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Headlines for Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Kansas Reports More than 62,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 706 Virus-Related Deaths

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - State health officials say Kansas has now recorded more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that the state now has 62,708 cases, including 706 deaths. That's an increase of 1,597 cases and 8 deaths since Friday.  The next update will be released Wednesday.


Kansas Coronavirus Hospitalizations Hit Daily Average of 26, a New Pandemic Record

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas health officials report a new pandemic record for average daily hospitalizations. The state had an average of 26.29 new coronavirus hospitalizations per day for the seven days ending Monday. The previous high was 23.86 for the seven days ending Friday. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment also reported that the state saw 1,597 new confirmed and probable cases since Friday, an increase of 2.5%, bringing the total cases to 62,708. The state health department also reported eight new COVID-19-related deaths since Friday, bringing the total to 706.

Kansas to Get 870,000 COVID-19 Tests

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas expects to receive 870,000 rapid COVID-19 tests from the federal government over the next three months to boost testing in potential hotspots. Kelly's remarks Monday came as the state saw a record increase in the average number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Kelly said the new tests are crucial for a new statewide policy of more testing of people without virus symptoms in areas with high infection rates and increasing routine testing in schools, nursing homes and prisons. She said the state already has received its first 57,000 tests. Meanwhile, state health department statistics showed that Kansas averaged a record 26.29 new hospitalizations a day for the seven days ending Monday.

Most Kansas Counties Enter COVID School Red Zone

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Even as some of the state’s largest districts reopen, most Kansas counties have such a high rate of new coronavirus cases that they have moved into the red zone on a key state benchmark that suggests schools consider putting the brakes on in-person classes and sports. The Wichita Eagle reports that 75 of the state's 105 counties were in the worst reopening zone for the two week cumulative incident rate, one of five school reopening indicators established by the state. That’s an increase of 10 counties from a week ago. However, individual districts can make their own reopening decisions, often with guidance from county-level health officials.


Four of Missouri Governor's Staffers Tested Positive for COVID-19 and Recovered

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Mike Parson's office says four of his staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The governor officially returned to work Monday after being in isolation for nearly two weeks after he and his wife tested positive for the virus. His office says everyone who had close contact with him and his wife were tested. The four staff members who tested positive have all recovered. Missouri officials say that more than 1,800 state employees have had confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Office of Administration says the corrections department has the most infected employees, with 646.


Report: More than 3,500 Kansas Businesses Closed or Filed for Bankruptcy So Far in 2020

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - So far in 2020, nearly 3,600 Kansas businesses have shut down or filed for bankruptcy. That’s according to a report from the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office. What that report doesn’t show is just how many more businesses are struggling to survive.  KWCH TV reports the latest blow comes with the announcement that Regal Cinemas across the U.S. (including in Wichita) are soon closing. The struggling movie industry is only part of the much larger problem.  Experts believe the only way some businesses can survive another six months is with another stimulus package from the federal government.  Until then, business owners across the U.S. can only hope for a vaccine in the next couple of months. If not, experts warn, more closures and bankruptcies are inevitable.


Kansas Replacing Contractor Handling Medicaid Applications

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is replacing a private contractor that inspired years of complaints about backlogs and other problems in its handling of applications for the state's Medicaid health coverage for the needy. The Kansas City Star reports that the state Department of Health and Environment in August signed a six-year contract worth nearly $135 million with New Jersey-based company Conduent to handle Medicaid applications starting next year. Conduent will replace Maximus, based in the Washington, D.C., area. The state hired Maximus in 2016, hoping to make processing Medicaid applications more efficient and less costly. The company instead received poor marks for its processing and customer-service call center.


Medical Marijuana in Missouri Could be Available this Month

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis County lab’s approval to start testing samples of marijuana means that commercial marijuana for medical use could be on the shelves this month. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that EKG Labs in Maryland Heights on September 26 became the first of 10 licensed medical marijuana testers to start operations after passing a state inspection. As a result, marijuana being grown by commercial cultivators may undergo state-required testing for safety and potency. Once approved, it can be sold at dispensaries. EKG director of operations Natalie Brown says testing could begin in the upcoming week. Missouri voters approved medical marijuana in 2018.


Former Emporia Postman Charged with Delaying Mail

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — A former contract driver for the U.S. Postal Service is accused of opening and destroying mail containing cash.The U.S. attorney’s office says 23-year-old Dennis Tapscott has been charged with delaying mail. The Emporia Gazette reports that the crime is alleged to have occurred in 2019 and 2020 in Lyon County and other counties.If convicted, he faces up to a year in federal prison and a fine up to $100,000. The U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service investigated.


Police Say 1 Dead, 1 Arrested Following Stabbing, Chase

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Kansas, say a man was fatally stabbed and another person was arrested in the death following a police chase. The Kansas City Star reports that the incident happened Saturday morning, when officers were called to investigate a report of a suspicious person. Arriving officers found a man in the grass suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to a hospital where he later died. Police say a suspect fled the scene and was arrested after a car chase that involved the Kansas Highway Patrol. Police have not released the names of the victim or the person arrested.


Kansas Farmer Finds Decomposed Body While Cutting Corn

GOVE COUNTY, Kan. (WDAF) – A Kansas farmer cutting his corn last Friday found the decomposing body of an unidentified man.  FOX4 News reports Gove County Undersheriff Shawn Mesch made the announcement Monday, saying that the body appeared to have been in the field for at least a couple of weeks.  He said the body is believed to be that of a Hispanic male, likely in his 40s or 50s.  No foul play is suspected at this time. The undersheriff said according to an autopsy, the unidentified male died from natural causes.  Mesch said they haven’t yet found a matching missing person’s case, so they are currently in a holding pattern, waiting to identify the body. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Gove County Sheriff’s office with this case.


Topeka Police Investigate Weekend Shooting Death of Man

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka police are investigating the death of a man who was found with a gunshot wound on Saturday. Police said officers found the man around 11:30 am Saturday when they were checking on the welfare of someone at a Topeka home. He died at the scene. Detectives are investigating the circumstances around the man's death. The man was identified as 38-year-old Christopher McMillon.


Charges Filed in Kansas City, Kansas Killing

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Two people from Kansas City, Kansas, are facing charges in a fatal shooting that happened last week. Authorities say Lolester Mitchell of Kansas City, Kansas, was found dead inside a home.  On Monday, 22-year-old Cooper Allan Beck was charged with intentional murder in the second degree and other crimes. He is jailed on $250,000 bond. Meanwhile, 38-year-old Billy Joe Blood is charged with conspiracy interference with a law enforcement officer, intimidation of a witness or victim and other crimes. She is jailed on $50,000 bond. Police have not disclosed a motive in the killing.


Prosecutor: No Charges in Death of Mentally Ill Kansas Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — No charges will be filed in the death of a 56-year-old Wichita man who was killed by police last year during an apparent psychotic episode in which he fired 83 rounds from his apartment. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told reporters Monday via a Zoom news conference that under the circumstances, he could not charge the officers who fired at Fred Burton. The hours-long standoff began shortly before 2 am in May 2019.  The incident forced officers to evacuate other occupants of the apartment complex to safety. Burton fired at officers and two officers returned fire, killing Burton.


1 Person Arrested After Kansas City Woman Dies Saturday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One person was arrested after a woman died in a home in eastern Kansas City, Missouri, Saturday. Kansas City Police Captain David Jackson said officers responding to a disturbance at the home around 11 am Saturday found a woman who was bleeding profusely.  Jackson said police had arrested a suspect in the death by Saturday afternoon. Police didn’t immediately release the names of the suspect or the victim in this case. The Kansas City Star reported that this is the 151st homicide in 2020, which is four short of the record set in 2017.


Kansas City Activists Camp at City Hall in Police Protest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Activists outraged after a Kansas City police officer knelt on the back of a pregnant woman during an arrest are camping outside city hall and plan to stay until the officer and the police chief are fired. They also want the city to redirect 50% of the police department's budget toward social service groups. The unusual protest entered its fifth day Tuesday and those gathered on the city hall grounds say they are determined to stay. Mayor Quinton Lucas says city officials currently have no plans to evict the demonstrators. The city council is scheduled to discuss the situation at a meeting on Thursday.


Fire at Missouri Senior Citizen Home Kills 1, Injures 5

RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) — A resident of a senior living facility in a Kansas City suburb died in a fire Saturday night. Raytown Fire District Capt. Ty Helphrey said the fire was contained to one apartment on the sixth floor of the Temple Heights Manor in Raytown, Missouri. The fire was reported around 9:15 pm Saturday. Helphrey said firefighters extinguished the fire and kept it from spreading to other apartments, but five people were taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation or the exacerbation of their medical conditions. The identity of the resident who died wasn’t immediately released. The cause of the fire is not yet known.  


Police: Man Shot Outside Kansas City, Kansas Home Has Died

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police say a man shot outside a home in Kansas City, Kansas, has died of his injuries. Police say in a news release that the shooting was reported around 10:30 p.m. Monday. Arriving officers found a man in his mid-20s outside the home suffering from wounds. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died. Police have not released the man's name or reported any arrests in the case.


KCK Man Admits He Supplied Drug Dealers with Methamphetamine

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Hays Post) – A man who trafficked methamphetamine in the Kansas City metro area has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.  According to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, 50-year-old Michael Pruitt, of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.  In his plea, Pruitt admitted he supplied methamphetamine in pound quantities to dealers who were part of a drug trafficking organization operating in the metro.  The Hays Post reports Pruitt had storage units where he kept firearms and drugs.  Authorities say he was observed leaving a unit that was found to contain 48 firearms.


Kansas City Chiefs Beat Patriots by 16 but New England Held Its Own  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The New England Patriots didn't make any excuses for their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, even though there were plenty.  New England's star quarterback, Cam Newton, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, keeping him out and leaving the game in the hands of journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer and untested youngster Jarrett Stidham. Running back Sony Michel went on injured reserve earlier in the day with a quad injury. Yet the Patriots still managed to hang with the Chiefs into the second half of their 26-10 loss.   The Chiefs, who never trailed, were also without some key players, including defensive star Chris Jones.  With the victory, the Chiefs are now 4-0 for the fourth year in a row, a new NFL record.


K-State Football Coach Agrees to Extension, Pay Raises Through 2026

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas State University's head football coach has agreed to a contract extension through the 2026 season that includes additional incentives and retention bonuses, despite a pandemic that forced K-State to announce plans earlier this year to furlough up to 1,500 faculty and staff.  Chris Klieman will be paid base salaries of $3.1 million next season, $3.5 million in 2022, $4 million in 2023 and $4.3 million each year from 2024 to 2026. There are also retention bonuses of $200,000 in 2021 and $250,000 in 2022, the use of a private plane for up to 8 hours and one-year extensions at $4.3 million each year for winning eight games in a season.

(– Related –)

K-State's Klieman Aware of Optics of Raise During COVID-19

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas State University football coach Chris Klieman is keenly aware of the optics that come with his lucrative contract extension, which was announced Monday several months after it was concluded. He understands that there are still plenty of people struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he feels empathy for the hundreds of school employees still facing furloughs this fiscal year. But school officials also believe they have a winner in Klieman, and the importance of keeping him on the sideline outweighed any potential public backlash.


KPR's daily headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and updated throughout the day. KPR's weekend summary is usually published by 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays.


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