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Headlines for Tuesday, August 9, 2022



Kansas Board of Education Considers Private vs. Public High School Sports

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Private high schools in Kansas make up only 8% of sports teams but win about a third of state championships. The Kansas News Service reports that the  group overseeing high school sports is pushing a plan to level the playing field. The current system for sorting Kansas high schools into classes for sports — from 1A to 6A — is based only on enrollment. But Jeremy Holaday, with the state activities association, says that may not be fair. "There is data to suggest that private schools do win a disproportionate amount of championships," he said. Private schools can recruit athletes, which generally isn’t the case in public schools. The group wants to adjust the classes for private schools based on their post-season success rate, location, and socio-economic status. The Kansas Board of Education will hear testimony on the plan Wednesday.


Kansas Governor Cuts Ribbon on North America's Largest Wheat Protein Plant

PHILLIPSBURG, Kan. (KPR) - A new facility will soon open in Phillipsburg to produce wheat protein ingredients. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday and said the Amber Wave plant will become the largest wheat protein producer in North America within two years. Kelly also said the company is investing more than $250 million into the facility and will create more than 60 new jobs as it ramps up to full capacity. Amber Wave is a leader in sustainable agriculture, food ingredients, and low-carbon fuels. Kelly said Kansas is known for its high-quality wheat, and this cutting-edge facility will strengthen the state's competitive edge in the marketplace. All the wheat Amber Wave needs to operate is grown within 100 miles of the plant. In addition to building a wheat mill and wheat gluten plant, the company retrofitted the existing Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy corn-based ethanol plant to produce ethanol from wheat starch. The plant will use the latest technology in wheat milling and protein extraction while creating a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional corn ethanol plants to produce biofuels.


Kansas Attorney General Wants Appeals Court to Block Mask Mandate

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt wants the courts to prevent the Biden Administration from requiring masks on public transit. Schmidt has petitioned a federal appeals court to affirm a lower-court ruling that blocked the Biden administration from requiring masks on buses, trains and commercial airlines.   In a brief filed Monday, Schmidt joined 21 other state attorneys general in arguing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the authority to impose the mask mandate. The attorneys general argue that the mandate is invalid because it failed to go through notice and comment procedures, is arbitrary and capricious and violated the agency’s own regulations.   In their brief, the attorneys general point out that the U.S. Supreme Court has already rejected other actions taken by the CDC, including the agency's nationwide eviction moratorium and an order that grounded cruise ships.

Schmidt has challenged numerous federal mandates since last fall when the Biden administration announced several vaccine and mask mandates as part of its approach to combating COVID-19. Schmidt helped obtain federal court injunctions blocking the OSHA vaccine mandate for private employers, the federal contractor vaccine mandate and the Head Start vaccine and mask mandate.


Kansas Inmate's Death Investigated as Apparent Homicide

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at a Kansas prison as an apparent homicide. The Kansas Department of Corrections says 56-year-old Fred Patterson III died Sunday at the Lansing Correctional Facility. He had been there since May after violating parole in a child sexual assault case. Authorities say an independent autopsy will be conducted but they provided no details about the cause of death or a suspect. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.


Health Officials Urge People to Protect Themselves from Monkeypox

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KPR)  - The U.S. has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, and officials are asking people to protect themselves. Kansas and Missouri have identified 14 cases so far, with one in Kansas and the other 13 across the state line. Infectious disease expert Dr. Dana Hawkinson, from the University of Kansas Health System, says most infections are in men who have sex with men, but widespread public education is needed. “It doesn’t stick to demographics,” Hawkinson said. “The infections don’t care who you are. We know that other people can be infected.” The virus does not spread nearly as easily as COVID. It spreads primarily through close physical contact. More than 7,000 cases have been identified in the U.S. Federal health officials suggest that people limit the number of sex partners to lessen their risk.


Report: Dozens Got Sick After Visiting Kansas Splash Park in 2021

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A new federal study said dozens of people got sick after visiting a splash park near Wichita last summer. The study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 21 people contracted Shigella bacteria and six others became sick with the norovirus after visiting the splash park at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard. The Wichita Eagle reported that another 36 people reported gastrointestinal illnesses after visiting the splash park but didn’t have lab tests confirming what caused their illnesses. At least four people were hospitalized. Previously, state and local health officials hadn't detailed how many people got sick. The splash park was allowed to reopen last July after upgrading its filtration system and passing a health inspection.


Bison Owner Killed, Deputy Seriously Injured in Ellsworth County

ELLSWORTH COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities say a buffalo may be responsible for the death of a man and the injury of another in Ellsworth County. KSNW TV reports that a woman called Ellsworth County 911 on Monday to report she found her nephew’s body in a pen. She told dispatchers she thought a buffalo had killed him. The report came a day after an Ellsworth County deputy was seriously injured after being charged by a buffalo. The sheriff is now investigating to determine whether the same buffalo was responsible for attacking both men.  Ellsworth County deputies and Claflin EMS responded to the scene where they found the man’s body in a row of trees not far from where the deputy had been injured earlier. The victim was identified as 56-year-old Scott Schroeder, of rural Bushton. He was the owner of more than 20 buffalo kept at the location. Sheriff Murray Marston said they are waiting for an autopsy report but said the preliminary cause of death is that Schroeder had been gored by an animal.

The injury to the deputy happened Sunday night. The sheriff said Ellsworth County 911 received a call about a buffalo on Kansas Highway 4. A deputy responded and tried to get the animal to return to a pasture. That’s when the buffalo suddenly charged him. He was seriously injured. A Rice County deputy arrived just as the animal was attacking the deputy and was able to put the animal down. The injured deputy was hospitalized. His name has not been released.

(AP version)

Buffalo Injures Deputy; Animal's Owner Found Gored to Death

BUSHTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a buffalo charged and seriously injured a Kansas sheriff’s deputy one day before the animal’s owner was found gored to death. Ellsworth County Sheriff Murray Marston said in a news release that the buffalo had wandered onto a state highway and the deputy was trying to get the animal back in a pasture when it charged. A deputy from a neighboring county “put down" the animal. Then, Monday morning, dispatchers got a call from a woman who said that she had found her nephew, 56-year-old Scott Schroeder, of rural Bushton, dead in a pen and that she thought a buffalo had killed him.


Olathe Woman Loses Race for School Board, Removed from Meeting, Loses Lawsuit

OLATHE, Kan. (KCUR) - An Olathe woman who lost her race for the local school board and was later removed from a board meeting, has lost her bid to prevent the board from enforcing its policy governing public comments at board meetings. KCUR Radio reports that Jennifer Gilmore ran for a seat on the school board in 2021, campaigning against mask mandates and critical race theory. She lost by 65 votes. She was removed from a January 13th board meeting at which she accused her opponent of being bought. She then sued the school board, claiming it violated her First Amendment rights of free-speech. But a federal judge ruled Friday that the board’s policy barring comments “not germane to the business activities of the Board” was a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral limitation that does not infringe on the First Amendment. ( Read more.)


French Embassy: University of Kansas Is an Excellent Place to Learn French

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — The Department of French, Francophone & Italian Studies at the University of Kansas has been designated a “Center of Excellence” by the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Bruce Hayes, KU professor of French, says the Centers of Excellence were established by the French government to promote French culture in American universities and increase ties between scholars, artists and public intellectuals in France and the U.S.  “It is highly selective and includes only the strongest programs," Hayes said.  With this designation, KU joins a short list of the most prestigious colleges in the country and is only the 25th addition to the network. The College joins Ivy League schools such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale.  According to the French Embassy’s website, one benefit of the designation is financial support on a yearly basis from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.  About 321 million people around the world speak French, and as the official language of 29 countries, it is second only to English. ( Read more.)


University of Kansas Offers Class on "Angry White Male Studies"

LAWRENCE, Kan. (Fox News) — The University of Kansas is offering a course in the fall called "Angry White Male Studies."  Fox News reports that the class will examine the "rise" of the "angry white male" in the United States. The course will be offered during the Fall 2022 term.  The course description states that "This course charts the rise of the ‘angry white male’ in America and Britain since the 1950s, exploring the deeper sources of this emotional state while evaluating recent manifestations of male anger." The class will be taught by Christopher Forth, a KU history professor. The class has drawn criticism on social media and from Kansas Republican Congressman Ron Estes who suggested the class could create a hostile campus environment based on gender.


Brown v. Board Artifacts Unearthed, Studied by Kansas Archeologists

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The Kansas Historical Society is working to process artifacts recently uncovered from the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. KSNT reports that experts will spend time cleaning and cataloguing multiple artifacts discovered at the site back in June. Excavation teams found artifacts dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s as they searched the area near Monroe Elementary School where the Brown v. Board of Education building currently stands. Once the artifacts have been cleaned, cataloged and curated, they will be sent to the Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska where they will be permanently housed.


Lawrence Police Arrest Man Wanted in Ohio Quadruple Murder

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - Lawrence police have arrested a man wanted in connection with a quadruple murder in Ohio.  39-year-old Stephen Marlow was taken into custody Saturday night after a nationwide search.  The shootings took place Friday at multiple crime scenes in a suburban neighborhood north of Dayton, Ohio.  Butler Township police have identified the victims as 82-year-old Clyde Knox, 78-year-old Eva Knox, 41-year-old Sarah Anderson, and 15-year-old Kayla Anderson. Lawrence police say investigators had reason to believe Marlow was in Lawrence and initiated a city-wide search.  He was taken into custody without incident after police identified his vehicle at 23rd Street and Ousdahl Road. Police say they have not yet determined a motive for the shootings. Marlow will be extradited to Ohio to face charges. 


Prosecutor: Missouri Man Fatally Shot in Lawn-Mowing Dispute

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Prosecutors say a Missouri man has been charged in the fatal shooting of a neighbor after an argument about lawn mowing. The Jackson County Prosecutor's office says 42-year-old Samuel Avery, of Kansas City, is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 41-year-old Warner Trotter. Court documents say Avery told investigators he shot Trotter on Sunday after the men argued over his lawn mower being too loud. Avery said the next-door neighbors had argued for 10 years. Online court records do not name an attorney who can speak on Avery's behalf.

Missouri Family Says Racism Led to Pool Party Cancellation

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) _ A Black family says racism prompted a suburban Kansas City water park to cancel a private pool party for their son's birthday. Chris Evans, of Lee's Summit, says he signed a contract to have the party with about 250 guests for his 17-year-old son's birthday on Saturday at the Summit Waves park in Lee's Summit. But an official with the park told the family when they arrived that the party was canceled. The city's Parks and Recreation Department, which operates the water park, said in a statement that the event was canceled because it had attracted too many participants, which raised safety concerns. 


KCK Man Arrested for Role in January 6th Capitol Riot

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KC Star) - A Kansas City, Kansas, man has been arrested in connection with the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Kansas City Star reports that 47-year-old Kasey Von Owen Hopkins is the ninth Kansan to be charged. Hopkins faces four misdemeanor counts, including entering a restricted building and disorderly and disruptive conduct. According to an affidavit from an FBI agent, authorities tracked Hopkins down using video and cell phone data. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that another Kansas man will be allowed to represent himself against January 6th charges.  Thirty-six-year-old William Pope, of Topeka, faces eight charges, including allegedly trying to force open a door in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. Last week, 36-year-old Jerod Thomas Bargar, of Centralia, Missouri, became the 23rd Missourian to be charged in connection with the riot.


Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Talks to January 6 Paneling Short

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House panel investigating the riot at the Capitol has interviewed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and met briefly with Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor Doug Mastriano as it probes Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Pompeo, who at one time was the U.S. Representative from the Kansas 4th Congressional District, is among several former Cabinet officials the committee wanted to hear from after it was disclosed that some considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Pompeo's appearance Tuesday was confirmed by a person granted anonymity to discuss the situation. Mastriano appeared less than 15 minutes and questioned the validity of the process, his attorney said. Mastriano helped organize efforts in Pennsylvania to submit alternate electors beholden to Trump.


Kansas Schools Issue COVID Guidance for Upcoming School Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Most students in Kansas will not be required to wear face masks or be tested regularly for COVID-19 when they return to school this month. Kansas school districts are waiting for updated guidance from the federal government on curbing the spread of the virus but most are already easing rules that were put in place early in the pandemic. Officials for the state’s largest district in Wichita say students or employees who test positive for COVID should isolate at home for at least five days or until their symptoms resolve. But they won’t have to test negative to return to school. Kansas districts no longer notify people who have been exposed to the virus. The CDC is emphasizing the importance of building ventilation to stop the spread of COVID. 


Study: Black Drivers More Likely to be Pulled Over than White Drivers in Douglas County

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - Black drivers are nearly three times as likely as white drivers to be pulled over for traffic stops in Douglas County.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that that's the finding of a study commissioned by the Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which collected data from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and the Lawrence, Baldwin, Eudora, and University of Kansas police departments.  The study shows that 4.3% of the county's driving-age population is Black, but Black drivers represented 11.9% of the county's traffic stops in 2020 and 2021.  The study also found that Black drivers were more likely than white drivers to receive a citation rather than a warning.


Report: Poverty Still Affecting Hundreds of Thousands of Kansas and Missouri Children

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - The annual Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that 70,000 fewer kids lived in poverty in 2020 in Kansas and Missouri, than in 2015. But poverty remains a problem that affects about 1 in 6 children in the two states. The report says the parents of more than 500,000 Kansas and Missouri kids lacked full-time, year-round jobs, making family finances less stable. But, the report says, that’s an improvement in recent years. 


5th Abortion Clinic Opened in Kansas in Lead-Up to Vote

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Planned Parenthood quietly opened another abortion clinic in Kansas in the lead up to a decisive statewide vote in favor of protecting abortion access. The Wyandotte Health Center in Kansas City, Kansas, had long been in the works but opened with little notice this summer as neighboring Missouri banned nearly all abortions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Other nearby states took similar actions. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, highlighted the clinic while discussing abortion access in a conference call with reporters.


Kansas Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Highway Patrol Case

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) - The Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling that could support a lawsuit brought by a former Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that former superintendent Mark Bruce claims he was forced to resign after his term ended and he should have been allowed to return to his former rank of major.  Supreme Court Justice K.J. Wall said in his written opinion that state law defined the rank of KHP major as being within the classified or civil service system. Employees in classified state government positions have a right to continued employment; unclassified workers are considered at-will employees and subject to immediate termination. Friday's ruling sends the case back to federal court.


Bald Eagles Still in Danger in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KPR)  - Bald eagles are increasingly common in Kansas, but some are still dying because of human activity. Wildlife officials say there are around 200 eagle’s nests across the state, up from only a single nest counted in 1989. Conservation measures like the 1972 federal ban on DDT pesticide saved bald eagles from disappearing in the last century. Man-made reservoirs probably made Kansas more attractive to the birds, which hunt fish and waterfowl. But the eagles still face threats in the state. Michelle McNulty, a biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Manhattan, says lead poisoning from various sources is probably the number one threat for eagles in Kansas. Often, McNulty says, the raptors are poisoned by lead buckshot in prey and carrion. The birds also die from contact with power lines by flying into wind turbines.


Jayhawks' Lance Leipold Settled in, Optimistic About Year 2

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lance Leipold took over the football program at the University of Kansas after a winless season and a somewhat scandalous departure of his predecessor, Les Miles. And while the long-time small-school coach won just twice in Year 1, he is full of optimism heading into fall camp this season. One of Leipold's wins came in overtime at Texas, and that momentum carried into his first full recruiting cycle and a productive spring program. The program is more stable than it has been in years, and Leipold hopes that translates into more success on the field this season.


Blood Drive Set for This Week at Lawrence Church

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - A Lawrence church will host a blood drive this week benefiting the region’s local blood supplier. The  Lawrence Journal-World reports that the drive will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting house (3655 W. 10th St.) in Lawrence Thursday from 2 to 6 pm.  It will benefit the Community Blood Center, which is the primary provider of blood donations to more than 70 hospitals and medical centers in the greater Kansas City region, including LMH Health. Donors must be 16 years old or older and will need to bring a valid ID. Those who are age 16 will also need a signed parental consent form.  Donors can pre-register online, but walk-ins will also be accepted as time allows.


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.