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Headlines for Monday, November 22, 2021


UPDATE: Kansas Moves Against COVID Mandates; Employers May Face Ban

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican legislators are moving to make it easy in Kansas for workers to claim religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates. But GOP leaders were divided Monday over whether they also needed to promise unemployment benefits for people refusing the shots. Republican leaders also faced a push by some conservatives to prohibit private employers from imposing their own vaccine mandates whether or not federal mandates from President Joe Biden survive federal lawsuits challenging them. That proposal emerged from a debate in the state Senate. The GOP-controlled Legislature forced Democratic Governor Laura Kelly to convene a special session to consider ways for Kansas to push back against Biden’s vaccine mandates.

(–Earlier reporting–)

Kansas Plan on COVID Mandates Struggles to Gain GOP Support

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative Kansas legislators are struggling to build support among Republicans for a proposal to provide unemployment benefits to workers who lose their jobs for refusing COVID-19 vaccines. The GOP-controlled Legislature opened a special session Monday. The measure on unemployment is tied to another proposal to make it easier for workers to claim religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Both are responses to vaccine mandates from President Joe Biden covering more than 100 million American workers. Critics fear the unemployment proposal could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Supporters say the measure on religious exemptions would prevent that, and the House voted 78-40 to approve a bill without the unemployment proposal.

Special Session Underway in Topeka: Plan on COVID Mandates Faces Bipartisan Skepticism

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative Kansas legislators are trying to tamp down fears about the cost and other potential problems with a proposal to provide unemployment benefits to workers who lose their jobs for refusing COVID-19 vaccines. The GOP-controlled Legislature expected to consider the measure during a special session convening today (MON).  They're also expected to take up a proposal to make it easier for workers to claim religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The measures are responses to vaccine mandates from President Joe Biden covering more than 100 million American workers. Critics fear the unemployment proposal could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Supporters say the measure on religious exemptions would prevent that.


Kansas Push to Defy COVID Rules Complicates Governor's Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is facing policy choices on COVID-19 vaccine mandates that could complicate her reelection next year. The Republican-controlled Legislature has convened a special session to consider a proposal making it easier for workers to claim religious exemptions from federal vaccine mandates and another providing unemployment benefits to those who lose their jobs for refusing to get inoculated. The proposals appeal to Republicans' conservative base. If the Democratic governor vetoes them, that GOP base would remain energized. But if Kelly woos moderate GOP and independent voters by signing such measures, she risks criticism from more liberal voters.


Kansas to Phase Out Some Free COVID-19 Testing Next Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will start next year to require employers, individuals and health insurance companies to pay some costs associated with COVID-19 testing. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has announced it will start phasing out free screening tests for people who aren't showing COVID-19 symptoms or haven't potentially been exposed. The agency said it expects the policy to begin in March 2022. The department said it can't sustain having public health agencies cover the cost of all testing indefinitely. The agency said it initially allocated $141 million in federal funds on testing and lab processing capacity but infections from the delta variant depleted the funds faster than expected.


Man Killed, 2 Kansas Police Officers Injured in Altercation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man was killed and two Kansas City, Kansas, police officers were injured in an altercation. Police spokeswoman Nancy Chartrand said police responded around 2:30 p.m. Monday to the city’s Coronado neighborhood after receiving a report that someone was standing in a road looking at the sky and jumping in front of traffic. She said an altercation ensued and a gun was discharged. She said it wasn’t immediately clear who fired the weapon or whether it went off intentionally or accidentally. She said the man who had been the focus of the call died at a hospital. She said two officers also were taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries. No other details were immediately released, including the name of the man who died.


Man Critically Injured After Being Struck Near Chiefs Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 49-year-old man from Omaha, Nebraska, is hospitalized in critical condition after being struck while crossing a road on the Truman Sports Complex property in Kansas City, Missouri, during a Chiefs game. Police say the man was struck by a Chrysler Sedan Sunday afternoon, about 25 minutes after the start of the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs. The driver stopped at the scene. Last month, 66-year-old Steven Hickle of Wichita, Kansas, was killed when he was struck by two hit-and-run drivers near Arrowhead Stadium. His death prompted a bicycle and pedestrian safety advocacy group to renew calls to make the area safer.

Topeka Police Investigate Fatal Weekend Shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man is dead after a weekend shooting in Topeka. Police Lt. Kelvin Johnson said the shooting was reported shortly after 12 am Saturday. The victim was identified as 31-year-old Adrian Williams of Olathe. Johnson said when officers arrived they found a large group of people and the wounded man. Paramedics responded, but Williams didn't survive.


Two People Injured in Shooting Between Two Vehicles in Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Two people were injured in a shooting that Wichita police said may have been motivated by road rage. Wichita police Lt. Roderick Miller said the shooting between two vehicles happened Saturday afternoon in north Wichita. Both vehicles were driving south on Woodlawn when the shooting happened. When officers arrived, they found two people wounded inside a Ford Fusion that had veered off the road and crashed into a fence surrounding a home. A 25-year-old woman in the car had been shot several times, and a 30-year-old man had been shot once. The woman was taken to a hospital in serious condition while the man refused to be transported.


Olathe Police Identify Man and Woman Killed in Shooting

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Police have released the names of the man and woman who were found shot to death in a car in Olathe.  The two victims were both from Tonganoxie, a small town about 25 miles west of Kansas City. Olathe police identified them Sunday as 45-year-old Angela Santiago and 42-year-old Jose Arellano-Rascon. Police say officers found the man and woman inside a vehicle with gunshot wounds early Saturday. Police are looking for four or five males who were in a dark gray Ford F-150 pickup truck and are suspected of being involved.


Two Men Die in Rollover Crash in Northwest Kansas

NORTON COUNTY, Kan. (AP) — Two men died after the Ford Mustang they were riding in veered into a ditch in northwest Kansas and rolled several times. The Kansas Highway Patrol said the crash happened shortly after midnight Sunday while the car was speeding along state Highway 383 in Norton County. The crash report says 37-year-old Michael Dela Vega, of Norton, lost control of the car before it hit a highway guardrail, went into the ditch and rolled into a field before landing on its roof. The passenger in the car was 44-year-old Andrew Campbell of Colby. Both men died in the crash. Norton County is near the Nebraska border in northwest Kansas.


No Injuries in Kansas City-Area Bank Robbery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — No one is hurt after a man robbed a suburban Kansas City bank. FBI spokesman Dixon Land says the suspect demanded cash from a Commerce Bank in Gladstone, Missouri on Saturday. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money. The FBI and Gladstone police are investigating. The FBI describes the suspect as a roughly 50-year-old man with light brown skin. He wore jeans, a dark blue coat, red Kansas City baseball hat, black shoes, blue latex gloves and a COVID-19 mask while robbing the bank.


Woman Runs over Husband Twice as He Tried to Dislodge Bowling Ball Beneath Car

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man was critically hurt when his wife drove over him twice as he tried to dislodge a bowling ball that had been thrown in front of their car on Saturday afternoon. After they stopped, the 25-year-old man crawled under the vehicle to try to remove the ball. A Kansas City police spokeswoman said that's when a suspect approached and tried to grab the 25-year-old woman’s purse. During a struggle over the purse, the woman pressed her foot on the gas pedal and the car rolled over her husband. The woman then put the car in reverse and rolled over her husband a second time. Then the suspect fled.


White Missouri Officer Convicted in Black Man's 2019 Death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has convicted a white Kansas City police officer of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of a Black man in a case in which prosecutors said police planted evidence. Jackson County Judge Dale Youngs issued the verdict Friday against Officer Eric J. DeValkenaere in the death of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb, wo was parking a pickup truck in his backyard when he was shot December 3, 2019. DeValkenaere said he fired after Lamb pointed a gun at another detective. The judge called it a tragic case with troubling facts, saying police were the initial aggressors and had a duty to retreat. DeValkenaere will remain free on bond until he's sentenced at a later date.


Kansas Town Honors Deceased Man with a Parade

MINNEAPOLIS, Kan. (AP) — Dale "Duster" Hoffman didn't want a sorrowful funeral, so instead he got a parade. KWCH-TV reports that residents of the small town of Minneapolis, Kansas, turned out Sunday for a parade honoring Hoffman, who died earlier this month at age 71. Hoffman had said he wanted his friends and family to remember him with a fun and joyful gathering. More than 100 cars took part in driving down Main Street as part of the parade. One relative said it was believed to be one of the largest parades ever in Minneapolis, a town of about 2,000 residents.


Missouri Authorities Seize 190 Catalytic Converters, 67 Weapons in Search

ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Investigators seized 190 catalytic converters and 67 weapons when they searched a home in southwest Missouri recently, and one man was arrested after the raid. Court documents say officers from several law enforcement agencies recovered those items along with $125,000 cash and several things that had been reported stolen when they searched the home in Rogersville last month. That small town is about 10 miles east of Springfield. Police have said that thefts of catalytic converters, which are part of a car’s exhaust system and contain precious metals, have been a widespread problem in the Springfield area in recent years.


Chiefs Clobber Cowboys 19-9 in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP/KPR) — The Kansas City Chiefs kept the Dallas Cowboys from scoring a single touchdown Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and won the game 19-9.  The Cowboys were short-handed because of injuries and COVID-19 before they faced the Chiefs. Then it got worse during the game. Just before halftime, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb sustained a concussion and did not return for the second half. Throw in a tweaked ankle for Ezekiel Elliott and perhaps it's no wonder the Cowboys didn't reach the end zone. The Chiefs were relentless on defense, pressuring the Cowboys into a series of mistakes.  Kansas City dropped Dallas QB Dak Prescott five times — 3 1/2 of those sacks by Chris Jones — and prevented him from having a chance to look past his first or second read almost the entire way.  The Cowboys finished 5 of 15 on third down, totaled 276 yards of offense — nearly 160 below their season average — and committed three turnovers. The only points they managed came on three field goals.  Meanwhile, the Chiefs are now 7-4 and lead the AFC West.


Pierce, Jamison Led 7-Member Class into College Hoops Hall of Fame

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Paul Pierce of Kansas and Antawn Jamison of North Carolina led a seven-man class inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. The class also includes Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins and the late Len Bias of Maryland along with David Greenwood of UCLA and longtime coaches Tom Penders and Rick Byrd. The class was honored this weekend in Kansas City.


Gonzaga, UCLA Snag Top AP Poll Spots; KU in at Number 4 

UNDATED (AP) – Gonzaga and UCLA continue their hold on the top two spots in The Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll, setting the stage for their highly anticipated showdown this week. Purdue also received a first-place vote to leap past Kansas into third, with the Jayhawks and Duke rounding out the first five. Purdue and Baylor moved up three spots within the top 10, and Alabama moved up four spots to forge a tie with SEC rival Kentucky. The biggest drop came with Michigan, which was fourth before a pair of losses sent coach Juwan Howard’s crew tumbling all the way to No. 20. Arizona, Seton Hall, BYU and Xavier entered the poll this week.


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!  


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