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Headlines for Monday, July 13, 2020

COVID-19 Case Count in Kansas Exceeds 20,000, Including 288 Fatalities

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — Kansas has recorded 20,058 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. That number includes 288 deaths. Cases have now been confirmed in 101 of the 105 Kansas counties. Wyandotte and Johnson Counties have the most cases.   State health officials released the figures Monday.  Another update is expected Wednesday. 

(Kansas health officials release new data on COVID-19 case numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)

(–Related–)

Kansas Tops 20,000 Coronavirus Cases After Worst-Ever Spike

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has had its worst week-long spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. It reported another 1,447 confirmed cases over three days to bring the total to more than 20,000. The state Department of Health and Environment said Monday that 20,058 novel coronavirus cases have been reported since early March for an increase of 7.8% from Friday. The department also reported four additional COVID-19-related deaths to bring the total to 288. Kansas reported an average of 451 new coronavirus cases a day during the seven-day period ending Monday. Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statewide order July 2 directing people to wear masks in public. State and local officials are discussing how to reopen public schools safely. 
 
Least Populated County in Kansas Confirms First Case of Coronavirus

TRIBUNE, Kan. (KSNT) – Greeley County Emergency Management confirmed via Facebook that the county had its first resident test positive for COVID-19 Saturday night.  KSNT TV reports that county officials are working to confirm people who were in close contact with the person who tested positive.  Greeley County is the states least populated county, with a population just over 1,220 people.

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Missouri Reports 310 More COVID-19 Cases; Total Surpasses 27,000

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Heath and Senior Services is reporting 310 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 27,443. The state on Sunday also reported five more deaths, bringing the total to 1,069. State health officials say new cases of the coronavirus are being spread primarily by young people who infect many others. Health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox says the average age of newly diagnosed cases in the past week was a little over 37 years. Officials suspect the actual number of people with COVID-19 is much higher than the state-released statistics indicate because many people with mild or no symptoms do not get tested.

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Handwashing, Masks Among Fall Guidelines for Kansas Schools

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Draft safety guidelines for school this fall from the Kansas State Department of Education say students, teachers and staff should wear masks, but that students up to fifth or sixth grade shouldn't be required to wear them unless local officials mandate it. The Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle are reporting that draft guidelines about how to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic were shared with superintendents this week. The guildlines say everyone should wash their hands when arriving at school and every hour afterward. Space should be made in classrooms to allow social social distancing and locker use is discouraged.

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UPDATED: Kansas State Fair Canceled this Year Amid Pandemic Concerns

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Fair Board has decided to cancel this year's fair amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Hutchinson News reports today's (MON) reversal came a week after the board initially voted to continue with the fair. That initial decision sparking concern from vendors and the community. About half of the vendors had canceled amid worries about delays with travel quarantines, difficulties in putting crews together and cancellations of other fairs. Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska cancelled their fairs shortly after the board's decision last week. The board is still interested in finding a way to safely hold livestock and 4H events. 

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Man Killed, Woman Injured in Overnight Kansas City Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies in Missouri say a man has died and woman has been injured in an overnight shooting at Longview Lake in southern Kansas City. Officials say the shooting happened around 1 am today (MON).  The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says the shooting stemmed from a domestic disturbance, during which a man shot a woman in the leg. The office says that as deputies approached the scene, a 39-year-old man shot himself and died at the scene. Officials say the woman who was shot is expected to recover. Authorities have not released the names of the man or the woman.

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Father, Girlfriend Charged in 3-Year-Old Kansas Girl's Death

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say they have charged the father of a 3-year-old Kansas girl who was found dead and his girlfriend with felony murder in the child's death. Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said Sunday 29-year-old Howard Jansen III and his girlfriend, 33-year-old Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, have also been charged with aggravated endangerment of a child and criminal desecration in the death of Olivia Ann Jansen. Olivia's body was found Friday evening nearly nine blocks from her Kansas City home, from which her father had reported her missing.

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Former Overland Park Boy Scout Leader Charged with Child Sex Crimes Dating Back Years

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KC Star) - A former Boy Scout leader in Overland Park has been arrested and charged with rape and child abuse.  The Kansas City Star reports that 45-year-old Andrew Rowland was charged with rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child involving sex, and two counts of child abuse, according to a complaint filed July 4 by prosecutors in Johnson County District Court.  Rowland, who was previously the scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America Troop 284 in Overland Park, was arrested July 5.  According to court records, Rowland is accused of rape in August 2017 and February 2020. A criminal complaint alleges he also had sex with a child between the age of 14 and 16 in August 2017 and March 2018.  Rowland is also accused of inflicting “cruel and inhuman corporal punishment” on a child in July 2010 and March 2017, according to court records.  When reached by phone by a reporter Sunday, Rowland ended the call without commenting.  In 2018, Rowland was recognized as an “outstanding scoutmaster” for Troop 284 at the Shawnee Trails 2018 Annual Adult Recognition Dinner.  He was listed as scoutmaster of Troop 284 as recently as April 2020, according to an Adventures in Scouting newsletter issued by the Heart of America Council.

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KC Police: Woman Checks on Parents; Finds Two Bodies Inside the Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Missouri, are investigating after two people were found dead in a home.  Police spokesman Captain Dave Jackson said that a woman had not heard from her parents for several days and went to check on them.  The woman said she found two bodies Friday afternoon in an advanced state of decomposition and called police.  Police said identification of the bodies was not possible.  Police are treating the deaths as suspicious.

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2 Arrested After Fleeing Police and Crashing into Cow

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities said two people were arrested after fleeing from officers in northeast Kansas and crashing into a cow and a fence. Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse said 18-year-old Skye Joe Covers Up, of Mayetta, and 21-year-old Santana Kay Noriega, of Holton, were both arrested after the chase Saturday afternoon. The sheriff said the cow that they hit with their car suffered two broken legs and was expected to be euthanized. The chase began after a Jackson County Sheriff's deputy pulled over the Chevrolet Malibu that Covers Up was driving. Covers Up fled southeast into neighboring Jefferson County before crashing into the fence and cow.  He then fled on foot but was later captured and taken into custody.

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KU Earns $29.9 Million Contract to Develop, Deliver State Education Assessment Tests

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Education and the Achievement & Assessment Institute at the University of Kansas have announced a five-year, $29.9 million contract for KU to develop, deliver and support the statewide assessment program for Kansas, including academic and English language proficiency assessments. School officials called the contract the largest in KU history and said it will continue the longtime relationship between the two institutions, delivering state-of-the-art technology and resources to support teaching and assess student learning.  The Kansas Department of Education and KU’s Achievement & Assessment Institute have partnered in developing assessments for more than 40 years. The latest five-year contract will support AAI’s ongoing delivery of the current academic assessments, the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessments and the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessments, as well as the design and development of the next generation of academic assessments.  (Read more.)

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Kansas City Elected Official Calls to Remove More Racist Monuments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City councilwoman is calling for a plan to remove monuments and rename city streets that honor figures who were slaveholders or racists.  Councilwoman Melissa Robinson has introduced legislation that would establish a commission to research and make recommendations to the City Council for the removal of monuments to those “that held slaves, promoted racism or participated in the oppression and dehumanization of others.” Robinson said she did not have any specific streets or monuments she wanted to see changed but many of Kansas City’s major streets, including Wornall Road, McGee Street and Troost Avenue, were named after slaveholders. The legislation has been referred to committee and is expected to be heard this week.

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Missouri Judge Denies Injunction in Mail-In Ballot Case

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has rejected a motion that that would have immediately made it easier for Missourians to vote with a mail-in ballot during the pandemic.  On Friday, Cole County Judge Jon Beetem denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters. At issue is how voting will work this year as public health officials urge people to social distance to avoid spreading COVID-19. The lawsuit seeks to allow all Missourians to cast absentee ballots without notarization in 2020.

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Some Black Students Afraid to Return to Kansas State University After Racist Tweet

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Many Black students at Kansas State University are afraid to return to school after a white student posted a racist tweet about George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. The Kansas City Star reports that some people supported Jaden McNeil's right to free speech, but many called for him to be expelled for his insensitive remarks. Last week, President Richard Myers announced that the university would not expel McNeil because doing so would violate the law. Instead, the university said it would develop a social media policy for students and recruit and retain more students and faculty of color.

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Wichita Father Charged with Murder in Toddler's Drowning

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita father has been formally charged with murder in the drowning death of his 2-year-old son in a neighborhood swimming pool in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle reports 44-year-old William K. Kabutu faces a charge first-degree felony murder and an alternative count of second-degree murder that alleges the death was unintentional but occurred under reckless circumstance. He is also charged with two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Police allege Kabutu was intoxicated on July 7 when took the 2-year-old and his 4-year-old brother to the pool and allowed the children to slip through the bars of a fence. 

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Fees Hold Steady at Haskell Indian Nations University, Despite Shift to Virtual Classes

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Haskell Indian Nations University students are complaining after learning they will still pay the same amount for a fee that typically covers housing, food and activities, even though classes will be taught fully online because of the coroanvirus. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the university's website shows that Haskell students will be charged $715 for the online fall 2020 semester, the same price on-campus students were previously charged. Off-campus students, meanwhile, previously paid $240 per semester.

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Forecast: Kansas Farmers Likely to Harvest Fewer Bushels of Wheat

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers are harvesting fewer bushels of winter wheat this year.  That's according to a new government report based on crop conditions as of July 1st.  The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service revised an earlier estimate downward and now says the state should harvest about 307 million bushels.  That's 9% fewer bushels than were cut last year.  The latest forecast is based on an average yield of 48 bushels per acre, down 4 bushels from 2019.  It also estimates growers in Kansas will cut 6.4 million acres of wheat.  That's down 2% from last year.

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Kansas Wheat Harvest Nears Completion, Well Ahead of Average

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The latest government report shows the winter wheat harvest in Kansas is nearing completion well ahead of last year or the average for this time of year. The Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 95% of the state’s wheat crop has now been cut. The state’s other major field crops are also making progress this summer. The agency says that 47% of the corn in Kansas is silking. About 6% of the soybeans are now setting pods. And 9% of the sorghum has headed in the state.

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There's No Stopping the Largest Night Rodeo in Kansas

PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. (Topeka Capital-Journal) – Nothing is going to stop an 83-year-old-rodeo if the people in Pretty Prairie can help it. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas' Largest Night Rodeo in Pretty Prairie will take place this week (July 15-18).  “People are locked down and ready to get out,” said Jon Stucky, president of the Board of the rodeo. “Cowboys are looking for places to go.”  Contestants are coming from as far away as Australia and Canada and across the United States. Local favorites include Pretty Prairie hometown cowboy, Blaine Kaufman, Coy Arnold of Hutchinson, Tyler Garten of Kingman, Ty Rumford of Abbyville and Remington Fry of Arlington. World-class bullfighters Evan Allard and Wacey Munsell, who performed at the Pretty Prairie Rodeo in 2018, will be back at this year’s 2020 rodeo.  Because so many rodeos across the nation have postponed opening, many contestants are looking to compete. This year, the Pretty Prairie rodeo has a record number of contestants registered to participate in bareback riding, bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing. On Friday and Saturday night, after the rodeo ends, ticket holders are invited to dance under the stars as Prairie Smoke performs. 

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Junior Colleges Move Fall Sports to Spring 

WICHITA, Kan. (KMUW) — The state's junior colleges will move their fall sports seasons, including football, to the spring. The N-J-C-Double A (NJCAA) voted to make the switch this afternoon (MON). Men's and women's soccer also will move to the spring, along with volleyball. N-J-C-Double A officials say pushing the close-contact sports to the spring will provide a safer environment for athletes. Winter sports, most notably men's and women's basketball, will not begin until January. The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference includes 21 two-year schools in Kansas, including Butler, Cowley and Hutchinson. 

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