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Swarthmore Hybrid Tea roses grow in the City Park Rose Garden. In 1927, the local Kiwanis Club started the rose garden as a beautification project headed by J.W. Berry.

SCHOOL NOTEBOOK | K-State agronomy selects new head

Raj Khosla has been selected to lead Kansas State University’s department of agronomy starting in January.

For the past 21 years, Khosla has been on the faculty in the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences at Colorado State University, where he leads a thriving, globally recognized research, teaching and extension program in precision agriculture.

He has co-authored more than 100 refereed journal articles, book chapters, extension publications, proceedings and other publications.

“Dr. Raj Khosla comes to us with a tremendous reputation as a research scientist, accomplished teacher and rising administrative leader,” Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension, said in a statement. “Raj is an excellent choice as the next administrative leader for the Department of Agronomy and an ideal fit to inspire and focus the department toward strategic areas of unique global impact.”

Khosla holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in soil fertility & crop management and soil physics, respectively, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He obtained his bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from the University of Allahabad.

He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Soil and Water Conservation Society, and an Honorary Life Fellow of the International Society of Precision Agriculture. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and symposia.

In 2011, Khosla was appointed to membership for NASA’s Presidential Advisory Board on Positioning, Navigation and Timing to work on space-based GPS policy for the United States. He was named the Jefferson Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2012 and was appointed as the Senior Science Advisor to the U.S. Department of State.

In 2015, he was recognized as the Precision Ag Educator of the Year, a national honor bestowed by the agricultural industry.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the Department of Agronomy,” Khosla said in a statement. “I am looking forward to learning, leading, and working with world-class faculty, staff, students and stakeholders as we move the department forward in key areas of global strength.”

Graduate dean

finalists forums set

K-State’s search committee announced three finalists who will interview virtually for the vice provost for graduate education and dean of Graduate School position. The university has set virtual open forums for each candidate.

Rose Marie Ward, professor and interim associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at Miami University, will interview on Aug. 5. The virtual open forum will be from 1-2 p.m.

Mitchell McKinney, professor and director of the Political Communication Institute at the University of Missouri, will interview on Aug. 7. The virtual open forum will be from 1-2 p.m.

Claudia Petrescu, professor and chief strategy officer at Oakland University, will interview on Aug. 10. The virtual open forum will be from 1-2 p.m.

In a recent announcement, the university said there were four candidates interviewing for the position, but officials said one candidate withdrew from consideration.

People with K-State user names and passwords are encouraged to participate in each virtual open forum and Q&A session titled, “The Future of Graduate Education at a 21st Century Land-Grant University: Opportunities and Challenges.”

Questions for candidates may be submitted in advance via email to search committee chair Dean Amit at or asked live during each virtual open forum using the chat feature.

The forums may be accessed at For those unable to participate live, the virtual open forums will be archived on the provost’s search website.

Fauci optimistic COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available

WASHINGTON — Once a coronavirus vaccine is approved as safe and effective, Americans should have widespread access within a reasonable time, Dr. Anthony Fauci assured lawmakers Friday.

Appearing before a House panel investigating the nation’s response to the pandemic, Fauci expressed “cautious” optimism that a vaccine would be available, particularly by next year.

“I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it,” Fauci said, referring to the vaccine.

There will be a priority list for who gets early vaccinations. “I don’t think we will have everybody getting it immediately,” Fauci explained.

But “ultimately, within a reasonable time, the plans allow for any American who needs the vaccine to get it,” he added.

Under direction from the White House, federal health authorities are carrying out a plan dubbed Operation Warp Speed to manufacture 300 million doses of a vaccine on a compressed timeline.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, said a quarter-million people have expressed interest in taking part in studies of experimental vaccines for the coronavirus.

He said that 250,000 people have registered on a government website to take part in vaccine trials, which are pivotal for establishing safety and effectiveness. Not all patients who volunteer to take part in clinical trials are eligible to participate.

Fauci was joined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir.

Giroir acknowledged that currently it’s not possible for the U.S. to return all coronavirus test results to patients in two to three days. He blamed overwhelming demand across the nation.

Many health experts say that COVID-19 results are almost worthless when delivered after two or three days because by then the window for contact tracing has closed.

The latest government data shows about 75% of testing results are coming back within five days, but the remainder are taking longer, Giroir told lawmakers.

Rapid, widespread testing is critical to containing the coronavirus outbreak, but the U.S. effort has been plagued by supply shortages and backlogs since the earliest days of the outbreak.

At a time when early progress seems to have been lost and uncertainty clouds the nation’s path forward, Fauci, Giroir and Redfield are calling on calling on Americans to go back to public health basics such as social distancing and wearing masks.

The panel, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, is divided about how to reopen schools and businesses, mirroring divisions among Americans. Committee Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said the White House must come up with a comprehensive national plan to contain the virus. Ranking Republican Steve Scalise of Louisiana said the Trump administration has plans already on vaccines, testing, nursing homes and other coronavirus-related issues.

A rebound of cases across the South and the West has dashed hopes for a quick return to normal life. Problems with the availability and timeliness of testing continue to be reported. And the race for a vaccine, though progressing rapidly, has yet to deliver a breakthrough.

Fauci’s public message in recent days has been that Americans can’t afford a devil-may-care attitude toward COVID-19 and need to double down on basic measures such as wearing masks in public, keeping their distance from others and avoiding crowds and indoor spaces such as bars. That’s echoed by Redfield and Giroir, though they are far less prominent.

Fauci’s dogged persistence has drawn the ire of some of President Donald Trump’s supporters and prompted a new round of calls for his firing. But the veteran of battles against AIDS and Ebola has stuck to his message, while carefully avoiding open confrontations with the Trump White House.

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, Fauci said he was “disturbed” by the flat-out opposition in parts of the country to wearing masks as a public health protective measure.

“There are certain fundamentals,” he said, “the staples of what you need to do ... one is universal wearing of masks.”

Public health experts say masks help prevent an infected person who has yet to develop symptoms from passing the virus to others. For mask wearers, there’s also some evidence that they can offer a degree of protection from an infected person nearby.

Fauci said in his AP interview that he’s concerned because the U.S. has not followed the track of Asian and European nations also hit hard by the coronavirus.

Other countries that shut down their economies knocked back uncontrolled spread and settled into a pattern of relatively few new cases, although they continued to experience local outbreaks.

Nearly 4.5 million Americans have been been infected since the start of the pandemic, and more than 150,000 have died, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci said there’s evidence the surge across the South may be peaking, but upticks in the Midwest are now a concern.

“They’ve really got to jump all over that because if they don’t then you might see the surge we saw in some of the Southern states,” he told the AP.

Though Fauci gets push-back from White House officials, other medical experts in the administration are on the same page when it comes to the public health message.

Giroir, the testing czar, told reporters Thursday: “I think it’s very important to make sure that we all spread the public health message that we can control all the outbreaks occurring right now.”

He said controlling the outbreaks will require people to wear masks, avoid crowded indoor spaces and wash their hands frequently.

A yellow rose blossoms at the rose garden. In 1940, a hard freeze killed the rose bushes, and in February 1941, the Kiwanis Club and the city government split the cost for 1,100 rose bushes purchased from Portland, Oregon.

Allison Dollar receives aftercare from American Red Cross worker Rosalynn Mann after donating blood Thursday at the Aggieville Blood Drive. Residents gave blood donations Thursday and Friday at the Rally House in Aggieville.

Riley County confirms four new COVID-19 cases; 107 active

Riley County confirmed four new coronavirus cases Friday.

The total since the pandemic began in the county is 449.

Of those, 107 are active, 337 are recovered, and five people have died after testing positive.

Officials announced the most recent death Thursday.

The man was 80-year-old Larry Fronce, who had lived at Meadowlark Hills retirement community, according to a Facebook post written by his son, Todd Fronce.

Todd said his father tested positive for the virus as part of an outbreak at Meadowlark in mid-July. He was running a high fever and was hospitalized for a few days before going back to the home. He died Wednesday.

“He passed peaceful with his favorite nurse by his side,” Todd wrote. He said nursing home employees held the phone to Larry’s ear to let his wife talk to him.

This is the first coronavirus-related death from the outbreak at Meadowlark. Eight people have tested positive for the virus at Meadowlark Hills.

Meadowlark officials said the other people who tested positive have since tested negative, and those who displayed symptoms are improving.

“During this difficult time for family and Meadowlark caregivers, the organization thanks the Manhattan community for their continued support,” officials said in a news release Thursday.

There are three positive patients and one person under investigation for the virus at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan.

“(Another) hospitalized positive patient was released yesterday to continue recovery at home,” officials said Friday.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported 27,812 cases, 1,751 cases and 358 deaths statewide Friday.

That was up 942 cases, 51 hospitalizations and 12 deaths from Wednesday. KDHE releases data Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Geary County had 179 cases and Pottawatomie County had 108 Friday, which is up two in Geary County and one in Pottawatomie County from Wednesday.

I WONDER | How can a Washington man run for a US Senate seat in Kansas?

Q: How can a man from Washington state run for a U.S. Senate seat representing Kansas if he doesn’t live here?

A: Republicans who have voted early for the primary election may have noticed that one candidate running for a U.S. Senate seat for Kansas is from Richland, Washington.

John Berman is a Republican with a background in engineering, physics and math. He’s running not only for a Senate seat representing Kansas but also Minnesota.

Berman has said on his website that he decided to run after seeing the death of George Floyd, as well as surviving a near death experience. He has a particular interest in judicial court reform and diversifying economic opportunities in the Midwest.

So how can an out-of-state man seemingly take part in another state’s elections?

The U.S. Constitution has three major qualifications for U.S. Senate candidates: one, they must be at least 30 years old; two, they must be a U.S. citizen for at least nine years; and lastly, a senator has to reside in the state he or she is chosen upon election.

The general election isn’t until Nov. 3, so in theory, Berman has a few months to hunt for a new home depending on how close he thinks his chances are of clinching the win.

The primary election will take place Tuesday.

You can submit a question to this column by e-mail to, or by regular mail to Questions, P.O. Box 787, Manhattan, KS 66505.