News to Know: Demand for testing, life sentence, MSSU arts center repairs

The news you need to know before you head out the door

TOPEKA, Kan. – Health officials in Kansas are working to improve the availability of covid-19 testing. The department says as the numbers of positive cases rise, the demand for testing is also increasing, causing delays in receiving tests and getting test results. In response, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it’s increasing staffing at existing testing sites and working to add 13 new testing sites. The department says it’s looking for new laboratories to reduce wait times for test results, and is searching for large indoor testing locations to prevent closures because of bad weather.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The CDC reports an average of about one in four covid tests is coming back positive, a huge increase. All 50 states are reporting a high level of community transmission. Missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and the covid situation in the state’s biggest cities is dire. Hospitals there are swamped with patients. Governor Parson declared an end to the pandemic emergency three weeks ago. That emergency order gave hospitals the flexibility to move staff around and add beds, and without it, they say they’re struggling to keep up with the rising number of patients.

FAIRLAND, Okla. – A judge sentences a Fairland, Oklahoma man to multiple life prison terms for killing one man and injuring two others, including an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. Edwin Ball gets three life sentences, with release after 35 years, for crimes that happened in March of 20-20. Ball shot and killed Brendan Van Zwell and shot and injured Peter Stokes. The victims were the adult son and brother of Ball’s girlfriend. Ball then barricaded himself in a house near Grand Lake, where he shot and injured an Oklahoma state trooper. In November, Ball accepted a deal, pleading guilty to three charges: Murder in the First Degree, Shooting with the Intent to Kill, and Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Repairs are in full swing inside Missouri Southern State University’s Taylor Performing Arts Center, two and a half years after it closed. The center closed in July of 2019 because of structural problems with the main stage, stairwells, and rigging system. Missouri lawmakers last year provided $2.5 million dollars to make the 47-year old facility usable again. The university expects repairs to be complete later this year.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: He’s a good dog… meet “Anymal” he’s a robotic dog used to keep researchers out of dangerous environments like Chernobyl and the Fukushima power plants. This morning we’re asking, how you feel about robotic animals? Join our KOAM Facebook discussion and cast your vote @ koamnewsnow.com/vote.