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Headlines for Monday, November 21, 2022



U.S. Supply Chain Under Threat as Unions, Railroads, Clash

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Railroad engineers accepted their deal with the railroads that will deliver 24% raises but conductors rejected the contract. The votes threaten the health of the economy just before the holidays and cast more doubt on whether the industry will be able to resolve the labor dispute before next month's deadline without help from Congress. Monday's votes by the two biggest railroad unions follows the decision by three other unions to reject their deals with the railroads that the Biden administration helped broker before the original strike deadline in September. Seven other smaller unions have approved the five-year deals that include 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses. But all 12 must approve the contracts to prevent a strike.


Powerball Ticket Worth $93 Million Sold in Northeast Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) - A Powerball lottery ticket worth nearly $93 million was sold in in northeast Kansas. Lottery officials say someone hit the game's $92.9 million jackpot in Saturday night's drawing. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the prize has not yet been claimed, and the site of the store that sold the winning ticket won't be made public until after that happens. The winner will have the option of remaining anonymous when claiming the prize. The grand prize totaled $92,900,000 for the annuity option or $47,309,601 for the cash option. Officials say the purchase was made in a region that includes Shawnee, Douglas, Jefferson, Osage, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Marshall, Nemaha, Brown, Doniphan, Riley, Atchison, Geary, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, Franklin, Miami, Morris and the northern half of Lyon counties.


Kansas School Districts Buy Electric Buses with EPA Funds

UNDATED (KNS) - Six Kansas school districts will buy electric buses with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Kansas News Service reports that half a dozen small school districts will buy 17 electric buses as part of a new federal program that prioritizes rural, low-income, and Tribal areas. Nationwide, the EPA is putting $1 billion into reducing emissions from school buses. The money comes from the national infrastructure law passed last year. Jim Goracke is superintendent of Sterling, a 500-student district near Hutchinson, that will buy two buses. He says the chance to seek federal funding for new vehicles was a no brainer. Charging them should cost about one-third as much as gassing up a regular bus. “Another benefit of the electric buses is you program them in to start up early, and it will preheat or pre cool the bus, (so) it will be ready for the driver when they get there. They don't have to go out early and start it up," he said.


Minor Changes Made to Kansas High School Graduation Requirements

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas students will need a few different classes to earn their high school diplomas in coming years. But a course on general life skills is not among them. The Kansas News Service reports that the Board of Education approved some minor changes to the list of credits required for graduation. Starting with this year’s eighth-graders, high school graduates will need a half-credit each of communications, health and financial literacy. The changes don’t include a class on general life skills, even though board member Melanie Haas says students told her they’d like one. "It was how to change a tire, and cooking, and how do I apply for a job, and what does it look like to get my first apartment? The things that are causing them angst as they arrive at the end of their high-school career," she said. Kansas requires students to pass at least 21 credits to graduate from high school, but most districts require more. The board briefly considered requiring a life skills class. But board member Ann Mah says the state hasn’t set standards for what that means. “Life skills is different all across the state. And so mandating something we can’t even define, at the last minute, I think makes us look a little irresponsible," Mah said. Kansas graduates also will be required to fill out an application for federal student aid unless they or their parents opt out.


Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Season Underway in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Salvation Army's iconic Red Kettles and bells are back in service for a new holiday season. KSNT reports that the kettles and bell-ringers are now stationed at retailers across Topeka. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Hope Marches On.” The kettles will be out in Topeka through December 24. This year, there are more options to donate via smartphone. Donors can use Paypal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay, or at DonateTopeka.com.

According to KSNT, the kettle has been around for decades, but the idea first came from Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee in the 1890s. He wanted to make a difference for those facing poverty in San Francisco. When thinking about how to fund a Christmas dinner for those struggling to make ends meet, he remembered the idea of a “Simpson’s Pot.” When McFee was a sailor in England, he remembered how boats would come in and people would toss money in the pot to help those who needed it. He started doing the same thing, and soon enough was able to help feed people at Christmas time. Anyone interested in signing up to be a bell ringer at one of the kettle locations can sign up at RegistertoRing.com. The website gives volunteers the option to ring bells as a group, individual or conduct an online fundraiser.


Unified Government of Wyandotte County Will Fund Search of Former KCK Detective's Cases

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP/KPR/KC Star) — The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, plans to spend up to $1.7 million on technology to help search decades of files connected to a former police detective accused of abusing women and girls. The Unified Government Commission voted Thursday to find funding to help the Wyandotte County District Attorney's office review cases involving Roger Golubski. The former KCK detective is accused in two federal indictments of sexually exploiting Black females for decades, and of being connected to a sex-trafficking operation. District Attorney Marc Dupree told commissioners that most of the files involving Golubski are paper files stored in boxes in an old jail. The  Kansas City Star reports that the 69-year-old Golubski remains under house arrest in Edwardsville.


Kansas Public Radio Still Seeking Kansas Statehouse Bureau Chief to Join KPR's Award-Winning News Team

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Public Radio, located at the University of Kansas, is looking for a new Kansas Statehouse Bureau Chief to cover all aspects of state government in Topeka for KPR and its statewide reporting partners. This exciting position requires skill, professional experience and curiosity. To apply, log on to:   https://employment.ku.edu/staff/23463BR. A review of applications began in October and will continue until a robust pool of qualified applicants is identified.

KU is an EO/AAE. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, national origin, disability, genetic information or protected Veteran status.


Stormont-Vail Hospital Reinstates Masking Protocols 

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – KSNT reports that Stormont-Vail Hospital has reinstated masking protocols after an increase in COVID-19 transmission rates in the Topeka and Shawnee County area. The hospital made its announcement Thursday in response to a steady increase in community transmission of COVID-19. Staff will be required to wear face masks in areas where patients are present, but will not be required to wear them in areas where patient access is restricted. Visitors and patients will be required to wear masks in clinics and hospitals. Stormont-Vail had dropped most of their mask requirements last month, following new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now that Shawnee County and surrounding areas are considered to be in the “high” community transmission level, masks are once again required.


KU's Dole Institute Announces Panelists for Post-Election Conference

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced the panelists for its 2022 Post-Election Conference. Dole Institute Director Emeritus Bill Lacy returns to moderate this conference that delves into the key strategies of elections. The conference features political experts, state and national strategists, pollsters, journalists and campaign officials who analyze how and why elections were won and lost, and what that will mean for the next two years. The conference takes place in three parts: a Kansas session on December 6; a national session on December 7; and a second national session on December 8. All sessions are free and open to the public. A free livestream will be available at doleinstitute.org.

Panelists for the Post-Election Conference:

Kansas session:

    Katie Bernard, reporter for the Kansas City Star
    Evan Gates, executive director at Kansas Values Institute
    Alexandra Middlewood, assistant professor of political science at Wichita State University
    Patrick Miller, associate professor of political science at KU
    Representative from Laura Kelly’s campaign
    Representative from Derek Schmidt’s campaign

National sessions:

    Gerald Seib, former executive editor of The Wall Street Journal
    Brendan Buck, former aide to then-House Speaker Paul Ryan
    Mike Shields, founder and partner of Convergence, Republican strategist
    Molly Murphy, president of Impact Research, Democratic strategist
    Joshua Jamerson, East Coast Bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal
    Jessica Taylor, Senate and Governors editor for The Cook Political Report


Kansas Specialty Courts Aim to Help Veterans in Trouble

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Three new specialty courts are coming to Kansas with the goal of helping veterans avoid jail or prison. The Kansas News Service reports that the new courts are coming to Sedgwick, Shawnee and Leavenworth counties, thanks to millions of dollars in federal funding. These specialty courts involve weeks of supervision and intensive counseling tailored for mental health challenges veterans experience. For someone with a drug charge, that could mean five drug tests a week. The courts have veterans on staff to help build a support network. The courts are tailored specifically toward challenges veterans face, like PTSD. The courts will offer intensive treatment, like counseling, while surrounding veterans with a support network of other service members. These specialty courts are just for use by military members but other options, like drug courts, are available for the general public. All three of the new courts should be running by January. ( Read more.


55 Million Americans Expected to Travel for Thanksgiving Holiday

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNT) – Nearly 55 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday.  According to AAA, most travelers will drive to their destinations. KSNT reports that nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car, with 4.5 million Americans flying. AAA expects more than 581,000 Kansans will travel over the holiday weekend. That's an increase of 1.2% over last year. More than 525,000 Kansans will be traveling by car, the most popular mode of transportation.


Travis Kelce Scores 3 Touchdowns as KC Chiefs Rally Past Chargers 30-27

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce for their third touchdown of the game with 31 seconds remaining, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied past the Los Angeles Chargers 30-27 to stay atop the AFC. Mahomes hit Kelce on a short crossing route that Kelce took to the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown, concluding a six-play, 75-yard drive that took just 1:15. The Chargers had pulled ahead 27-23 on Justin Herbert's 6-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Palmer with 1:46 left. The Chiefs swept the season series from Los Angeles and took a three-game lead in the AFC West. Kansas City leads four teams by one game in the conference.


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.