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Your local and regional news for Northeastern Kansas and the surrounding communities, brought to you by the KPR news staff.

KU Offers Course in the Study of Extra-Terrestrial Life

Is there life beyond planet Earth? That's a big question... and one that students at the University of Kansas are trying to answer. KU offers a course on the study of extra-terrestrial life and now, students can get a minor degree in astrobiology.

That's former NASA astronaut Steve Hawley, who helps teach the course. He says UFOs are discussed in class but are not the main topic. Instead, students will spend time studying the possibility of NON-intelligent life on other planets.

KS State Fair Confident in Safety Measures

The general manager of the Kansas State Fair feels secure about the safety measures in place for the annual event in Hutchinson. Denny Stoecklein (STECK-line) says the fair's response to any emergency will involve a coordinated effort from public safety officials.

Stoecklein (STECK-line) says fair officials and law enforcement authorities will spend some extra time reviewing safety measures in the next week, in light of recent concerns about safety at large public events. Officials at the Indiana State Fair recently came under criticism after a stage collapse killed seven people earlier this month. The 99th Kansas State Fair gets underway September 9th and will run through the 18th.

Lawrence Busker Festival Promises Entertainment for All

Street performers will out in force this weekend in Downtown Lawrence. They'll be there for the 4th Annual rendition of the Lawrence Busker Festival, scheduled to run from Friday through Sunday. Festival producer Richard Renner spoke with KPR's David Darman and says there will be all kinds of performers playing on three different stages.

That's Richard Renner, organizer of this weekend's Busker Festival in Lawrence. He was speaking with KPR's David Darman. A Special fundraising preview of the Lawrence Busker festival is taking place tomorrow (THUR) night in East Lawrence. It's a show to benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Douglas County. You can find more information online at

Final Medicaid Forum Scheduled for Wednesday

The fourth and final public meeting on Governor Sam Brownback’s Medicaid reform initiative is scheduled for tomorrow (WED) in Overland Park. State Health Secretary Robert Moser says the goal is to slow the rate of growth in the health care program for low-income and disabled Kansans. He says they're hoping to reduce Medicaid’s costs by about $200 million over two years, getting about half that in the first year.

Moser says improving the care provided to more than 300,000 Kansans on Medicaid is just as important as cutting costs. Critics say such deep cuts are more likely to reduce services. The meeting is scheduled from 1 to 5pm tomorrow (WED) at the Overland Park Convention Center. Those interested in attending are asked to make reservations on KDHE’s website(

Johnson County Steps Up Effort to Catch Drunk Drivers

Police across Kansas are beefing up traffic patrols in anticipation of the coming Labor Day holiday. Three people die on Kansas roads every day in connection with drunk driving. A statewide effort is already underway to crack-down on DUI offenders. Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Erickson says DUI checkpoints will begin this week.

Johnson County also promises increased enforcement of the state's seatbelt law. Authorities urge drivers to stay sober and patient as they drive around the state in these remaining weeks of summer... and all year long.


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