News

Health secretary Lee Norman outlines the growing number of COVID-19 infections in Kansas during a news conference last week in which Gov. Laura Kelly announced her order to keep schools closed until after Labor Day. On Wednesday, Norman told board members that schools can't be safe islands in unsafe communities. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Medical experts dispute claims by Kansas Board of Education member

BY: and - July 23, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas State Board of Education member Michelle Dombrosky confronted health secretary Lee Norman during Wednesday’s meeting to ask why his advice — to delay the start of school for three weeks — conflicts with the opinion of other medical experts in the state. The board member from Olathe identified Children’s Mercy Hospital, the […]

Members of the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice express an interest Thursday in increasing diversity of listening session communities. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Commission on Racial Equity and Justice turns focus to community involvement

BY: - July 23, 2020

Wichita police Chief Gordon Ramsay says throughout his career in law enforcement he has noticed, and often been told of, the need to address the system of fines leading to the removal of driver’s licenses and sometimes incarceration. “Once you get into that cycle of debt, you lose your license and then you can’t get […]

The Kansas Department of Corrections led by secretary Jeff Zmuda says a fifth inmate who contracted COVID-19 has died. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Norton inmate tests positive for COVID-19

BY: - July 23, 2020

Kansas Department of Corrections secretary Jeff Zmuda on Thursday said an inmate at the state-run prison in Norton had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total of corrections facilities with known infections to eight. The infected man was among 96 residents in the minimum security unit at the Norton Correctional Facility. All of the unit’s […]

Officials at University of Kansas, which fell silent this spring due to COVID-19, reported losses of $35 million in the last fiscal year and Thursday projected a revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year of $120 million with an additional $30 million spent on health and safety programs. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

KU anticipates $120M revenue shortfall, $30M in direct COVID-19 expenses

BY: - July 23, 2020

University of Kansas says COVID-19 will cause a $120 million revenue shortfall this fiscal year and trigger $30 million in health and safety expenditures.

Two former majors in the Kansas Highway Patrol, who were dismissed in July, filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging wrongful termination and violation of their First Amendment constitutional rights. The former officers allege they were retaliated against for helping female KHP employees file complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against KHP Col. Herman Jones and Lt. Col. Jason De Vore. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Inquiries clear Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent of wrongdoing

BY: - July 23, 2020

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday expressed unqualified support for the superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol following completion of internal and external reviews of allegations he engaged in sexual harassment, gender discrimination and misuse of state aircraft. KHP Superintendent Herman Jones, who assumed the law enforcement agency’s top job in 2019, was the […]

Nancy Jensen, center, a former resident of a Newton home for mentally ill adults led by Arlan Kaufman, objected to Kaufman's request to be released from federal prison due to poor health after serving 15 years of a 30-year sentence. A federal judge denied the request for compassionate release. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Victims: 15 years in prison not enough for architect of Kaufman House terror

BY: - July 23, 2020

Victims of former Kansas social worker Arlan Kaufman's abuse of mentally ill adults persuaded a judge to deny him early release from prison.

Belinda Sturm, a University of Kansas engineering professor, says a research project involving KU and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment shows testing of wastewater can offer a one-week advance warning of COVID-19 community surges or declines. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Wastewater testing by KU, KDHE offers advance warning of COVID-19 surge

BY: - July 22, 2020

A project involving KU and KDHE shows promise in tracking genetic evidence of COVID-19 in wastewater and offer an early warning to a community.

Members of the Kansas State Board of Education, who met via video conference Wednesday, rejected the governor's order delaying the opening of public schools until after Labor Day. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Board of Education blocks Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to delay K-12 classes

BY: - July 22, 2020

The Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order to delay the start of public and private school instruction for three weeks because of a resurgence of coronavirus in the state, with half the board members citing a need for a more local approach. The controversial decision by Kelly to […]

Rep. Troy Waymaster, left, a Republican from Bunker Hill, says the COVID-19 pandemic will erode casino and lottery revenue relied on by the state government to invest in economic development programs. (Nick Krug for Kansas Reflector)

State Finance Council complicit in cloaking financial terms of lawsuit settlements

BY: - July 22, 2020

State Finance Council, comprised of the Kansas governor and eight legislators, test transparency limits by avoiding public discussion of lawsuit settlements.

President Donald Trump addresses the nation in March from the Oval Office about the widening coronavirus crisis. He is expected to sign a bill that provides $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog. (Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images)

House sends bipartisan public lands bill to president’s desk

BY: and - July 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — Major environmental legislation sailed through Congress Wednesday while the nation’s political leaders were stuck in intense negotiations over the contours of a fifth coronavirus relief package. The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provide permanent funding at $900 million per year […]

Vaccine makers deny political pressure in race for safe, effective shot

BY: - July 22, 2020

Leaders of the companies working on some of the top candidates for COVID-19 vaccines predict they should have shots available by early 2021 but said they will rely on the federal government to determine how to distribute them. The heads of five biopharmaceutical companies with promising vaccine candidates told members of Congress on Tuesday they […]

The University of Kansas School of Law on Tuesday hosted a panel discussion on racial injustice with, clockwise from top left, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett; Lauren Bonds, legal director, ACLU of Kansas; Melody Brannon, federal public defender in Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas; Ursula Minor, president of the Lawrence branch of the NAACP, and Catina Taylor, founder of DREAMS KC. (Composite from submitted photos)

Kansas activist, attorneys say police reform needs transparency

BY: - July 21, 2020

When Ursula Minor, president of the Lawrence branch of the NAACP, sat down with a former member of the Lawrence Police Department, she was surprised to hear his cavalier attitude toward issues of racial justice. “They said they didn’t see any problems. They told me minorities hadn’t told them about any problems,” Minor said at […]