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Headlines for Monday, August 1, 2022



Heat Advisory Issued for Entire KPR Listening Area

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - A heat advisory has been issued for the entire KPR listening area. This includes Allen, Anderson, Brown, Chase, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Dickinson, Douglas, Franklin, Geary, Greenwood, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Lyon, Miami, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson, Woodson, and Wyandotte Counties. It remains in effect until 8 pm Tuesday. Dangerously hot conditions are forecast, with heat index readings of 104 to 109 today (MON), and 105 to 110 on Tuesday. This includes the cities of Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Abilene, Manhattan, Council Grove, Chanute, and the entire Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Health officials advise residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. ( Read more.)


Lawmaker Poised to Launch Independent Bid for Governor, Complicating GOP Strategy

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A hard-right Kansas lawmaker who’s clashed with Republican leaders is poised to win a spot on the November ballot as an independent candidate for governor with help from allies of Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly. State Sen. Dennis Pyle, of Hiawatha, submitted petitions with nearly 8,900 signatures to the Kansas secretary of state’s office Monday for verification that the signers are registered voters, as required. State law requires 5,000 valid signatures. Pyle was a Republican until June, and his bid would complicate presumed GOP nominee and state Attorney General Derek Schmidt's efforts to unseat Kelly. Some Democrats are hoping Pyle and Schmidt split the conservative GOP vote, boosting Kelly's chances.


Lawrence Police ID Suspect in Connection with Double Homicide

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCUR/KNS) - Police in Lawrence have identified the man accused of killing two people in separate homes and leading officers on a car chase through town Sunday morning.  Police say that around 1 am, they received calls about shots fired at a home, where they found a 53-year-old victim critically injured. Shortly after, they responded to another report about two miles away, where police found a 43-year-old victim. Both men died. Police say the suspect in both shootings is 51-year-old Rodney Ericson Marshall. But when officers attempted to pull him over, Marshall allegedly drove away while firing at police from his window. He eventually hit stop sticks on Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora and was taken into custody. Charges are pending with the Douglas County District Attorney.

(Additional reporting...)

Two Men Killed in Separate Shootings in Lawrence; Suspect Arrested After High-Speed Chase

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KC Star/KPR) - A suspect is in custody after allegedly shooting and killing two men Sunday in Lawrence before leading officers on a car chase and trying to flee town.  The Kansas City Star reports that officers were first called to a shooting around 1 am in Lawrence (in the 1100 block of Tennessee Street), where they found a 53-year-old man who was critically injured. He later died at a Kansas City hospital. Lawrence Police spokeswoman Laura McCabe said officers responded to another shooting shortly after the first (in the 300 block of Northwood Lane).  A 43-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of that shooting.  Investigators located a suspect but he didn’t comply when officers tried to pull him over.  Police say the suspect then led police on a car chase from Lawrence Avenue, down Haskell Avenue and to the bypass accessing Kansas Highway 10.  The suspect shot at officers several times on K-10 before hitting stop sticks placed by officers in Eudora, where police took the suspect into custody.

(AP version...)

Kansas Man Arrested After Double Homicide in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP/KPR) — A 51-year-old Kansas man was arrested Sunday morning in connection with two fatal overnight shootings in Lawrence after fleeing from police and firing on officers during the chase. Lawrence Police spokeswoman Laura McCabe says the shootings were reported early Sunday morning just a few blocks apart.  One victim, a 53-year-old man, was found critically hurt but died later at a Kansas City hospital. The second victim was found dead. When officers located the suspect, he fled east out of Lawrence and fired at officers several times before police used stop sticks to end the chase and arrest him near Eudora.


Kansas Secretary of State: Record Primary Voter Turnout Expected

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - The top election official in Kansas is expecting a large turnout for the state’s primary election Tuesday, driven by a constitutional amendment on abortion rights.  Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab predicts 36% of registered voters will cast a ballot. That’s almost 10% more than the 2018 midterm primary election. The amendment aims to change the state constitution to say there is not a guaranteed right to abortion in Kansas. Schwab says everyone should vote, or else they leave important decisions to others. “You own this country, you own your community, you own this state — go vote. And I guess that message is resonating, which is a good thing," he said. All voters may cast a ballot, regardless of their political affiliation. Early in-person voting ends today (MON) at noon, and polls will be open from at least 7 am to 7 pm on Election Day. Mailed advance ballots can be returned to polling places or ballot drop boxes. Ballots that are mailed back must be postmarked by election day and received within three days.

Kansas Officials Expect Record Voter Turnout with Abortion Amendment on the Ballot

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) - Kansas election officials are predicting record voter turnout in this year's primary election.  Kansas is the first state to weigh in on the abortion issue since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, a move that ended nationwide abortion protections. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the amendment in Kansas would, if approved, state that the state constitution doesn't confer a right to an abortion. Millions of dollars have been spent on both sides and voters appear to have gotten the message. Advanced voting totals are far outpacing 2018 numbers, with more than three times as many Kansans casting a ballot in-person compared with four years ago. Some counties across the state are re-evaluating their turnout projections even further, increasing them amid the heightened interest.

NPR: The Next Battle over Abortion Rights is Taking Place in Kansas


Abortion-Rights Supporters March at Kansas Statehouse

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) - Hundreds of people flooded the grounds of the Kansas Statehouse Saturday, urging people to vote against a proposed abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. While abortion-rights activists have held several rallies at the capitol since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, they saved their largest turnout for last. The amendment would clarify that the Kansas Constitution doesn't confer the right to an abortion, a response to a 2019 state Supreme Court decision.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that supporters of the "Value Them Both" amendment had their own event earlier in the day at coalition offices in central Topeka. A public rally in Johnson County took place earlier in the day. Lawmakers haven't said what - if any - new restrictions they would consider if the amendment passes and supporters of the measure have long said their focus is on restoring existing regulations that were struck down by state courts. ( Read more.)

Abortion Rights Advocates Question Kansas Attorney General's Opinion on Ectopic Pregnancies

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW/KNS) - Some abortion rights advocates are questioning an opinion from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt that says a constitutional amendment on abortion would not impact treatment for ectopic pregnancies.  An ectopic pregnancy grows outside of the uterus and is not viable. It can be fatal to the mother if not ended. Some abortion rights advocates are concerned that treating ectopic pregnancies could be considered illegal if the amendment passes and lawmakers tighten abortion laws. Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt disputes that notion.  Last week, Schmidt issued a legal opinion saying that the treatment is not considered an abortion under Kansas law. But Christina Bourne, the medical director of the Trust Women clinic in Wichita, says strict abortion laws can make some providers hesitate to care for pregnancy complications. “We’ve already seen physicians, in our own experience, turn away patients for an ectopic pregnancy because they don’t want to be associated with abortion," she said. Women in several states have reported being denied care for pregnancy complications due to confusion around abortion bans. ( Read more.)


Top State Election Official Races Feature Deniers of 2020 Results

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona lawmaker endorsed by former President Donald Trump and another lawmaker who also believes the 2020 election should be overturned are among four Republicans vying to be the top election officer in Arizona. Voters in Kansas also go to the polls to select Secretary of State candidates Tuesday. They have a choice between a candidate who questions the results and the incumbent Republican who believes the 2020 election in his state was secure. Washington state’s open primary also has a candidate who backs Trump’s unsupported claims. Republicans who question election results have sought top spots overseeing voting in several GOP states this year.


Classes Underway at Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW/KNS) - Classes at Wichita’s new osteopathic medical school begin today (MON). School officials hope it'll help train more physicians for rural Kansas. The Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded partly in response to a 2017 task force that identified a shortage of primary care providers in the state. The school’s inaugural class includes 91 students – around 20 of whom are from Kansas. Dr. David Ninan is the interim dean and chief academic officer. He says he hopes many students remain in Kansas after graduation. “At the end of the day the goal is to increase the supply of physicians to Kansas and particularly in the underserved areas," he said. The school is the first of its kind in Kansas. It'll teach a holistic approach to medicine that emphasizes preventative care and community health.


Johnson County Adds $15 Million to Existing Subsidies for Panasonic Battery Plant

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (KCUR/KNS) - Johnson County is adding $15 million to the record-breaking tax subsidies Panasonic is getting to build a battery factory in De Soto, in western Johnson County. The county commission has approved half the money for road improvements and the rest for a new fire station. The county is using federal pandemic relief money. Commissioner Charlotte O’Hara opposed the additional incentives. “This isn’t money from heaven. This is money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets," she said. Commissioner Michael Ashcraft voted no on the fire station. The rest of the commission supported the whole package. The state has promised that the electric battery plant will lead to the creation of 4,000 jobs, but there's no guarantee the $4 billion project will create that many jobs.  


Kansas Supreme Court: Qualified Immunity for Police Officers Has Limits

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - A Kansas Supreme Court decision says a Wichita Police Officer is not immune from prosecution after injuring an innocent bystander in a shooting. The Kansas News Service reports that the ruling could affect the ability of police officers to claim immunity.  Former Wichita Police Officer Dexter Betts responded to a domestic disturbance call. While on the call he alleges a dog lunged at him. He shot at the dog but missed and bullet fragments hit someone behind the animal.  Betts argued he was immune from prosecution because of qualified immunity, the legal protection for officers when they fear they are in danger. But the state's highest court says this doctrine does not apply to Betts because he hit an innocent bystander. The case can now continue against Betts if the state proves he acted recklessly.


Kansas and Missouri Start Receiving Monkeypox Vaccines

UNDATED (KCUR/KNS) - Kansas and Missouri have begun receiving monkeypox vaccines. Last week, the government delivered over 300,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, which prevents smallpox and monkeypox. Of those, nearly 500 doses will be sent to Kansas and nearly 2,500 to Missouri. So far, each state has received just over 200 doses. A person needs two doses to be fully vaccinated. Missouri has reported five cases and Kansas has reported one. For now, the vaccines are available for people who have been exposed to someone with the illness or health care workers whose jobs may put them at risk of the disease. The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a global health emergency.


KU Research: More Food Assistance for Families Results in Fewer Children in Foster Care

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) - A new University of Kansas study finds giving families more food assistance will decrease the number of children going into foster care. KU researchers say Kansas could have 300 fewer foster children if it invested more in food assistance programs. Mike Fonkert, with the group Kansas Appleseed, is not surprised by the findings.  He's been telling state lawmakers the same thing: expand food benefits. “I don't think the impact on the foster care system was taken into account as a lot of these restrictions or rules or exclusions were put into place. And I think, perhaps had legislators considered that impact, they wouldn't have, you know, enacted so many restrictions," he said.  Poverty alone is not a reason to remove a child from a home, but struggling to buy food, keep utilities running or pay rent can be considered maltreatment and lead to removing kids. ( Read more.)


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre, and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays, 11 am weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members.  Become one today. And follow  KPR News on Twitter.