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Top Morning News 12.20.12

 First winter storm hits Kansas, closing schools and highways; A Topeka City Councilman issues an apology for church's actions; Brownback urges moment of silence on Friday.

First Winter Storm Brings High Winds, Closes Highways

The first major winter storm swept in from Colorado late Wednesday, closing schools and highways.


Topeka City Councilman Issues Apology To Newtown

Topeka City Councilman Chad Manspeaker has issued an apology to Newtown, Connecticut. His words follow the Westboro Baptist Church's plans to picket the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children were killed last Friday.


Brownback Urges Moment Of Silence For Newtown Victims

Governor Sam Brownback is asking Kansans to observe a moment of silence Friday morning for the victims of the New Town school massacre.

Brownback and governors across the country are calling for people to pause and reflect at 9:30 a.m. in local time zones. That's the hour of the shootings last Friday.

Brownback says that the state's "hearts and prayers are with everyone in Newtown."

Kansas At Bottom In Preparedness Survey Results

A national survey ranks Kansas at the bottom among states in being prepared for public health emergencies, terrorism incidents and natural disasters. But state officials took issue Wednesday with the latest, annual "Ready or Not?" report from the nonpartisan Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

It gave Kansas and Montana the lowest scores, 3 on a 10-point scale. Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson says the state has responded successfully to numerous natural disasters and the division has been called upon routinely to help other states.

For example, she noted that the report says Kansas hasn't been accredited by a private, national emergency management program. But she says the state expects to receive such accreditation next year.