Kansas: Grocery, Meatpacking Workers Deemed Essential
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas considers meatpacking plant workers and grocery store employees essential workers, putting them just behind health care workers and nursing home residents for coronavirus vaccines. The Democratic governor also Friday that said members of the Republican-controlled Legislature won’t get any special treatment. Kelly said Kansas’ vaccine plan calls for the first shots to go to front-line health care workers with a high risk of coronavirus exposure, including workers in nursing homes, as well as nursing home residents. She said the second phase will focus on vaccinating essential workers, including first responders but also grocery store and meatpacking plant workers.
States Submit Vaccine Orders as COVID Death Toll Grows
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — States are facing a deadline on Friday to place orders for the coronavirus vaccine as many reported record infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 hit an all-time high in the U.S. on Thursday at 100,667, and hospitals were at the breaking point. Arizona on Friday reported more than 5,000 new known COVID-19 cases for the second straight day as the number of available intensive care beds fell below 10%. Nevada reported 48 new deaths on Thursday, the deadliest day since the onset of the pandemic. Pennsylvania's top health official says intensive care beds could be full this month.
Kansas Man's Obit Takes Aim at Unmasked People
BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — An obituary for an 81-year-old Kansas man who died of COVID-19 is garnering widespread attention. Dr. Marvin James Farr of Scott City died Tuesday in isolation at a nursing home. His son, Courtney Farr, wrote an obituary lamenting how his father died in a world where many of his fellow citizens refuse to wear a mask to protect one another. His father was a farmer and a veterinarian. The obituary says the science that guided his life has been disparaged and abandoned by many of the same people who depended on his knowledge to care for their animals and to raise their food.
Former Garden City Coach Fired from Missouri Position
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Southern State has dismissed football coach Jeff Sims. He was the coach at Garden City Community College in Kansas when a player died of heat stroke in 2018. Missouri Southern athletic director Jared Bruggeman did not provide a reason for Sims being fired. He was in his second season at the school, which did not play this fall because of the pandemic. Two years ago, Braeden Bradforth of Neptune, New Jersey, died of exertional heatstroke after a football workout at Garden City. An investigation blamed Bradford's death on a lack of of leadership by college officials, including Sims.
Hearing Date Set for Congressman Watkins
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A hearing is set for February 4th to determine whether defeated Representative Steve Watkins will face a trial on charges of felony election fraud and other crimes. The Republican congressman for eastern Kansas had initially faced his first appearance in state district court Thursday in Topeka in a case arising from his listing a postal box at a UPS Inc. store as his residence on a state voter registration form. But Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said Watkins’ attorney sought beforehand to schedule a hearing to determine whether Kagay's office has enough evidence to warrant a trial. Neither Watkins nor his attorney came to the courthouse Thursday.
Episcopal Church Pushes for KC Police Chief's Termination
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City Episcopal church is joining a push to have Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith resign or be fired. St. Mary's Episcopal Church said in a statement to city leaders the police department needs to change to improve its treatment of Black citizens. Several civil rights organizations have been calling for months for Smith's firing or resignation. The calls grew after complaints about how Kansas City police reacted to this summer's racial injustice protests. John Simpson, chairman of the church’s social justice ministry, said he hoped other churches and white organizations would join the effort. Smith has said he doesn't intend to resign.
Missouri Inmate who Videotaped Torture-Murders Dies
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri inmate who was convicted of killing two women in 2006 after videotaping their torture and murders has died. The Missouri Department of Corrections said 56-year-old Richard Davis died Tuesday. Davis was sent to death row after being convicted of 32 felonies, including first-degree murder. Corrections officials say he died of natural causes. Davis was being held at the Potosi Correctional Center and was hospitalized for more than two weeks before his death. Prosecutors said Davis and his then-girlfriend, Dena Riley, tortured and killed Marsha Spicer and Michelle Huff-Ricci to fulfill Davis' fantasies. Riley is serving several life sentences.
Australian Firm to Buy Kansas-based Waddell & Reed
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — An Australian company has purchased the Kansas-based financial services company Waddell & Reed Financial for $1.7 billion. Macquarie Asset Management, an arm of Australia’s Macquarie Group, announced late Wednesday that it will buy all outstanding shares of Waddell and Reed for $25 per share in cash. The companies said in a statement that when the sale is complete, Macquarie plans to sell Waddell & Reed’s wealth management platform to LPL Financial Holdings, an independent broker-dealer in Boston for $300 million. The two companies' boards of directors have approved the sale, which is expected to be complete by mid-2021, pending normal regulatory approvals.