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Headlines for Friday, May 14, 2021


KBI: 13-Year-Old Arrested in Killing of Another Western Kansas Teenager

ULYSSES, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says a 13-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting another teen in southwest Kansas last month. The KBI says in a news release that the Grant County Sheriff's Office arrested the boy Thursday afternoon on suspicion of second-degree murder, criminal possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property in the April 28 fatal shooting of 14-year-old Christopher Garcia. Investigators say Garcia was shot at a Ulysses park and taken to a Wichita hospital, where he died four days later. The 13-year-old arrested is being held at the Southwest Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Garden City.


Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Nearing 312,000; Death Toll Tops 5,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - State health officials report 367 new COVID-19 cases and nine more virus-related deaths since Wednesday.  The latest COVID numbers were released today (FRI).  Kansas has recorded nearly 312,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths related to the virus, since the pandemic began.  The next update will be released Monday.


Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Nearing 312,000; Death Toll Tops 5,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports there have been 311,705 cases of COVID-19, including 5,038 deaths related to the coronavirus, since the pandemic began. That's an increase of 367 cases and nine deaths since Wednesday. Another update is expected Monday.


First Week in May, 1 in 4 New Kansas Virus Cases Involved Children

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - In the first week of May, one in four of new COVID cases in Kansas involved children. So pediatricians recommend the vaccine to protect kids and others around them. For months, parents have been asking pediatricians like Gretchen Homan in Wichita when their kids can get the COVID vaccine, and whether they should.  “They understand it’s important and they’re thinking about it and they’re asking questions. And we’re really glad to have the conversations with them,” Homan said, adding that many pediatric offices hope to be able to give the shots soon. “The vaccine is safe and it works really well.” Local health departments have already started vaccinating kids 12 and up.  Pfizer plans to seek FDA authorization to give the shot to younger kids as well.  Even if you can’t yet find the COVID vaccine at your local pediatrician’s office, you can get the shots for kids 12 and up at other places -- such as local health departments.  


Union Working to Get Southwest Kansas Meatpackers Vaccinated 

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — The union representing thousands of Kansas meatpacking workers is trying to convince hesitant members to get the COVID vaccine. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has launched a virtual town hall series emphasizing the safety of the vaccines. Local UFCW president Martin Rosas says Spanish speakers in rural areas struggle to find answers to their vaccine questions so the union has sent extra personnel to the plants to help. “Person-to-person engagement is going to be instrumental to get more people vaccinated because they can hear from someone they can trust” Rosas said. Statewide, the rate of vaccination among Latinos continues to lag about 20% behind non-Latinos.


Kansas Follows CDC Guidance on Mask Wearing, COVID-19 Vaccines

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will follow new federal guidance that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer need to wear masks or socially distance, with some exceptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new guidelines Thursday. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said the state will adopt the policy, effective immediately. The CDC said fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in outdoors in crowds and indoors, except in crowded settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. Kelly announced Wednesday the state will offer the Pfizer vaccine to children 12 and older, after the CDC approved the change.


Last 2 Kansas Counties with Mask Rules Ponder New CDC Guidelines

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) - The last two Kansas counties that require people to wear masks will wait until next week to decide whether to change the mandates in response to new federal guidelines.  Health officials in Douglas and Wyandotte counties say they'll meet with county commissions next week to discuss the issue. The CDC's guidelines say people who are NOT vaccinated should continue to wear face masks indoors.


Governor: Kansas Agencies Resuming Normal Operations in June

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says state government offices will return to normal operations in mid-June after more than a year of having many employees work remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kelly said Wednesday that state employees and visitors to their offices still will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. She also said agency directors can allow people to work from home, particularly when social distancing is not possible. The changes take effect the week of June 13, which means Monday, June 14, for most workers. Kansas House Speaker and Olathe Republican Ron Ryckman Jr. responded to the Democratic governor's move by saying, “It's about time.”


Man Accused of Shooting Girlfriend to Death in Independence

INDEPENDENCE. Mo. (AP) _ A 26-year-old Independence man has been charged with killing his girlfriend during an argument last year. Brandon McDaniel was charged today (FRI) with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Oriana Starr. She was found shot to death in her apartment in December. McDaniel fled but was arrested in Arkansas in January. The Jackson County's Prosecutor's office said McDaniel's mother reported to police that her son shot his girlfriend. She told police McDaniel claimed the shooting was in self-defense after she wrapped a cord around his neck during a fight. Prosecutors requested a $250,000 bond.


Kansas Experiencing Shortage of Sports Officials

CLAY CENTER, Kan. (KFRM) - The number of sports officials has dropped to levels that are now having an effect on youth sports.  This is true in Kansas and nationally.  Will Burton, assistant principal and athletic director for Abilene High School, says the pandemic hasn’t helped the situation. Some officials didn't want to risk exposure to COVID-19, while others are aging out of the job.  Even younger officials can be hard to retain. Some are college students who move on to pursue their careers. Burton adds that the scrutiny and harassment many officials face outweigh the compensation and conflict with their other employment.


Two Killed in Explosion at Dam in Northeast Oklahoma

LOCUST GROVE, Okla. (AP) — The Grand River Dam Authority says two men were killed and a third person was injured in an explosion in a northeastern Oklahoma dam where they were doing maintenance work. GRDA Vice President John Wiscaver says the bodies of two contractors were recovered early today (FRI) from inside Kerr Dam near Locust Grove, about 45 miles east of Tulsa. GRDA spokesperson Justin Alberty says a third contractor escaped and that the dam was not damaged by the explosion about 6 pm Thursday. The cause of the blast was not immediately known. The GRDA operates dams to generate electricity for customers that include cities in Kansas and Oklahoma.


Prosecutor: No Charges Against Kansas Deputy Who Shot Woman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor says no criminal charges will be filed against a Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a woman who refused to pull over during a high-speed chase that began over a wrong license plate on a vehicle. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett on Thursday released his final report concluding that the deputy is immune from prosecution in the December 2019 death of 51-year-old Deborah Lee Arbuckle. Bennett determined the deputy fired his weapon to stop what he perceived to be a threat of bodily injury to himself and his fellow deputies.


Canadian National Ups Offer to Seal Deal for U.S. Railroad

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Canadian National has sweetened its offer to buy Kansas City Southern railroad. Its latest move aims to derailed rival Canadian Pacific’s bid for the railroad that handles traffic in the United States and Mexico. Kansas City Southern said Thursday that it determined Canadian National’s revised $33.6 billion offer was better than the $25 billion agreement it had with Canadian Pacific. Canadian National President and CEO JJ Ruest says the combined railroad will connect Canada with the United States and Mexico and take advantage of expected growth in trade between the three countries. Canadian Pacific officials didn't immediately respond after the new deal was announced.


Lawrence Man Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death of Girlfriend

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) — A Lawrence man has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend. The Lawrence Journal World reports that 43-year-old Jonathon L. West pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge of second-degree murder. 41-year-old Jennifer Mosby of Lawrence was found dead in her home in January.  Police say she had been shot twice. West told investigators that the two had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, which is known to cause hallucinations. He says he blacked out and when he regained consciousness, he fled to Topeka where he was arrested.


Missouri Eyes Sales Tax for Out-of-State Online Purchases

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri is set to become the last state to require out-of-state online stores to collect sales taxes on residents' purchases. The GOP-led House on Friday voted 145-6 to send a bill mandating online sales tax collection to the governor. Missouri is the only state with a sales tax that hasn't approved some kind of requirement that out-of-state online stores collect them on items sold to residents. Buyers currently are still required to pay that tax even if online stores don't collect it. But many people don't know that, and it's challenging to enforce without the help of retailers.  


Coroner: 3 Teenagers Who Died in Lyon County Crash Drowned in River

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A local coroner says three teenagers who died last weekend when their car crashed into the Cottonwood River south of Emporia drowned. Television station KSN says the Lyon County Sheriff's office released the coroner's report on Wednesday. The wreck was discovered around 6:30 pm Saturday after an injured 15-year-old girl was spotted walking down the road. The girl told deputies that she had been a passenger in a car that crashed. Authorities pulled a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix from the river with three people inside. The sheriff's office said 17-year-old Chase Luby, 13-year-old Paxton Luby and 17-year-old Shelby Phoenix all died in the accident. The injured girl was taken to a hospital.


Third Man Sentenced in Death of 2-Year-Old St. Joseph Girl

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A third man charged in the death of a 2-year-old St. Joseph girl has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Te’Avion Waunya Hawkins was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He admitted he was driving a car when someone fired shots at another vehicle on August 9 last year. Two-year-old Raelynn Craig was killed. Two adults in the car with her were injured. Hawkins received a lower sentence because he cooperated in identifying his co-conspirators. One co-defendant, Caimon Stillman, was sentenced to 24 years in prison and another, Marcain Kimbrough-Ballard, was sentenced to 26 years.


Forecast: Kansas Farmers Will Harvest Bountiful Wheat Crop

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - A government report forecasts a bountiful winter wheat crop this year in Kansas. The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates the state's wheat crop will come in at 331 million bushels.  That's up 18% from last year’s crop.  It anticipates average yields in the state of 48 bushels per acre, an increase of 3 bushels from last year. The agency also estimated 6.9 million acres will be harvested in Kansas. That is 650,000 more acres of wheat than a year ago.


Missouri Lawmakers Pass First Gas Tax Hike in 25 Years

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's gas tax could soon rise for the first time in 25 years. State lawmakers gave final approval late Tuesday to a bill that would gradually add 12.5 cents to Missouri's current 17-cent-a-gallon tax. The first 2.5 cent increase would take effect in October. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is likely to sign the bill into law. On Wednesday, Parson praised lawmakers for passing it and said the tax increase would provide “much needed funding for road and bridge repairs.” The Missouri Department of Transportation estimates that the state faces a $745 million annual gap in road-and-bridge funding.


Gun Bill Top Priority on Missouri Lawmakers' Last Day

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are speeding toward the end of session with a high-profile measure to ban local enforcement of federal gun laws still outstanding. The Republican-led Legislature has until 6 pm today (FRI) to pass bills. Senators passed the gun bill 22-10 on Thursday. But it still needs a final vote of approval from the House. The measure would penalize local police agencies if their officers enforce federal gun laws. Republican backers say they’re motivated by the possibility of new federal gun restrictions under Democratic President Joe Biden and the Democratic-led U.S. House.


Several Headstones Vandalized at McPherson Cemetery

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) — McPherson officials are investigating after seven headstones were damaged or moved at a cemetery. Cemetery officials say sometime last week vandals knocked over and broke the headstones, and one was moved to nearby train tracks. McPherson police patrol the cemetery every night but no one saw the vandals. Some of the vandalized monuments date back to the 1800s. The damages range from about $200 to $500. The McPherson Public Lands Department has replaced four of the stones but it could take weeks before the other three are repaired.


U.S. Men's National Soccer Team to Play at Kansas City, Kansas, in CONCACAF Gold Cup

MIAMI (AP) — The United States men's national soccer team will play its three group stage matches of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The Americans open Group B play on July 11 against the qualifying winner from among Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala and Guyana. The U.S. plays Martinique on July 15 and closes the first round against Canada on July 18. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter says he will allow top players to skip the tournament and will go what is in effect his junior varsity roster.


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