Kansas Governor Issues Emergency Declaration Due to Potential for Wildfires
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Governor Laura Kelly has issued a state of disaster emergency declaration due to the high danger of fire in portions of northwest Kansas during the next several days. Dry conditions coupled with low humidity and high winds will increase the potential for wildfires. The declaration authorizes the use of state resources to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria. The threat for a potentially dangerous situation exists due to a combination of northwest winds gusting up to 65 mph, blowing dust producing reduced visibilities, and critical fire weather conditions. "Wildland fires can spread rapidly and this declaration allows us to have resources on standby to assist local first responders to get fires under control as quickly as possible," Kelly said. The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka is currently activated in response to the coronavirus pandemic and will be monitoring for critical fire weather across the state. It only takes one spark to touch off a wildfire, so Kansans are urged to use care when burning outside, including fires in outdoor grills, and to make sure all smoking materials are completely extinguished before discarding them.
Kansas City Metro Tops 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City area has reached an unwanted milestone: coronavirus deaths in the region have now topped 1,000. The Kansas City Star reports that nine new deaths cited Thursday brought the total since the onset of the pandemic to 1,003. The number includes Kansas City, Missouri, as well as its suburbs in Missouri and Kansas. Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas says people have died “because of bureaucratic red tape, bravado, ill preparation, and our own communal self-interest favoring normalcy over safety of others.”
Kansas City Area WalMarts to Offer COVID Self-Testing Kits
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR/KNS) - Three Kansas City area WalMart stores are offering self-administered COVID-19 testing kits for adults who meet CDC, state and local guidelines on who should be tested. Curbside delivery of the kits will be made available at the Walmart store on Kansas Avenue in Bonner Springs, Kansas. Drive-through pick-up of the kits will be available at the Supercenter on Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, and the Neighborhood Market on North Antioch Road in Kansas City, Missouri. Patients must first request an appointment through Quest Diagnostics' online portal at myquestcovidtest.com(link is external). Quest will screen and schedule appointments for those who qualify. Results will be made available by Quest, typically 48 to 72 hours after it has received patients’ samples.
KC Boys Found Safe, Mom Charged with Kidnapping
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two Kansas City boys have been found safe after being reported missing almost three weeks ago. The Kansas City Star reports that the mother of 7-year-old Avontay Reed and 4-year-old Kelvontae Cooper has been charged with kidnapping. The boys had been placed with their aunt due to their mother's history of drug abuse and mental health problems. The mother, Mattina Marshall, was located Tuesday at an area motel, but the boys were not with her. They had been considered missing and endangered, but they were found safe in southeast Kansas City. The FBI had offered a $5,000 award for information that would help find the boys.
Two Earthquakes Rattle Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (KPR) - Wichita residents have been rattled by two earthquakes in the past two days. The Wichita Eagle reports the first earthquake, Thursday afternoon, registered 2.7 on the Richter scale and was accompanies by a loud boom. A second earthquake yesterday (FRI) afternoon measured 2.6 on the Richter scale. KWCH reports that aftershocks are likely over the weekend following the two earthquakes.
Parades, Holiday Traditions Upended Due to Pandemic
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Holiday traditions have been upended across Kansas due to the coronavirus, forcing Santa to stay firmly on the ground in one city and transforming parades elsewhere. In Lawrence, hundreds usually turn out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to watch firefighters use a ladder truck to rescue Santa from the top of Weaver’s Department Store. Instead, Santa will appear on the first three Saturdays of December atop a truck decked out in garlands, poinsettias and pine cones. Holiday parades in Dodge City and Topeka have been thrown into reverse, with spectators encouraged to drive past stationary, socially spaced floats.
New Quarter Pays Homage to Tallgrass Prairie
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Flint Hills of Kansas are all abuzz over a new coin that pays homage to the state’s Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The Wichita Eagle reports that the U.S. Mint this month released the 55th installment in its America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The flip side offers a skyward view of the prairie, native Big Bluestem and Indian grasses as well as a Regal Fritillary butterfly. Heather Brown, chief of interpretation and visitors services for the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, says the design “helps spotlight some of the prairie’s endangered ecosystem.” The tallgrass prairie quarters were released into circulation on November 16th. Approximately 300 million were minted.
Police Investigating Homicide in Kansas City Neighborhood
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating another Kansas City killing as the homicide total for the yeanear homes while responding to a report of “suspicious party” Police spokesman Capt. David Jackson said the injuries were consistent with foul play. But police were unable to determine a cause of death at the crime scene. The homicide total is up sharply from 2019. By this time last year, there had been 139 killings.
Wichita Couple Arrested After Thanksgiving Dispute Turns Violent
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested a Wichita couple after a domestic disturbance turned violent on Thanksgiving day. Police said in a news release that officers responding to a shooting at about 3:15 p.m. Thursday found a 46-year-old man with a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released. Their investigation found that the man was involved in a disturbance with a 48-year old woman during which the woman retrieved a gun and shot him in the arm. She was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was arrested on suspicion of aggravated domestic battery and a municipal misdemeanor warrant.
VA Outpatient Clinic in Liberal Announces 2021 Closure
LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — The Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center said it will close its outpatient clinic in Liberal next year. The Dodge City Globe reports that the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic opened in 2018 in Liberal. It will cease operations after January 14th. Candace Ifabiyi, Medical Center director for Dole VA, says they are disappointed to have to make this decision. She says veterans in southwest Kansas have other options for their health care needs, including a well-staffed VA clinic in Dodge City that is within driving distances. It also has virtual programs that let veterans connect by video from their homes to VA health care providers.
Plan Calls for Housing Homeless in Transformed Wichita Hotel
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A proposal to transform a hotel near downtown Wichita into housing for the homeless goes before the city council next week. A Wichita spokesperson said the owner of the 316 Hotel has agreed to sell the building for $2.6 million. The Wichita Eagle reports that renovations for the studio apartments are estimated to cost another $1.6 million. A mixture of public and private money would pay the bills. HumanKind Ministries, which was previously Inter-Faith Ministries, would own and operate the location.
Police: 50-Year-Old Man Shot, Killed in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting in Wichita. Police identified the victim in a news release as 50-year-old Kamilu Boyede of Wichita. Officers found him dead Wednesday after a neighbor called to report that Boyede’s door was open. The case remains under investigation. No suspect information was released.
Fire Claims Life of 62-Year-Old Nemaha County Man
WETMORE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been killed in a fire in northeast Kansas. WIBW reports that that a neighbor reported the fire around 5:30 am Friday in the Nemaha County town of Wetmore. The State Fire Marshal’s Office said the victim was a 62-year-old man who lived alone in the home. The office said the cause of the fire is not yet determined but was most likely accidental.
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