Pandemic Aid Available for Former Foster Children
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – A new federal law means more young adults who were once in foster care can get financial help for rent, food and more. Young adults who were taken from their homes at age 14 or later and put into custody of the state, tribal authorities or juvenile corrections can contact the Department for Children and Families for details. The federal law temporarily expands assistance so more people will be eligible to get help with housing, child care, college tuition, and other daily needs. And opportunities for support that are normally open only to people under the age of 21 are now open to people under the age of 27.
Mother, Young Children Die in Boating Accident in Kansas
BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP/KPR) — A mother and two young children died over the weekend in a boating accident that also hospitalized the father. Kansas game wardens say the accident happened on the Neosho River in the area of the Burlington City Dam Saturday evening. The Department of Wildlife and Parks says the family of two adults and two children were boating on the river when their vessel stalled in rapid, aerated water. The operator lost control of the boat and everyone was thrown overboard. Rescue crews saved a man from Shawnee and took him to Burlington Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. One woman, identified as Maribel Moran, and the couple’s 3-year-old and 5-year-old children, were found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the hospital.
This boating accident comes on the heels of another water accident last week in which a man’s body was pulled from Tuttle Creek Lake. The victim was identified Friday as 24-year-old Okheem Riley, a soldier from nearby Fort Riley. While authorities continue to investigate the man’s death, foul play is not suspected.
Kansas City Man Dies After Canoe Tips in Buffalo River
UNDATED – A Kansas City man has died after being rescued from the Buffalo National River in Arkansas Saturday afternoon. Officials say the unidentified 61-year-old Kansas City man was transported by ambulance to a hospital and later pronounced dead. KTLO reports that the incident happened as the man was in a canoe on the river. Witnesses say the canoe tipped over.
Kansas Seeing More Mountain Lions, Black Bears, Elk
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Some wildlife species that were previously absent or rare in Kansas are appearing more often now, including a mountain lion that was caught on video last month roaming through an alley in Wichita. The mountain lion sighting continues a trend in recent decades that has brought an increased presence of wildlife to Kansas, including elk, black bears, river otters and armadillos. Matt Peek is an Emporia-based wildlife research biologist for the Department of Wildlife and Parks. He says some animal populations that been reduced significantly by hunting have also gone from “very rare to very abundant” in Kansas. Those animals include wild turkey, Canada goose and deer populations. (Read more.)
Kansas Board of Education Mulls Computer Science Credits for Graduation
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – The Kansas Board of Education will consider a proposal this week to let computer science classes count toward graduation. The board meets Tuesday to vote on the plan. It would allow high school students to count computer science as one of four required math credits or one of three required science credits. Ryan Weber, of the K-C Tech Council, says computer classes give students a leg up on the job market. “Understanding how those systems work, how code teaches a computer to run an application, are fundamental future employability skills,” he said. Kansas is one of only two states that does not count computer science as a graduation credit.
Half of Kansas Adults Now Vaccinated
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Half of all adults in Kansas are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Though half of adults in Kansas are now fully vaccinated, that still leaves many thousands who aren’t. And when you count kids, less than 40% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. So far, the shots are only available for people ages 12 and up. They’re free, even without health insurance. Covid has killed about 600,000 people across the U.S., including 5,000 in Kansas.
Kansas Orders Less than 1% of COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas has ordered less than 1% of its COVID-19 vaccine allocation from the federal government for this week. The state ordered fewer doses because it still has more than a half-million unused doses. Health officials say they ordered only about a thousand doses of their federal allocation of 147,000 vaccines. Officials say nearly 43% of the state’s 2.9 million residents have received at least one vaccine shot.
Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Passes 314,500; Death Toll Rises to 5,084
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Friday that there have been 314,855 COVID-19 cases in Kansas, including 5,084 virus-related deaths, since the pandemic began. That’s an increase of 332 cases and four new deaths since Wednesday. Another update is expected today (MON).
Could Be One of the Driest Seasons Ever Along Missouri River
NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) – Two years after Missouri River flooding ravaged parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa, officials are now dealing with what’s shaping up to be one of the river’s driest years. The Norfolk, Nebraska, Daily News reports that significantly less water is expected to flow into the river this year because conditions remain so dry and snowpack is below normal levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says its forecast from last month hasn’t changed. The Corps estimates that 17.9 million acre feet of water will flow into the river this year. That is only about 69% of the average, which would make this year the 22nd driest in the upper basin since 1898.
42-Year-Old Inmate Dies in Lasing Correction Facility
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – An inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility has died. Corrections officials say 42-year-old William Smith died late Friday. An autopsy is planned but the cause of death is not believed to be COVID-19 related. The Junction City Post reports that Smith was serving a 37-month sentence for drug and theft-related crimes in Sedgwick County as well as other offenses.
State Panel Recommends Kansas Prosecutor be Disbarred
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A state board has unanimously recommended that the Kansas Supreme Court disbar a prosecutor who’s accused of misleading juries in two separate cases, actions that caused those cases to be overturned by higher courts. The Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys argued that Jacqie Spradling embraced a “win at all costs” attitude in two cases: a 2012 double homicide case and a 2016 rape and sodomy case. Spradling is accused of falsely leading a jury to believe that Dana Chandler in Shawnee County had violated a protection order obtained by her ex-husband, who was killed along with his fiance. No abuse order was ever found to have existed. Similar accusations were made against Spradling in the case of Jacob Ewing, a Jackson County man convicted in a rape and sodomy case. In both cases, appeals courts tossed out the convictions. The report argued that Spradling’s actions undermine confidence in the judicial system and resulted in significant financial costs. Spradling, who works as a prosecutor in Bourbon and Allen counties, admitted in a December hearing that she erred in handling the cases, although her legal team has said the mistakes don’t rise to the level of misconduct. (Read more.)
Chick-fil-A Sauce Sparks Attack at Kansas Grocery Store
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas man has been arrested for attacking a grocery store worker, apparently over Chick-fil-A sauce. Wichita police arrested 37-year-old James Adam Hirsh for aggravated assault. A police spokesman says the altercation was over the sale of Chick-fil-A sauce at Dillons. Police say Hirsh was asked to calm down or leave the store but then started throwing punches at an employee. The Wichita Eagle reports Chick-fil-A sauce has been limited because of shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our weekday headlines are generally posted by 10 am and updated throughout the day. Our weekend news summaries are generally posted by 1 pm. Feel free to browse our ad-free news summary. And when you’re done, feel free to make a pledge to KPR. Thanks for your support.