Indian Country Keeps Close Eye on Deb Haaland Confirmation Hearing
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — For Native Americans, Deb Haaland is more than an elected official on track to become the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior Department. She is a sister, an auntie and a fierce pueblo woman whose political stances have been molded by her upbringing. Haaland’s confirmation hearing today (TUE) will be closely watched in Indian Country with virtual parties amid a pandemic. Tribes and tribal organizations have for weeks been urging people to write to and call U.S. senators who will decide if she lands the job. Haaland is in her second term representing New Mexico in Congress.
Kansas Bill Creating Agency to Track Foster Care System Advances
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House committee has approved a bill to create an independent agency to oversee the state’s foster care system. The House Children and Seniors Committee on Monday advanced the bill creating the Office of the Child Advocate. The agency would investigate complaints and track child welfare agencies, primarily the state Department for Children and Families, which oversees the foster care system. The move came after the bill’s chief proponent agreed to have the proposed agency report to the Republican-led Legislature instead of an executive branch agency under Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The bill now goes to the full House for a vote.
Kansas Lawmakers Tackle the Cost of Unemployment Fraud
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers hope that a legislative audit to be released later this week will provide an estimate of how much the state has paid out in fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature remained frustrated Monday with the lack of an estimate from the state Department of Labor for the potential cost of bogus unemployment claims. Their focus on potential fraud has intensified in recent weeks. The Legislature’s nonpartisan auditing division plans on Wednesday to release a reports on problems at the department. Republican Representative Kristey Williams of Augusta said lawmakers expect to get “a good baseline” in assessing fraud.
Kansas Man Linked to Proud Boys Arrested in Capitol Riot
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A man linked to the Kansas City metro chapter of the Proud Boys is charged with participating in the riots at the U.S. Capitol last month. FBI agents arrested Ryan Ashlock, of Gardner, Kansas, Monday morning without incident. Federal authorities allege in an affidavit the he was with several members of the Proud Boys who are already charged in the attack. The affidavit says Ashlock conspired with other Proud Boys members and helped knock down metal barricades between police officers and protesters outside the Capitol. The FBI says Ashlock separated from the group when he was hit with pepper spray and it was unclear if he went inside the Capitol.
Geary County Authorities Seek Suspect in Apparent Road Rage Shooting on I-70
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Kansas are seeking a man suspected of shooting a woman in a road rage incident on Interstate 70 south of Manhattan. The Geary County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that deputies were called to the stretch of I-70 around 11:30 am Sunday for a road rage incident and arrived to find a woman inside a vehicle suffering from a single gunshot wound. The woman was taken to a Manhattan hospital for the injury, which was not believed to be life-threatening. The sheriff’s office said it was searching for a male suspect believed to be in his 20s or 30s, but no arrest had been reported by this (MON) morning.
Firefighters: Woman Found Critically Injured in Topeka Fire
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a woman is fighting for her life after being found critically injured in a fire that consumed an abandoned commercial building in Topeka. The Topeka fire Department says in a news release that crews were called around 8:30 pm Sunday to a fire in a single-story masonry commercial building that firefighters believed to be vacant. During a search of the building, firefighters found an unresponsive woman and rushed her to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Her name has not been released. An investigation showed the blaze was likely started by a “warming fire.”
Kansas Governor Urges FERC to Investigate Weather-Related Failures
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate systemic failures during this month’s weather emergency and to protect Kansans from demand-related price surges for natural gas and electricity. A letter on Friday was signed by Kelly and members of the Kansas Corporation Commission. Kansas was among many states hit with snow, ice and bitter cold over the past two weeks. Kelly and the commission called on the FERC to examine the circumstances that led to reduced supply of natural gas. Kelly will seek aid from the Biden administration and will encourage Congress to pass a stimulus package to provide relief for Kansas communities.
Meatpacking Workers in Kansas Still Wait for Vaccines
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Meatpacking plants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, yet thousands of workers at southwestern Kansas meat plants are still waiting to hear when they’ll be vaccinated. The Kansas News Service reported that the wait is frustrating for workers who have watched college faculty, first responders and postal workers get their vaccines, and as Kansas launched a program to get a first dose into the arms of every school worker by early April. Meatpacking plants have been the state’s third-largest source of COVID-19 outbreaks, topped only by long-term care facilities and correctional centers.
Kansas Records Nearly 292,000 COVID-19 Cases, Including 4,643 Deaths, Since Start of Pandemic
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports there have been 291,715 cases of COVID-19, including 4,643 deaths, since the start of the pandemic. Johnson and Sedgwick counties continue to have the most recorded cases, with more than 53,000 each. KDHE will provide its next update Wednesday.
Injections Wells Closed or Reduced After Oklahoma Earthquake
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The injection of wastewater into underground wells by oil and gas producers has been stopped or reduced in the area where a magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Friday directed disposal wells within three miles of the quake’s epicenter to stop operations and those from three to 10 miles of the epicenter to reduce volume by at least 50%. There were no injuries or damage reported from the quake that occurred Friday morning near Manchester along the Oklahoma-Kansas state line. The commission took similar action earlier this month after a series of earthquakes about 55 miles southeast of Friday’s quake.
Arrest Made in Connection with Body Found in Duffel Bag in Northwest Missouri
FAUCETT, Mo. (AP) — One suspect has been arrested and police are searching for a second person in connection with the death of a woman whose remains were found inside a duffel bag in northwestern Missouri. The Buchanan County Sheriff’s office said Sunday that 22-year-old Taylor Stoughton has been charged with second-degree murder in the February 2020 death of 21-year-old Ariel Starcher. The sheriff’s department is searching for Marcus Brooks in connection with Starcher’s death. A Missouri Transportation Department worker found the bag with Starcher’s body inside it on February 18, 2020 alongside the road, which is about 45 miles north of Kansas City.
Kansas City Man Charged in Deaths of Woman and Her Son
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, man is facing charges in the deaths of a woman and her son. The Kansas City Star reports that 32-year-old Dmarius Bozeman is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting deaths of 35-year-old Khasheme Strother and her 19-year-old son, Raymond Hill. Both were killed Wednesday. The shootings happened at a town home. A juvenile witness told police that Bozeman and Strother were involved in an altercation when they heard gunshots. Bozeman was also shot but authorities said his injuries were not considered life-threatening. The killings marked the 18th and 19th homicides in Kansas City this year.
Man Gets Probation for Shooting Woman He Found in His Home
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man who shot a woman after finding several people inside a home he was trying to sell has been sentenced to probation. Christopher Meece was sentenced recently to two years of probation and ordered to pay $44,000 restitution in connection with the October 2019 shooting. Meece pleaded guilty to several misdemeanors after prosecutors dismissed several felony aggravated battery charges. Meece had reported four burglaries at the home in the days before the shooting. When he went to check on the home on October 29, 2019, Meece told police he saw two men and one woman running before he fired a shot and struck the woman.
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.