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Headlines for Monday, November 29, 2021


Biden Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers Put on Hold in Kansas, Missouri, 8 Other States

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked President Joe Biden's administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on health care workers in 10 states that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement. The preliminary injunction issued Monday applies to Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Those states all have either a Republican attorney general or governor. A federal judge in Missouri said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid had no clear authority from Congress to enact the vaccine mandate for health care providers that participate in the two government programs. The rule requires workers to receive their first dose by December 6 and their second by January 4.


Governor Appoints Former Hospital Executive as New Kansas Health Secretary

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Governor Laura Kelly has appointed a former Topeka hospital executive as the new secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Janet Stanek has most recently been director of the state employee health benefits program. She replaces Dr. Lee Norman, who announced his resignation November 19. He'd been the health department's top administrator since Kelly took office in January 2019. Kelly's office says Stanek has held healthcare leadership positions in Pennsylvania, New York and Kansas. Stanek spent 21 years at Stormont Vail Health Topeka, where she last was chief operating officer and senior vice president. Stanek will serve as acting secretary until the Senate confirms her appointment.


Man Fatally Struck by Train in Lenexa

LENEXA, Kan. (AP) — Lenexa police are investigating after a man was fatally struck by a train. The Kansas City Star reports that police were called at 8:43 am today (MON) after a BNSF train struck a pedestrian on the tracks. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. No further information was released and it wasn’t immediately clear why the man was on the tracks.


Embattled Kansas Lawmaker Arrested for Second Time in Month

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old Kansas lawmaker has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving — his second arrest in less than a month. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a trooper arrested Aaron Coleman early Saturday morning on Interstate 70 near Lawrence and took him to the Douglas County Jail, where he bonded out hours later. Coleman was already out on bond from an October 30 domestic battery arrest following a fight with his brother. The Kansas City, Kansas, Democrat has been embroiled in controversy since before he took office after being elected in 2020. Coleman did not immediately return phone and email messages left Monday morning by The Associated Press. His latest arrest prompted fresh calls for his resignation or removal from office.


Teen Girl in Critical Condition After Shooting in KC Suburb

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — A teenage girl was taken to a hospital in critical condition after a Sunday afternoon shooting in the Kansas City suburb of Independence, Missouri. Independence Police spokesman Jack Taylor said the shooting happened near the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and Blue Ridge Boulevard around noon Sunday. Few details about the shooting were immediately available.  The name and age of the victim wasn’t released. No suspect information was available.


Kansas City Area Man Dies After Firefighters Find Him in Apartment

GLADSTONE, Mo. (AP) — Police are investigating the death of a man who firefighters found inside an apartment after smoke was reported in the building. Firefighters were called to the building in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone shortly before 8 pm Saturday. The 33-year-old man was found unresponsive in an apartment before he was pronounced dead at the scene. The Gladstone Police Department is investigating the man’s death, but officials didn’t immediately release details about how he died. The man’s name has not been released.


Kansas Utility Commission Criticizes Hedge Fund Influence on Evergy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas utility regulators have issued an order requiring Evergy to explain and justify a plan to spend $10.4 billion on its electrical system and report quality of service measures on a quarterly basis amid concerns that the plan is designed largely to benefit a hedge fund investor. The Wichita Eagle reports that members of the Kansas Corporation Commission sent a strong signal Tuesday that they won't tolerate efforts to increase shareholder profits at the expense of unreasonably high rates for Evergy's 1 million Kansas customers. In a written statement, Evergy said it was reviewing the commission's order before identifying "if there are appropriate next steps."


Mexican Regulators Approve $31 Billion Railroad Merger Deal Between KC Southern, Canadian Pacific

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mexican regulators have approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion plan to acquire Kansas City Southern and create a railroad linking Mexico, Canada and the United States. The deal could close as soon as mid-December if shareholders of both companies approve it. Then Kansas City Southern would be held by a voting trust while the U.S. Surface Transportation Board conducts its lengthy review of the transaction but its shareholders would be paid right away. The railroads said Friday that the STB’s review of the deal is expected to continue into the fourth quarter of next year.


Wichita Police Suspect Speed, Alcohol Were Factors in Fatal Wreck

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say speed and alcohol use are suspected to be factors in a Thanksgiving night accident that killed a man and critically injured a woman. KSNW-TV reports that the accident happened Thursday night at 13th Street and Hillside. Lt. Chris Marceau says a pickup truck struck an SUV from behind at a stoplight, causing the SUV to roll over. A 65-year-old man died and a 67-year-old passenger is hospitalized in critical condition. The 37-year-old driver of the pickup truck was taken into custody. Police say the investigation is ongoing.


Kansas Supreme Court Takes Up Overturned Day Care Death Case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to consider an appeals court decision overturning the conviction of a day care worker in the death of a 9-month-old. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Douglas County District Attorney's Office is seeking to have the murder conviction against Carrody Buchhorn reinstated. The office appealed after the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled in August that she should get a new trial because her attorney did not adequately question a coroner's ruling on how 9-month-old Oliver "Ollie" Ortiz died. He was found unresponsive at the Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home in Eudora.


Wellington Man Killed After Being Struck by Car

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 65-year-old Wellington man is dead after being struck by a car  in Wellington. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash was reported Friday morning on U.S. Highway 160 in Wellington. KWCH-TV reports a 2015 Dodge Challenger was traveling east on the inside lane when it hit a man who was running from north to south. The Highway Patrol identified the man who was killed as Chuck E. Flynn, of Wellington. The driver and two passengers in the car were not seriously injured.


Woman Critically Injured in Wichita Apartment Fire Dies

WICHITA,Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 59-year-old woman who was found unresponsive at a Wichita apartment building fire has died. Wichita Fire Department Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz told the Wichita Eagle that the cause of the Friday's fire remains under investigation, but it appears accidental. He says all 12 units of the building are currently unlivable. The property manager is helping to place residents in other apartments in the complex. The damage is estimated at $250,000 to the building and $100,000 to its contents.


Retired Kansas Lawmaker, Black Aviation Leader, Dies at 98

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Ulysses Lee "Rip" Gooch, who was a leader in the Black aviation industry and Kansas' oldest serving state senator when he retired at the age of 80, has died. A post on Jackson Mortuary's website says Gooch died on Wednesday. He was 98. No cause of death was listed. The Wichita Eagle reports that he is a member of the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, is part of the inaugural class of the Black Aviation Hall of Fame in Memphis, and logged around 20,000 hours of flight time over his more than half-century long aviation career.


Two Dead After Vehicle Collides with Train in Eastern Kansas

SPRING HILL, Kan. (AP) — Two people are dead after their vehicle was struck by a freight train in a rural area of eastern Kansas. The crash happened Thursday evening in Miami County, south of the Kansas City area. Police at the scene said the vehicle and part of the train erupted in fire after the impact. The Miami County Sheriff's Office says the collision happened after the driver went around the rail crossing's arms and got stuck on the tracks. The release said the victims are believed to be an elderly couple from Spring Hill. Their names weren't immediately released. No one on the train was injured.


Missouri Wants to Keep Outsourcing Unemployment Call Center

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials want to continue having a private company handle calls about jobless benefits in the state even though the unemployment rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is asking companies to bid on a contract to run a call center that would help officials process unemployment claims. A California company called Protiviti has been handling those duties since October 2020, and it has been paid $18 million. The unemployment rate reached as high as 12.5% in April 2020. Currently, it is down to 3.7%, which is equal to the rate in March 2020 before the pandemic began.


Real Salt Lake Beats Sporting KC, 2-1 in Stoppage Time

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Bobby Wood directed Justin Meram's crossing pass from low into the right corner in the 90th minute to give Real Salt Lake a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday in Major League Soccer's Western Conference semifinals. Coming off a first-round victory on penalty kicks at Seattle, Real Salt Lake advanced to face the Portland Timbers in the conference final. Portland also won the road, topping Colorado 1-0 on a 90-minute score Thursday. Sporting K.C. opened the scoring on Johnny Russell's penalty kick in the 24th minute. Anderson Julio tied in in the 72nd, leaping to head a pass from Andrew Brody into the lower left corner.


Broncos' Win over Chargers Tightens Up Competitive AFC West

DENVER (AP) — The Denver Broncos' 28-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers means every team in the AFC West has a winning record heading into December. The Kansas City Chiefs have won four straight and are on top at 7-4. But the Broncos, Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are all just a game back at 6-5. The Chiefs could be looking up at the Broncos a week from now if they lose to Denver for the first time since 2015. Either way, the Chiefs have the toughest schedule remaining but all four divisional rivals face a daunting road to the playoffs.  The Kansas City Chiefs see similarities in this year's team to the one that won the Super Bowl two years ago. After a stumbling start they're getting their health and mojo back and rolling into December.  Coming off a bye, the Chiefs (7-4) are riding a four-game winning streak, but the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are all just a game back at 6-5.

The Chiefs take on the Broncos next Sunday night.  Kansas City hasn't lost to Denver since September 17, 2015.

The Chiefs could still run away with the division like they've done before, but Kansas City has the toughest remaining schedule with opponents a combined 36-29-1. They play each of their AFC West rivals in the next three weeks and finish up at Denver following games against the Steelers (5-5-1) at home and Bengals (7-4) on the road.


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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