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Headlines for Monday, December 21, 2020

 

Kansas Reports Thousands More Cases of COVID-19 Over Weekend

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KPR) - The number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas now exceeds 204,000. Health officials reported Monday that Kansas had identified 204,600 cases of coronavirus and 2,448 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.  That's an increase of 4,174 cases and 107 deaths since Friday.  Another update of Kansas COVID-19 cases is expected Wednesday. 

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Vaccine Distribution Continues in Kansas as New Vaccine Expected

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) —Kansas should receive doses of a second brand of coronavirus vaccine this week  Kansas has already received more than 20 thousand doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. All but a handful of counties have started giving shots to health care workers at risk of catching the coronavirus from patients. Governor Laura Kelly says the state is expecting nearly 50 thousand doses of another version of the coronavirus vaccine, this one from Moderna. Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in regular freezers, making distribution easier. Pfizer’s requires extra cold temperatures.

Health Officials: Kansas Needs 'A Lot More' COVID-19 Vaccine

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials at the University of Kansas Health System say the state will need far more doses of coronavirus vaccines than it’s set to receive in the coming days to start giving shots to all residents 75 or older.  State officials expect Kansas’s 49,000 doses of a vaccine made by Moderna set to arrive this week to go to local health departments and community health care centers, so that they can vaccine health care workers.  A state health department spokeswoman said a second shipment of a vaccine made by Pfizer will be used for shots for nursing home workers and residents.

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Twelfth Kansas Prison Inmate With COVID-19 Has Died

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Kansas prison officials say a twelfth inmate with COVID-19 has died. The state Corrections Department said Saturday that a 62-year-old man who had been held at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility died Friday. He had been hospitalized with the virus since November 23. Corrections department officials said the man also had other health concerns that contributed to his condition. The inmate, who was not identified, had been serving a 13-year sentence for aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He had been incarcerated since March 2013. This was the third COVID-19 related death at the Hutchinson prison. 

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Sheriff of Pandemic Ravaged Western Kansas County Dies of COVID

QUINTER, Kan. (AP) - A sheriff in a northwestern Kansas county that has been hard-hit by the pandemic has died of the virus. The Gove County Sheriff's Office announced the death of Sheriff Allan Weber and described him as an "extraordinary public servant" in a Facebook post.  He was transported to the Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, on October 18 for COVID-19 respiratory complications. The county of 2,636 has recorded 18 deaths, for a rate of about 6.82 deaths per 1,000 residents, which is the highest in the state. The county's emergency management director, the hospital CEO and more than 50 medical staff also tested positive. 

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New Lawmakers, House Minority Leader Demand Resignation of Legislator-to-Be

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Seven new female Democratic Kansas House members and the party’s leader in the chamber are demanding publicly that a male representative-elect resign before taking office because of issues that include a temporary anti-stalking court order against him. The lawmakers-to-be and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer issued statements Monday calling on Democratic Rep. Aaron Coleman of Kansas City, Kansas, to step down before the Legislature opens its annual 90-day session Jan. 11. Coleman did not immediately respond to a cellphone message seeking comment.  A political opponent's former campaign manager has accused Coleman of harassing her, and he's been under the restraining order since Dec. 4.

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K-State, 3 Other Midwestern Universities Form Alliance to Lure Space Command

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Four Midwestern universities have formed a space-oriented academic and research alliance aimed at luring the U.S. Space Command headquarters to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald reports that University of Nebraska President Ted Carter says the partnership with Kansas State University, the University of North Dakota, and Purdue would develop new degree programs and research initiatives. Offutt is among the six finalists to become the headquarters. Other finalists are Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Redstone Army Airfield in Alabama and the former Kelly Air Force Base in Texas.

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Kansas Officials Hope to Create New Courts to Help Veterans

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Officials in Kansas' judicial system want to establish more special courts aimed at keeping veterans with behavioral, mental health or substance abuse issues out of prison. But The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that they are pursing the idea amid the coronavirus pandemic and the state's own budget problems. Johnson County established the state's first veterans court in 2016, and it remains the only one in Kansas. Officials in the state's court system say there are obstacles. One ensuring access to treatment for substance abuse or mental health problems. Another is finding volunteers to help or money for staff. The state is facing its own budget shortfall. 

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Kansas Justice Panel Recommends Ending Use of "No-Knock" Raids

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A commission established by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly in response to the mass civil unrest over racial injustice earlier this year is urging state lawmakers to ban officers from entering a home without announcing their presence. The recommendation by the Governor’s Commission on Racial Justice and Equity is modeled after federal legislation proposed this year by Democrats in Congress amid a growing call to ban “no-knock” search warrants after Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville home by officers in March. Activists seeking to ban no-knock warrants argue that they can prompt police to use excessive or deadly force, often against minorities.

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Changes in University of Kansas Diversity Office Draw Fire 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Faculty and staff at the University of Kansas are protesting a reorganization of its diversity office that cost two employees their jobs. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the upset faculty and staff say the changes were made without consulting the marginalized communities affected. The changes for what had been the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion were announced earlier this (DEC) month by Chancellor Douglas Girod and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer. The vice provost for diversity and equity has been assigned to another job. Six programs reporting to her will be reassigned to other departments, and the jobs of two employees who developed and led social justice training were eliminated. 
 
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Kansas City Star Apologizes for Racially Biased Coverage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Star’s top editor has apologized for past decades of racially biased coverage. The newspaper also has posted a series of stories examining how it ignored the concerns and achievements of Black residents and helped keep Kansas City segregated. The newspaper said a detailed examination of its past coverage and that of its longtime sister newspaper, the Kansas City Times, documented how they often wrote about Black residents only either as criminals or people living in crime-plagued neighborhoods and ignored segregation in Kansas City, Missouri, and its public schools. The Star posted its apology and its lengthy series of stories on its website Sunday.

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Kansas Man Arrested in Shooting, Wounding of Police Officer

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 33-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the shooting and wounding of a police officer earlier this month in Kansas City, Kansas. The Olathe Police Department said in a news release that the Kansas City, Kansas man was taken into custody Sunday in rural Miami County with the assistance of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The suspect’s identity was not immediately released. The arrest stems from an exchange of gunfire that occurred Dec. 15 between the suspect and the Kansas City, Kansas police officer in Overland Park, Kansas. The officer was struck by gunfire in the arm and ballistic vest.

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Wichita Records Multiple Earthquakes

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Multiple earthquakes rattled Wichita on Saturday, with the largest measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale. That makes the trembler the largest on record in the city in the last five years, although its still is considered relatively small. The threshold for damage usually starts at 4.0. The Wichita Eagle reports that the earthquake was recorded at 12:47 p.m. with an epicenter near where around a dozen tremblers had been reported in the past month. The Kansas Geological Survey reported at least two others happened Saturday  -- one with a magnitude of 3.0 at 11:42 a.m. and another with a 2.9 magnitude at 12:40 p.m. A possible fourth quake also may have taken place around 12:52 p.m.

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Report Shows Kansas Officer Denied Running Over Man

GREENSBURG. Kan. (AP) — An attorney representing a Black man who was run over by a sheriff’s patrol truck as he ran across a field says law enforcement authorities have engaged in a cover-up that began as soon as emergency medical personnel arrived. Lionel Womack alleges in a lawsuit filed that Kiowa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Rodriguez intentionally drove over him during the August 15th incident that was captured on dashcam video. His attorney has released a copy of the report from emergency medical responders which show the undersheriff at the time denied to a paramedic that Womack had been run over.  

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WSU Tech Moving Forward with Plan for New Culinary Program

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita State University's technical college is moving forward with plans to open a culinary school downtown in Kansas's largest city and has hired married chefs who helped build another program in the area. The Wichita Eagle reports that President Sheree Utash said that WSU Tech expects to submit its plan for the new program to the Kansas Board of Regents this spring, and it hopes to start classes in a temporary location in August. WSU Tech also has hired John and Lexi Michael, who helped build a Butler Community College culinary program that began in 2012. The Butler college's program is based in a recreation center outside downtown. 

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Lawsuit Over False Ad in Wichita Mayor's Race Moving Forward

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A lawsuit filed by Wichita's mayor against three GOP officials who were behind a smear campaign against the mayor will be allowed to move forward after a judge rejected a motion to dismiss it. The lawsuit is related to an ad published on YouTube during the mayoral election last year that falsely suggested that Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple was accused of sexual harassment when he served in the Kansas Legislature. In a recording from last year that was released this fall, Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell, Wichita City Council member James Clendenin and state Rep. Michael Capp can be heard plotting to frame Sedgwick County Republican Party Chairman Dalton Glasscock for the smear video. 

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Kansas City Approves LGBTQ Commission to Advise City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City, Missouri officials have created a commission to advise them on policies affecting the city's LGBTQ citizens. The City Council voted to create the commission, which will include community members appointed by the mayor and the council. Supporters said the commission will advise on issues such as economic opportunities, health, safety and quality of life. The legislation creating the commission had stalled for weeks as officials disagreed on whether it should work with the City Council or the Human Rights Commission. Supporters said the new commission was meant to advise the council, while the Human Rights Commission investigates specific instances of discrimination. 

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Two Firefighters Injured Battling Blaze in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Four people, including two Wichita firefighters, are being treated for burns after fire broke out at a home. KSNW-TV reports that the fire happened Sunday night. Deputy Fire Chief Josh Pavelski says two firefighters were taken to the hospital with burns, one in serious condition. A third firefighter was injured restraining someone from entering the burning home. Two other people also suffered injuries.  Authorities didn't immediately say if those people were residents of the home. 

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KC-Area Artist Who Raised Millions for Charity Dies at 27

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ A legally blind artist from the Kansas City area whose work generated millions of dollars in charity has died. The Kansas City Star reports that Jeff Hanson of Overland Park, Kansas, was 27 when he died Sunday. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor associated with neurofibromatosis in October. Hanson found art after he lost most of his vision in 2005 because of another tumor on his optic nerve. He began painting at age 12 while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Hanson sold paintings to Elton John, Billy Joel, Warren Buffett and others, generating proceeds for the Children's Tumor Foundation. More than 200 nonprofit organizations benefited from his auctioned works. 

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Kansas Couples Can Now Apply for Marriage Licenses Online

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - Kansans can now apply for marriage licenses online.  The change is just one way that Kansas courts have tried to make services accessible remotely to keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, couples have to visit their local courthouse. When the pandemic hit, courts scrambled to help people by email instead. The new online application makes it easier.  The marriage license application available at kscourts dot org.

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Police Investigate After Man's Body Found in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police are investigating after a man was found dead Sunday morning in Kansas City, Missouri. Someone called police to report finding the man's body near East 45th Street and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard around 9 a.m. Sunday. Kansas City Police Department spokeswoman Officer Donna Drake said first responders declared the man dead at the scene. Drake said the man's death was suspicious but she didn't say how he died. The victim's name and age were not immediately released. 

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One Man Dies in Kansas City House Fire 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - One man died in a fire in south Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday. Kansas City Fire Department Assistant Chief Jimmy Walker said firefighters were called to the home shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday. The fire in a south Kansas City neighborhood was in the 10400 block of Tullis Avenue. Walker said the person who died in the fire was an older man, but his name and age were not immediately released. 

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Pack Scores Season-High 16 as Kansas State Men Beat Jacksonville

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Freshman Nijel Pack scored a season-high 16 points, with four 3-pointers, and Kansas State rolled to a 70-46 win over Jacksonville. DaJuan Gordon had his second career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats and Mike McGuirl added 12 points and seven assists. Pack also had six rebounds and five assists as K-State had 23 helpers on 27 baskets. Bryce Workman topped the Dolphins with 10 points. Jacksonville shot 34% from the field and was out-rebounded 45-22.

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Kansas City Chiefs Continue Winning Streak Beating Saints, 32-29, in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. (KPR) - The Kansas City Chiefs had another close game but won again, 32-29, in a game that featured two premier NFL quarterbacks. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees got off to the worst start of his career with incompletions on his first six passes. But Brees kept the Saints in the game and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes says he had some kind words for him when they met on the field after the game. "For me it’s just showing him the ultimate respect." Mahomes said. "He’s one of the best ever to do it. He’s still doing it at a high level."  Each quarterback threw three touchdown passes. The Chiefs now have a 13-1 record. They return to Kansas City next Sunday to face the Atlanta Falcons.

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Packers, Seahawks, Ravens, Chiefs Each Have 7 Pro Bowlers

UNDATED (AP) – Led by their star quarterbacks, the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers each had seven players selected to the Pro Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens also had seven players chosen. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes joins Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Houston’s Deshaun Watson as the AFC quarterbacks. For the NFC, it’s Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Arizona’s Kyler Murray. Mahomes and Rodgers are the starters, though there will be no actual game this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 31, the players will be celebrated during two Pro Bowl-themed shows airing on an ESPN/ABC simulcast, with a virtual Pro Bowl experience within the Madden NFL 21 video game.

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Gonzaga Strengthens Grip on No. 1 Spot in AP College Hoops Poll; KU Jumps to No. 3

UNDATED (AP) – Gonzaga has strengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll after beating Iowa. The Zags received 61 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel and No. 2 Baylor got the remaining three. The No. 3 University of Kansas Jayhawks moved up 2 spots this week, with Iowa and Villanova rounding out the top 5. No. 10 Texas cracked the top 10 for the first time since reaching No. 6 in 2014-15. No. 12 Michigan State dropped 8 spots after losing to Northwestern.

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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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