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Headlines for Friday, November 4, 2022



K CK Abortion Clinic that Opened Days After Roe Decision Fell is Inundated

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP/KNS) — A Kansas abortion clinic that was among the first in the country to open after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade has been inundated with patients. Some drive 10 hours or more to get there, coming from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana. But that's only if they can get an appointment. Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, including this newest one, are only able to take about 10% to 15% of the patients seeking abortions. Kansas is one of the few states in the region still providing abortions in the wake of the court's ruling.  ( Read more from the Kansas News Service.)


Mailer on Abortion, Top Kansas Court Described as Deceptive

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A mailer to voters across Kansas suggests that removing state Supreme Court justices in Tuesday’s election would protect access to abortion. In fact, abortion rights advocates want to keep them on the bench. The return address on the mailer says it is from VMCF Inc., in the Kansas City suburb of Lenexa. State records show that for a brief time in October, that was the legal name of a charitable foundation run by the owner of a prominent Republican direct mail firm. Six of the Kansas Supreme Court's justices are on the ballot Tuesday for yes-or-no votes on whether they stay on the court for another six years.


Kansas Governor's Race Is Close After Abortion Issue Upheaval

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Both parties see the governor’s race as a tossup in Republican-leaning Kansas. The state leans Republican; it's a good Republican year, and GOP challenger Derek Schmidt has attacked Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly relentlessly as a Joe Biden liberal. Yet abortion politics are one reason the contest is close. A decisive statewide vote in August affirming abortion rights boosted Kelly’s chance of holding the independent and moderate Republicans crucial to her victory four years ago. But she’s also stayed largely on a message that Kansas is back after past budget woes to counter Schmidt’s attempts to tap voter frustration with inflation and crime. And an independent candidate could hurt Schmidt with the right.


Candidates Square Off in Kansas 2nd Congressional District Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Republican Congressman Jake LaTurner and Democratic Challenger Patrick Schmidt tangled Thursday night in their only televised debate of the campaign.  The candidates running in the 2nd District, which covers roughly the eastern third of the state, clashed on range of issues including the future of Social Security and Medicare.  Schmidt, a retired Navy intelligence officer now serving in the reserves, criticized LaTurner for supporting Republican budget plans that Schmidt says threaten the popular entitlement programs for seniors and Americans with disabilities. “He wants to end Social Security. He wants to cut trillions of dollars from Medicare," Schmidt said.  LaTurner, who’s running for a second term, denied that claim and accused Schmidt of trying to scare voters. “My opponent once again is being irresponsible in what he is saying because it’s just not true," he said. Republican leaders in Congress say they don’t want to end Medicare and Social Security. But say if they regain the majority, both programs could be modified as part of a plan to cut federal spending.

Schmidt said the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol - and Republican Congressman Jake LaTurner’s response to it - triggered his decision to run for office. “He ran and hid when the Capitol was attacked. And then he gave the criminals exactly what they wanted. Without any evidence, he voted to overturn election results in three states," Schmidt said. LaTurner, as he did on the day of the attack, condemned the violence, calling it a stain on the nation. But he defended his vote. He said he was objecting to last-minute changes made to election rules in some battleground states. Changes that he says undermined public confidence in the outcome. The two candidates debated on Topeka public television station KTWU.


Poll Shows Kansas Governor, Attorney General's Race Neck-and-Neck
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - A new poll shows some Democratic candidates for statewide office in deep-red Kansas running neck and neck with their Republican opponents. The Emerson College poll shows Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly leads Republican Derek Schmidt by 3%. The lead is within the margin of error, making the race virtually tied. Schmidt’s chances may be hurt by conservative state Senator Dennis Pyle, a former Republican who is running as an independent. The poll shows 5% of voters supporting Pyle, an increase of 2% from a poll in September. The race for Kansas attorney general is also very close. Democrat Chris Mann holds a 1% lead over Republican Kris Kobach. Election Day is Tuesday. ( Read more in the Topeka Capital-Journal.)


Kansas: What to Expect on Election Night

UNDATED (AP/KPR) - Kansas Democrats hope to reelect Governor Laura Kelly, who faces Republican Derek Schmidt, the state's three-term attorney general. Elsewhere, former Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach is trying for a political comeback in the attorney general's race against first-time Democratic candidate and former prosecutor Chris Mann. Kobach lost the governor's race to Kelly in 2018 and a U.S. Senate primary in 2020. Meanwhile, the most visible congressional race pits Kansas City-area Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids in a rematch of her 2020 race against Republican and former health care tech company executive Amanda Adkins in a newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District.

National and statewide election night coverage will be broadcast on Kansas Public Radio starting at 7 pm, November 8. KPR News Director J. Schafer will anchor the local / Kansas coverage with KPR Statehouse Reporter Jim McLean providing analysis.


Missouri: What to Expect on Election Night

UNDATED (AP) - Missouri's highest-profile race this year has Attorney General Eric Schmitt vying for what's considered a safe GOP seat as his party fights for control of the U.S. Senate. Voters will choose between Schmitt and Democratic beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine. They'll also pick who should fill the seats of outgoing Republican U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long. Both ran for U.S. Senate and lost in the primary. Six other Missouri U.S. representatives are up for reelection. Missouri is among five states considering ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. Voters approved medical marijuana in 2018.


Advance Voting in Kansas Declines Compared to Four Years Ago

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) - Advance voting in Kansas is down compared to four years ago. It appears the swell of voter turnout caused by an abortion issue in the primary election is not continuing into the fall. The Kansas Secretary of State’s Office reports 205,000 advance ballots have been cast so far. That’s about 30,000 fewer than at the same time in 2018. During the primary, Kansas voters turned out in big numbers and rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have said the state constitution does not include a right to abortion. Some hoped to see that voer enthusiasm carry over to the general election. But Russell Arben Fox, a political scientist at Friends University in Wichita, says that hasn’t materialized. He says the early numbers lack the swell of abortion advocates who were motivated to vote in the August primary. “You’re not seeing the huge push that a lot of people, mostly Democrats, were hoping to see," he said. Early voting is open until noon on November 7. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day on November 8.


Kansas Senator Jerry Moran Wants Congress to Step Up Security for Members of Congress

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW) - Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran denounced violence and violent political rhetoric after a break-in at Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in California last month. Moran made the comments Thursday at a business event in Wichita. He described the attack on Pelosi’s husband, Paul, as tragic. The suspect said he intended to injure Nancy Pelosi, who was not home at the time of the attack. “Not all of us come from the same point-of-view, but there’s no reason for us to ever suggest that that should result in violence," he said. Moran also said Congress should consider taking action to improve security for its members, especially those in leadership positions. Moran is seeking his fourth term in the U.S. Senate. He faces a challenge from Democrat Mark Holland.


Kansas City to Pay $5 Million After Police Killing of Black Man

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City will pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer. The Kansas City Star reports that the Board of Police Commissioners reached the settlement agreement in a closed meeting earlier this week. Police say 30-year-old Terrence Bridges Jr. was killed in May 2019 when officers responded to a report of a carjacking. The officer said he thought Bridges was pulling a gun while resisting arrest and was shot during a struggle. Bridges's family maintained he was unarmed, not resisting and was not involved in the carjacking. The officer was not charged and is still on the police force.


Kansas City Church Elder Sentenced to Life for Killing Pastor-Wife

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A former elder in a Kansas City, Missouri, church was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for killing his wife, who was an associate pastor. Robert Lee Harris’s sentencing comes after he was found guilty in August of first-degree murder in the death of 38-year-old Tanisha Harris. Police went to the couple’s apartment in the suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, on January 8, 2018, to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. Officers found Robert Harris alone in the apartment and left. His wife's body was found later near Raymore, Missouri. The couple, married just 18 months at the time of the killing, were active in Repairers Kansas City, a nondenominational church.


Help Wanted: Kansas Public Radio Seeks New Statehouse Bureau Chief

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio is looking for an experienced reporter to serve as its next Statehouse Bureau Chief. This position works primarily at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. Duties include managing KPR’s capital news bureau, which provides broadcast and digital news reports to radio stations and newspapers in Kansas and Missouri. This position is primarily responsible for reporting on all aspects of state government. The KPR Statehouse Bureau Chief works with a team of other reporters to write and produce spot news, digital stories and long-form audio features for KPR, its reporting partners and media outlets across the state.  Learn more about this position.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university's programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy.


Medical Marijuana Firms Lead Donors for Legal Weed Campaigns

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donors associated with companies holding medical marijuana licenses are providing most of the funding for ballot measures that would legalize recreational marijuana in several states. An analysis of campaign finance data by The Associated Press shows that marijuana legalization campaigns have raised about $23 million in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. Entities associated with the existing marijuana industry have provided the bulk of the money in every state except North Dakota, where a national cannabis advocacy group is the top donor. The New Approach advocacy group also is the main backer of a Colorado initiative to legalize psychedelic mushrooms.


No Powerball Jackpot Winner Wednesday Night, So the Top Prize Climbs to $1.5 Billion for Saturday's Drawing

UNDATED (AP) - Nobody won the Powerball lottery jackpot Wednesday night, so the already massive prize will climb to an estimated $1.5 billion for Saturday night's drawing. Large lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years as lottery officials have adjusted game rules and ticket prices to boost the top prizes.


Powerball Prize Up to $1.5 Billion, 3rd-Largest Ever in U.S.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The bad news is that no one won Wednesday night's huge $1.2 billion Powerball jackpot. The good news is that means the prize has grown even larger to $1.5 billion ahead of the next drawing Saturday night. That is the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 2, 11, 22, 35, 60 and the red powerball 23. No one has won the top Powerball prize since August 3, making for 39 consecutive drawings without anyone matching all six numbers. What's behind three months of lottery futility? It's simple math. The odds of winning the jackpot are an abysmal 1 in 292.2 million.

Dreaming of $1.5 Billion Powerball Prize? Consider Not Taking the Lump Sum Cash Payout

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery players hoping to win this week's massive Powerball jackpot might be smart to dream of an annuity, rather than a truckload of cash. Wednesday night's $1.2 billion Powerball jackpot went without a winner. But now an even more massive $1.5 billion prize is up for grabs Saturday night. An annuity doled out over 29 years is not as sexy as cash but would pay that advertised $1.5 billion prize. Winners who opt for cash would get just under $746 million. That's less than half as much. Winners of giant jackpots nearly always take the cash, and financial advisers say that might be a mistake.


Drought Threatens Kansas Wetlands, Disrupting Massive Bird Migrations

HAYS, Kan. (KNS) - The drought in Kansas isn’t only affecting farmers and communities. It’s also hurting birds. The  Kansas News Service reports that the wetlands the birds usually visit during their annual migration are vanishing. Each fall, millions of birds migrate across Kansas, some traveling thousands of miles. Typically, they rely on stopping at wetlands in central Kansas to get the food, water and rest they need to finish the journey. But the drought has dried those wetlands up, forcing the birds to turn elsewhere. The migratory birds stop at places like  Cheyenne Bottoms and the  Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in central Kansas to get food, water and rest. But the drought has dried up those wetlands, forcing the birds to turn elsewhere.  ( Read more.)


Royals Turn to Matt Quatraro to Turn Around Languishing Club

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Kansas City Royals had qualified candidates to become their next manager already within the organization, including one hired by the Chicago White Sox just this week. Yet the six-person committee that waded through the options came to the conclusion that an outside voice was necessary. That voice wound up belonging to Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro. His job now will be turning around an organization that won the World Series just seven years ago but quickly returned to irrelevance. The rebuilding club won just 65 games last season before Mike Matheny was fired.


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.