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Headlines for Wednesday, May 3, 2023

A colorful image of old-time radios introducing a summary of today's news headlines.
Kansas Public Radio

Critics Warn of Possible Repercussions from New Anti-Trans Laws

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - One of the country’s most sweeping laws limiting transgender rights will take effect in Kansas in July and critics are worried it will cost the state business. The law, called the “women’s bill of rights” by supporters, will force transgender people to use bathrooms and other public spaces that align with their sex assigned at birth. It will also prevent them from changing their gender designation on state ID and other official documents. It’s one of the most far-reaching laws of its kind in the country, and critics say it could have a negative impact on the state’s economy. They say the new laws could make it harder for Kansas to compete for employers and workers. Suzanne Wheeler is with the LGBT Mid-America Chamber of Commerce. She says many large companies are staying away from states with aggressive restrictions targeting the LGBTQ community. “Our Legislature keeps doing things to chase workers away from our state instead of enticing them to come to our state,” Wheeler said. Supporters of the law say those concerns are unfounded. There’s a long history of businesses boycotting states with controversial laws, ranging from gay marriage to voter suppression but it’s unclear how companies will respond to laws restricting transgender rights.


Kobach Announces $2 Million in Funding for Substance Abuse Services

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach has announced an additional $2 million in funding to support substance abuse and addiction services in the state. WIBW reports that the funding comes from money recovered by the state through opioid legal settlements. The funds will be available for agencies and nonprofit organizations that deal with addiction treatment, recovery, and harm reduction associated with substance abuse. Organizations may apply for the grants through a Request for Proposal grant application process. Applications will be accepted starting May 8. Kobach says the Kansas Fights Addiction (KFA) Grant Review Board will prioritize prevention, providers and first responders. Federal officials estimate that in 2021, more than 107,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S., with opioids involved in 75% of those deaths. In Kansas, the number of overdose deaths has risen steadily since 2019. Kobach says Kansas has reached multiple settlements with major pharmaceutical companies as part of efforts to bring accountability to those that fueled the opioid-addiction crisis and to provide funds to support addiction services. He says the state has secured more than $340 million in settlements to be paid to the state over the next 18 years. Learn more about the KFA board and the opioid settlements HERE.


$42 Million Catholic Church Opens in Tiny St Marys, Kansas

ST. MARYS, Kan. (KPR) - After several years of construction and 45 years of fund-raising, a new $42 million Catholic church will be consecrated Wednesday in the small northeast Kansas town of St. Marys. The Society of St. Pius X will host the consecration ceremony for the new Immaculata Church. With a seating capacity of more than 1,500 people, it is the largest church in the world built by the Society. James Vogel, communications director for the Society of St. Pius X, says they've been raising money to build the church since 1978, when the last one was destroyed by fire. "This magnificent Romanesque church is the result of 45 years of prayers from around the world and around $42 million in donations from all 50 states and over 35 countries,” Vogel said. About 3,000 people are expected in St. Marys to attend the consecration. Photos of the church can be viewed online at: anewimmaculata.org.


Body Found Inside Burning Car in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — A body was discovered inside of a burning vehicle in Kansas City early Tuesday morning. WDAF TV reports that Kansas City, Missouri, firefighters were called to a car fire around 4 am (near 908 NE 82nd Terrace). After crews extinguished the fire, they discovered a body inside the vehicle and contacted police to investigate. This is a developing story.


KBI: Two Arrested on Drug Charges in Parsons

LABETTE COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – A man and woman have been arrested in southeast Kansas on various drug and gun charges. Late Tuesday morning, police in Parsons conducted a traffic stop that led to the search of a residence, where officers recovered pills believed to conatin fentanyl. Police also confiscated cocaine, meth, firearms and assorted drug paraphernalia. After the search, 56-year-old Vincent Janssen Sr and 50-year-old Melissa Oja, both of Parsons, were taken into custody and booked into the Labette County Jail. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), Parsons Police Department and the Labette County Sheriff’s Office were all involved in the investigation and execution of the search warrant in Parsons.


ACLU Lawsuit Takes on a Kansas Highway Patrol Maneuver

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KNS) — A trial is underway in Kansas City, Kansas, in a lawsuit challenging a Kansas Highway Patrol maneuver for detaining out-of-state drivers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas argues that state troopers violate constitutional rights by subjecting drivers to unwarranted drug searches. The lawsuit alleges the Kansas Highway Patrol uses a maneuver where a trooper will complete a traffic stop but then quickly return to the driver to initiate a consensual drug search. A man from Colorado testified that troopers used it to detain him and his family. The subsequent search of the family’s RV found no drugs. The ACLU of Kansas wants the procedure permanently banned. The Kansas Highway Patrol argues the search was legal because a police dog alerted troopers of drugs.


Kansas April Tax Collections Fall Short of Estimates

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/KPR) - State tax collections for April fell short of estimates. The Kansas Department of Revenue reports that tax collections for April totaled $1.3 billion, about 2.3% or $30.1 million below the estimate. The number also marks a 14.7% fall from April of last year. WIBW TV reports that individual income tax collections were $76 million below estimates. Part of the decrease can be attributed to fewer processing days after the April 18 tax due date. Sales tax receipts were about $2.2 million less than expected. Officials noted that this is likely the result of reducing the state sales tax on food. Corporate income tax collections bucked the trend and came in $50.2 million more than expected.


Senators Back Solar Tariffs, Oppose Prairie Bird Safeguards

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would reinstate tariffs on solar panel imports from several Southeast Asian countries after President Joe Biden paused them in a bid to boost solar installations in the U.S.

Lawmakers also approved a separate plan to undo federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, a rare grouse that’s found in parts of the Midwest and Southwest, including one of the country’s most prolific oil and gas fields.

The two measures are part of efforts by newly empowered Republicans to rebuke the Democratic president and block some of his administration's initiatives, particularly on the environment. Republicans control the House and have strong sway in the closely divided Senate, where California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein remains out for health reasons and conservatives such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., often side with the GOP.

Congress voted earlier this year to block a clean water rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and a separate Labor Department measure that allows retirement plan managers to consider the effects of climate change in their investment plans. Biden vetoed both legislative measures.

The solar tariffs measure was approved, 56-41, and now goes to the White House, where Biden has vowed to veto it. Nine Democrats supported the measure, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican who opposed it.

The measure to undo the bird protections was approved 50-48 and now goes to the Republican-controlled House, where there is strong support for the plan.

The Senate action follows a House vote last week to reinstate fees on solar panels imported from Asia. Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns about what many call unfair competition from China.

Some U.S. manufacturers contend that China has essentially moved operations to four Southeast Asian countries — Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia — to skirt strict anti-dumping rules that limit imports from China.

Biden paused the tariffs last year amid complaints from the solar industry that the threat of up to $1 billion in retroactive tariffs and higher fees had led to delays or cancellations of hundreds of solar projects across the United States. Solar installations are a key part of Biden's agenda to fight climate change and achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.

The White House said Biden’s action was “necessary to satisfy the demand for reliable and clean energy” while providing “certainty for jobs and investments in the solar supply chain and the solar installation market.″

A Commerce Department inquiry last year found likely trade violations involving Chinese products and recommended steep penalties. Biden halted tariffs for two years before the Commerce investigation was completed. The White House has said Biden will not extend the tariff suspension when it expires in June 2024.

The U.S. industry argues that solar panel imports are crucial as solar installations ramp up to meet increased demand for renewable energy. Less than 30% of solar panels and cells installed in the U.S. are produced here, although that number is increasing as U.S. manufacturers take advantage of tax credits included in the landmark climate law adopted last year.

But Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said tariffs were needed to hold China accountable while protecting U.S. jobs and workers.

“It’s disgusting that Biden’s actions would shield Chinese solar companies — many of which are using child and slave labor — and allow them to circumvent U.S. trade laws,'' Scott said in a statement. “We need to be taking every step possible to hold Communist China and these companies accountable for breaking U.S. law.''

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., sponsored a separate measure repealing federal protections for a rare prairie bird that’s found in parts of the Midwest and Southwest, including one of the country’s most prolific oil and gas fields.

The lesser prairie chicken’s range covers a portion of the oil-rich Permian Basin along the New Mexico-Texas state line and extends into parts of Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. The habitat of the bird, a type of grouse, has diminished across about 90% of its historical range, officials said.

The crow-size, terrestrial birds are known for spring courtship rituals that include flamboyant dances by the males as they make a cacophony of clucking, cackling and booming sounds. They were once thought to number in the millions, but now hover around 30,000, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Environmentalists have long sought stronger federal protections for the bird, which they consider severely at risk due to oil and gas development, livestock grazing and farming, along with roads and power lines.

Marshall and other Republicans say greater protections aren’t needed and that the government instead should rely on voluntary conservation efforts already in place.

“Farmers, ranchers, and others in Kansas and the region have been instrumental in the recovery of the species to this point, while the climate activists demanding (federal protections under the Endangered Species Act) have no understanding of the threat it poses to Kansas’s economy, especially the energy and ag industries,'' Marshall said in a statement.

Lew Carpenter, director of conservation partnerships with the National Wildlife Federation, said voluntary efforts are not enough.

“We hope partisan politics will not put a halt to federal efforts to recover one of our region’s iconic birds. And recovery means recovery of the habitat, too,'' said Carpenter, who also serves as vice president of the North American Grouse Partnership, a Colorado-based conservation group.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., said reinstating solar tariffs would jeopardize 30,000 jobs nationwide, including thousands in Nevada, which has the nation's most solar jobs per capita.

“Enacting retroactive tariffs on imported solar panels and cells will absolutely kill the American solar industry, and it will kill any chance we have to meet our climate goals, and it will kill the current American solar jobs,” Rosen said.


Hiker Finds Remains of KCK Man Missing Since 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBC) — The remains of a man who has been missing since 2021 have been discovered in a wooded area in Wyandotte County. The Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department says a hiker found the remains of Justin Siwek who was 32 years old when he disappeared on Father's Day in June, 2021. Police say he was last seen at a Days Inn near the Kansas Speedway in KCK. KMBC reports that investigators used DNA from Siwek's family to identify the remains.


KU Student Found Dead in Sorority House Identified; 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 in the death of Piper Alexis Carter, of Overland Park, but the cause of her death has not yet been established. 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.


Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Pursuing Larger Facility

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KNS) - The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, is pursuing plans for a new home, to be built next to the historic Paseo YMCA building where the leagues were founded. The new, larger, building is estimated to cost about $25 million and will be built mostly with privately raised funds. But museum President Bob Kendrick isn’t ruling out the possibility of public funding at a later date. He says the timetable for groundbreaking will depend on how fast the museum can raise money: "Typically you want to raise half or three-quarters of your money before you break ground because you feel like you’re less likely to fail in raising the required funds to do this," Kendrick said. Bank of America kicked off the funding with a one-million dollar grant. The 30,000-square-foot building is planned for the corner of 18th Street at the Paseo in Kansas City.


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.


Jackson Mahomes Charged with Sexual Battery

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Jackson Mahomes, the brother of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, was briefly jailed Wednesday on aggravated sexual battery charges over an alleged altercation at a Kansas restaurant in late February.

Jackson Mahomes, 22, was charged Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas, with three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of battery. He was released later Wednesday after posting $100,000 bond. During a brief virtual court appearance, the judge scheduled the next online hearing for May 11.

Under conditions of his bond, Jackson Mahomes won't be allowed to discuss his case publicly.

The probable cause affidavit in the case was not immediately available. But The Kansas City Star reported that police previously confirmed they were investigating a Feb. 25 incident involving Jackson Mahomes at a restaurant in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.

Jackson Mahomes’ attorney, Brandan Joseph Davies, said in a statement that the court prohibited him and his client from commenting. But he released a statement in March, when the allegations first surfaced, saying there was “substantial evidence refuting the claims of Jackson’s accuser," The Star reported.

Aspen Vaughn, the owner of Aspens Restaurant and Lounge, told the newspaper in early March that Jackson Mahomes was friends with her stepdaughter and had frequented the restaurant, where her stepdaughter works. She said he had been there earlier on the day of their encounter and had been pleasant.

Vaughn said after he returned to Aspens that night, Jackson Mahomes grabbed her neck with enough force that it left a faint bruise while they were talking in her office about an incident in which he allegedly shoved a member of the wait staff.

She provided The Star with a photo of a bruise on her neck and a video that she said showed Jackson Mahomes grabbing her by the throat and kissing her at least twice.

“He forcibly kissed me out of nowhere,” she said, calling the advances unwelcome and shocking and noting that she thought he was intoxicated.

Aspen Vaughn didn’t immediately reply to a Facebook message, and the restaurant didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment about the charges.

The Chiefs declined to comment, saying it was a personal matter involving the relative of a player but not a member of the organization. Patrick Mahomes doesn't have a spokesperson and he hasn't commented about the matter on Twitter.


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.


National Professor's Group Says ESU Violated Academic Freedom, Tenure Rules

UNDATED (KNS) — A national group of college professors says Emporia State University violated academic freedom and tenure when it fired more than 30 faculty members last year. A new report from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) calls the firings a major event in higher education. It also calls Emporia State administrators and members of the Kansas Board of Regents "unfit to lead." Group spokesman Michael DeCesare says ESU did not prove it was under extreme financial pressure when it laid off 33 faculty members. “A number of those faculty members were outspoken critics of the administration and the Board of Regents. So, there’s a direct assault on tenure but also on academic freedom," he said. Emporia State officials have said an overhaul was needed to keep the university viable. The AAUP says it could add Emporia State to its list of censured universities.

(-Additional coverage-)

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.


Five Brothers Who Served During Vietnam War Among Veterans on Kansas Honor Flight

Wichita, Kan. (KSNW) — Five Kansas brothers who all served during the Vietnam War have been touring the nation's capital this week. The first Kansas Honor Flight of 2023 departed from Wichita early Monday morning for Washington, D.C. KSNW TV reports that it's the first of four charter flights scheduled for this year. The five Boden brothers - Jerry, Don, Larry, Gene and Bob - are from the small town of Corning, northwest of Topeka. They were among the 98 veterans on board the Honor Flight.


Firm that Hired Kids to Clean Meat Plants Keeps Losing Work

OMAHA, Neb. (AP/KPR) — The slaughterhouse cleaning company that was found to be employing more than 100 children to help sanitize dangerous razor-sharp equipment has continued to lose contracts with the major meat producers since the investigation became public last fall. Federal officials have said they are concerned about the potential exploitation of migrants and they have urged the entire meat processing industry to make sure children aren't being hired.

For its part, Packers Sanitation Services Inc., or PSSI as it is known, says 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.


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."


Massive U.S. Farm Bill Affects Everyone, Not Just Farmers

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (HPM) — Every five years, Congress has to renew a large piece of legislation called the Farm Bill. This year’s Farm Bill is predicted to cost about $700 billion over the next five years, making it the most expensive farm bill ever. Some lawmakers want to trim the spending. Nutrition programs account for about 85% of the bill's total cost. The nutrition program includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called food stamps. Jonathan Coppess, director of Agriculture Policy at the University of Illinois, says cutting SNAP benefits through work requirements and other restrictions is a priority for some lawmakers. “If budget’s driving our whole discussion, then we're looking around for big numbers to cut. And this is a big number. So, it gets the first focus on cutting," he said. The farm bill also deals with crop Insurance and subsidy payments to farmers to grow certain crops.


Tiny House Stolen in Colorado Recovered in Kansas

COOLIDGE, Kan. (KSCB/KPR) — A tiny house stolen from Colorado was recovered in the small western Kansas town of Coolidge, in Hamilton County. Just after 8 pm Sunday, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was told by Colorado authorities that the home was possibly headed to Coolidge. KSCB Radio reports the tiny house was recovered at Socular Grain in Coolidge. Three men were attempting to install lights on the tiny house and were arrested for possession of stolen property. Authorities also recovered a stolen trailer and Bobcat.

Coolidge, Kansas, was made infamous as the home of Cousin Eddie in the 1983 movie Vacation.


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.


NFL Draft Draws National Attention to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — The 2023 NFL Draft has wrapped up and the event drew plenty of national attention to Kansas City. The league says a total of 54.4 million viewers in the U.S. tuned into the draft on television. Viewership for the 2023 NFL Draft was up 12% from 2022. The NFL says the daily average audience for the draft improved year-over-year when compared to 2022. KSHB TV reports that more than 300,000 fans visited the area around Kansas City's Union Station during the three day event.


Former Kansas Jayhawk Joel Embiid Named NBA MVP

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - A former University of Kansas basketball player has been named the league MVP of the NBA. Former Jayhawk Joel Embiid is now a center for the Philadelphia 76ers. He has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2022-23 season. WIBW reports that Embiid played 66 games while recording 10.2 rebounds per game and was named the NBA scoring champion — scoring 33.1 points per game. Embiid played only one season for the Jayhawks, 2013–14 , but he was a Naismith College Player of the Year finalist, earned honors as Big 12 Defensive Player of the year and was named second-team All-Big 12.


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.


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.