Bryan Thompson

Contributing Reporter

Bryan Thompson joined the Kansas Health Institute in 2015 after more than 35 years in radio news. For the last 15 years he has worked with Kansas Public Radio, where he produced the award-winning series, “Kansas Health: A Prescription for Change,” and collaborated with the KHI News Service. Prior to his work at KPR, Bryan served as news director for commercial radio stations in El Dorado, Liberal and Salina. Bryan has partnered with NPR and Kaiser Health News through their “Health Care in the States” initiative. He was selected by the National Institutes of Health for its Medicine in the Media training program and by the Association of Health Care Journalists for its yearlong Midwest Health Journalism Fellowship. Bryan is a graduate of Wichita State University.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s prized income tax exemption for businesses is gone.

Over the governor’s veto, in June lawmakers raised income tax rates and repealed the exemption that had benefited roughly 330,000 business owners, including about 53,000 farmers.

Gov. Sam Brownback visited western Kansas on Tuesday to tout that farming with less water from the Ogallala Aquifer is viable.

Farmers in a 99-square-mile area of Sheridan County have managed to cut their irrigation by more than 20 percent over the last four years, and they're still just as profitable as their neighbors who haven’t cut back like that. Jim Butler of the Kansas Geological Survey says it could extend the life of the Ogallala.

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The Kansas Hospital Association says the revised health care proposal in the U.S. Senate still comes up short of what’s needed for patients and hospitals in Kansas.

Kansas Hospital Association spokeswoman Cindy Samuelson says the revised Better Care Reconciliation Act would lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid cuts for Kansas. Samuelson says that will reduce access to care for children, people with disabilities, and those in nursing homes.

BRYAN THOMPSON / KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

When evening falls, Brian Hunt makes his way to a comfortable chair in a sunroom on the south side of his house near La Cygne, Kansas. But he’s not settling in to relax. He’s going to work.

University of Kansas School of Medicine

Citing a growing need for nurses—especially in rural Kansas—the University of Kansas School of Nursing is expanding to Salina.

If nurses are trained in a rural area, they’re more likely to work in a rural area. Sally Maliski, Dean of the KU School of Nursing, says that’s the idea behind the Salina campus.

“Well, it provides an opportunity to get a high-quality education in their home areas, thereby being more likely to stay in those rural areas to practice,” Maliski says.

COURTESY GARY MILLERSHASKI

A blizzard hit western Kansas over the weekend, shutting down roads and forcing schools to close. The late spring storm also knocked out power to thousands of residents and buried livestock in drifts of snow.

Farmers in western Kansas are worried a spring blizzard that dumped as much as two feet of snow destroyed much of this year’s wheat crop.

Kansas is the No. 1 wheat state in the country. About 20 percent of the nation’s wheat crop last year was grown by Kansas farmers.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

During a Friday visit to Junction City, Kansas, that included a stop at a food pantry site, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall said he would work to maintain funding for programs that feed the hungry.

Bryan Thompson / Harvest Public Media

Gena Kirk did not realize the largest wildfire in Kansas history was closing in on the Kirk Ranch in Clark County on March 6 until she got a call from her brother-in-law. After realizing that her herd was in danger, she jumped into her pickup and sped up the hill where several of her cattle were grazing.

As she herded her cattle onto a green wheat field that would not burn as easily as nearby dry grassland, winds gusting to 60 miles an hour fanned the flames quickly in her direction. 

Bryan Thompson / KCUR

The social and health effects of isolation on some rural Kansas residents spurred three Catholic nuns to convert a storefront in Concordia into a drop-in center where women can find support and resources.

Seven years after the center opened, two dozen women on average come through each day in the town of about 5,000 to socialize, do laundry, get a cooking lesson or simply connect with others.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

Fire crews battled hot spots overnight Tuesday in Reno County, but residents of one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods were allowed back to their houses.

No deaths or injuries were reported in the county, but eight homes were destroyed.

Velera Adams and her husband got the call, along with thousands of others, to evacuate from rural Hutchinson just as night fell Monday. She said they drove to a church parking lot just outside the evacuation zone.

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