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Headlines for Saturday, December 26, 2020

KCK Police Investigating Christmas Homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, are investigating a Christmas morning homicide. The Kansas City Star reports that police responded to a report of a shooting in the area of the Fairfax Bluffs Apartments north of Kansas Highway 5 and south of the Quindaro Power Station around 6:20 a.m. Friday. They found a Hispanic male in his 30s with apparent gunshot wounds. He was taken to an area hospital, and later died. Police released no further details.


Christmas Day Police Chase Causes Fatal Crash

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR/KCStar) - The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating a Christmas Day police chase that led to an accident that killed two people.  The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas City police were pursuing a vehicle thought to be stolen.  That vehicle struck the police car and then fled, hitting another vehicle and killing both of that vehicle's occupants.  The two suspects fled on foot; one has since been taken into custody.


Kansas Hospital Workers: Hope, Purpose Shadowed by COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some employees at Kansas hospitals spent a good part of the Christmas holiday caring for patients and providing comfort to families and colleagues. Like other people, the coronavirus pandemic upended holiday plans and family traditions, but COVID-19 has stressed Kansas hospitals. Steve Morgan had an eight-hour shift as the chaplain on duty in a Wichita hospital and reflected on what he sees as colleagues' sense of purpose on the Christian celebration of Jesus' birth. Nurse Yvonne Murphy was feeling hopeful during her 12-hour Christmas hospital shift in Topeka after getting a coronavirus vaccine. The holiday came near the end of her first year as a nurse.  


Wife of Ex-Mayor Granted Diversion in Faked Ticket Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The wife of a former Kansas mayor who resigned abruptly before the couple was charged with making fake tickets to attend a zoo fundraiser has been granted diversion in the case. The Wichita Eagle reports that Elizabeth Blubaugh has to pay $945 in restitution to the Sedgwick County Zoo plus other fees, attend and complete a theft education program and perform 40 hours of community service as the part of the agreement. Her husband, Jamey Blubaugh, is scheduled for a bench trial next month. He resigned in August as the mayor of Goddard, a suburb of Wichita, citing conflicts with the city administrators. The misdemeanor counterfeiting charges were filed against the couple two days later.


Kansas Governor to Propose Treatment Center for Inmates

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly plans to propose creating a treatment center at Kansas' largest prison for inmates with substance abuse problems. The Kansas City Star reports that Kelly said she plans to recommend adding a treatment center at the state prison in Lansing in the Kansas City area. Her proposal mirrors a recommendation from the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission to use space in an existing prison for a 240-bed substance abuse treatment center. The governor said Wednesday in an interview that inmates could be sentenced to the new center for intensive treatment, rather than being housed in other prison space.


Kansas Working Through Vaccine Details

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is working through the details of exactly who will be eligible for coronavirus vaccines in exactly what order as it concentrates on giving shots mostly to health care workers this month. Governor Laura Kelly told leaders of the Legislature this week that the vaccines have gone mostly to health care workers. That group also includes employees in state prisons. She said vaccines could go “almost exclusively” to health care workers into mid-January but also suggested some doses already have made it to nursing homes. Kelly told The Topeka Capital-Journal in an interview that prison inmates are to get vaccinated before the general public because they’re in “congregate” housing.


Two Men Killed, Third injured in East Wichita Wreck

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two Wichita men have been killed and a third person was hurt in a Wichita crash. The Wichita Eagle reports that the crash happened early Thursday morning when a car went off the side of a road and struck a tree. Police said the car’s driver, 26-year-old Eduardo Viurques, and a passenger, 28-year-old Boris Guzman-Mendoza, were ejected from the car and were pronounced dead at the scene. A 32-year-old who was also a passenger was taken to a local hospital. The accident is still under investigation, but police said that “speed and alcohol are believed to be a factor.”


Two Arrested in Attempted Break-in at Topeka Newspaper

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police arrested two men for attempting to break into the Topeka Capital-Journal’s newspaper offices on the morning of Christmas Eve. Shawnee County Dispatch confirmed the arrests Thursday and said both men were transported to the hospital for medical attention, the newspaper reported. Its offices in a downtown building are a floor above a bank. A Capital-Journal customer service representative said two men approached the newsroom’s back entrance at about 8 a.m. They demanded to be let into the office and were carrying what appeared to be folded newspapers and toolboxes. She and two other workers called police, but the men continued trying to pry open the door.


University Archivist Plans Podcast on Black Kansas Churches

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An archivist at the University of Kansas plans to launch a four-part podcast next year focused on telling the current stories of Black churches in northeast Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Patricia Cecil developed the “Faith in the Free State” project and recently received a $10,000 grant from the nonprofit Humanities Kansas. She decided to focus on Black churches in the region after witnessing renewed racial justice activism over the summer and knowing how churches have adapted to new ways of gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two podcast episodes would debut in early summer 2021 and two more in late summer or early fall 2021.  


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