Wagle wins top spot in Kansas Senate; Schools offered 'green grants;' Partnership between KC hospitals announced; Midwest economy improving slowly.
Westar Plant To Be Closed Two Months After Fire
Westar Energy officials say one of the utility's plants near Colwich will be closed for at least two months for repairs from a fire.
Westar officials say customers should not notice any impact from the closure. A transformer at the plant failed last Wednesday, causing an explosion and fire.
Westar officials estimate it will cost between $5 million and $8 million to repair the plant. The plant has a spare transformer that will be used until repairs are complete.
Westar uses the plant mostly during peak summer months. No one was injured in the fire. Workers are still trying to determine what caused the transformer to fail.
Wagle Elected KS Senate President, Merrick Speaker
Monday Kansas Republicans elected Susan Wagle as the new president of the state Senate. A veteran Wichita Republican, Susan Wagle is the first woman to lead either legislative chamber.
Kansas Offering Grants To Lessen Schools' Waste
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is accepting applications for small grants to help schools reduce solid waste and increase their recycling. The department is taking applications online until February 15.
KDHE will award grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for projects that seek to reduce waste through education, composting and recycling. But the projects must be integrated into classroom instruction.
KDHE Bureau of Waste Management Director William Bider says one goal is to teach students and school workers habits that can be applied in their homes or other places.
Kansas City Hospitals To Cooperate On Pediatric Care
Two Kansas City hospitals have announced plans to work together to create a single, integrated pediatric program.
Med Tech In Hepatitis C Case Pleads Not Guilty
A traveling hospital worker accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C through contaminated syringes has pleaded not guilty to the charges in New Hampshire federal court.
David Kwiatkowski, whom prosecutors describe as a "serial infector," was indicted last week on multiple charges of tampering with a consumer product and illegally obtaining drugs.
Kwiatkowski only said "yes" when asked in court Monday if he understood his rights. Trial was set for the first week of February.
Until May, Kwiatkowski worked as a cardiac technologist at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, where 32 patients were diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries.
Before that, he worked in 18 hospitals in seven states, including the Hays medical Center in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced in October that six of 474 patients who had contact with David Kwiatkowski at the Hays hospital have a hepatitis C strain linked to him.
Midwest Economic Index Rises Slightly
A monthly economic index report suggests an economic slump will continue over the next three to six months for nine Midwest and Plains states including Kansas.
The Mid-America Business Conditions index rose slightly in November to a weak 48.0 from 46.5 in October. The figure was 50.4 in September. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says it is tracking "economic weakness, particularly for nondurable-goods producers."