Brian Grimmett

News Reporter

Brian Grimmett is a two-time Regional Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist covering energy and environment stories across the state of Kansas. Brian loves to dive deep into complicated issues with the hope of making them easier to understand for general audiences, as with the award-winning hard news feature Westar Wants Kansans To Pay For Peak Power. What Could It Mean For Your Energy Bill? 

 

Before coming to KMUW and the Kansas News Service, Brian worked at KUER 90.1-FM in Salt Lake City covering the Utah Legislature.

 

Brian earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University. When not reporting, he enjoys spending time with his family and building and flying remote controlled airplanes.

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Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA — Coronavirus cases are at record levels. Just in time to pretty much ruin Thanksgiving.

In Kansas, those cases have hospitals worried about having enough space or staff. That’s prompted local, state and federal officials to urge people to just stay home.

We spoke with three Kansans about their decisions to cancel trips to see family — and the loss that represents.

Crysta Henthorne / For the Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Charles Bell usually passes on voting. He’s a Democrat in a Republican state and said, “If I vote, it’s not going to count.”

But after seeing Kansans elect a Democratic governor in 2018, he thought maybe the state was changing. And so this year, for only the second time in his 63 years, he voted, hoping Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier might be elected.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — The state’s largest utility wants to charge customers with solar panels about $25 a month, even if their homes pull almost no electricity off the grid.

If courts and regulators reject that idea, power-provider Evergy’s backup proposal would charge all customers — not just those harvesting power on their roofs — a minimum of $35 a month just for plugging into its system.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — The blow the coronavirus dealt to the Kansas economy left tens of thousands of people in the state struggling to pay their utility bills.

That puts them at risk of losing electricity or natural gas — and raises the prospect that better-off Kansans weathering price hikes to make up the difference.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

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.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

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.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

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.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — A standard school bus can hold as many as 72 students, as long as you pack them in three to a bench. That just isn’t possible during a pandemic.

And according to Wichita Public Schools Transportation Director Lisa Riveros, following the 6-foot social distancing recommendation would “reduce it down to as many as 10, 11, 12 passengers.”

Count busing among the numerous challenges Kansas school districts are facing as they head back to school this week. Some can’t find enough drivers. Others aren’t in the position to add more buses or routes. That’s left districts looking to do everything they can to reduce the number of kids they have to transport.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

When the coronavirus first became a big deal in Kansas back in March, elementary school music teacher Emily Boedeker’s life changed quickly.

One day she was singing and laughing with the more than 300 kids that pass through her classroom in Lawrence every day. The next day, school was canceled and she needed to figure out how to upload bits of instruction to YouTube.

Nearly six months later, it’s time for a new school year. The prospect of going back into a classroom when the coronavirus is still spreading has her thinking about worst-case scenarios.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

VALLEY CENTER, Kansas — On its face, band camp at Valley Center High School looks pretty normal: Lines of students with instruments march up and down a football field while the color guard practices throwing flags into the air.

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