Legal News & Attorney Services

Headlines for Wednesday, December 1, 2021

 

Ex-Kansas Health Chief Says He Was ‘Fauci’d’ Out of His Job

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KPR) — Dr. Lee Norman, who led Kansas through the coronavirus pandemic until his abrupt departure last month, says he was “Fauci’d” out by COVID-19 politics. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly announced on November 19 that Norman had stepped down after serving as the health department’s top administrator since Kelly took office in January 2019. But in an interview with Kansas Public Radio, Norman says he was asked to resign. He cites constant friction between the governor and the Republican-led legislature and compares himself to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert and a frequent target of criticism from the right. (Read more.)

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Kansas A-G: Kansas Universities Violating New Vaccine Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – The Kansas attorney general is telling some universities that they are violating a new state law granting no-questions-asked exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The law says Kansas workers can get religious exemptions to vaccine mandates with no questions asked. Attorney General Derek Schmidt sent a letter to the University of Kansas and Kansas State University saying their policies for requesting exemptions are too onerous and violate the law. The letter was obtained by the Kansas Reflector. Some universities in Kansas require the shot to comply with a federal COVID vaccine mandate. The schools have said they risk losing federal contracts if they don’t comply.

UPDATE: The Lawrence Journal-World reports that KU has now revised and simplified the form employees can use to obtain an exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

(AP version…)

Schmidt: Kansas Universities Violating State’s New COVID Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says some of the state’s public universities are violating a new state law regarding medical and religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccinations. Schmidt sent a letter to the state Board of Regents saying the University of Kansas and Kansas State University are violating a law passed during a special legislative session last week that made it easier for employees to acquire medical or religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines. Schmidt says forms requiring employees to explain in detail their religious beliefs violate the law. He also says the universities cannot set arbitrary deadlines to comply with their requirements.

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Kansas Corrections Officer Hospitalized After Attack

LANSING, Kan. (KCUR) – The union that represents state employees in Kansas says not enough is being done to protect workers at the Lansing Correctional Facility, where an officer was hospitalized after an attack this week — the second attack on a Kansas prison guard in the last month. Union president Sarah LaFrenz says the officer was working alone Monday inside a maximum-security unit with 100 inmates, when he was assaulted by an inmate swinging a bar of soap inside a sock. On November 3rd, a female officer was sent to the ICU after being attacked by an inmate wielding a padlock attached to a belt. Since then, LaFrenz said that she’s heard no reports of staffing changes, policy updates or any other measures to alleviate dangerous conditions at Lansing.

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Wife of Injured Wichita Officer Settles with Dealership

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A lawsuit filed against a Wichita car dealership by the wife of a police officer injured when he was run over by a sport utility vehicle from the business has been settled for an undisclosed amount. Officer Brian Arterburn was critically injured in February 2017 when he was hit by the SUV while putting down stop sticks to stop the vehicle. His wife, fellow Wichita police officer Claudale Arterburn, sued Eddy’s Chevrolet Cadillac, its owners and the driver of the SUV, Justin Terrazas. Terrazas pleaded guilty to charges in the case and was sentenced to nearly 29 years in prison. The lawsuit had sought $75 million in actual and punitive damages.

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Wichita Man Dies 2 Days After Bar Fight; Suspect Arrested

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man has died two days after a bar fight, and police say the man he fought with is now facing a manslaughter charge. Police say 31-year-old Alonzo Haywood died Sunday from injuries he received in a 2 am Friday fight outside Mulligan’s Pub. Police say Haywood had been arguing with 51-year-old James Elbert Thomas, also of Wichita, when Thomas punched Haywood, causing the younger man to fall to the ground and hit his head. Police say a melee then broke out involving multiple people. Haywood was taken to a Wichita hospital by friends. Thomas was arrested Friday, initially on suspicion of aggravated battery. That count was amended to reckless involuntary manslaughter after Haywood’s death.

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13-Year-Old Wichita Boy Dies After Shooting at Home

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police say a 13-year-old child who was shot at a south Wichita home has died. Police say the shooting happened Monday evening. Wichita police Lt. Jeff Gilmore says a 16-year-old came home with a handgun and he and the 13-year-old were handling the firearm when it went off. Emergency responders found the younger child suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Gilmore says the shooting is believed to be accidental but an investigation is continuing. He says adults were at home at the time but were not aware a gun was in the house.

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Texas Woman Sentenced in Death of 2 Kansas Carnival Vendors

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A 55-year-old Texas woman has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for her role in the death of a Kansas couple who were vendors at a county fair. Kimberley Stacy Younger, of Aransas Pass, Texas, was sentenced Monday for capital murder and other charges. She was one of four carnival workers convicted in the July 2018 killings of 78-year-old Alfred Carpenter and his 79-year-old wife, Pauline, of Wichita. They were killed after working at the Barton County Fair in Kansas. Their bodies were later found in northwest Arkansas. Investigators said one of the suspects ordered their deaths as part of an initiation into a “carnival mafia,” which did not exist.

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Kansas Utility Commission Criticizes Hedge Fund Influence on Evergy

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas utility regulators have issued an order requiring Evergy to explain and justify a plan to spend $10.4 billion on its electrical system and report quality of service measures on a quarterly basis amid concerns that the plan is designed largely to benefit a hedge fund investor. The Wichita Eagle reports that members of the Kansas Corporation Commission sent a strong signal Tuesday that they won’t tolerate efforts to increase shareholder profits at the expense of unreasonably high rates for Evergy’s 1 million Kansas customers. In a written statement, Evergy said it was reviewing the commission’s order before identifying “if there are appropriate next steps.” (Read more.)

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Mexican Regulators Approve $31 Billion Railroad Merger Deal Between KC Southern, Canadian Pacific

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mexican regulators have approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion plan to acquire Kansas City Southern and create a railroad linking Mexico, Canada and the United States. The deal could close as soon as mid-December if shareholders of both companies approve it. Then Kansas City Southern would be held by a voting trust while the U.S. Surface Transportation Board conducts its lengthy review of the transaction but its shareholders would be paid right away. The railroads say the STB’s review of the deal is expected to continue into the fourth quarter of next year.

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Wichita Police Suspect Speed, Alcohol Were Factors in Fatal Wreck

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police say speed and alcohol use are suspected to be factors in a Thanksgiving night accident that killed a man and critically injured a woman. KSNW-TV reports that the accident happened Thursday night at 13th Street and Hillside. Lt. Chris Marceau says a pickup truck struck an SUV from behind at a stoplight, causing the SUV to roll over. A 65-year-old man died and a 67-year-old passenger is hospitalized in critical condition. The 37-year-old driver of the pickup truck was taken into custody. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

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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. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members. Become one today!    



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