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Headlines for Wednesday, January 6, 2021

 

Kansas Congressional Delegation Condemns Storming of Capitol

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Members of the Kansas congressional delegation have condemned the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. They include Republicans who objected to the certification of Trump’s election loss. Republican Sen. Roger Marshall called the violence in Washington “unreasonable,” and GOP Sen. Jerry Moran deemed it “unpatriotic.” Republican Rep. Tracey Mann also called it unacceptable, and GOP Rep. Ron Estes said any violence is unacceptable. Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner said the violence was an “utter betrayal” of the right to assemble peacefully. The lone Democrat in the Kansas delegation is Rep. Sharice Davids, and she suggested Trump had encouraged “despicable behavior.”

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About 200 Trump Supporters Stage Rally at Kansas Statehouse

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — About 200 supporters of President Donald Trump have rallied at the Kansas Statehouse to show their support for overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump’s supporters listened Wednesday to speeches promoting Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud and suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic has been exaggerated. They chanted “stop the steal” and “four more years."  Dozens of them later entered the building peacefully through its security checkpoint and some stayed for another hour. Capitol police reported no arrests. The protest came the same day the certification of the Democratic president-elect's Electoral College victory was interrupted when pro-Trump protesters stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

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Kansas GOP Senator Jerry Moran Says He'll Vote to Certify Biden's Win

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says he will vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. Moran's announcement Tuesday means he is breaking with President Donald Trump and others in the GOP trying to overturn the result. Moran's stance, ahead of today's (WED) joint session of Congress that is expected to confirm the Democratic president-elect’s victory in November, also puts Moran at odds with all of the other Republicans in the state's congressional delegation. Courts have refused to take up Trump's allegations of voter fraud.  Moran said, “in every instance the judgments were clear” that the evidence wasn’t sufficient to change the results.

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Topeka Fire Officials: 2 Injured, 1 Critically, in Early Morning Blaze

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials in Topeka say a woman suffered life-threatening injuries in an early morning house fire that also injured another person. The Topeka Fire Department says fire crews were called to the home just after 3 am today (WED) where they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home and learned that someone was trapped inside. Firefighters found a woman unresponsive inside, carried her outside and started life-saving efforts. She was taken to an area hospital with critical injuries. A man who escaped the flames before firefighters arrived was taken to the hospital for injuries not believed to be life-threatening. Their names were not immediately released.

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Missouri Patrol Shoots Man Who Fired at Troop Headquarters

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a man fired several shots with an assault-style rifle at a suburban Kansas City headquarters for the Missouri State Highway Patrol before he was shot and wounded by troopers. The patrol says people inside the Troop A headquarters in Lee's Summit heard shots Monday night and troopers saw 27-year-old Tayland Rahim, of Kansas City, Missouri, holding the rifle. Sgt. Andy Bell says the man was shot after he refused to comply with several orders. Investigators checked a package in the man's truck and determined it did not present a threat. The man was in stable condition at a hospital on Tuesday. No troopers or civilian employees were injured.

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Missouri Lawmakers Return to Work Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are heading back to the Capitol for the start of what's guaranteed to be an unusual session amid the coronavirus pandemic. The roughly five-month annual legislative session begins today (WED).  Some precautions will be in place to avoid spreading COVID-19. House and Senate administrative staff must wear face masks, for example. Lawmakers are strongly encouraged to wear masks, but it's not required. The Capitol is still open to the public. Visitors will have their temperatures taken and be questioned about possible infection. Public seating will be limited in committee hearings to avoid crowding. Hearings will be streamed online.

Kansas lawmakers are set to begin their session in Topeka next week.

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13th Inmate Dies of COVID-19 as Virus Hits Kansas Prisons Hard

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A 13th Kansas inmate has died of COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread in the state's prisons, infecting thousands. The Kansas Department of Corrections said the latest inmate to die had been serving a 24-year sentence for attempted first-degree murder and second-degree murder at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. He was 65 and had an unspecified underlying medical condition. He was taken to a hospital Saturday and died Monday. The state prison system, housing about 8,600 inmates, has reported 5,303 COVID-19 cases among offenders and another 1,063 among staff. Four staff members have also died.

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GOP Sees Privacy as Key as Kansas Legislature Debates Contact Tracing

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Republican legislators and the GOP attorney general in Kansas say privacy is key, as lawmakers prepare to decide whether to rewrite a law that allows people exposed to COVID-19 to refuse to disclose their close contacts to health officials. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly wants legislators to rewrite the law enacted last year, arguing recently that provisions allowing people to opt out of contact tracing "served no purpose."  Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature aren't ruling out changes, but some say they want to make sure people's privacy remains protected. The law is set to expire May 1.

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COVID-19 Caseload in Kansas Exceeds 235,000; Virus-Related Deaths Pass 3,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health reported Wednesday that there have been 236,818 cases of COVID-19, including 3,027 deaths, since the pandemic began. That's an increase of 5,501 cases and 130 deaths since Monday. KDHE will release another update Friday.   

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Kansas City Area Doctors Urge Black Residents to Get Vaccine

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group of Kansas City area health care experts are urging Black residents to overcome their hesitations and get the COVID-19 vaccine. Kansas City's Black Health Care Coalition and and a team of Black medical professionals are working to persuade about 45,000 Blacks in the metro area that the vaccine is the best way to slow the pandemic. During an online briefing Monday, Dr. Nevada Lee, who practices in Leawood, Kansas, said many Blacks are skeptical of the vaccine. But she noted Blacks are more likely to contract COVID-19 and more likely to die from it, in part because of a lack of access to medical care.

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Two-Fifths of Missouri COVID-19 Deaths Took Place in Last 2 Months

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Two-fifths of all of Missouri’s COVID-19 deaths were reported in the last two months of 2020. The state health department says 2,369 deaths were reported in November and December. That’s about 41% of the 5,825 deaths attributed to the virus since March. The death toll grew by 263 on Tuesday, largely because a weekly review of death certificates from around the state found 250 connected to the virus that had not previously been reported. Also Tuesday, the state reported 2,632 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 405,589 since the onset of the pandemic. Coronavirus hospitalizations remain at concerning levels.

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Kansas State Considers Online Start to Semester Due to Virus

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State University is warning that the spring semester could begin online because the coronavirus continues to rage in the surrounding community and statewide. President Richard Myers said Tuesday that indicators the university monitors to make decisions are “not moving in a positive direction.” Statewide, the number of cases has risen by 5,501 from Monday to 236,818, and the number of deaths jumped by 130 to 3,027. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Kansas has administered 20,110 vaccine shots, or 690 for every 100,000 residents, making it the only state to inoculate fewer than 700 residents out of every 100,000.

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Wichita Diverts COVID Grant to Police Anti-Cheating Software

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council is diverting COVID-19 grant funding intended for hiring a pandemic-control officer and is instead using it to lease software that ensures police officers don’t cheat on their training. The Wichita Eagle reports that in May the council earmarked about $250,000 to hire an emergency management coordinator to manage the police department’s response to the pandemic. Police told the council Tuesday that they were unable to fill the position and wanted to divert $165,000 of the funds to lease for three years software that will track officers’ training online. That is a capability the department has sought for years.

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2 Homeless Men Found Dead During Cold Weekend in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say two people who were homeless died in Kansas City during cold weather over the weekend. A volunteer for an organization that helps the homeless found a man dead inside a vacant building on Sunday, Alina Heart, a volunteer with Free Hot Soup Kansas City, found the man after being asked to check on him. Police are investigating how the man died. Temperatures were below freezing when Kansas City police were called Friday night to an area where homeless people stay. They found a 41-year-old homeless man dead.

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Kansas City's 2020 Homicide Count Totals 182

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two more victims have been added to the record 2020 homicide count in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Police Department says that a 19-year-old man who was wounded in a December 28 shooting died four days later. Officers found Abdulbasid Yassin unresponsive on the ground when they responded to a shooting call. He was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries on January 1. Police are also investigating the death of 27-year-old Chayne Pearl as a 2020 homicide. She was found cut about 10 pm December 31 and died January 1. The Kansas City Star reports that the deaths bring the city’s 2020 homicide count to 182.

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Lawrence Neighborhood Named After Slave Owner Plans to Change Name

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence neighborhood bearing the name of a slave owner plans to change the name. The Pinckney Neighborhood Association said it is taking suggestions for a new name for the neighborhood named for either Charles Pinckney or Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. They were cousins who had successful political careers in the late 1700s and early 1800s but also supported slavery. Neighborhood association president Bart Littlejohn said residents began discussing the name change after racial injustice demonstrations this summer. The neighborhood hopes to begin voting on the change this spring.

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Kansas Swears in New State Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Lynn Rogers has been sworn in as Kansas state treasurer, and David Toland has taken the oath of office to replace Rogers as lieutenant governor. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly held separate, brief ceremonies for both officials Monday at the Statehouse. Rogers replaced Republican Jake LaTurner as state treasurer. LaTurner stepped down after winning an eastern Kansas seat in Congress in November. Rogers is a former state senator who was elected lieutenant governor on Kelly’s ticket in 2018. Toland has been serving as Kelly’s commerce secretary since she took office in January 2019, and he will keep that job in addition to serving as lieutenant governor.

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Wichita Man Sentenced to 2 Years for Deadly 2018 Crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A Wichita man has been sentenced to two years in prison for a 2018 traffic collision that killed a 24-year-old woman. Sedgwick County District Judge Stephen Ternes imposed the punishment Tuesday. The Wichita Eagle reports authorities have said that 25-year-old Dylan T. Lynn of Wichita was driving under the influence of drugs when he lost control of a 2000 Ford Contour and crashed into a tree. His front-seat passenger, Tiana T. Thomas, died of her injuries at a Wichita hospital. Another passenger had non-life-threatening injuries. Court records show Lynn pleaded guilty on Oct. 8 to involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence and other charges. 

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Wichita Names New Library After Late Civil Rights Leader

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new library branch in Wichita will be named for a late civil rights leader who grew up in the city. The city council voted Tuesday to name the library for Ronald Walters, who organized a sit-in in 1958 at a Wichita diner that served only takeout food to Blacks. The three-week sit-in ended when the manager of Dockum Drug Store began serving Blacks inside the business. The national NAACP says it was the first youth-led sit-in that got the desired results. Walters had a distinguished academic career, wrote several books and was an advisor to presidents. He died in 2010.

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Washington, Oregon, 29 Tribes Sue over Plan to Move Archives

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington, Oregon and more than two dozen Native American and Alaska Native tribes are suing the federal government to stop the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle. The sale would force the relocation of millions of invaluable historical records to California and Missouri. The government is planning to sell the vast warehouse under a law aimed at unloading excess civilian property, but the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday says the building is anything but “excess.” It contains irreplaceable documents dating to the 1840s and is used all the time for research about everything from tribal history to Japanese internment during World War II.

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No. 6 Kansas Gets 11th Big 12 Road Win in a Row, Defeating TCU 93-64

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — No. 6 Kansas has matched its own Big 12 record by winning 11 consecutive conference road games. The 9-2 Jayhawks won 93-64 at TCU, which had its five-game winning streak snapped. The win in Fort Worth on Tuesday night came three days after the Jayhawks' 25-point loss at home to Texas that matched the most lopsided win by an opponent in the 65-year history of Allen Fieldhouse. David McCormack scored a season-high 20 points for the Jayhawks. Chuck O'Bannon Jr. had 18 points for 9-3 TCU.

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