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Headlines for Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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Emily Fisher

Kansas Supreme Court: Cyber Criminals Attack, Blackmail Judicial Branch

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — Cyber criminals have attacked the Kansas judicial system and are now trying to blackmail the state. The Kansas Supreme Court says the attack took place October 12 and disrupted access to online information systems used by courts across the state. Chief Justice Marla Luckert issued a statement saying the judicial branch is the victim of a sophisticated foreign cyberattack, which has affected the daily operations of appellate courts and district courts in 104 counties. She said the attack on one of the three branches of state government "was made against all Kansans." The chief justice says the cyber-criminals also stole data and threatened to post it to the dark web if their demands were not met, but she did not specify those demands.

State officials are working with cybersecurity experts to identify the stolen data and conduct a comprehensive review to determine the full scope of what personal information may have been taken. Based on a preliminary review, it appears the stolen information includes judicial files, district court case records on appeal and other data that may be considered confidential under law.

Cyberattacks on government entities are rampant. According to the FBI, government entities are the third most-targeted sector for such cyberattacks. Luckert said it will likely take several more weeks for courts to return to normal operations.

(–Additional reporting –)

Kansas Officials Blame 5-Week Disruption of Court System on 'Sophisticated Foreign Cyberattack'

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Cybercriminals hacked into the Kansas court system, stole sensitive data and threatened to post it on the dark web in a ransomware attack that has hobbled access to records for more than five weeks, officials said Tuesday.

The announcement of a “sophisticated foreign cyberattack” was confirmation of what computer security experts suspected after the state's Judicial Branch said Oct. 12 that it was pausing electronic filings. Until now, state officials had released few details, describing it simply as a “security incident.”

Upon learning about the attack, the state disconnected its court information system from external access and notified authorities, the Judicial Branch said in a statement. That disrupted daily operations of the state’s appellate courts and all but one county. Johnson County, the state’s most populous, operates its own computer systems and had not yet switched over to the state’s new online system.

In recent weeks many attorneys have been forced to file motions the old fashioned way — on paper.

“This assault on the Kansas system of justice is evil and criminal,” the statement said. “Today, we express our deep sorrow that Kansans will suffer at the hands of these cybercriminals.”

A preliminary review indicates that the stolen information includes district court case records on appeal and other potentially confidential data, and those affected will be notified once a full review is complete, the statement said.

Analyst Allan Liska of the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future said no ransomware group leak site has published any information yet.

Judicial Branch spokesperson Lisa Taylor declined to answer questions including whether the state paid a ransom or the name of the group behind the attack, saying the statement stands on its own.

If organizations don't pay a ransom, data usually begins to appear online within a few weeks, said analyst Brett Callow of the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. Victims that pay get a “pinky promise" that stolen data will be destroyed, but some are extorted a second time, he said.

In the weeks since the Kansas attack, access to court records has only partially been restored. A public access service center with 10 computer terminals is operating at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

The Judicial Branch said it would take several weeks to return to normal operations, including electronic filing, and the effort involves “buttressing our systems to guard against future attacks.”

A risk assessment of the state’s court system, issued last year, is kept “permanently confidential” under state law. But two recent audits of other state agencies identified weaknesses. The most recent one, released in July, said “agency leaders don’t know or sufficiently prioritize their IT security responsibilities.”


Federal Judge Grants Injunction Banning 'Kansas Two-Step' Highway Patrol Tactic

UNDATED (AP) – The Kansas Highway Patrol must stop using a tactic known as the “Kansas Two-Step” to detain out-of-state drivers long enough to find a reason to search their vehicles for illegal drugs, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil on Monday granted a permanent injunction. The injunction was not unexpected. It follows Vratil's ruling in July that determined that the tactic violated drivers' constitutional rights against unreasonable searches.

KHP spokeswoman Candice Breshears said the order is being reviewed by the state attorney general's office and declined further comment. A message left Tuesday with the office of Attorney General Kris Kobach was not immediately returned.

The injunction has several requirements, including cameras and audio for all marked and unmarked patrol cars. It also says troopers must inform drivers that they can refuse or revoke consent for a search at any time. The injunction also requires better training and documentation.

With the “Two-Step,” troopers finish the initial traffic stop, issuing a ticket or a warning, and start to walk away, then turn back to talk more to the driver. That allows them to keep looking for grounds for a vehicle search or to buy time for drug-sniffing dogs to arrive.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of three drivers and two passengers traveling in 2017, 2018 and 2019 from neighboring Colorado, which has legalized recreational marijuana use. The judge concluded that the patrol targeted drivers traveling along Interstate 70 to or from states that have legalized either the medical or recreational use of marijuana. Kansas has authorized neither.

“The Kansas Highway Patrol is not above the law,” Sharon Brett, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas, said in a statement Tuesday. “While KHP made various attempts to side-step accountability for its practices and put off this injunction, the Constitution has prevailed.”

The patrol previously defended its tactics as a response to I-70 serving as a major “corridor” for drug traffickers. But Vratil said in the July ruling that the patrol “waged war on motorists.”

“The war is basically a question of numbers: stop enough cars, and you’re bound to discover drugs. And what’s the harm if a few constitutional rights are trampled along the way?” she wrote.

Questions about the patrol’s tactics became more visible after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana almost a decade ago. Missouri did the same in 2022, and Oklahoma allows the medical use of marijuana. Only a handful of states don’t allow at least medical use.


EPA Fines Coffeyville Refinery for Polluting Air

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (Montgomery County Chronicle) — An oil refinery in southeast Kansas has agreed to pay more than $23 million for violating the federal Clean Air Act and for violating a 2012 settlement for earlier pollution problems. The Montgomery County Chronicle reports that the Environmental Protection Agency announced the fine against Coffeyville Resources Refining and Marketing. The federal agency says the actions stem from the illegal discharge of sulfur dioxide from its Coffeyville refinery between 2015 and 2017. The refining company says it has been working to come into compliance with federal requirements over the past decade and has eliminated more than 35,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide from the environment. The southeast Kansas refinery is located in Coffeyville, near the Oklahoma state line.

(Additional reporting...)

Kansas Oil Refinery to Pay $23 Million Penalty for Violating Clean Air Act

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas refinery has agreed to pay more than $23 million for violating the federal Clean Air Act and breaching a 2012 settlement for earlier pollution problems, the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.

The federal agencies said the violations by Coffeyville Resources Refining and Marketing and its affiliated companies, collectively known as CRRM, resulted in illegal emissions from 2015 to 2017 that included an estimated 2,300 excess tons of sulfur dioxide from its southeast Kansas oil refinery in Coffeyville.

But CRRM’s efforts to come into compliance with federal requirements since the investigation began have already eliminated more than 39,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions that can contribute to climate change, the agencies said in a joint news release. That's equivalent to using nearly 4 million fewer gallons of gasoline per year, they said.

The EPA also estimated that a waste gas recovery system required by Monday's court-enforceable settlement, known as a consent decree, will further reduce yearly emissions of greenhouse gases by nearly 13,000 tons, equivalent to using 1.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline annually. It will also reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, which can make breathing more difficult, and nitrogen oxide, which contributes to smog formation.

“The emissions reductions achieved under this settlement will result in healthier air for a community disproportionately affected by air pollution,” Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim said in the statement. CRRM did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The agreement also requires the company to spend at least $1 million on an environmentally beneficial project to be approved by the state. The consent degree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.


KCC Approves Electricity Rate Hike Agreement for Eastern, South Central Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – Most of eastern and south-central Kansas will pay more for electricity under new rates approved Tuesday by state regulators. The Kansas News Service reports that under the new rate structure, parts of the Kansas City metro area will pay less. The agreement approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission will hike Evergy’s rates by about 4% for residential customers in the Kansas Central region, which includes Wichita, Topeka and parts of Johnson County. That will raise customers’ bills by about $56 a year. Regulators approved a 4.75% cut for parts of the Kansas City region, which will reduce monthly bills by about $6 a month. Evergy has said proposed increases will offset rising interest rates for power-plant improvements. The company initially pushed for larger rate hikes in both regions.


Fire Destroys 100-Year-Old Kansas Farmhouse

RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNT) — Firefighters extinguished a blaze Monday morning at a 100-year-old farmhouse in northwest Riley County. The Riley County Fire Department was called to a rural area near the village of Green just after 8:30 am, where they found the farmhouse completely engulfed in flames. KSNT reports that the house was vacant at the time and no injuries were reported. Fire officials say the situation could have been much worse. A steady rain kept the fire from spreading faster. If the fire had happened last week during the dry, windy conditions, firefighters say it likely would have escalated into a large wildfire that could have spread to other structures.


Overland Park Police Search for Suspect After Shots Were Fired in Road Rage Incident

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (WDAF) — Police in Overland Park are searching for witnesses after a family reported they were shot at as they headed northbound on I-35 last Saturday evening. WDAF TV reports that the family’s car was rear ended by a red Audi sedan. They pulled over and planned to exchange information but instead, the driver of the Audi started shooting at their car then took off. The incident happened near I-35 and I-635. Fortunately, no bullets hit the car. Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the Overland Park police department.


Kansas Senator Hopeful for Brokered Peace Deal in Israel / Gaza War

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – Kansas Senator Jerry Moran said Monday that he’s hopeful for a U.S.-brokered deal between Israel and Hamas. The deal would reportedly involve a temporary ceasefire to allow aid into Gaza in exchange for the release of several dozen Israeli hostages held by Hamas. Moran’s comments came at a news conference in Wichita, following reports that Israel and Hamas could reach an agreement as soon as this week. “This would give a chance for restocking, resupplying the hospitals (and) getting people out of harm's way," he said. United Nations officials and a growing list of U.S. Congress members are calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. In an October 7th attack, Hamas killed about 1,200 Israelis and took 240 hostage. Since then, the U.N. says Israel has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians and displaced more than 1.7 million people in Gaza. Moran visited Israel earlier this month.


Data Shows Black, Hispanic Students Underrepresented in Advanced High School Courses

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – Data gathered by the U.S. Department of Education shows that Black and Hispanic students in Kansas are underrepresented in advanced high school courses. The Kansas News Service reports that the data was collected during the 2020-21 school year, and shows racial disparities in nearly every measure of educational opportunity. About 7% of Kansas students are Black, but fewer than 4% are enrolled in Advanced Placement courses. Hispanic students represent 20% of all Kansas students, but only 12% of those in higher-level math and science courses.

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona offered the example of his taking a college-level course in high school, which he says changed his life.

“As a first-generation college student myself, it really helped me build that confidence that I needed in myself that I have what it takes to succeed in college. We need to offer those opportunities for all students,” Cardona says.

Education leaders urged schools to expand access to math and science learning through partnerships with businesses.


K-State Launches Water Institute

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KNS) — Kansas State University is launching a Kansas Water Institute to advance research on one of the state’s most pressing issues. The institute will bring together experts on everything from irrigation technology to reservoir sustainability and storm water mitigation. K-State has had a water-related institute within its College of Agriculture for decades. But K-State officials say the new institute will make water research a university-wide priority. It aims to coordinate the work of more than 75 faculty across K-State who study water from different perspectives. And increase collaboration with state agencies like the Kansas Water Office.


AAA Issues Forecast for Holiday Travel

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – More than 580,000 Kansans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday period. The American Automobile Association says nearly nine in 10 of those travelers will be driving. AAA officials say travelers can ensure a smooth trip over the long weekend by making sure their vehicle is in good driving condition. Due to seasonal patterns and lower demand, drivers can anticipate lower gas prices when they embark on their trip. Travelers who are flying can expect to see a slight uptick in passengers at the airport.


ACLU of Kansas Seeks Reversal of Order Stopping Drivers' License Gender Changes

UNDATED (KNS) – The ACLU of Kansas is asking a state judge to reverse an order that has barred transgender residents from changing the gender on their drivers’ licenses. ID changes have been blocked since July, after Republican Attorney General Kris Kobach sued to stop them. A Shawnee County District Court judge granted Kobach’s request for a temporary injunction while the case progresses. But lawyers for the ACLU, who represent a group of transgender Kansans, say the ban is unconstitutional and harmful. A hearing in the case is set for January.


KPR Searching for New Statehouse Reporter

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas Public Radio is seeking a new Kansas Statehouse Bureau Chief (SBC) to manage the station'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. 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. 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.


Haskell University Professor Promotes 'Indigenuity' in New Book

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — November is Native American Heritage Month. Dr. Daniel Wildcat, with Haskell Indian Nations University, says "indigenous ingenuity" is a way to tap into Native American knowledge, especially in this age of climate change. Wildcat recently spoke with KPR's Kaye McIntyre about his new book, On Indigenuity: Learning the Lessons of Mother Earth. Listen to the whole interview here.


Kansas Wildlife Officials Launch Statewide Photo Contest

TOPEKA (KPR) – Got some great pictures of the Sunflower State? The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has launched a statewide photo contest featuring scenery and wildlife. Kansans have until December 2 to send in their best photos for consideration in the Wild About Kansas photography contest. Winners will be featured in the 2024 photography issue of the department's magazine.

Photos can be entered for the following categories:

  • Hunting and fishing
  • Game species
  • Non-game species
  • Landscapes
  • Outdoor recreation

Contestants will be split by age into two groups: below the age of 18 and above the age of 18. To enter a photo in the contest, click here.


Jalen Hurts Leads Second-Half Rally as Eagles Beat Chiefs 21-17 in Super Bowl Rematch

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles insisted that their Super Bowl rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs had nothing to do with revenge. They got a little bit of it anyway. After allowing the Chiefs to methodically build a 10-point halftime lead Monday night, the Eagles shut out Patrick Mahomes and Co. over the final 30 minutes. Jalen Hurts overcame a poor start in a cold, driving rain to run for a pair of touchdowns, and his go-ahead tush-push in the fourth quarter allowed the Eagles to walk away with a 21-17 victory. "We weren't thinking, 'Hey, we're coming up here to avenge a loss,'" Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said afterward. "That's a different magnitude of game. That was for everything. So, we're just pleased to get the win tonight." Besides, Sirianni said, "they ain't giving us the rings back. I know that."

Still, the Eagles (9-1) became the first team to win at least nine of their first 10 games in consecutive seasons since the Colts in 2005-06, and they did it by beating former coach Andy Reid for the first time in five tries since he landed in Kansas City. Eagles center Jason Kelce also got the best of little brother Travis Kelce for the first time. The Chiefs tight end could have used some luck from pop star and love interest Taylor Swift, who had to miss the game — he fumbled the ball away in the red zone in the fourth quarter, when Kansas City was trying to extend a 17-14 lead.

The Chiefs still had a chance with less than 2 minutes to go, converting on fourth down and getting help from a roughing-the-passer penalty. But a perfectly placed ball from Mahomes went right through the hands of Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a would-be 51-yard touchdown, and the Eagles stopped Kansas City on fourth down to put the game away. "This is a growing moment for us as a team, overall," Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said.

Hurts threw for just 150 yards with a pick, but he made the plays Mahomes could not in the second half. He also got some help from D'Andre Swift, who ran for 76 yards and a score, and DeVonta Smith, who caught six balls for 99 yards.

"I don't think we played clean tonight. I don't think we played to our standard," Hurts said. "But I think the one thing you can't quantify is the resilience that a team has, and the ability to see through things, and this team has that." It was only the ninth time that two teams that played in the Super Bowl met in the regular season the following year, and the champion had won the previous four matchups. The last to lose was Dallas against Buffalo during the 1993 season.

Mahomes was held to 177 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception in the end zone. Isiah Pacheco added 89 yards rushing for the Chiefs, who couldn't overcome their two red-zone turnovers and a plethora of penalties. "I think offensively," Mahomes said, "I'm just not where I want to be at this point in the season."

Unlike the Super Bowl, when the Eagles blew a 10-point halftime lead, the Chiefs took a 17-7 lead to the break Monday night. It was knotted 7-all after Hurts and Mahomes traded first-quarter touchdown throws, and it was still tied when Mahomes hit Kelce on third down for the go-ahead TD with 1:45 left. And when the Eagles got the ball back, sacks by Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis made them give it right back with 44 seconds remaining. Plenty of time for Mahomes to get the Chiefs within range for Harrison Butker to add a 43-yard field goal.

But for all the praise the Chiefs get for their prolific offense, they've been abysmal in the second half this season, scoring a league-low 53 points entering Monday night. And after two quick punts to start the half, Philadelphia finally capitalized on the good field position, marching downfield before Hurts finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. The Chiefs kept beating themselves — and the Eagles kept taking advantage.

Along with penalties that derailed their first two drives of the second half, Kelce fumbled the ball away at the Philadelphia 8 early in the fourth quarter. And when the Chiefs got the ball back and had to punt a few minutes later, Justin Watson was unable to down the ball at the Philadelphia 1, resulting in a touchback that gave Hurts and Co. some breathing room.

They proceeded to go 80 yards the other way, and Hurts' sneak gave Philadelphia the lead for good in the fourth quarter.

"It's the resiliency and togetherness that really stood out to me tonight," Sirianni said, "and I can't say enough about the defense. I can't say enough about the job our defense and our defensive staff did."

Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman left in the first quarter with a thumb injury but returned to the game.

Chiefs: At Las Vegas on Sunday.


Drop-Prone Chiefs Get Shut Out in Second Half for Third Straight Time; Lose to Eagles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have scored an NFL-worst 53 points in the second half of games this season, which equates to just over five per game, and they sure could have used that measly total against the Eagles on Monday night. Instead, they got none. The Chiefs were shut out in the second half for the third consecutive game, this time by Philadelphia in their highly anticipated Super Bowl rematch, allowing Jalen Hurts and Co. to rally from a 10-point deficit for a 21-17 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

Whether it was penalties, red-zone turnovers or two dropped passes in the closing minutes, the Chiefs (7-3) made the kind of mistakes on offense that have been rare since Andy Reid — who had never lost in four tries against his former team — took over as their coach in 2013 and Patrick Mahomes began his prolific career as their starting quarterback in 2018.

"All season long," Mahomes said, "we haven't played good football in the second half. We've got to continue to work. Obviously, we had a pretty good first half running the football, but we've got to find ways to finish games offensively."

Mahomes was held to 177 yards with two touchdowns and a pick in the end zone. Travis Kelce was his top target, catching seven passes for 44 yards and a score, but he likewise turned the ball over in the red zone with a fourth-quarter fumble. "Just not playing up to the level I have in the past," Kelce said afterward. "I've got to be better."

Had he held onto the ball, the Chiefs could have turned a 17-14 lead into a two-possession game. Instead, the Eagles went 80 yards the other way, and Hurts tush-pushed his way for the go-ahead touchdown with about six minutes to go.

After the teams traded punts, the Chiefs had one last chance with the ball at their own 9-yard line and 2:49 left. But while that would have been plenty of time in past years, but it seemed no amount would have done them any good Monday night. Their final series began with a fourth-down conversion, and a roughing-the-passer penalty pushed them near midfield. But then came the letdown: Mahomes had a perfectly-thrown ball to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a would-be 51-yard touchdown go right through the wide receiver's hands. Then, after Mahomes was called for intentional grounding, he threw one last incompletion on a ball that Justin Watson could have caught that would have kept the Chiefs alive with a first down. Instead, the Eagles ran out the clock. "The game certainly doesn't come down to one play. As much as anybody wants to say that, it doesn't," Watson said. "I've seen Marquez make that play 99 times out of a hundred times. That was just one that he didn't. And he's a phenomenal player and he'll make that for us next week or next time it's called upon."

The final drive was a microcosm of the way the second half went for Kansas City, which had led 17-7 at the break. Its first drive was derailed by a holding penalty on Donovan Smith, its second drive on a false start on Jawaan Taylor and the third nearly was nearly sent off track by a holding call on Kelce, who fumbled the ball away later in the drive anyway. Standout center Creed Humphrey was also called for a false start that led to another punt later in the fourth quarter.

The result of the red-zone turnovers, the seven penalties for 55 yards and the dropped passes and missed assignments was the Chiefs' second loss in their last three games, one that knocked them from their perch atop the AFC. "Offensively we're just not where I want to be at his point in the season," Mahomes said. "It starts with me. I have to make better throws at certain times. We have to continue to move the ball downfield and just be more consistent throughout the game."


Analysis: Winning Another Super Bowl Without Tyreek Hill Won't Be Easy for Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

UNDATED (AP) – Coach Andy Reid figured out his franchise quarterback needed a true No. 1 wide receiver after five seasons as a head coach and three straight losses in the NFC championship game.

Now, Patrick Mahomes knows what Donovan McNabb went through in Philadelphia.

McNabb’s top wide receivers in his first five seasons were Torrance Small, Charles Johnson, James Thrash and Todd Pinkston. When the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens in 2004, McNabb had his best season and the team reached the Super Bowl.

Reid, Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have won two Super Bowls together, including one last year without Tyreek Hill. But it’ll be hard for them to win another one without a dependable receiver other than tight end Travis Kelce.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped what should’ve been a go-ahead 51-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and Justin Watson couldn’t catch a fourth-and-25 pass that went through his hands to seal Kansas City’s 21-17 loss to Philadelphia on Monday night.

After seeing Owens’ impact on McNabb and the Eagles, Reid began to prioritize wide receivers. He drafted DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in Philly, brought Maclin to Kansas City and hit a home run on Hill in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft.

But the Chiefs (7-3) didn’t replace Hill after trading the All-Pro receiver to Miami before last season and they went on to beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl anyway. JuJu Smith-Schuster led the wide receivers with 78 catches for 933 yards while Kelce had 110 catches for 1,338 yards.

Smith-Schuster left in free agency and Kansas City selected Rashee Rice in the second round of the draft to help fill the void this season. Rice leads the wide receivers with 36 receptions for 420 yards through 10 games. He wasn’t much a factor on Monday, catching four balls for 42 yards. Watson had five receptions on 11 targets for 53 yards and one TD. Valdes-Scantling had no catches on three targets, including the costly drop.

The Chiefs lead the NFL with 26 drops this season. They have the fewest second-half points in the league, including zero in the past three games.

Of course, it’s not all on the receivers. They had two turnovers —Mahomes’ interception and Kelce’s fumble — in the red zone against Philadelphia.

The Chiefs already have as many losses as last season when they won their seventh straight AFC West and hosted the conference title game for the fifth consecutive year. They’ve got a much-improved defense that will help overcome the offense’s deficiencies, but Mahomes needs a reliable outside threat to catch the deep ball and make big plays.

The Chiefs visit the Las Vegas Raiders (5-6) on Sunday after falling a half-game behind Baltimore for the AFC's No. 1 seed.


Big 12 Has Familiar Look with Four Traditional Members Still in Running for Conference Title Game

UNDATED (AP) – Cut the chatter about the new look and future of the Big 12 for a couple of weeks. There is an awfully familiar look to the top of the conference as it approaches the most important time of the college football season. Soon-to-be-gone league stalwarts Texas and Oklahoma, as well as longtime members Oklahoma State and Kansas State, are all ranked in the Top 25 and remain in the running for spots in the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 2. No. 7 Texas and No. 21 Oklahoma State can clinch berths by winning regular season finales this week. No. 13 Oklahoma and No. 19 Kansas State need to beat TCU and Iowa State, respectively, as well as get some outside help to wind up in the title game.


Maui Invitational and Battle 4 Atlantis Offer Thanksgiving Week Tests for AP Top 25 Teams

UNDATED (AP) – Holiday hoops season has arrived.

The week's AP Top 25 schedule is filled with Thanksgiving-week tournaments that have long been staples of the college basketball schedule as well as made-for-TV pairings.

The headliner is a loaded field at the Maui Invitational, which began play Monday with five of the top 11 teams. There's also the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, as well as other events in Florida, California, Missouri and even Mexico.

They all create the potential of marquee matchups as well as the chance for teams to sort through what they do well compared to what they need to improve — the latter of which being of particular importance in a time of rapid roster overhauls through the transfer portal.

That was on the mind of North Carolina coach Hubert Davis before his 14th-ranked Tar Heels play in Atlantis, mentioning a daily message his retired Hall of Fame predecessor Roy Williams shared with a previous team: “Rome wasn't built in a day but it was worked on every day.”

“This year's team has new parts, and every day we want to take a step forward of building that team and getting closer to that finished product,” Davis said last week.

That applies broadly, too.

The Maui field features No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Purdue, No. 4 Marquette, No. 7 Tennessee and No. 11 Gonzaga. That tournament, relocated to Honolulu due to wildfires that devastated its longtime home of Lahaina, runs through Wednesday.

The Boilermakers and Volunteers won Monday to set up a Tuesday semifinal matchup, while the Zags fell into the consolation bracket after falling to Purdue.

The Jayhawks and Golden Eagles also won Monday night and will meet in the other semifinal.

The Tar Heels, who climbed six spots in Monday's new poll, are the highest-ranked team taking the court Wednesday for the eight-team tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas. They'll open against Northern Iowa in the first game, with the tournament running through Friday.

The field also includes No. 20 Arkansas, which comes in off a home loss to UNC Greensboro that dropped the Razorbacks six spots Monday. Arkansas opens play there against Stanford.

The field also includes Villanova, which fell out of the poll Monday; and Memphis, which was the leading vote-getter among unranked teams. The Tigers open against Michigan and a good showing at the Atlantis resort could propel them into net week's ranking.

Third-ranked Arizona has already earned a marquee win this season at Duke. The Wildcats have another such matchup on the schedule on Thanksgiving Day against No. 21 Michigan State. That game takes place in Palm Desert, California, for the Acrisure Classic.

No. 22 James Madison is also playing an offshore event, facing Southern Illinois on Tuesday in the Cancun Challenge in Mexico. The winner of that matchup faces the New Mexico State-Fresno State winner on Wednesday for the title.

Multiple events are taking place in Florida this week with ranked teams, including No. 18 Colorado in the Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach; and No. 24 Virginia in the Fort Myers Tip-Off.

The ESPN Events Invitational features No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 19 Florida Atlantic as the headliners in Kissimmee. They could meet in the semifinals of an event that opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.

There's also No. 17 Alabama playing Ohio State on Friday in its Emerald Coast Classic opener in Niceville.

Eighth-ranked Creighton faces Loyola Chicago on Wednesday to open the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri. No. 13 Baylor faces Oregon State on Wednesday in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn, while No. 23 USC meets Seton Hall on Thursday in the first-year Rady Children's Invitational near San Diego.


This summary of area news is curated by KPR news staffers. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day. This ad-free news summary is made possible by KPR members. Become one today. And follow KPR News on Twitter.