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Headlines for Monday, May 1, 2023

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Emily Fisher

Kansas Lawmakers Pass School Spending Bill, but Will Governor Sign It?

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — Kansas lawmakers have approved a school spending bill that expands a tax-credit scholarship program for private schools. A bill on its way to Governor Laura Kelly’s desk spends about $6.3 billion on public schools, and it lets more families use state tax dollars to pay for private or home schools. The bill falls short of what Kelly proposed for special education. Democrats and public school district officials say the expansion of tax credits also undermines public schools. Republican Senator Renee Erickson says recent test scores show that public schools are failing low-income students, leaving them behind. “Is the money we’re allocating doing the job that we’re intending it to do? But we don’t ever talk about that," she said. The bill also lets private or homeschool students play sports in public schools.

Under the measure passed Friday, more families could use tax dollars to pay for private schools. Lawmakers voted to expand the state’s tax-credit scholarship program. The program lets donors fund scholarships to private or religious schools in exchange for tax breaks. The bill includes $7.5 million in additional funding for special education. Democratic Senator Cindy Holscher says that falls short of what’s required by state law. “We’re still gonna have issues with the underfunding of special education, because local budgets will have to go to that area," she said. The bill also gives the Legislature the right of first refusal to acquire any property sold by a school district.


Total April Tax Collections in Kansas Less than Expected

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Department of Revenue reports that tax collections for April came in 2.3% less than expected. Total tax collections for the month were $1.3 billion, or about $30 million below estimates.


Kansas Legislature Passes Bill to Limit Power of Health Officials

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Kansas lawmakers have passed a bill that would limit the powers of state health officials. The measure now heads to Governor Laura Kelly. KSNT reports that the bill includes provisions that would prohibit the state health secretary from requiring COVID-19 vaccines to attend child care or school. It would also remove the requirement for enforcement of isolation and quarantine orders by law enforcement, provide employment protection for employees who isolate or quarantine and address orders for school closure during a disaster. The governor has ten days to consider whether to veto, sign the bill or let it become law without her signature.


Compromise Reached on Legality of Fentanyl Test Strips Use in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — Fentanyl test strips could soon be legal to possess after Kansas lawmakers reached a compromise to allow the product. Test strips are currently defined as drug paraphernalia. But a bill headed to the governor's desk would make it legal to possess them. Lawmakers hope that people will test drugs before using them and avoid taking fatal doses. Republican state representative Ken Collins supported the bill. “Fentanyl and drug overdoses deaths are a very real thing right now in Kansas. I know of two people near me – in just a matter of a few months – died of overdoses," he said. Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in Kansas. The state had one of the sharpest increases in overdose deaths in 2021. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is expected to sign the bill into law.


KU Student Found Dead in Sorority House; No Foul Play Suspected

LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW) — A 19-year-old University of Kansas student was found dead at a sorority house over the weekend. Lawrence police say no foul play is suspected. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that officers and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to Alpha Chi Omega sorority at 10:30 am Saturday, where they found the student deceased in her bed. Investigators say the death did not appear suspicious. Police announced Monday that the woman had been identified as Piper Alexis Carter of Overland Park. The cause of death has not yet been identified by the coroner.


State Employees in Kansas Will Get a Raise but the Amounts Will Vary

TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) — State workers in Kansas are in line for a significant pay raise with a $120 million price tag under a budget bill sent to Governor Laura Kelly on Friday. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the size of that pay bump will depend on how much workers are currently making. State employee pay has been a top priority for many lawmakers, particularly after the Legislature approved a pathway to increase pay for statewide officials and lawmakers.

Under the latest proposal, those whose positions are deemed to be 10% or more below the established market will be brought up to that 10% figure or given a 5% raise, whichever is higher.

Those making about market rate will receive a flat 5% raise and individuals with a salary above 10% of market rate will get only a 2.5% pay hike.

The framework comes after a study showed that workers in more than 100 positions were being paid under market rate. Kelly's budget proposed a flat 5% pay raise but also more targeted boosts to those most behind the going rate.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Kansas Highway Patrol will get a 2.5% raise in addition to other scheduled compensation increases. Workers at state prisons, mental health hospitals and veterans' homes will get a flat 5% raise in addition to adjustments based on the job market. And employees at the state's public universities have access to a $13 million pool of money available for merit pay increases.


A Veto and a Switch: Kansas to See No Big Tax Cuts this Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — No big tax cuts are coming for Kansas residents even though the state treasury is bulging with surplus cash and the Democratic governor and top Republican lawmakers both said over and over that families need relief from inflation. Republican leaders went into the final days of the GOP-controlled Legislature's annual session hoping to override Governor Laura Kelly's veto of a bill cutting taxes nearly $1.4 billion over the next three years. Instead, a Republican senator helped kill the GOP bill after voting for it the day before — and promptly lost his committee chairmanship.

Legislators adjourned Friday night without overturning Kelly's veto or passing another bill. The state now expects to have a surplus of nearly $2.6 billion at the end of June 2024, on top of $1.6 billion socked away in a separate rainy day fund, when annual tax collections are roughly $10 billion. "Everybody's going to be frustrated — business owners, families, households," said Kansas House tax committee Chair Adam Smith, a Republican from far western Kansas.

Tax debates in Kansas have been fraught ever since a 2012-13 experiment in slashing income taxes under then-GOP Gov. Sam Brownback went sour as big, persistent budget shortfalls followed.

The governor's main beef this year was GOP leaders' plan to move Kansas to a single-rate "flat" income tax for individuals and abandon a three-rate system requiring higher earners to pay a higher rate. The new tax rate would have been 5.15%, while the top rate now is 5.7%. Republicans said that when Kelly announced her veto Monday, it already was too late to start on a new bill. But even on Thursday, Kelly told reporters, "They still have time." "They're not gone yet," Kelly said. "If they wanted to do something, they could do it." The GOP tax plan also included bipartisan ideas for reducing taxes on homes, groceries and Social Security income. But Kelly called the GOP's income tax proposal "reckless and unreasonable," predicting it would tank the budget in future years. The governor floated two alternatives. The first was a $450 income tax rebate for each Kansas individual filer, which Republican leaders dismissed as a gimmick. The second was a broader plan for $1.1 billion in cuts over the next three years, but aides said top GOP lawmakers never saw it.


Health Officials: Bird Flu Spreading to Pets

UNDATED (HPM) — Bird flu is spilling over to dogs and cats. But so far, only in rare cases. Harvest Public Media reports that the disease has killed about 60 million chickens and turkeys nationwide since last year. Animal ecologist Nichola Hill says it’s not a huge surprise to see it cross over to pets. “Maybe we were waiting for this moment to happen," Hill said. "So, there have been documented cases in domestic cats and domestic dogs now, that have been linked to predation on dead birds, as tends to be the habit of dogs and cats, they’re predators too." The infections happen when the pets eat infected wild birds. There’s only been a handful of reported cases, but those have been fatal. Hill recommends keeping dogs on leashes and keeping cats inside to prevent them from finding wild birds.


Recall Issued for Gold Medal Flour Due to Salmonella Concerns

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (FDA/KPR) – General Mills has issued a nationwide recall of two-pound, five-pound, and 10-pound bags of Gold Medal Bleached and Unbleached Flour. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people are urged not to use any of the recalled flour. Click on the embedded links for more detailed information about the recalled flour.


Feds: Kansas, Missouri Hospitals Broke the Law When They Denied Provision of Emergency Abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — A first-of-its-kind federal investigation has found two hospitals put a pregnant woman's life in jeopardy and violated federal law by refusing to provide an emergency abortion when she experienced premature labor at 17 weeks. The findings are revealed in documents obtained by The Associated Press. The findings serve as a warning to hospitals around the country as they struggle to reconcile new state laws banning or severely restricting abortion with a federal mandate for doctors to provide abortions when a woman's health is at risk. The hospitals in question are in Missouri and Kansas. The hospitals haven't responded to requests for comment.

The competing edicts have been rolled out since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion last year. But federal law, which requires doctors to treat patients in emergency situations, trumps those state laws, the nation's top health official said in a statement. "Fortunately, this patient survived. But she never should have gone through the terrifying ordeal she experienced in the first place," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. "We want her, and every patient out there like her, to know that we will do everything we can to protect their lives and health, and to investigate and enforce the law to the fullest extent of our legal authority, in accordance with orders from the courts."

The federal agency's investigation centers on two hospitals — Freeman Health System in Joplin, Missouri, and University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas — that in August refused to provide an abortion to a Missouri woman whose water broke early at 17 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors at both hospitals told Mylissa Farmer that her fetus would not survive, that her amniotic fluid had emptied and that she was at risk for serious infection or losing her uterus, but they would not terminate the pregnancy because a fetal heartbeat was still detectable. Ultimately, Farmer had to travel to an abortion clinic in Illinois. "It was dehumanizing. It was terrifying. It was horrible not to get the care to save your life," Farmer, who lives in Joplin, said of her experience. "I felt like I was responsible to do something, to say something, to not have this happen again to another woman. It was bad enough to be so powerless."

Farmer's complaints launched the first investigations that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, has publicly acknowledged since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year. Across the country, women have reported being turned away from hospitals for abortions, despite doctors telling them that this puts them at further risk for infection or even death.

President Joe Biden's administration has prodded hospitals not to turn away patients in those situations, even when state law forbids abortions. Weeks after the Supreme Court's ruling, the Democratic administration reminded hospitals that federal law requires them to offer an abortion when a pregnant woman is at risk for an emergency medical condition. The federal government can investigate hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid money — which encompasses most facilities in the U.S. — for violations of the law.

CMS has not announced any fines or other penalties against the two hospitals in its investigation, but it did send them notices warning that they were in violation of the law and asking them to correct the problems that led to Farmer being turned away. Federal Medicare investigators will follow up with the hospitals before closing the case.

Abortions are largely banned in Missouri, but there are exceptions for medical emergencies. In Kansas, when Farmer visited the hospital, abortions were still legal up to 22 weeks. It's unclear why University of Kansas Health refused to offer Farmer one. Neither hospital responded immediately to a request for comment on the case.

Nationwide, doctors have reported uncertainty around how to provide care to pregnant women, especially in the nearly 20 states where new laws have banned or limited the care. Doctors face criminal and civil penalties in some states for aborting a pregnancy.

But in a letter sent Monday to hospital and doctors associations that highlights the investigations, Becerra said he hopes the investigations clarify that the organizations must follow the federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA.

"While many state laws have recently changed," Becerra wrote, "it's important to know that the federal EMTALA requirements have not changed, and continue to require that health care professionals offer treatment, including abortion care, that the provider reasonably determines is necessary to stabilize the patient's emergency medical condition."


AAUP Investigation: Emporia State, Kansas Board of Regents Members "Unfit to Lead"

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Lawrence Times) — An investigation into Emporia State University’s realignment plan, which included the firing of tenured professors, faults the university for “shifting and incoherent rationales” and concludes university administrators and Kansas Board of Regents members are “unfit to lead.” The American Association of University Professors released its findings Monday following months of interviews and review of documentation. According to The Lawrence Times, investigators said the actions taken by ESU president Ken Hush, with the blessing of KBOR, amounts to an attack on academic freedom.

ESU fired 30 tenured and tenure-track professors in September 2022 under a temporary COVID-19 emergency policy that was put in place January 2021, before vaccines were widely available, and set to expire December 31, 2022. The university cited “extreme financial pressure” when presenting its “framework” for campus realignment to KBOR. The university subsequently reinvested in new programs, handed out secret “performance bonuses,” offered to rehire fired professors as adjuncts, and is looking to hire new professors with the same qualifications as ones who were fired.

Last week, an appeals officer for the state Office of Administrative Hearings reinstated Michael Behrens, an associate professor of English. He is the third fired faculty member to get his job back through the appeals process, with 10 more awaiting decisions. All three were reinstated for the same reason: The university refused to say why they were fired.

Meanwhile, the university last week announced restructuring plans, which include the merger and renaming of various departments or programs and a stated desire to eliminate middle management.

KBOR and ESU communications staff didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Hush took over as ESU interim president in November 2021. KBOR, after a secret hiring process, named Hush president on June 22, 2022.


Suspect Leads Law Enforcement on Early-Morning Chase Through 6 Kansas Counties

EMPORIA, Kan. (KVOE) — A suspect has been detained after leading authorities on an early-morning chase through six Kansas counties. KVOE Radio reports that today's (MON) early-morning chase resulted in the arrest of one person. Officials say the chase started in Marion County and then ran through Chase, Lyon, Coffey and Osage counties. Officials say the suspect vehicle finally stopped in Franklin County, but few details have emerged. A suspect’s name has not yet been released.


Firm That Hired Kids to Clean Meat Plants Keeps Losing Work

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The slaughterhouse cleaning company that was found to be employing more than 100 children to help sanitize dangerous razor-sharp equipment like bone saws has continued to lose contracts with the major meat producers since the investigation became public last fall.

For its part, Packers Sanitation Services Inc., or PSSI as it is known, said it has taken a number of steps to tighten up its hiring practices but it says the rising number of child labor cases nationwide is likely related to the increase in the number of minors crossing the U.S. border alone in recent years.

The scandal that followed the February announcement that PSSI would pay a $1.5 million fine and reform its hiring practices as part of an agreement with investigators also prompted the Biden administration to urge the entire meat processing industry to take steps to ensure no kids are working in these plants either for the meat companies or at contractors like PSSI.

Federal investigators confirmed that children as young as 13 were working for PSSI at 13 plants in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas. It wasn't immediately clear if any additional children have been found working for the company because PSSI declined to answer that and government officials haven't offered an update on the investigation since February.

The Labor Department has said there has been a 69% increase since 2018 in the number of children being employed illegally nationwide, and it has more than 600 child labor investigations underway. Officials have said they are particularly concerned about the potential exploitation of migrants who may not even have a parent in the United States.

PSSI maintains that it prohibits hiring kids and the only way children could have been hired is “through deliberate identity theft or fraud at a local plant. Regardless of the reason they occurred, it is our responsibility to address the problem.”

“As has been widely reported, the recent record rise in unaccompanied minors from abroad and rising prevalence of identity theft has clearly revealed new vulnerabilities in the area of underage labor across hundreds of different businesses including ours,” PSSI spokesman Ray Hernandez said.

Companies like PSSI are put in a difficult situation of having to turn away applicants who appear to have a valid ID when they want to hire workers, and they also have to be careful not to discriminate by imposing extra scrutiny on immigrants, said David Bier, an immigration policy expert at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute that advocates for more open immigration laws. The fact that more than half a million children have crossed the border without their parents since 2019 creates a large group of minors who may try to get jobs.

"Seventeen-year-old, 16-year-old or 15-year-old even gets an ID and a company needs workers, it’s difficult to police,” Bier said. And the meatpacking industry is always desperate to find more workers. “If you’re willing to do the work and you have an ID, then you’re going to be able to get a job.”

Cargill, Tyson Foods and JBS have all terminated contracts with PSSI at at least some of their plants — particularly any plants where Labor Department investigators confirmed children were working — although Cargill went furthest and cut ties with the Kieler, Wisconsin-based company entirely. Another meat processing giant, Smithfield Foods, said only that it is taking a close look at its contracts with PSSI, which currently cleans about one-third of the company’s 45 plants, to ensure that all labor laws are being followed.

Those four companies, along with National Beef, control over 80% of the beef market and more than 60% of the pork market nationwide. National Beef didn’t respond to questions about its actions.

Cargill spokeswoman April Nelson said the company notified PSSI in March that it would end all 14 of its contracts because “we will not tolerate the use of underage labor within our facilities or supplier network.”

Tyson and JBS officials also reiterated their commitment to eliminating child labor in their plants, and they said each of their companies had ended PSSI contracts at several plants. But they declined to provide specific numbers about how many contracts they cut and how many plants PSSI is still cleaning for them.

“Tyson Foods is committed to compliance with all labor laws and holding those we do business with to the highest standards of accountability,” said Dan Turton, a senior vice president at Tyson, in a letter to members of Congress about their child labor concerns. He promised Tyson would step up its audits of contractors and continue cooperating with federal officials to ensure its own hiring meets all standards.

The major meat processors say they are looking to bring more of the cleaning work at their plants in house, but they will likely continue to rely on contractors in many places. Tyson, for instance, said that its own workers clean about 40% of its plants.

PSSI wouldn't say how many workers it has laid off after losing contracts, but the way it describes itself on its website hints at the job losses. PSSI now says it has about 16,500 employees nationwide working at more than 400 plants, down from the more than 17,000 it cited last fall before the investigation. Still, it remains one of the largest cleaners of food processing plants.

PSSI says it is going above and beyond what the official court agreement required to ensure no kids are working there. And the company, which is owned by the New York-based private equity firm Blackstone, named a new CEO who just took over last week after its longtime top executive retired after 24 years.

PSSI hired a former U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer to help strengthen the training its managers get to spot identity theft, and brought on a former Labor Department official to conduct monthly unannounced checks on its practices. The company also set up a hotline for employees to anonymously report any concerns.


3 Men Arrested After Allegedly Traveling to Clay County for Sex with Minors During NFL Draft

CLAY COUNTY, Mo. (KMBC) — Three men have been arrested in a sting operation for allegedly trying to have sex with children in Kansas City during the NFL Draft. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office in Clay County, Missouri, says local authorities worked with officials from the Department of Homeland Security to set up a sting. According to KMBC TV, the three men traveled to Clay County to have sex with children they thought were between the ages of 10 and 14. The "children" turned out to be police investigators. Authorities say when the men arrived at the arranged hotel or apartment between April 26 and April 30, they expected to meet with adults who were offering the children for sex. Those individuals were also undercover members of law enforcement. Deputies arrested the men shortly after their arrival.

Charges have been filed against all three men: Nicholas Keith, Link Laithreach and Glicero Gallahad.


Charges Pending for Turkey Poachers Who Violated Kansas, Nebraska Laws

NORTON CO., Kan. (WIBW) — Charges are pending against two turkey hunters who allegedly violated hunting laws in both Kansas and Nebraska. WIBW TV reports that Kansas game wardens recently came across a pair of turkey hunters in Norton County. When the hunters noticed the game wardens, officials say one attempted to fill out a Nebraska turkey tag for a bird that was previously killed in Kansas. Officials say that three turkeys were seized in connection with violations of hunting regulations in both Kansas and Nebraska.


List of the Largest Governor's Estates in America Puts Cedar Crest in Kansas at #1

TOPEKA, Kan. (The Daily Mail) — Cedar Crest, the official governor's residence in Kansas, features the largest official governor's estate in the U.S. The Daily Mail reports that the French-Norman style home in Topeka sits on a sprawling 244-acre estate, making it the largest such estate by far in the country. Oddly, the Kansas governor's home itself is one of the smallest among all governors.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Cedar Crest estate is nearly 12 times larger than that of the governor with the second largest estate, Brian Kemp, of Georgia. A study by MoverDB used public sources and estimates from Google Maps to rank the size of the estates of 31 U.S. governors. All findings were based on the size of the entire estates and not the houses on them.

Cedar Crest was built in 1928, bequeathed to the state in 1955 and became the official governor's residence in 1962. It overlooks the Kansas River from the south.

Though built on a larger estate, Cedar Crest is perhaps not as grand as the Georgia governor's mansion in northeast Atlanta. Though the second-largest official home amongst all governor's residence, it is significantly smaller than the Cedar Crest property, sitting on a comparatively small 16 acres of land. Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington State, lives on the third-largest estate, which is next to the state's capitol building.

The New Mexico governor's mansion sits on the fourth largest plot - 12 acres in Santa Fe. The fifth-largest governor's residence, with a Neo-Renaissance house on a 10-acre plot of land, is in Jefferson City, Missouri.

It is one of the oldest governors' homes in the U.S. and has been the official residence since 1872.


Wrongfully Convicted Kansas Man to Get $7.5 Million Payment

OSKALOOSA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn't commit will receive $7.5 million from the county where he was arrested and convicted of the crime. Jefferson County commissioners approved the settlement last week with Floyd Bledsoe, who was released from prison in 2015 after DNA evidence showed he could not have been the killer of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann in Oskaloosa. Bledsoe will receive $1.5 million initially, with the rest to be paid over the next 10 years, The Kansas City Star reported. Bledsoe, who is now 46, was 23 when he was convicted in 2000 of killing the girl. He was arrested even though his brother, Tom, confessed to the killing in 1999, turned himself in and led authorities to the girl's body. According to a lawsuit Floyd Bledsoe filed in 2016, Jefferson County authorities persuaded Tom Bledsoe to recant his confession and "framed" his brother by hiding evidence of his innocence.

In 2015, DNA testing revealed Tom Bledsoe was the likely source of sperm found in the victim. Tom Bledsoe died by suicide that year after writing a note again confessing to killing Arfmann. The charges against Floyd Bledsoe were dismissed and he was freed from prison that year. One of Bledsoe's attorneys, Russell Ainsworth of Loevy & Loevy in Chicago, said Jefferson County was facing up to $40 million in liability if the case went to trial. Jefferson County Commissioner Richard Malm said the county's annual budget is about $20 million and the commission would have had to propose a bond if Bledsoe had not agreed to have the payment spread over 10 years. In 2019, the state agreed to pay Bledsoe $1.03 million under a mistaken conviction law.


Nearly 5-Hour Consecration Ceremony Set for New $40 Million Church in Northeast Kansas

ST. MARYS, Kan. (KSNT/KPR) – After waiting for several years, celebrants of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) will host a consecration ceremony for their new Immaculata church in St. Marys.KSNT reports that the consecration is set for May 3, 2023, for what will be one of the largest churches in Kansas. With a seating capacity for more than 1,500 people, this church will be the largest SSPX church in the world. The four-and-a-half-hour-long ceremony will conclude with an open house. The new Immaculata replaces the original building destroyed by fire. The new church began in 2020 thanks to millions of dollars in funding from donors. The Immaculata will conduct traditional Latin mass and other sacraments according to the traditional rites of the Catholic Church.

The Society of Saint Pius X is an international fraternity of traditionalist Catholic priests founded in 1970. The society is named after Pope Pius X, whose anti-Modernist stance is embraced by the society. Tensions remain between the society and the pope in Rome. In the 1980s, Pope John Paul II excommunicated some of the society's bishops. While the excommunications were lifted, the society's relationship with the Vatican remains unresolved.


80+ Years After Death at Pearl Harbor, Kansas Sailor's Remains Return Home

Douglass, Kan. (WIBW) - More than 80 years after his death aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor, one Kansas sailor will finally be returned and buried in his home state. WIBW TV reports that 20-year-old Seaman 2nd Class Floyd Clifford, of Mulvane, died December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, his remains have been returned to his home state. Clifford will be laid to rest May 2nd in the town of Douglass, where full military graveside honors will be given. (Burial is scheduled for at 2 pm, May 2, in Richmond Cemetery, in rural Douglass.)


When States Limit Care, Some Trans People Try DIY Treatments

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Transgender and non-binary Missourians are turning to do-it-yourself treatments as Republicans across the nation move to restrict gender-affirming health care. Missouri resident Erin Stille says she bought hormones online from a Taiwan-based supplier over concerns that she might lose what she describes as life-saving medicine. As she waited for her package to arrive, the state's Republican attorney general rolled out a rule with strict regulations on puberty blockers, hormones and other gender-affirming treatments for both minors and adults. Physicians say DIY treatments are risky. But Stille and others say the risks are worth it.


Chiefs Address Biggest Needs During Hometown NFL Draft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs addressed their three biggest needs on the first two days of their hometown NFL draft, then spent Saturday adding some much-needed depth at other positions. The haul began with the selection of local boy Felix Anudike-Uzomah, a pass rusher from Kansas State, in Thursday night's opening round. SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice and Oklahoma offensive tackle Wanya Morris filled two more needs on Friday. The final day saw the Chiefs add Virginia Tech safety Chamarri Conner to help replace Juan Thornhill along with some other pieces that provide depth across the board.

Brett Veach knew he was utilizing the NFL draft's biggest cliche at the scouting combine in February, when the Chiefs general manager insisted that the Super Bowl champions would take "the best player available" when they were on the clock. How fortuitous they must have been. The best player available wound up matching their biggest needs over three days of selections. Anudike-Uzomah grew up in Kansas City before turning into the Big 12's defensive player of the year at Kansas State.


Southwest Kansas Town Named Best Summer Vacation Destination in the State

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KPR) — At least one website ranks a city in southwest Kansas as the best summer vacation spot in the whole state. According to the website TripsToDiscover.comDodge City is the best summer vacation destination in Kansas. The online travel website likes the fact that, in Dodge City, visitors have the "opportunity to watch gunfights at high noon, grab a drink in a real saloon and attend a top-notch community festival." The website named the following cities as the top places to visit in neighboring states:

Estes Park, Colorado
Lake McConaughy in Ogallala, Nebraska
Lake of the Ozarks and Osage Beach, Missouri
Tulsa, Oklahoma

See the best summer vacation destinations in other states.


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 and updated throughout the day. These ad-free headlines are made possible by KPR members. Become one today. And follow KPR News on Twitter.