Daily Dispatches
People walk between two destroyed houses in Mayflower, Ark.
Associated Press/Photo by Danny Johnston
People walk between two destroyed houses in Mayflower, Ark.

Midday Roundup: At least 16 killed in storm season’s opening weekend

Newsworthy

Storm surge. Tornadoes in the southern Plains provided a violent kick-start to this year’s storm season overnight Sunday. A broad twister sliced through towns near Little Rock, Ark., killing at least 16 people. The towns of Vilonia, Ark., Mayflower, Ark., Quapaw, Okla., and Baxter Springs, Kan., were hardest hit. Tornadoes also touched down Sunday in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. Authorities in North Carolina said earlier Sunday that an 11-month-old boy who was injured by a tornado on Friday died Sunday at a hospital. His home was destroyed by one of eight tornadoes that hit the state that day.

Dirty money. Police arrested Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., today on charges of accepting illegal campaign contributions from straw donors. Authorities have charged two other people in the alleged fraud, and one has pleaded guilty. The charges stem from contributions totaling between $250,000 and $300,000 that followers of an Israeli rabbi made during the 2010 race. Grimm’s case drew media attention in January after he threatened a reporter who confronted him in the Capitol. “If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this (expletive) balcony,” Grimm told the reporter.

Sinking hopes. The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet will move from air to sea. Officials announced Monday they had called off the aerial search for the plane, which disappeared 52 days ago en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday that any floating debris from the jet’s crash would have sunk by now. The submarine search of the ocean floor will expand to a larger area.

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Con-grad-ulations in order? U.S. public high schools now graduate 80 percent of students—a substantial milestone, according to a new report based on Education Department statistics from 2012. The department started collecting uniform graduation data from states in 2008. The new calculation method allows researchers to individually follow students and chart progress based on their income level. By doing so, researchers found that some states are doing much better than others in getting low-income students to graduation day. Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, and Kansas, for example, have more than half of all students counted as low income but overall graduation rates that are above average.

School stabbing. A 16-year-old student accused of stabbing a classmate to death on prom day is scheduled for arraignment today. The student’s attorney said his client was being held in a hospital under psychiatric evaluation and will not appear at his arraignment on murder charges in New Haven, Conn. The stabbing happened Friday morning at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, hours before the school’s prom, and authorities are investigating whether the boy stabbed fellow student Maren Sanchez after she turned down his invitation to the dance.

Lynde Langdon
Lynde Langdon

Lynde lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri in journalism, Russian, and business administration. She is in a long-term, committed relationship with the Lutheran church. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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