Headlines for Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Kansas Senator Reacts to FBI's Raid on Former President Trump's Florida Home
UNDATED (AP/KPR) - A Republican Senator from Kansas says his phone “blew up” with questions from constituents shortly after news broke about an FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The FBI search of his home is reportedly part of an investigation into whether Trump took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence. Trump issued a statement saying agents opened a safe at his home and likened the raid to “prosecutorial misconduct.” Kansas Senator Roger Marshall, whose dad was a police officer, said he grew up with a great deal of respect for the FBI, but that view is changing. “The FBI were the good guys. And right now, we’re all concerned who the FBI really is,” Marshall told The Associated Press. “Folks back home are real concerned about what the federal government has become.”
Trump and his allies are casting the unprecedented raid on a presidential home as the weaponization of the criminal justice system and a Democratic-driven effort to keep him from winning another term in 2024. The Biden White House says it had no prior knowledge of the raid. Kansas Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids told the Kansas City Star much is still unknown about the raid but noted, “No one is above the law."
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, who is running for Kansas governor, 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 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 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.
New KU Research Explores Why Foster Kids Run Away
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - New research finds Kansas foster children are running away because they lack control and miss their families. The Kansas News Service reports that the study, from the University of Kansas, looked at five reasons foster kids ran away, but the results echoed the same key point – foster kids often wanted more connection with their biological family. Kaela Byers, associate research professor at KU, said "Even when they recognize that things have not been perfect. In the past, they may have experienced some very serious trauma, there may be family members, they don't want to talk to see. But those family connections are still important.” The authors recommend increasing visitation and supporting family connections. They also say managers should listen to the foster kids more before making decisions about where the children are placed.
Man Who Performed Illegal Autopsies Can't Work in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man convicted of performing illegal autopsies has been fined more than $700,000 and is permanently banned from doing business in the state. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Wednesday that a Shawnee County District Court judge ordered 42-year-old Shawn Parcells to pay $254,762 in restitution to 82 consumers related to the private autopsy service in Wabaunsee County. He also was ordered to pay thousands more in penalties and fines to other entities or for violating Kansas laws. Parcells was convicted in November of six criminal charges related to autopsies in Wabaunsee County. He also pleaded guilty in May to one federal wire fraud charge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 says 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.)
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Talks to January 6 Panel, Mastriano Cuts Own Meeting 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.
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(link is external) 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.
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.
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 and by flying into wind turbines.
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.
Blood Drive Set for Thursday at Lawrence Church
LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - A Lawrence church will host a blood drive Thursday 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.