FBI: Toxic Substance Mailed to County Officials in Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal terrorism task force is investigating after mail laced with a dangerous toxin was sent to a Sedgwick County government office. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Sedgwick County Finance Department in the county courthouse received the certified letter on Monday. Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz says the three-page letter was coated in a white powder. He says two employees who handled the letter experienced coughing and skin irritation and that investigators have determined the substance is a chemical used in dye making. It is highly toxic and potentially fatal if enough is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin.
Family Members Find 2nd Victim Dead Following Shooting
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Police in Kansas City say a shooting over the weekend that killed a teenage girl also claimed the life of a teenage boy, whose body was found the following day. Officers found the teenage girl dead from gunshot wounds soon after the shooting late Saturday. Initially, police believed she was the only victim. On Sunday, the teenage boy’s body was found behind a vacant house. They were identified Monday as Dominique Nelson and Dominik Simmons. Both victims were 15 years old.
Emporia Man Charged with Murder Following Fatal Crash
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) – A 23-year-old Emporia man is charged with first-degree murder after a fatal crash that happened as the suspect was fleeing from police. During his first court appearance Monday, Devawn Mitchell declined a court-appointed attorney. He’s facing more than 25 charges resulting from last week’s incident in Emporia. Police say they tracked Mitchell in Emporia but called off two pursuits because he was speeding and running stop lights. Mitchell eventually hit a pickup truck, killing 64-year-old Steven Henry. Mitchell is being held on $1 million bond.
Plan Approved for Clearing COVID-19 Backlog in Kansas Courts
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas lawmakers have approved a measure that would give judges and prosecutors a little more than two years to clear a backlog of criminal cases that built up during the coronavirus pandemic. The Kansas House voted 114-7 to pass a bill that would suspend legal deadlines for criminal cases until May 1, 2023. Those deadlines are meant to protect a defendant’s right to a speedy trial. The bill, already approved by the Kansas Senate, is now headed to Governor Laura Kelly.
Ex-Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Announces U.S. Senate Bid
O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) – Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is hoping to make a political comeback, running for the U.S. Senate. Greitens is a former Navy SEAL who rose quickly to become Missouri’s governor before scandal forced him out of office just a year and a half into the job. Greitens announced Monday that he’ll seek the GOP nomination in 2022, hoping to capture the Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Roy Blunt. Greitens was seen by some as a potential future presidential candidate until a sex scandal led to his resignation as governor. Greitens was a political novice when he emerged in 2016, defeating political veterans to win the Republican primary and the general election. But a year into his term he ran into legal trouble stemming from an extramarital affair.
Kansas COVID-19 Case Count Tops 300,000 Since Start of Pandemic
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/AP) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported Monday that there have been 300,125 cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 4,850 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That’s an increase of 615 cases and eight deaths since Friday. Johnson County continues to report the highest number of cases, with more than 55,600. Another update will be released Wednesday.
Staff Member at Winfield Correctional Facility Dies of COVID-19
WINFIELD, Kan. (KNS) – A staff member at the Winfield Correctional Facility has died from COVID-19. David Warner died last Thursday from complications of COVID-19. Warner was 54. He’d worked for the Kansas Department of Corrections for 8 years. He is the first staff member at the Winfield Correctional Facility to die from COVID-19, but the sixth staff member in the department of corrections. There have been 22 deaths and more than seven thousand cases in total at Kansas correctional facilities. A memorial service for Warner will be held Wednesday at 6:30 pm at the West Avenue Church of God in Arkansas City.
Protesters Decry Missouri Bill Against Highway Protests
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Racial justice advocates and others have decried a Missouri bill to crack down on protests that block roads. Critics rallied against the measure Monday at the Capitol before a House committee considered the bill. The legislation would make repeatedly blocking traffic a felony. Republican Sen. Bill Eigel says he thought of the idea after protesters angered by the death of George Floyd blocked traffic on Interstate 70 in the St. Louis area last summer. He says blocking highways puts protesters and drivers in danger. But protest leaders say the bill is an effort to stop racial justice demonstrations.
3 Injured in Kansas City, Kansas, Fire
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Officials say three people – including a firefighter – were injured in a two-alarm fire that destroyed an apartment building in Kansas City, Kansas. The fire broke out Sunday morning in a two-story home that had been converted into four apartments on North 14th Street. When firefighters arrived, flames were visible coming from the home, and two people jumped from the second story to escape the fire. Both were taken to a hospital with minor burns and are expected to recover. Officials say a firefighter was injured when a porch collapsed. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of a broken foot. Officials are investigating to determine the cause of the fire.
Christian School Teacher Accused of Relationship with Minor
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A 41-year-old teacher at a private Christian school is accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor student. Police say they’ve arrested Matthew McFarren, a high school teacher at Trinity Academy in Wichita. Detectives began investigating after receiving a tip that McFarren was having a relationship with a 16-year-old student. School officials are cooperating with the investigation. References to McFarren are no longer included on the school’s website.
Vatican Defrocked Kansas City-Area Priest Before He Died
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Catholic officials say the Vatican defrocked a Kansas City-area priest four days before he died in December. The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese says it was notified that the Vatican had rejected an appeal by Michael Tierney of his dismissal from the priesthood. The decision was made December 11. Tierney died December 15. Tierney worked in several Kansas City-area parishes before being removed from pastoral duties in 2011. In 2019, the diocese named him on a list of clergy it said had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Several lawsuits also were filed against Tierney, who consistently denied wrongdoing.
Report: Wind Power Industry Spawned Thousands of Jobs
TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – A new report shows that large wind farm projects in Kansas created more than 9,000 construction and maintenance jobs in the state. To get that number, the Polsinelli Law firm analyzed information from the state’s 40 large-scale projects built since 2001. Alan Anderson, one of the authors of the report, says in the last 20 years, wind farms have paid out more than $962 million to Kansas landowners. The report comes as lawmakers in Topeka are set to discuss a bill that would dramatically limit where new wind farms could be built. The bill would create statewide rules requiring new wind turbines to be built at least 1.5 miles from any structure. Currently, counties are left to set their own rules. The largest setback requirement in the state is just short of a half-mile. Mike Burns of Eudora supports the bill. He told a senate committee meeting Monday the bill would protect people from noise issues and declining property values. “I have a right. And I feel that you all have an obligation to protect my rights. You have an obligation to do something statewide,” he said. Opponents of the bill are scheduled to address the committee today (TUE). They say the bill would effectively end any future wind development in the state.
Asian American Lawmaker Says He Was Threatened at Bar
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The only Asian American lawmaker serving in the Kansas Legislature says he was physically threatened in a western Kansas bar by an out-of-state patron, who he says questioned if he was carrying the coronavirus. Democratic Representative Rui Xu said he was inside a bar in Russell when a man used an expletive and questioned why Xu was wearing a face mask. (Read more.)
Racial Justice Panel’s Bills Stalling in Kansas Legislature
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Legislature has so far not acted on proposals from a racial justice and equity commission established by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The Commission on Racial Justice and Equity was established last year. It’s released more than 30 recommendations to state lawmakers regarding policing practices, including proposals to ban no-knock warrants in drug cases. Lawmakers say they’ve prioritized other issues this session. Commission co-chairwoman Shannon Portillo said the group’s work is really for the “long haul” and the commission looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers in future sessions.
Merger Will Result in Moving Railway’s U.S. Headquarters to Kansas City
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Canadian Pacific Railway’s acquisition of Kansas City Southern means Minneapolis will no longer be the company’s U.S. headquarters, but what impact that will have on its employees in the Twin Cities is still unknown. The $25 billion deal in cash and stock was announced Sunday. It creates the first rail network linking the United States, Mexico and Canada. Railway officials say Kansas City, Missouri will be designated as the new U.S. headquarters for Canadian Pacific Kansas City, or CPKC. The combined company would operate about 20,000 miles of railway, employ 20,000 people and generate annual revenue of about $8.7 billion.
University of Kansas to Stop Requiring Entrance Exams
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – No more ACTs and SATs at the University of Kansas. KU is doing away with the requirement that incoming freshmen take a standardized test — such as the ACT or SAT — in order to be admitted. The new standards approved last week by the Kansas Board of Regents are scheduled to be in place for the freshman class that begins in the spring 2022 semester. The change allows any student with a 3.25 high school GPA to be admitted without taking the ACT or SAT. Under the old rules, freshmen had been required to take either the ACT or SAT, or else seek relief from a special review panel that could waive the requirement.
KU Falls to USC in 2nd Round of NCAA Tournament
INDIANAPOLIS (KPR) The Kansas Jayhawks are headed home from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. KU’s season came to an end Monday night after losing 85-51 to USC in the second round of the tournament. The 34-point loss sent shockwaves through Jayhawk Nation, especially since KU was a 3 seed and Southern California was a 6 seed. The Jayhawks trailed by 19 at halftime. KU coach Bill Self says he’s disappointed KU didn’t play well. “When we got behind and got frustrated, we just didn’t have enough juice to put anything together to make it a game.” The Hawks finished the season with a 21-and-9 record (12-6 Big 12).
Mobley Bros. Lead No. 6 Seed USC to 85-51 Rout of Kansas Jayhawks
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Isaiah Mobley scored 17 points, younger brother Evan had 10 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 6 seed Southern California routed Kansas 85-51 to reach the Sweet 16. It was the worst loss in 49 trips to the NCAA Tournament for the No. 3 seed Jayhawks. USC ended the first half on an 11-0 run to take a 40-21 lead and never looked back. Marcus Garrett scored 15 points to lead Kansas, which was out-rebounded 43-27.
Southern California coach Andy Enfield is taking another program to the Sweet 16. The only surprise about this one? How handily his Trojans took apart No. 3 seed Kansas. Isaiah Mobley hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points, All-American little brother Evan added 10 points and 13 rebounds, and sixth-seeded USC rolled to an 85-51 victory Monday night inside Hinkle Fieldhouse — more than doubling the worst margin of defeat for the Jayhawks in 49 trips to the NCAA Tournament. “This game meant a lot to our program and our fans. USC basketball is on the rise,” said Enfield, who coached No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 in 2013 and now has the Trojans there for the first time in 14 years. They will face seventh-seeded Oregon in a Pac-12 showdown Sunday night.
Marcus Garrett had 15 points for Kansas (21-9), which had never lost an NCAA tourney game by more than 16 points. “That’s about as poor as we can play,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said, “and I’m sure Andy would say that was certainly one of their better moments, better games. It was a bad combination all the way around for us.” One of college basketball’s tradition-rich programs, the Jayhawks had played nearly 3,200 games without ever setting foot on the floor of Hinkle Fieldhouse — the iconic hoops cathedral made famous by the Hollywood film “Hoosiers.”
The way they played Monday night, they won’t be eager to return.
The Jayhawks missed their first eight shots, most of them wide open looks. And after Christian Braun finally hit a 3-pointer, they missed three more. Throw in a couple turnovers, and they were headed for a point total straight out of the 1940s. At the other end, the Trojans looked like they were in a pregame layup line the way Kansas kept breaking down on D.
On a sequence that perfectly summed up the first half, Braun — an 81% free-throw shooter — missed two, and Isaiah Mobley followed with a deep 3-pointer as the shot-clock expired. As the teams headed the other way again, Kansas coach Bill Self crossed his legs and reclined in his folding chair — the very picture of frustration and resignation.
Mobley’s four first-half 3s, doubling his career best for an entire game, staked the Trojans to a 40-21 lead at the break. The reaction from former All-American guard Frank Mason III, now in the G League: “Tell Coach Self I’m headed to the game,” he tweeted at halftime. “I’ll be there by the 10 min mark; ready to sub in on arrival.”
Wilt Chamberlain wouldn’t have made a difference on this night.
Kansas trimmed its deficit to 16 early in the second half, but Enfield immediately called timeout and the momentum swing was over. White hit a trio of 3-pointers in a span of about three minutes, and Drew Peterson also knocked one down as the Trojans again stretched their lead stretched beyond 20 and effectively put the game away.
“They were obviously more prepared. They played better, coached better — we shot it miserably and it’s going to be hard to score for us over that length. And they shot it unbelievably,” Self said. “We played from a hole the entire time.”
Kansas hoped the return of Jalen Wilson, who flew into Indianapolis earlier in the day, from his COVID-19 quarantine would provide a spark. But the Jayhawks’ leading rebounder was just as ineffective as everyone else against the Trojans’ big front line. Kansas wound up getting beaten 43-27 on the boards.
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.