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Headlines for Friday, September 11, 2020

UPDATE: GOP-Led Council Extends Kansas Governor's Coronavirus Order

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s emergency declaration meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in effect until Oct. 15. The State Finance Council voted unanimously Friday to extend the order, which was to expire Tuesday. The vote came after a contentious meeting during which Kelly, a Democrat, and GOP members of the council sparred over the governor's power to order the closing of businesses during the pandemic. The governor said repeatedly that she would not order a statewide business closure. But the council approved the extension only after a clause was inserted saying Kelly doesn't intend to use her authority to close businesses in response to the virus.

(–Earlier Reporting–)

Kansas Governor Urges GOP-Led State Council to Extend Emergency Declaration

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas residents' lives will be on the line when a Republican-led council votes on whether to extend an emergency declaration she imposed in response to the spread of the coronavirus. The state disaster declaration is set to expire Tuesday. The State Finance Council is scheduled to vote today (FRI) on Kelly's request to extend the declaration. Kelly said Thursday that not extending the declaration would hamper the state's ability to respond to many impacts of the pandemic. Kansas Adjutant General David Weishaar said several services provided by emergency officials across the state would end Tuesday if the declaration is not extended.  (Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda has been covering this meeting of the State Finance Council.  Follow him on Twitter for the latest updates to this story.)

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Governor: Kansas Faces Deep Cuts Without More Federal Funds

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has told the U.S. House Financial Services Committee that the state faces “drastic and damaging” cuts if the federal government doesn't provide more funds in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Kansas is already facing deep revenue shortfalls because of the pandemic. Kelly said in remote testimony Thursday that state and local governments will have to further cut services if federal funds are reduced. Also Thursday, the state health department said those who traveled to Aruba or attended out of state gatherings for more than 500 people will no longer be expected to quarantine when they return to Kansas.

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Several Low Temperature and Snow Records Broken Across Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The National Weather Service says several low temperature and a snow record across Kansas have been broken this week as unseasonably cold weather moved across the region. National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser says a large weather system over the Rockies this week has pushed an unprecedented cold front into Kansas. Among new records this week were a low of 47 degrees in Wichita, recorded on Tuesday, where the previous record had been 48 degrees in 1890 and a  low of 41 degrees in Russell, where the previous record was 44 degrees in 1962. Goodland also saw its earliest measurable snow on record Wednesday with about a half-inch. 

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Kansas Reports Over 48,000 COVID-19 Cases, 511 Deaths Since Start of Pandemic

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas health officials say the state has recorded more than 48,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  The Department of Health and Environment reported Friday that there are now 48,386 cases, an increase of 976 since Wednesday. The death toll for Kansas now stands at 511. Coronavirus cases have been reported in every Kansas county.  Another update will be released Monday.

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COVID-19 Death Toll Among Kansas State Prisoners Reaches 5

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State prison officials say a fifth inmate has died from COVID-19. The Kansas Department of Corrections announced Thursday that 68-year-old Junior Lee Chrismon died from the coronavirus. Chrismon tested positive for COVID-19 August 15 and was taken from Larned Correctional Facility to a hospital, where he died Monday. The agency says Chrismon had underlying health conditions. He was in prison for drug charges out of Montgomery County. Four inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility have also died from the virus, as well as two staff members at Lansing and an employee from the Topeka Correctional Facility.

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Meatpacking Plants Have Highest Number of Active COVID Cases

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — New data released by Kansas health officials shows meatpacking plants continue to report the most active clusters of COVID-19 cases. State health officials for the first time released data on Wednesday that identified specific active clusters throughout the state. Governor Laura Kelly has said the information would help the public be better informed about where the virus is spreading. Leaders of several large business organizations had urged the governor not to release the data, saying it could hurt businesses trying to recover from the pandemic. Seven active clusters were identified at meatpacking plants, with 2,159 cases leading to 76 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.

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CVS to Add More Coronavirus Testing Sites in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) — CVS pharmacies are adding coronavirus testing at more sites across Kansas starting today (FRI).  The chain already had 15 testing sites in Kansas City, Kansas, Johnson County, Wichita, Leavenworth, Topeka and Lawrence. It is adding 10 more, mostly in the Kansas City metro and Wichita, but now there will be testing in Junction City as well. Kansans have to register on the drugstore’s website before going for a test. The service is limited to people over the age of 12 who have symptoms or a known risk of exposure to the virus.

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Kansas Supreme Court Tosses Convictions in 2 Criminal Cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has thrown out a first-degree premeditated murder conviction after finding that a trial judge erred in refusing to give jurors instructions of self-defense and involuntary manslaughter. The court on Friday sent the case of Michael Alan Keyes back to Grant County District Court. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said whether Keyes used self-defense boils down to a “credibility question.” It said it cannot be sure that the failure to instruct the jury on self-defense did not affect the trial's outcome. Keyes had been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years in the 2016 death of Jimmy Martin.

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Mizzou Leader Backtracks After Blocking Students on Twitter

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The leader of the University of Missouri is backtracking after blocking students who criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Twitter. Spokesman Christian Basi on Thursday said system President and Columbia campus Chancellor Mun Choi unblocked the accounts Wednesday. Lawyer Chris Bennett warned he would sue if Choi didn't unblock the students. Basi says some of the tweets were abusive and used expletives. But Bennett says others didn't even directly criticize Choi.

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Kansas Prosecutors: Criminal Cases Risk Being Dismissed

OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - Accused criminals could soon get a free pass if Kansas lawmakers don’t act to extend the governor’s coronavirus-related State of Emergency Declaration.  As KCTV reports, the doors of the Johnson County Courthouse are cluttered with notices about all kinds of restrictions due to COVID-19.  That’s made it hard to keep up with cases.  “Everybody wants justice to be done in a timely manner,” said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.  He said getting that done with all the health restrictions in place requires re-defining what’s speedy.  “Our ability to do in-person hearings has been pretty much shut down,” said Howe.  Johnson County has a virtual system for hearings but a jury trial is another story. Kansas Courts are still working out the logistics for that.  “The biggest challenge is bringing in hundreds of jurors to do jury selection. No longer are we going to be able to pack the courtroom with 60, 70, 80 jurors,” Howe explained.  Kansas Law defines a speedy trial as 150 days for someone in custody and 180 days, about six months, for someone not in custody.  When Kansas Governor Laura Kelly declared a State of Emergency in March, that set the stage for a pause on the ticking clock for a speedy trial.  The governor’s office said Tuesday that she plans to extend or initiate a new state of emergency declaration.  (Read more.)  

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Indictment: Kansas Man Threatened Black Teen in Racist Rant

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Kansas man used social media to send a racist threat to a 15-year-old Black student. A federal indictment made public Friday charges 20-year-old Gage H. Clausen of Cheney, Kansas, with one count of making a threat via interstate communications. Clausen is accused of threatening the Derby High School student and using racist slurs via Snapchat that referred to the teenager as “a filthy farm animal.” The U.S. attorney's office says in a news release that if convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Big 12 to Implement Rapid COVID-19 Tests Day Before Games

The Big 12 has secured access to COVID-19 antigen testing that produces rapid results and will be used the day before competition on players, coaches and staff. The conference announced a partnership with Virtual Care for Families. The testing program will use Quidel Rapid Antigen tests. The Pac-12 recently announced a partnership with Quidel that will provide its schools with the capacity to test daily and get results in about 15 minutes. The Big 12 said it expects the Quidel test to provide results that quickly.

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KBI: Man Shot in Junction City After Firing Shotgun at Police

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says a Junction City man was shot and injured by law enforcement after he fired shots at police. The agency released details late Wednesday about the incident that began at 2:45 am that day when officers from the Junction City Police Department and deputies from the Geary County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call from a female reporting a domestic disturbance with shots fired. The KBI says 70-year-old James Marsh exited the house holding a shotgun and fired at police. One deputy and one police officer returned fire, striking him. No officers were hurt. Marsh is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.

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KBI: Reward Offered in Murder Investigation of Independence Man  

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Independence Police Department have announced that a Governor’s Reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of 37-year-old Detreck Foster, of Independence.   Governor Laura Kelly recently signed an executive order offering the $5,000 reward.  Detreck Foster was reported missing on May 12. He was last seen around April 12 in Independence. KBI agents and detectives from the Independence Police Department are conducting the case as a homicide based upon findings during the investigation into Foster’s disappearance.  Foster was a black male, 5' 9" tall, who weighed approximately 190 lbs. He had black hair and brown eyes.  Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or the Independence Police Department (620) 332-1700.  Tips can also be submitted online.  Individuals with information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for Detreck Foster’s disappearance or murder are eligible for the $5,000 reward. 

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George Washington Professor Who Posed as Black Woman Resigns

WASHINGTON (AP) — The George Washington University history professor who confessed to posing as a Black woman for her entire career has resigned. The university announced on Twitter that Jessica Krug, “has resigned her position, effective immediately.” Krug, who taught African American history and specialized in issues of African culture and diaspora, admitted last week in a blog post that she had presented herself as Afro-Caribbean from New York when she is in fact a white Jewish woman from suburban Kansas City. She expressed deep remorse and blamed her years-long deception on “unaddressed mental health demons” dating back to childhood.

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51 Bison Relocated from North Rim of Grand Canyon to Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — Dozens of bison have been relocated from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to Native American lands in several states, Grand Canyon National Park officials say a roundup begun in August and completed earlier this month led to the transfer of 51 bison to the InterTribal Buffalo Council. The bison were then successfully transported to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, the Santee Sioux Tribe in Nebraska, the Modoc Nation in Oklahoma and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.  The relocations are part of an effort to reduce the size of the herd on the Kaibab Plateau.

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Report: Kansas Forecast to Harvest Record Soybean Crop

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is forecast to harvest a record soybean crop this fall, but corn production in the state is expected to be down from last year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Friday in its monthly crop update that the state’s corn expected corn production of 782 million bushels is down 2% from a year ago. Soybean production in the state is forecast at a record 231 million bushels, up 24% from last year. Kansas growers are also expected to harvest 217 million bushels of sorghum for grain, up 6% from a year ago.

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Chiefs Begin Title Defense with 34-20 Victory over Texans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran through the rain for 138 yards and another score, and the Kansas City Chiefs began defense of their first championship in 50 years by beating the Houston Texans 34-20 last (THUR) night. The first game of the NFL season was played before a socially distanced crowd of about 17,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also came after a series of videos and demonstrations by both teams designed to raise awareness of social justice initiatives.

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Chiefs, Texans Booed as Racial Justice Stand Sparks Outrage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The NFL’s new stance encouraging players to take a stand against racial injustice got its first test as some fans of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs booed during a moment of silence to promote the cause, touching off a fresh debate on how players should use their voice. The controversy erupted Thursday night just moments before the league’s 101st season kicked off. After the Houston Texans remained in the locker room during the national anthem, fans booed them when they emerged from the tunnel at its conclusion. The booing continued as the two teams walked to midfield and shook hands.

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Return of Football Renews Fears over More Virus Spread

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The NFL season got underway last (THUR) night in Kansas City but some health officials worry that attending games or get-togethers to watch televised games will lead to a new surge in coronavirus infections. The 17,000 fans allowed inside Arrowhead Stadium last night were physically distanced in the stands but few wore face masks and health officials fear more outbreaks as football season continues.  The Kansas City Chiefs will be required to keep a record of fans in suites and whoever purchased blocks of tickets in the stands for their game Thursday night so that contact tracing can be done in the event of an outbreak. Disease investigators also will question anybody they interview for 2 1/2 weeks after the game whether they were in attendance. Public health officials believe those measures will help to quickly identify whether Arrowhead Stadium was the cause of a COVID-19 outbreak.

(-Related-)

Chiefs Line Up to Support Social Justice Causes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs lined up along the goal line about 30 minutes before kickoff Thursday night in a show of solidarity for social justice initiatives while a video played on the screens in each end zone of Arrowhead Stadium. Along with the words “It Takes All of Us” on the screens, the video showcased Alicia Keyes performing the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” It was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and is often referred to as the “Black national anthem.”

Chiefs Nix Headdresses, Face Paint to Start NFL Season

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs fans who filed into Arrowhead Stadium for a masked and socially distanced start to the NFL season Thursday night were not allowed to wear headdresses or face paint amid a nationwide push for racial justice following the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The team also announced last month that it's discussing the future of its tomahawk chop celebration. The move by the reigning Super Bowl champions has pleased Native Americans as a good first step. But it frustrated some of the 17,000 fans who were in the stands for the first home game.  The Chiefs were the first to take the field in front of a crowd amid the coronavirus pandemic. They defeated the Houston Texans, 34-to-20.

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Coastal Carolina Visits Kansas in Opener Saturday Night

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Still a newcomer to college football’s highest level, Coastal Carolina was looking forward to a visit from its first opponent from a major conference. The University of Kansas was due to visit Brooks Stadium in late September. The shakeup caused by the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans. Now, the Chanticleers will instead visit the Jayhawks on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams. It’s the lone non-conference game for KU, which will have a week off before visiting Baylor to open its nine-game Big 12 slate. 

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Big 12 Opens Virus-Delayed 25th Season with Only 7 Games

UNDATED (AP) - The Big 12 Conference is opening its 25th season a week later than expected, and with just seven of its 10 teams playing. No. 15 Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor all had their scheduled openers and only non-conference games postponed because of the coronavirus. No. 23 Iowa State opens against an FBS opponent for the first time in coach Matt Campbell's five seasons. No. 14 Texas is a six-TD favorite over UTEP, while five-time defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma plays its first game with redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler starting at quarterback. He is the fourth different starter in four seasons for the fifth-ranked Sooners.  On saturday, Kansas State faces Arkansas State at 11 am.  The Kansas Jayhawks will take on Coastal Carolina at 9 pm Saturday. 

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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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