New Fiscal Forecast for Kansas Fuels GOP’s Tax-Cut Dreams
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials have issued a new, more optimistic fiscal forecast for state government and projected healthy cash reserves through June 2022. The new forecast, released today (TUE), gave Republican lawmakers new ammunition in pushing for state income tax cuts over Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s objections. The fiscal forecasters revised the state’s projections for tax collections during the current 2021 budget year, which ends June 30, upward by nearly 4%, or $304 million. The forecasters also made a small change in the projections for tax collections for the 2022 budget year, increasing the total by $38 million. Legislative researchers projected that Kansas will have $1.15 billion in cash reserves on June 30.
Death of Inmate at Kansas Women’s Prison Under Investigation
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it has begun an investigation into the death of an inmate at the women’s prison in Topeka. Television station KSNT reports that 35-year-old Jessica Chapman died Monday at the Kansas Department of Corrections’ TCF women’s prison. The station initially confirmed the death through the KBI, because the Kansas prisons system did not send out a news release announcing the death. Department spokeswoman Carol Pitts said Wednesday that the corrections department only provides news releases if an inmate death is related to COVID-19 or may have been due to drugs, suicide or violence. Pitts says none of those circumstances apply to Chapman’s death “as we know the facts at this time.”
Variants Increase in Kansas as Parents Challenge Mask Rules
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The number of coronavirus variants in the state has risen sharply, even as parents in some schools push to drop masking requirements and vaccine appointments go unfilled. In the past week, Kansas had a 32% increase in the total number of confirmed variant coronavirus cases as all five variants of concern have now been identified in the state. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 175 total variant cases on Monday, up from 133 one week ago. Most of the increase was due to 35 new cases of the variant strain first identified in the United Kingdom.
Kansas COVID-19 Case Total Passes 306,000, Including 4,955 Deaths, Since Pandemic Began
TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR/AP) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports that there have been 306,290 cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 4,955 deaths, since the start of the pandemic. A new update of cases is expected later today (WED).
Missouri Health Director Who Worked for 2 Governors Resigns
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s health director has resigned. Republican Governor Mike Parson on Tuesday announced the departure of Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. Williams was appointed to the job in 2017 by Parson’s predecessor, former GOP Governor Eric Greitens. Williams helped lead the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and is leaving amid the vaccine rollout. Parson says he’s naming his deputy chief of staff, Robert Knodell, to be the state’s acting health director. Parson says Knodell has also been leading the state’s COVID-19 response. But Knodell doesn’t have a medical background as Williams does.
Southeast Kansas Man Convicted of Second-Degree Murder
GIRARD, Kan. (KPR) – An Arma man has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his wife in 2019 and convicted of aggravated battery against a second woman. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says 34-year-old Jeremy Delmarco, of Arma, entered no contest pleas in Crawford County District Court for the February 4, 2019, death of his 37-year-old wife, Brandy Delmarco, and for the aggravated battery in the stabbing of another woman. Both crimes took place in Arma. Sentencing has been set for June 30. Tuesday’s hearing took place through a video conference. The case was investigated by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme of Schmidt’s office.
Arma Man Pleads in Killing Wife, Injuring Her Grandmother
ARMA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and attempted murder in the stabbing death of his wife and the injuring of her grandmother. Jeremy Delmarco, of Arma, entered the pleas Tuesday in Crawford County Court. He was charged with killing 37-year-old Brandy Delmarco and injuring 84-year-old Dorma Lemaster in Arma on February 4, 2019. The pleas were accepted by Crawford County District Judge M. Jennifer Brunetti. Sentencing was set for June 30.
Police: Teenager Shot at Kansas City Hotel Dies from Injuries
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police say a teen shot over the weekend at a hotel near a Kansas City theme park has died from his injuries. Police say the shooting happened around 7 pm Saturday inside Hometowne Studios, which sits west of Interstate 435 across from Worlds of Fun. Police say the teen, later identified as 14-year-old Deontae Thomas, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where he underwent surgery. Police say he died of his injuries on Sunday. Police say homicide detectives have a person of interest in the case but are still looking for more information on the shooting from the public. Police have not released other details of the shooting.
Pro-Mask Candidates Leave Office as Missouri Tires of COVID Restrictions and Limits
ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — Pro-mask candidates are leaving office and occupancy limits are falling by the wayside in Missouri as communities tire of pandemic restrictions. St. Louis Public Radio reports that in the central Missouri city of Rolla, a slate of of anti-mask candidates joined the City Council on Monday after being elected this month even though the local mask mandate they opposed was allowed to expire two months ago. Other anti-mask elected officials also lost their seats in April elections, including in the Missouri tourist city of Branson. Meanwhile, Joplin dropped all of its occupancy limits on Monday. Active cases have dropped dramatically since Joplin’s winter peak, but they recently increased slightly from 19 two weeks ago to 25 as of Monday.
Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Former Christian Camp Counselor
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — A former counselor already in prison for abusing children at a Christian camp near Branson is being sued by another alleged victim. The lawsuit accuses Peter Newman of abusing the plaintiff, who is not named, several times beginning in 1999 at the Kanakuk camp. Newman is serving two life sentences, plus 30 years, after his 2010 sentencing on seven felony counts of sexually abusing boys at the camp. The latest lawsuit does not name Kanakuk as a defendant. The plaintiff is seeking $5 million. A similar lawsuit by another anonymous plaintiff was filed against Newman in February.
Police: 1 Dead, 2 Hurt in Kansas City Shooting; No Arrests
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Police in Kansas City say one person is dead and two others are hospitalized following a shooting early Monday. The shooting happened just before 1 am Monday, when officers were called to 67th and Paseo for a shooting. Officers on the way to the scene were notified that a vehicle carrying three shooting victims had arrived at a Kansas City hospital, and officers were sent to the hospital, as well. Police say one of the victims died at the hospital and another has life-threatening injuries. The third victim is expected to recover. No arrests have been reported.
Canadian Pacific Attacks Rival Bid for Kansas City Southern
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Canadian Pacific railroad continued its assault on rival Canadian National’s competing $33.7 billion bid to buy Kansas City Southern railroad Wednesday in a formal letter to regulators. Canadian Pacific urged the Surface Transportation Board to closely examine Canadian National’s offer to buy Kansas City Southern because it says that deal would hurt rail competition throughout the central United States and it could destabilize the balance between the industry’s six largest players. Meanwhile, Canadian National maintains that the bid it announced Tuesday is superior to the $25 billion cash and stock deal that Canadian Pacific announced last month.
St. Joseph Officer Charged with Misdemeanor Assault During Arrest
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — A St. Joseph police officer is charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault after he allegedly slapped a man who was handcuffed during an arrest. Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Ron Holliday on Monday announced the charge against Sgt. James Langston, who is suspended without pay. Holliday said Langston is accused of striking Navada McEvoy with an open hand several times while McEvoy was in handcuffs and not resisting officers on April 6. No one was injured. Holliday noted that other officers on the scene reported the incident and his office was quickly notified. Langston has been with the department for more than 20 years.
Missouri House Passes Bill Approving Guns in Churches, Buses
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s GOP-led House has passed a bill that would allow guns in churches and on public transportation. The House voted Monday to send the proposal to the Republican-led Senate. Currently, people need permission to bring firearms into places of religious worship. The bill would allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns into churches, synagogues and mosques regardless. Another provision in the bill would ensure that gun stores are considered essential businesses. That means the state and cities couldn’t order them closed during emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Seaman School District Hires Advisors to Help with Name Change
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district that is named for a Ku Klux Klan leader is paying an advisory group to help lead discussions on how to change the name. The Seaman School District’s Board of Education voted Monday to pay $30,000 to the Kansas Leadership Center for advice on the issue. The Seaman district is named for Fred Seaman, an “exalted cyclops,” or chief officer, in the Topeka KKK in the 1920s. Students, teachers and some community leaders want the board to change the name. The district has named its own advisory board, but the school board will make the final decision.
Northeast Kansas School District Ditches Native American Mascots
ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas district has decided to ditch its “Redmen” and “Braves” mascots after public opinion shifted. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Atchison school board approved the change unanimously this past week. It was a reversal from 2018 when the board voted to keep the “Redmen” mascot for the district’s high school and the “Braves” mascot for the middle school. Board member Carrie Sowers said she changed her vote because the community “spoke loud and clear.” Sowers said the board heard considerable support in 2018 for keeping Native American-themed mascots. But this time, all nine people who addressed the matter at a public input session asked the board to do away with the mascots.
U.S. Sets Aside Habitat Critical for Survival of Rare Songbird
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. wildlife managers have set aside areas in seven states as habitat that’s critical to the survival of a rare songbird that migrates each year from Central and South America to breeding grounds in Mexico and the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday made final the habitat designation for the western yellow-billed cuckoo. It covers about 467 square miles along hundreds of miles of rivers and streams. Most breeding in the U.S. occurs in Arizona and New Mexico, but the habitat designation also includes portions of California, Colorado, Utah, Texas and Idaho.
Arkansas Man Admits Removing Trees from National Forest
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A 46-year-old Arkansas man has admitted that he illegally removed or damaged more than two dozen trees from a national forest in Missouri. Jamie Edmondson pleaded guilty Monday to depredation of government property. Edmondson admitted that he did not have permission when he cut and removed 27 white oak and walnut trees from the forest in Barry County, Missouri, between June 1, 2019, and January 31, 2020. Edmondson sold the timber to various sawmills in the area. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole.
Charlie Huggins, Father of WVU Coach Bob Huggins, Dies at 87
(UNDATED) (AP) – The father of West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has died. Charlie Huggins, who won three Ohio high school basketball championships as a coach, was 87. James Gardner of Baxter-Gardner Funeral Home in Sherrodsville, Ohio, says Charlie Huggins died Tuesday and that no official cause of death has been released. Charlie Huggins won Ohio small-school titles in 1967, 1972 and 1976. He compiled a 398-74 career record. That includes a perfect 26-0 mark during Bob Huggins’ senior season at Indian Valley South High School in 1972. Charlie Huggins was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Our weekday headlines are generally posted by 10am and updated throughout the day. 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.