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Headlines for Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Kansas Republican's Senate Ad Relies on Out-of-Context Clips

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Roger Marshall uses out-of-context clips from Democrat Barbara Bollier’s ads in a television spot arguing that she’s trying to hide liberal views from Kansas voters. The move suggests that the GOP doesn’t have the race for an open U.S. Senate seat locked down yet. Bollier’s campaign and two Kansas political scientists argued Wednesday that Marshall’s ad is misleading because it uses video snippets of Bollier to attack her on abortion and gun rights when she was speaking about other topics. Marshall campaign manager Eric Pahls said the ad is not deceptive because it opens with, “How would it sound if Barbara Bollier’s ads actually matched her liberal record?"

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Kansas Court Hears Arguments over "Wrongful Birth" Law

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court seemed worried Wednesday about the proper roles of the Legislature and courts as it wrestled with whether a state statute that prohibits lawsuits based on “wrongful birth” claims is constitutional. Justices heard oral arguments via Zoom on whether the parents of a disabled child have a right to a trial on their malpractice claims. A lower appeals court had earlier held that the statute protects physicians from malpractice suits if they fail to provide information about fetal abnormalities that might cause the mother to get an abortion. The court took the matter under advisement after listening to arguments.

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Johnson County Commissioner Warns of "Coming War"

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A commissioner for the most populous county in Kansas urged constituents to buy firearms and prepare for a "coming war" in a Facebook post that described a chaotic end to law and order. Johnson County commissioner Mike Brown used the hashtags "All Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter" as he described violence, "burning churches" and "looting stores" in the weekend posts. Brown, who is white, is up for re-election in November. The posts are no longer public, but Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat who is Black, retweeted images of them Monday and described the messages as "racist" and "reckless."

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Body of 23-Year-Old Woman Found Inside Pittsburg Home

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is helping to investigate the death of a 23-year-old woman whose body was found inside her Pittsburg home. The agency said in a news release that Pittsburg police received a 911 call Tuesday morning about an unresponsive person. Responding officers then found Tylei Messer dead inside the home. The KBI says special agents and a crime scene team were sent to the home. No other details were immediately released, including her cause of death.

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Train Derails on Bridge in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KSHB) — Investigators are trying to determine why a train derailed Tuesday morning near the Santa Fe Junction in Kansas City, Kansas. Railroad officials said the Union Pacific train, which was carrying automobiles, left the tracks around 7:30 a.m. KSHB TV reports that two locomotives and five rail cars were derailed on the bridge. Video shows the train cars leaving the tracks and crashing into each other before the train comes to a halt.  

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Body Found in Kansas Lake After Kayaker Went Missing

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have found a body in a Kansas lake while searching for a missing kayaker. Fort Scott police say emergency crews began looking Sunday in Lake Fort Scott for 19-year-old Raymond Harper after his friends recovered his kayak but couldn't find him. A helicopter and divers were called in to help before a body that is believed to be Harper's was found Monday afternoon.

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Lawrence Looks for Ways to Crack Down on House Parties During Pandemic

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence officials are looking for ways to put the brakes on house parties in neighborhoods near the University of Kansas campus, as the number of positive COVID-19 cases among students continues to rise. After a debate during the Lawrence City Commission meeting Tuesday, a majority of the commissioners said they were interested in at least considering an ordinance that would make it a municipal offense to violate local health orders designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the discussion came as the University of Kansas announced Tuesday that the total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 841, an increase of 42 cases since Friday.

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Plan Calls for More Testing of People Without Virus Symptoms 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are considering spending $50 million to dramatically ramp up testing of people who aren’t showing obvious signs of the coronavirus. KCUR reports that a state task force this week backed Kansas Health Secretary Lee Norman’s recommendation to use the federal stimulus money on testing at schools, workplaces and other sites. The goal is to catch coronavirus in people who haven’t even realized they’re carrying it. Some of the testing would be done at Wichita State University, where a new not-for-profit lab is gearing up to churn out hundreds of thousands of tests by the end of the year.

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Kansas Tops 50,000 COVID-19 Cases; 586 Deaths Recorded Since Start of Pandemic

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas health officials say the state has now recorded more than 50,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  The Department of Health and Environment reported 50,870 cases today (WED), including 586 deaths. Coronavirus cases have been reported in all 105 Kansas counties.  The next update on case numbers will be released online Friday.

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MU Expels 2 Students, Suspends 3 for COVID-19 Rule Violations

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri in Columbia says two students have been expelled and three others suspended for violating rules meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The disciplinary actions were announced Tuesday. A news release says the sanctions were necessary because of flagrant violations of rules and regulations that require students who test positive for the coronavirus to isolate themselves and comply with social distancing requirements. More than 1,300 of the university's students have been infected. All told, 470 students have been called to the university's Office of Student Conduct and Accountability for possible violations of coronavirus policies. Eleven student organizations are under investigation.

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Lawrence Approves Protections for Immigrants in Country Illegally

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence city officials approved an ordinance that provides protections for immigrants in the country illegally and includes policies regarding how police interact with them. The Lawrence City Commission's vote on Tuesday came after more than a year of discussion prompted by an immigrant advocacy group. The nondiscrimination ordinance, among other things, prohibits the city from considering immigration status when providing city services. The vote approved provisions that require police to notify the public when they are aware of some federal immigration activities, and if the department changes its current policies on cooperating with federal immigration authorities on non-criminal matters.

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Judge Blocks Release of Agency Records for Slain Kansas Girl

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Wyandotte County judge has ruled that state agency records of a 3-year-old girl whose body was found this summer in a shallow grave should not be released to the public. Olivia Jansen's body was found in a shallow grave on July 10, the same day her father reported her missing. He and his girlfriend have been charged with felony murder and other crimes in her death.  Several media outlets have filed requests for records from the Department for Children and Family Services. The Kansas City Star reports that the judge granted a motion to prohibit the release of agency records relating to the girl.

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Wichita Man Arrested on Suspicion of First-Degree Murder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a 21-year-old man in a Wichita shooting that left one person dead and two others wounded. Jail records show that Terry Quonteze Wallace was booked Tuesday night on suspicion of first-degree murder in the commission of a felony. KAKE-TV reports that the shooting happened around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday after an argument. Capt. Jason Stephens said one shooting victim was located at the scene and later died. The two other victims are in stable condition. Their names have not been released. Stephens said some of those involved are gang members.

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Police: 1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Wichita Shooting

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say one person has died and two others have been hospitalized following a shooting Tuesday in northeast Wichita. Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says officers responded around 8:45 am and arrived to find a male victim who had been shot and has since died. KAKE-TV reports two other males later showed up at a local hospital after being shot. The investigation is ongoing. No immediate details on the case were available.

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Police: Decomposing Body Found in Vacant Home Ruled Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say the discovery of a decomposing body in a vacant Kansas City home marks the city's latest homicide investigation. Officers called to the home Monday afternoon found the body of a person in a state of advanced decomposition. Police spokesman Jake Becchina said in a news release that the vacant home was being renovated when the body was found. Police say the identity of the body and how the person died are not known. Becchina said the death is “suspicious enough that homicide detectives are investigating as a homicide.” Records kept by the Kansas City Star show the death is the city's 144th homicide this year, compared with 111 homicides by this time last year.

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Wichita Area Takes Tougher Stance on Face Masks, Bar Curfews

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita area health officials are cracking down on face masks and bar curfews to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Sedgwick County health officer Dr. Garold Minns made compliance mandatory in a new emergency public health order that took effect Tuesday.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the order runs through October 21. The health order has required face masks, an 11 pm curfew on bars and a 15-person limit on mass gatherings. But previous versions of the order said that while it was lawful, compliance was voluntary. The update removed wording that the order "cannot be enforced through criminal charges, fines, or civil penalties."

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Kansas National Guard Field Artillery Unit Recognized as Best in the Nation

NEWTON, Kan. (KPR) - A Kansas National Guard unit has been recognized as the best field artillery unit in the nation.  In a news release, the Kansas National Guard announced that Battery C, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment had received the Alexander Hamilton Award for 2019.  The annual award recognizes the most outstanding National Guard field artillery unit in America. Battery C is a subordinate unit of the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery in Hutchinson. The battalion also has units located in Abilene, Dodge City, and Garden City.  The unit was recognized for outstanding Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery, for exceptional achievement and for overall unit excellence.  The unit was presented with the award during a ceremony at the National Guard armory in Newton last weekend.  Units considered for the award are reviewed on physical readiness, safety, soldier care, unit strength, weapons qualification and other readiness and training achievements. The Hamilton award is named after Continental Army artilleryman Major General Alexander Hamilton, who was known for his military leadership.  

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Black Lives Matter Mural on Kansas City Street Vandalized

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of six Black Lives Matter street murals in Kansas City has been vandalized. Now, the artists behind the mural are hoping the vandalism can be incorporated into it as part of the art. The vandalism to the mural at the intersection of Northwest Briarcliff Parkway and North Mulberry Drive was discovered Monday. The words “Black Lives Matter” painted on the road are now marred by black tire marks and white paint streaked over the words. The mural is one of six painted across Kansas City streets. The mural's lead artist, Harold Smith, tells the Kansas City Star he hopes the vandalism can be turned into part of the art, showing that “love wins over hate.”

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Police Identify Teen Fatally Shot in Eastern Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Police have identified a teenager killed in an early-morning shooting Wednesday on the east side of Kansas City. Police say in a news release that 16-year-old Anthony Strassle died from his injuries. Police earlier said a man drove up to a gas station around 4 a.m. and flagged down an off-duty police officer, saying he had picked up a teen who had been shot. The teen, later identified as Strassle, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died. Police say the shooting happened a few blocks from the gas station and that detectives have been interviewing possible witnesses. No arrests have been reported in the case. 

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3 Kansas City Council Members Boycott Committee Meeting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Three Kansas City Council members boycotted a committee meeting as a dispute with another council member escalated. The three council members say they refused to attend a committee meeting Wednesday because Mayor Quinton Lucas has not removed Councilwoman Teresa Loar as chairwoman of the the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee. They are upset with comments Loar, who is white, made to Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, who is Black, in July. They contend the comments were racist and mocked Robinson's intelligence. Loar says she's apologized to Robinson three times and took implicit bias training after the confrontation. 

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Trial Delayed Again for Suspect in Death of Football Player

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A trial has been delayed for the second time for the suspect in the shooting death of a former Washburn University football player and the wounding of another player who went on to play for the New York Giants. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 19-year-old Francisco A. "Franky" Mendez was scheduled to be tried October 26 in the April 2019 death of Dwane Simmons and the wounding of Corey Ballentine. Shawnee County District Judge Cheryl Rios granted Mendez a continuance in the case while scheduling a status conference to take place November 12. Mendez was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder after the April 28 shooting in Topeka.

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ACLU: Wichita Schools Disciplined Teacher over Facebook Post

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A civil rights group says a Wichita teacher who posted on Facebook about her concern over school reopening procedures was wrongly disciplined by the district. The Wichita Eagle reports the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas has asked the Wichita school district in a letter to rescind the reprimand. The ACLU says it is defending the teacher's First Amendment rights. A school district spokesperson says it respects the teacher's right to publicize views on their own time in a manner consistent with the district's policies. The teacher had posted the video showing that the thermometer at a temperature check was not working properly.

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Judge Awards Tenants $52 Million for 'Horrendous' Conditions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has awarded $52 million in damages to people who lived in “horrendous” conditions at a Kansas City low-income housing complex. Jackson County Judge Joel Fahenestock ruled against KM-T.E.H. Realty 8 and Michael Fein in a class-action lawsuit over conditions at Ruskin Place Apartments. During testimony earlier this month, tenants said the owners never responded to complaints about mold, raw sewage, roaches and rats, and the lack of heat and air conditioning. T.E.H. and Fein ignored court orders during the case and did not appear at the trial. An arrest warrant has been issued for Fein, who is believed to be out of the country.

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Patrick Mahomes II, KC Chiefs on Top of Season's First AP Pro32 Poll

NEW YORK (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are on top of the first AP Pro32 poll of the season. Fellow AFC contender Baltimore followed at No. 2. NFC powers New Orleans, Seattle and Green Bay rounded out the top five. The Chiefs have been riding high since winning the Super Bowl in February and opened the 2020 season with a win over the Houston Texans. Baltimore began with a rout of the Cleveland Browns. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers debuted in the poll at No. 14 in Brady's first season outside New England.

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Kansas Relays Postponed from 2021 Date Due to COVID-19

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Relays, one of the longest-running track and field events in the country, will be postponed in the spring as the University of Kansas tries to deal with a massive budget shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The school said in announcing its decision Wednesday that postponing the relays will save at least $300,000 from the Kansas Athletics budget, and perhaps more given the likely COVID-19 testing requirements.

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KPR Hoping to Get Cold Hard Cash Contributions for This Week's 68th Birthday Celebration

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio is celebrating its 68th birthday this week.  The station, which began broadcasting on September 15, 1952, started with a sole transmitter, called KANU FM 91.5.  More transmitters and translators have been added over the years.  Listeners can help us celebrate by making a pledge.  Thanks for supporting the Kansas Association of Broadcasters' Station of the Year for 2020. KPR has earned the coveted Station of the Year title a record 19 times, more than any other radio or TV station in Kansas.  

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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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