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Headlines for Saturday, May 09, 2015

Severe Weather Possible in Western Kansas and Oklahoma

MOORE, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma and other states in the Great Plains are bracing for more severe weather.  The National Weather Service is warning that there's a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms today (SAT). The greatest risk is to western Kansas and western Oklahoma, where tornadoes and large hail are likely.  The storms come just days after storms that produced more than 50 tornadoes across the Plains.  Storms on Friday night caused some flooding in Oklahoma.


Kansas Drought Affects National Wheat Standing

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A new government ranking shows that after the drought-plagued 2014 crop, Kansas no longer leads the nation in wheat production. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported  yesterday (FRI) that the state has dropped to second behind North Dakota in wheat production. The only farm commodity where Kansas still ranks first in production is sorghum for grain. Kansas farmers grew  more than 46 percent of the nation's  sorghum crop. The state has 28.5 million acres of cropland, which is the second highest acreage in the nation.


Education Funding Laws Challenged
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ An attorney for the state has responded to legal attacks on a new Kansas school funding law. Arthur Chalmers says that the state constitution doesn't require the "best system" or "a perfect one". Chalmers made the remark at the end of a two-day hearing in Shawnee County District Court. A three-judge panel is considering a request from four school districts to block the new funding law that took effect in April.   Hutchinson Superintendent Shelly Kiblinger testified that the newly adopted  law forced her district into staff cuts. The new law has cut the current school year funding by $54 million and scrapped a per-student funding formula in favor of ``block grants.''  


Proposed Bill Would Require University to Publish Graduate Salaries

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A bill that would have required some Kansas universities to publicize information on their graduates' average salaries, student loan debt and employment has stalled in a House committee.  House Education Committee chairman Ron Highland, a Wamego Republican, said he adjourned a hearing on the bill early Thursday to prevent members from tabling it until next session. He said he doubts the committee will have time to address it again before the Legislature breaks for the year.  Supporters of the bill have said it would help prospective students decide which university to choose by requiring those institutions to provide information comparing the average economic outcomes of their graduates from each degree. Critics of the measure have said its requirements would be too expensive for universities.  

FDA Reveals Listeria Went Unreported By Blue Bell
 WASHINGTON (AP) _ According to the FDA, Listeria had been found in a Blue Bell Creameries plant prior to the recent deadly outbreak linked to its ice cream. The results of an FDA investigation revealed that the company had found the bacteria dating back to 2013. The FDA said yesterday (FRI) that it was not aware of those findings before doing its own inspection this year.  Companies are required to report to the FDA if they find a ``reasonable probability'' that a food could make people sick. Blue Bell's listeria samples were found on surfaces and not in the ice cream, and the company didn't test to see if the strain was one of the more dangerous.


Gardner Sworn into Kansas Court of Appeals

 TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas Court of Appeals has sworn in Kathryn Gardner as its newest judge. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports  that Gardner was sworn in yesterday (FRI) at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.   Gov. Sam Brownback nominated Gardner in January and she was confirmed by the Kansas Senate in March. 



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