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Headlines for Monday, November 2, 2020


Kansas Logs over 4,000 COVID-19 Cases over the Weekend, Bringing Total to Nearly 90,000

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the state has recorded more than 89,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  That figure includes 1,046 deaths.  KDHE released the latest numbers today (MON), reporting 89,227 coronavirus cases.  This marks an increase of 4,046 cases and 17 deaths in Kansas since Friday.  The next online update of COVID-19 cases will be released Wednesday afternoon.


Kansas 7-Day Average for Reported COVID Cases Tops 1,500

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has set another record for its largest number of reported coronavirus cases over seven days. The virus is hitting but leaving officials in even urban areas worrying Monday that people aren’t following public health advice closely enough. Based on state health department data, Kansas had a rolling average of 1,507 new confirmed and probable cases a day for the seven days ending Monday. The department added more than 4,000 cases to the state’s count since only Friday to bring the total to 89,227. The state reported an additional 17 COVID-19-related deaths since Friday, bringing the pandemic total to 1,046. The worst per capita spikes in cases in recent weeks have been in rural counties but health officials elsewhere say they're seeing community spread.


Kansas Voters Cast Record Number of Advance Ballots

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters have cast a record number of advance ballots. The Kansas Secretary of State's office said 770,324 Kansas voters had returned mail-in or advance in-person ballots as of Sunday. Local election officials mailed out 508,187 ballots and have received 422,104, or about 83%, of them back. That is more than double the number people who voted by mail in the 2016 general election. Another 348,220 Kansans voted in-person at advance polling sites as of Sunday.


Johnson County Official: Misinformation Fueling Spread of Coronavirus

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Johnson County has reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases and its health director says the spread of misinformation is a significant factor in the spike in cases.  County health officials confirmed 287 new cases Friday, along with two additional deaths. Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of the county health department, says the spread of misinformation is proving problematic and contributes to the spread of the virus. He says rhetoric promoting herd immunity and suggesting masks don't work are hurting efforts to combat the pandemic.


Midwestern States with Few Virus Rules Have Low Unemployment

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Five of the six states with the nation’s lowest unemployment rates are in the Midwest, have Republican governors and have almost no restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Those governors have said their lack of mask mandates or other restrictions are a big reason why their states are riding out the pandemic relatively well, but economists say it’s not so simple. Economists say a lack of mandates might help, but of even greater importance is the fact that Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Missouri have economies that rely heavily on industries that weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic.


Police Investigate Fatal Kansas City Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man was fatally shot in northeastern Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday. Kansas City Police Department spokeswoman Officer Donna Drake said the shooting was reported near the intersection of Independence and Monroe avenues shortly before 9 am Sunday. Officers found a man with gunshot wounds near a sidewalk. He died at the scene of the shooting. The victim’s name wasn’t immediately released. Police did not report any arrests in connection with the shooting Sunday morning. The fatal shooting was the 161st homicide of the year in Kansas City, according to The Kansas City Star. That is well above the 125 homicides at this time last year.


Man Injured in Suspected Road Rage Shooting on I-35 Near KC

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — A man is hospitalized after being shot by a motorcyclist on Interstate 35 in Johnson County, and police believe road rage was behind the shooting. KCTV-TV reports that the incident happened Friday night, causing the shutdown of the interstate near the busy intersection with I-435. Lenexa police say the victim was driving northbound on I-35 when a motorcyclist driving the same direction shot him. Police say they're investigating it as a road rage incident, but provided no additional information. The victim drove home and called 911. He was taken to a hospital but details about his condition have not been released.


Sedgwick County Official Says He Won't Serve if Reelected

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Republican county commissioner in Kansas says he'll resign if he is reelected after being secretly recorded plotting to cover up his part in a false ad against a mayoral candidate in the state's largest city. Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell has faced calls from Republicans to resign from the commission following the release last week of a recording made in November 2019, just two days before then-Democratic state Rep. Brandon Whipple won the Wichita mayor's race. O'Donnell said Saturday in a Facebook post that he will not serve a second term if he wins. Local Republicans would pick O'Donnell's replacement if he defeats Democratic challenger Sarah Lopez.


Kansas Deputy Killed in Accident Involving School Bus

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas deputy is dead following an accident involving a school bus. The Kansas Highway Patrol said the accident happened Friday afternoon in Leavenworth County near the town of Tonganoxie. Deputy Corporal Daniel R. Abramovitz was driving an unmarked sheriff's vehicle when it collided with a school bus. The bus driver was hospitalized with injuries characterized as not life-threatening. A child on the bus had minor injuries that did not require hospitalization. The patrol has released no further information about the accident, which remains under investigation.Abramovitz leaves behind a wife and three children.


Kansas Senate Race's Last Days: Events, Parade, Some Hunting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Roger Marshall did some early morning hunting in the final days of his campaign for an open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas, while Democrat Barbara Bollier filled her last weekend with online and in-person events. Marshall and Bollier are finishing up the most expensive political campaign in state history. Marshall, his 21-year-old son and two friends bagged a dozen ducks and four speckled-belly geese Saturday morning in south-central Kansas before he headed to a parade for President Donald Trump in Hutchinson. Bollier's weekend schedule included a half dozen in-person appearances in northeast Kansas, along with three virtual events.


Kansas Political Parties Fail to Disclose Details on Mailers

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Both the Kansas Republican and Democratic parties have failed to disclose which candidates they are targeting with campaign mailers this election cycle. The Wichita Eagle reports that both major parties failed to provide that required information when they filed reports with the state. The Republican Party has spent more than $1 million on campaign mailers since August. The state Democratic Party reported spending more than $730,000 on mailers in the same period. The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has asked both parties to correct this year's reports to add details about which candidates they were supporting, but that additional information may not be available before election day.


Evergy Proposing Extra Charges for Solar Panel Users

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Evergy power company is proposing charging customers with solar panels about $25 a month, even if their homes use almost no electricity from the power grid. And if that plan is rejected, Evergy wants to charge all customers a minimum of $35 a month, even if they don't use solar power. For most customers, the charge would simply count against their energy consumption. But poorer households that don't use much electricity would pay more. Evergy says it needs to recover the cost of having electricity on demand for solar-equipped homes. State regulators will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed rates at 6 p.m. Thursday.


Judge Refuses to Dismiss Charges Against Kansas Researcher

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to throw out charges against a researcher accused of concealing work he was doing for China while employed at the University of Kansas. Feng “Franklin” Tao is charged with not disclosing on conflict-of-interest forms work he was allegedly doing for China while employed at the University of Kansas. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson rejected on Monday defense arguments seeking to dismiss the indictment on the basis that Tao’s prosecution opens the door to criminalizing workplace disagreements. She also found no prosecutorial misconduct in comments made to the grand jury, as the defense had claimed.


Leavenworth Woman Charged in Husband's Death

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A 31-year-old Leavenworth woman has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her husband. Alexandra Gilson made her first court appearance Monday. She is charged with killing 37-year-old Joshua Gilson, whose body was found Friday after officers went to a Leavenworth home. Police did not say how Gilson died but police Chief Pat Kitchens says domestic violence is the focus of the investigation. Three young children at the home were placed with relatives. Prosecutors say Jeffery Samulczyk was charged with interference with law enforcement related to the case. Court records indicate Joshua Gilson had filed for divorce but asked that the case be dismissed last week.


Kansas Woman Who Sold Heroin Laced with Fentanyl Sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Leavenworth woman who prosecutors say sold heroin laced with fentanyl has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release that 37-year-old Amber Juarez continued to sell the drugs even though she knew they were causing overdoses. Juarez was sentenced in federal court Monday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl. Investigators said Juarez sold more than a kilogram of heroin over about five months. She sold drugs to a confidential informant three times, and two of the batches contained fentanyl.


Wichita Police Say Suicides Increase over 70% This Year

WICHITA (AP) — Wichita police say suicides in the city are up 70% this year, and stress from the coronavirus outbreak is likely a major factor. Police said Monday the city had 76 suicides as of Friday, an increase from 44 at the same time last year and and 59 in all of 2019. There have been 367 suicide attempts so far this year. Detective James Hook, the department’s mental health liaison, speculated that stresses related to the coronavirus _ such as job loss, social events being cancelled and stay-at-home orders _ are primary factors in the increase.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.


Man Who Killed Topeka Toddler in 1995 Granted Parole

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man who beat a Topeka toddler to death in 1995 has been granted parole. The Kansas parole board determined that 46-year-old Glenn Allen Heath Jr. will be released on or after Dec. 1 if an approved plan is in place. The parole board had turned down Heath's three previous requests for parole. Heath was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in the October 1995 beating death of 2-year-old Cain Baker, his then-fiancee's stepson. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Heath's supporters say he has no prison disciplinary violations, has completed five prison programs, has a strong support system and a job offer.


Officials Say Woman Critically Injured in Topeka Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Fire officials in Topeka say a woman has suffered critical injuries in an apartment fire there. Television station KSNT reports that the fire broke out overnight, with firefighters responding around 1:30 a.m. Monday. Officials say firefighters entered the burning building and found a 55-year-old woman. Officials say she was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Her name has not yet been released. Officials had not determined the cause of the fire after preliminary investigation. Officials say the fire started in a single unit of the apartment building.


Business Leaders Survey Hits Highest Level in 16 Years

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The overall economic index of a monthly survey of Midwest business leaders hit a 16-year high for October, but the manufacturing sector of the economy remains stunted from the coronavirus outbreak. The overall measure of the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index improved to 70.2 in October from September’s already strong 65.1. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey and says that even with the high index level, manufacturing output remains below levels seen before the pandemic. The monthly survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.


Noose Displayed at Missouri Poll Covered Up Amid Complaints

GALENA, Mo. (AP) — A replica hangman’s noose on display near voting booths in a southwest Missouri county building has been covered up following complaints from Democrats that it amounted to voter intimidation. The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri Democratic Party released a photo Friday of the display in a hallway of the Stone County building in downtown Galena with several voting booths nearby. Stone County Clerk Cindy Elmore said the display was a historical exhibit marking the last legal hanging in the state in Stone County in 1937. But Acting Democratic Party Chair Clem Smith said the display of the noose amounted to intimidation of Black voters.


Wichita Police Investigating Shooting Death of Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita are investigating after a man was shot to death early Friday at an apartment complex. Wichita police say in a news release that officers were called to the complex around 2:15 am for reports of a shooting. Arriving officers found 34-year-old Stephen Muriithi, of Wichita, with a gunshot wound. Officers administered medical aid, but Muriithi died from his injuries at the scene. Police say an investigation showed a disturbance occurred at one of the apartments involving several people stemming from an earlier physical fight.  A shot was fired that hit Muriithi. No arrests had been reported by Friday afternoon.


Suspect in Kansas Killing Arrested in Seattle Area

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Kansas man has been arrested in the Seattle area and is awaiting extradition. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 31-year-old Latrelle Sheneice Praylow was charged Friday with first-degree felony murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon in the death of 38-year-old Christopher McMillon. A family member found him dead in his home October 3 while checking to see why he failed to appear at a youth basketball game. Topeka police spokeswoman Gretchen Spiker said Praylow was arrested Thursday evening and is jailed in King County, Washington. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said an extradition hearing is set for Monday.


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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