Chancellor: KU Will Not Enforce Mask Mandate on Campus
LAWRENCE, Kan. (LJW / KPR) – Kansas will not require face masks on campus, at least for now. KU Chancellor Douglas Girod released a video message Wednesday saying that he has not seen any guidance from state health officials that would cause the university to mandate masks on campus. But KU officials are strongly recommending that everyone on campus wear masks indoors. Girod said the university is meeting regularly with its medical advisory team and that the official guidelines could change if COVID delta variant cases continue to surge in the state. Kansas State University is taking a different approach. The Lawrence Journal World reports that K-State, the second largest university in Kansas, has announced an indoor mask requirement for its Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe campuses.
Kansas Schools Updating Guidance on COVID Testing and Quarantines
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Kansas public schools start fall classes later this month amid a surge in COVID cases fueled by the delta variant. State health officials have updated guidance on testing and quarantines for schools. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is urging districts to adopt rapid-testing plans aimed at keeping more students learning in person, even during COVID outbreaks. Under one proposed strategy, students or teachers identified as close contacts of a COVID patient could be tested daily and allowed to remain in school if they test negative and don’t show any symptoms of the illness. People under quarantine could return to in-person school if they test negative on day six. Fully vaccinated people would not have to quarantine at all after an exposure as long as they remain without symptoms. Kansas has about $87 million in federal aid for equipment, testing and medical staff available for K-12 schools.
Delta Variant Prompts More Kansas Schools to Impose New Mask Rules
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A growing number of Kansas public school districts are imposing mask mandates because of the more contagious COVID-19 delta variant. As of Tuesday, at least nine local districts with more than 92,000 students had imposed a mask requirement for at least students under 12, who can’t get vaccinated. Most are requiring masks for everyone indoors. The nine districts have more than 19% of the state’s 476,000 students. Kansas has seen new COVID-19 cases increase over the past six weeks, and state data shows that confirmed delta variant cases have doubled or nearly doubled every two weeks. Governor Laura Kelly is recommending that K-12 schools require everyone to wear masks indoors.
Missouri Health Leaders Warn of COVID-19 Increase in Children
UNDATED (AP) – Health leaders in St. Louis and Springfield are warning that hospitals in the region are admitting more young patients with COVID-19. Spring Schmidt, deputy director of the St. Louis County health department, said Wednesday about one in five current COVID-19 patients are people under the age of 19, including those under 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. On Tuesday, Dr. Clay Dunagan, of the St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force, said the number of children with COVID-19 in the task force’s hospitals increased from 13 children last week to 20 this week. Springfield-Greene County health officials said Wednesday the region also is seeing more children hospitalized with COVID-19.
DCF Announces Plan to Help Kansans Find Child Care
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – A new state program will provide Kansas job seekers with money for childcare. The project is being tested in 62 central and western Kansas counties. The program has been launched with $500,000 in federal funding to provide childcare so that parents are able to work outside the home. Andy West, of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, says the goal is to help parents find employment without having to worry about childcare costs. “It’s tough for a young person, or anyone for that matter, first starting a job to be able to afford to pay for daycare” West said. “Sometimes having to budget that makes it real tough on families.” People can apply online through DCF or Kansas workforce centers. If the program is a success, it could be expanded to more counties. More information is available at KansasWorks.com.
CDC Issues New Eviction Ban for Most of U.S. Through October 3, 2021
WASHINGTON (AP/KPR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new moratorium on evictions that would last until October 3. The Biden administration is trying to quell intensifying criticism that it was allowing vulnerable renters to lose their homes during a pandemic. The new moratorium could help keep millions in their homes as the coronavirus delta variant has spread and states have been slow to release federal rental aid. It would temporarily halt evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmissions and would cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives. The eviction reprieve is designed to give tenants more time to pay back rent to landlords. Many legal scholars say the CDC has exceeded its statutory authority in implementing the eviction moratorium and the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled the move could be unconstitutional. Nonetheless, the Biden administration says the legal wrangling over the issue will take time and that could more tenants to bring their rent payments up to date.
Thousands of Kansas tenants are still in danger of losing their homes. As many as 24,000 Kansas renters who are behind on their rent could be forced to find a new place to live once the new eviction moratorium expires. Financial assistance is available to help Kansas tenants and landlords avoid the eviction process.
Police: Man Threw Girlfriend’s Caged Poodle into Missouri River Near Leavenworth
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — Police say a Kansas man threw his girlfriend’s caged miniature poodle in a river. The Leavenworth Times reports witnesses rescued the dog Monday. Police say the 24-year-old man tossed the kenneled dog into the Missouri River at Riverfront Park in Leavenworth, Kansas. Police arrested the man for animal cruelty. A Leavenworth police spokesman says the man took his girlfriend’s three dogs after a fight. Her Chihuahua was spotted running loose at another park. Her brindle pug terrier was with her boyfriend’s family.
State Lawmaker Accused of Kicking Boy: Stress Caused ‘Mania’
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas legislator accused of kicking a high school student in the testicles has surrendered his state substitute teacher’s license. Republican state Representative Mark Samsel of Wellsville also said Wednesday that extreme stress caused what he called an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features. Samsel disclosed in a Facebook post that he has seen mental health professionals over the past three months and surrendered his substitute teacher’s license. He faces three misdemeanor criminal charges of battery following what the local prosecutor described as “rude, insulting or angry” interactions with two Wellsville High School students during an April 28 art class. His next court hearing is August 16.
Kansas Woman Sentenced to Prison for 2019 Killing of Boyfriend
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 47-year-old Kansas woman has been sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for the 2019 killing of her boyfriend at an underground gambling operation she ran in Wichita. Stacey Jeanie Peters, of Haysville, was sentenced Wednesday in Sedgwick County District Court to 117 months in prison. Peters pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder and commercial gambling. Prosecutors say officers found the body of 41-year-old Robert Duvaul inside a building in south Wichita on November 19, 2019, after Peters called 911 to report she had shot an intruder. Police quickly determined Duvaul had been dead for some time before Peters called. Police also discovered an illegal gambling hall inside the building that Peters was operating.
Tyson Foods to Require COVID Vaccinations for All Employees
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KNS) – Tyson Foods has announced that it will require all employees at its Kansas meatpacking plants to get COVID-19 vaccinations by November 1st. Tyson is now the largest U.S. food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees. The mandate includes workers at Tyson plants in Garden City, Emporia, Hutchinson and Kansas City. The company will also offer workers a $200 incentive to get the shot. Tyson CEO Donnie King says the decision is in response to the more contagious variants of the virus that are overwhelming some hospitals in the state. But the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents many of the workers, says a policy like this should be negotiated directly with workers to make sure that it’s implemented fairly. UFCW president Marc Perrone says the union encourages its members to get vaccinated, but wants employers to provide paid time off so workers can get their shot and deal with any potential side effects. Perrone says the union will meet with Tyson in the coming weeks to work toward an agreement on the new policy.
Smoke from Western Wildfires Affecting Kansas Air Quality
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – Smoke from wildfires in the Western United States is impacting air quality in Kansas. The Air Quality Index for Northeast Kansas on Monday was ranging between 130-150 (0-500 scale), similar to Sunday. Winds from the south continue to blow the smoke from the area. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, atmospheric winds are pushing smoke across the Midwest. While most is staying in the upper atmosphere, some is making it to the surface. KDHE says smoke can cause health problems in even healthy individuals, however, those with breathing issues, heart and lung diseases, the elderly, and children are at most risk. Common problems include burning eyes, runny nose, and coughing. KDHE recommends limiting strenuous outdoor exercise, drink lots of water and contact your doctor should you experience chest pains, tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue. For those with heart or respiratory issues, KDHE recommends staying indoors.
To check on regional air quality and access maps of fire and smoke hazards, visit the AirNow.gov website, which is maintained with hourly data from the Environmental Protection Agency and its partners.
Kansas Republicans Announce More Public Meetings on Redistricting
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Republican lawmakers in the Kansas Statehouse have announced that they will hold more redistricting meetings this fall, in addition to a first round of 14 meetings set for next week (August 9). The original meeting schedule drew strong criticism from Democrats who said Republicans were cramming all of the redistricting town halls into one week and scheduling the meetings during the workday. They said that schedule limited opportunities for the public to be heard on the issue. Democrats said they have had little input in the process. In the previous redistricting cycle, meetings were held over the span of four months. After Republicans initially complained that Democrats were politicizing the process, Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman said the first slate of meetings was a “first step.” Redistricting is the process where lawmakers draw the districts for offices like state legislative seats and Congress.
Statue of Native American Woman Stolen from Kansas City Park
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A statue of a Native American woman has been stolen from a Kansas City park. The Kansas City Star on Wednesday reported the missing statue. A Kansas City parks spokeswoman told the newspaper that officials are searching for more details about the $80,000 statue’s disappearance. The statue was one of several at the François Chouteau and Native American Heritage Fountain. The site honors American Indians and French trader François Chouteau for their roles in founding Kansas City.
Kansas City Woman Bought $1 Million Lottery Ticket After Flight Was Canceled
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Having just had her flight canceled, a Missouri woman’s luck quickly changed when she won $1 million from a Florida Lottery scratch-off ticket. Lottery officials say 51-year-old Angela Caravella of Kansas City, Missouri, claimed a top prize last month from The Fastest Road to $1,000,000 scratch-off game. She chose to receive her winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $790,000. After her flight was canceled, Caravella purchased her winning ticket from a Publix supermarket in Brandon, just east of Tampa. She says she bought it to pass the time. The store will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the winning ticket.
K-State Athletic Director Replaces Texas AD on Football Playoff Committee
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Kansas State University athletic director Gene Taylor has been added to the College Football Playoff selection committee, replacing Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte. The CFP’s announcement comes less than a week after Texas and Oklahoma announced they would be leaving the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025. The 13-member selection committee is comprised of mostly sitting athletic directors along with former players and coaches. Each Power Five Conferences is represented by an active athletic director. With Texas in the process of leaving the conference, the Big 12 nominated Taylor to replace Del Conte.
AP Sources: Pac-12, Big 12 Commissioners Consider Alliances
The commissioners of the Pac-12 and Big 12 are discussing how the two conferences might benefit from working together or maybe even merging. Two people with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press about the talks between Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and George Kliavkoff from the Pac-12. The Big 12 is trying to rebound after learning Texas and Oklahoma plan to leave for the Southeastern Conference in 2025. The Big 12 has to start looking at how to move forward without their flagship programs immediately. The Pac-12 has not indicated it is in a rush to add members.
These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays and by 1 pm on weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!
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