KCTV 5 Latest News

17-year-old dies after being shot by police at Grandview park

GRANDVIEW, Mo. (KCTV/AP) — Police in Missouri shot and killed a man who confronted officers with a gun Sunday morning.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the incident happened around 6:45 a.m. Sunday at a park in Grandview, Missouri, on the south end of the Kansas City metro area. The Highway Patrol said in a post on Twitter that an “apparent suicidal” person was at the park with a gun.

The individual was identified as 17-year-old Lantz Stephenson Jr.

Highway patrol spokesman Sgt. Andrew Bell said the man called 911 and said he had a gun and wanted to confront officers at the park about two miles east of Interstate 49 and north of Highway 150.

Bell said the man with a gun approached officers aggressively before two officers fired their weapons at him.

No officers were injured.

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FORECAST: A few rumbles of thunder tonight but low risk of severe storms

FORECAST: A few rumbles of thunder tonight but low risk of severe storms

Few scattered showers will dance across our area this evening at a threat level of forty percent.

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Rain soaks Raytown apartments

Rain soaks Raytown apartments

Now for an update to a story we first brought you last night at ten. Residents of a Raytown apartment complex have been dealing with rain inside their homes.

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Kansas lawmaker faces 3 battery charges over school incident

Kansas lawmaker faces 3 battery charges over school incident

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member was charged Monday with three counts of misdemeanor battery, accused of having made “rude, insulting or angry” contact with two teenage students in a classroom while working as a substitute teacher.

The charges against Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel arose from a student reporting <a target="&mdash;blank" href="https://apnews.com/article/kansas-michael-brown-arrests-education-government-and-politics-93ca613c25939d062b7d4cc9f2114aaa">an April 28 incident</a> involving Samsel in what videos showed to be a noisy classroom in his hometown of Wellsville, a town of about 1,700 people roughly 55 miles (89 kilometers) southwest of Kansas City. The brief videos, provided by a parent who said they were shot by students, also showed Samsel talking about suicide, God and sex.

In one video, Samsel can be heard saying, “Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn't it?” followed by, “You haven't masturbated? Don't answer that question.”

When a student says he won't answer, Samsel is heard saying, “Thank you. I told you not to. God already knows.”

Another video showed Samsel grabbing a boy, pushing him against a wall and telling him, “I could put the wrath of God on you right now,” before the boy breaks free and runs away, yelling.

Samsel was arrested the day after and released on $1,000 bond. His first appearance in Franklin County District Court by video conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday.

A criminal complaint filed by Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones accuses Samsel of having made physical contact with two 15- or 16-year-old students “in a rude, insulting or angry manner.” The complaint identifies the students only by their initials.

The third charge alleges that Samsel caused “bodily harm” to one of the students. The complaint lists 40 potential witnesses, including at least 15 minors identified only by their initials.

Jones declined to comment about the case. In a Facebook message to The Associated Press, Samsel referred questions to his attorney, who declined to comment about the case.

Samsel, who is himself an attorney, was first elected to the House in 2018 and reelected last year. He also has been a referee for the association that oversees middle and high school sports in Kansas.

There's no indication yet that he might face disciplinary action from the House, which can censure or expel members over their behavior. Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., a Kansas City-area Republican, said in a statement that the judicial process “must be allowed to work” to determine exactly what happened and what penalties should be imposed.

“We are concerned by these new charges,” Ryckman said. “The safety of our schoolchildren is one of our highest priorities.”

Samsel's local superintendent notified him by letter last week that he was banned for a year from Wellsville public school property and events. The letter said he would face a criminal trespass complaint if he violated the ban.

Samsel posted a photo of the letter Saturday on <a target="&mdash;blank" href="https://www.facebook.com/mark.samsel.9/posts/10100207801397210?%E2%80%94%E2%80%94cft%E2%80%94%E2%80%94[0]=AZXJSqSkaA%E2%80%94goJFFMz5ga7-hIZ8cGEzyCg7oWTCjRbKLXOZrr3QIVfrJmypd5e4spUX9Aej1sgcl5V1yTXyCS%E2%80%94EZTrw86KWqptjSR5oPBhGbT0j8Tbw2tSX-UBgouhdDsL4&amp;%E2%80%94%E2%80%94tn%E2%80%94%E2%80%94=%2CO%2CP-R">his Facebook page,</a> saying, “This looks like discrimination to me. Fortunately, I know a good lawyer.”

In a Snapchat post from Samsel after his arrest, he said what happened in the classroom was “all planned” to “SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another.” He said students “were in on it.”

Samsel is the third Kansas lawmaker to face legal problems this year.

Fellow Republicans ousted <a target="&mdash;blank" href="https://apnews.com/article/kansas-government-and-politics-57fe7b37ea34af1a311c59dd71041ec3">Sen. Gene Suellentrop,</a> of Wichita, as Senate majority leader in April after he was charged with drunken driving and a felony charge of attempting to elude law enforcement for driving the wrong way on a highway in Topeka. He is scheduled to have a June 3 court appearance.

Democratic state Rep. Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, <a target="&mdash;blank" href="https://apnews.com/article/race-and-ethnicity-legislature-kansas-city-kansas-topeka-768126190ab7c98965245d7808a2bf58">was warned</a> by a House committee in writing in February about abusive behavior toward girls and young women before his election last year. He reached <a target="&mdash;blank" href="https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-state-courts-legislature-kansas-city-lawsuits-fa6cd16ccb10518f157e4796522d214b">a legal agreement</a> in January with the woman who managed his primary opponent’s campaign to end an anti-stalking court order against him.


Follow John Hanna on Twitter: <a target="&mdash;blank" href="https://twitter.com/apjdhanna">https://twitter.com/apjdhanna</a>

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Habitat for Humanity Kansas City breaks ground on new headquarters

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Habitat for Humanity Kansas City will break ground on its new headquarters in the heart of its metro-wide service area.

It says its trying to reach its goal of serving 5,000 families by 2025.

In order to grow, its renovating the current facility – adding an additional 10,941 square feet of program delivery and community space.

This space will allow Habitat KC to serve more families, build more partnerships and strengthen all social bonds.

The groundbreaking will be at 9 a.m. at 1423 E. Linwood Blvd.

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Royals Charities Golf Tournament returns Monday at Shadow Glen Golf Club

OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -- After a year away due to COVID-19, the Royals Charities Celebrity Golf Tournament returns for the fourteenth time.

It will once again be at the Shadow Glen Golf Club in Olathe. Royals and Chiefs alumni, broadcasters and other celebrities will take part in the event.

Price Chopper, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, JE Dunn and Aramark along with other sponsors help make this a sold-out tournament, and proceeds benefit Operation Breakthrough through Royals Charities.

The private event will begin with breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. and a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

Following the tournament, all golfers and celebrities will take part in an exclusive awards reception.

Royals manager Mike Matheny is expected to attend.

Former Royals George Brett and Alex Gordon will attend, along with color commentator Rex Hudler.

Plus, former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green is going to the event.

Other former Chiefs and Royals alumni are expected to be there as well.

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First enhanced child tax credit payments to go out July 15

The families of more than 65 million children will start receiving <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/15/politics/child-tax-credit-stimulus-relief/index.html" target="_blank">enhanced child tax credit</a> monthly payments of up to $300 on July 15, the Biden administration announced Monday.

The temporary benefit, which will be sent to 39 million households and covers 88% of children in the US, stems from the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/10/politics/whats-in-the-covid-relief-bill/index.html" target="_blank">Democrats' $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package</a>. The vast majority of families will receive the funds via direct deposit, while the rest will get checks or debit cards in the mail.

The Internal Revenue Service will send the payments on the 15th of the month, unless it falls on a holiday or weekend, through December. Eligible parents will receive $300 a month for each child under age 6 and $250 for each one ages 6 to 17.

Payments will be based on taxpayers' 2020 tax returns or their 2019 returns if the 2020 returns are not filed and processed yet.

To reach low-income households that don't typically file taxes, the agency is setting up a portal to allow them to submit their information. This will allow them to claim both the enhanced child tax credit and stimulus payments they might have missed. A <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/09/politics/stimulus-payments-irs-non-filer/index.html" target="_blank">similar online form existed last year</a> to allow low-income Americans to receive the first round of stimulus checks from the March 2020 relief package.

Meanwhile, the IRS will also launch a separate portal to allow parents to update their address, bank account information and family size, as well as opt out of the monthly payments in favor of receiving the tax credit as a lump sum next year when they file their return. If a family's situation changes during the year, the IRS can adjust the payment when they file their 2021 tax return to claim the second half of the credit. Lower income taxpayers will not be required to return any overpayments, a senior administration official said.

More details about the portals will be announced in coming weeks, the official said. The administration also plans to launch an outreach campaign to inform families about the enhanced payments and the portals.

A bigger boost for one year

Under the American Rescue Plan, families can receive a credit totaling $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for each one under age 18 for 2021. This is up from the current credit of up to $2,000 per child under age 17. The enhanced portion of the credit will be available for single parents with annual incomes up to $75,000, heads of households earning $112,500 and joint filers making up to $150,000 a year.

The package also makes the tax credit fully refundable so that more low-income parents can take advantage of it. Until now, it has only been partially refundable -- leaving more than 20 million children unable to get the full credit because their families' incomes are too low.

Lawmakers also wanted to make it easier for parents to use the funds to cover their expenses during the year. So the law calls for sending families half the credit on a monthly basis, from July through December. They will then claim the other half on their 2021 tax returns.

Initially, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/19/politics/child-tax-credit-payment-irs-delays/index.html" target="_blank">the IRS was uncertain</a> whether it would be able to provide the credit on a monthly basis starting in July, but Commissioner Charles Rettig told lawmakers last month that <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/13/politics/stimulus-child-tax-credits-irs-july/index.html" target="_blank">the agency is on track to meet that deadline</a>.

The enhanced child tax credit alone is expected to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/11/politics/stimulus-package-poverty-child-tax-credit/index.html" target="_blank">cut child poverty</a> nearly in half. In total, the Democrats' relief package is projected to reduce the share of kids in poverty by more than half, lifting more than 5 million children out of poverty this year.

<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/26/politics/house-democrats-child-tax-credit-biden-recovery-plan/index.html" target="_blank">Democratic lawmakers</a> have been pushing the Biden administration to make the beefed up credit permanent, but <a href="https://www.cnn.com/specials/politics/joe-biden-news" target="_blank">President Joe Biden's</a> latest proposal, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/28/politics/american-families-plan/index.html" target="_blank">the American Families Plan</a>, would only continue the increased payments through 2025. The plan would make the credit fully refundable permanently.

The provision is projected to cost roughly $110 billion a year.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN's Donald Judd contributed to this report.

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Three major metro school districts ditch face coverings

Three major metro school districts ditch face coverings

JACKSON COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -- Three major metro school districts are ditching face coverings.

<a href="https://lsr7.org/news/lsr7-shares-update-on-new-jackson-county-health-department-orders/" target="_blank">Lee’s Summit is one of the districts making the change this week</a>. Blue Springs and Oak Grove schools also say masks are optional for students and staff, since Jackson County lifted the public health order.

On the other side of state line, Johnson County let its mask mandate expire, but most schools are not changing their rules.

<a href="https://www.smsd.org/about/departments/health-services/coronavirus-or-covid-19-information#:~:text=Cloth%20face%20coverings%2Fmasks%20will,staff%20who%20soil%2Fforget%20theirs" target="_blank">Shawnee Mission School District officials say they do not plan to revise their mask requirements</a>. Visitors, staff and students must wear masks. Students may take a break from wearing a mask while outside at recess or physical education.

A group of parents plan to demonstrate at Monday night’s board meeting in favor of keeping masks. They tell KCTV5 News some community members are pressuring the district to drop the requirement for the final few days of the semester. Parents say they’d like to see unvaccinated children to wear masks next fall as well, based on advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The pro-mask, pro-vaccine protest is planned for 4:30 p.m. just before the Shawnee Mission School Board meeting.

<a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/operation-strategy.html%20" target="_blank">The Centers for Disease Control recommend K-12 schools</a> continue with current COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Health professionals say it is unlikely a majority of students will be fully vaccinated by the end of the semester as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old.

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LAST CALL: Tax Day is today. Here's everything you need to know about filing your 2020 taxes

LAST CALL: Tax Day is today. Here's everything you need to know about filing your 2020 taxes

(CNN) -- Okay, last call.

Today is the official deadline for individuals to file their 2020 federal tax return, and in most instances their state tax return, too.

It's a month later than usual, thanks to the pandemic. But the filing deadline's not the only thing that's changed. Many of the upheavals over the past year have caused other changes to your taxes. Due to the Covid crisis, there are plenty of new and revised provisions and important dates you will need to know about before filing your return this year.

Here are some of the most important ones.

Why May 17?

While the original filing and payment due date was April 15, the IRS has <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/17/politics/irs-filing-deadline-may-17/index.html" target="_blank">pushed</a> the deadline to May 17 to give individual filers, tax preparers and the IRS itself more time to sort through the many changes affecting one's 2020 taxes from the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/03/15/success/2020-taxes-stimulus-rescue-plan/index.html" target="_blank">latest Covid relief package</a>. As it is, the filing season started a few weeks late this year since the IRS had its hands full administering provisions, like stimulus checks, from prior Covid relief packages.

Unless you choose to file for an extension (see question below) you must file and pay any remaining federal income taxes you owe for 2020 by May 17.

That way, you will avoid being hit with any potential late filing or late payment penalties.

But if you do miss your filing or payment deadlines, you may be eligible for <a href="https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/penalty-relief-due-to-first-time-penalty-abatement-or-other-administrative-waiver" target="_blank">first-time penalty relief</a>.

There are two exceptions to the new extended federal deadline.

The first applies to anyone who pays estimated taxes, including many small businesses. Your usual April 15 payment was still due on April 15.

The second applies to anyone living in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, who were hit hard by the February storms. The IRS extended the federal tax deadline for residents in those states to June 15.

Do I also get more time to file my state taxes then?

In most instances.

Even though the IRS extended the federal filing deadline, it was up to individual states to set their own tax deadlines.

And most have extended their filing deadlines to May 17 to align with the federal schedule. They include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Some states' filing dates differ. They are Hawaii, April 20; Iowa, June 1; Maryland, July 15; and Oklahoma June 15, although technically that only applies to tax payments, whereas returns still had to be filed by April 15.

In Louisiana, the deadline is May 17, although residents living in federally declared disaster areas due to the February winter storm have until June 15.

Do I get more time to make contributions to my IRA and Health Savings Account?

Yes. You now have until May 17 to make 2020 contributions to your IRA, Roth IRA, Health Savings Account, Archer Medical Savings Account (Archer MSA), and Coverdell Education Savings Account (Coverdell ESA).

Can I file for an extension to file my 2020 return?

Yes. You may get an automatic five-month extension to file your 2020 federal income taxes, meaning they won't be due until October 15. To do so, <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f4868--2020.pdf" target="_blank">submit your request</a> to the IRS by May 17.

But note that an extension to file is not an extension to pay what you owe. You still must pay any remaining federal taxes owed on your 2020 income by May 17, if you want to avoid a potential late payment penalty.

And if you're owed a refund, taking longer to file your taxes means you will wait longer to get your refund.

When can I expect my refund?

Typically refunds are issued within 21 calendar days of the IRS receiving your return. The fastest way for you to receive yours is to file electronically and choose direct deposit, the IRS notes.

But this year, there is an unusually large backlog of returns to be processed both from 2019 and 2020. As of April 22, there were more than 29 million returns being held for manual processing, according to National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins. So any refunds from that batch are likely to be delayed.

The IRS also has said it is taking longer to process mailed documents, such as paper tax returns, and correspondence related to one's tax return -- for instance, if the IRS requested more information or found an error in a filer's calculations.

IRS Commissioner Rettig told lawmakers on April 13 that any returns going through the agency's error resolution service are taking 10 to 14 days to process, up from the typical three to five days in a normal filing season.

To find out if your refund is being processed, you can check the IRS tool <a href="https://www.irs.gov/refunds" target="_blank">"Where's My Refund?"</a> either within 24 hours of when the agency indicates it has received your e-filed return or four weeks after you mailed in your paper return. But note the tool will not tell you if the IRS needs more information from you or when it plans to release your refund, Collins noted in a <a href="https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/news/nta-blog-2021-filing-season-bumps-in-the-road-part-1/" target="_blank">blog post</a>.

Are my stimulus payments taxable?

No. The money is tax-free.

But some people who are eligible for the money <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/politics/stimulus-checks-taxes-unemployment-benefits/index.html" target="_blank">didn't receive</a> the first two rounds of payments -- primarily those whose 2019 income was higher than their 2020 income or people who did not file tax returns for 2019 or 2018. They will be able to receive the money owed them via their federal tax return so long as they claim the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/27/success/filing-taxes-covid-relief-payments-fe-series/index.html" target="_blank">refundable Recovery Rebate Credit</a>.

That credit will reduce your income tax liability dollar-for-dollar. And to the extent the credit exceeds your tax liability, you'll get the remainder as a refund.

For more, see <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/politics/stimulus-checks-taxes-unemployment-benefits/index.html" target="_blank">here</a> and <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/27/success/filing-taxes-covid-relief-payments-fe-series/index.html" target="_blank">here</a>.

Are my unemployment benefits taxable?

Yes, but for households with modified adjusted gross income below $150,000 last year, the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits for each taxpayer in a household will be exempt from federal income tax, thanks to a provision in the latest Covid relief package signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Also, when figuring out whether you are eligible for the $10,200 exclusion, you do not have to count any income from your unemployment benefits as part of your calculations of modified AGI, according to Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax &amp; Accounting.

For anyone who filed their tax return before the latest Covid relief package went into effect in mid-March, the IRS said there is <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/31/politics/unemployment-benefits-tax-break-stimulus-package/index.html" target="_blank">no need to file an amended return</a> unless the exclusion would make you newly eligible for more tax credits and deductions that were not claimed on your original return. Otherwise, the agency said it will refigure your taxes by incorporating the $10,200 exclusion and either refund you any resulting overpayment or apply it to other taxes you owe.

Of course, if you live in a state with an income tax that also taxed unemployment compensation, you also should check your state revenue department's web site to see if your state has decided to follow the IRS and exclude the first $10,200 from state income tax as well.

Whether or not you qualify for the $10,200 exclusion, note that most unemployment compensation is <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/02/01/success/taxes-unemployment-benefits-feseries/index.html" target="_blank">treated as taxable income</a>, both by the IRS and by most states. (The exceptions are Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)

If you didn't opt to have any income tax withheld from your unemployment payments during the year, the full tax bite will be assessed when you file your return.

But if your 2020 income was very low because you didn't work for a big chunk of last year, it's unlikely you will have to cut a check to the tax man. Instead, you will see your federal and state refunds reduced by whatever income taxes you owe on your jobless benefits.

What other new pandemic-related tax changes should I know about?

Congress made a number of changes to tax benefits, such as tweaking the rules to make the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/01/27/success/filing-taxes-covid-relief-payments-fe-series/index.html" target="_blank">Earned Income Tax Credit</a> more generous, or creating new ones for individuals and small business owners to provide pandemic relief.

Small business owners who received a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/11/success/ppp-loan-program-reopens-small-business/index.html" target="_blank">tax-free, forgiven loan</a> from the Paycheck Protection Program may still deduct the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/11/success/ppp-loan-program-reopens-small-business/index.html" target="_blank">businesses expenses</a> they paid for with their loan money.

Eligible self-employed people may claim a <a href="https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/new-irs-form-available-for-self-employed-individuals-to-claim-covid-19-sick-and-family-leave-tax-credits-under-ffcra" target="_blank">new sick leave and family leave tax credit</a> that was created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

And lastly, individuals who take the standard deduction may now take a <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/12/20/success/charitable-donation-deduction-covid/index.html" target="_blank">new charitable deduction</a> even though they are not itemizing. Keep in mind, the deduction can only be taken for contributions made to an IRS-designated charitable organization known as a 501(c)(3), which would rule out many of the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/05/07/success/online-fundraisers-tax-feseries/index.html" target="_blank">online fundraisers</a> for individuals or businesses struggling during the Covid crisis.

Are there any new tax breaks for students?

Yes. The IRS has advised that if you received any pandemic-related emergency financial aid grants in 2020 you <a href="https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/higher-education-emergency-grants-frequently-asked-questions" target="_blank">do not have to include</a> that money in your gross income calculation.

Also, even if you used any part of those grants for qualified tuition and related expenses in 2020, you still may be eligible to claim a tuition and fees deduction, the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit on your return.

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Some people still need to mask up even if vaccinated. Are you one of them?

(CNN) -- The news flashed across the country -- mask-free at last!

People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer have to wear masks inside or outside, nor do they have to stay 6 feet away from others, according to <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html" target="_blank">new guidance released Thursday</a> by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Does that mean those Americans vaccinated at least two weeks ago -- meaning full immunity has kicked in -- can throw their masks in the air and hug all in celebration?

Not quite.

You do have to mask up on public transportation or if required by laws or regulations -- that would apply to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings, and even some local businesses and workplaces. Kids still have to mask up to go to school.

Then there is this warning: "If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider," the CDC said in the new guidance. "Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html" target="_blank">precautions</a>."

On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that immunocompromised people should consult with their physicians before deciding to stop wearing a mask, but others, including those at higher risk for severe COVID-19, may want to do so, as well.

For the most part, studies emerging now suggest immunocompromised people or those on medications that interrupt their immune system -- for example, people who have had organ transplants or are on chemotherapy -- may not have as much protection from COVID-19 vaccines. At least one study suggests dialysis patients also may not be as protected, she said.


There are a number of conditions that can weaken immunity.

Some diseases, like HIV/AIDS, can completely devastate the body's ability to fight infection. Organ transplant patients must take daily medications that suppress the immune system to keep it from rejecting the new organ. And chemotherapy works by killing cell growth to keep cancerous cells from multiplying, thus weakening the immune system.

"In addition to chemotherapy, certain types of immunotherapy, stem cell or bone marrow transplants, and other medicines can severely weaken the immune system," said Laura Makaroff, the senior vice president for prevention and early detection at the American Cancer Society.

People who are severely immunocompromised are told they must remain fully masked and take extra precautions to be protected from all manner of pathogens, and <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/health/mask-habit-organ-transplant-wellness/index.html" target="_blank">they wish the rest of us would mask up to protect them, too</a>.

<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/21/health/college-young-immune-compromised-covid-wellness/index.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: Our lives are in your hands</a>

Common conditions that weaken immunity

Many common diseases and conditions that affect millions of Americans can weaken the immune system, typically to lesser degrees. The body may respond listlessly to invaders, making it more vulnerable to infection and viruses such as COVID-19.

Diabetes, for example, can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7475801/" target="_blank">lower immunity</a>: There are 34.2 million people living with diabetes in the US; another 88 million have prediabetes, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html" target="_blank">according to the CDC</a>.

Not all of them have frail immune systems, but some do. One of them is Alyannah Buhman, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/21/health/college-young-immune-compromised-covid-wellness/index.html" target="_blank">who told CNN last August</a> that worry over COVID-19 left her "very on edge."

"I get sick really easily," she said. "I cannot fight off anything to save my life. I start puking everywhere. It's a terrifying thought."

<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22429824/" target="_blank">Obesity can be tied to feeble immunity</a> as well -- over 40% of Americans are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html" target="_blank">obese</a> -- as can chronic kidney disease, liver and heart disease, and old age.

When it comes to cancer, both current patients and survivors should check with their doctor before removing masks and other protection, Makaroff said.

"For people who have a weakened immune system, either from cancer itself or treatment, you may be not fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. It is important to talk with your health care provider about which precautions you still need to take," she said.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the US, but unlike cancer, "the medications used to treat heart disease, for the most part, are not immunosuppressive, and should not pose any particular risks," said American Heart Association President Dr. Mitchell Elkind.

"Patients with heart disease are at increased risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19, but they have the same benefits from vaccines as those without heart disease," Elkind said.

"We recommend that patients with heart disease who have been vaccinated, and are not immunocompromised for some other reason, follow CDC guidelines regarding wearing masks and social distancing," he said.

Because pregnant women are at higher risk for severe COVID-19, Walensky said that the CDC is encouraging them to get vaccinated, and the decision to go unmasked would be an individual one.

Autoimmune medications

Millions of Americans live with common autoimmune conditions such as "psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and lupus," said Dr. Cedric "Jamie" Rutland, a pulmonary and critical care physician.

In autoimmune disorders, the immune system goes awry, mistakenly ordering its army of warriors to attack the person's own body.

Medications often used to treat autoimmune disorders are built to suppress that overzealous immune response -- but it's not targeted. Instead, the drugs weaken the entire immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to upper respiratory and urinary tract infections, pneumonia, skin infections and, of course, COVID-19.

A few studies have also found that by dampening immune response, people who are on medications for autoimmune diseases may not "have as strong of a response to the COVID-19 vaccine," said Rutland, the medical director of the Rutland Medical Group in Newport Beach, California.

A <a href="https://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2021/05/11/annrheumdis-2021-220272#T1" target="_blank">small study of 26 people</a> with inflammatory diseases found levels of coronavirus antibodies were slightly lower in those patients compared to others, but no one was a "complete non-responder."

A <a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.05.21254656v1" target="_blank">larger study</a> of 133 people found a "three-fold reduction" in antibodies to COVID-19 compared to healthy controls, with some medications, such as glucocorticoids, worse than others. Still, the antibodies found in patients on medications were "comparable to patients with rapid recovery from COVID-19 and may, therefore, provide sufficient humoral protection," the study said. The study was a pre-print, meaning it has not been vetted by a journal for publication.

While vaccination appears to be effective, Rutland said he plays it safe with his patients: "I take them off of those (autoimmune) medications before they get vaccinated, so they can have the appropriate immune response," he said.

In the end, how do you decide if you fit into the category of "weakened immune system"? How can you know if you should think twice about joining the maskless masses?

"What we would recommend is certainly for people who have immune compromising diseases or on those medications to consult their physicians," Walensky said.

"Really, again, not everybody has to rip off their mask because our guidance changed on Thursday," she said. "So, yes, if you are concerned, please do consult your physician before you take off your mask."

CNN's Ryan Prior and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.

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Tenants at Raytown apartment complex frustrated about response after rain seeps through walls, ceilings

Tenants at Raytown apartment complex frustrated about response after rain seeps through walls, ceilings

RAYTOWN, MO (KCTV) -- Some people sleep better when it’s raining at night, but for many families in one Raytown apartment complex, that was not the case this weekend.

“I’m worried about tonight. The next few days. It’s just going to be raining here like it is outside,” Neshelle Robinson said.

Robinson lives at the Suncrest Apartments in Raytown.

Rain water has filled up multiple buckets from the ceiling in her bedroom, and the floor of the entire apartment feels like a sponge.

“I’ve been having issues for I’d say about a few months now. Every time it rains, it leaks. It just keeps building up until, actually, it just completely crashed the ceiling today,” Robinson said.

She had to move the salvageable contents of her bedroom to the dining room of the two bedroom apartment.

One soaked mattress will have to be thrown out, as well as several pairs of shoes.

Her unit is on the second floor of a three-story building. Right above her place, George Curtis is also dealing with water.

The water in Curtis’s bedroom is coming from the walls and the ceiling. It’s soaked much of his floor and he fears the ceiling may fall down due to the weight.

“For the money we are paying for it, it should be in better condition than it is,” Curtis said.

Curtis pays $795 a month for rent. Robinson pays $820, with help from a Section 8 Housing Voucher.

Neither resident could get apartment maintenance to come out on a weekend.

The Raytown Fire Department tried to get maintenance out as well with no luck.

Firefighters helped as much as they could by bringing over trash cans to collect water, turning off electricity to rooms in the home where water seeped into walls near electric outlets, and took pictures of damages inside several units.

According to a department spokesperson, Raytown’s fire marshal and city inspector will be at the apartment complex Monday to check for code violations.

The leaking ceilings and walls are plaguing at least three buildings on the property. But residents say there are many more possible code violations like exposed wires, doors falling off hinges, and clogged drain pipes.

Curtis decided to stay with a friend Sunday night, instead of sleeping in his leaky bedroom where he fears plugging in his medical equipment into the walls.

“I’m going to put my machine in the suitcase, take it with me and everything. And I shouldn’t have to carry all my health equipment around with me to have somewhere comfortable to sleep,” he said.

Meanwhile, Robinson and her three children have nowhere else to go.

“I’m just trying to live comfortable. You know? I’ll wake up and it’s just storming in this bedroom,” Robinson said. “I’m tired of it. I can’t keep living like this.”

KCTV5 attempted to reach apartment management Sunday, but did not hear back.

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Rain, high water causes issues on the road

Rain, high water causes issues on the road

The weather may have contributed to numerous crashes in the Kansas City metro area on Sunday.

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Injuries reported following crash on I-435, Donahoo Road in KCK

KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) --- At least one person was injured in a crash Sunday night in KCK.

It happened around 8:30 p.m. in the area of Interstate 435 and Donahoo Road.

It's unknown if weather was the contributing factor of the crash.

The extent of the injuries is also unknown.

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Flash Flood Warning issued for some metro cities, including KCMO, Overland Park and Olathe

Flash Flood Warning issued for some metro cities, including KCMO, Overland Park and Olathe

KANSAS CITY, MO. (KCTV) --- A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for portions of the Kansas City metro area until 12:30 a.m. on Monday.

The warning includes Kansas City, Overland Park, Shawnee, Prairie Village, Lenexa and Olathe.

Areas on the Kansas side of the metro have already seen over an inch of rain.

Localized flash flooding will be the biggest threat from additional storms that arrive on Sunday.

Gusty winds and small hail cannot be ruled out.

6:05PM-NWS in Pleasant Hill issued a Flood Advisory for portions of the metro and communities to the southwest. We could see anywhere between 0.5-1&quot; of additional rain through this evening. Let us know if you're seeing any flooding in your area. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StormTrack5?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StormTrack5</a> <a href="https://t.co/kLcigd2IlK">pic.twitter.com/kLcigd2IlK</a>&mdash; Alena Lee (@AlenaKCTV5) <a href="https://twitter.com/AlenaKCTV5/status/1394067096137576449?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 16, 2021</a>

5PM-Here's a quick glance at some rainfall totals since midnight. Localized flash flooding will be the biggest threat from additional storms headed our way tonight. Any stronger storm could produce gusty wind or small hail as well. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StormTrack5?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StormTrack5</a> <a href="https://t.co/McN5ehp1sN">pic.twitter.com/McN5ehp1sN</a>&mdash; Alena Lee (@AlenaKCTV5) <a href="https://twitter.com/AlenaKCTV5/status/1394050194711396353?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 16, 2021</a>

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KU students help build tiny homes for homeless families in Lawrence

KU students help build tiny homes for homeless families in Lawrence

DOUGLAS COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- Despite it being such a different year, many of students at the University of Kansas were able to accomplish incredible things.

That includes some students within the School of Architecture, who spent the last twelve months making homes for those in need.

The sound of ribbon being cut was a sound many of the KU architecture students were waiting to hear, the sound of a project completed.

“It’s pretty surreal,” says architecture student Brennen Hall.

The students, in partnership with the Lawrence Community Shelter, converted 12 storage containers into homes for homeless families.

“In the closing weeks everything kind of looked the same but seeing it come to life and so many people here enjoying the space that’s what it is all about,” says Hall.

Right now, the Lawrence Community Shelter houses 45 single adults.

Due to COVID, and the difficulty of social distancing they stopped sheltering families, the city moved them into permanent housing and would periodically put them up in hotels.

“That’s really expensive it’s far away it’s hard to support families from a hotel,” says Renee Kuhl the Executive Director of the Lawrence Community Shelter.

This new project will allow them to serve six to 12 families, right in the backyard of the shelter.

Starting next month, families in need will start to move in.

“At all different places in our community people really care about ending homelessness. People really want to see people experiencing homelessness in Lawrence treated with dignity and respect,” says Kuhl.

As for the KU students, they hope what is happening to help the homeless in Lawrence can jump start a movement that goes beyond the city limits.

“I know the project does way more than I can ever speak on. I hope the ripple effect of what we are doing here can spread further away from Lawrence,” says Hall.

They build one single family home and sell it on the market, but they decided to do this instead.

An incredible group of students that will also be graduating on Sunday.

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Authorities identify Johnson County crash victim as 28-year-old man

FAIRWAY, KS. (KCTV) --- Authorities have identified the driver killed as 28-year-old David Lawrence Hutchinson.



Johnson County Sherriff Department says that due to excessive speeds the driver hit a tree on the side of the road that caused the car to split in half.

JOCO Update <a href="https://twitter.com/JOCOSHERIFF/status/1393891692470734851" target="_blank">Tweet</a>

FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- Police have responded to fatal crash at Shawnee Mission Parkway and W. 55th street early Sunday morning.

WB Shawnee Mission Parkway is closed at W 55th St. Deputies will be clearing the scene in 1-2 hours.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash and the identity of the victim is unknown at this time. Johnson County Sheriff Department tweeted this statement at 6:24 a.m.:

<a href="https://twitter.com/JOCOSHERIFF/status/1393891400358539269" target="_blank">JOCO Sheriff's tweet</a>

This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates from KCTV5.

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1 dead, 1 in custody after shooting in Raytown

RAYTOWN, MO (KCTV) -- Around 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Raytown police responded to shots fired where they found the male victim.

Officers were dispatched to the 6800 block of Hawthorne. When they arrived they found a man who appeared to have been shot inside a vehicle. The man was declared dead at the scene.

Another man has been taken into custody at the scene.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Tips Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477)

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Police: Suspect in Leavenworth fatal shooting surrenders

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- The Leavenworth Police Department says they made an arrest in a murder case this week.

The suspect is accused of murdering Floyd Ross Jr. Police say they looked for the suspect throughout the week.

He surrendered to police at 4 p.m. on Friday. His identity was not released.

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Target joins Walmart, Trader Joe's and Costco in allowing vaccinated customers to not wear masks in stores

(CNN) -- Shoppers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 can shop without masks in some Walmart, Sam's Club and Costco locations as well as at Trader Joe's and Target, the companies said in separate announcements.

The news follows <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/13/health/cdc-mask-guidance-vaccinated/index.html" target="_blank">new guidance</a> that fully vaccinated people can go without masks under most circumstances.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except when in healthcare settings, on public transportation, or in other areas where governments require masks. People will still need to follow workplace and local businesses' mask guidance, the CDC said.

Friday afternoon, Walmart executives sent out a letter to Walmart and Sam's Club stores as well as supply chain facilities encouraging employees to get vaccinated. The letter noted that as of Friday, "vaccinated customers and members are welcome to shop without a mask," while unvaccinated shoppers are asked to keep wearing masks in stores.

Walmart did not clarify whether customers will need to show proof of vaccination to enter the store without a mask.

Employees who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to work without masks starting May 18, the letter said, adding that some workers may have to continue to wear masks for health or sanitation reasons.

The letter added that "masks will also continue to be required by some city and state ordinances, and we will follow those requirements."

At Costco, vaccinated customers can shop without masks in US locations where there are no state or local mask mandates.

"We will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield," in those areas, the company said in a message posted to its website Friday. "Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield."

Costco won't require proof that customers have been vaccinated. Instead, the message said, "we ask for members' responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy."

All customers will still have to wear face coverings in Costco's pharmacy and other healthcare settings, the company specified. They will also have to wear them if the are in stores in locations where there are mask mandates.

At Trader Joe's, "we encourage customers to follow the guidance of health officials, including, as appropriate, CDC guidelines that advise customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks while shopping," the grocery chain said in a statement on its website Friday.

Trader Joe's is keeping many of its pandemic policies in place, such as wellness checks for employees and spacing people out within its stores, according to the company's statement. The grocery chain will not request or require proof of vaccination from its customers, Trader Joe's spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel told CNN Business in an email. She noted that employees still have to wear masks at this time.

Other retailers are leaving their policies unchanged for now. For example, Walgreens has decided to keep its mask policy in place after taking some time to review its requirements, according to spokesperson Emily Mekstan.

Target released a statement on Monday, saying they, too, are allowing fully-vaccinated customers to forego their masks <a href="https://corporate.target.com/about/purpose-history/our-commitments/target-coronavirus-hub" target="_blank">while shopping in its stores.</a>

"As a destination for COVID vaccine and testing, we have decided to keep our current face covering policy in place for the time being," Mekstan told CNN Business in an email Friday.

On its COVID-19 FAQ site, last updated on May 6, the company said "customers are required to wear face covers before entering the store except where doing so would inhibit the individual's health or where the individual is under 2 years of age." Kroger and others are still requiring customers to wear masks in stores.

Unions representing grocery store workers and retail workers <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/13/business/masks-grocery-stores-retail-restaurants/index.html" target="_blank">said</a> Thursday stores should continue requiring customers to wear masks to protect workers. Marc Perrone, president of United Food and Commercial Workers' union, called the CDC guidance "confusing," adding that it "fails to consider how it will impact essential workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks."

Lisa LaBruno, senior executive vice president at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said on Thursday the guidance "creates ambiguity" for retailers because the national guidance may be out of step with local orders.

"These conflicting positions put retailers and their employees in incredibly difficult situations," she said.

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Governor Parson drops plans for Medicaid expansion in Missouri

Governor Parson drops plans for Medicaid expansion in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KCTV) — Missouri voters wanted it, but on Thursday, Governor Mike Parson dropped plans to expand Medicaid.

The governor has withdrawn the Medicaid plan that had been submitted to federal officials. He said he withdrew the plant because state lawmakers did not approve funding for the expansion.

“Since the ballot initiative was not self-funding and the General Assembly declined to appropriate funds, the executive branch lacks authority to proceed with MO HealthNet expansion at this time,” said Parson.

The expansion was to have taken effect July 1. It would have provided Medicaid coverage to 250.00-300,000 Missourians. The federal government would have picked up 90% of the cost for those who qualified and the state would pay the remaining 10%. But lawmakers didn’t budget that 10%.

“The voters did the work to make it happen,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I think Governor Parson needs to actually find other budget approaches to make it happen if the legislature will not do its job.”

Today’s action does not end the Medicaid debate in Missouri. Supporters will likely file suit challenging the actions of the legislature and governor.

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