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Headlines for Friday, December 4, 2020


Kansas Counties Reject Part of New COVID-19 Guidance on Quarantines

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two northeast Kansas counties have rejected at least part of the new federal and state guidelines for shortening the time people are quarantined after they're possibly exposed to COVID-19. The new guidance says people with no symptoms can end their quarantines after 10 days instead of 14 or after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test. Public health officials in Wyandotte County announced Thursday that they're sticking with 14-day quarantines, arguing that shorter quarantines risks greater spread of the virus. Shawnee County's health officer announced that it will allow people with no symptoms to end their quarantines after 10 days but not any sooner with a negative test.


More than 6,000 New Kansas COVID-19 Cases Recorded as Pandemic Total Approaches 170,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KPR) - Kansas has recorded more than 168,000 COVID-19 cases.  Health officials reported Friday that Kansas had identified 168,295 coronavirus cases and 1,786 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began. That's an increase of 6,234 cases and 107 deaths since Wednesday. Another update of Kansas COVID-19 cases is expected Monday.


Kansas Puts Vaccine Priority on Grocery, Meatpacking Workers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly says Kansas considers meatpacking plant workers and grocery store employees essential workers, putting them just behind health care workers and nursing home residents for coronavirus vaccines. The Democratic governor also Friday that said members of the Republican-controlled Legislature won’t get any special treatment. Kelly said Kansas’ vaccine plan calls for the first shots to go to front-line health care workers with a high risk of coronavirus exposure, including workers in nursing homes, as well as nursing home residents. She said the second phase will focus on vaccinating essential workers, including first responders but also grocery store and meatpacking plant workers.

Kansas Reports Spike in COVID-19 Deaths as State Awaits Vaccine

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is reporting spikes in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, as dozens of nursing homes experience outbreaks and the state prepares to see that health care workers receive the first available vaccines.  Governor Laura Kelly says the state expects to receive the first of two vaccine doses for 23,750 people by the middle of this month if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use for the vaccine made by Pfizer. Kansas had a record average of 53 new coronavirus-related hospitalizations a day for the seven days ending Wednesday.

Kansas Man's Obit Criticizes Those Who Won't Wear Masks

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — An obituary for an 81-year-old Kansas man who died of COVID-19 is garnering attention. Dr. Marvin James Farr of Scott City died Tuesday in isolation at a nursing home. His son, Courtney Farr, wrote an obituary lamenting how his father died in a world where many of his fellow citizens refuse to wear a mask to protect one another. His father was a farmer and a veterinarian. The obituary says the science that guided his life has been disparaged and abandoned by many of the same people who depended on his knowledge to care for their animals and to raise their food.


Additional 170,000 Virus Vaccines Coming to Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri is getting vaccines for about an additional 170,000 people in mid-December. On Thursday, state health director Randall Williams said more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are coming December 21. Missouri is set to get vaccines for 51,000 people sometime before then. Missouri is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to give vaccines to health care workers and nursing home staff first. The vaccine news follows the release of an independent review that found Missouri veterans homes didn’t take the virus seriously enough at first or act quickly enough to prevent its spread.


Missouri to Bring in Health Care Workers from Other States

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri plans to bring in hundreds of health care workers from other states to help care for an increasing number of COVID-19 patients. Governor Mike Parson and Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association announced Wednesday the state will partner with Vizient, a national health care company, to bring in up to 760 more health care workers. Kuhn said the announcement comes as early indicators about travel during Thanksgiving week in Missouri raised concerns about a potential increase in COVID-19 cases, even as hospitals in the state are dealing with a continuing surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.  


Missouri Lawmakers Pass $1.2 Billion Virus Spending Bill

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A $1.2 billion coronavirus aid package is on its way to Missouri Governor Mike Parson's desk. Senators on Wednesday gave the measure final approval. It's mostly federal funding. About $752 million needs to be spent this month or it will go back to the federal government. The spending plan includes $135 million for testing, contact tracing, lab equipment and data collection. Senators adjourned Wednesday without taking action on a bill to protect health care workers and some businesses from being sued during the pandemic. That had been a priority for Parson. But he asked lawmakers to abandon the bill Tuesday. It likely will come up again next session.


Majority of Kansas Inmates Housed in Arizona Have COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A majority of the inmates Kansas is housing in a privately run Arizona prison have coronavirus. The Kansas Department of Corrections said Thursday there were 77 active coronavirus cases among the inmates housed out-of-state as of Monday. The department said it is housing 118 offenders at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. It has moved inmates there to prevent crowding in Kansas state prisons.  A department spokeswoman said the numbers of cases among Kansas inmates at the Arizona prison appears to be consistent with numbers for outbreaks in Kansas prisons. The state has reported more than 162,000 coronavirus cases and 1,679 deaths in Kansas since the pandemic began.


Police: 1 Fatally Shot in Northwestern Missouri's Claycomo

CLAYCOMO, Mo. (AP) — Police in suburban Kansas City say one person has been shot to death in the small town of Claycomo. Police say officers were called to a rural residential area near Interstate 435 around 2:20 am Wednesday for a report of a shooting and found a person fatally shot. Police have not released the victim's name. Police say they are searching for a man in his late teens or early 20s who is also wanted for auto theft related to the shooting. No arrests had been announced by Thursday.


Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins Set for February 4 Hearing on Going to Trial

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A hearing is set for February 4 to determine whether defeated Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins will face a trial on charges of felony election fraud and other crimes. The Republican Representative for eastern Kansas had initially faced his first appearance in state district court Thursday in Topeka in a case arising from his listing of a postal box at a UPS store as his residence on a state voter registration form. But Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said Watkins’s attorney sought beforehand to schedule a hearing to determine whether Kagay's office has enough evidence to warrant a trial. Neither Watkins nor his attorney came to the courthouse Thursday.


Shawnee Mayor Charged with Felony Perjury in Kansas

UNDATED (AP) — Court records show Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler has been charged with felony perjury. The Kansas City Star reports the 47-year-old mayor was released Wednesday on $2,500 bond.  The criminal complaint alleges she made a false statement on March 7.  Distler has served as mayor of Shawnee since 2015. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Online court records do not indicate a defense attorney in the case.


Judge Dismisses Criminal Counts in Missouri Duck Boat Deaths

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed neglect and misconduct charges against three employees of a tourist boat that sank on a Missouri lake in 2018, killing 17 people. U.S. District Judge Doug Harpool filed an order Wednesday upholding a recommendation made in September. The boat captain, the general manager of the boat’s operator, and the manager on duty that day were charged with neglect and misconduct after the amphibious vehicle sank during a storm on Table Rock Lake near Branson. The captain also was charged with failure to properly assess the weather and not telling passengers to use flotation devices. Riders from Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Arkansas were killed.


Australian Firm to Buy Kansas-Based Waddell & Reed

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An Australian company has purchased the Kansas-based financial services company Waddell & Reed Financial for $1.7 billion. Macquarie Asset Management, an arm of Australia’s Macquarie Group, announced late Wednesday that it will buy all outstanding shares of Waddell and Reed for $25 per share in cash. The companies said in a statement that when the sale is complete, Macquarie plans to sell Waddell & Reed’s wealth management platform to LPL Financial Holdings, an independent broker-dealer in Boston for $300 million. The two companies' boards of directors have approved the sale, which is expected to be complete by mid-2021, pending normal regulatory approvals.


Missouri Inmate Who Videotaped Sexual Torture-Murders Dies

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri inmate who was convicted of killing two women in 2006 after videotaping their torture and murders has died. The Missouri Department of Corrections said 56-year-old Richard Davis died Tuesday. Davis was sent to death row after being convicted of 32 felonies, including first-degree murder. Corrections officials say he died of natural causes. Davis was being held at the Potosi Correctional Center and was hospitalized for more than two weeks before his death. Prosecutors said Davis and his then-girlfriend, Dena Riley, tortured and killed Marsha Spicer and Michelle Huff-Ricci to fulfill Davis's fantasies. Riley is serving several life sentences.


Kansas Officials Concerned About Repeated, Widespread 911 Outages

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are concerned about the state's 911 service, after a nearly three-hour outage across southern Kansas over the weekend.  It's at least the third major disruption to 911 service in Kansas in four years. An audit in 2018 warned the system was at risk of outages affecting emergency departments. A 911 Coordinating Council has been working for years to move the state to the next generation of service, called NG911. Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat who is a member of the council, says the state has ignored the basic requirement to have a redundant system in case of a widespread outage.


Kansas Offers Free Wasting Disease Testing on Hunted Deer

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are offering deer hunters in the state free testing for chronic wasting disease on the carcasses of deer they kill during the 2020-2021 deer hunting seasons. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is offering the testing in conjunction with the University of Missouri as part of a research project to better understand where the disease is present in Kansas and how it is spread. The project will offer the free testing on a maximum of 450 samples over the next three years. Hunters will need to be able to provide the location of where they killed the deer, using GPS coordinates, range-township-section numbers or the nearest intersection to receive the free testing.


Police Investigate Fatal Shooting at Wichita Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police are investigating a shooting that fatally injured a 49-year-old Wichita man. The Wichita Police Department says officers responded to a shooting call at about 4:30 am Wednesday and found Michael Horn with a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. Police say this was not a random incident and that the investigation is ongoing. Investigators were working to locate the suspect.


Peppered Chub Proposed by Agency as Endangered Species

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list a small minnow-like fish known as the peppered chub as an endangered species and designate parts of rivers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico as its critical habitat. This week, the agency published the proposal in the Federal Register. The proposal says the fish, once found in each of the four states and in Colorado, is now found only in one river from New Mexico into Texas.  The agency says rivers in Kansas and Oklahoma must also be protected to ensure they could be relocated, if necessary, to prevent extinction.


"Change at Any Moment" - Virus Upends Big 12 Football Season

UNDATED (AP) — No. 12 Iowa State's most remarkable accomplishment this season might not be beating Oklahoma and Texas in the same season for the first time. Or reaching the conference championship game if they do. It could be staying on the field in a season dominated by the pandemic. The Cyclones are one of three Big 12 teams set to finish their 10-game regular season Saturday. The others are Kansas State and Texas Tech. While the Big 12 has only had to reschedule three games so far, there are still the weekly and even daily COVID-19 issues for every team.


Coach When Kansas Football Player Died Fired in Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Southern State has dismissed football coach Jeff Sims. He was the coach at Garden City Community College in Kansas when a player died of heat stroke in 2018. Missouri Southern athletic director Jared Bruggeman did not provide a reason for Sims being fired. He was in his second season at the school, which did not play this fall because of the pandemic. Two years ago, Braeden Bradforth of Neptune, New Jersey, died of exertional heatstroke after a football workout at Garden City. An investigation blamed Bradford's death on a lack of of leadership by college officials, including Sims.


Sporting KC's Season Comes to an End as Minnesota Advances to Western Final, 3-0

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kevin Molino scored twice in the first half and Minnesota United advanced to the MLS Western Conference finals, beating Sporting Kansas City 3-0 on Thursday night. Fourth-seeded Minnesota will play at No. 2 seed Seattle next Monday for a spot in the MLS Cup finals. Bakaye Dibassy also scored, and Emanuel Reynoso assists on all three goals. Molino opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a run up the left side to finish a feed from Reynoso. Eight minutes later, Molino wrapped his right foot around Reynoso's chip pass with just enough pace to get it past goalkeeper Tim Melia. Dibassy made it 3-0 with a header to finish Reynoso's corner in the 39th minute.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day. KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.

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