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Headlines for Saturday, November 7, 2020

New Fiscal Forecast Almost Eliminates Kansas Budget Gap

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas on Friday saw most of a projected state budget shortfall melt away. A new fiscal forecast for state government is much less pessimistic about the economy and tax collections than a dire forecast issued this spring during a statewide lockdown for 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 1st. The Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff now projects a $153 million budget shortfall for the state’s 2022 budget year. The researchers in July had projected that the shortfall would approach $1.5 billion.

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Kansas Adds Record-setting 5,418 New COVID-19 Cases

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has added a record-setting 5,418 new coronavirus cases as hospitals strained under the pressure. The increases in confirmed and probable cases brought the state’s total to 97,633, a 5.9% increase from Wednesday. With the influx, the seven-day daily rolling average rose to 1,779 cases. Data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment shows the state also added 79 COVID-19 fatalities Friday to bring the total to 1,166. State health department head Dr. Lee Norman said many local officials “haven't done anything” to check the virus surge. Meanwhile, staffing is a growing problem at hospitals, with 38% anticipating shortages this week in the Kansas City area.

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KCK Man Charged with Fatally Shooting 2 People

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, Missouri. 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.

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Kansas Supreme Court Expands Parental Rights of Same-Sex Couples

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that parenting intentions at the moment of a child’s birth are critical to establishing parental rights. The rulings Friday come in separate cases in which birth mothers who conceived through artificial insemination were fighting petitions by their former same-sex partners to establish parentage. In both cases, the women had not married and did not have co-parenting agreements. The court found that a woman seeking to establish parentage only needed to show that she acknowledged maternity at the time of birth and show evidence the birth mother consented at that time to share the care and custody of the child.

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Kansas Teen Fatally Shot at Friend's House

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 said in a news release that the Clark County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about the shooting around 3 p.m. Friday and rushed to the home in Ashland. The teen was pronounced dead at a hospital. Her name wasn’t immediately released. The release said four other juveniles were at the home when the shooting occurred. The release provided no other details about what happened and said the investigation is ongoing.

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Kansas AG: Leawood Man Performed Illegal autopsies, Duped 82 Consumers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a man accused of performing illegal autopsies duped at least 82 consumers. Schmidt’s office said Thursday in a news release that the state now has control of more than 1,600 biological samples collected by  Shawn Parcells of Leawood, Kansas. It is working to identify family members with legal claims. Parcells is a self-taught pathology assistant with no formal education. He was also accused last year of performing illegal autopsies or billing for autopsies that were never performed. He faces three felony counts of theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration.

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Oklahoma Man Sentenced to Prison after Wichita Crime Spree

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — An Oklahoma man has been sentenced to nearly nine years in prison after a series of crimes in Wichita. The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Friday that 28-year-old Taylor Kremer of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, set his car on fire in an alley following a hit-and-run crash in 2018. Kremer then pulled a bicycle from the burning vehicle and fired shots at occupants of a nearby home who followed him. He then stole a car after ordering people of a home inside at knifepoint. Kremer pleaded guilty in September to 15 counts including  kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

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