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Headlines for Monday, April 12, 2021


Police: Woman Found Dead in Kansas City, Kansas, Apartment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a woman was was killed inside a Kansas City, Kansas, apartment over the weekend, and a person suspected of killing her later arrested. Police say officers were called around 5 pm Sunday to the complex located in the city's Riverview neighborhood, where they found a woman dead inside an apartment. Investigators say a suspect had fled the area on foot and was found and arrested a short time later. Police had not identified the victim or the suspect by this (MON) morning, and had not given other details about how the woman died.


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.)


COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decline in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — Daily coronavirus hospitalizations continue to fall in Kansas. The start of April saw fewer than 200 people hospitalized daily with COVID-19. That continues a dramatic drop in severe cases since their peak in December. At that time, a typical day saw more than 1,000 people hospitalized with the virus across the state. COVID-19 is also largely under control in Kansas nursing homes and long-term care centers. Those facilities have suffered 650 COVID outbreaks since the start of the pandemic, but just two outbreaks are active right now.


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.


Kansas COVID-19 Case Total Passes 304,500, Including 4,930 Deaths, Since Pandemic Began

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports that there have been 304,719 cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 4,930 deaths, since the start of the pandemic. That's an increase of 483 cases and zero deaths since Friday. The death toll was revised downward as part of a regular cross-check and audit of death certificates. This process is normal for KDHE. Another update of case statistics is expected on Wednesday. 


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.


Judge Dismisses Commissioner's Lawsuit over Mask Mandate

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Johnson County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a county commissioner over a school district's face mask mandate. Commissioner Charlotte O'Hara sued the Blue Valley school district after she was told she couldn't attend a hearing last week because she wouldn't wear a mask. O'Hara says she has a medical exemption from wearing masks. Blue Valley officials filed a motion Friday to have the lawsuit dismissed. They argued O'Hara did not have standing to sue the district. Johnson County District Judge Robert Wonnell agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. The district said Thursday it plans to continue requiring masks until the end of the school year.


Kansas Legislature Approves Allowing Small Amounts of THC in CBD Products

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — Small amounts of THC in products like CBD gummy bears would be legal under a bill passed by the Kansas Legislature. For the last few years, CBD products with small amounts of THC have been easy to find on store shelves in Kansas. But Kelly Rippel, a lobbyist for the cannabis industry, says sellers were operating in a legal gray zone. “This is an important step to move forward with the industry in the state," Rippel said. “It will make sure that businesses and individuals who are participating in the program and doing things the right way, are protected.” Proponents say they’re confident the new bill makes clear that at least some CBD products are legal even with traces of THC. THC is the cannabis compound that can get the user high, but only in sufficient doses, and CDB products, like gummy bear candies, have extremely small amounts of the drug.  


Ex-Kansas City Chiefs Coach Charged with DUI After Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid has been charged with driving while intoxicated after a crash that critically injured a 5-year-old girl. Jackson County, Missouri prosecutors announced the charges Monday against Reid, the son of Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Prosecutors allege Reid was driving about 84 mph, and he had a blood alcohol level of .113 about a half hour after the crash near Arrowhead Stadium on February 4. Police say his truck slammed into two cars stopped along an entrance ramp to Interstate 435 near the Chiefs' training facility. Five-year-old Ariel Young, who was in one of the cars, suffered a traumatic brain injury. Reid surrendered to Kansas City police on Monday and was released after posting $100,000 bond.


Ex-Mayor Strikes Diversion Deal in Kansas Fake Ticket Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A former Kansas mayor who resigned abruptly before being charged with making fake tickets to attend a zoo fundraiser has entered into a diversion agreement with prosecutors in the case. Former Goddard Mayor Jamey Lee Blubaugh signed his diversion packet in open court on Monday. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a written statement that under the agreement Blubaugh must follow the law, perform 50 hours of community service and pay $980 in restitution plus other costs. Prosecutors charged Blubaugh and his wife, Elizabeth, each with one misdemeanor count of counterfeiting in August. The Wichita Eagle reports the announcement of the agreement comes on the same day the former mayor had been scheduled for trial. His wife was granted diversion in December.

Wichita Police: Fatal Shooting Happened at a Party

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating a fatal shooting that happened during a party at a home that was being rented out. The shooting was reported near Douglas Avenue and Oliver Street around 3 am Sunday. Wichita Police Officer Trevor Macy said a 20-year-old man was found dead in the back yard of a home. Three other victims were taken to a hospital with injuries that weren't considered life threatening. All three have since been released from the hospital. Macy said the home where the shooting happened was being rented out on Airbnb at the time.


Topeka Police: 1 Pedestrian Dead, Another Critically Injured

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Topeka say two people have been hit by at least one vehicle along Interstate 70, and one of them has died. Police say in a news release that officers were called to the area late Thursday night and found two people in the eastbound lanes of the interstate. Police say one of the victims, 28-year-old Ellen Keo, of Horton, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other victim, 25-year-old Dalton Herwig, of Horton, was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police said Herwig was in serious but stable condition by early Friday afternoon. Police say it appeared several vehicles were involved in the crash. Officials have not said whether the vehicles involved stayed on the scene. Police closed the eastbound lanes of the interstate for several hours.


2 Kansas Police Officers Allege Discrimination in Lawsuit

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Two female police officers allege in a lawsuit that the Overland Park Police Department discriminated against them when it repeatedly passed over them for promotions in favor of younger, less experienced men. The Kansas City Star reports that Captain Kathleen Morgan and Sgt. Tirsa Otero filed the lawsuit alleging discrimination based on their race, age and gender. Police spokesman Officer John Lace declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit.


Small Kansas Water Utility System Hacking Highlights Risks

ELLSWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas utility worker has been charged with remotely tampering with a public water system's cleaning procedures, highlighting the difficulty smaller utilities face in protecting against hackers. The Kansas City Star reports that 22-year-old Wyatt Travnichek was charged last month with accessing the Post Rock Rural Water District's systems in March 2019, about two months after he quit his job with the utility. A federal indictment says Travnichek used a Samsung phone to remotely access the system and shut down its cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Post Rock utility officials declined to provide further details. Travnichek's attorney didn't respond to the Star's request for comment.


Police Seeking Suspect Following Shooting of 2, 1 Fatally

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Police are searching for a suspect in the shooting two people in Hutchinson over the weekend, one of whom died. Hutchinson police say the shooting happened just after 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Police were alerted when officers on patrol in the area heard a volley of gunshots. As police were searching the area, someone called 911 to report the shooting, and officers found two victims — a 46-year-old man in a front yard and a 42-year-old man lying in the street who had been shot in the stomach. The older man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The younger victim was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition later Sunday. Police have not released the victims' names.


Chip Shortage Forces More Production Cuts by General Motors

DETROIT (AP) — The global shortage of semiconductors is forcing General Motors to further cut production at six North American factories as chip supplies seem to be growing tighter. The shutdowns likely will crimp dealer inventory of vehicles made at the plants, but GM says it has managed to keep factories humming that make hot-selling and profitable full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. The chip shortage has already been rippling through various markets since last summer, but it has hit the global auto industry hardest. GM says Thursday that production cuts will take place at its Spring Hill, Tennessee; Ramos Arizpe, Mexico; Ingersoll, Ontario; Kansas City, Kansas, Fairfax; Lansing, Michigan, Delta Township; and Lansing, Michigan, Grand River factories.


GOP Ousts Kansas Senate Leader from Post After DUI Charge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republicans have ousted a powerful Kansas lawmaker charged with drunken driving from his leadership job. The move against Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop on Friday followed the release of a document saying he taunted the Highway Patrol trooper who arrested him and called the officer "donut boy." It was the first time in at least several decades that a Kansas legislative leader's colleagues pushed him out before the end of his or her term. Republican senators voted 22-4 to remove Suellentrop during a 50-minute meeting that was closed to reporters and the public. Senate President Ty Masterson disclosed the vote afterward.


Approval of Kansas Bill on Trans Athletes Isn't Veto-Proof

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas conservatives have pushed a proposed ban on transgender athletes in girl's and women's school sports through the Republican-controlled Legislature. But they don't enough support yet to overcome a possible veto by the Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. The Senate approved the measure on a 26-11 vote Friday after the House passed it late Thursday on a 76-43 vote. Kelly typically doesn't say what she'll do with legislation before it reaches her desk, but she's dropped strong hints that she plans to veto such a ban. The bill's supporters were eight votes short in the House and one short in the Senate of the two-thirds majorities for overriding a veto.


Push for "School Choice" Measure Falters in Kansas Senate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A split among Republicans has blocked a proposal from conservative Kansas lawmakers to allow parents of academically struggling students to pay for private schooling with state dollars normally earmarked for public schools. A bill that ties public school funding to the proposal failed on a 20-20 vote in the GOP-controlled Senate. The chamber had voted 19-19 against the measure Thursday night. It would set up education savings accounts for students at risk of failing in public schools. The measure included Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's proposal for $5.2 billion in state aid for public schools. Democrats said the measure could take millions of dollars from public schools for the savings accounts.


Inmate Found Breaking Hole in Window at Sedgwick County Jail

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a detention deputy doing his regular early morning rounds discovered an inmate trying to break a hole to an outer cell window at the county jail in Wichita. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said Monday in a news release that the deputy noticed paper covering part of the window at about 2:05 a.m. Friday and instructed the inmate to remove it so he could examine the window. He found damage to the window about six inches in diameter. The inmate had broken the first several layers of glass, but had not yet broken through to the outside. The sheriff's office says a hole of this size would have provided an access point to introduce contraband into the facility.


Kansas City Man Convicted in Father's Fatal Stabbing

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — A 42-year-old Kansas City has been convicted of stabbing his father to death. Last week, a jury in Jackson County, Missouri, convicted Curtis Lee of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Lee was arrested in April 2018. Prosecutors say Independence officers went to a home and found two brothers, Charles and Clyde Burtin, dead from stab wounds. Lee told police that his father stabbed his uncle during an argument. Lee said he pulled the knife out of his uncle and joined his father in a bedroom. Prosecutors say when the father told his son “It's going to be you or me,” Lee stabbed him.


Man Charged in Double Killing in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 23-year-old Kansas City man has been charged in the shooting deaths of a man and woman on April 1. Michael L. Gilmore was charged last week with two counts of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He's accused of killing Mia Sheridan and Joshua Gilmore-Harris, both 22. Their bodies were found April 1 in a car that came to a stop against a rock wall. Court documents say witnesses told police Gilmore said he shot the victims during an argument over money. Charging documents say Gilmore acknowledged he had known Gilmore-Harris for 10 years but denied being with the victims the day they were killed.


Springfield Man Charged in Death of Transgender Woman

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A 28-year-old Springfield man is charged with second-degree murder in the death of a transgender woman. Prosecutors allege Charles Nelson shot 26-year-old Dominique Lucious to death on Thursday. Court documents say Nelson and Lucious met on an online dating service and were to meet Thursday at Lucious's apartment. Witnesses told police they saw a man matching Nelson's description leaving the apartment after hearing gunshots. Nelson, who is also charged with armed criminal action, is being held in the Greene County Jail without bond. No attorney for Nelson is listed in online court records.


University of Missouri Band Picked for 2022 Macy's Parade

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri’s marching band has been invited to perform in the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Officials surprised band members with the invitation on Saturday. Missouri’s band, which has more than 300 members, was one of nine selected to participate in the parade out of hundreds of applicants. Band director Amy Knopps said it is an honor to be selected. Over the next 18 months, the band will prepare for the parade with rehearsals and fundraising events. Macy’s is donating $10,000 to help the band raise funds for the trip.


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.