Westboro Baptist Church

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The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the fiery founder of a small Topeka church who drew international condemnation for  hate-filled protests blamed almost everything--including the deaths of AIDS victims and U.S. soldiers--on America's tolerance for gay people, has died. He was 84.

Daughter Margie Phelps told The Associated Press that Fred Phelps died shortly after midnight Thursday. She didn't provide the cause of death or the condition that recently put him in hospice care.

Family members of 84-year-old Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps have confirmed that he's in hospice care in Topeka and may be near death.

The group is known for funeral protests that have created a lot of anger, but equality groups are asking for a different response to Phelp's condition.

Stephanie Mott is with the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, or K-STEP. She's a transgender woman. She has traveled the nation giving presentations on LGBT issues and often hears the same question over and over.

Updated on March 20 at 11:24 CT: WIBW and the Topeka Capital-Journal has confirmed that Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, has died at the age of 84.

Megan Phelps-Roper and her sister, Grace Phelps-Roper--granddaughters of Fred Phelps--have left the Westboro Baptist Church and are apologizing for their past behavior. 

Megan Phelps-Roper and her sister, Grace Phelps-Roper, left the controversial Topeka church back in November.  Westboro Baptist Church has gained national attention for, among other things, picketing the funerals of gay people and of soldiers. 

 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.

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Topeka City Councilman Issues Apology To Newtown