KCTV 5 Popular Stories

Woman arrested in pedestrian hit-and-run in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Police say a woman was arrested shortly after hitting a pedestrian and leaving the scene late Monday night in Kansas City, MO.

Police and emergency crews responded at 11:22 p.m. to Independence Avenue, west of Montgall Avenue, in reference to a collision involving a pedestrian. Investigators said a Honda sedan heading west on Independence Avenue struck a 40-year-old man as he was crossing the road.

After briefly stopping, the 28-year-old woman driving the vehicle drove off, but was stopped by officers on Interstate 35 near Charlotte Street shortly afterward, according to the Kansas City Police Department.

The woman was taken into custody, and police are investigating whether she was impaired at the time.

The pedestrian was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was most recently listed as serious but stable, according to police.

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Moderna CEO expects "material drop" in vaccine's effectiveness against Omicron variant: "This is not going to be good."

(KCTV) -- As world health officials turn their concern and attention toward a new coronavirus variant, Moderna's CEO says he expects "a material drop" in the effectiveness of the company's vaccine against Omicron.

<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/27def1b9-b9c8-47a5-8e06-72e432e0838f" target="_blank">A Financial Times interview with Chief Executive Stephane Bancel</a> went live Tuesday morning, in which Bancel said, "There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level...we had with Delta."

Bancel went on, "I think it's going to be a material drop. I just don't know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I've talked to...are like, this is not going to be good."

The Omicron variant was discovered last week in South Africa, where scientists have extensive genomic sequencing abilities. The new mutation has been identified by the World Health Organization as a "variant of concern," and has been detected in South Africa, Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Canada.

A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a new strain said that anecdotally, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/26/health/omicron-variant-what-we-know/index.html" target="_blank">she's seen symptoms from Omicron as very mild</a>.

Scientists across the world, including in Missouri, <a href="https://www.kctv5.com/coronavirus/missouri-scientists-testing-wastewater-samples-for-omicron-variant/article_fe975a92-5174-11ec-806f-6f4917cc9043.html?block_id=991162" target="_blank">are testing and re-testing wastewater</a> to determine if they can detect the Omicron variant already circulating within the population.

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Amazon still offering up big bonuses to Kansas Citians as they rush to deliver packages by Christmas

Amazon still offering up big bonuses to Kansas Citians as they rush to deliver packages by Christmas

KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, but the rush has just begun to now get a lot of those items to their recipients by Christmas.

Amazon locations in Kansas City are ramping up their efforts by looking for more hands on deck, hiring more people for seasonal, full-time and part-time work. And in the metro, those jobs are coming at between $17 and $21 an hour, with a sign-on bonus between $1,000 and $3,000.

<a href="https://hiring.amazon.com/locations/kansas-city-jobs#/" target="_blank">Click here to see jobs available</a> in the Kansas City area.

Reporter Taylor Johnson was live Tuesday morning at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Kansas City, KS, with a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get all those packages out in time for the holidays:

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Locally owned KC businesses jolly about holiday sales

Locally owned KC businesses jolly about holiday sales

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Nationwide, Black Friday shopping sales numbers for 2021 failed to improve to pre-pandemic levels. In Kansas City, we found the opposite when surveying some small, local businesses in Brookside.

All three business owners said 2021 was better than both 2020 and 2019.

Lori Block has owned Corner Candleshop for 18 years now. She said the sales figures for Small Business Saturday 2021 were the highest of any other year.

“People are wanting to shop local,” she said.

She noted that the local gift shops embrace a nostalgic notion of personal touches. She forages for vintage glassware and turns them into scented candles in the back of the store.

Like others, she thinks the experience of living through the pandemic may be part of the reason for the recent boost.

“They’ve witnessed so many stores closing,” she said.

At Brookside Toy and Science, which has been in Brookside since the 1960s, no one is rushing in to get the latest video game and console. Owner Holly Pollard showed us several of her favorite offerings, including educational STEM toys like a build-it-yourself robotic hedgehog and small batch offerings like

KC-themed jigsaw puzzles produced by a local company using photos, paintings and illustrations from local artists.

Pollard hasn’t crunched the Small Business Saturday numbers yet but said October figures for 2021 were better than both 2020 and 2019. For that matter, holiday season 2020 sales were better than holiday season 2019.

“It looks like it’s up significantly to other years,” Pollard said.

She speculated that the stay-at-home mindset of early 2020 has played a role.

“There was a lot of stuck at home and really thinking about what does your neighborhood look like and what can you do about it?” Pollard said.

At A Store Called Stuff just a few doors down, some of the top sellers are COVID-themed. They have glass ornaments featuring vintage-style Santas, one wearing a mask, another rolling up his sleeve to show a glittery, gold Band-Aid. Co-owner Sloane Simmons calls them masked Santa and vaccinated Santa. She and her co-owner sister said they’ve seen a similar trend with 2021 holiday sales exceeding not just 2020’s but also 2019’s.

They said customers have told them the pandemic has changed their values system in some ways.

“I think the pandemic, 2020, really let people revalue what they want in their lives, how they want to shop, who they want to support, and more importantly, who they want to have in business when this pandemic ends,” Simmons said.

Pryde’s kitchen and necessities in Westport was bustling when KCTV5 visited on Small Business Saturday. Owner Louise Myers estimated 20 percent more traffic compared to the same weekend last year. She didn’t have a comparison to pre-pandemic.

“I think people were excited to be out shopping normally and were very intentional about mentioning their support for Pryde’s,” Myers said.

Block said the support is something they don’t take for granted.

“With each purchase and each sale [on Saturday], we just had an intimate little thank you with them,” Block said, “because we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our local customers and our loyal customers that shop here over and over.”

Simmons was likewise grateful for the support but had a reminder that holiday shopping alone is not enough to keep a small business alive. She said comparing one shopping weekend year-over-year may show success, but they took a big hit during the early months of 2020 and still have some catching up to do.

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KC Freedom Project holds rally outside Missouri Attorney General’s Kansas City office

KC Freedom Project holds rally outside Missouri Attorney General’s Kansas City office

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Members of the KC Freedom Project say the Missouri Attorney General’s duty is “to seek justice, not to defend prior convictions.”

The group held a rally Monday outside of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office in Kansas City.

“It is wrong for the Missouri Attorney General to uphold wrongful convictions when evidence of innocence exists,” KC Freedom Project founder Lathara Smith said. “Innocence in Missouri is not enough.”

Relatives who are fighting to prove a family member’s innocence joined the rally Monday, including Cliff Middleton, whose father Ken Middleton was convicted of shooting and killing his wife Kathy Middleton in 1990.

“My father's wrongful conviction 30 years ago is why I'm here unfortunately,” Cliff Middleton said.

Ken Middleton was the focus of several KCTV5 News investigations.

“What we're trying to bring awareness to is that procedural issues should not take precedence over innocence. Innocence should always matter first,” Cliff Middleton said. “I think with this new law being in place, with Jean Peters Baker being able to take a case back into court, where it can be heard with no procedural issues, you get to have all the facts put forward.”

Supporters who attended the rally said they are hopeful a new Missouri law will be used by prosecutors to exonerate innocent people.

“I want my son home so bad. It's been so many years.” Nathan Hawkins’s mother Betty Mayfield said. “He went when he was 18-years-old. He's 41 years old now. So, we lost all that time. It’s time that we can't get back.”

Mayfield is also hopeful for a new evidentiary hearing for her son.

“We have some new evidence that is leading to self-defense like he said from day one,” Mayfield said.

Under the new Missouri law, prosecutors have the authority to ask for a hearing if they have new evidence that a person may have been wrongfully convicted. The law was used for the first time to release Kevin Strickland.

“I believe that's a game changer for wrongful convictions,” Cliff Middleton said.

A spokesperson for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt declined to comment on Monday’s rally in Kansas City. Following a judge’s ruling to release Strickland, Schmitt’s office released a statement that said, “In this case, we defended the rule of law and the decision that a jury of Mr. Strickland’s peers made after hearing all of the facts in the case. The Court has spoken, no further action will be taken in this matter.”

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Prosecutors ask US Supreme Court to review Bill Cosby's overturned sexual assault conviction

(CNN) -- Prosecutors in Pennsylvania <a href="https://www.montcopa.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/5484" target="_blank">announced Monday</a> they're appealing a court ruling in the case against Bill Cosby to the US Supreme Court, arguing that a statement from a previous district attorney that they would not file charges against Cosby does not mean that charges would never be filed.

The Montgomery County district attorney, who led the high-profile court case against Cosby for sexually assaulting <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/25/us/andrea-constand-bill-cosby-victim-statement-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">Andrea Constand</a>, said in a news release that the main question of the appeal is the 14th Amendment and the right to due process.

"The question presented to the Court is: 'Where a prosecutor publicly announces that he will not file criminal charges based on lack of evidence, does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment transform that announcement into a binding promise that no charges will ever be filed, a promise that the target may rely on as if it were a grant of immunity?' " the release states.

As the decision stands now, it could have "far-reaching negative consequences" across the country, District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement.

"Petitioning to ask the High Court for review was the right thing to do because of the precedent set in this case by the majority opinion of Pennsylvania Supreme Court that prosecutors' statements in press releases now seemingly create immunity," Steele said. "The U.S. Supreme Court can right what we believe is a grievous wrong."

Cosby was convicted of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 for <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/25/us/bill-cosby-sentence-assault/index.html" target="_blank">drugging and sexually assaulting</a> Constand in his Pennsylvania home in 2004. He was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in a state prison. The case marked the first high-profile celebrity criminal trial of the #MeToo era.

He was <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/us/bill-cosby-to-be-released/index.html" target="_blank">released from prison in June</a> after the state's Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction on the grounds that his due process rights had been violated. The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court justices said in their opinion that a former Montgomery County district attorney's decision to not prosecute Cosby in 2005 in return for his deposition in a civil case was ultimately used against him at trial.

Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt lambasted the appeal, saying that the district attorney's office is "unwilling to accept its epic loss."

"There is no merit to the DA's request which centers on the unique facts of the Cosby case and has no impact on important federal questions of law," Wyatt said. "This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail. The Montgomery's County's DA's fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least."

The petition has not yet been officially received by the US Supreme Court.

The-CNN-Wire™ &amp; © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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States, cities running out of rental assistance monies

Several large states and cities have exhausted their federal rental assistance, the Treasury Department said Monday, in a sign that spending on a massive program aimed at averting evictions has picked up speed.

The federal government is forecasting that upwards of $30 billion or about two-thirds of money allocated for rental assistance will be disbursed or allocated by the end of the year. That is a dramatic change from this summer when housing advocates were complaining about the <a href="https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-68d5f61397c203fb9bd023f10671ee18" target="&mdash;blank">slow pace</a> of distribution.

But with the improved outcome of the $46.5 billion program has come concerns that some tenants will not get help. The first tranche of emergency rental assistance funds, known as ERA1, is for $25 billion and the second, known as ERA2 and meant to be spent over a longer period of time, is $21.5 billion.

Texas has stopped accepting new applicants because it has allocated all its funds, while Oregon has stopped taking new applicants for now, the Treasury Department said. The state of New York has spent or committed nearly all of its money, as has Philadelphia. California has indicated it will soon exhaust its funds, while Atlanta has closed its program to new applicants.

More than 100 other state and local entities have indicated they have gone through almost all their ERA1 money and are beginning to spend down their ERA2 funds, Treasury said.

"There is a lot of work still to do to get funds out in a timely way to prevent avoidable evictions, but we are in a new phase." Gene Sperling, who is charged with overseeing implementation of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, said in an email interview.

“We now have the three largest states and many cities saying they have run through or will soon run through all of their ERA funds,” he continued. “Treasury is using the reallocation process to spur weak performers to up their game and to get more funds into the hands of those who can help the most vulnerable the fastest.”

Texas officials said its program had disbursed $1.5 billion and another $109 million was in the process of being paid. Over 263,000 households have gotten the funds, and another 21,000 have payments that are on the way.

“We have not received word of any additional funds being sent to us for distribution but we have asked Treasury for funds that may be redistributed from those that were not disbursed through other state, county or city programs,” Kristina Tirloni, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, said in an email.

The Oregon Housing and Community Services announced earlier this month that nearly all the $289 million in federal emergency rental assistance has been committed.

During a recent Senate Interim Committee On Housing and Development, Margaret Salazar, the director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, said that the “harsh reality” is that Oregon “just did not get enough resources to meet the needs” of the state to respond to the immediate crisis.

Although officials say that all the rental assistance has been requested, a significant chunk of the funds — $159 million — has yet to actually reach renters. The state has received nearly 51,000 complete applications for rental assistance but so far, just 43% of those who have applied have received funding.

<a href="https://apnews.com/article/health-new-york-c364f519ddf0b00074d6dca8bf47b227" target="&mdash;blank">New York</a> has spent or committed $2 billion out of $2.4 billion after spending almost only $200 million through August.

But it also faces a challenge of getting money into the hands of tenants, with nearly $1 billion still held up over missing paper work. One big problem is that the state is having trouble matching applications submitted by tenants with the landlords who own the property.

Congress has authorized $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance in a bid to thwart what was expected to be a wave of pandemic-related evictions.

The initial rollout of the federal program was plagued by slow disbursement, with administration officials publicly blaming state and municipal partners for bottlenecking the process with excessive bureaucracy often aimed at preventing fraud.

The more recent problem has been some parts of the country expending all their money while others, especially in parts of the South, are lagging behind.

“While the overall rate of spending emergency rental assistance has improved, many programs are still too slow in getting assistance to tenants in need,” Diane Yentel, CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a statement. “Most slow spenders and poor performers are needlessly delayed by their refusal to use flexibilities and best practices to expedite assistance."

Treasury announced in October that it would soon start <a href="https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-c0dd5262f04c3478c736acc41f63e640" target="&mdash;blank">reallocating unspent money.</a>

Those entities that have not obligated 65% of their ERA1 money or are found to have an expenditure ratio below 30% as of Sept. 30 based on a Treasury formula will face having the money reallocated. Grantees can avoid losing the money if they submit a plan by Nov. 15 showing how they will improve distribution or are able to get their distribution numbers above the 65% or 30% threshold.

There will also be the option of entities voluntary returning the money, with the goal that it could be redistributed to the same state, territory or tribal area. Treasury officials have not identified any places that could lose money.

———

Associated Press writers Jamie Stengle in Dallas and Sara Cline in Portland, Oregon, contributed to this report.

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FORECAST: Above average week ahead with the possibility for a new high temp on Thursday

FORECAST: Above average week ahead with the possibility for a new high temp on Thursday

Enjoy a mild evening under clear skies with temperatures in the 50s until near midnight. A weak cold front will turn our winds to the north overnight as area temperatures slip to near 40 degrees by daybreak. Expect passing clouds on Tuesday while a gentle but steady north wind holds temperatures in the middle 50s. Wednesday is expected to be a mild day as highs soar into the middle 60s followed by possible record-breaking heat Thursday as highs climb to near 71 degrees. The current record for December 2nd is 70 set in 1956 - 65 years ago!

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Page: St. Louis County hopes to spend Rams settlement money on something that makes difference to residents

Page: St. Louis County hopes to spend Rams settlement money on something that makes difference to residents

CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) - St. Louis County Executive Sam Page says he hopes money from the settlement with the NFL and Rams will be spent on something that makes a meaningful difference to St. Louis County residents.

St. Louis County, St. Louis City and the Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVC) agreed to a $790 million settlement with the Rams and NFL on Wednesday. The three entities had sued the NFL and Rams over the team's move to Los Angeles, alleging the league did not follow its own relocation rules, and accusing the Rams and NFL of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tDKBeWph40" target="_blank">lying about what their intentions were.</a>

About $514 million will go to St. Louis City, County and the CVC. City and County leaders say they are soon going to start having conversations about how the settlement money will be divided.

"We'll find a path forward that's fair to all defendants and put this money to work in St. Louis County in a way that impacts people the most. Its way too early to say what that's gonna be, but we do have to listen a bit to what people have to say," Page said Monday.

The Rams and NFL have until Christmas Eve to deliver the settlement money. There is reportedly division inside the NFL about who supposed to pay; Rams owner Stan Kroenke signed an indemnification agreement shortly before the move was approved, reportedly agreeing to cover costs of litigation if St. Louis sued. According to reports, however, Kroenke told other owners he should pick up the entire tab.

Page adds he believes the funds will not be used to stabilize the budget.

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KCTV5 News Update: November 29, 2021

KCTV5 News Update: November 29, 2021

Kansas State Rep. Aaron Coleman arrested on suspicion of DUI

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KC Freedom Project rally for the innocent

KC Freedom Project rally for the innocent

The KC Freedom Project rallied outside of Attorney General Eric Schmidt's office in KCMO

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Missouri scientists testing wastewater samples for Omicron variant

Missouri scientists testing wastewater samples for Omicron variant

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Health officials and leaders across the world are monitoring the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

The variant, first identified by South African scientists, is believed to be potentially more transmissible which has led to a wave of travel restrictions across the globe.

In the Kansas City metro, researchers are monitoring and testing wastewater for Omicron.

Early in the pandemic, researchers in Missouri launched a wastewater program to detect viral load in water samples and identify hotspots, as well as new mutations. Currently, water samples are collected at nearly 100 sites across the state every week, some locations twice a week. The tests allow health officials to get an idea of virus spread in the community days before people test positive for COVID-19.

Marc Johnson is a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia participating in the wastewater program. He says recent samples have shown the virus in the community is rising, but no signs of Omicron, yet.

“If this one appears in Missouri, it will stick out like a sore thumb,” Johnson explained as he mentioned the mutation this new variant has compared to Delta and others.

Johnson says while much is unknown about Omicron, its severity, transmissibility, spread, etc., he says it still appears vaccinated individuals are better protected than those who are not.

Jeff Wenzel works in epidemiology at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. He says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reached out to all states to ask where more wastewater testing can be conducted. Health officials in Missouri came up with a few sites, but the CDC will ultimately determine where they’ll establish more testing in coming weeks.

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Researchers monitoring wastewater samples across the metro for Omicron variant

Researchers monitoring wastewater samples across the metro for Omicron variant

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Health officials and leaders across the world are monitoring the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

The variant, first identified by South African scientists, is believed to be potentially more transmissible which has led to a wave of travel restrictions across the globe.

In the Kansas City metro, researchers are monitoring and testing wastewater for Omicron.

Early in the pandemic, researchers in Missouri launched a wastewater program to detect viral load in water samples and identify hotspots, as well as new mutations. Currently, water samples are collected at nearly 100 sites across the state every week, some locations twice a week. The tests allow health officials to get an idea of virus spread in the community days before people test positive for COVID-19.

Marc Johnson is a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia participating in the wastewater program. He says recent samples have shown the virus in the community is rising, but no signs of Omicron, yet.

“If this one appears in Missouri, it will stick out like a sore thumb,” Johnson explained as he mentioned the mutation this new variant has compared to Delta and others.

Johnson says while much is unknown about Omicron, its severity, transmissibility, spread, etc., he says it still appears vaccinated individuals are better protected than those who are not.

Jeff Wenzel works in epidemiology at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. He says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reached out to all states to ask where more wastewater testing can be conducted. Health officials in Missouri came up with a few sites, but the CDC will ultimately determine where they’ll establish more testing in coming weeks.

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Kansas house democrats file second complaint against Aaron Coleman

Kansas house democrats file second complaint against Aaron Coleman

WYANDOTTE COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- Democratic state representative Aaron Coleman is facing possible expulsion from the Kansas Legislature.

Six women in the legislature filed a complaint this afternoon against Coleman.

This comes after police arrested the 21-year-old over the weekend for suspicion of driving under the influence.

The complaint reads in part:

“This behavior puts state employees, legislators, and visitors to the Capitol at risk and makes it unsafe for him to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives.”

Legislators say Coleman’s latest arrest is cause for concern over his physical and mental health.

“We’re seeing someone who is struggling with mental health issues," said Kansas district 86 representative Stephanie Byers. “Knowing that stepping down from the legislature would give them the space to seek professional help and be able to work on those issues.”

In January of this year the Kansas House Select Investigating Committee dismissed a complaint against Coleman. He was accused of abusive behavior.

The committee gave him a letter of reprimand, but didn’t expel him.

“I don’t necessarily think it was a failure of the system,” Byers said. “I think the system did what it’s intended to do, but I do believe that it didn’t go far enough and we’re seeing the end results of that right now.”

The legislature is currently adjourned but will reconvene in January.

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Market for used and refurbished electronics flourishes amid production delays and shortages

Market for used and refurbished electronics flourishes amid production delays and shortages

MISSION, KS (KCTV) -- A new phone, video game console or laptop may be harder to find in time for Christmas due to supply shortages and production delays.

In October, <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/iphone-13-apple-chips-shortage-hitting-pre-holiday-production-report/" target="_blank">CBS News reported that Apple may fall short of its production goals</a> for the year because of chip manufacturing issues, for example.

As prices increase and stock dwindles, local businesses that specialize in reselling used or refurbished devices are thriving.

Johnathon Vonags, the owner of <a href="http://directcomputeroutlet.com/" target="_blank">Direct Computer Outlet in Mission</a>, said his store's 2021 sales increased from last year. He said part of the reason is pent up demand from the pandemic.

But he believes the market for new laptops and tablets has been a major factor.

"It's hard to find the new stuff and when you do it's marked up," Vonags said.

Another alternative for consumers would be phone repair.

Ryan Olson owns <a href="http://missionrepairkc.net/?utm_source=gmb&amp;utm_medium=referral" target="_blank">Mission Repair KC</a>, just down the street on Johnson Drive.

He said he's seen more customers bringing in their cracked screens and other fix-it projects to avoid paying a premium for a new device.

"Save what you have," he recommended. "The new iPhones are same old same old. You're just buying a camera."

Olson has also noticed that customers often want to repair their phones to trade in or resell.

That market has been growing during the pandemic, too.

<a href="https://swappa.com/" target="_blank">Swappa, a reselling service based in Kansas City</a>, offers a way to trade up for a newer device.

Sara Beane, a spokesperson for the company, said she believes customers are looking for alternatives to new devices. She noted that many Swappa buyers want to purchase phones quickly, instead of waiting for a newer model to ship.

"People are having to really rethink how they're buying this year," she said. "I think a lot of people would be surprised that they can find something that's basically brand new."

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Pfizer expected to seek FDA authorization for boosters for those ages 16 and 17

(CNN) -- Pfizer is expected to seek authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for its vaccine booster shot for those who are ages 16 and 17, a source familiar with the plan told CNN on Monday.

Currently only those 18 and up are eligible for booster shots six months after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Pfizer didn't immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

The development comes as scientists in the US and around the world are racing to learn more about a new coronavirus variant called Omicron. President Joe Biden <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/29/politics/omicron-variant-covid-19-joe-biden/index.html" target="_blank">urged Americans earlier Monday not to panic</a> over the new variant, and encouraged those who have not yet gotten a booster but are eligible to do so.

Biden had hoped to have boosters made widely available months ago, but emergency booster authorization ultimately didn't happen until October, and widespread booster shots have not been available until this month. Asked on Monday if making boosters available to everyone sooner could have helped with the current dynamic, press secretary Jen Psaki referred the question to medical experts.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire™ &amp; © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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KCPD investigating shooting in south Kansas City

KCPD investigating shooting in south Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A shooting in south Kansas City has left one person injured.

Police were called to the area of 8700 Chestnut Circle around 3:30 Monday afternoon. When they arrived, police found evidence of a crime scene, but no victim was found.

Later, it was discovered the victim was self transported to the hospital and advised he had been shot at the incident. Police say the victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.

No other information has been released by police.

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One person in critical condition after shooting in KCMO

One person in critical condition after shooting in KCMO

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A shooting in south Kansas City has left one person with life-threatening injuries.

Police were called to the area of 8700 Chestnut Circle around 3:30 Monday afternoon. A person at the scene was stated to be in critical condition.

No other information has been released by police.

KCTV5 has a crew heading to the scene. We will continue to update this story as more information is released.

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Kansas City man sentenced for carjacking and illegal firearm

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A Kansas City man was sentenced in federal court Monday in two different cases involving an illegal firearm and theft.

Abdul Williams, 21, will spend 15 years and 11 months in federal prison without parole for robbery and using a firearm.

According to the court, Williams was involved in a carjacking incident where he and two other individuals stole a car and used the victim's debit card to withdraw $500 from an ATM in September of 2020. Williams pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence.

In a separate case, Williams pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

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Cost of the '12 Days of Christmas' gifts jumped 5.7% since 2019

(CNN) -- It's going to cost more to spoil your True Love this year, according to <a href="https://www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com/" target="_blank">PNC's 38th annual Christmas Price Index</a>.

The index measures how much it will cost to purchase gifts from the classic holiday song, "The 12 Days of Christmas" — a holiday twist on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index. After a bah-humbug economic year in 2020, the cost of purchasing those twelve presents increased 5.7% from 2019, to $41,205.58.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic's regular CPI stands at 6.2%, well above the Federal Reserve's inflation target of 2%. The Christmas Price Index used data from 2019 to calculate inflation because the pandemic made 2020 difficult to measure.

"It's interesting that our specialty gift basket of goods and services is relatively in line with these elevated price levels," said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group.

The largest price increases were for exotic pets -- specifically Six Geese-a-Laying, which jumped 57%, Two Turtle Doves, up 50%, and Three French Hens, which climbed 40%. Higher food and labor expenses drove up the cost of raising birds.

Gold prices are also up, pushing the cost of five golden rings 8.5% higher to $895.

The most expensive item on the list is Seven Swans-A-Swimming, which cost a hefty $13,125, about the same as in 2019. Live performances are back, and so are the Nine Ladies Dancing -- their price has also held steady at $7,552.84. But prepare to pay more for the Eleven Pipers Piping and Twelve Drummers Drumming.

Those feeling especially extravagant this year will have to fork over $179,454 to purchase the gifts for each time they are mentioned in the famously repetitive song.

And anyone who shops online for the 12 Days of Christmas gifts will have to fork over an additional $4,394 for <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2021/11/24/business/china-shipping-data-mic-intl-hnk/index.html" target="_blank">travel and shipping costs</a>.

"Consumer behavior is the drumbeat for the US economy," Agati said. "With 70% of US GDP tied to consumption, consumer health is key to future market performance. Keep an eye on retail sales, savings rates and consumer sentiment as indicators of the success of this holiday season."

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