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Headlines for Monday, August 29, 2022



Governor Announces Grants to Help First Responders Fight Opioid Abuse in Rural Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Governor Laura Kelly has announced over $3 million in grants to help first responders fight opioid abuse in rural Kansas. But the Kansas News Service reports, some rural parts of the state are excluded.  The grants will fund training so more people know how to use medication that reverses opioid overdoses. But two of the state’s emergency medical service regions -- the ones including Wichita and the Kansas City area -- are not eligible, even though they do contain some rural areas.  Dave Johnston is the EMS chief for Reno County, one of the excluded areas. He says opioid abuse is a big problem and treatment options are limited. “It's really affected my county tremendously. I think we've had, over the past couple of years, over 40 plus fatalities," he said.  “15 of our 19 (EMS locations) are either in counties that are considered rural or frontier. And they’re being disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis also," he said. Johnston is asking the state to expand eligibility for the grants, but so far, that hasn’t happened. The deadline to apply for the grants is September 15.


Court Narrows Hold on COVID Vaccine Mandate for Contractors

UNDATED (AP) – A federal appeals court has lifted a nationwide injunction against President Joe Biden's requirement for federal contractors to be vaccinated for COVID-19. But the ruling leaves an injunction in place for states that have sued and for more than 1 million construction workers across the country. The mixed ruling from a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta means that the vaccination requirement remains blocked for federal contracts involving about half the states but could be enforced in the other half. Biden's Office of Management and Budget says federal attorneys are reviewing the ruling and that no immediate steps have been taken to implement it.


Two Hospitalized as Kansas City Police Investigate Triple Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A triple shooting early Sunday morning has left at least two people in critical condition.  KCTV reports that the shooting took place at the Peppermill Lounge South in Kansas City, Missouri. Police say they were responding to a report of a noise disturbance at 2:30 am Sunday when they began to hear several sounds of gun shots and observed a large crowd. Once they made their way to the gunfire, they observed one victim in the street with a gunshot wound. Officers assisted the victim who was transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. While at the scene, a gunshot victim was located by police in a vehicle nearby. That victim was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. A third victim was dropped off at a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.


Monkeypox on the Rise in Kansas City Area

ATCHISON, Kan. (Atchison Globe) - Monkeypox case numbers have grown to five in the Kansas City area. The Atchison Globe reports that three of the Kansas City area cases are in Johnson County, Kansas. All local cases originated outside the area. Monkeypox causes fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash. People who develop symptoms should be isolated. The disease is contagious and isolation is best until the symptoms have gone away completely. There is no cure for monkeypox but the vaccines for smallpox are used to prevent the illness. Monkeypox can be spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact.


Kansas City Man Dies in Boating Accident at Lake of the Ozarks

LAKE of the OZARKS, Mo. (KC Star) - A Kansas City man died over the weekend in a boating accident at Lake of the Ozarks. The Kansas City Star reports that 29-year-old Daniel Cortez was killed after the boat he was on ejected him and then struck him. Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers responded around 4:30 pm Saturday to the incident.  Authorities say a 2019 Sylvan Pontoon hit a wake and overturned, ejecting Cortez, one of the boat’s passengers. The boat then struck him. Cortez was pronounced dead at the scene.


Homeless Camp in KCK Catches Fire

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - An investigation is underway in Kansas City, Kansas, into the cause of a fire that destroyed a homeless camp over the weekend. KCTV reports that KCK fire crews reported to an area near 43rd and State Avenue to combat a fire in a homeless camp. Crews said they had to use 800-feet of hose to put out the fire. The fire happened in the woods behind the Midway Shopping Center. No injuries were reported.


Wanted Missouri Fugitive Captured in Kansas

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. (KOAM) – A Missouri Fugitive has been arrested after a police pursuit in Kansas. KOAM TV reports that Cherokee County sheriff's deputies were searching an area for the fugitive, 39-year-old Larry Flowers, on Saturday. Just after noon, a deputy spotted Flowers driving a white Ford truck north of Riverton.  Flowers fled when the deputy attempted to stop him.  Another sheriff’s deputy successfully deployed a tire deflation device east of Columbus.  Flowers however, continued to flee, eventually going into Crawford County. As the pursuit came to an end, he rammed a Crawford County patrol unit before veering off the roadway. Flowers was taken into custody and deputies located and seized methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. Flowers was transported to the Cherokee County Jail on 14 outstanding warrants for his arrest, including felony aggravated crimes in Missouri.  Flowers now faces additional charges in Cherokee and Crawford Counties in Kansas.


Search Continues for Topeka Murder Suspect

SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (Hays Post) — Law enforcement authorities investigating a fatal July 16 shooting are still trying to locate a Kansas felon. Just after 9:30 pm July 16, police were dispatched to report of a shooting in the 900 Block of SW 8th Street in Topeka. The Hays Post reports that first responders found 34-year-old Kirk Sexton suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The Topeka Police Department wants to speak with 35-year-old Emmanuel Rashad Walker, of Topeka, in connection with this homicide investigation. Walker has previous convictions for aggravated assault, obstruction and drug possession, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Emmanuel Rashad Walker should call police or 911.


Suspicious Death Investigation Underway in Butler County

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Butler County Sheriff’s Office says a body was found in a home near the town of Gordon Saturday morning. Sergeant Robert Albert says they’re investigating the death as suspicious and waiting for autopsy results to determine the cause of death. KWCH TV reports that neighbors in the area say they’re stunned something like this happened in their small town. The Butler County Sheriff’s Department says more information about the incident is expected to be released soon.


Family and Friends Mourn Loss of Teacher, Father of 10 Killed in Kansas City Hit-and-Run

KANSAS CITY, Mo (KSHB) — A community of people are grieving the loss of their father, husband, friend, teacher and faith leader. KSHB TV reports that Charlie Criniere was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Saturday while out riding his bike.  The Criniere’s had 10 kids. He taught middle school math at Martin City K8. Police are still searching for the person responsible for Criniere’s death. As of Monday, a GoFundMe page for Criniere’s wife and kids had already raised more than $111,000 of its $150,000 goal.


Kansas High Court Orders New DUI Trial for Man Found Drunk in Parked Car

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a Kansas man who was found in a parked car yet convicted of drunk driving. The state's highest court agrees that the jury didn’t receive clear instructions that a person has to be driving in order to be convicted of drunk driving. So, the eastern Kansas man will get a new trial. The court case dates back to 2018, when a deputy found the man in his parked car at 3 am, acting drunk. There was beer in his car. A deputy testified at trial that the man’s headlights and radio were on, so he was operating his car while drunk. But the defense argued that’s not the same as driving - and that the man may have gotten drunk after pulling over.  In November 2018, the man left a restaurant at 10 pm in eastern Kansas. On his way home, he pulled over and slept. A deputy later found him sleeping in his car, but it’s not clear if the man got drunk before or after he pulled over.


Sunderland Foundation Grants $2 Million to LMH Health Foundation

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas City-based Sunderland Foundation has granted $2 million to LMH Health Foundation in support of the Lawrence hospital's initiative to expand and update its cancer center. The LMH Health Foundation previously announced its intent to seek philanthropic support to update the cancer center’s space and expand its square footage. Previously, the Sunderland Foundation provided a $2 million gift to LMH Health to support the hospital's West Campus expansion, and a number of other important projects. More than $6.1 million in philanthropic support has been given or pledged to date toward the hospital's cancer center initiative. The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as president of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years.


Kansas Unemployment Rate Holds Steady in July at 2.4%

TOPEKA, Kan. (Kansas Reflector) - The unemployment rate in Kansas remained at 2.4% in July with growth of 4,000 private-sector jobs and a decline of 500 in the government workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Kansas Department of Labor said a pair of monthly surveys — one of employers and the other of households — indicated the state's jobless rate stood at 2.4% in July and June.  The Kansas Reflector reports that Emilie Doerksen, a state labor department economist, said the Kansas manufacturing industry expanded by 1,500 jobs. The growth also reflected 1,000 hires in the trade, transportation and utility sector. Since July 2021, nonfarm employment has risen by 13,500 in Kansas.


Independent Lawmaker Wins Spot on Kansas Ballot for Governor

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A hard-right Kansas state senator who has clashed with Republican leaders has gained a spot on the November general election ballot as an independent candidate for governor. The Kansas Secretary of State's office has announced that state Senator Dennis Pyle, of Hiawatha, had turned in more than the 5,000 required petition signatures to gain a spot on the November 8 ballot. Allies of Democratic Governor Laura Kelly helped Pyle gather some of the necessary signatures. Pyle's candidacy could complicate GOP nominee and state Attorney General Derek Schmidt's bid to unseat Kelly. Some Democrats hope Pyle and Schmidt will split conservative Republican votes just enough for Kelly to win a second four-year term.


KU Football Suspends WR Trevor Wilson Indefinitely After Arrest

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas football team has suspended starting wide receiver Trevor Wilson indefinitely and backup Tanaka Scott for the season-opener against Tennessee Tech. The two were arrested last week near campus. Wilson was charged with suspicion of aggravated assault and use of a deadly weapon. Police say a man had flashed a gun at another car before leaving the scene. The same charges against Tanaka were dismissed last week for lack of probable cause.


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.