Topeka

Lindsay Fox, flickr Creative Commons

The Topeka City Council has voted to ban e-cigarettes in all public places where normal cigarettes are already banned.

The council heard from supporters of a ban, including Mary Jane Hellebust, a former director of the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition. She told commissioners that it still isn’t known if the vapors from e-cigarettes are safe.

“It is better if we keep these vapors out of the public places until we have decades, literally, of research to show that they are safe. Go back to the old maxim: better safe than sorry,” Hellebust says.

Stephen Koranda

For nearly 40 years, Don Wistuba has been running the snack bar at the Kansas Statehouse. Making cash transactions is part of the job and it doesn't seem to be a big deal for Wistuba either, even though he's blind.

But his business will come to a close at the end of the month.After four decades of serving lawmakers and capitol visitors, he's calling it quits.

This piece originally aired Aug. 6, 2015, during Morning Edition.

The Topeka City Council will consider a plan to outlaw public nudity. There’s currently nothing on the books making it illegal for people in the Kansas capital city to bare it all. 

At a meeting this week, City Councilman Jeff Coen called the Shunga Trail a gem in Topeka.

“Every time I ride, there’s bunny rabbits running across there. We’ve seen turtles and snakes,” Coen says.

But there are some things he doesn’t want see.

KSWX_29, flickr Creative Commons

Millions of gallons of sewage that have spilled into the Kansas River at Topeka since spring are no cause for alarm, Kansas health officials said this week.

The issue started in April, when roughly 3 million gallons of raw sewage made it into the river after a power failure at a Topeka pump station, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. On Tuesday, a sanitary sewer main leak caused 55,000 gallons of raw sewage to flow into the river at a Topeka wastewater treatment plant.

Reports this week indicate that some educators in the Topeka school district have had illegal access to data that identifies students from low-income families. This is legally protected as confidential.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that principals and other educators were able to see the data through the district's student information platform called PowerSchool. The data is used to determine which students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

First Lady Michelle Obama will give the commencement address at the graduation ceremony for Topeka’s high schools on May 17th.

The White House announced the first lady’s plans on Thursday.

The date of the ceremony is the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that declared school segregation unconstitutional.

One of the lawsuits leading to the decision originated in Topeka, and the city is home to a national historic site centered on the ruling.

Topeka's water department is monitoring the Kansas River for E. coli after a weekend sewage spill.

Visa Trouble May Force 6 Topeka Teachers To Leave Kansas

Aug 8, 2013

Some foreign-born teachers working in Topeka may have to return to their home countries.

Topeka's school district started recruiting teachers from overseas eight years ago; the district was struggling to fill positions in special education, secondary math and science.

The U.S. Department of Labor rejected the permanent residency applications of six of those Topeka teachers. The department rejected the argument that the district encountered a shortage of qualified teachers willing to take the positions.

Topeka Zoo Welcomes Twin Baby Golden Lion Tamarins

Jul 11, 2013
Topeka Zoo

The Topeka Zoo says it's happy to announce that a 3-year-old golden lion tamarin named Devra gave birth to twins Wednesday.

She and the babies' father, Charlie, are first-time parents. They arrived in Topeka in December as part of the Golden Lion Tamarin Species Survival Plan.

The zoo says it will post updates and daily pictures of the baby monkeys on its Facebook page.

Historic Topeka House Again Up For Auction

Jun 10, 2013

Two open houses of a historic Kansas home are scheduled for potential buyers as the state tries again to sell the property.

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