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Headlines for Monday, December 26, 2022

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Oil Company Set to Resume Pumping through Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Canadian oil company TC Energy says it will soon resume pumping oil through Kansas, even as it continues cleanup from its biggest ever oil spill earlier this month. The U.S. Department of Transportation has given approval, though TC Energy says inspections and preparations are ongoing. It's still not clear what caused the Keystone's biggest spill ever on December 7th in north-central Kansas. Nearly 600,000 gallons spilled.


Kansas Republicans Push for Easier Impeachment of Judges

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas lawmakers will consider making it easier to remove judges from office for undermining the power of the Legislature. The bill is related to Republican opposition to abortion rights. Republican state Representative Brett Fairchild is sponsoring the bill that would create more ways for judges to be removed from office. Currently the Kansas Constitution says judges can only be removed when they are convicted of serious crimes such as treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors. Fairchild says court rulings in favor of abortion rights are wrong and the bill can help counteract that. “That might cause the supreme court justices and the other justices to not go quite as far in their rulings," Fairchild said. “I do believe that the judiciary has gone too far in taking away power from the legislature when it comes to regulating abortion.” The Kansas Bar Association opposed a similar bill passed by the Kansas Senate in 2016. Lawmakers return to Topeka for the legislative session on January 9.


Monday Night Flights from KCI Canceled

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – All Southwest Airlines flights out of Kansas City International Airport on Monday evening were canceled, as the airline worked to manage bad weather and staffing turmoil. WDAF reports that KCI Airport’s flight status site showed that Southwest had canceled over 10 upcoming flights, as of 7 p.m. Monday. Several more flights from earlier in the day were also canceled or delayed, leaving long lines and frustrated travelers at the airport. Monday night's scheduled flights from other airlines, including Delta and Sprint, were still showing on-time status, as of 7 p.m. As of Monday night, only one Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday had been canceled. Southwest issued a statement saying it expects flight changes to continue through the New Year holiday.


Missing Omaha Woman's Body Found in Topeka

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT/WIBW) - Nebraska authorities confirm that a body found in Topeka earlier this week is that of an Omaha woman reported missing five weeks ago. WIBW reports that the death of 43-year-old Cari Allen has been ruled a homicide. 47-year-old Aldrick Scott is being held on a $10 million bond after investigators found him in the Central American country of Belize. Scott was brought back to Omaha last week to face kidnapping charges.


Separate Fires Claim One Victim, Topeka Home

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ/KPR) - One person died and a home was destroyed in two separate fires in Topeka Friday. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a policeman on routine patrol discovered the body near a fire in a campsite on the Kansas River early Friday morning. The name of the victim has not been released. A separate fire destroyed a Topeka home minutes later, where three residents escaped without injury. The Kansas State Fire Marshal's office is investigating both fires.


Vital Statistics: Kansas Deaths Down in 2021

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Newly released vital statistics reveal that fewer Kansans died in 2021 than in 2020. But deaths were still significantly higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Heart disease and cancer remained the leading two causes of death in the state; COVID-19 was the third. But deaths from certain causes increased dramatically. Accidental drug deaths rose nearly 50 percent. And the rate of deaths by suicide rose to match the 2018 rate, which was the highest in the past twenty years. The birth rate remained unchanged from 2020, matching the lowest rate in more than a century.


USDA Predicts Record Farm Incomes for 2022

LINCOLN,Neb. (HPR) - National farm income will likely reach new highs when the numbers are tallied for 2022, despite a difficult growing season. Drought, bird flu and costly fertilizer and fuel made it hard to raise crops and livestock this year. Prices skyrocketed when Russia limited Ukraine’s grain exports. A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates high prices won out – net farm income is forecast at $160 billion, up 14 % since last year. But agricultural economist Brad Lubben says that higher profits are not evenly spread among American farmers. "The drought definitely hurt the Midwest and the Great Plains much more than it did the rest of the country," Lubben said. "And in some of those places, higher prices don't make up for the lost bushels." For example, Lubben’s most recent research indicated 2022 farm income would be flat in Nebraska.


States Contend with Short Timeline to Correct Broadband Map

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kansas and other states are racing against a deadline to challenge the map federal officials will use to divvy up the nation’s largest-ever investment in high-speed internet. At stake is a share of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, part of the infrastructure measure President Joe Biden signed into law last year. States have until Jan. 13 to challenge a broadband speed map the Federal Communications Commission released last month. For the first time, it illustrates the haves and have nots of internet access down to specific street addresses.


Cerner Puts over 4 Million Square Feet of Office Space on the Market in Kansas City Area in Last 22 Months

UNDATED (WDAF) – WDAF reports that Oracle Cerner has moved to put at least 4.1 million square feet of its Kansas City-area office and support space on the market in the past 22 months. That’s nearly as much space as downtown Kansas City’s six largest office towers combined. By comparison, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s lease assumption at 1400KC, adds up to 260,000 square feet. WDAF also reports that the 28 largest office lease transactions since 2021, as tracked by Cushman & Wakefield, total only 1.44 million square feet. That's just over a third of what Oracle Cerner is putting up for grabs.


Grant Wahl's Life Celebrated at New York City Gathering

NEW YORK (AP) — Grant Wahl was remembered for his peripatetic life as a sportswriter, pursuit of social justice and lasting impact on family, friends and people he mentored. Wahl, a native of Mission, Kansas, died at age 49 from an aortic aneurysm on December 10 while covering a World Cup match in Qatar. A two-hour celebration of his life at The Times Center on Wednesday drew several hundred people, including colleagues and soccer officials. Wahl's wife, Celine Gounder, spoke along with his brother, Eric Wahl, and former Sports Illustrated colleagues.


Chiefs Defeat Seahawks 24-10, Stay Tied for AFC's Best Record

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score and Kansas City shut down Geno Smith and the slumping Seattle offense as the Chiefs rolled to a 24-10 victory over the Seahawks. Travis Kelce had six catches for 113 yards, and Kadarius Toney and Jerick McKinnon had touchdown catches for the AFC West champions. They remained tied with Buffalo at 12-3 for the conference's best record. The Seahawks were stopped twice on fourth down and Geno Smith threw a pick in the end zone as they lost for the fifth time in six games.


Unsung Players Join Chiefs Stars in Making Postseason Push

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have relied on unsung and overlooked players alongside stars such as Patrick Mahomes to not only win the AFC West, but continue to fight for the lone first-round playoff bye in the conference. Jerick McKinnon is tops on the list as the journeyman running back has scored in four straight games with seven TDs over that span. He signed a one-year deal that pays him a relatively paltry $1,272,500 this season, making him perhaps one of the best values in the NFL this season. Other unsung players such as Andrew Wylie and Justin Watson have been turned out to be steals for Kansas City at various points.


No. 1 Purdue Headlines AP Top 25; KU Holds Steady at No. 4

UNDATED (AP) – Purdue remained atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll for a third straight week. The week also included preseason No. 1 North Carolina returning to the rankings at No. 25 and New Mexico cracking the poll for the first time in eight years. The Boilermakers earned 40 of 60 first-place votes in Monday’s new poll, while fellow unbeaten Connecticut earned the other 20 to sit at No. 2 in an unchanged top. Houston, Kansas and Arizona rounded out the top five. Miami made the week's biggest jump by climbing eight spots to No. 14.


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 ismade possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today. And follow KPR News on Twitter.