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Headlines for Sunday, February 21, 2021

Biden Visits Ailing Former Senator Bob Dole

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden paid a visit yesterday (SAT) to former Senator Bob Dole, days after the World War II veteran and 1996 Republican presidential nominee announced he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Biden served in the Senate with Dole for more than two decades. The president arrived yesterday (SAT) afternoon at Washington's Watergate complex, where the 97-year-old and his wife, Elizabeth, have maintained a longtime residence. The White House described Dole as a “close friend” of the president. Dole said this week he plans to begin undergoing treatment tomorrow (MON). Dole represented his native Kansas in Congress for almost 36 years.


Kansas Meatpacking Workers Still Waiting for Vaccines

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Meatpacking plants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, yet thousands of workers at southwestern Kansas meat plants are still waiting to hear when they’ll be vaccinated. The Kansas News Service reported that the wait is frustrating for workers who have watched college faculty, first responders and postal workers get their vaccines, and as Kansas launched a program to get a first dose into the arms of every school worker by early April. Meatpacking plants have been the state’s third-largest source of COVID-19 outbreaks, topped only by long-term care facilities and correctional centers.


Woman Critically Injured in Wichita Apartment Fire

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman is hospitalized with critical injuries after a fire at a west Wichita apartment building. The Wichita Fire Department says the fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. Friday. Firefighters arrived to find a woman trapped inside the duplex. She was taken to Via Christi Hospital’s burn center. Fire Chief Jose Ocadiz said the “majority of the fire” was in the kitchen. The cause is still under investigation.


Governor Kelly Urges FERC to Investigate Weather-related Failures

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate systemic failures during this month’s weather emergency and to protect Kansans from demand-related price surges for natural gas and electricity. Kelly and members of the Kansas Corporation Commission signed a letter Friday, calling on the FERC to examine what led to a reduced supply of natural gas. Kansas was among many states hit with snow, ice and bitter cold over the past two weeks. Kelly will seek aid from the Biden administration and will encourage Congress to pass a stimulus package to provide relief for Kansas communities.


Ex-Wichita Officer, School Employee Pleads in Child Sex Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A former Wichita police officer and public school employee pleaded no contest to three charges accusing him of molesting underage boys. 58-year-old Alex Robinson was entered the plea yesterday (FRI), just days before his trial was scheduled to begin Monday. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office said the crimes involved three victims between who were abused in Wichita in 2011 and 2012. Robinson worked for the Wichita police department for 22 years. He was the Wichita Public Schools' safety services supervisor when he was arrested in January 2013. Before Friday's plea, Robinson was facing eight charges. Those charges involved boys aged 11 to 14 and occurred over 12 years, beginning in 2000.


Governor Kelly Presents Fix for Vaccine Data Reporting Woes

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Governor Laura Kelly has announced plans to fix issues that have led Kansas to underreport the number of people vaccinated for COVID-19. Kelly has said the state's vaccination rate consistently ranks among the lowest in the country because of technical problems with the tracking system. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows Kansas has administered 72% of the 581,975 doses it has received, up from 60.2% a week ago. Kelly says the state is addressing underlying data transfer problems and, starting Monday, providers will be required to report data daily on doses received and administered. Providers with identified reporting issues will face additional requirements.


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