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Kansas Counties In Charge Of COVID-19 Restrictions After Gov. Kelly Vetoes Emergency Powers Bill

Kansas no longer will impose a statewide phased-in coronavirus reopening plan, Gov. Laura Kelly said Tuesday. In deciding to veto a bill that would have restricted her powers to respond to the coronavirus, she issued a new emergency declaration. “This legislation creates more problems than it solves,” Kelly said. She argued it would ultimately delay coronavirus aid from the federal government. “This would only prolong the economic pain of this crisis.” Kelly’s new order makes her phase-out of...

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The Range | May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020
Stephan Bisaha / KMUW

Kansas gyms are open for (some types of) business — which gives us one less excuse to not lose that "quarantine 15."

This week, we continue our look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting businesses across the city with a visit to a gym reopening after two months.

Plus, we look at why for many African-American men, the choice whether or not to wear a mask in public is a complicated one.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas legislators convened Thursday for a single-day session on the coronavirus pandemic with Republican majorities determined to curb Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s power and the state’s GOP attorney general suggesting she’s been on “legally suspect” ground for three weeks.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

While most people across Kansas still slumber, trash truck crews start filing into work — and get their temperatures taken.

The people who haul debris to landfills shifted to working in a mask and doing their best to keep COVID-19 at bay a while ago. While the rest of the Kansas economy awakens from the coronavirus lockdown, trash crews already know the drill.

Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Republican lawmakers in Kansas moved Wednesday to give the GOP-controlled Legislature's leaders the final say over how federal coronavirus relief funds are spent.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to include legislative oversight of the distribution of $1.25 billion in federal funds in a broader measure that's likely also to curb Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's power to direct the state's coronavirus response.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Zoo reopens to the public Thursday with new COVID-19-related safety precautions.

The zoo closed to visitors March 14 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the community.

Members were the first to return during a soft opening this week. Zoo executive director Jeff Ettling says the staff has been working on a phased-in reopening plan since the first day of the shutdown.

Finney County residents will be able to get their haircut or get in a workout in starting Tuesday, despite a rapidly accelerating rate of increase in COVID-19 cases.

Finney County Commissioners — acting as the county’s board of health Monday — decided to follow the state’s reopening plan, which allows hair and nail salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors to open for pre-scheduled appointments. Gyms and fitness centers are also allowed to reopen, but without access to locker rooms or group classes.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Starting Friday, Kansans can gather in slightly larger groups, take in a movie, go to an art museum and bowl a few frames.

But concerts, festivals, summer camps and parades will remain shut down. And you still won’t be able to get a drink at a bar.

At a news conference Tuesday a day before a meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House, Gov. Laura Kelly announced another round of gradually eased restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

After nine workers at the FedEx distribution center in Olathe tested positive for COVID-19 last week, new test results for 119 workers at the facility show only two more cases.

“Our goal was to test a substantial portion of employees who may have been exposed to the virus, and that was accomplished,” Barbara Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said in an email Monday.

The 119 tested workers represent just over half of the approximately 200 employees at the facility working in two shifts.

Brighton Gardens of Prairie Village, a Kansas nursing home that is the site of a cluster of COVID-19 cases, was sued Monday for the wrongful death of one of its residents.

The lawsuit was filed by the family of Gordan Grohman, who was 88 when he died on May 1. It's the first of what is expected to be more such suits against Brighton Gardens.

“This is not just a failure of one employee, one nurse or anything like that. This goes all the way to the top,” said attorney Rachel Stahle.

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Commentary & Podcasts

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Viral Kindness: The DIY PPE Queen

Peggy Smith is the office administrator for Haysville United Methodist Church, but after being inspired by a message from the church pastor, Peggy has added in a COVID-19 endeavor: making masks.

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Award-Winning KMUW News

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Kansas Community College Football Now Has Its Own Stars, Netflix Series And Scandals

Kansas junior college football plays in the big time these days. The Jayhawk Community College Conference made a key change to its player eligibility rules three years ago that drew blue-chip players in from out of state. The level of play shot up almost overnight, transforming at least one team from a perennial doormat to a national contender.

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KMUW Music

Friday, May 29, and Sunday, May 31

Crossroads wraps up the May Little Walter Blues Harmonica feature with music from several blues harp players with new albums (including Mark Hummel, Andrew Alli doing a Little Walter tune, and 2020 Independent Music Award) nominee Ilya Portnov, a rare track with Little Walter on guitar, a Little Walter tribute album with Charlie Musselwhite, and a special in hour two chronicling his life and music. We also remember guitarist and organist Lucky Peterson who passed away earlier this month.

Monday, May 25

Night Train celebrations Memorial Day with two special programs from the premier Air Force jazz ensemble, the Airmen of Note. In hour one, we’ll hear the band with special guest Karrin Allyson, one of today’s top jazz vocalists and an artist who got her start in Kansas City. In hour two, the special guest is one of today’s finest Latin jazz artists – saxophonist, clarinetist and Irakere co-founder Paquito D’Rivera.

Tuesday, May 26

Night Train marks the centennial birthday today of May featured artist Peggy Lee with some key tracks from across her career in hour one and a special in hour two that focuses on Lee as a songwriter. There’s also music from Miles Davis for his birthday, the latest release in the Erroll Garner Octave Records reissue series, and new albums from the Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt.

Wednesday, May 27

Tonight on the Night Train we’ll hear music from singer Dee Dee Bridgewater (including an interview and special in hour two of the show), saxophonist Bud Shank, bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pederson, and pianist Marc Copland, all born on this date – along with music from the Modern Jazz Quartet (with May featured artist John Lewis), a tribute to guitarist and organist Lucky Peterson, and the latest from Church on Monday and Idle Hands.

Thursday, May 28

Night Train wraps up this broadcast week with birthday salutes to blues and electric guitar legend T-Bone Walker, West Coast pianist Russ Freeman, the late Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi, and guitarist and songwriting partner of May featured artist Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour. Plus new music from trumpeters Thomas Marriott and John Sneider, pianist Michael Wolff, vocalist Kandace Springs, and Brent Jensen (with a 19th anniversary reissue of his album in tribute to Brubeck Quartet saxophonist Paul Desmond).

Monday, May 25

The final Monday of every month, we present Global Village at the Savannah Music Festival, a monthly concert series showcasing top world music artists and groups who have appeared at the prestigious annual festival that takes place each spring in Savannah, Georgia.

This time, in conjunction with the May Haitian Heritage Month feature, our featured artist is Leyla McCalla. The Haitian-American singer, songwriter, cellist and former member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops brings together string band, Haitian, blues, jazz, and classical music in a unique and captivating blend. This was her debut performance at the Savannah Music Festival.

Tuesday, May 26

Global Village marks the centennial birthday of singer and songwriter Peggy Lee with some of the Latin styled songs she did. We’ll also hear music from Sketches of Spain for Miles Davis’s birthday, music from Ruben Gonzalez for his birthday, a new album from another Buena Vista member Eliades Ochoa, and the latest world project from cellist Matthieu Saglio.

Wednesday, May 27

This time in the Global Village, it’s a program devoted to South African reggae. Among the highlights: one of the giants of South African reggae, Lucky Dube; Dube’s original group, the Slaves; a cover of a Bob Marley classic from Freshlyground; and reggae-inspired song from the late, great Johnny Clegg and from township favorites Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens.

Thursday, May 28

In conjunction with the May Haitian Heritage Month feature, Global Village highlights some of the mizik rasin or roots music bands of Haiti – plus new music from Cypress (Trio Tekke), Colombia (a Discos Fuentes compilation), the Indian Ocean (the Soul Sega Sa series), and Senegal (Ibrahima Cissokho), and blasts from the past from Latin rock pioneers Malo, boogaloo star Bobby Valentin, and new-flamenco group Pata Negra.

Friday, May 29

Global Village pays tribute to guitarist, songwriter, and brother of Carlos, Jorge Santana, who passed away earlier this month with music from several of the albums he did with the groundbreaking Latin rock band Malo. Plus music from two Latin jazz artists born on this date – Hilton Ruiz and Wayne Wallace, the latest from Antibalas, Al DiMeola and the Awale Jant Band, and a wrap on this month’s Haitian Heritage Month feature with the acclaimed compas group Tabou Combo.

Sunday, May 24

Sunday on Soulsations, hear new music by John Legend.  The singer/songwriter and judge on ABC’s The Voice is scheduled to release his 7th studio album on June 19. Here’s the video of the title track, “Bigger Love.” It includes people from around the world who submitted video of themselves practicing social distancing, dancing and sharing love during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This video was made to celebrate our shared love, hope and resilience,” Legend stated in a press release. Raphael Saadiq is the executive producer of the project.

Album Cover Art Courtesy Conqueroo

Wednesday, May 20

New York At Night is the latest release from singer-songwriter Willie Nile. The record celebrates family, unity and the city Nile has called home since the early 1970s. We’ll hear music from that as well as selections from the new EP by Cuddle Magic.

Thursday, May 21

Threesome Vol.1 is the debut release from The Lickerish Quartet, featuring former members of the band Jellyfish. The music recalls classic sounds of the ‘70s, including Roxy Music, Queen and ELO while retaining contemporary sensibilities. We’ll hear selections from that recording as well as music from Mike Keneally’s You Must Be This Tall.

Friday, May 22

A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip is the latest album from Sparks. We’ll hear music from that effort as well as selections from Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit’s Reunions.

Saturday, May 23

We mark the birthday of Bob Dylan (b.May 24 1941) with music from throughout his career as well as signature covers of his songs. 

Monday, May 25

Neon Cross is the new release from Jaime Wyatt. Produced by Shooter Jennings, the record finds the singer-songwriter in fine form and joined by such luminaries as Jessi Colter and the late Neal Casal. We’ll hear selections from this release as well as music from Mitski’s 2014 album, Bury Me At Makeout Creek.

Tuesday, May 26

We’ll hear music from the latest by Ritchie Kotzen, 50 For 50 as well as music from Freddie Nelson’s Shake The Cage.

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