Headlines for Monday, November 14, 2022
Winter Weather Advisory Posted for Eastern Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Winter weather is coming to eastern Kansas. The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of eastern Kansas from 7 pm Monday to 6 am Tuesday. About two inches of snow is expected across much of the advisory area. (Visit the NWS webpage for the latest information.)
Kansas City Area Hospital Beds Filling Up as RSV, Flu and COVID-19 Cases Hit Residents
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Respiratory illnesses are filling up Kansas City area hospital beds. KMBC TV reports that doctors are warning of a perfect storm of flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 - all hitting at the same time. Officials with the University of Kansas Health System say COVID-19 and RSV in adults are the biggest respiratory illnesses they are seeing right now. Add in flu cases, and they want people to take precautions: social distancing, washing hands, considering a mask, and staying home if you are sick. Doctors also urge people to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Doctors say three different respiratory illnesses at the same time can overload the system if people don't do their part to protect themselves.
Health Officials: Flu Season Starting Early, Strong in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — Kansas City is navigating an early start to the flu season. According to KSHB TV, the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department is reporting a large increase in flu-related emergencies room visits this year compared to the same time last year. The local trend in Kansas City is similar to national data tracked by the CDC. The early start of the flu season comes at the same time pediatricians are reporting an increase in RSV cases. During the final week of October, Children’s Mercy Hospital had nearly 250 RSV-positive cases.
Former KCK Police Detective and 3 Others Indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Sex Crimes
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - A federal grand jury in Topeka has returned a three-count indictment, charging former Kansas City, Kansas police detective Roger Golubski and three other men with sex crimes. Prosecutors say Golubski - along with Cecil Brooks, LeMark Roberson and Richard Robinson - are accused of conspiring to hold young women in a condition of involuntary, sexual servitude. According to the indictment, from 1996 through 1998, Brooks provided a location at Delevan Apartments in Kansas City, Kansas, where young women were held and where the three men used beatings, sexual assaults and threats to compel young women to provide sexual services to men. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Golubski was previously charged, in a separate indictment, with civil rights violations for allegedly acting under color of law to commit aggravated sexual assaults. ( Read more.)
( –AP Version– )
Former Kansas Detective, 3 Others Accused of Sex Trafficking
UNDATED (AP) – A former Kansas police detective and three other men have been charged in a federal indictment with operating a sex trafficking operation involving teenage girls in the 1990s. In a grand jury indictment unsealed Monday, former Kansas City, Kansas, Detective Roger Golubski, and Cecil Brooks, Lemark Roberson and Richard Robinson were charged with conspiracy against rights and two counts of involuntary servitude. Golubski was already facing separate charges alleging that he preyed on Black women and girls for decades. The new indictment alleges that Brooks, Roberson and Robinson raped and beat girls and kept them at an apartment complex to provide sex to men. Golubski is accused of providing police protection for their activities and sexually assaulting the girls.
Kansas Episcopal Priest, NY Businessman Indicted in Foster Care Scheme
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - A federal grand jury in Topeka has returned an indictment charging a Kansas priest and a New York businessman in connection with a scheme to defraud a foster care organization of $10 million. Prosecutors say 50-year-old Robert Nelson Smith, an Episcopal priest in Salina, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Prosecutors say 50-year-old William Byrd Whymark, of Mount Kisco, New York, is facing similar charges. The two men are accused of defrauding Saint Francis Ministries, a faith-based organization in Salina that provides foster care and social services in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. The FBI is investigating the case.
KU Faculty and Academic Staff Announce Effort to Organize Union
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — University of Kansas faculty and academic staff on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses have announced plans to organize a union. United Academics of the University of Kansas (UAKU) would represent over 1,500 full and part-time faculty members. The union would be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors. UAKU will be collecting union authorization cards over the coming months, with a secret-ballot vote to officially form a union to follow. KU sociology professor Lisa-Marie Wright says KU has long enjoyed high rankings for academics and recognition as a premier research university, but that status is at risk. "Faculty and academic staff need a voice in decisions, especially when the student experience is at stake,” she said.
Ukrainian, Iranian Communities Hold Joint Weekend Protest in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — With war continuing in Ukraine and protests breaking out in Iran, Kansas City demonstrators made their voices heard over the weekend near the Country Club Plaza. KSHB TV reports that the cold November air did not deter protesters from speaking out on Saturday. The Ukrainian community has held protests for the majority of the calendar year, ever since Russia invaded the country. The goal of the protests is to educate their neighbors about the grave situations in Ukraine and Iran.
Missouri Approved Recreational Marijuana, Will Kansas Approve Medical Marijuana?
UNDATED (KNS) - A vote in Missouri to allow recreational marijuana use could put pressure on Kansas lawmakers to take action. The Kansas News Service reports that Kansas lawmakers have been debating the issue of medical cannabis for years, but have yet to pass legislation due to opposition from some Republican lawmakers. Kansas Cannabis Coalition advisor Kelly Ripple says with most of the state population living close to Missouri, that could push Kansas lawmakers to act. “To really move forward with protecting the provider and patient’s relationship by allowing a medical cannabis program to be enacted," Ripple said. The Kansas Speaks 2021 survey from Fort Hays State University found about 70% of people supported legalizing recreational marijuana for people over 21.
Changes Made to Lawrence-Run Homeless Camp After Public Outcry
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KSNT) – The City of Lawrence says changes have been made to a controversial homeless camp that generated a public outcry. KSNT reports that city officials have made two changes to the homeless camp, located behind Johnny's Tavern in North Lawrence. First, a fence has been added to provide both wind screening and visual screening from nearby businesses. Second, staff will be placed on-site to provide additional help to those staying at the camp. These actions come as members of the Lawrence community raised concerns about the city-run homeless camp.
Dangerous Chemicals Discovered in Rivers Across the Midwest
UNDATED (HPM) - Dangerous chemicals known as PFAS have been found in rivers across the Midwest. That’s according to a report from Waterkeeper Alliance. Harvest Public Media reports the chemicals were discovered over the summer. PFAS is a family of chemical substances that break down slowly. What has become known as "forever chemicals" are now present in the blood of people and animals and has been linked to certain cancers. Charles Miller, of the Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper, says their test of Cold Water Creek near St. Louis showed the highest concentration of any river tested in the Midwest. “I do genuinely think that in the region we're kind of behind the curve on regulating it. We're also behind the curve figuring out where it is," Miller said. Because there are currently no federal regulations, it is up to states to regulate PFAS. The EPA has committed to proposing a new national drinking water regulation by the end of the year.
Man Found Dead in Kansas River Identified
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KC Star) - Deputies have identified the man found dead in the Kansas River last week. The Kansas City Star reports that 25-year-old Darwin Reyes, of Kansas City, Kansas, was discovered Wednesday by a person walking their dog near Kaw Point Park. Wyandotte County sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the area and found Reyes lying dead on the riverbank. No further information has been released. The death investigation continues. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the anonymous TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.
One Dead in KCK After Police Found Him Shot in Vehicle Early Sunday
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KC Star) - A man is dead after a fatal shooting early Sunday in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that police responded early Sunday morning to an area near Kansas Avenue and Berger Avenue, where they found a man with a life-threatening gunshot wound inside a vehicle. The man was taken to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries. The killing was the 31st homicide in Kansas City, Kansas this year, according to data tracked by The Star, which includes fatal police shootings. There had been 44 homicides at this time last year. Police are investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to call the anonymous TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-8477.
Johnson County Man Charged with Late October Murder
MERRIAM, Kan. (KC Star) - A Johnson County man has been charged with murder in the October death of a Merriam man. The Kansas City Star reports that 20-year-old Devin Braswell is accused of killing of 23-year-old Charles Dillon on October 21. Braswell, a resident of Johnson County, was arrested Friday and is being held in the Johnson County Jail awaiting trial. His bond has been posted at $1 million. A date for Braswell to appear in court has not yet been set.
Ground-Penetrating Radar Used to Search for Site of Mass Grave in Shawnee County
SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (TCJ) - Twenty-two Potawatomi tribal members were buried in a mass grave in 1849 or 1850, after dying during a cholera epidemic that ravaged Uniontown, the first white community in what is today Shawnee County. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that researchers may have recently pinpointed the grave's location southeast of the city of Willard, along the county's western edge. Testing conducted using ground-penetrating radar and electrical resistivity suggests the gravesite was 10 feet long and 10 feet wide, said Blair Schneider, associate researcher and science outreach manager for the Kansas Geological Survey. For three years, Schneider has been conducting research regarding Uniontown, which was founded in 1848 when two government agents started a trading post near what is now Willard. The town stood just south of where the Oregon Trail crossed the Kansas River, according to the website of the Kansas Historical Society. Uniontown was hit in 1849 and 1850 by an outbreak of cholera, an infectious bacterial disease. "Many of the settlers abandoned the village, and those who stayed died," the historical society website said. "The Potawatomi Indians were not immune from the epidemic." Hundreds died, including 22 Potawatomi who were buried in a mass grave, the site said. "The town was then burned in order to ensure that the cholera epidemic would not spread again," it said.
City Employee Files $1.8 Million Discrimination Lawsuit Against Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) - A Kansas City, Missouri, employee is suing the city for $1.8 million, alleging discrimination after he was passed over for multiple promotions. According to the Kansas City Star, David Sims, a Black employee of the city for 22 years, claims he has experienced systemic racism on both a regular basis, and in promotional opportunities. Sims is requesting a trial by jury for his case.
Patrick Mahomes Throws 4 TD Passes as Kansas City Chiefs Beat Jacksonville Jaguars
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns, Kadarius Toney showed glimpses of stardom in his second game for the Chiefs and Kansas City rolled to a 27-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The win came at a cost for Kansas City, which lost wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to the concussion protocol after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jacksonville safety Andre Cisco. Trevor Lawrence threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, both to Christian Kirk, who finished with nine catches for 105 yards for the Jaguars. Kansas City has won six straight games against Jacksonville.
KC Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Placed in Concussion Protocol
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was ruled out for the rest of Kansas City's game against the Jaguars after a scary hit by Jacksonville safety Andre Cisco left him in the concussion protocol. Smith-Schuster was coming across the middle to catch a pass from Patrick Mahomes when Cisco hit him high, drawing flags from the officials. Smith-Schuster was left motionless on the turf with his hands momentarily frozen in a scene reminiscent of the concussion sustained by Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa earlier this season.
Undefeated Pittsburg State Gorillas Prepare for Playoffs
PITTSBURG, Kan. (KPR) - After completing an undefeated regular football season with an 11-0 record, the Pittsburg State Gorillas are now preparing for the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Gorillas are seeded third in their region and will host the University of Indianapolis Saturday at 1 pm. This is the first playoff appearance for the Gorillas since 2014.
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.