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Headlines for Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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Emily Fisher

3 KC Police Officers Shot, Expected to Survive

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBC) — Kansas City police say two suspects in Tuesday night's shooting of three KCPD officers have surrendered. However, a standoff at a home on Blue Ridge Boulevard continues. KMBC TV reports that officers with the Kansas City Police Department were working with the Jackson County, Missouri, Drug Task Force to serve a search warrant at a home in the 2300 block of Blue Ridge Boulevard around 10 pm. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which typically takes over investigations involving police shootings, said the officers knocked on their door and announced their presence. When attempting to enter the home, they were shot by someone inside. "Three of our officers were struck," Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said. "They did return fire. They self-transported to a hospital and all three are thankfully in non-life threatening condition." A large presence of police officers outside of University Health was seen after the shooting was reported.

Graves said it is unknown if anyone inside the home was struck when the officers returned fire. All three injured officers are expected to survive, with injuries that are considered non-life threatening. No additional details regarding the nature of those injuries have been released.

A police standoff was launched in the area following the shooting. "We’ve been reminded too much lately in Kansas City how dangerous police work can be," Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a tweet. "I am praying for a full recovery for our three officers injured this evening and that everyone on duty gets home to their families safely."

The Independence Police Department is assisting Kansas City police with the standoff, which is continuing into Wednesday morning. It's recommended to avoid the area.


Lawrence Police Respond to Hoax Call About Active Shooter at Free State High

Lawrence, Kan. (KPR) - Police in Lawrence responded to a hoax call about an active shooter Wednesday morning at Free State High School. Officials say a School Resource Officer inside the building immediately recognized the call as a "swatting" incident, where a false claim is made to illicit a police response. All available officers in the area did respond to the call just before 8:30 am. In a statement, the police department said it takes such threats seriously and is actively investigating the incident.


Total Kansas Tax Collections in February Exceed Estimates by Nearly $37 Million

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – Total Kansas tax collections for February were $549.8 million, almost $37 million more than had been estimated. Collections were also $47 million more than in February 2022. Governor Laura Kelly touted the economic news Wednesday, saying revenues had exceeded estimates for 30 of the last 31 months. Individual income tax collections were $211 million in February, about $6 million more than expected. Corporate income tax collections were about $15 million.


Kansas Senator Cosponsors Legislation to Prevent Foreign Adversaries from Buying American Farmland

WASHINGTON (KPR) – Kansas Senator Jerry Moran has cosponsored legislation to prevent China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from

acquiring American farmland. “Our adversaries should not be allowed to take ownership of American farmland,” said Moran. “Kansas plays a crucial role in producing food for the American people, and we cannot allow malign actors to disrupt or manipulate these supply chains by taking possession of farms, ranches or the agriculture industry." The legislation was introduced by fellow Republican Senator Mike Rounds, of South Dakota, and Democratic Senator Jon Tester, of Montana.

The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security, or PASS Act, would add the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting U.S. national security. This legislation would also require the president to submit a report to Congress on any waiver granted to a prohibited country and require reporting from the Secretary of Agriculture on the risk of foreign purchases of ag companies.

Companion and bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.


Governor: Kansas Ranked #1 in Private Investment Per Capita for 2nd Straight Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas attracted more private business investment per capita than any other state in 2022. And, she says, the state will receive an economic development award, known as the Governor’s Cup, from Site Selection magazine for the second year in a row. “This award proves our efforts have paid off," Kelly said. "The record-setting investment we’ve attracted will fuel prosperity in every corner of our state for generations to come.”

For more than three decades, Site Selection magazine has awarded the Governor’s Cup to the state with the most capital investment. In 2012, Site Selection established a second category for the state with the most qualified projects per capita. This allows states with smaller populations experiencing economic success to be recognized. Only one state is awarded this prestigious award annually. The state's rankings with Site Selection magazine have improved each year since Kelly was first elected. In 2019, Kansas was No. 20. The following year, Kansas moved up 10 spots. The state hit No. 1 in 2021 and was awarded its first Governor’s Cup.

A few projects of 2022 that contributed to Kansas winning the Governor’s Cup:

  • Panasonic Energy, $4 billion investment, creating 4,000 jobs in De Soto
  • Scorpion Biologics, $650 million investment, creating 500 new jobs in Manhattan
  • Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Co., $326 million investment in Olathe 
  • Pratt Industries, $128 million investment, creating 78 new jobs in Park City
  • Goodyear Tire, $125 million investment, creating 40 new jobs in Topeka 


Kansas Lawmakers Battle over Transgender Issues

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KPR) - Another fight over bills targeting transgender rights will be a major political issue for the Kansas Legislature in the coming weeks. The Kansas News Service reports lawmakers returned to Topeka Wednesday for the second half of the 2023 legislative session. Republican lawmakers are pushing bills that would ban biological males from competing in women’s sports and prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender children. But the bills will likely turn on whether lawmakers can rally enough votes to override a veto from Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The recent votes to pass the bills failed to reach veto-proof majorities. Lawmakers will also spend the rest of the session sparring over taxes and the state budget.


Tennessee Pushes to Define 'Sex,' Could Risk Federal Funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Republican lawmakers have advanced legislation that would prevent transgender people from changing their driver’s licenses and birth certificates. It's a move that officials warn could cost the state millions in federal funding, but the bill's supporters on Thursday argued they didn't care about the potential costs. If enacted, the proposal would define male and female in state law and base people’s legal gender identities on their anatomy at birth. A handful of Republican-led state legislatures have introduced similar bills — including Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma — as GOP lawmakers have put transgender issues at the forefront of their legislative agenda. Legislative officials tasked with calculating the fiscal impact of bills have stated that the Tennessee bill would likely open the state to “civil litigation and could jeopardize federal funding” because it could conflict with federal rules.


Kansas Bill Would Ease Licensing for Mental Health Professionals

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas lawmakers are working to make it easier for mental health care professionals to get licensed in the state. It’s a response to the state’s shortage of providers. The Kansas House has passed several licensing bills with overwhelming bipartisan support. One of the bills enables graduates of online social work programs to fill jobs in Kansas. Another measure simplifies the process of accepting out-of-state licenses. Mary Jones, with the Mental Health Association of South-Central Kansas, says the changes would help address a severe shortage of mental health care providers. “There are not enough clinicians to provide the health care that's needed for our citizens who are experiencing mental health issues,” Jones said. A recent report ranked Kansas last in the country on key mental health measures, highlighting a lack of providers.


Kansas Lawmakers Look to Increase Foster Care Oversight Agency

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansas lawmakers want to solidify the role of the state’s foster care oversight agency. The Division of the Child Advocate was only created through executive order. That means, at any time, the governor could change the office or completely eliminate it. Lawmakers have two proposals to embed the office in state law and to make it more independent from the governor's office. A plan in the state Senate would fill the job with someone nominated by the governor and approved by the Kansas Senate. State Senator Kellie Warren supported that idea. “It will become a very useful, helpful, important way to help protect children who are in the custody of the state moving forward," she said. The House wants to create an advisory board who would pick the agency's leaders — again, more independent of the governor.


Man Sentenced for Shooting at Police During Wichita Protest

WICHITA, Kan. (AP/KPR) — A man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting at police during racial protests in Wichita in 2020. Thirty-year-old Henry Parker was sentenced Monday on 21 counts, including aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer. Prosecutors said Parker was arrested after firing shots at officers trying to disperse a crowd early on June 2, 2020. The officers, who were in riot gear and armored vehicles, were not seriously injured. The unrest followed a protest sparked by the May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Parker's attorney argued during his trial that police arrested the wrong man.

Prosecutors say Parker left work and drove to the protest in Wichita, fired at officers trying to disperse a crowd and then returned to work. Parker was upset when a woman he called his sister was hit with a rubber bullet while she held a baby, according to a probable cause affidavit released by the court. Parker's attorney contended he left work to pick up a friend and wasn't gone long enough to have driven to the protest site, The Wichita Eagle reported. Bullets fragments from the gunfire grazed at least two officers' riot helmets but no officers were seriously hurt.


Harvey County Temporarily Halts Construction of Wind Farms

HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KNS) – Harvey County Commissioners have voted to temporarily ban wind energy projects in the county, following intense backlash from rural residents. Commissioners previously approved plans to allow NextEra Energy to develop a wind farm in western Harvey County. Now, they’ve implemented the ban for six months as the county government prepares to conduct a citizen's advisory vote on the issue. Michael King lives in rural Harvey County. He says he’s concerned about the impact on bald eagles who roost there. “I have pictures of them at our farm," he said. "So, they’re distributed completely throughout the county.” A subsidiary of NextEra was ordered to pay $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed by its turbines in eight other states. In 2019, Reno County commissioners voted to deny a NextEra project after backlash there.


Topeka Marketing Firm Celebrates 25 Years in Business by Fighting "Period Poverty" in Public Schools

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) - A Topeka marketing and public relations firm is celebrating its 25th year in business by launching a campaign to address community health issues. MB Piland Advertising and Marketing will launch "Punctuating the Period" - a campaign designed to fight period poverty in Topeka Public Schools. "Our purpose is to improve the health and well-being of people and communities," said Martha Bartlett Piland, the firm’s president and CEO. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that for some students, a lack of access to menstrual products can mean forgoing classes and activities, with low-income families having a more difficult time being able to afford such products.

According to the advocacy nonprofit group Alliance for Period Supplies, one in seven Kansas women and girls, between the ages of 12 and 44, live below the federal poverty line. The group says one in four teens had missed class due to lack of access to period supplies. Alexandra Reilly, MB Piland's vice president and agent principal, said Punctuating the Period will focus on those still in school to help have positive impact on their growth.

In one phase of the campaign, online donations will be collected through RightGift.com, an online donation platform. Supporters can purchase a quantity of menstrual products, with prices ranging from $2.17 to $64.98, through March 17. At that time, the products will be shipped to MB Piland, where they will be assembled into kits and distributed among all Topeka Public Schools in late March. Piland and her team are hoping for about 490 people to donate to the cause.


As Spring Approaches, Kansans Worry About Wildfires

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KNS) - Weather experts are predicting an average to above-average wildfire season for Kansas this spring when storms bring strong winds and warmer temperatures before the grass turns green. The ongoing drought could both help and hurt the level of fire danger in parts of the state. Western Kansas doesn’t have much grass for fires to burn, because drought kept it from growing last year but if the drought continues to stunt growth this spring, it might extend the region’s peak fire season. That peak period normally lasts from March through early May.

Chip Redmond, a meteorologist with the Kansas Mesonet, says fields of dead crops that were abandoned in the drought last fall could still provide the fuel a fire needs to get going. Redmond says he’s also concerned about parts of eastern Kansas. The region got enough rain last year to grow lots of grass that could now fuel potential fires. Redmond says people can lower their fire risk by mowing down areas of tall grass around their homes, trimming back bushes and trees so they don’t touch the house and removing dry leaves from gutters.


CEO of Hospice in Hiawatha Arrested on Sex and Drug Charges

HIAWATHA, Kan. (WIBW) - The president of a hospice network based in Hiawatha has been arrested on alleged sex and drug crimes. WIBW reports that that 48-year-old Jeremy Stover, of Hiawatha, is being held at the Brown County Jail. Official records show that Stover is charged with promoting the sale of sexual relations, sexual battery and possession of opiates. Stover is listed as president and CEO of Freedom Hospice in Hiawatha.


New Terminal Opens at Kansas City International Airport

KANSAS CITY MO. (KMBC) — The new airport terminal at Kansas City International Airport is officially open for business. The last passenger plane to land at the old terminal, a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City, arrived just after midnight Tuesday. The first flight from the new terminal, a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago, took off just after 5:00 am. KMBC reports that the one million square foot terminal cost $1.5 billion. It’s the biggest single infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history. The new, single terminal has 40 gates with the ability to expand to 50 in the future. The new terminal includes a 6,200-space parking structure. The new facility replaces the old terminals that opened in 1972.


New KCI Terminal Features Dozens of Local Kansas City Restaurants

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR) — The new Kansas City International Airport terminal features dozens of local restaurants. Local favorites like Bo Ling’s, Messenger Coffee and Boulevard Brewing Company have outposts at the airport. Mike Steinbacher, director of operations at the OHM Concession Group, says the new terminal features high-tech amenities like automated beer taps and payment through facial recognition and palm scanning. “Kansas City is just going to be wowed and blown away by what they see when they have a chance to get up here,” Steinbacher said. “They’re going to be truly proud of what the city’s put forth.”


Lawrence School District Votes to Hold More Public Hearings on Potential School Closures

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) — In a meeting extending past midnight Monday, the Lawrence School Board voted to hold more public hearings on potentially closing two elementary schools. The board is considering the closure of Broken Arrow and Pinckney elementary schools. The Lawrence Journal World reports that the board voted against a recommendation to also consider closing Woodlawn Elementary School. The board voted to postpone further discussion for one year on a recommendation to repurpose Liberty Memorial Central Middle School. The board approved a recommendation to cut 50 teachers from the middle and high school levels and increase class sizes. Superintendent Anthony Lewis has recommended the changes to help balance the district’s budget. The board heard two hours of public comment from about 150 people before their votes. A date for further public hearings on the school closures and a final vote from the board have not been determined.


Push to Require Clergy to Report Abuse Stalls in Mormon Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A push to mandate members of religious clergy report child sexual abuse when it's brought to their attention is facing pushback from churches throughout the United States. That's the case in Utah, where four separate proposals to narrow the so-called clergy-penitent privilege loophole have not received hearings in the statehouse as lawmakers prepare to adjourn for the year. Religious groups who want to maintain the status quo argue the First Amendment protects the seal of confession and have revisited a years-long lobbying strategy that includes circulating questionable studies about the effects of reforms. Similar proposals are also under debate in states including Vermont, Washington and Kansas.


Supreme Court Student Loan Hearing: What You Need to Know

NEW YORK (AP/KPR) — The Supreme Court is meeting to hear two cases challenging President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan. At stake is forgiveness of up to $20,000 in debt for more than 40 million Americans. The court may not rule until June, and the pause in student loan payments is set to end 60 days after the court cases are resolved. Biden's administration is not saying whether it is exploring other options for canceling debt if it loses its court appeals. Borrowers can still set up payment plans now for their student loans, but some advocates encourage waiting, since there's no financial penalty during the payment pause. The court is hearing challenges by two students and by six Republican-led states: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas and South Carolina.

Already, about 26 million people have applied for debt forgiveness, and 16 million applications have been approved. However, because of court rulings, all the relief is on hold. The Education Department stopped taking applications in November because of legal challenges to the plan. The Supreme Court will have the ultimate say on whether Biden can wipe out student loan debt, fulfilling a campaign pledge he made in 2020. Here's what to know if you're waiting for debt relief.


The plan Biden announced last August would cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those earning less than $125,000 or households with less than $250,000 in income. Pell Grant recipients, who typically come from lower-income households, would receive an additional $10,000 in debt forgiveness, for a total of $20,000. Federal student loans taken out for both undergraduate and graduate school, including Graduate PLUS loans, can qualify for forgiveness under the plan. Borrowers would qualify if their federal student loans were disbursed before July 1. Under the plan, if you paid off your loans during the pandemic, you can request a refund and then apply for forgiveness.


The Supreme Court is dominated 6-3 by conservatives, and those justices' questions in oral arguments Tuesday showed skepticism about the legality of Biden's student loans plan. The court seemed likely to rule in a way that would doom the student loan forgiveness plan. Several conservative justices suggested the administration had exceeded its authority with the program. Chief Justice John Roberts mentioned the program's cost — an estimated $400 billion over 30 years — and its wide impact on millions of Americans. Most observers, he said, would think "that's something for Congress to act on." Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out Congress had declined to pass student loan relief, so Biden did it himself. That, he said, "seems problematic." The only hope for Biden's plan appeared to be a legal technicality. The oral arguments left a slim possibility that the court finds the states and people challenging Biden's plan lacked the legal right to sue. We won't know for sure how the court is going to rule until the decision is announced.


The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday, but there won't be a decision for months. The court usually issues all of its decisions by the end of June.


All federal student loan borrowers are waiting for the Supreme Court either to strike down Biden's forgiveness plan or allow it to go ahead. The relief under Biden's plan is on hold until the court cases finish — even for people who applied for student loan forgiveness before courts blocked it. If the justices allow the plan to proceed, Biden's debt forgiveness is for borrowers holding federal student loans, not private loans. To determine what kind of loans you hold, log in to the Federal Student Aid website, studentaid.gov. Direct loans, including Parent Plus loans, qualify. Some older FFEL and Perkins loans are also eligible, if owned by the Department of Education. For people holding older FFEL loans, consolidating those loans can lead to credit for forgiveness under certain income-driven repayment plans. If you've already applied and been approved, you should have received an email telling you this. But you'll still have to wait for the Supreme Court ruling to find out whether those loans will be wiped out for good.


Ultimately, taxpayers. The cost would become part of the equation used to figure the federal deficit. Biden's plan for student debt cancellation would cost the federal government about $400 billion over the next 30 years, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The office cautioned that its estimates are "highly uncertain" because it's hard to know exactly how much borrowers would have paid in the future without Biden's action. Biden has said those costs would be offset by other measures to reduce the federal deficit. He has pointed to a bill signed into law in August that's estimated to raise around $740 billion over a decade, from a combination of government savings from lower drug prices, higher taxes on large corporations, levies on companies that repurchase their own stock and stronger IRS tax collections.


During the pandemic, two presidential administrations paused payments for those holding federal student loans. The pause has been extended to as late as this summer. Payments are set to resume, along with the accrual of interest, 60 days after the court cases are resolved. For example, if legal issues remain at the end of June, payments would restart at the end of August. If the court issues a ruling in March, repayment could restart as early as May or June. If the cases haven't been resolved by June 30, payments will start 60 days after that.


Yes. Biden's student loan forgiveness might not happen, period. (Other loan forgiveness programs, such as those for teachers or nonprofit workers, or for people who have been defrauded by a for-profit college, would continue.) The administration has not given insight into a Plan B if it loses the Supreme Court cases, which appeared likely during oral arguments Tuesday. "We're focused on 'Plan A' because we're confident in our legal authority to carry out this program," White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday. Still, advocates point to other ways the debt might be forgiven, including through the Higher Education Act.


Anti-Abortion Allies Change Tactics After Post-Roe Defeats

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans and their anti-abortion allies, who suffered a series of defeats in ballot questions in states across the political spectrum last year, are changing tactics as new legislative sessions and the new election season start.

In states where citizens have direct access to the ballot, Republicans are considering ways to prevent another loss in an abortion-rights referendum.

In some states, Republicans are considering exemptions to sweeping bans or looking at ways to prevent abortions besides trying to roll back the number of weeks during which an abortion is allowed.

To be sure, abortion restrictions have seen some success in a few Republican-controlled states.

West Virginia and Indiana passed laws to ban abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning a nationwide constitutional protection for the procedure.

South Carolina and Montana lawmakers are also trying to ban abortion — or more heavily restrict it — despite a court-ordered right to privacy that currently protects a right to abortion in those states.

But in a number of states, the battle over abortion rights is fluid and influenced by what voters had to say last year, when Kentucky, Montana and Kansas rejected anti-abortion measures on ballots and Michigan, California and Vermont approved abortion rights amendments.

In politically divided Pennsylvania, Republican lawmakers have stalled their push for a constitutional amendment that would declare there is no constitutional right to an abortion or for taxpayer support for an abortion.

The wording is nearly identical to a measure that failed in Kentucky, and the experience in Kansas last August told abortion opponents that it would be very difficult to win a statewide referendum, said Michael McMonagle, president of the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania.

“We realized that if the referendum turns on the left's arguments that ‘these pro-lifers are trying to outlaw abortion,’ we’re going to get slaughtered," McMonagle said. “It will be the mushy middle people who will vote against the pro-life referendum.”

Rather, abortion opponents in Pennsylvania decided to wait to see the outcome of a pending court case where abortion clinics are asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a law that bans taxpayer funding for abortions.

A court decision that overturns the law — and allows the state to use public money for abortions — would give abortion opponents a stronger message and a more persuasive case with voters to help them succeed in a referendum, McMonagle said.

Elizabeth Nash, of the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, sees Republicans changing their approach in some states by trying to put up barriers to abortion pills, fund pregnancy programs or soften strict abortion bans.

As an example, Nash pointed to Tennessee, where a growing number of Republican lawmakers say the state’s abortion ban went too far. A bill to allow an abortion if necessary to save the mother's life passed a Senate subcommittee in February but faces uncertain prospects in the GOP-controlled Legislature, and with Republican Gov. Bill Lee should it reach his desk.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton, a Republican, said polling data and discussions with Republican women persuaded him that the law should, at least, include an exception for the life of the mother.

“It’s a very delicate issue,” Sexton said, “but what you see is Republican women wanting exceptions.”

In Kansas, meanwhile, anti-abortion lawmakers recovering from their referendum defeat last August have dropped the idea of trying to ban abortion earlier in pregnancy. Kansas is one of the more permissive states, barring most abortions after the 22nd week.

For the moment, Kansas Republican legislators are aiming to provide financial help to centers that discourage abortion by offering free pregnancy and post-pregnancy services.

Elsewhere, officials at Planned Parenthood say several Republican-controlled states are taking steps to head off potential ballot questions that ask voters to enshrine abortion rights into state constitutions.

That dynamic is playing out in conservative Missouri.

It is one of 13 states where abortion is banned — largely by “trigger” laws that took effect after the high court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade decision — and one of 22 where citizens have direct ballot access.

There, Republican state lawmakers are considering a handful of alternatives, including making it more difficult to amend the constitution by raising the threshold for voter approval from 50% to 60% in a referendum.

Republicans also floated their own proposal to amend the constitution to say that no provision in the constitution “shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion.”

In Republican-controlled Ohio, abortion opponents are gearing up to try to defeat what is expected to be the nation's next referendum to protect access to abortion.

Abortion remains legal in Ohio through 20 weeks, but courts may allow a near-complete ban on abortion approved by lawmakers in 2019.

To fight the referendum, a Republican state lawmaker is sponsoring a resolution to make it more difficult for voters to amend the constitution.

In a memo to colleagues, Rep. Brian Stewart wrote, “after decades of Republicans’ work to make Ohio a pro-life state, the Left intends to write abortion on demand into Ohio’s Constitution.”

Stewart’s measure drew support from Ohio Right to Life, whose leaders met with their philosophical allies in Kentucky, Kansas and Michigan to research why the movement had suffered losses in referendums in those states.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said he is raising money, hiring campaign staff and intending to get out their message early in the state that just elected a slate of anti-abortion politicians to statewide offices in November.

“What we’re doing now is we’re creating a campaign operation to oppose what Planned Parenthood wants to do,” Gonidakis said. “And we’re going to hire campaign manager, media firms — we’re running this as if it’s a traditional campaign. You have to. They’re going to raise, by their own admission, probably $40 million. We’ve got to match them dollar for dollar. And we’ll do that.”


KU Basketball Team Clinches Share of Big 12 Regular Season Title

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Jalen Wilson scored 21 points in his Allen Fieldhouse farewell, fellow senior Kevin McCullar Jr. added 14 points and nine rebounds, and third-ranked Kansas held off Texas Tech 67-63 on Tuesday night to clinch a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship. Dajuan Harris Jr. had 16 points for the Jayhawks (25-5, 13-4), who would capture the outright crown if ninth-ranked Texas loses to No. 22 TCU Wednesday night. Otherwise, the Jayhawks — now with an NCAA-leading 64 conference championships — would need to beat the Longhorns in a head-to-head showdown Saturday in Austin.

The Jayhawks improved to 22-1 against the Red Raiders (16-14, 5-12) in the Phog with their seventh consecutive win overall, and they extended their streak to 40 straight wins on senior night dating to the 1983-84 season.

Wearing retro red uniforms for their senior sendoff, the Jayhawks got off to a frigid start against the defensive-minded Red Raiders. McCullar eventually dropped a couple of 3s minutes apart to give Kansas some breathing room, and Wilson began driving for contested layups, helping the Jayhawks forge a 30-21 lead by the break.

Texas Tech was 1 of 11 from beyond the arc and committed seven turnovers over the first 20 scattershot minutes. The Red Raiders’ cold streak ended there. They scored five quick points to start the second half, nearly wiping out their deficit in their first few trips down the floor, and Obanor began to get easy buckets in the paint.

While the Jayhawks kept answering every time Texas Tech got within a possession, they could never put the game away. And when it appeared as if they might as Gradey Dick scored his first points on two free throws to make it 60-55 with about three minutes to go, the Red Raiders answered with back-to-back baskets at the other end.

It wasn’t until McCullar’s bucket and Harris’ breakway layup in the final minute that Kansas could finally celebrate.


Texas Tech was making a late run toward an NCAA Tournament bid with four straight wins, including consecutive victories over Kansas State and Texas. But back-to-back close losses to TCU and Kansas could make a run to the Big 12 Tournament title the only way to make it back to the dance.

Kansas has more Quad 1 wins than any other team in the country, and other advanced metrics also love the Jayhawks, who have once again reigned supreme in the nation’s toughest conference. That’s probably enough to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but winning Saturday along with a Big 12 tourney title could get them the top seed overall.


The regular season concludes Saturday when Texas Tech plays Oklahoma State, and Kansas visits Texas.


This summary of area news is curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Tom Parkinson and Kaye McIntyre. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays. These ad-free headlines are made possible by KPR members. Become one today. And follow KPR News on Twitter.