Kansas news

More than a quarter of the 29,000 provisional ballots in Kansas were rejected in the 2018 general election because of various errors, leaving 7,692 voters out of the democratic process.

Provisional ballots are supposed to be a fail-safe, protecting voters from disenfranchisement due to an administrative error or other problems.

WICHITA, Kansas — The state’s largest utility wants to charge customers with solar panels about $25 a month, even if their homes pull almost no electricity off the grid.

If courts and regulators reject that idea, power-provider Evergy’s backup proposal would charge all customers — not just those harvesting power on their roofs — a minimum of $35 a month just for plugging into its system.

KU Med Resumes Clinical Trials For COVID-19 Vaccine

Oct 30, 2020

The University of Kansas Medical Center has resumed Phase III clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine that was halted last month after an enrollee in the United Kingdom developed an adverse reaction.

“We literally just got released by the FDA on Friday and then yesterday we got released from the IRB [Institutional Review Board], so we couldn’t start actually enrolling until today,” said Dr. Mario Castro, vice chair for clinical and translational research at KU Med and a co-principal investigator for the local trials.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are near all-time highs in the Kansas City area, and local hospital leaders say admissions are being pushed over the top by patients coming from rural areas.

Official data from Missouri shows that hospitals still have plenty of room, but doctors and nurses say their facilities have been reaching capacity, forcing hospitals to turn patients away in some cases.

Health officials say the availability of health care for people in the Kansas City area is now being threatened by this influx of patient from communities that lack mask mandates.

WICHITA, Kansas — Amid a surge of coronavirus cases across rural Kansas, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly provided details on her new statewide testing plan Wednesday, adding 400,000 more by the end of the year.

That's nearly double the amount of tests available now, with the goal of reaching a total of 1 million tests. The extra capacity is expected to go to schools and high-risk populations, like those living and working at nursing homes.

LENEXA, Kansas — For months, the people at a Johnson County lab found themselves consumed, running an endless parade of tests on human spit.

The feds hadn’t yet OK’d a single saliva test for COVID-19, but the scientists at Clinical Reference Laboratory were sure they could design something that worked.

Wichita City Council members voted Tuesday to formally denounce one of their colleagues and two other elected officials accused of putting together a false attack ad against the mayor.

For most of the COVID-19 pandemic's duration, Kansas and Missouri have been spared from the overwhelming crush of cases that overwhelmed hospitals and communities on the coasts and in the South.

But the current surge, which has been breaking records for case numbers in both states, is occurring in ways previously unseen in the U.S. and showing red flags for disease experts.

And it's happening as more and more members of the general public have grown increasingly impatient with governments taking steps to control it.

The two candidates running for Kansas' U.S. Senate seat met for a debate Thursday night hosted by KMUW and KWCH Channel 12. Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier were asked to share their positions on issues such as the government response to the pandemic; health care and the Affordable Care Act; taxes; and law enforcement.

Kansans remain among the most vulnerable in the country to surprise medical bills — charges from outside an insurance network that the consumer only discovers after treatment.

A new research brief from the Kansas Health Institute points to studies suggesting the charges are common in Kansas. It’s part of a shrinking minority of states yet to pass laws reining in the practice.

EL DORADO, Kansas — The culture war issues that are polarizing national politics are also front and center in Kansas’ U.S. Senate contest: race, guns, abortion, climate change.

Supporters of Republican candidate Roger Marshall fear a wave of Democratic victories will trigger radical changes in the nation’s economy and culture; that capitalism will give way to socialism, undocumented immigrants will stream across the U.S.-Mexico border and individual liberties will be threatened.

TOPEKA — Health care workers and long-term care residents will be among those who will get the coronavirus vaccine first in Kansas, a draft plan shows.

Kansas’ 45-page plan was filed in the past week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other groups that will be prioritized for the initial rounds of vaccinations include people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 and older and essential workers.

The scheduled execution of Lisa Montgomery, who was convicted in 2008 of killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb, will mark the third time a Kansan has been put to death this year since the resumption of federal executions in July.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Kansas could see record-breaking turnout in the Nov. 3 general election, even during a pandemic.

It’s too late to register to vote for this election, but you have until Oct. 27 to request an advance ballot.

WICHITA, Kansas — Kansas’ teacher shortage finally shows signs of shrinking.

But districts still can’t find enough educators to keep schools running under coronavirus safety demands.

WICHITA, Kansas — The blow the coronavirus dealt to the Kansas economy left tens of thousands of people in the state struggling to pay their utility bills.

That puts them at risk of losing electricity or natural gas — and raises the prospect that better-off Kansans weathering price hikes to make up the difference.

Amazon is planning to build two fulfillment centers in Kansas, including one in Park City, just north of Wichita.

Seattle-based Amazon said Friday that the centers combined will create 1,000 jobs with a minimum starting salary of $15 an hour. The other center will be in Kansas City, Kansas.

“Today’s Amazon announcement further proves why Kansas can offer prospective businesses the kind of workforce, infrastructure, and central location that can compete with anywhere in the country,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said in a statement.

Washington, D.C., or Topeka: No matter the seat of power, you deserve to know who is on the ballot and what their views are.

The time has come to cast a ballot — but for whom? The Kansas News Service can help you make your decision with this rundown of the major races, links to our stories and handy comparisons of the congressional candidates.

U.S. Senate: Doctor vs. Doctor

Democrat Barbara Bollier is a state senator (who left the Republican Party in 2018) from the ritzy Kansas City suburb of Mission Hills. She's also a retired anesthesiologist.

Members of KC Tenants chained themselves to the doors of the Jackson County Courthouse Thursday in an effort to stop eviction cases from proceeding.

The housing advocacy group managed to shut down all four Jackson County eviction dockets by chaining the court's doors shut and disrupting virtual meetings.

“People's lives are way more important than landlords’ profits. The only prescription for this pandemic is to stay at home and wash your hands. And how can you stay at home with no home?” said Tiana Caldwell, one of the organizers who faced eviction just a few months ago.

Two retired doctors are vying for Kansas’ open U.S. Senate seat, but that’s where the similarities end.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The two doctors running for the U.S. Senate in Kansas are offering very different prescriptions for increasing access to affordable health care during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wichita State University confirmed Friday that it is investigating allegations that men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall verbally and physically abused players and others associated with the program.

Perhaps two in every 50 Kansans have antibodies swimming in their bloodstream that show they’ve had COVID-19.

That relatively low number — based on the assumption that blood donors reflect the broader population — suggests a gloomy reality. Kansas is still in the early days of this pandemic and it's looking at a future likely to bring many more cases than it has so far seen.

GREAT BEND, Kansas — Emerging infectious diseases like the coronavirus don’t just threaten humans. They’re also a major concern for the livestock industry and the U.S. food supply, with billions, if not trillions, of dollars at stake.

WICHITA, Kansas — Less than a week into the new school year, the warning came: The school district’s COVID-19 learning plan expected too much from teachers.

“It’s unsustainable,” Greg Jones, a representative for the Kansas National Education Association, told the Wichita school board. “We don’t think that things can continue as they are.”

For the first time in the history of Kansas, the three finalists for a vacancy on the state's Supreme Court are all women.

The court on Monday announced that the three nominees for the opening created by the Sept. 18 retirement of Justice Carol Beier are Judge Kim Cudney, Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge and Kristen Wheeler.

Lisa Taylor, a spokeswoman for the court, said she’d reviewed the court’s news releases going back several decades. Typically, she said, the finalists included no more than one woman.

The race to represent the 1st Congressional District is wide open like its land, with GOP Rep. Roger Marshall running for Senate. On the Republican side, there’s Tracey Mann from Salina, who had a short stint as Kansas’ lieutenant governor. Democrats have Kali Barnett, a music teacher from Garden City.

For those still undecided, here’s a look at how the candidates feel about the major issues in this election.

Wichita State University held a memorial service at Cessna Stadium on Friday honoring both the victims and survivors of a plane crash 50 years ago.

On Oct. 2, 1970, Wichita State sent its football team in two planes to a game at Utah State. One plane crashed near Silver Plume, Colorado. The crash killed 31 passengers, including 14 players.

Listen: The Pieces That Remain: Remembering The Wichita State Plane Crash

With the coronavirus pandemic came a flood of stories for the Manhattan Mercury.

The daily newspaper serving a town of nearly 55,000 in a community built around Kansas State University and the Fort Riley U.S. Army base reported on a county commissioner who said there would be no virus cases in the county because there were no Chinese people.

The paper had stories on the city commissioner who hoped everyone would get sick so they could get the pandemic over with.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The 2nd Congressional District seat in Kansas is wide open after current Rep. Steve Watkins lost in the primary.

The Republican candidate is state Treasurer Jake LaTurner, who previously was a state senator. The Democrats have Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla.

Here’s where the two stand on major topics facing the state.

Stephen Koranda is the Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.

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