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This Hour: Latest Kansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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MICHELLE OBAMA-TOPEKA VISIT-REACTION

Topeka parents, students react to Obama changes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka students and parents are pleased with news that first lady Michelle Obama has changed her plans to speak to high school graduates in northeast Kansas.

The first lady says Thursday that she will be speak to the 800 graduates on May 16 during a "senior recognition day," leaving the following day to the students and their families.

Abbey Rubottom says the changes were welcomed and would keep the focus of graduation on the students and not deny families a place in the 8,000-seat arena.

One mother, Tina Hernandez, says she's excited about the new schedule and that Obama will be able to speak to the students without disrupting the traditional practice of separate graduation ceremonies.

Hernandez says the change shows Obama is a mom, too, and understands.

KANSAS SHOOTING-HEARING

Cross appears in court, hearing delayed until May

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A 73-year-old white supremacist from Missouri accused of fatally shooting three people at Jewish sites in Kansas appeared in court long enough for his attorney to request a scheduling conference be pushed back a month.

Frazier Glenn Cross was wheeled into a Johnson County courtroom Thursday for the brief hearing. Cross, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled in front of him, looked around the courtroom and spoke with his attorney but did not address the judge.

Cross is charged with killing 69-year-old William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City on April 13, then killing 53-year-old Terri LaManno at a nearby Jewish retirement complex.

His next hearing is set for May 29.

SCHOOL-LIGHTNING DAMAGE

Lightning hits tree, breaks windows at school

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Crews are cleaning up at a Wichita elementary school where a lightning strike left windows shattered in several classrooms.

KFDI-FM reports no children were injured following the strike around 9 a.m. Thursday at Woodman Elementary School. But second-grade teacher Julie Nelson says children were frightened as glass flew.

The lightning bolt hit a tree just outside the building. Principal Jana Epperly says branches and other debris broke windows in at least eight classrooms.

Students had just arrived for the day but were not yet in their classrooms when the lightning hit. Several second- and third-grade classes were moved to other rooms.

A student's grandfather was outside the school and was hit by flying bark. His injuries were described as minor.

SEVERE WEATHER

Severe storms loom across central US this weekend

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A large section of the Midwest and South are at risk for strong tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash flooding this weekend.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., on Thursday advised residents to be aware that dangerous weather is on the way and to make sure that they can receive weather warnings during their weekend activities.

Strong upper-level winds are forecast to move in from the west and merge with moist air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, creating conditions that are favorable for tornado development.

Large hail and rain of up to several inches are also expected.

The storms are forecast to start Saturday from Nebraska to Texas and move eastward through Monday.

MANUFACTURER-MANHATTAN

Manufacturing plant to expand in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - A manufacturing company is planning a $7 million capital investment in its Manhattan plant, which is expected to create 100 new jobs.

Florence Manufacturing Company, a division of Gibraltar Industries, announced the planned expansion Thursday in a news release. The company manufactures and distributes centralized mailboxes and parcel locker products.

After the expansion, Florence will employ more than 400 people in Manhattan.

Florence officials say in the news release that the company in recent years has developed new delivery equipment technology including electronic, software-enabled products and services. To support those efforts, Florence has added electrical, mechanical, industrial and software engineers and says it will continue to need new employees in all facets of its operation as its business expands.

AUTO PARTS SUPPLIER

Auto parts supplier opening plant near Kansas City

RIVERSIDE, Mo. (AP) - A subsidiary of a Canadian automotive supplier is building a new manufacturing plant in the Kansas City area.

Martinrea Riverside LLC held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for an automotive parts facility near Interstate 635 in the community of Riverside.

About 290 people are expected to be employed at the plant. They will make engine cradles and automotive assemblies for General Motors' Fairfax assembly plant in nearby Kansas City, Kan.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development has offered the company more than $3.2 million of incentives through a tax credit and job training program.

The company is a subsidiary of Martinrea International Inc., based in Ontario, Canada. Matrinrea employs more than 12,000 people at 38 facilities in eight countries. This is its first plant in Missouri.

PATROL-SHOOTING

Police chase in western Kansas ends in shooting

COLBY, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it is investigating after a trooper shot a man during a vehicle chase.

The man was flown to a Wichita hospital with unknown injuries after the shooting Wednesday night in Sherman County.

The patrol says in a news release that the incident began when a tipster called to say a man and woman were trying to sell sex at the Pilot Truck Stop in Colby. A license plate check indicated their truck was stolen in Texas.

The patrol trooper joined the chase when it entered Sherman County. The vehicle eventually went into a ditch along Interstate 70.

The patrol says the man had a weapon and was shot when he got out of the vehicle. The female was arrested pending charges.

GUN RIGHTS

New Kansas gun law deals with drunken possession

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Backers of a new Kansas gun-rights law taking effect in July are describing provisions dealing with the drunken possession of firearms as a significant improvement for public safety.

But an official with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence sees the language as problematic because it contains a self-defense exception.

The new law strips cities and counties of their power to regulate guns and ensures that the open carrying of firearms is legal across the state.

It also makes it clear that carrying a loaded firearm while drunk or under the influence of drugs is a misdemeanor.

The state has a law criminalizing possession under the influence for holders of state concealed carry permits, but state law didn't have an explicit rule for other gun owners.

UNIVERSITY-MAJOR GIFT

Donor pledges $25 million to University of Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The University of Kansas says one of its graduates has pledged a $25 million donation for scholarships and other purposes.

Officials announced the commitment Thursday in a news release that also said the donor has asked to remain anonymous.

The university says the donor appreciated the education he received as well as the scholarship support that helped him attend KU. He said he had been thinking for years about helping KU in his estate plans.

Eighty percent of the $25 million gift will benefit the KU Alumni Association's outreach programs. The rest will be divided equally between support for alumni scholarships and the Greater KU Fund, which supports priority needs.

MISSING VETERAN-SERVICES

Kansas man lost after WWII finally laid to rest

(Information in the following story is from: Leavenworth (Kan.) Times, http://www.leavenworthtimes.com)

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka man whose plane went down during a post-World War II operation has finally been laid to rest in his native state.

Hundreds of people lined the streets Wednesday in Leavenworth to honor 2nd Lt. Verne Gibb, who was a pilot during the war and afterward. His cargo plane was lost on a flight between Burma and India, likely because of bad weather.

Five other people on the plane also were lost.

Despite several searches, the crash site was never found and the six men were declared dead. Gibb's remains were later found and were positively identified in October 2013.

The Leavenworth Times reports several of Gibb's family members attended Wednesday's service, including his daughter. None of them were available for comment after the service.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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