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Headlines for Saturday, June 12, 2021

Severe Thunderstorms Cause Power Outages, Damage

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KPR) - Severe thunderstorms blew through Kansas yesterday (FRI) afternoon, knocking down trees and causing widespread power outages.  Pea-sized hail and wind speeds of 60 to 80 miles per hour were reported in portions of northeastern Kansas, the Kansas City metro area, and western Missouri.  Evergy reported about 60,000 power outages, with 100 poles downed or damaged from the storm.

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Cerner to Eliminate 500 Jobs Worldwide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cerner says it plans to eliminate about 500 positions across the globe as part of continuing efforts to transform its mission. The healthcare information technology company did not say how many of the cuts will affect Kansas City area workers. The company, based in North Kansas City, said it will remain the largest private employer in the Kansas City region. Cerner employs 26,000 people across the world and about 13,000 at several Kansas City campuses. The company said it plans to hire 2,600 new employees around the world this year. Cerner made two separate job cuts in 2019 and another in June of last year.

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Two Men Charged in Topeka Shooting Death

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Two men have been charged with first-degree murder in a May shooting death of a Topeka man.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Shawnee County Distrct Attorney Mike Kagay yesterday (FRI) filed charges against 30-year-old Brandon Croskey and 34-year-old Jeremy Volle with first-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Aaron Shepherd.  Both Croskey and Volle are being held in the Shawnee County Jail on $1 million bond each.

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Man Charged in Fatal KCK Wreck

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 27-year-old man is now facing manslaughter charges for an accident in May that killed a man in Kansas City, Kansas. Police say Diquan P. Fant was driving a Ford Thunderbird at a high rate of speed when he ran a red light on May 9th and collided with a Kia Soul driven by 53-year-old Henry C. Fletcher of Kansas City, Kansas. Fletcher’s vehicle rolled several times. He died at the scene. Fant’s vehicle eventually crashed into a retaining wall. He was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Fant is jailed on $100,000 bail.

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Overland Park Council Urged to Drop Pit Bull Ban

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Several residents of Overland Park are urging the city to repeal its 16-year-old ordinance banning pit bulls. KCUR-FM reports that 25 people spoke at a meeting Wednesday of an Overland Park City Council committee. All but one of the speakers supported repealing the ordinance. Some speakers cited the subjectivity in defining a pit bull. Under the city code, animal control officers in Overland Park rely on visual characteristics to identify a dog as belonging to a banned breed. It isn’t clear when the council will decide whether to retain the ban.

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Topeka Residents Honored for Saving Woman from House Fire

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two Topeka men have been honored for rescuing a woman from a burning home. KSNT-TV reports that the Topeka Fire Department on Thursday gave “citizen heroism awards” to Robert Havens and Mark Elder. The fire broke out at the woman’s home in March. Fire Chief Craig Duke says that if the men hadn’t acted, the results would have been “disastrous.” The homeowner was treated at a hospital. Duke says she is doing much better.

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Judge asks Kansas Attorney General to Review Pandemic Law

MISSION, Kansas (AP) — A judge has asked the Kansas attorney general to weigh in on “significant constitutional problems” raised by a state law that gives thosewho object to pandemic restrictions such as mask requirements the right to trigger a 72-hour review. David Hauber, a Johnson County judge, says the law “tips the scales of justice toward the plaintiff.” Hauber was ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by parents Kristin Butler and Scott Bozarth who challenged the Shawnee Mission School District’s mask requirement for students. Hauber says the law provides short deadlines and could “short-circuit other court cases which often have emergent issues, such as domestic violence or business restraining orders.”

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Former Wichita Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex with Student

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita teacher and city council candidate has pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a student. Rodney Wren pleaded guilty Wednesday to one of three counts of unlawful sexual relations. He admitted having sex with an underage girl in 2015 and 2016 while he worked at Wichita Collegiate School. He was fired from the school when he was arrested in February 2020. Wren was a longtime teacher and debate coach at Wichita Collegiate. He ran unsuccessfully for  the District 2 Wichita City Council seat in 2019. His attorney said Wren's actions were wrong, but he said Wren was not a pedophile.

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Ex-Governor Colyer Riled by Data Disclosure

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Republican Governor Jeff Colyer says a Kansas county election office isn't doing enough to protect him after it accidentally disclosed his Social Security number to a political research firm. Colyer is running for governor in 2022, with Attorney General Derek Schmidt also seeking the GOP nomination. The Johnson County election office directed the researcher who received documents containing personal information of Colyer and his wife in April to shred them. But an attorney for Colyer told the office that the researcher’s three-word email assurances weren’t enough to confirm that personal information wasn’t passed on. Colyer’s attorneys wanted the county to require a signed affidavit.

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