Author: Sam Hennigh

County government and school board reporter. 2016 Kansas State University graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications. Kansas born and raised.

Riley County is reporting two more COVID related deaths this week. A 68 year-old unvaccinated male tested positive January 7 and died on January 15 at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. A 98 year-old unvaccinated female tested positive January 10 and died on January 14. This brings the total number of deaths in the county since the beginning of the pandemic to 70. Riley County has identified 636 new COVID cases and 595 additional recoveries since last week’s report. There are currently 1,056 active cases in Riley County. The percent of positive test results rose slightly from 20.19% to…

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With other viral diseases present in the community, one local hospital official says you shouldn’t assume symptoms are not COVID related. Ascension Via Christi President and CEO Bob Copple tells KMAN the difficulty is the symptoms are all very similar between the illnesses circulating right now. Copple says if you are feeling symptomatic, isolate immediately until you can talk to a physician or get tested.  While he cautioned against N95 masks since they need to be fitted to be effective, he still urges people to have good hand hygiene and to continue to wear a mask when in a gathering. As testing is…

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Riley County is reporting two new COVID related deaths this week, along with its highest increase in cases. A 40 year-old unvaccinated male tested positive on December 21, 2021 and died January 7 at Ascension Via Christi hospital in Manhattan. An 86 year-old fully vaccinated male tested positive for COVID-19 on January 8 and passed away January 10. This now brings the total number in deaths the county to 68. The county has also identified 1,202 new COVID cases and 389 additional recoveries since the last report on January 5. There are currently 1,017 active cases in Riley County and…

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Riley County commissioners will support recommendations and legislation for increased state funding for Community Corrections. Community corrections is looking for increased funding to deal with job retention and competitive wages. Commissioner John Ford has already met with community corrections on testifying if the need arises. Ford says this issue is more akin to working with the legislature rather than directly affecting Riley County. He adds he doesn’t know if this is a priority yet for the county, but will go to Topeka for testimonies if necessary. Community corrections for the entire state is looking to increase its funding by $14.3…

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Riley County commissioners voted to drop out of the Flint Hills Regional Council at this time. The vote stemmed from discussions on the increase in member fees, which are due by the end of the month. The board originally tabled the discussion last week for review. Commission Chair John Ford says he struggled with the decision partly due to the increase being used to pay off a loan. Ford also cited the reason for his decision was not due to the actual amount of the increase in costs, but because the ask came after the 2022 budget was finalized. Regional…

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The Riley County Health Department has adopted the new Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines for COVID quarantine and isolation. Last week, KDHE announced it would adopt the CDC’s new guidelines reducing the 10 period to only five days. That is now in effective in Riley County. Guidelines state those with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infections, regardless of vaccination status should stay home for five days. Individuals with no symptoms or with symptoms resolving after five days who are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications, can leave the house. Individuals are advised to continue to wear…

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Universal masking returns to all USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden school buildings Tuesday. The school board voted 4 to 1 Monday to reinstate masking throughout the district at the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Committee. Board member Brandy Santos was the lone opponent to the requirement. The district in October relaxed masking at places like the high school due to increased availability of vaccines for those age groups. Outgoing Board President Jurdene Coleman says she was hoping to see the masking policy actually decrease by spring break. That point was reiterated by local physician and committee member Dr. Ryan Knopp. Coleman says…

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Riley County crews are ready to go for the impending snow storm Saturday. Public Works Operation Manager Alvin Perez says crews had been preparing all morning Thursday. They loaded the trucks up with salt to treat the roads before the snow hits the streets. Public works is also fully stocked with salt, which Perez says was not an issue. Crews are already scheduled for the overnight treatment and possible clearing of the roads in the county. Perez says with the high wind, there is a possibility of snow blowing off the road and into the gravel shoulders. The wind will…

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Pawnee Mental Health Services is applying for federal grants to expand its services. The federal government passed statutes and definitions for community mental health centers to be defined as Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers. Pawnee Executive Director Robbin Cole says the CCBHC is essentially a federal definition for a range of services. Last Spring, the Kansas legislature passed the state’s certification process, as well as a plan for a funding model. Cole says there are currently six community health centers that have received federal grants to reach that certification. Cole says they are excited about the emphasis integrating physical and…

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The Kansas legislative corrections and juvenile justice oversight committee is looking to propose several bills for the 2022 session. 66th District Representative Sydney Carlin, who is on the committee, says they are working to improve a compassionate bill policy. Carlin says the committee is also working to improve outcomes for those being released from prison. This will allow them to have more chances to step into a normal life after incarceration. They are also working on improvements for inside of the state’s prisons as well. A bill is currently being proposed to remove the requirement for drug offenders to register…

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