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Headlines for Wednesday, September 9, 2020


UPDATE: Law Enforcement Shoots, Injures Man in Junction City

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is investigating after law enforcement authorities shot and injured a man in Junction City. KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood says the shooting took place at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday. Both the Geary County Sheriff’s Department and Junction City police were at the scene of the shooting, and it is was not immediately clear who fired. Underwood said no officers were hurt. The injured man was taken to a Topeka hospital. His condition is unknown. No further details were immediately available. The KBI said it planned to release more information later Wednesday.

(–Earlier Reporting–)

Deputy-Involved Shooting in Geary County; Few Details Released So Far

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has been called on to investigate a shooting involving a Geary County Sheriff's deputy.  In a news release issued today (WED), the sheriff's department said the shooting took place in Junction City but the release does not say when the shooting happened, whether anyone was injured or killed, which deputy was involved or any other details of the shooting. A message left with the sheriff's office seeking clarification and more information was not immediately returned.


Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran Announces Retirement

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran has revealed he'll retire at the end of the year. The Capital-Journal reports that Cochran's retirement, effective January 1, was announced Tuesday at a Topeka City Council meeting. Cochran, who turns 56 in November, has been a Topeka police officer since 1987. He was appointed by city manager Brent Trout as interim police chief in November 2017, then as police chief in January 2018. Cochran says he and his wife recently became grandparents and that, "It's time to be a grandpa." City officials on Tuesday praised Cochran's efforts to defuse tensions and reach out to the community during a tumultuous time for police departments nationwide.


Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis Retiring After 53 Years

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Education Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis is retiring after a 53-year-career with the department. The agency announced Tuesday that Dennis will retire effective September 30. He joined the education department in 1967, was named deputy commissioner in 1976 and has been interim commissioner of education four times since July 1995. As deputy commissioner of fiscal and administrative services, Dennis supervises the distribution of about $5 billion in state and federal funds to schools. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly praised Dennis as a “relentless advocate” for Kansas schools. Craig Neuenswander, who is director of school finance, will take over Dennis’s position.


Kansas Reports Over 47,000 COVID-19 Cases, 495 Deaths Since Start of Pandemic

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Kansas health officials say the state has recorded more than 47,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  The Department of Health and Environment reported today (WED) that there are now 47,410 cases, including 495 deaths. Coronavirus cases have been reported in every Kansas county.  A new metric was added today (WED) to the state's statistics available at the KDHE's coronavirus webpage.  The tables and graphs there now include a comprehensive count of so-called COVID clusters in the state, detailing where these clusters exist and the number of people who have tested positive for the disease. Currently, the KDHE is monitoring 177 clusters, accounting for 5,099 cases and 63 deaths. The largest currently active clusters are associated with correctional facilities, food processing and meatpacking plants, and (as a general group) long-term care facilities. Updates are released on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


Meatpacking Plants Have Highest Number of Active COVID Cases

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — New data released by Kansas health officials shows meatpacking plants continue to report the most active clusters of COVID-19 cases. State health officials for the first time released data on Wednesday that identified specific active clusters throughout the state. Gov. Laura Kelly has said the information would help the public be better informed about where the virus is spreading. Leaders of several large business organizations had urged the governor not to release the data, saying it could hurt businesses trying to recover from the pandemic. Seven active clusters were identified at meatpacking plants, with 2,159 cases leading to 76 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.


Pause in AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Affects Testing in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — A worldwide coronavirus vaccine trial that included two Kansas City-area hospitals as test sites has been paused.  KSHB TV reports The AstraZeneca trial, which was set to include the University of Kansas and Children's Mercy as sites, is on a "temporary hold" to determine if a side effect that a participant had was related to the vaccine, according to an Associated Press report.  That participant was not affiliated with KUMC or Children's Mercy's trial sites.  A spokesperson with KUMC confirmed to 41 Action News the stall in the trial's progress.  Oxford University developed the vaccine in the AstraZeneca trial.  Sites throughout the U.S. were expected to conduct trials with roughly 1,500 participants each, for a total of 30,000 nationwide. More than 60 locations are listed in detailed information about the trial on a clinical trials website.


KBI: Reward Offered in Murder Investigation of Independence Man

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Kan. (KPR) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Independence Police Department have announced that a Governor’s Reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance and suspected murder of 37-year-old Detreck Foster, of Independence.   Governor Laura Kelly recently signed an executive order offering the $5,000 reward.  Detreck Foster was reported missing on May 12. He was last seen around April 12 in Independence. KBI agents and detectives from the Independence Police Department are conducting the case as a homicide based upon findings during the investigation into Foster’s disappearance.  Foster was a black male, 5' 9" tall, who weighed approximately 190 lbs. He had black hair and brown eyes.  Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or the Independence Police Department (620) 332-1700.  Tips can also be submitted online.  Individuals with information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for Detreck Foster’s disappearance or murder are eligible for the $5,000 reward.


Kansas Prosecutors: Criminal Cases Risk Being Dismissed

OLATHE, KS (KCTV) - Accused criminals could soon get a free pass if Kansas lawmakers don’t act to extend the governor’s coronavirus-related State of Emergency Declaration.  As KCTV reports, the right to a speedy trial is what’s at the heart of the issue.  The doors of the Johnson County Courthouse are cluttered with notices about all kinds of restrictions due to COVID-19.  That’s made it hard to keep up with cases.  “Everybody wants justice to be done in a timely manner,” said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.  He said getting that done with all the health restrictions in place requires re-defining what’s speedy.  “Our ability to do in-person hearings has been pretty much shut down,” said Howe.  Johnson County has a virtual system for hearings but a jury trial is another story. Kansas Courts are still working out the logistics for that.  “The biggest challenge is bringing in hundreds of jurors to do jury selection. No longer are we going to be able to pack the courtroom with 60, 70, 80 jurors,” Howe explained.  Kansas Law defines a speedy trial as 150 days for someone in custody and 180 days, about six months, for someone not in custody.  When Kansas Governor Laura Kelly declared a State of Emergency in March, that set the stage for a pause on the ticking clock for a speedy trial.  The governor’s office said Tuesday that she plans to extend or initiate a new state of emergency declaration.  (Read more.)  


Former KU Chancellor, American League President Gene Budig Dies at Age 81

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Former American League president Gene Budig has died at age 81. The Charleston RiverDogs, which Budig co-owned, announced Budig's death on Tuesday. Budig spent much of his life as an academic leader and headed up several universities, including serving as chancellor of the University of Kansas from 1980 to 1994. That's when Budig was named as American League president, where he served until Major League Baseball eliminated both league president positions after the 1999 season. Budig became part owner of the Class A Charleston team in 2007.  


Famed Basketball Coach Roy Williams Pays Tribute to Budig

UNDATED (AP) — Famed North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams has paid tribute to Gene Budig, the former American League president who also headed three major universities. Budig died Tuesday at 81. Budig was the chancellor at the University of Kansas in 1988 and strongly backed the decision to hire Williams as its next head basketball coach after Larry Brown left for the NBA. Williams had been a longtime assistant coach at North Carolina. Some Kansas backers wanted the school to hire a high-profile coach. The Hall of Fame coach says Budig “was the guy that gave Roy Williams a chance.”


Kansas Gold Star Families Monument to be Unveiled this Month

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — The first monument in Kansas to honor Gold Star families will be unveiled later this month in Olathe.  KSHB TV reports that at least 30 families, whose loved ones have died in service to their country, are expected to attend the ceremony September 25 at Olathe's Veterans Memorial Park.  The tribute – a two-sided monument made of black granite – will be the latest addition to the park, which already features a POW/MIA flagpole, and is part of the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation’s mission to construct Gold Star family memorials in communities throughout the country.  Williams himself will speak at the event, along with members of two area Gold Star families:

● Dale Duncan, of Olathe, whose son was killed in 2011 in Afghanistan.
● Debbie Murchison-Perri, of Overland Park, whose son was killed in 2007 in Iraq.

The ceremony is scheduled to coincide with the weekend observance of Gold Star Family Day on September 27.  The event, which begins at 11 am, is open to the public.  For more information, visit the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation website.


Technology Woes Crop Up as More Kansas Schools Begin Classes

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Technology issues are popping up in some Kansas school districts that opened with mostly online classes. The Olathe district experienced interruptions to service Tuesday morning when nearly 50,000 users with different devices tried to log on to a system that was meant for 30,000 students. After the district added more servers, the disruption was resolved by mid-morning. Governor Laura Kelly announced the state will receive $63 million in federal funds to help those who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic. She has also said she plans to seek renewal of a state COVID-19 emergency declaration, which is set to expire next week.


Three Quarters of Missouri Students Have Option for In-Person Classes

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Nearly three-quarters of public school students in Missouri have the option to attend classes in person this fall. Missouri’s 518 school districts and 36 public charter schools are taking varying approaches as they balance educational needs with the desire to protect students, teachers and staff from the coronavirus. Data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows that 40% of students go to schools meeting onsite but offering virtual learning options. Another 22.5% attend schools that blend onsite and virtual learning, and 11.2% attend in person with no distance learning option. The remaining 26% of students are in schools with virtual only classes.


Car Hits, Kills 7-Year-Old Kansas Girl Walking to School Bus

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a 7-year-old Kansas girl died when she was hit by a car while crossing a street to board her school bus. St. Andrew's Catholic School in Abilene said in a statement that a first-grader at the school was hit by a vehicle Wednesday morning. Dickinson County Sheriff Gareth Hoffman said the bus was stopped with its flashing red lights on when a car driven by a teenager hit the girl, who died at an Abilene hospital. The girl's name has not been released. The investigation is continuing.


Wichita Man Arrested After Child Accidentally Shoots Man

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police arrested a 21-year-old man after a child accidentally shot and killed a man. Capt. Jason Stephens said Christian Enrique Concha was arrested after officers found 18-year-old Jeremy Retana dead from a gunshot wound Tuesday afternoon. Stephens says Concha showed a gun to two children, ages 9 and 10, and left it loaded and unattended while he and a woman who was babysitting the children left the house. Stephens says the 9-year-old picked up the gun and accidentally fired it, hitting Retana in the head. Concha was booked on possible charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child endangerment and domestic violence battery.


Kansas City Police: 2 Separate Deaths Considered Homicides

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City are investigating two unrelated deaths on Labor Day as homicides. The first was reported late Monday afternoon, when officers were called to a home on a medical call. Police say the man was stabbed to death. Nearly two hours later, police were called to an apartment complex for a welfare check on a resident there and found a woman dead inside one of the complex's buildings. Police said she was shot several times. Police have not released the victims' names or any details about possible suspects.


Police: Topeka Man Who Demanded Ride at Gunpoint Killed

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a man who demanded a ride at gunpoint was shot and killed by the man he was threatening. The Capital-Journal reports that the shooting happened early Sunday morning in the parking lot of a west Topeka apartment complex. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the incident began when 29-year-old Albert Meade Jr. approached and demanded a ride from a 19-year-old man and 20-year-old woman who had just parked their car in the lot. Police say when the younger man refused, Meade pulled a gun. Police say the 19-year-old man then pulled his own gun and shot Meade, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. The couple were questioned by police and released.


Several People Shot, Injured at Kansas City Park
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Police are investigating a Sunday night shooting that left several people injured at Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports all the injuries were described as non-life threatening and no arrests have been made. Police say five victims arrived at a nearby hospital while they were enroute to the scene and another victim drove home and called police from their residence.


Kansas City Police: Body Discovered in Pond 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — The Kansas City Police Department is investigating after a body was found in a pond Monday morning.  Police tell FOX4 News the body was found in a pond located at Northwest 64th Street and North Cosby Avenue around 8:30 am.  According to Captain Dave Jackson with the Kansas City Police Department, officers were called to the pond after a passerby saw a body floating face down in the water.  Firefighters, who were also called to the area, retrieved the body.  Investigators have not released the victim’s identity and have not said exactly how the person died.


Car Crashes into 3 Horses in Southwest Kansas, Killing 2 of Them 

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KAKE) - Authorities say two horses were killed and a third was injured when a car crashed into them on a highway in southwest Kansas.  KAKE TV reports that authorities responded around 1:45 am Monday to a vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 50 in Ford County.  According to a post on the county's Fire & EMS Facebook page, initial reports were that a vehicle hit a horse.  Crews arrived on scene and treated the car's occupants for minor injuries. They then discovered that the car actually struck three horses.  Additional information was not provided.


Chiefs' Duvernay-Tardif Set for Harvard Online Classes

MONTREAL (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will spend the next few months studying at one of the world’s most prestigious universities instead of playing football. The Canadian addressed the media Wednesday, speaking about his decision to opt out of the 2020 NFL season after spending the past few months as an orderly at a long-term care facility an hour away from Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Duvernay-Tardif will take online classes at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The 29-year-old McGill University medical school graduate first revealed he would try to take classes in nutrition, biostatistics and epidemiology in an article with Sports Illustrated released Wednesday.


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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