KNS

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Scientists say that if we’re going to stop rising global temperatures, the world will need to greatly reduce the amount of carbon it’s emitting into the air.

Electricity production is one of the largest culprits and transitioning away from fossil fuels is seen as a key step in stopping climate change.

Under mounting pressure to ditch fossil fuels and amid shifting economics that make coal increasingly less competitive, the largest utility in Kansas pledges to close nearly all of its coal-burning plants in the next 20 years.

USGSBMIL Team

 MANHATTAN, Kansas — Ellen Welti has a Ph.D. in, essentially, grasshoppers.

And yet she was still mystified about why the number of grasshoppers in a long-protected and much-studied patch of Kansas prairie was dropping. Steadily. For 25 years.

After all, the grass that the springy bugs feast on had actually grown more robustly as it absorbed mounting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

So why were the grasshoppers faring increasingly worse?

Kansas Highway Patrol Air Support Unit

WICHITA, Kansas — Utility companies in Kansas will soon have a new accounting tool that could speed the closure of coal-fired power plants — and save customers money.

The financial tool is known as securitization. It’s not a new idea, but it is complex. The Kansas Legislature passed a bill approving the use of the tool after more than two years of discussion.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Wind now cranks up more kilowatts than any other power source in the state.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Nearly 70 years ago in a newly formed suburb of Kansas City, Kansas City Power & Light Co. built what it thought was a vision of the future — an all-electric home full of the latest technology.

“It was advertised as the lazy man’s paradise,” said Johnson County Museum curator Andrew Gustafson.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

KINSLEY, Kansas — In the late 1980s, drought left the wells that supply water to the city of Hays and Russell in western Kansas precariously low. The near-catastrophe sent city leaders on the hunt for more water.

“We were just trying to survive from one year to the next,” former Hays mayor and city councilman Eber Phelps said.

Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Spring break is canceled.

Public universities in Kansas made the call early in the fall as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. They reasoned that during a pandemic it’s just not a good idea to give students a week to spend in South Beach, or even just travel to see family.

Yet Kansas State University students said they need at least some time off because of another health crisis — the damage to their mental health posed by a semester without a pause. K-State agreed and scheduled a “wellness day” for the spring.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

More than a quarter of Kansans have gotten at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. And starting March 29, all Kansans ages 16 and up will be eligible for the shots.

Sedgwick County Health Department workers set up a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.
Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

For starters, the COVID-19 vaccine doses intended for Ness County in west-central Kansas landed somewhere else.

“That was my first clue we had a problem,” said Carolyn Gabel, the county’s public health administrator.

Then someone from Dodge City called. Those vials bound for Ness City? They hadn’t been kept as cold as needed. They were no good anymore and needed replacing.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

College life at public universities in Kansas had one defining trait last semester: isolation.

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