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Headlines for Monday, November 9, 2020


Bridge over Kansas River in Topeka Closed Because of Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials have shut down a bridge that spans the Kansas River in Topeka after a fire erupted underneath it early today (MON).  Televisions station KSNT reports that the Sardou Bridge that connects north Topeka to the Oakland neighborhood is closed until further notice. Police say firefighters were called to the bridge just before 2 am for a blaze under the east end of the bridge. Firefighters extinguished the fire, but the bridge will remain closed until officials can determine it is safe to use.

UPDATE: The bridge opened at midday. According to the Topeka Fire Department, a large pile of wood and debris was found near the east end of the bridge. The cause of the fire is undetermined.


Kansas Breaks 100,000 Mark in COVID-19 Cases; Deaths Near 1200 

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the state has logged more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  That figure includes 1,181 deaths. KDHE released the latest numbers today (MON), reporting 103,553 coronavirus cases.  This marks an increase of 5,920 cases and 15 deaths in Kansas since Friday.  The next online update of COVID-19 cases is expected Wednesday, while Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is planning a briefing for Tuesday, due to the Veterans Day holiday.


Kansas Exceeds 100,000 Coronavirus Cases as Mask Debate Rages

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has reported another record seven-day spike in coronavirus cases to push the state past 100,000 as officials wrestle with getting more residents to wear masks. The state health department on Monday added 5,920 new confirmed and probable cases to the state’s tally since Friday, bringing the total to 103,553 since the pandemic began. The state averaged 2,047 new cases a day for the seven days ending Monday. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s staff, legislative leaders and local officials launched discussions about encouraging mask use before last week’s elections. There's still resistance to mask mandates from many local officials and the Republican-controlled Legislature.


Wichita City Council Member Tests Positive for Virus

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A council member in the state's largest city has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the mayor and other council members to quarantine for about two weeks. Wichita announced Council Member Brandon Johnson's positive result Saturday in a tweet. The city says Mayor Brandon Whipple, members of the City Council and some staff, including city manager Robert Layton, must temporarily stay away from city hall. The Wichita Eagle reports that Johnson said he had a cough Thursday that worsened Friday, so he went to be tested. He received his results Saturday morning.


Wichita School District Ponders a Return to In-Person Classes

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) - In Wichita, middle and high school students have been learning remotely since the start of the school year. Last month, the district's school board voted to let those students return to in-person classes using a hybrid model in mid-November.  Since then coronavirus cases have surged in Wichita. The board held an emergency meeting October 30 but decided to stick with its reopening plan. Cases have continued to rise since then. The school board will look at the data again this (MON) evening.  Unless the board changes its mind, middle and high schoolers will return to the classroom on Thursday.  


Kansas Schools Get Creative About Social Distancing

MISSION, Kan. (AP) - Some schools are getting creative about finding extra square footage to facilitate social distancing and reduce the health risks associated with in-person learning. Districts are setting up makeshift outdoor shelters, bringing in trailers to house classrooms and making use of otherwise empty spaces like museums. As infection rates rise across the county with winter's approach, some education leaders say they wish such approaches were taken more widely.


Kansas Budget Gap Mostly Melts Away with New Fiscal Forecast

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas has seen most of a projected state budget shortfall melt away. A new fiscal forecast for Kansas government is less pessimistic about the economy and tax collections than a dire forecast issued in the spring during a statewide lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  The forecasting group boosted the state's projections for tax collections by $463 million or 6.3% for the current, 2021 budget year that began July 1.  In July, the Kansas Legislature's nonpartisan research staff projected a budget shortfall of $1.5 billion.  Now, forecasters project a $153 million budget shortfall for the state's 2022 budget year.


Kansas Democrats Seek to Oust Member from Newly-Won House Seat

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KPR) - Last week, an incoming Democratic legislator from Wyandotte County tweeted a threat against Governor Laura Kelly. The Associated Press reported that Aaron Coleman said Kelly would face a QUOTE “extremely bloody” Democratic primary in 2022.  He wrote: “When I call a hit out on you, it’s real.”  Coleman later said that was poorly-phrased and deleted the tweet. The 20-year-old Coleman has admitted to circulating revenge porn when he was younger and was charged at age 14 with threatening to shoot a high school student. Democratic leaders say they’ll try to kick him out of the Legislature for threatening the governor.  


Lawrence Woman Dies After Being Trapped Under Her Car

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence police say a 29-year-old woman died after she was trapped under her car while it was being towed. Police spokesman Patrick Compton said the vehicle was being placed on the tow truck at the woman's home Monday when it began to roll. Compton said the car was in neutral and it's unclear why it rolled. The woman was behind it and became trapped underneath. She was pulled from underneath the car but lifesaving measures failed and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Compton said the death appeared to be a “tragic accident.”


Kansas Man Charged with Killing 2 Sons Held Without Bond

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A 40-year-old man charged with killing his two sons is being held without bond after being returned to Kansas. A judge ordered Donald R. Jackson Jr.  to remain in the Leavenworth County Jail without bond during Jackson's first court appearance on Friday. Jackson is charged with capital murder in the deaths of his 12- and 14-year-old sons. Their bodies were found Oct. 24 at their home in Leavenworth. Authorities say Jackson fled with his two young daughters, who were with him when he was arrested in Oklahoma. He was returned to Kansas on Thursday.


KC Police: 1 Killed in Overnight Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Police in Kansas City say a man has died in an overnight shooting at a night club.  Police say the shooting happened around 2:45 am Monday at the Rendezvous Lounge along Blue Ridge Boulevard. Police say officers who arrived on the scene found a man with gunshot wounds. The man was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police did not immediately release the victim's name, and no arrests have been announced.


KCK Teen Fatally Shot While Driving

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Police say a teenage driver was fatally shot Sunday morning in Kansas City, Kansas. The shooting was discovered after the victim's vehicle crashed into a parked vehicle around 6 am Sunday.  Police say the driver, who was in his late teens, was shot while he was driving in eastern Kansas City, Kansas.  The victim wasn't immediately identified.  The Kansas City Star reports that this shooting was the 47th homicide of the year in Kansas City, Kansas. At the same time last year, 28 homicides had been reported in the city.


Man Found on Kansas City Sidewalk Dies from Gunshot Wound

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man who was found on a sidewalk outside a Kansas City home with gunshot wounds has died. Kansas City, Missouri, Police Officer Donna Drake said officers found the man when they responded to reports of a shooting. The man died at the scene.  His name wasn't immediately released.  No arrests were reported Sunday morning. The Kansas City Star reports that this shooting was the 165th homicide of the year in Kansas City. At the same time last year, there had been 129 homicides in the city.


Man Charged with Shooting Teens in Topeka over Trump Signs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man has been charged with shooting three teenagers he believed stole Donald Trump campaign signs. Prosecutors in Shawnee County say 39-year-old Robert Sinner turned himself in to police over the weekend.  Sinner is charged with criminal discharge of a firearm and two counts of aggravated battery in connection with the Halloween incident in Topeka.  One of the teenagers has been charged with aggravated assault because prosecutors say one of them (Jose Garcia) tried to hit Sinner with the car he was driving.  Police have said the shooting happened after Sinner confronted the teens because he believed they had previously stolen Trump campaign signs.  


Man Charged with Fatally Shooting 2 People, Wounding a Third

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A 27-year-old man has been charged with fatally shooting two people and wounding a third person at a gas station parking lot in Kansas City.  Juan Berumen, of Kansas Cty, Kansas, was charged Friday with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Floyd Freeman and 37-year-old Margarita Paez. He also is charged with second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of armed criminal action. Kansas City police responded early Friday to the scene in a Kansas City warehouse district known as the West Bottoms.


UPDATE: KBI Investigates Shooting Death of 13-Year-Old Ashland Girl

ASHLAND, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the shooting death of a 13-year-old girl while she was at a friend's house in southwest Kansas. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the Clark County Sheriff's Office was called to a home in Ashland Friday afternoon. Officers found the teenager suffering from a gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. The KBI says the girl was at a friend's house with four other juveniles when the shooting occurred. No other information is being released.

(–Earlier Reporting–)

13-Year-Old Fatally Shot at Friend's House in Rural, Southwest Kansas

ASHLAND, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a 13-year-old girl was fatally shot while at a friend's house in rural southwest Kansas. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the Clark County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about the shooting Friday afternoon and rushed to the home in Ashland. The teen was pronounced dead at a hospital. Her name wasn't immediately released.  The KBI says four other juveniles were at the home when the shooting occurred. No other details about the shooting have been released.


KC Chiefs Escape Carolina Panthers 33-31

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KPR/AP) - Patrick Mahomes threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns as the Kansas City Chiefs held on to beat the Carolina Panthers 33-31 Sunday.  The Chiefs enter their bye week with an 8-1 record.  Kansas City won't play again until November 22 when they travel to Las Vegas to play the Raiders.


Sporting KC Grabs West's Top Seed, Blanking Real Salt Lake

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Khiry Shelton and Erik Hurtado sandwiched a pair of goals around intermission and Sporting KC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 in the snow. Sporting KC clinched the top seed in the MLS Western Conference and the club enters the postseason having won six of eight. Shelton scored in a scrum at the 45th minute off a corner kick where the ball ricocheted off a pair of Real Salt Lake defenders before entering the net.


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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