Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop Arrested On DUI Charge
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/KNS) – The Majority Leader in the Kansas Senate, Gene Sullentrop, has been arrested on charges that he was driving under the influence and tried to elude law enforcement officers. Shawnee County authorities booked the Republican lawmaker early today (TUE) on charges of driving under the influence, improperly crossing a divided highway, speeding and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. The Shawnee County Department of Corrections website shows Suellentrop was booked at 3:55 am and charged with four offenses. Suellentrop is one of the state’s top legislative leaders. The conservative Republican from Wichita took over as majority leader this year when he was elected to the post by his fellow senators. He’s served in the Legislature since 2009. A spokesperson for the Senate Republican leadership did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (This is a developing story and will be updated.)
KBI Helps Investigate Suspected Homicide in Osage County
BURLINGAME, Kan. (AP/KPR) – Authorities are investigating the death of an Osage County woman as a homicide. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it’s working with local police and Osage County Sheriff’s deputies in investigating the death of 49-year-old Cristina Pratt, whose body was found Monday morning in her Burlingame home. Police say the were called Sunday night to check on Pratt by a friend who hadn’t been able to reach her. Police received no response when they knocked on her apartment door that night. They went back the next day and found her dead inside. Police have not said how Pratt died, but said she appeared to be victim of foul play.
Tornado, Severe Storms Damage Roofs, Siding, Fences in Johnson County
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) – Severe thunderstorms rolled through the Kansas City area Monday afternoon, spawning at least one tornado that touched down in Johnson County, damaging some homes, tearing down fences and snapping-off tree limbs. Law enforcement officers reported that the tornado touched down Monday (near 199th Street and Switzer Road) in rural southeast Johnson County, south of Overland Park. About 20 homes sustained damage to roofs and siding.
Governor: Kansas Speeding up COVID Shots to Hit May Target
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Governor Laura Kelly says Kansas will give COVID-19 vaccinations faster than planned so that all adults with medical conditions can seek shots next week. She also announced Monday that the state will aim for President Joe Biden’s goal of having inoculations available for all adults by May 1. The governor said the state will launch both the third and the fourth phase of its planned vaccine distribution next week. That’s a week before the expected arrival of 100,000 doses of a single-shot vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson.
Growing Partisan Split Emerges in Vaccinations
FRONT ROYAL, Va. (AP) – There is a growing partisan split when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 42% of Republicans say they probably or definitely will not get the shot, compared with 17% of Democrats. That’s raising alarms among health experts who fear it could undermine efforts to achieve herd immunity and finally move past a pandemic that has left more than 530,000 dead. Those who self-identify as vaccine hesitant cited various factors, including concerns about potential side effects and their belief that the pandemic has been politicized and overblown.
Fewer than 500 New COVID-19 Cases Reported in Kansas Since Friday
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/AP) – Fewer than 500 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Kansas since last Friday. State health officials released the latest coronavirus case numbers Monday, showing there have been 298,218 cases of COVID-19, including 4,835 deaths, since the start of the pandemic. Johnson County continues to report the highest number of cases in Kansas, with 55,287. Another update will be released Wednesday.
Series of Earthquakes Rattles Wichita Area
WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – At least eight earthquakes have shaken Wichita since early Sunday morning. The strongest so far was a 3.9 magnitude that hit Sunday evening. Rick Miller, senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey, says the frequency of earthquakes is concerning, but he says the region shouldn’t experience any quakes stronger than what it’s already seen. Quakes under a magnitude 5.0 don’t generally cause structural damage in well-maintained buildings. State regulators continue to investigate if the recent string of earthquakes in the area is related to oil and gas operations.
Cluster of Earthquakes Strikes Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A cluster of earthquakes with epicenters in Wichita has rattled south-central Kansas. Kansas geologists say the shaking started about 6:30 a.m. Sunday and resumed Monday morning with recorded magnitudes ranging from 2.2 to 3.9. People reported feeling the strongest quakes throughout south-central Kansas, with some reports coming from near Salina and Emporia. The two highest magnitude earthquakes ever recorded in Kansas were a roughly magnitude 5.2 in Manhattan in 1867 and one of around magnitude 5.0 in Sumner County in 2014.
Police Identify Woman Killed While Checking on Injured Driver
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Police in Kansas City, Kansas, have identified the woman who was hit and killed while trying to help the victim of an earlier car crash. Police say 58-year-old Cynthia M. Goulding of Kansas City, Kansas, came upon the wrecked SUV Sunday and stopped to check on its driver. As she was standing next to the SUV, it was struck again by a pickup truck. Goulding was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV was taken to an area hospital. The driver of the pickup was taken into custody.
“Monumental Day:” Indian Country Reacts to Deb Haaland Vote
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – Citizens of tribes across the U.S. are cheering Deb Haaland’s confirmation as the first Native American secretary of a Cabinet agency. On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted 51-40 in favor of the Democrat’s nomination to lead the Interior Department. Many Native Americans have called Haaland’s historic confirmation an answer to their prayers and a long time coming. They say the move positions someone they trust to carry forward their hopes and expectations. The Interior Department has broad oversight of tribal affairs and energy development. Kansas is home to four, federally-recognized Indian tribes.
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