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Headlines for Tuesday, December 6, 2020



Kansas Attorney General Files Suit Against Drug Companies over Cost of Insulin

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is suing major drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers for driving up the cost of insulin for Kansans. The Kansas News Service reports that almost 250,000 Kansans are diabetic and insulin prices have increased by more than 600% in the past 20 years. The filing claims the groups violated Kansas consumer protection laws. It alleges that the insulin manufacturers worked with the pharmacy benefit managers to raise prices and that was rewarded with financial kickbacks. Eli Lilly responded to a similar lawsuit filed in Arkansas saying the claims were inaccurate and that the company offers several affordable solutions. This is the second lawsuit about drug prices in the state to come out of an ongoing investigation.


Father, Young Daughter Dead Following Shooting Southeast of Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - Douglas County authorities have released the names of a father and daughter found dead from gunshot wounds near Baldwin City. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 55-year-old David M. Koch, and his 13-year-old daughter Hayden Koch, are the two people found dead from gunshot wounds Monday morning. Douglas County authorities believe that Hayden Koch died from a gunshot wound and that David Koch died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The person who reported the incident was not injured. The shooting was reported in the 700 block of East 1550 Road, southeast of Lawrence. Deputies were notified just after 7 am Monday of a possible shooting at the residence. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office announced earlier on Monday that deputies discovered two people inside who had died. Other details of the incident, including a motive, haven’t been released by investigators. A spokesman for the city of Lawrence confirmed that a David M. Koch was an employee of the city, working as a maintenance worker in its Municipal Services & Operations division.


Two Kansas High Schools Investigate Offensive Chants at Game

UNDATED (AP) – Two Kansas high schools are investigating after students at one school reportedly yelled racist and offensive taunts at the other school's basketball teams. The basketball coach at Topeka High School says the men's basketball team faced “outright racism” when they played Valley Center High School on Saturday. Coach Geo Lyons says Valley Center students taunted his players and passed around a Black baby doll during the game. Valley Center administrators have apologized to Topeka school officials. They say an investigation uncovered inappropriate behavior but not specifically racist taunts from students during the game. Lyons has started a petition to have Valley Center High School fans removed from future sporting events.


Goodland Man Pleads No Contest in Death of Infant

GOODLAND – (December 5, 2022) – A Goodland man has pleaded no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse stemming from the death of an infant in 2020. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says 27-year-old Steven E. Johnson, of Goodland, entered the plea Monday in Sherman County District Court to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of child abuse. Judge Scott Showalter accepted the plea and set sentencing for January 30. The case stems from the death of a 3-month-old child on May 13, 2020. The case was investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Goodland Police Department.


Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Aggravated Arson After Lawrence Apartment Fire

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) - A 26-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated arson following a fire early Monday morning in central Lawrence. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a 911 call was made just before 4 am about the fire at Meadowbrook Apartments (2711 Brittany Place). Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire in a first-floor stairwell at one end of the two-level, 24-unit building. No injuries were reported, and no damage estimate was immediately available. Later Monday, Lawrence Police indicated that they had arrested a woman in connection with the incident. Douglas County Jail records show that Jessica Michelle Stephenson was booked on suspicion of aggravated arson. Stephenson served time in prison for a 2018 Douglas County burglary and battery on a law enforcement officer.


Drowning Victim Recovered in Northeast Kansas Lake

NEMAHA COUNTY, Kan. (KSNT) – The body of a Virginia man has been recovered after his boat capsized in Centralia Lake on Friday, December 2. KSNT reports that Jesse W. Dove, of Strasburg, was found by a resident familiar with the lake. The Nemaha County Sheriff’s Office said it received a 911 call Friday about a boat with one man aboard that had capsized. The caller told authorities the man was in the water. Following an extensive search, authorities determined it was no longer a rescue. Instead, it had become a recovery. Authorities continued the search until dark and then resumed the search Saturday morning. With help from the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department and a local resident who was familiar with the lake, Dove’s body was found.


Legislative Veterans to Lead Both Parties in Kansas House

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House Republicans have promoted their No. 2 leader into the top job of speaker. Meanwhile, Democrats on Monday picked a veteran of state and local politics to lead them over a much younger relative newcomer. State Rep. Dan Hawkins, of Wichita, faced no opposition among the 85 GOP House members and members-elect to his promotion. He’s served four years as majority leader. GOP unity contrasted with a divide among Democrats over who should lead them for the next two years. They voted 21-19 for 71-year-old state Rep. Vic Miller of Topeka over 32-year-old Rep. Brandon Woodard of Lenexa. Woodard is the first openly gay man in the Legislature.


Kansas Native Kirstie Alley, Emmy-Winning 'Cheers' TV Star, Dies at 71

LOS ANGELES (AP/KPR) — Kansas native Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy winner who starred in the 1980s sitcom "Cheers" and the hit film "Look Who's Talking," has died. She was 71. Her death was announced Monday by her children on social media and confirmed by her manager. The post said she died of cancer that was recently diagnosed. Alley starred as Rebecca Howe on the NBC sitcom "Cheers" from 1987 to 1993.

Alley starred opposite Ted Danson as Rebecca Howe on "Cheers," the beloved NBC sitcom about a Boston bar, from 1987 to 1993. She joined the show at the height of its popularity after the departure of original star Shelley Long. Alley would win an Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series for the role in 1991. She would take a second Emmy for best lead actress in a miniseries or television movie in 1993 for playing the title role in the CBS TV movie "David's Mother." She had her own sitcom on the network, "Veronica's Closet," from 1997 to 2000.

In the 1989 comedy "Look Who's Talking," which gave her a major career boost, she played the mother of a baby who's inner thoughts were voiced by Bruce Willis. She would also appear in a 1990 sequel "Look Who's Talking Too," and another in 1993, "Look Who's Talking Now." John Travolta, her co-star in the trilogy, paid her tribute in an Instagram post. "Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I've ever had," Travolta said, along with a photo of Alley. "I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again."

Alley made her film debut in 1982's "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan." A native of Wichita, Kansas, Alley attended Kansas State University before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles.


New Study Aims to Help Kansan Farmer Manage Climate Change

HAYS, Kan. (KNS) - As climate change brings dry western weather eastward, Kansas farmers will need to change how they work. The Kansas News Service reports that a new study aims to help farmers in northeast Kansas prepare for that future. The study from Kansas State University and the University of Kansas will use computer modeling. It will test how a variety of potential climate scenarios might play out on northeast Kansas farmland. K-State researcher Vaishali Sharda says the research will be especially important in the coming decades as the so-called dry line, which separates the arid West from the humid East, slowly creeps eastward across Kansas. The findings could help farmers adapt. She says the research will also look at how increased irrigation in northeast Kansas could affect the safety and availability of water supplies.


Prosecutors: KC Woman Kept Body of Dead Daughter in Her Home for Days

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) — Authorities say a Kansas City woman kept her 5-year-old’s body at her home for several days after the young girl died of severe neglect. The  Kansas City Star reports that 43-year-old Adair Fish called 911 on November 3 to report that one of her twin daughters was dead, and that the other was unresponsive. According to Jackson County prosecutors, during the call, Fish allegedly stated that one of the girls had been dead for an extended period of time. Police and emergency personnel arrived on the scene (5700 block of St. John Avenue) to find insect activity and various debris piled several feet high off the floor. First responders reported a strong stench of death in the apartment.

Authorities say the dead 5-year-old was found wrapped in blankets and in an “advanced state of decomposition." The second girl and Fish were immediately transported to the hospital. A doctor’s note stated the living 5-year-old had suffered physical abuse and significant neglect. The girl was bruised and weighed as much as a 20-month-old child, according to the documents. She suffered from malnutrition, severe dehydration and premature social behaviors as a result of isolation. The doctor added that she may suffer permanent negative effects on future growth and cognitive development. An autopsy report revealed the dead twin suffered from “physical wasting” associated with either malnutrition or chronic disease.

Fish was charged with four felonies Thursday – one count of child abuse resulting in death, one count of child abuse with serious injury, one count of first-degree child endangerment resulting in death, and one count of child endangerment resulting in physical injury. According to court documents, Fish had previously lost custody of the twins. The state granted her custody of the girls again in 2019.


Man Charged in Deadly Shawnee Shooting, Others Remain in Custody

SHAWNEE, Kan. (WDAF) — A man has been charged in a deadly Shawnee shooting that killed another man.  WDAF TV reports that Fernando Reyes-Lara has been charged with 1st-Degree Murder and Aggravated Robbery in the shooting death of 25-year-old Jarod Rogers who died from his injuries Friday. On Wednesday, officers responded to a parking lot near Johnson Drive and Nieman Road for a welfare check around 6:30 pm. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Rogers suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to an area hospital where he died Friday.


Future of Library in St. Marys Could Be Decided Tuesday

ST MARYS, Kan. (KNS) - The future of a public library in a small northeast Kansas town could be decided Tuesday night after complaints were made about LGBTQ materials on the book shelves. The Kansas News Service reports that city leaders in St. Marys, northwest of Topeka, have threatened not to renew the lease for their regional library, unless the library pledges to remove some materials dealing with race, sex or LGBTQ topics. The debate started after a parent complained about the book “Melissa,” which is about a transgender middle-schooler. At a meeting last month, commissioners proposed allowing a short-term lease for the library and forming a citizen committee to review materials. The Kansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is urging commissioners to renew the library’s lease. The group says banning materials violates the Constitution.


Bonner Springs Man Sentenced for Child Sexual Exploitation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KPR) – A northeast Kansas man has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for engaging in sexual acts with a child and taking nude pictures and videos of the child. According to court documents, in September 2022, 35-year-old Joshua Courtney, of Bonner Springs, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and four counts of  possession of child pornography. Acting on cybertips submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, law enforcement agents found dozens of pornographic images in Courtney’s Google photos. Courtney admitted to investigators to taking nude photos of a 10-year-old child, filming while he engaged in sexual acts with the child, and sending these materials to others. He also admitted receiving child pornography of other children on his cell phone. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the U.S. Secret Service investigated the case.


Parsons Man Sentenced for Producing Child Porn

WICHITA, KAN. (KPR) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to nearly 29 years in prison for the production of child pornography. According to court documents, 30-year-old Dillon Everman, of Parsons, admitted in pleading guilty that he encouraged and requested co-defendant Dustin Strom to sexually abuse two young children and send him images of the abuse. Everman then saved the images and created a shareable link that he made available to Strom and others. In October 2022, 26-year-old Dustin Strom, of Parsons, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to producing child pornography. Homeland Security  Investigations  (HSI)  and the Kansas Internet  Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) investigated the case.


Arrest Made in Connection with Man Found Dead in Car in Chanute

CHANUTE, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, and the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a homicide after a man was found dead Saturday in Chanute. WIBW TV reports that 43-year-old Casey M. Dye, of Petrolia, Kansas, arrived at the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and provided a statement to sheriff’s deputies. Law enforcement located a deceased man in a car inside a automotive glass shop. The shop is located in Chanute. The deceased man, identified as 45-year-old Ryan M. Holcomb, of Chanute, had suffered fatal gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Dye was arrested for first-degree murder and booked into the Allen County Jail. Investigators allege Dye killed Holcomb Saturday morning at a rural property in Allen County, and then moved his body to the business in Chanute where he was discovered. The investigation is ongoing.


KPR Still Seeking Kansas Statehouse Bureau Chief to Join Station'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.


Program Aims to Educate Kansas Foster Parents About Child Trafficking

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Foster parents can soon take new training to help them identify signs of child trafficking. The Kansas News Service reports that the goal is to boost the state’s response to those crimes. Shanna Jager, executive director of the Children’s Alliance of Kansas, says this training will not only teach families to identify signs of trafficking, but help them build relationships with foster children so kids can avoid trafficking in the future. The program also hopes to dispel common misconceptions around what trafficking looks like. There are multiple forms of trafficking training that already exist. But programs are currently different for police, social workers or foster parents. "Our effort is really an attempt to streamline some of that work, make it a little more consistent, a little more uniform, so that all caregivers are receiving the same message statewide," Jager said. The new training starts with a test program next month.


Kansas Secretary of Administration, Chief IT Officer Leaving Dual Position

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has announced the departure of Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace, the secretary of administration and the state's chief information technology officer. Burns-Wallace will be leaving her dual roles as the head of two executive branch agencies on January 6, 2023. She plans to return to teaching in the spring.  Burns-Wallace has served as head of the Department of Administration since her appointment in June 2019. She also led the Office of Information Technology Services. The governor will name candidates to the soon-to-be-vacant roles in the coming weeks.


Both Sides of State Line Debate KC Chiefs' Future Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Home to the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, the best tailgating in the NFL and recognized as the loudest sports stadium in the world, Arrowhead Stadium is as Kansas City as it gets. But there is change on the horizon as the lease for Arrowhead is up in the year 2031, and no one knows if the Chiefs will stay at the Truman Sports Complex in Missouri, or load up the moving trucks and head west to Kansas.

KCTV reports that Kansas lawmakers added a provision to the sports betting bill that was passed earlier this year. It sets aside a portion of the state’s gambling tax revenue for the sole purpose of building a new stadium to attract a professional sports team to the Sunflower State. So, where might the Chiefs move Arrowhead? Signs point to the Legends area in Kansas City, Kansas. Already home to the Kansas Speedway and Sporting Kansas City, the Legends area is viewed as a good fit for the Chiefs because there is plenty of land to build on. It is also easy to access, sitting right next to I-435 and I-70. But many Chiefs fans who live in Missouri are not amused by the prospect of the team moving to Kansas.

What happens with Arrowhead depends in large part on what the Royals do. And now that Royals ownership has confirmed it plans to move the club to a new downtown stadium, that gives the Chiefs options. With the Royals leaving the Truman Sports Complex, the Chiefs could demolish Kauffman and build a new stadium in its place surrounded by an entertainment district.


Sugar Bowl Pits Alabama Against Kansas State for the First Time

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Alabama and newly crowned Big 12 champion Kansas State will meet for the first time at the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve. The Crimson Tide are headed to the Sugar Bowl for the 17th time after narrowly missing out on the four-team College Football Playoff because of losses at Tennessee and LSU on the last play of each game. Kansas State is 10-3 after handing TCU its first loss of the season in overtime of the Big 12 title game in Dallas. The Sugar Bowl could be the final college game for Alabama quarterback and 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. He's eligible for the 2023 NFL draft and could even be the top player selected.


Kansas Football Headed to Liberty Bowl to Play Arkansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas football team will officially play in the 2022 AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Arkansas. The Jayhawks ended the season at 6-6, while the Razorbacks ended at 6-6 as well. WIBW TV reports that the Liberty Bowl will be played on December 28 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, TN. This year marks the first bowl game appearance by the Jayhawks in more than a decade.


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.