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Kansas High Schools Are Finding Ways To Safely Celebrate A Teen Rite Of Passage: Prom

Riley Sipes was a junior at Wichita’s North High School last spring when the COVID-19 shutdown closed schools and canceled prom and other activities. She had already bought her dress — a smokey blue spaghetti-strap number that shimmers in the light. The phrase, “All dressed up and nowhere to go” had never seemed so fitting. “It’s definitely been weird,” Sipes said. “I’m still disappointed that I missed out on so many of the traditions that North High has in place.”

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Nadya Faulx / KMUW

The Environmental Protection Agency says in 2018, almost 27 million tons of plastic ended up in U.S. landfills. A new store in Wichita is trying to break that cycle, one bottle at a time.

WICHITA, Kansas —Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is signaling she’ll likely reject a bill that’s part of a culture war flashpoint — an effort in Kansas and other states to bar transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s sports.

Kelly makes a practice of not explicitly threatening vetos, but critical comments this week hint that she’s likely to strike the legislation down with her veto pen.

401(K) 2012, flickr Creative Commons

Haven’t filed your taxes yet? Don’t panic: The IRS extended the filing deadline to May 17.

It marks the second straight year that the deadline has been postponed. Last year, it was pushed back to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s filing service started later than usual.

If you need help filing, there are a couple of free options.

El Alvi / Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas says it will stop distributing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as federal health officials investigate reports of rare complications in six people who received the vaccine.

Ansel Armstrong had just found a psychologist when COVID-19 turned the world upside down, forcing in-person care to go remote.

So video sessions replaced a 40-minute drive between Lawrence and Topeka.

“I love how much it frees up my schedule,” Armstrong said. It eased the process in other ways, too. “It’s like, you’re at home. I have my cat on my lap. I think it was a less stressful experience.”

Madeline Deabler / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

After a year of navigating the disruptions fostered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring of 2021 promises to be the start of a cautious reopening.

But mental health experts say the wounds of the past year could remain with us for quite some time.

Photo Courtesy of Catholic Diocese of Wichita

The remains of Father Emil Kapaun, lost for nearly 70 years, will return to Kansas.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

With COVID-19 vaccines available to all Kansans age 16 or older, public health officials are battling a different pandemic problem: vaccine hesitancy.

Experts say the COVID-19 shots are as safe as any other routine vaccine, and they are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from the disease. They offer an end to the year-long pandemic, but only if enough people are inoculated to reach herd immunity.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service/File photo

A small but growing number of colleges are requiring students to get a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus, but Kansas universities so far say they won’t require the shot.

This story has been updated.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Republicans in the Kansas Senate weathered the initial arrest of their majority leader for drunken driving, but they booted him from leadership Friday after details of his arrest painted a picture of dangerous belligerence.

Senate Republicans met after finishing their work and voted in a closed-door meeting to remove Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop of Wichita from the job. Suellentrop did not attend the meeting or issue a statement. He will keep his seat in the Senate.


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Commentary & Podcasts

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

We Are Loath (Loathe?) To Confuse These Words | YSIW

After Fletcher vents his rage about a word he's starting to hear being misused more and more often, and then Kathy and Ross answer a listener question about the phrase "out of sorts" (what the heck are sorts?), we jump back into our trip through the commonly confused alphabet with the letters L and M. Things get pretty dark.

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KMUW Music

 Sunday, April 18

Nine-time Grammy-nominated R&B and gospel singer Kelly Price recently signed with Motown Gospel. She poured her heart and soul into her second gospel project Grace after the loss of her grandfather early in the 2020 pandemic and the sudden passing of her mother at the end of the year. Hear brand new music from that release, which is becoming one of Price’s most inspirational and moving projects to date. Also this week on Soulsations, it’s the soulful sounds of Kem and Charlie Wilson and The Brand New Heavies.  Plus, this week’s DoubleTake features the legendary Al Jarreau with “Roof Garden” followed by a version from Chris Walker who served as Al Jarreau’s musical director, co-vocalist and bassist for more than twenty years. 

Monday, April 12

Night Train teams up with Global Village and Strange Currency to celebrate the birthday of Jazz legend Herbie Hancock. In hour one, we’ll explore a wide range of Hancock’s music – from his debut album as leader to work with Miles Davis, the Headhunters, and his albums in tribute to the new standards and Joni Mitchell. Then in hour two, it’s a special look at Hancock’s breakout decade of the ‘60s when he was both a much in demand session player at Blue Note Records and a member of Miles Davis’s famed Second Great Quintet.

Tuesday, April 13

It’s jazz meets classical on the Night Train, as tonight’s show features jazz reinterpretations of Debussy, Chopin, Mendelssohn, and Bach, and jazz artists performing with classical ensembles. Among the artists featured are Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Cyrus Chestnut, Charlie Byrd with the Annapolis Brass Quintet, Chick Corea with the Harlem String Quartet, and Paquito D’Rivera with Quinteto Cimarron.

Wednesday, April 14

Music tonight on the Night Train from soulful tenor man Gene Ammons (including a Jazz Profiles special in hour two) and veteran trombonist Steve Davis (with Chick Corea, Harold Mabern, and on a new album from former student John Hasselback III) – both born on this date – and from Cannonball and Nat Adderley as the April Siblings feature continues. We’ll also hear new music from soul jazz organist Doug Carn and the 14 Jazz Orchestra.

Thursday, April 15

Night Train continues the April Siblings feature with music from the Heath Brothers, marks birthdays of bassist and NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis (including music he did with guitarist Pat Martino) and Bessie Smith (with covers of her songs from Nina Simone and Dinah Washington, and a Jazz Profiles special in hour two), and highlights new albums from vibes player Behn Gillece, Professor Cunningham & His Old School, Out to Dinner, and Roseanna Vitro.

Monday, April 12

Global Village celebrates the birthday of the legendary Herbie Hancock with the world music side of his work, including music from the globe-spanning Imagine Project, guest appearances with African artists Manu Dibango (of “Soul Makossa” fame) and Foday Musa Suso, and covers of his songs from Mongo Santamaria, Pucho & the Latin Soul Brothers, and the Jazz Jamaica All Stars.

Tuesday, April 13

Global Village continues the April Siblings feature with music from some sisters. We’ll hear the twins Las Hermanas Caronni from Argentina and the Lijadu Sisters from Nigeria, the English folk duo the Rheingans Sisters, and Persian singers Marjan and Mahsa Vahdat. There’s also new music from the Lusophone band Ayom, Danish neo-folk duo Vaev, and Ethiojazz and Afrobeat band Azmari. And we’ll also hear a selection from 2021 Grammy winner Jim ‘Kimo’ West.

Wednesday, April 14

Global Village highlights contemporary Afrobeat this time, with music from Fela’s sons Femi and Seun Kuti, Kiala – who worked in one of Fela’s bands, the Chicago Afrobeat Project, and Ghanian Afrobeat veteran Ebo Taylor. We’ll also hear some funky sounds from Mexico’s Sonido Gallo Negro, legendary New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian group Wild Tchoupitoulas with the Meters and the Neville Brothers, and Nigeria’s Shina Williams & His African Percussionists.

Thursday, April 15

Global Village features Portugal Não-Fado (non-fado), the rich array of Portuguese styles and artists who draw on traditional and other influences instead of fado. We’ll hear the delicate exploratory music of the accordion group Dancas Ocultas, the innovative bagpipe and vocal group Gaiteiros de Lisboa, Portuguese Guitar traditional and early music master Pedro Caldeira Cabral, guitar master Julio Pereira, the Afro-Portuguese stylings of Catarina dos Santos, and more.

Friday, April 16

Global Village marks the birthday of jazz flutist Herbie Mann with the world music side of his work. We’ll hear some of his pioneering Brazilian music, one of his Impressions of the Middle East, and a different track from his breakthrough Village Gate album. In conjunction with the April Siblings feature, there’s music from Sergio and Odair Assad (the featured artists for this month’s Global Village at the Savannah Music Festival) and from Beausoleil (with Michael and David Doucet).

Friday, April 16 and Sunday, April 18

In conjunction with the April Siblings feature, Crossroads features music from brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson. We’ll hear them on the latest release from the New Moon Jellyroll Freedom Rockers, and with Hill Country Review, Colin Linden, and North Mississippi Allstars (including in a concert special in hour two of the show).

We’ll also mark the birthday of blues pianist Little Brother Montgomery and hear the latest from John Nemeth, Johnny Iguana, and Sugar Ray and the Bluetones.

Courtesy Colemine Records

Monday, April 12

We mark the birthday of musician Herbie Hancock with work from his solo career as well as some of his work with artists such as George Benson, Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan.

Tuesday, April 13

We’ll hear music from George Benson’s The Other Side of Abbey Road on which he recorded his version of classics from the landmark Beatles album Abbey Road. Plus music from David Bowie, A.J. Croce and others.

Wednesday, April 14

Listen for selections from Sarah Neufeld (The Arcade Fire)’s upcoming release Detritus and Jeremy Cunningham’s The Weather Up There, featuring guitarist Jeff Parker.

Thursday, April 15

We’ll hear music from I Told You So, the latest from the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio as well as selections from The George Benson Quartet’s The George Benson Cookbook.

Friday, April 16

We’ll hear music from All In My Mind, from Dr. Lonnie Smith, featuring guest vocal appearances from Iggy Pop, plus a selection from Wilco guitarist Nels Cline’s acclaimed LP Lovers.

Saturday, April 17

Leftover Feelings is the new release from John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas. Listen for music from that effort as well as selections from the Athens, Georgia-based cosmic country outfit The Pink Stones.

Kansas Legislative Update

Explore world music, blues, jazz, R&B and gospel, local spotlights and new releases.

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