Governor Laura Kelly Issues Statement on Updated CDC Guidance, Urges Kansans to Get Vaccinated
TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued the following statement addressing the updated CDC guidance:
“While we are still reviewing the new guidance and what it means for Kansas, this administration has consistently followed the recommendations from the experts at the CDC – and we don’t intend to stop. Right now Kansas is at a crossroads. The new Delta variant has caused COVID-19 to surge in our communities and some of our hospitals are moving towards capacity. The bad news is that parts of our state fall into the “hot spot” category for new cases, the good news is we have a vaccine to protect us from the virus that is safe, effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death, and free. I strongly urge every Kansan who isn’t vaccinated to get one right away. That is the best way to stop the spread of COVID in our state. For those who are vaccinated, I ask that you speak with your friends, neighbors, and loved ones who are unvaccinated and encourage them to get vaccinated to protect themselves and our state.”
Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. A Wichita Public Schools spokesman said that masks are still optional for anyone who wants to wear them. The district said they would continue to evaluate and work through the planning process. Most new infections in the U.S. continue to be among unvaccinated people. But “breakthrough” infections, which generally cause milder illness, can occur in vaccinated people. (Read more.)
Kansas Hospitals Urge Return to Masks Amid COVID Surge
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials in two major Kansas health care systems are urging people to resume wearing masks indoors even if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 because of the faster spreading delta variant. The comments Tuesday from administrator-doctors at Stormont Vail Health in northeast Kansas and the University of Kansas Health System came just before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in places where the coronavirus is surging. But Republican U.S. Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas immediately criticized the CDC’s new guidance, suggesting it would cause more people to hesitate to get vaccinated. Kansas has seen new cases spike in recent weeks.
Big Kansas School District Mandates Masks for Youngest Kids
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — One of the largest public school districts in Kansas plans to require elementary students to wear masks this fall. The Shawnee Mission school board acted Monday night after a health official in Johnson County warned that the faster-spreading delta variant would lead to widespread COVID-19 among unmasked children. Shawnee Mission joins the public school districts in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, in requiring masks for at least some students, but it is the only district among six in Johnson County to do it. The board’s vote Monday night was 6-1 in favor of mandating masks in elementary schools.
Hospital Morgues Fill as Death Count Climbs in Missouri
UNDATED (AP) – A Springfield, Missouri, hospital says it’s expanded its morgue capacity amid an increase in COVID-19 deaths. With coronavirus cases on the rise statewide, the Kansas City mayor announced Tuesday that he would reinstate a mask mandate for indoor spaces. And St. Louis has begun offering immunization incentives for some city employees. Missouri has the nation’s fourth-worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, with one in every 360 people diagnosed with COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins data, its seven-day rolling average of daily deaths has nearly doubled over the past two weeks. The CEO of CoxHealth says the increase in deaths prompted it to bring in temporary cooling equipment for bodies.
Douglas County District Attorney Won’t Prosecute Violations of New Voter Law
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez says her office will not prosecute cases arising from the state’s new voting law. Valdez said in a news release Tuesday the law, which took effect July 1, criminalizes efforts by nonpartisan groups to inform and register voters. Among other things, the law would make it harder for nonpartisan groups, neighbors and candidates to collect and return absentee ballots for voters. The law also makes it a crime to undertake activity that gives the appearance of being an election official. Valdez said the law is too vague and could make normal political activity a felony crime.
Wichita Man Charged in Kidnapping, Shooting of Toddler
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old Wichita man is facing 12 charges after a 2-year-old child was shot during an alleged attack on his girlfriend at Cheney Reservoir. Kamden Campos is accused of convincing his girlfriend to drive to the lake with plans to harm her, and then shot at the car when the woman escaped and drove away. The 2-year-old child was shot but is expected to survive. Campos made his first court appearance Tuesday. The complaint filed in the case says Campos tried to kill his girlfriend with a knife, drown her and light her on fire before shooting at her on July 19. Campos is being held in the Reno County Jail on $2.1 million bond.
Southeast Kansas Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Distributing Child Porn
PITTSBURG (KSNT) – A judge has sentenced a 38-year-old southeast Kansas man to 25 years in prison for distributing child pornography. KSNT TV reports that Jason Wayne Irving, of Pittsburg, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography in February. According to court documents, Irving admitted in 2019 that he used his email address to upload and send pornographic photos of children. Google detected his activity and notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tip Line. The images were of children being forced to engage in sexual acts with adults. Soon after it first noticed the activity, Google reported the email account again for similar conduct, during which Google was able to link the account to Irving. After obtaining a search warrant for Irving’s smartphone, law enforcement discovered the operation of the Google email account and other accounts that Facebook had reported for child pornography. Additionally, law enforcement found various files of child porn on the phone.
Deadly Weekend on Kansas Highways Claims Another Life as 6-Year-Old Dies from Injuries
BROWN COUNTY (KSNT) – A deadly weekend on Kansas highways got worse when authorities announced a six-year-old child died Tuesday night at Children’s Mercy Hospital following a Sunday evening crash. KSNT TV reports that 6-year-old Taya Mooney was a passenger in a 1973 Volkswagen that was hit from the rear by a semi tractor-trailer while stopped to make a left turn. The driver of the semi, from Texas, was uninjured. The driver of the Volkswagen, a 27-year-old female, was injured. A 7-year-old female, also in the Volkswagen, suffered only a minor injury. Six others died over the weekend in other crashes around the state. Adam Lee Samuelson died after an accident in Riley County. On Saturday, a 35-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man were killed in Harvey County after the car she was driving left the road and hit a guardrail. In Johnson County, both drivers in a two-car crash died after a head-on collision, and in Brown County there was one fatality when a car headed southbound near 240th Street and Prairie Road ran off into a ditch.
Three Jail Escapees in Southwest Missouri Back in Custody
PINEVILLE, Mo. (AP) — The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office says three inmates who escaped from a southwest Missouri jail over the weekend have been recaptured. The sheriff’s department said in a Facebook post that the men were captured in Noel late Monday. Noel is about is about eight miles from Pineville, where the jail is located. Authorities did not provide details about the arrests but said no one was injured. The sheriff’s office said the men escaped Saturday after attacking an officer, who suffered minor injuries.
Two Killed After SUV Hits Cow on Western Kansas Highway
WINONA, Kan. (WIBW) – Two people from Arizona were killed early Monday after the sport utility vehicle they were riding in hit a cow that was on a western Kansas highway. WIBW TV reports that the crash happened early Monday morning on U.S. Highway 40, about five miles southwest of Winona in Logan County. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2015 Jeep Wrangler was eastbound on the highway when it collided with a black cow that was in the roadway. The patrol said the driver of the Jeep attempted to brake to miss the cow and ended up swerving, entering the north ditch. The Jeep then rolled an undetermined number of times before coming to rest on its passenger side facing south. Both occupants in the Jeep were pronounced dead at the scene. The patrol identified the fatality victims as 45-year-old Raymond H. Kennedy, of Glendale, Arizona, and 54-year-old Brenda G. Carrasco, of Peoria, Arizona. Both occupants of the Jeep were wearing their seat belts.
Former Kansas Teacher Charged with Child Sex Crimes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas school teacher has been jailed and charged with child sex crimes. The Wichita Eagle reports 48-year-old Shawn Wingfield was arrested Saturday on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. A Wichita Northwest High School spokeswoman says Wingfield began working there in 1997. He resigned July 19. Wingfield posted on Facebook last week that he was resigning for his personal health and wellbeing. He’s in the Sedgwick County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Kansas Man Charged with Animal Cruelty for Neglecting More than 50 Animals
MILTONVALE (KSNT) — A Kansas man, Kevin Vesterberg, is being charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty after more than 50 animals were found neglected or dead on his property. Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the group that discovered the case, which resulted in the start of an investigation launched by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. “Our lead investigator was investigating a potential puppy mill in Ottawa County when she came across this horrendous livestock abuse case,” Debbie Miller, the Kansas Director of CAPS, said. KSNT TV reports that for the CAPS program, the word horrendous is an understatement. “This is one of the worst cruelty cases she has ever witnessed,” Miller said. Vesterberg was in charge of taking care of these animals that he used for breeding to make money, according to the lead deputy on the case. When the deputy responded to the property in late May he found the neglected animals. There was a wide variety of on the property, like sheep, goats and rabbits. The animals that were still alive had everything from empty water troughs to oozing eyes and hooves that were over a foot long. It is unclear how many remains were found and how many animals are still on the property. There hasn’t been much movement on the case since the local county attorney, Richard Buck, charged Vesterberg with the 10 counts. Vesterberg’s next court date is set for mid-August.
Kansas City Only Missouri School District Reporting that it Teaches “Critical Race Theory”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Missouri Independent) – A survey of over 400 Missouri school districts found only Kansas City Public Schools reported that it uses a curriculum that both teaches lessons about critical race theory and includes the 1619 Project. The Missouri Independent reports that two other districts say they utilize the 1619 Project in their curriculum. The results of the survey, administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), come a week after a handful of parents and teachers opposed to critical race theory decried its teaching in schools before a committee of lawmakers — even as the state’s commissioner of education said the academic concept is largely not taught throughout K-12 public schools in Missouri. The survey was requested by Missouri state Senator Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday about the survey’s findings. Over the course of two weeks in July, DESE asked school districts two questions: whether their board-approved curriculum includes lesson about critical race theory and whether it includes the 1619 Project by The New York Times, which details the United States’ legacy of slavery. In total, 425 responses were received, with nearly all schools answering “no.” A spokeswoman for DESE did not respond to a request for comment on the survey’s findings or how the department plans to use the results.
Wichita Businessman Accused of Failing to Pay Payroll Taxes
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita businessman faces 17 federal counts after prosecutors accused him of failing to turn over more than $200,000 in employee payroll tax withholdings collected over nearly five years to the IRS. The Wichita Eagle reports that Jesus Perez-Aguayo was indicted earlier this month by a grand jury on 17 counts of failure to pay over payroll taxes. Each count carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison. Prosecutors say Perez-Aguayo, who also goes by the names Sebastian Chavez and Sebastian Chavez-Campos, collected $211,226 from JLP Construction and JP Remodeling employees from 2015 to 2019 but never turned it over to the IRS. The companies are both painting and construction businesses.
Big 12’s Texas, Oklahoma Make Official Request to Join Powerhouse SEC
UNDATED (AP) – Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday to join the Southeastern Conference — in 2025 —- with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.” The wheels are in motion for a monumental move in college sports, but the Longhorns and Sooners are not yet free agents. And it’s doubtful they want to wait until the contract that binds them to the Big 12 for four more years runs out to bolt to the SEC. It also might not be in the best interest of the Big 12 to have two lame ducks in the conference much beyond the 2021-22 school year. “It’s similar to a divorce, but it’s business relationship where multiple parties realize that they just can’t be together anymore,” said Darren Heitner, a sports and entertainment attorney based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “You try to come to a resolution where perhaps nobody feels great about it, but at least there’s something where they feel as though they’re getting some fair value out of the equation.” A day after Oklahoma and Texas notified the Big 12 that they would not be extending a grant of media rights agreement past its 2025 expiration date, the schools publicly stated for the first time they want to join the SEC. Oklahoma and Texas sent a joint letter to Sankey, requesting “invitations for membership to the Southeastern Conference starting on July 1, 2025.” (Read more.)
Chiefs QB Mahomes Becomes Part of Sporting KC Club Ownership
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Patrick Mahomes has become part of MLS club Sporting Kansas City’s ownership group. The Chiefs quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP had his stake in the soccer team announced Tuesday. Mahomes also is a part owner of baseball’s Kansas City Royals and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, is a co-owner of the women’s soccer club Kansas City NWSL. Mahomes led the Chiefs to the 2019 NFL championship and a loss this year in the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay.
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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