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Headlines for Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Kansas Reports More than 5,700 COVID-19 Cases, Including 144 Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — As of Wednesday morning, Kansas health officials reported 5,734 cases of COVID-19, including 144 deaths.  Cases have been reported in 82 of the state's 105 counties.  (Get the latest Kansas numbers here.)  

Counties with the Most Cases of COVID-19

Wyandotte County (Kansas City, Kansas) - 910
Ford County (Dodge City) - 880
Leavenworth County (Leavenworth) - 783
Seward County (Liberal) - 626
Finney County (Garden City) - 532
Johnson County (Overland Park) - 519
Sedgwick County (Wichita) - 416
Lyon County (Emporia) - 271    

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Coronavirus Cases Rise to 5,734, Fueled by Prison Outbreak

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting another jump in coronavirus cases, with many of the new cases coming from a county where hundreds of prison inmates are infected. Statewide, confirmed coronavirus cases rose Wednesday by 276, up to 5,734 total. Reported COVID-19-related deaths increased by seven to 144, according to the state’s count. Johns Hopkins University said 161 had died. An outbreak at the state’s largest prison in Lansing had infected 551 inmates and 88 staff members as of Tuesday. Leavenworth County, where the prison is located, saw its number of confirmed cases jump by 181 to 783, a 30% increase. 

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Kansas Still Mulling Inmate Releases Despite Prison Outbreak

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly says she’s still considering releasing some Kansas inmates early because of the coronavirus pandemic even though an outbreak of hundreds of cases has one prison under quarantine. Kelly confirmed last week that the state moved six inmates into house arrest before being forced to stop early releases because of an outbreak at the Lansing Correctional Facility. As of Wednesday, 609 inmates and 88 staff members there were infected.  But Kelly said Wednesday that the issue of releasing inmates early is "ongoing.” Kansas saw a 5.1% increases in coronavirus cases largely because cases in the prison's home county jumped. 

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Kansas Prison Reports 213 New Coronavirus Cases and One More Death

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The number of Kansas inmates infected with the coronavirus at the state's largest prison has grown to more than 550 amid widespread testing at the facility. The Kansas Department of Corrections plans to finish testing all the more than 1,700 inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility this week. As the test results trickle in, Leavenworth County, where the prison is located, reported a 13.8% increase in cases Monday. Most are tied to the prison, where 551 inmates and 88 staff members are infected. Rebecca Witte, the corrections department spokeswoman, said three inmates have died, four are hospitalized and 469 aren't showing symptoms.

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Attorneys General in Kansas, Missouri and 9 Other States Seek Probe into Meatpacking Industry

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — The attorneys general for 11 Midwestern states have urged the Justice Department to investigate market concentration and potential price fixing by meatpackers in the cattle industry during the coronavirus pandemic. The state attorneys general wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General William Barr that the concentrated market structure of the beef industry makes it particularly susceptible to market manipulation, particularly during times of food insecurity, such as the current COVID-19 crisis. The letter was signed by attorneys general in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota and Wyoming.

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Taiwan Donates 100,000 Surgical Masks to Kansas

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Taiwan is donating 100,000 surgical masks to Kansas to help medical and meat packing workers amid the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, announced Wednesday that the shipment of masks is expected to arrive next week. The move comes as Taiwan seeks to be included in the upcoming World Health Assembly. Moran, who requested the masks, has been supportive of including Taiwan. He thanked the country’s President Tsai Ing-wen in a statement, saying it is “another great reminder that we are all in this together.”

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Kansas Man Banned from Providing COVID-19 Related Services

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man already banned from doing autopsies in Kansas is now barred from providing services related to the coronavirus pandemic. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Tuesday he has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Shawn Parcells, of Leawood, from offering any services related to the human body. Schmidt says Parcells formed new businesses and websites offering consulting on the coronavirus that violated the state's consumer protection laws. Parcells's attorney says he won't appeal the temporary restraining order. Last year, Parcells was accused of performing illegal autopsies and billing for autopsies he didn't conduct. He is facing criminal charges and a lawsuit over those autopsies. 

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Kansas Police Find 19-Year-Old Man Dead with Gunshot Wound

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) — Suburban Kansas City police responding to a welfare check found a 19-year-old man dead with a gunshot wound, a shooting they say they are investigating as a homicide. Prairie Village police said in a news release that they found Kiven Maquial of Mission, Kansas, at 6:18 am on Tuesday lying on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by local police as well as the Johnson County crime lab and medical examiner.

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Kansas City Police Identify Man Killed in River Market Area Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City have identified a man they say was killed in a shooting outside a loft building in the River Market area. The shooting happened late Monday afternoon. Police say officers called to the area for the shooting found a man, later identified as 41-year-old Charles Shirley, with injuries inside a vehicle parked outside the building. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say detectives interviewed witnesses and gathered evidence, but no arrests in the case had been announced by Tuesday afternoon. The Kansas City Star reports that the shooting death marked the city's 54th homicide this year.

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Kansas Teacher Charged with Having Sex with Student

OSKALOOSA, Kan. (WIBW-TV) — A teacher at a northeast Kansas school is charged with having a sexual relationship with a student. WIBW reports court records filed Tuesday show Anthony Kuckelman, of Lawrence, is charged with three felony counts of unlawful sexual relations with a student while he taught at McLouth High School. The alleged crimes occurred between December 2017 and March 2019. McLouth Superintendent Steve Lilly says Kuckelman, who taught science, has been suspended from all duties and activities.

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Records Reveal Man Who Shot Overland Park Officer Had Violent History

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Court records indicate a Kansas man who died in a gunfight with a police officer had become increasingly threatening while awaiting trial on burglary and assault charges. Phillip Michael Carney, of Overland Park, died Sunday in the confrontation with Overland Park police officer Mike Mosher, who also died. The Lawrence Journal-World reports Carney was a suspect in several burglaries in Lawrence. Douglas County prosecutors filed a motion Friday to revoke his bond from previous cases. A family member wrote to a judge in February saying she feared Carney was a threat to her family. Police haven't said what prompted the gunfight after Mosher stopped Carney.

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Court Documents Detail Killing of 18-Year-Old Wichita Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A friend of the suspect in the April shooting death of a Wichita woman told police his friend chased down the car the woman was in and "unloaded" a semi-automatic rifle on it. The Wichita Eagle reports that the statement on the April 13 attack that killed 18-year-old Aubrey Resendez is detailed in court records. Prosecutors have charged 32-year-old Joshua Johnson with first-degree murder in the death. Police say a friend of Johnson's told investigators that Johnson showed up at his home the day of the shooting holding an assault rifle and saying he had argued with two men at the trailer park where he lived before the shooting.

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Retired Kansas Farmer Who Donated Mask to New York Honored with Belated Degree

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A degree has been bestowed upon a retired Kansas farmer who shipped one of his five N-95 masks to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo despite fears amid the coronavirus outbreak for his wife who has one lung. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas State University President Richard Myers awarded the bachelor's degree Tuesday to Dennis Ruhnke, of Troy.  Ruhnke asked in a letter that the mask be given to a doctor or nurse. Cuomo's eyes misted last month as he brandished the mask and read the entire letter at his daily briefing.  In 1971, Ruhnke was just two credits away from graduating with a bachelor's degree from K-State.  But then his father died and Ruhnke returned home to care for his mother and look after the family farm.  (Read more here.)
 
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Missouri's Governor Urges Residents to Support Missouri-Based Businesses

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson is urging state residents to support businesses that are slowly reopening. The governor said Tuesday that Missourians should continue to practice social distancing and safe habits but noted Missouri-based, smaller businesses in particular need customers' support. His stay-at-home order ended Monday. The governor made his remarks after health officials announced Tuesday that the state had 8,916 confirmed COVID-19 cases, compared to 8,754 Monday. There have been 377 deaths, up 19 from the 358 reported Monday. The newly reported deaths include some that occurred May 1-3.  

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Jim Bakker Seeks Suit Dismissal; Ex-Governor is His Lawyer

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri-based TV pastor Jim Bakker is asking a judge to dismiss a state lawsuit accusing him of falsely claiming that a health supplement could cure the coronavirus. Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued Bakker and Morningside Church Productions Inc. in early March. Schmitt asked for an injunction ordering Bakker to stop selling Silver Solution as a treatment for the coronavirus on his streaming TV program, The Jim Bakker Show. A court filing Monday seeks dismissal of Schmitt’s lawsuit. The lawyer representing Bakker is former Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, who calls the lawsuit an assault on religious freedom.

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Teenager Arrested After Chase Involving Stolen School Bus Ends in Ford County

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 16-year-old boy is in custody after he led authorities on a chase through several counties in a stolen school bus. Ford County authorities say they were notified Saturday about the bus being stolen out of Cheney in Sedgwick County. Sheriff Bill Carr says the driver evaded deputies for several miles, driving west on and off county roads and Highway 54. The driver eventually stopped and surrendered near Kingsdown in Ford County. Carr says the teenager was a runaway from another county.

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Missouri to Seek Death Penalty in Wisconsin Brothers' Deaths

KINGSTON, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri plans to seek the death penalty for a man suspected of killing two brothers from Wisconsin. Attorney Patrick Berrigan told the St. Joseph News-Press Wednesday that he has been appointed to defend Garland Joseph Nelson in the death penalty case. Nelson is accused of killing Nick and Justin Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin, in July. Nelson pleaded not guilty Monday. Circuit Judge Kevin Walden has been appointed to hear the case. Court records report the brothers disappeared after they went to Nelson’s northwestern Missouri farm to collect a $250,000 debt. Their remains were found in Missouri and Nebraska. 

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Big 12 Schools Intend to Open in Fall, Giving Football Hope

UNDATED (AP) — All 10 schools in the Big 12 Conference expect their campuses to be open in the fall, a key step toward launching fall sports. Conference commissioners have stressed to Vice President Mike Pence that college sports cannot return until campuses reopen. The football season is slated to begin Aug. 29, though Big 12 schools don’t begin play until the following week.

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Sporting Kansas City and 3 Other MLS Teams Allow Individual Workouts: More to Follow

Four Major League Soccer teams have taken the first small step toward returning to play by allowing players to use team training fields for individual workouts. Sporting Kansas City, Atlanta United, Orlando City and Inter Miami had players in on the first day they were allowed by the league. Nashville, LAFC, Real Salt Lake and Houston are among the league’s 26 teams that plan to start Thursday, with more lined up next week.  

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KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day.  KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.  

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