News to Know: Demand for Testing Grows, Oklahoma Man Sentenced to Life 3 Times, and MSSU Performing Arts Center Repairs Underway

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

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas health officials are working to improve the availability of covid-19 testing. The department says that as the number of positive cases increases, the demand for testing also increases, causing delays in receiving tests and obtaining test results. In response, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it was increasing staffing at existing testing sites and working to add 13 new testing sites. The department says it is looking for new labs to reduce wait times for test results and is looking for large indoor testing sites to avoid closures due to bad weather.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The CDC reports that on average about one in four covid tests come back positive, a huge increase. All 50 states report 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 largest cities is dire. Hospitals there are overwhelmed with patients. Governor Parson declared the pandemic emergency over three weeks ago. This emergency order has given hospitals the flexibility to move staff and add beds, and without it they say they are struggling to keep up with the growing number of patients.

FAIRLAND, Okla. – A judge sentences a Fairland, Oklahoma man to multiple life terms in prison for killing one man and injuring two others, including an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. Edwin Ball is serving three life sentences, with release after 35 years, for crimes that occurred on March 20 and 20. Ball shot and killed Brendan Van Zwell and shot and wounded 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 wounded an Oklahoma State Trooper. In November, Ball agreed to a deal, pleading guilty to three counts: first-degree murder, shooting with intent to kill, and assault with a deadly weapon.

JOPLIN, Mo. — Repairs are in full swing at the Taylor Performing Arts Center at Missouri Southern State University, two and a half years after it closed. The center closed in July 2019 due to structural issues with the main stage, stairwells and rigging system. Last year, Missouri lawmakers provided $2.5 million to make the 47-year-old facility usable again. The university expects repairs to be completed later this year.

SOMETHING TO TALK: He’s a good dog… meet ‘Anymal’, he’s a robotic dog used to keep researchers out of dangerous environments like Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants. This morning we ask you what do you think of robotic animals? Join our KOAM Facebook discussion and vote at koamnewsnow.com/vote.

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