Kansas

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.

High Plains Morning doesn’t often delve into ethnobotany, but when we do, we make sure the sources are straight out of KANSAS! HPPR thanks teacher, researcher, and writer Aubrey Streit Krug, Director of Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute in Salina, KS, for her time and insight regarding her work with perennial native plants and their potential as sustainable crops on the High Plains.

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.

WICHITA, Kansas —Katie Hansen’s recent trip from Columbus, Ohio, through Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Wichita felt pretty familiar.

Sure, several restaurants sat closed, but O’Hare looked busy and her flights were full.

“If people didn’t have masks on,” Hansen said, “there would be nothing different.”

The sense of bustling airports is a mere illusion, the result of a smaller number of air travelers grouped into a reduced number of flights.

The cost of getting an appendectomy with private health insurance has soared since the early 2000s. So has the bill for a knee replacement.

But the secrecy of prices negotiated between health care providers and insurance companies makes it hard for employers to understand what they pay for a knee replacement and whether it’s a good price.

Researchers broadly agree workers suffer for it.

Zach Zimmer’s roommates at Benedictine College had grown accustomed to seeing him stressed.

But on the first Saturday in September, the college junior got them worried. He was running a temperature of 101.5.

“We knew immediately at that moment,” Zimmer said, “that this could be something more serious.”

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — With about six weeks before the election, you might see Republican Amanda Adkins’ team out knocking on doors in Johnson, Wyandotte or Miami counties. Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids’ outreach efforts in her re-election bid are virtual.

It’s just one sign of the differences between the two candidates in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District when it comes to how they say they would respond to economic and health effects of the coronavirus.

TOPEKA, Kansas — It’s little surprise that the candidates for Kansas’ open U.S. Senate seat sharply disagree on taxes, trade, immigration and climate change. What’s unclear is who voters will most agree with in November: Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall or Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier.

Bollier, a retired doctor, believes Marshall’s down-the-line support of President Donald Trump has created an opportunity for her to ride anti-Trump sentiment in the state’s population centers to an upset.

The University of Kansas Medical Center will take part in a nationwide clinical trial of different treatments for patients suffering mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization.

The first treatment will involve the use of monoclonal antibodies that target the spike proteins of COVID-19. The drug was made by Eli Lilly.

Monoclonal antibodies are engineered versions of the same virus-fighting antibodies that the body naturally produces.

For decades, people struggling with illnesses of all kinds have sought help in online support groups, and during 2020, such groups have been especially important for many COVID-19 patients who often must recover in isolation.

The fear and uncertainty regarding the coronavirus have made online groups targets for the spread of false information, however, and in an effort to help fellow patients, some of these groups are making a mission of stamping out misinformation.

WALLACE, Kansas – Wallace County is at the western edge of Kansas, on the border with Colorado. It’s the second-least populated county in the state, and for the first half of 2020, life here maintained a sense of normalcy while the rest of world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phillips County Retirement Center got a coronavirus testing machine this month from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But it will run out of the sample-collecting kits that came with the device on Monday, just one week after turning it on.

Twenty miles away, the county’s other nursing home is still waiting for its machine.

“It’s been a really big struggle just to even try to find out who knows where it is,” said Teresa McComb, who runs Logan Manor Community Health Services.

ENGLEWOOD, Kansas — Lesser prairie chickens don’t really bother Mike McCarty. He likes them just fine, but doesn’t think people understand how hard it is to balance wildlife conservation and being a rancher and farmer in southwest Kansas.

“Yes, we need to protect our wildlife and everything,” he says, “but we also need to protect our people, our agriculture.”

Climate change is at the root of this year’s extreme weather events, from the wild swings between flooding and drought in Kansas to larger hurricanes and some of the worst wildfires the West has seen.

And the majority of Americans are starting to take notice, according to the latest survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Wichita State has prohibited professors from notifying their students if a classmate has tested positive for COVID-19 and may have unwittingly exposed fellow students.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — For months, the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth avoided the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. But that’s changed.

Leavenworth has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the entire federal prison system, with 206 inmates and five staff members with the virus. There are currently 1,594 people incarcerated at the prison.

Before the pandemic, Wichita State University didn’t have a federally certified lab capable of handling coronavirus testing.

Now it does. And the new nonprofit outfit is gearing up to churn out hundreds of thousands of tests by the end of the year.

“I know that sounds like a lot,” said Tonya Witherspoon, Wichita State’s vice president of industry engagement, “but we think several labs in the state need to be able to do that much — or more.”

TOPEKA, Kansas — Republican lawmakers agreed to extend Kansas’ coronavirus disaster declaration Friday by a month after demanding assurances that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly won’t shutter businesses across the state a second time.

The contentious approval by the State Finance Council is just the beginning of a cycle: By law, the declaration can be extended only up to 30 days at a time.

WICHITA, Kansas — Universities don’t just sell the chance at an education. The whole college experience has been a key tool for keeping students around.

Wichita State University budgeted more than $1 million dollars on ways for students to have fun on campus last year.

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