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Kansas Klips

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 20:27
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Farmer who gifted mask earns KSU degree

TOPEKA — Dennis Ruhnke left Kansas State University two credits shy of a degree in 1971 to take over the family farm following his father’s death. Last Tuesday, May 5, recognizing Ruhnke’s decades of experience in agribusiness, K-State president Richard Myers conferred a degree upon the retired Troy farmer who became an ambassador of goodwill by donating an N95 mask for a nurse he didn’t know in a state he never visited. With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of commencement ceremonies across the state, a makeshift exception for Ruhnke was held in an open area on the third floor of the Statehouse. Gov. Laura Kelly delivered Ruhnke’s commencement address. The governor said she became familiar with Ruhnke the same way most of the country met him — on national TV in late April, when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared the farmer’s handwritten message of generosity and the gift of a spare N95 mask left over from his farming days. Kelly reached out to Myers to ask about the possibility of an honorary degree. Myers balked at the suggestion, opting instead to recognize four decades of experience running the family farm as meeting necessary educational requirements. About 10 years ago, Ruhnke inquired about completing his degree at K-State, only to learn he would have to start over because too much time had lapsed. (The Topeka Capital-Journal)

‘Doc’ and others featured in community flyovers

NEWTON — B-29 Bomber “Doc,” once partially constructed and then restored by Newton resident and “Rosie the Riveter” Connie Palacioz, flew over Newton and other central Kansas towns with aircraft from McConnell Air Force Base for Operation America Strong on May 6. Two KC-135 Stratotankers and a KC-46 Pegasus from McConnell, followed closely by Wichita’s own B-29 Superfortress “Doc,” flew over communities and area hospitals to salute first responders, military members and essential personnel who are working on the front lines to combat the coronavirus. The flight path included Wichita, Derby, Newton, Andover, Garden Plain, Haysville and El Dorado, including 11 local hospitals. (Salina Journal)

Rolling Hills Zoo investigates death of snow leopard

SALINE COUNTY — Rolling Hills Zoo announced last Friday that its male snow leopard, Gobi, was found dead in his indoor quarters by his keepers during morning rounds on May 4, according to a media release. There were no indications that anything was wrong prior to his death. A gross necropsy has been performed. Tests showed that Gobi was negative for SARS and COVID-19. The zoo is now awaiting further results from the histopathology. Gobi was born on May 25, 2009, at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. He moved to Rolling Hills Zoo on April 7, 2011. Snow leopards are typically solitary animals in the wild, and although he was paired with several females at RHZ, he never produced offspring. In captivity snow leopards have been known to live as long as 22 years, but life in the wild is much harder, so the life expectancy is more likely to be 10 to 12 years. (Salina Journal)

One dead after construction accident at Kansas high school

POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY — An accident at the Rock Creek High School campus has claimed the life of a construction worker. At 8 a.m. May 7th, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a construction accident at the school campus in the 9300 block of Flush Road. Sheriff Shane Jager said emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene, and located the construction worker trapped in a hole approximately 12 feet deep. The Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Fire and the Manhattan Fire Department were on scene for rescue and recovery efforts, but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident was under investigation, and the name of the individual had not been released. (Manhattan Mercury)

Coronavirus cases identified at I-70 service area food court

TOPEKA — Shawnee County Health Department (SCHD) has identified some COVID-19 cases linked to the Topeka Service Area on the I-70 Turnpike located just east of Topeka, according to a media relase. The exposure is specifically designated to the food court and restrooms of the facility. This facility houses a food court which includes the following restaurants: Dunkin’ Donuts, Hardee’s, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. The facility is accessible going both east and westbound on the I-70 Turnpike. Anyone who had stopped there and visited the food court or used the restrooms of this facility after April 23rd should contact their primary care provider if they develop any of the COVID-19 symptoms. The facility was closed for a period of time to be thoroughly sanitized. (The Topeka Capital-Journal)