as Bombardier’s primary flight-test center and as a service center.

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Kansas City Approves Naming Street for Martin Luther King

KANSAS CITY, Mo (AP) — After years of debate, Kansas City, Missouri will have a street named for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The city's parks and recreation board on Tuesday approved a proposal to rename a 5-mile route along thoroughfares that run east to west after the civil rights icon. City officials and civil rights activists celebrated the decision and vowed that the move was just the first step in larger plans to honor King, and to help foster racial unity in the city. The vote comes after a 2019 election in which voters chose to remove King's name from another well-known boulevard in the city. The new plan drew little opposition.

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School Drop-off-Gun Threat in KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Anyone who has ever negotiated the line of vehicles at a school drop-off zone knows how frustrating the daily process can be. But police say one mom took matters too far when she used a gun to threaten another mother in a Kansas City, Kansas, school drop-off line. Television station KSHB-TV reports the incident happened Tuesday morning at Junction Elementary School. Police say a mother was dropping off her children in the line when another car sped around her. Police say the mother got out of her car and confronted the other driver, who was also dropping off students. Police say the other woman then displayed a handgun and made threatening statements. Officers arrested the woman a short time later.

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Missouri House Advances Bill for Guns on Buses, in Churches

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are advancing a sweeping firearms bill that would allow concealed guns on public transportation and in churches. The Republican-led House gave initial approval to the bill in a voice vote. Currently, people need permission to bring firearms into places of religious worship. The bill would allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns in churches, synagogues and mosques regardless. Another provision in the bill would ensure that gun stores are considered essential businesses. That means state and cities couldn’t order them closed during emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic.

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NWSL Imposes Additional 1-Game Suspension for Kansas City's Edmonds

CHICAGO (AP) — The National Women’s Soccer League has imposed an additional one-game suspension for Kansas City’s Kristen Edmonds following her actions in a game against the Portland Thorns. Edmonds was issued a red card and sent off the field after a scuffle with Portland’s Morgan Weaver in the final moments of the Thorns’ 2-1 victory. As a result of the red card, she was fined and suspended a game. The NWSL added the second game after a disciplinary review.

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