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Headlines for Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Governor Laura Kelly Vetoes Some Budget Items Amid Strain with Legislature

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed a ban on the use of state dollars to enforce mask mandates and 17 other budget provisions amid ongoing strain between the first-term Democrat and the GOP-dominated Legislature. Kelly said in a statement Monday she supported the majority of the budget but that some pieces were unnecessary, had been resolved in other bills or should have been vetted better. The Kansas News Service reports other provisions that were vetoed included one that would give legislative committees more power over how to allocate federal relief funds. The rejections come after Kelly last week vetoed a ban on transgender school athletes, civics and financial literacy requirements for high schoolers and gun safety education for students using National Rifle Association materials.


Kansas Population Grows 3%; State Keeps 4 U.S. House Seats

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas saw its population grow 3% from 2010 to 2020 and the state will keep its four U.S. House seats. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday that the state had 2.9 million residents, or some 84,700 more than after the 2010 census. The state’s population growth over the decade was less than the national figure of 7.4%. Even without the loss of a congressional seat, the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature and Democratic Governor Laura Kelly face a contentious battle next year over redrawing the state’s political boundaries. More detailed census figures will be released later this year showing populations by race, gender and housing.


Kansas Governor Signs Bill to Modernize Unemployment System

UNDATED (AP) – Governor Laura Kelly has signed a bipartisan bill to give the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature more oversight of the modernization of the state’s troubled unemployment system. The bill Kelly signed on Monday will require the Kansas Department of Labor to complete computer upgrades by the end of 2022. The new law also calls for an audit of the impact of fraudulent claims and improper payments beginning last year. The state has acknowledged a flood of fraudulent unemployment claims and attempts by scammers and internet bots to access the system.


Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Totals More than 308,000; Death Toll Nears 5,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports there have been 308,510 cases of COVID-19, including 4,978 deaths related to the coronavirus, since the pandemic began. That is an increase of 645 cases and eight deaths since Monday. Another update is expected Friday. 


Doctors: More Parents Refuse COVID Tests for Their Sick Kids

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Doctors are reporting that more parents are refusing to have their sick children tested for the coronavirus because they don’t want to deal with the hassle if the result is positive. The Kansas City Star reports that Pediatric Partners in Overland Park recently posted an alert on its Facebook page exhorting parents to stay vigilant because so many weren’t following testing advice. Pediatrician Kristen Stuppy says that “from a public health perspective it scares me.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens who have COVID-19 symptoms should be tested immediately — “especially important if they have in-person in school, sports or jobs, so that anyone who may have been exposed can be alerted." They also need to isolate.


Kansas Soon Could Have Just 3 Counties with Mask Orders

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Fewer than five of Kansas’s 105 counties still require masks, and those still in place might not last much longer. Johnson County, which is the state’s largest county with more than 600,000 residents, is set to consider Thursday whether to allow its mask order to expire. Health officials there have said they won’t resist dropping the requirement. Such action would leave mask orders in place in just three counties - Riley County in the Manhattan area, Douglas County in the Lawrence area and Wyandotte County in the Kansas City, Kansas, area. And commissioners in Riley County indicated at a meeting this month that they won’t seek to extend their order further after it expires in mid-May.


Kansas Plans to Resume Single Dose J&J COVID-19 Vaccinations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials will resume using the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after federal agencies concluded its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clots. Administration of the shot was paused on April 13 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration following reports that some recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots. Federal health officials lifted an 11-day pause on the vaccine Friday. The state’s next supply of the J&J vaccine is expected the week of May 3 with 1,700 doses.


Missouri COVID-19 Cases Top 500,000; More than 8,700 Deaths

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The number of Missourians who have been infected with the coronavirus has now topped the half-million mark. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Tuesday cited 524 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 500,071. The state also reported 37 new deaths, though 34 of those occurred between November and earlier this month and were uncovered in the state’s weekly review of death certificates. All told, 8,732 Missourians have died from the virus.


Police Classify Suspicious Topeka Death as Homicide, Arrest Teen

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Topeka have determined that the death of a woman initially dubbed suspicious was a homicide and have arrested a teenager in the case. Police say officers sent to a Topeka neighborhood Saturday night for a 911 call requesting medical help found the body of 46-year-old Hester Workman, of Topeka. On Monday, police declared her death a homicide and arrested a 16-year-old on suspicion of first-degree and felony murder, as well as burglary, theft and obstruction. Police have not said how Workman died.


Police Announce Arrest in Wichita Apartment Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police have announced an arrest in a weekend shooting at an apartment complex that killed one teen and injured another. Police said in a news release Wednesday that 18-year-old Easton Palmer, of Wichita, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the death of 17-year-old Eric Stokes. Stokes died in the Sunday evening shooting at Morgan's Landing Apartments, while another 17-year-old was treated and released from a hospital after suffering minor injuries. Police said that following the release of surveillance video of suspects in the shooting, tips from the public led police to arrest Palmer.


Officials ID Man, Woman Fatally Shot in Wichita; Arrest Made

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified two people shot to death inside a Wichita mobile home and have announced an arrest in the case. The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says in a news release that detectives arrested 30-year-old Steven Fessenden, of Wichita, on Tuesday on suspicion of killing 42-year-old Nathan Brock and 41-year-old Trisha Benjamin. Brock and Benjamin were found shot to death on Saturday after deputies forced their way into in a home at the Englewood mobile home park following reports of gunfire there. Sheriff's officials did not offer details on what led to the shooting or why Fessenden is suspected in their deaths.


Faith Leaders Urge Overland Park Police Chief to Resign over Teen's Death

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A group of faith leaders is seeking the resignation of Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez because of the department's response to the fatal shooting of a teenager in 2018. The organization, called MORE2, on Monday said Donchez has misled the public since 17-year-old John Albers was shot by an officer in his family's driveway. Albers' parents have criticized the department's lack of transparency in their son's shooting and in actions the department has taken since then. The department says it will release a redacted report this week that explains the investigation into the officer’s actions.


Police: 1 Dead, 3 Injured in Historic Kansas City District

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say one person has died and three others have been injured in a shooting in Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district. Police say officers were called to the area just after 10 pm Sunday for reports of a shooting. Police say all four were taken to area hospitals, where one man was pronounced dead. Mayor Quinton Lucas, who lives in the neighborhood, identified the man Monday as Gary Taylor, a personal trainer. Police say the other victims' gunshot wounds were not believed to be life-threatening. Investigators said the shooting apparently began with an argument and fight inside an establishment in the district before shots were fired outside the business.


St. Joseph Police: Northwestern Missouri Child Dies After Hit-and-Run

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Police in northwestern Missouri say a 4-year-old has died from injuries sustained last week in a hit-and-run crash, and a woman has been charged in the child's death. The News-Press reports that the crash happened April 22 on a St. Joseph street. Police say the child walked out into the street in front of the car around 8 pm and was hit. The child was taken to a local hospital, then flown to a Kansas City hospital. Police confirmed on Monday that the child had died. Police say officers stopped Suani Karsom about a block from the crash scene, and she admitted to hitting the child and driving off. Police say she was driving without a valid license and has been charged with leaving the scene of an injury crash.


Pedestrians in Separate Cities in Kansas Killed in Crashes

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in separate cities in Kansas say two pedestrians died after being hit by vehicles late last week. Investigators say the incidents happened at nearly the same time Friday night in Kansas City, Kansas, and about 40 miles away in Lawrence. The first happened in Lawrence around 8:40 pm, when police say a 60-year-old Lawrence woman was hit by a vehicle on West 19th Street and pronounced deceased at the scene. The second fatality occurred around 8:50 pm in Kansas City, when police were called to 10th Street and Central Avenue and found a person who had been hit by a car that had fled the scene. That pedestrian was taken to a hospital and later died.


KCK Police: 1 Parent Ran Over Another in School Parking Lot

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a fight involving students and parents at a Kansas middle school became a police matter when one parent was run over and critically injured in the school's parking lot. Police in Kansas City, Kansas, say the incident happened Tuesday afternoon and started with a fight between two girls at Carl Bruce Middle School. Television station WDAF reports that school officials broke up the fight and called the girls' parents, who showed up on the scene and, police say, made matters worse. Police say that as the mother of one of the girls walked away to leave, a family member of the other girl ran over the woman with her car and dragged her. No students were hurt.


No Charges Against R&B Artist Trey Songz over NFL Scuffle

UNDATED (AP) – R&B artist Trey Songz will not face charges in an alleged altercation with police officers at the AFC championship game in Kansas City. Jackson County prosecutor's office spokesman Mike Mansur said Tuesday that there was “insufficient evidence.” He declined to comment further. Songz, whose real name is Tremaine Aldon Neverson, was arrested and jailed overnight in January. Police have said he had scuffled with officers during his arrest for allegedly not following coronavirus protocols and other rules at the game. Police subsequently shared video from a camera inside Arrowhead Stadium that showed a scuffle. Songz’s representative, Sydney Margetson, declined to comment.


Judge Nixes Plea Deal for 2 Accused of Super Bowl Field Run

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has rejected a proposed plea deal for two men accused of running onto the field during the final quarter of Super Bowl LV in February. The Tampa Bay Times reports that an attorney for Yuri Andrade and Douglas Schaffer told a Hillsborough County circuit judge during a Tuesday video conference hearing that they had reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to misdemeanor trespassing charges at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. In exchange, the men would serve six months of probation, complete 25 community service hours, pay off court costs and write a letter of apology to the National Football League. The judge said that was unacceptable and rescheduled the case for next month.


Big 12: Spring Sees Unexpected Changes at Texas and KU

UNDATED (AP) – There were two Big 12 football teams with different coaches this spring when it had appeared there would be no coaching turnover in the league. Former Alabama offensive coordinator has completed his first spring at Texas after replacing the fired Tom Herman. Interim head coach Emmett Jones leads Kansas through its spring game Saturday. He led spring drills after Les Miles was dismissed because of allegations from his LSU tenure. Second-year Baylor coach Dave Aranda got to go through his first spring drills after they were canceled last year because of the pandemic.


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