Headlines for Monday, November 13, 2023
Overland Park Police: No Injuries After Gunshot Fired in Oak Park Mall on Sunday
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KC Star) — Two people are in custody after a single gunshot was fired Sunday afternoon in the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park. No one was injured. Police say two detectives in plainclothes began to arrest two shoplifting suspects inside the mall when one of the suspects ran away. The other suspect started fighting the detectives, eventually grabbing one of their firearms. The Kansas City Star reportsthat police took one suspect into custody and apprehended the other a short time later. Oak Park Mall was put on lockdown but will reopen today (MON).
Sunday’s shooting was the second reported at a mall in the Kansas City metro this weekend. On Friday afternoon, Independence police said four people were wounded and three people were taken into custody in a shooting inside the Independence Center Mall.
Kansas Lawmakers Will Have Nearly $3 Billion Surplus When They Return for 2024 Session
TOPEKA, Kan. (TCJ) — Kansas lawmakers will have a nearly $3 billion surplus to work with when they return to Topeka for the start of the 2024 session in January. Specifically, the figures from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group indicate the state will have a $2.8 billion budget surplus. In addition, the state will have a rainy day fund worth $1.7 billion. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that many lawmakers are now eyeing tax cut proposals.
Significant Earthquake Rattles Central Kansas Saturday; Smaller Quakes Reported in Late October, Early November
BENNINGTON, Kan. (WIBW) — An earthquake rattled parts of central Kansas over the weekend. The U.S. Geological Survey indicates a 4.0 magnitude earthquake struck just before 6:20 pm Saturday, about one mile northwest of Bennington. WIBW TV reports that those living in Concordia, Salina, Manhattan, Wichita and Hutchinson also reported feeling the quake. Two smaller quakes were reported in the area around Bennington on November. Further south, smaller earthquakes were recorded near Goddard on October 25 and near Pretty Prairie on November 4.
Kansas to Expand Mental Health Initiative to Juvenile Justice System
UNDATED (KNS) – The state of Kansas is expanding an existing mental health initiative to its juvenile justice system. The Kansas News Service reports that the initiative is aimed at decreasing the over-incarceration of people with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. Governor Laura Kelly says the initiative will train staff at juvenile justice facilities to better identify youth who could benefit from behavioral health support. Mike Fonkert, deputy director for advocacy group Kansas Appleseed, says there is a large need for behavioral health services in Kansas’s juvenile justice system. The new services are part of a federally-funded national program called the Stepping Up Initiative that is already in use in adult facilities.
State of Kansas Approves Millions of Dollars for Water Projects
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KNS) – Kansas officials on Monday signed off on nearly $16 million of water projects in the state, including $7 million for the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The Kansas News Service reports that the approval comes after federal and state officials said they would work to resolve a fight over dwindling water supplies at the refuge. Water streams to the refuge are used by Kansas farmers, but the refuge holds senior water rights. The funding will be used to find solutions like water right buyouts and new irrigation technology. Agriculture Secretary Mike Beam says the project details are not yet finalized. But they should begin in early 2024. The remaining funding will support projects such as repairing dams, cleaning contaminated water and improving sewers in rural towns.
Federal Funds to Help Garden City Conserve Groundwater
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KNS) — Nearly $20 million in federal funding will help Garden City reduce water use and stabilize Ogallala Aquifer levels. The goal is for Garden City to become water neutral. Agriculture is responsible for most groundwater use in western Kansas. The city will help offset that with existing treated wastewater and water removed from milk at a dairy plant. That water will go to farmers so they can use it instead of pumping from the aquifer. Fred Jones, the city’s water resources manager, says sustaining the aquifer will mean all water users need to cut back. “We also want to assist all the other water users in trying to find new ways to be innovative, because I firmly believe we can find a balance out here," he said. Jones hopes aquifer levels will stabilize after the project is completed in 2026.
Number of Kansas Kids with Vaccine Exemptions Rises
UNDATED (Side Effects Public Media) — New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 3% of Kansas children have exemptions from at least one routine childhood vaccine this year. Side Effects Public Media reports it’s a national trend. Three percent of kindergartners nationwide are now exempt from routine school vaccines. That’s the highest rate of vaccine exemptions ever, according to new data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some public health experts say this is one of the ripple effects of pandemic-fueled mistrust and misinformation. The data also reveals that non-medical exemptions – such as religious and personal belief exemptions – are entirely behind that jump. Already, childhood vaccination coverage has dipped in the last two school years compared to before the pandemic. Right now, 93% of kids are up to date on their shots. That’s also 2 percentage points lower than the healthy people target - that's the rate of vaccination in a community that experts say makes the community safe and protected against disease outbreaks.
KU Researchers Study Project to Return Native Lands
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) — Faculty members at the University of Kansas have launched a project documenting cases where land has been returned to Native American tribes. Sarah Deer, a professor of gender and Indigenous studies at KU, worked with urban planning professor Ward Lyles to create an interactive map. It shows more than 90 examples of land returned to tribes, including three properties in Kansas returned to the Iowa, Kaw and Prairie Band Potawatomi nations. The site offers information on how to return land to the Native tribes that were displaced forcibly or deceived or pressured into selling their territory.
Kansas Tourism Grants Awarded
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas officials have announced the winners of $500,000 in tourism grants. The funding will be split among 14 communities across the state for existing or new tourist attractions. The largest recipient in this round of grants is in Cheyenne County, in the northwest corner of the state. The Tri-State Antique Engine and Threshers Association has been awarded $146,000. The Brandt House in Wabaunsee County was awarded more than $73,000, the Clinton Marina in Douglas County received nearly $30,000 and the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Lyon County received $16,000. A complete list of winners can be found at TravelKS.com. Another round of grant applications will open in February. Funding for Kansas Tourism grants is provided by money derived from state lottery proceeds.
Kansas Officer Who Shot and Killed Man Armed with a BB Gun Won't Face Charges
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita-area police officer will not be charged with a crime for shooting a man walking toward him and refusing to drop a weapon that was later found to be a replica BB gun, the local prosecutor announced Monday.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said that under Kansas law, the Goddard police officer, whose name has not been released, is immune from prosecution over the death in February of 39-year-old Michael James Trask, of Lake Afton.
Bennett issued a 16-page report noting that state law protects an officer from being prosecuted for using deadly force when the officer “reasonably believes” it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the officer or another person. The shooting occurred about 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Goddard.
Bennett's report said the officer tried to stop Trask for a traffic violation when a short pursuit began. After the vehicle eventually stopped and Trask left his vehicle with what appeared to be a gun, the officer repeatedly told him to drop the weapon, the report said.
Trask refused and continued walking toward the officer in what the report called a “deliberate” manner. The officer then shot at him eight times, hitting him twice.
A woman who said she was Trask's wife later called dispatchers and said he was suicidal and armed with a loaded gun, according to the report.
“When the officer made the decision to pull the trigger, he was doing so in self-defense,” Bennett told reporters during a Zoom briefing.
Bennett said his office received the case about a month ago and authorities had to wait on the results of Trask's autopsy, which was done in July.
Study: WIC Usage Increases but Still Underutilized
UNDATED (HPM) — A new study from the U-S Department of Agriculture found that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is underutilized. In 2021, the program, often referred to as WIC, only served about half the number of people who qualify. People often don’t know they’re eligible, says Karen Siebert , advocacy and public policy advisor for Harvesters, The Community Food Network. "Especially if they're new parents. They've never done this before," she said. "They don't even know WIC is an option. Or maybe they have had children before, but when they did, they weren't economically eligible for it.” The number of participants in WIC has increased by almost 7% in the last year and the Biden administration has asked Congress to approve more funding to accommodate the increase in participants.
Kansas Public Radio Searching for New Statehouse Reporter
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas Public Radio is seeking a new Kansas Statehouse Bureau Chief (SBC) to manage all aspects of KPR’s capital news bureau in Topeka. This position works primarily at the Kansas Statehouse and is responsible for reporting on all aspects of state government. Our previous Kansas Statehouse reporter, Joe Blubaugh, has taken a position with the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs. The SBC researches, writes, reports, and produces spot news, digital stories, and long-form audio features for KPR and its reporting partners at the Kansas News Service. To be considered, one must apply online at https://employment.ku.edu/jobs/staff/kansas-statehouse-bureau-chief/26495br. Application review begins in November and continues until a pool of qualified applicants is identified. KU is an EO/AAE. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, national origin, disability, genetic information or protected veteran status.
Kansas Public Radio Seeks New Membership Director
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas Public Radio is seeking a new Membership Director to serve on its Development team. This position oversees various campaigns to raise funds to support KPR. Together with the Development Director, they will work to find new, innovative fundraising techniques and explore potential new revenue channels. Responsibilities also include accounting for contributions, maintaining the membership database, and organizing on-air membership drives. To be considered, one must apply online at https://employment.ku.edu/jobs/staff/membership-director/26505br. Application review begins in November and continues until a pool of qualified applicants is identified. KU is an EO/AAE. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, national origin, disability, genetic information or protected veteran status.
Sporting to Face Houston in Semifinals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KPR) — Sporting Kansas City will continue its 2023 Major League Soccer playoff run on Sunday, November 26. And we now know that Sporting's opponent will be the Houston Dynamo. The KC team secured its place in the playoffs by defeating St. Louis City in the quarterfinals, winning the best of three series 2-0. Houston qualified for the semifinals on Saturday when it defeated Real Salt Lake. The first match in the MLS Western Conference Semifinal is set for November 26 in Houston. The winner will advance to the Western Conference Final against the winner between the Los Angeles and Seattle teams.
Baker Wildcats Qualify for NAIA Football Playoffs
UNDATED — In NAIA football, three Kansas teams - Baker, Benedictine and MidAmerica Nazarene - were co-champions in the Heart of America South Division, each with a 4-1 record. But when the playoff matchups were announced Sunday, only one team, Baker University, made it as an automatic qualifier. MidAmerica Nazarene lost to Baker on October 14th, by a score of 40-to-7. The Baker Wildcats, 8-and-2 on the season, will host Louisiana Christian in a first-round playoff game this Saturday.
Kansas Football Team Falls Out of Both Top 25 Polls
LAWRENCE, Kan. (Sports Illustrated) — The loss for the Kansas Jayhawks against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday was disappointing for KU fans. But Sunday afternoon, the Jayhawks learned that the loss was enough for the voters to remove them from both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Big 12 still has four teams in the rankings, with the Texas Longhorns at #7 in both polls, the Oklahoma Sooners at #13 in the Coaches Poll and #14 in the AP Poll, the Kansas State Wildcats at #24 in the Coaches Poll and #23 in the AP Poll and the Oklahoma State Cowboys at #25 in the Coaches Poll and #24 in the AP Poll. No other Big 12 teams received any votes in either poll.
KU gets an opportunity to earn its way back into the rankings as the Jayhawks host the Kansas State Wildcats this weekend in the annual Sunflower Showdown. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 pm. The game will be broadcast on FS1.
KU Remains at No. 1 in AP Top 25; No. 3 Arizona Jumps 9 Places
UNDATED (AP) – The first Associated Press men's basketball poll of the regular season is typically a jumble of teams swapping positions as preseason expectations meet the reality of playing actual games.
The first poll of the 2023-24 is no different.
Kansas remained at No. 1 and received 51 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel in the poll released Monday, but the rest of the AP Top 25 was filled with teams moving up and down.
No. 2 Purdue moved up a spot with two easy opening wins and received seven first-place votes. No. 3 Arizona took a giant leap from 12 after beating Duke and had three first-place votes.
No. 4 Marquette moved up a spot as did defending national champion Connecticut, which received a first-place vote to round out the top five. No. 24 James Madison moved into the poll for the first time ever after taking down Michigan State in overtime.
No. 1 Kansas to Face No. 14 Kentucky in Champions Classic Tuesday
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — No. 1 Kansas (2-0) will face No. 14 Kentucky (2-0) in the State Farm Champions Classic, Tuesday night (8:30 pm). The contest from the United Center in Chicago will be televised on ESPN. Kansas and Kentucky are the top-two winningest programs in college basketball history.
The Champions Classic began in the 2011-12 season. Kansas is 7-5 in the Champions Classic and the Jayhawks have won six of their last seven appearances in the event after last year’s 69-64 win against Duke in Indianapolis. Duke is 7-5 in the Champions Classic, while Kentucky is 5-7 and Michigan State 5-7.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 24-11, and this will be the 11th time in the last 13 seasons these two blue bloods will meet (since 2011-12). Kansas has won five of the last seven meetings. The series is tied at 2-2 in the Champions Classic.
Kansas’ and Kentucky’s home facilities are named after Kansas greats. Kentucky’s Rupp Arena is named after Adolph Rupp, a KU graduate who played at Kansas in 1923 under coach F.C. “Phog” Allen, of which Allen Fieldhouse is named. Rupp was a member of the 1922 and 1923 Helms Foundation National Championship teams while at Kansas.
Kansas is No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for the fourth time in poll history, with all coming four in the Bill Self era – 2004-05, 2009-10, 2018-19 and 2023-24. KU has been ranked in the AP top 10 in each of the last 39 polls dating back to the 2021-22 preseason poll. The 39 consecutive is the longest active streak in men’s college basketball. Kansas is celebrating 126 years of men’s basketball in 2023-24.
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.