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Headlines for Wednesday, November 4, 2020


Kansas GOP Congressman Roger Marshall Wins U.S. Senate Race

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Congressman Roger Marshall has won the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas in a tougher-than-expected race that saw his Democratic opponent raise far more campaign cash.  Marshall, a physician who has represented the big 1st Congressional District for two terms in the U.S. House, prevailed in Tuesday's election over Democratic state Senator Barbara Bollier, a fellow physician.  Marshall entered the fall campaign with the GOP's traditional advantages in a state that tends to back conservatives. But Bollier excited fellow Democrats because her campaign was able to raise more than $25 million and set a Kansas record, while Marshall raised $6.5 million.  Marshall won the contest with 54% of the vote, compared to Bollier's 41%.  Republicans haven't lost a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since 1932. 

See all the unofficial Kansas vote totals here.  


GOP Keeps 3 of 4 Congressional Seats in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Republicans kept their 3-1 advantage in the state's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.  

  • Former Lt. Governor Tracey Mann won the big 1st Congressional District, representing central and western Kansas, as well as Manhattan and Emporia.  This seat is currently held by new GOP Senator-elect Roger Marshall.
  • State Treasurer Jake LaTurner captured the 2nd District seat of eastern Kansas.
  • Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids won reelection to her 3rd District seat representing suburban Kansas City.
  • And GOP Congressman Ron Estes was reelected to his 4th District seat representing Wichita and south-central Kansas.

See all the unofficial Kansas vote totals here.   


President Trump Takes Kansas and Missouri

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — While a winner in the presidential race remains in doubt this (WED) morning, President Donald Trump did carry the states of Kansas and Missouri. Trump's victory in Kansas in Tuesday's election was a near certainty because no Democratic nominee has carried the state since President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.


Topeka Republican Upsets Longtime Democratic State Senator Anthony Hensley

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley has lost his seat in the Kansas Legislature.  The Topeka Democrat was ousted by Republican candidate Rick Kloos, a one-time candidate for Kansas governor.  With all 94 election precincts reported, Hensley was defeated in his reelection bid representing Kansas Senate District 19, a seat he's held since 1993.  KSNT TV reports that Kloos is the founder of a Topeka thrift shop called God's Storehouse.  He ran unopposed in the GOP primary.  (See more results from Kansas Senate races.)


Ex-Teacher Becomes Kansas's First Transgender State Lawmaker

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita band teacher will serve as the first transgender state lawmaker in Kansas. Unofficial results from Tuesday's election show 57-year-old Democrat Stephanie Byers of Wichita defeated Republican Cyndi Howerton and will represent a legislative district that includes parts of Wichita. Byers said throughout the campaign that being transgender is only part of her identity, and she plans to focus on issues such as health care. But she acknowledged her election gives hope to the transgender community, particularly in deeply conservative Kansas. Before Tuesday's election, there were four other transgender people serving in state legislatures in the U.S.


Missouri GOP Governor Defeats Democratic Challenger

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri voters have given Republican Governor Mike Parson a full four-year term.  Parson defeated Democrat Nicole Galloway in Tuesday's election. The race between the former sheriff, Parson, and the state auditor, Galloway, was largely viewed as a referendum on Parson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the two candidates’ competing visions of the future of policing in the state.  Parson inherited the governorship two years ago when his predecessor resigned amid scandal and facing the threat of impeachment.


Another Kansas Inmate Dies from Complications of COVID-19 as Virus Cases Rise

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Another Kansas prison inmate has died of the coronavirus and hospitals admissions are high as case numbers soar statewide. The Kansas Department of Corrections announced Tuesday that a COVID-19 positive inmate from the Ellsworth Correctional Facility died Monday. The inmate, whose name wasn't released, was 76 and had underlying medical conditions. He is among more than 3,600 inmates statewide to be infected since the pandemic began; nine have died. In Wichita, Ascension Via Christi was treating 70 coronavirus patients Tuesday, the highest number it has seen yet. The hospital has repeatedly added beds in its COVID-19 units to keep up with the demand.


Kansas COVID-19 Cases Top 92,000; Virus-Related Deaths Hit 1,087

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the state has recorded more than 92,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  That figure includes 1,087 deaths.  KDHE released the latest numbers today (WED), reporting 92,215 coronavirus cases.  This marks an increase of 2,988 cases and 41 deaths in Kansas since Monday.  The next online update of COVID-19 cases will be released on Friday afternoon.


Hospitals Serving Kansas Stressed as Coronavirus Cases Rise

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Several dozen Kansas hospitals that serve Kansas patients are reporting that they expect to deal with staffing shortages over the next week as the state continues to report an average of well over 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day. The Wichita area’s two major health systems said Wednesday that almost 150 coronavirus patients were hospitalized, their highest numbers since the pandemic began. The state Department of Health and Environment on Wednesday added 2,988 confirmed and probable cases to the state’s count since Monday to bring the pandemic total to 92,215. Forty-three hospitals told the Kansas Hospital Association that they expect to deal with staffing shortages within the next week.


Judge Rules for Veterans Sexually Abused at Kansas VA Hospital

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has awarded damages to two veterans who say they were sexually abused by a physician's assistant at a VA hospital in Kansas. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled Monday that hospital personnel should have "fairly foreseen" the wrongful conduct by physician assistant Mark Wisner. KCUR-FM reports that multiple patients complained about Wisner's conduct at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth.  Crabtree awarded more than $538,000 to one veteran and over $1.5 million to the other. Wisner is serving a 16-year prison sentence after convictions for aggravated sexual battery and aggravated criminal sodomy in 2017.


Man Suspected of Showing up at Mosque with Handgun Arrested

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man who is suspected of showing up at a Wichita mosque with a handgun and yelling Islamophobic comments at a Muslim man. The 26-year-old Wichita man is jailed on suspicion of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. Police said in a news release the man also is suspected of putting up “concerning posters around the Islamic Society of Wichita." The Wichita Eagle reports that police arrested him Friday at a home in nearby Derby after responding to a disturbance with a weapon call at the Masjid An Noor Mosque, about a block southwest of Wichita State University. A police report states that the man was “making racial comments and discriminating against (the victim’s) religion.”


Kansas School Principal Suspended After Hijab Controversy

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas high school principal has been suspended indefinitely after a student complained last month that she had been asked to remove her Islamic head scarf, known as a hijab. The Geary County School Board voted Monday night to suspend Junction City High School Principal Melissa Sharp with pay. On October 21, a student said she was told by a hall monitor to remove the hijab, prompting a protest the next day by several students. Sharp sent an email to parents a few days later saying the incident never happened. The board said in a statement that Sharp's suspension comes after an investigation into the incident.


Wichita Police Say 80-Year-Old Man Killed in Hit-and-Run

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say an 80-year-old man died after being hit by a vehicle that fled the scene. Police say James Kaminsky died Tuesday evening. They say Kaminsky was crossing a road to his house when he was hit. He died later at a hospital. The driver of a white pickup truck fled. Police say a person of interest has been identified. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the death.


Authorities: 2 People Die in Gyrocopter Crash in Butler County

POTWIN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two people have died after a type of aircraft called a gyrocopter crashed in south-central Kansas. Butler County dispatchers say the crash happened early Tuesday afternoon, just west of the Butler County town of Potwin. The names of the victims weren't immediately released.


Two Killed as Truck Crashes into Combine in Southeast Kansas

ERIE, Kan. (AP) — Two people died when their pickup truck collided with a combine in southeast Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol says the accident happened Monday evening on a bridge over Canville Creek northwest of Erie. The patrol says a vehicle driven by 67-year-old Michael Drake and 63-year-old Marilyn Drake, of Buffalo, collided with the header of the combine. The Drakes died at the scene. The driver of the combine was not injured.


Wichita Police: Suicides Increase More than 70%

WICHITA (AP) — Wichita police say suicides in the city are up 70% this year, and stress from the coronavirus outbreak is likely a major factor. Police said Monday the city had 76 suicides as of Friday, an increase from 44 at the same time last year and and 59 in all of 2019. There have been 367 suicide attempts so far this year. Detective James Hook, the department’s mental health liaison, speculated that stresses related to the coronavirus - such as job loss, social events being canceled and stay-at-home orders - are primary factors in the increase. 

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 (En Español: 888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.


Evergy Proposing Extra Charges for Solar Panel Users

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Evergy power company is proposing charging customers with solar panels about $25 a month, even if their homes use almost no electricity from the power grid. And if that plan is rejected, Evergy wants to charge all customers a minimum of $35 a month, even if they don't use solar power. For most customers, the charge would simply count against their energy consumption. But poorer households that don't use much electricity would pay more. Evergy says it needs to recover the cost of having electricity on demand for solar-equipped homes. State regulators will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed rates at 6 pm Thursday.


Wichita Police: Suspect Arrested in Fatal Shooting Near Youth Football Game

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Wichita police and the U.S. Marshals Service have arrested a suspect in the shooting death last month of a former Pittsburg State University basketball player outside a sports stadium where a youth football game was being played. Twenty-three-year-old Maurice Hall of Garland, Texas, was arrested Tuesday morning during a vehicle stop, Wichita police officer Kevin Wheeler said in a news release. Hall was booked on first-degree murder and other charges, The Wichita Eagle reported. Police said the October 21 shooting death of 31-year-old Marquell Nolen stemmed from an ongoing feud between Nolen and Hall.


Man Who Killed Topeka Toddler in 1995 Granted Parole

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man who beat a Topeka toddler to death in 1995 has been granted parole. The Kansas parole board determined that 46-year-old Glenn Allen Heath Jr. will be released on or after December 1 if an approved plan is in place. The parole board had turned down Heath's three previous requests for parole. Heath was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in the October 1995 beating death of 2-year-old Cain Baker, his then-fiancee's stepson. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Heath's supporters say he has no prison disciplinary violations, has completed five prison programs, has a strong support system and a job offer.


Investigation Underway After Topeka Men Allegedly Shoot Teens in Possible Dispute over Campaign Signs

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Topeka police are still sorting through information from witnesses about what happened Saturday night when two men apparently fired a handgun and rifle at a group of five teenagers, possibly in a confrontation over Donald Trump campaign yard signs.  Three of the juveniles suffered gunshot wounds. None was considered to be life-threatening.  Incident reports filed by Topeka Police identify the men as 39-year-old Robert Sinner and 34-year-old Justin Sinner.  The names of five juveniles, ranging in age from 15 to 17, are redacted in the report. The officer filed separate reports reflecting conflicting allegations following the Saturday night shooting.  One report lists the Sinners as victims of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. The other report lists three of the teens as victims of aggravated battery.  Early reports from police indicated one of the men shot three of the kids because he believed they were stealing his Trump yard signs.  A police spokeswoman wouldn’t say Monday what role, if any, the Trump signs may have played.


Midwest Economy Looking Up; Survey Hits Highest Level in 16 Years

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The overall economic index of a monthly survey of Midwest business leaders hit a 16-year high for October, but the manufacturing sector of the economy remains stunted from the coronavirus outbreak. The overall measure of the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index improved to 70.2 in October from September’s already strong 65.1.  Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey and says that even with the high index level, manufacturing output remains below levels seen before the pandemic. The monthly survey covers Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.


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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