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Headlines for Saturday, March 19, 2016

Topeka Symphony Recalls 1966 Tornado with Stormy Music

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Topeka Symphony Orchestra is performing stormy music to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of a tornado that killed 16 people. The Capital-Journal reports that the performance is scheduled tonight (SAT) at the White Concert Hall on the campus of Washburn University. The symphony's music director and conductor, Kyle Wiley Pickett, says he's read accounts of the tornado that struck on June 6th, 1966. The tornado was classified as an F-5 on the Fujita scale. It stayed on the ground for more than a half hour, cutting a half mile-wide swath. Works from Ludwig van Beethoven and English composer Benjamin Britten will be performed in remembrance. Pickett says the selections "reminds us of the greatness of nature — its beauty as well as terrible power."


Kansas Juvenile Justice System Set for Possible Overhaul

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Low-risk juvenile offenders and those who violate probation could be referred to community-based programs instead of being placed in juvenile detention centers under a proposal being considered by Kansas lawmakers. House representatives gave the measure first-round approval vote yesterday (FRI). It passed 38-2 in the Senate last month. The House is expected to vote on final approved Monday. A Senate conference committee will then review changes to the measure. The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee added a provision to reserve up to 50 beds in group homes for offenders without a safe home. The measure approved by the Senate said all group homes would close by July 2018. Some law enforcement agencies worried that offenders committing higher-level misdemeanors would be likely to re-offend if all homes closed.


Kansas House Advances Bill to Tighten Control of State Debt

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a bill that would give legislators more oversight of bonds or other debt for major building projects. The measure advanced yesterday (FRI) on a voice vote. The House expects to take final action Monday. The bill would require the Legislature to approve the debt for a project worth $25 million or more. Legislative leaders and the governor could approve smaller projects. The requirements also would cover lease-purchase agreements. The measure is a reaction to two projects without prior legislative approval. A nonprofit corporation formed by the University of Kansas is financing major campus improvements with $327 million in bonds issued by a Wisconsin agency.


Senate Passes Disability Bill, Adds Privatization Provision

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Senate has passed a bill intended to define and streamline the process for a shared living program for adults with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The Wichita Eagle reports that the bill passed by a vote of 31-5 after hours of debate Thursday. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services says the bill would enable it to re-establish a shared living program that allows adults with developmental disabilities or other disorders to be placed with a care provider. The agency temporarily suspended the program in October. Some lawmakers say the bill would enable the agency to privatize facilities and avoid legislative oversight. Before the bill was passed, a provision was added that would require the agency to seek legislative approval before privatizing facilities.


2 Suspended Kansas Officers Under Investigation

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say two Kansas City, Kansas police officers have been suspended and are under investigation. The Kansas City Star reports that police said the officers were suspended with pay. As part of the "dignitary detail," the officers were assigned to the mayor's security detail. No other details were immediately provided.


Woman Pleads Guilty in Homicide on WSU Campus

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman has accepted a plea deal in a man's shooting death on the Wichita State University campus. Eboni Fingal of Wichita pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and robbery in the August 2015 death of 23-year-old Rayan Ibrahim Baba in the parking lot of a university student dormitory. The Wichita Eagle reports Fingal was scheduled for trial Monday for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery but entered her pleas March 11th. She will be sentenced April 29th. Prosecutors say Fingal and Isaiah Copridge killed Baba after he contacted Fingal for sexual services she had advertised online. Baba was an undergraduate student from Saudi Arabia. Copridge is serving more than 21 years in prison after pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated robbery.


Kansas Masons Give $2.5 Million to KSU Programs

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Masons from 220 lodges in Kansas have donated a total of $2.5 million to three Kansas State University programs. The Kansas Masonic Foundation's gifts will support the Kansas PRIDE program, the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship and the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. Kansas PRIDE encourages volunteers to work with local governments to improve their communities. The Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship works to improve entrepreneurial opportunities at Kansas State and throughout Kansas. The Office of Military and Veterans Affairs focuses on military-related institutional policies, education, research and outreach. Foundation president Michael Tavares says the organization wants to expand its partnership with the university through the three programs. The foundation also is celebrating its 50th anniversary by launching a $20 million fundraising campaign for community improvements.

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