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Why The Kansas National Guard Ramped Down As COVID-19 Ramped Up

The Kansas National Guard conducted 28,000 COVID-19 tests and distributed almost 40,000 cases of protective masks, gloves and gowns. Guardsmen have also packaged a staggering 8 million meals. But even as hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients and deaths mount, the guard's pandemic mission is going the other direction. Col. Michael Venerdi, director of Joint Staff for the Kansas National Guard, says the pandemic mission has stretched throughout most of the year. "The mission's ramping down from...

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Two major regional hospital networks have announced they’ve raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Stormont Vail Health in Topeka said its wage hike, which affects nearly 900 of its more than 5,000 employees, took effect last week.

And Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City said its wage increase took effect on Nov. 8. Nearly 2,000 of the health system’s more than 12,000 employees were affected.

The increases come as hospitals fight staff shortages while their workers deal with the stress and increased workloads caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boeing's 737 Max is making a comeback after two crashes that killed a total of 346 people in late 2018 and early last year. Ireland's Ryanair, a major European carrier, has ordered 75 of the planes, which had been grounded since March 2019, the two companies announced on Thursday.

Hans Pennink / Associated Press/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas on Wednesday reported spikes in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations as dozens of nursing homes experienced outbreaks and the state prepared to see that health care workers received the first available vaccines.

Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas

What is a saint? That’s a question Joe Drape asked himself during his research for his book The Saint Makers: Inside the Catholic Church and How a War Hero Inspired a Journey of Faith.

The war hero is from Kansas, and he’s known as either Father Kuh-PAWN or Father KAY-pin. KMUW’s Tom Shine and Beth Golay caught up with Drape virtually in his New York City apartment to talk about the priest’s ongoing journey toward sainthood. Here’s part of their conversation:

Kansas hospitals are turning away more than 100 transfer patients a month as smaller, local hospitals continue filling up at an alarming rate.

In May, at the beginning of the pandemic, the University of Kansas Health System denied 40 transfers and in October it was up to 140, said Jill Chadwick, a KU spokeswoman.

"November was expected to trend higher," she said, adding that those numbers are not yet available.

Dozens of Kansas nursing homes still wait three days to a week for overwhelmed labs to tell them if their residents have COVID-19.


When Wichita University students Frank and Dan Carney opened their first Pizza Hut, they had simple ambitions.

"In 1958, we started it to pay our way through college," Frank Carney said in an interview from the 1970s, after the company had grown into the largest pizza restaurant chain in the world.

Frank Carney, a legendary Wichita entrepreneur, died Wednesday. He was 82.

Chris Neal for the Kansas News Service

Most of Wichita attorney Trent Wetta’s clients fall between the ages of 14 and 17, but they can be as young as 10. They typically face misdemeanor charges, such as possession of marijuana or theft, or minor felony charges, like burglary.

It can prove tricky guiding a child through a criminal justice system made by adults with law degrees.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

A hotel in downtown Wichita is being converted into a housing complex for residents experiencing homelessness.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

FREDONIA, Kansas — Nick Baldetti resigned as director of the Reno County Health Department in July.

He left to head an effort to establish a school of health at McPherson College. It was a good opportunity, Baldetti said, but he likely would have stayed to see the department through the pandemic if not for the 80-hour work weeks, the hostile political environment and the threats to his family.


NPR's Favorite Books Of 2020: The Book Concierge Is Back With 380+ Great Reads

NPR's Book Concierge returns with more books than ever: 380+ new titles handpicked by NPR staff and trusted critics. Find eight years of Concierge recommendations all in one place – that's nearly 2,500 great reads. Open the app now! Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

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We want your tapes!

KMUW is digitizing public media content from across Kansas.

Commentary & Podcasts

As Christmas Movies Go, You Could Do Worse Than 'Happiest Season'

It’s become clear to me that other people are way more into Christmas movies than I am. That’s not to say I don’t like them, it’s just that every year it seems like there’s something almost everyone is talking about that I’m surprised almost everyone is talking about.

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KMUW Music

Sunday, December 6

Holiday feel-good music is what’s in store throughout the month of December on Soulsations. “Gather Round” is a song for the Holiday season written by Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire along with musician/composer/record executive David Foster. It was released on a promotional CD as part of Sounds Of The Season: The NBC Holiday Collection back in 2005. The Foster/White duo has also co-written memorable EW&F tunes such as “In The Stone” and “And Love Goes On”. Join us for this encore edition of Soulsations as we kick-off the Christmas season with an hour of Earth, Wind & Fire music.

Album Cover Art Courtesy Earsplit PR

Tuesday, December 1

We mark World AIDS Day with selections from Violent Femmes, Sugar and more.

Wednesday, December 2

Tales To Be Told is the latest from Sweden’s Lykantropi. The band’s sound often harkens back to British progressive folk acts such as Fairport Convention while retaining a unique sound that places the group squarely in this decade. Listen for music from that effort as well as selections from Paul McCartney’s solo debut album, McCartney.

Thursday, December 3

Promise is the new release from ambient instrumental outfit Suss. We’ll hear selections from it as well as songs from Paul McCartney’s McCartney II.

Friday, December 4

It’s our New Month, New Music feature with songs from Steve Earle, The Lickerish Quartet and M. Ward.

Saturday, December 5

Styles We Paid For is the third album of 2020 from Ohio’s Guided By Voices. Listen for music from it as well as selections from Paul McCartney’s late ‘80s LP Flowers In The Dirt.

Monday, December 7

Everything That’s Left is the latest from Atlanta’s PLS PLS. We’ll hear music from that as well as selections from Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station.

Tuesday, December 8

Listen for music from Psychic Temple’s Houses of the Holy as well as songs from The Dream Syndicate’s 2020 LP The Universe Inside.

1. Kubix – Guitar Chant (Attik)
2. Bert Jansch – Crimson Moon (Earth)
3. Shooglenifty – Acid Croft, Vol. 9 (Shoogle Music)
4. Duo Coincidencia – Veracruz: Sones y Flores (Classicos Latinos/Cugate)
5. Various Artists – Putumayo Presents New Orleans Mambo (Putumayo)
6. Los Rurales – Ocotita (Classicos Latinos/Cugate)
7. Vusi Mahlasela – Shebeen Queen (ATO)
8. Okan – Espiral (Lulaworld)
9. Supergombo – Sigitolo (Z Production)
10. Qwanqwa – Volume 3 (Wuzzawazzee)

1. Javon Jackson – Déjà vu ( Solid Jackson)
2. Christian McBride Big Band – For Jimmy, Wes & Oliver (Mack Avenue)
3. Alan Broadbent Trio – In Motion (Savant)
4. Harold Lopez-Nussa – Te Lo Dije (Mack Avenue)
5. Flying Horse Big Band – Florida Rays (Flying Horse)
6. Ian Hendrickson-Smith – The Lowdown (Cellar)
7. Artemis – Artemis (Blue Note)
8. Claire Daly – Rah! Rah! (Ride Symbol)
9. Eddie Henderson – Shuffle and Deal (Smoke Sessions)
10. Steve Cardenas – Blue Has A Range (Sunnyside)

1. Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator)
2. Kim Wilson – Take Me Back (MC Records)
3. Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run (Vizztone)
4. Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Travelin’ the Dirt Road (VizzTone)
5. Maceo Parker – Soul Food (Funk Garage)
6. Kevin Burt – Stone Crazy (Gulf Coast)
7. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation)
8. Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin’)
9. Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)
10. Misty Blues – Weed ‘Em And Reap (Misty Blues)

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