Local News

Jessica Treadwell / KMUW

People say that western Kansas is empty and flat — and maybe it seems that way when you’re racing along on I-70. But if you venture off the interstate there are some surprising places that defy the Kansas stereotype.

One such place is Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, Kansas' newest state park.

Beth Golay / KMUW/File photo

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple says the city will take action against businesses that openly defy a new county health order meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Editor's Note: On Nov. 13, Emporia State University announced that it will provide free tests to students that want one before traveling. 

WICHITA, Kansas — In just two weeks, thousands of college students in Kansas will board planes and hop into cars daydreaming of sweet potatoes and turkey legs.

Most of those students won’t return to campus for the rest of the semester. To cut the risk of spreading the coronavirus, the majority of universities in Kansas will have students finish the fall semester online.

Fernando Salazar / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

In response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the area, Sedgwick County is tightening restrictions on bars, restaurants and businesses that draw large crowds.

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

WICHITA — The Wichita Board of Education canceled its plan to let middle and high school students back into the classroom on Thursday as coronavirus cases surge in Sedgwick County.

The vote was 5-2 with board members Ben Blankley and Mike Rodee voting against the motion.

"It’s a disservice to continue in a full remote model for secondary learners even considering our community transmission," Blankley said at Monday night's meeting.

Board member Stan Reeser said he wanted to reopen schools, but that the coronavirus numbers forced him to vote otherwise.

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.

wichita.gov

The pandemic has arrived at Wichita City Hall.

Mayor Brandon Whipple, the City Council, City Manager Robert Layton and other city employees are in quarantine for two weeks after council member Brandon Johnson tested positive for COVID-19.

Fernando Salazar/For KMUW

When voting ended Tuesday night, Sarah Lopez – the Democratic challenger trying to unseat Michael O’Donnell from the Sedgwick County Commission – was losing by nearly 600 ballots.

But a wave of mail-in ballots has now vaulted Lopez into a 125-vote lead.

iStock illustration

On Monday, Sedgwick County’s COVID-19 dashboard reached a worrying milestone: For the first time since the pandemic began, all 208 of the county’s ICU beds were full, if only momentarily.

Courtesy

Thankfully, 2020 is coming to a close.

There's only a couple of months remaining in what has been an usually stressful and difficult year for just about everybody.

But before it leaves, 2020 has made a mess of one more tradition: the holiday office party.

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