Bryan Thompson

Bryan Thompson is a reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

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Health
9:17 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Does Northeast Kansas Need A Regional Food Hub?

Douglas County has been awarded grants totaling more than $68,000 for a regional food hub feasibility study. 

The year-long study will determine whether 16 counties in the northeast corner of Kansas could benefit by creating a warehouse for locally-grown foods.  Lawrence/Douglas County Sustainability Coordinator Eileen Horn says one goal is to help meet the demand from institutional kitchens for fresh, local food.

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Health
8:35 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Report Cites Need For Mid-Level Dental Providers

A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts bolsters the argument that dental access challenges in Kansas require a new type of dental provider.

The report lists the ten states with the most severe shortage of dentists, and the ten states where low-income children are least likely to receive dental care. Kansas is not on either of those lists.

Still, nearly 55 percent of Kansas kids covered by Medicaid received no dental care in 2011. The report also reveals that more than 16 percent of the state’s population is underserved, and living in a dental shortage area.

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Environment
8:22 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Ash Grove To Pay Millions In Pollution Penalties, Fixes

Ash Grove Cement Company has agreed to pay a penalty, and invest $30 million in new pollution control technology at its nine manufacturing plants-one of which is in Chanute, Kan. The settlement stems from charges that Ash Grove violated the Clean Air Act.

The consent decree allows the Overland Park-based company to pay a $2.5 million penalty, and install new pollution controls at plants in nine states, without having to admit to violating air quality requirements.

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Government
7:41 am
Tue June 18, 2013

KU Med To Lose 31 Student Slots In Kansas City

The University of Kansas is wrestling with how to cut $13.5 million from its budget over the next two years, but the funding reduction will not prompt the closing of the KU School of Medicine's campus in Salina

The KU Medical Center, which operates the school, will have to absorb more than $8 million in cuts. KU spokesman Jack Martin says closing the Salina campus, and scaling back operations in Wichita are no longer on the table.

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Health
7:54 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Supreme Court Says Human Genes Can't Be Patented

An illustration of the human genome.
Credit Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that segments of naturally-occurring human genes cannot be patented. The ruling may change the focus of genomic research, but it won't stop it.

Professor Andrew Torrance specializes in biotechnology patent law at the University of Kansas. He says the ruling falls hardest on companies that have invested billions of dollars, hoping to profit from patents on human gene fragments like those that help reveal a person’s risk for breast cancer.

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Health
8:21 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Medicare Summary Notices Redesigned To Fight Fraud

The Medicare Summary Notice senior citizens receive every month has been redesigned. The changes are meant to make it easier to spot fraudulent claims.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the federal government has devoted new resources to rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicare program. The notice beneficiaries receive each month to explain their claims is being upgraded to make it easier to spot claims for services they never received.

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Health
7:39 am
Tue June 11, 2013

KU Doctors Use Superglue To Stop Infant Brain Aneurysm

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital expect a three-week-old girl to make a full recovery after they closed an aneurysm in her brain, using super glue. 

Jared and Gina Julian knew there was something wrong with their three-week-old daughter.  Her mother says little Ashlyn began screaming and showing other symptoms.

“She was very stiff, then very rag-doll limp, and then kind of not super responsive,” says Gina Julian. “And later that night, she again projectiled, at which point in time we just were, she’s going back to the hospital.”

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Government
10:26 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Kansas Tap Water Infrastructure Needs $4.2 Billion

A new EPA report to Congress says the nation's drinking water infrastructure will need $384-billion dollars worth of improvements over the next 20 years, including more than $4-billion in Kansas. 

William Carr manages the revolving loan fund that finances drinking water projects in Kansas.  He says most of the projects on the list are for transmission and distribution—especially the underground pipes that carry water to homes and businesses…

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Government
8:49 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Advocates Say Children Didn't Fare Well In Kan. Legislative Session

Kansas lawmakers this year spared early childhood programs from the budget axe, but advocates for those programs say children didn't fare well overall in the 2013 legislative session.

The top concern, according to April Holman of the non-profit Kansas Action for Children, is that lawmakers balanced the budget using more than $9 million that should have gone into an endowment for early childhood funding.

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Cops & Crime
10:28 am
Wed June 5, 2013

US Attorneys To Gather For Conference On Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault

Barry Grissom at the podium.
photo by dan verbeck

U.S. Attorneys from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa will gather next week for a conference centered on domestic violence and sexual assault in Indian Country. 

U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom says the statistics on violence against women and girls in tribal communities can only be described as shocking.

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Government
9:43 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Kansas Early Childhood Programs Face Potential Shortfall

As Kansas lawmakers continue to search for common ground on a budget, an advocacy group says the long-term future of early childhood programs is at stake.

So far, the competing versions of a state budget for 2014 have all included Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to transfer $9.5 million dollars from the Children’s Initiative Fund to the State General Fund. 

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Environment
9:56 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Another Snag In Plans For Power Plant

Plans to expand a coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas have run into another snag.

An appellate court in Washington, DC, says a federal agency violated the law by clearing the way for expansion of Sunflower Electric’s power plant in Holcomb without first reviewing its impact on the environment. 

Attorney Amanda Goodin represents the Sierra Club, which filed suit to stop the expansion.

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Environment
8:13 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Iola Site Among Nine Added To Superfund List

The Superfund National Priorities List now includes nine new sites-one of them where a smelter used to operate on the east side of Iola.

The EPA says the soil on hundreds of residential and commercial properties in and around Iola is contaminated with lead, arsenic, cadmium and zinc. EPA Region 7 spokeswoman Dianna Whitaker says the biggest concern is lead.

“Children can get into that lead—especially young children," she says. "They put their hands in their mouths, and then they can be exposed and absorb lead, and lead is very dangerous for young children."

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Government
10:13 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Brownback Calls For Sales Tax Extension For Higher Ed

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Gov. Sam Brownback address media at the KU School of Medicine in Salina.
Credit Bryan Thompson / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants lawmakers to extend a temporary sales tax hike as a way to fund the state's universities.

The governor says cuts to higher education would be a momentum-killer at a time when he thinks a lot of positive things are happening in Kansas. Lawmakers are hesitant to extend the sales tax hike, which was approved in 2010 on the condition that it would expire July 1 of this year.

Following a tour of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Salina, Brownback called the facility a great place to invest.

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Environment
8:05 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Wolf Creek 'Degraded' But Making Progress

Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station at night.
Bryan Thompson Kansas Public Radio

After a series of problems, the operators of the only nuclear power plant in Kansas say they're making progress toward satisfying the concerns of federal regulators.

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Health
10:10 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Expands To Wichita

A competitive bidding program aimed at helping Medicare avoid overpaying for products like scooters, diabetic testing supplies, and oxygen tanks is being expanded to 91 communities nationwide, including Wichita. 

The program began a little more than two years ago as a demonstration project in nine communities, including Kansas City. 

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Health
2:28 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Tyson To Pay $4 Million For Anhydrous Ammonia Release

Tyson Foods has agreed to a settlement with the federal government over accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia at its facilities in Kansas and three other states.

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Cops & Crime
10:07 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Three Indicted in Synthetic Marijuana Scheme

A federal grand jury has indicted three Kansas men on charges that they operated a global sales and supply network for synthetic marijuana. 

Bradley Miller of Wichita, his brother, Clark Sloan of Tonganoxie, and Sloan’s son Jonathan Sloan of Lawrence face charges of mail fraud, conspiracy, distribution of a misbranded drug, smuggling, and conspiracy to launder money from the operation.  They’re accused of manufacturing and distributing a marijuana substitute called K2 through businesses named Bouncing Bear Botanicals and Persephone’s Journey. 

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Health
10:02 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Kansas City-Area Hospital Sale Finalized

Providence Medical Center, in Kansas City, and St. John Hospital, in Leavenworth, are now among the two dozen hospitals owned by Prime Healthcare—a for-profit company based in California. 

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Health
9:50 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Hospital Sale Cause for Hope, Concern

Jeremy Hendrickson urges Attorney General Derek Schmidt to put a hold on SCL hospital transaction.
Bryan Thompson Kansas Public Radio

The pending sale of two Kansas City area hospitals to a California-based corporation comes as a relief to those currently in charge of the hospitals.  However, some people are worried about what could happen. 

The sale of Providence Medical Center and Leavenworth’s St. John Hospital to Prime Healthcare Services needs the blessing of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to go forward.  Close to 100 people showed up for a public hearing conducted by the Schmidt last night. 

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Health
11:07 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Kansas County Health Rankings Very Similar to Last Year’s

A map showing the distribution of 2013 health outcomes. Counties in white rank highest in heath outcomes and hose in dark green rank the lowest.
Courtesy Kansas Health Institute

According to the latest Kansas County Health Rankings, Johnson and Riley counties have the healthiest residents in Kansas again this year.  Wyandotte County and a cluster of counties in southeast Kansas remain among the least healthy.

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Health
9:25 am
Thu March 7, 2013

KanCare Tour Rescheduled After Weather Cancellations

A series of informational meetings about KanCare has been rescheduled, after being cancelled due to snow storms last month. 

Meetings for providers will take place March 18th, in Hays; March 19th, in Dodge City, and March 20th, in Wichita.  Each of those sessions will run from one to three in the afternoon.

Meetings for consumers will be held in Hays March 18th, and in Wichita March 20th.  Those events will take place from six to eight in the evening. 

Government
9:32 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Roberts Says Bill Would Improve SNAP, Save Billions

Senator Pat Roberts, R. – Kansas

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has introduced a bill to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.  Roberts says the bill would save $36-billion over ten years by eliminating waste, and closing loopholes in the program.

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Health
9:55 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Tiller’s Wichita Clinic to Reopen This Spring

A Wichita clinic formerly operated by slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller is expected to reopen soon.

Tiller’s former building was recently purchased by an organization called the Trust Women Foundation.  It’s headed by Julie Burkhart, who used to run Tiller’s political action committee.

Abortion services have been unavailable in Wichita since Tiller was gunned down in 2009. 

Burkhart says each year, thousands of women in the Wichita area have to travel to Kansas City or to Oklahoma to get an abortion. 

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Government
9:33 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Missouri Senator Sponsors Bill To Label Genetically Modified Meat & Fish

Legislation filed in the Missouri Senate would require all genetically modified meats and fish raised and sold in the state to be labeled as such. The bill is sponsored by Democrat Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis.  She says people have a right to know what they’re putting in their bodies.

“We’ve had an industrial boom, we’ve had a technical boom, and now we have a biotech boom, and there hasn’t been a major studies to show one way or the other if genetically modified foods are good or bad,” says Nasheed.

Health
9:10 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Lower Cost & Better Care: Can KanCare Deliver?

Lidor Flickr

Medicaid is the second-largest program that Kansas operates, next only to education. And costs of the health program for the poor and disabled have been growing at a faster pace than most other programs. A desire to control those costs and improve care is why officials in Governor Sam Brownback’s administration have embarked on a massive plan to overhaul the system.

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Environment
9:44 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Kansas Man Finds Potentially Hazardous Asteroid

Gary Hug stands by his homemade telescope in Scranton, Kansas.
Bryan Thompson Kansas Public Radio

An eastern Kansas man who built his own telescope and operates it from a shed in his back yard has discovered a previously unknown and potentially hazardous asteroid.

Gary Hug lives near Scranton. He was trying to help plot the orbit of a known Near Earth Object when he noticed something Sunday night that appeared to be moving too slow to be a satellite, but too fast to be a main belt asteroid.

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Health
9:43 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Fish Caught In Kansas May Be Unhealthy

Pan Fried Catfish with Ginger Sweet Potato Cakes, Maque Choux Relish and Sauteed Asparagus
Ashly Kissman

Kansas officials are warning people not to eat too much fish caught in the state.

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Health
10:16 am
Fri December 14, 2012

KU Researcher Lands NIH Grant For Alzheimer’s Study

A cross-section of a human brain damaged by Alzheimer's disease.
user AJC1 Flickr

A University of Kansas researcher is partnering with a Harvard scientist on a $1.7 million study of a protein believed to play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

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Health
4:12 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Kansas Medicaid Overhaul Begins Next Month

bigstock.com

KanCare is arguably the biggest change in the history of Medicaid in Kansas. The proposal would privatize the entire program.

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