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Iowa funding cut,4 clinics to close

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Planned Parenthood on Thursday announced that it will close four of its 12 clinics in Iowa, after the new Republican-led Legislature cut its state funding this year.

Local affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said the closings will hurt access to reproductive health care in Iowa, especially in rural areas. More than 14,600 people visited the affected clinics in the past three years.

The closings will reduce the number of Planned Parenthood facilities in Iowa that provide abortions from eight to five. The organization said other services being lost include birth control, emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Republican lawmakers in Iowa agreed last legislative session to give up millions of dollars in federal Medicaid money in order to create a state-run family-planning program that excludes clinics affiliated with abortion services or referrals.

In addition, more than 30 employees within the organization will be laid off.

After pipe break, city's out of water

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- With no way to deliver clean water, Vicksburg shut down its water pipes after the line carrying treated water from the city's water plant to 30,000 customers broke Wednesday morning in an area that's currently flooded by a Mississippi River backwater.

"We have absolutely no water anywhere in Vicksburg," Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. Flaggs said that the city now must build a 500-foot levee around the line that ruptured Wednesday and then pump floodwater out before repairs can begin. He said repairs are likely to take at least until Monday.

Faucets also were dry in the neighboring Yokena-Jeff Davis Water District, which buys its water from Vicksburg. Schools sent students home and were closed for the rest of the week. Many restaurants shut their doors. Casinos remained open, although some closed restaurants or hotels.

Twisters hit Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. -- Tornadoes touched down in three Plains states Thursday during spring storms, but there were no reports of major damage, serious injuries or deaths, meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service logged nearly 20 reports of tornadoes from the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and numerous reports of high winds and hail.

Meteorologist Vanessa Pearce in Wichita, Kan., said tornadoes were reported in Barton, Barber and Ford counties Thursday afternoon. Heavy rains and hail were reported across much of the region, with flash flooding reported in Great Bend, Kan.

The system also spawned several tornadoes Thursday in Oklahoma and Texas. Meteorologist Michael Scotten in Norman said four tornadoes were reported in western Oklahoma and two in northwest Texas. The twisters struck near the towns of Duke and Corn in Oklahoma and Crowell, Texas, on Thursday afternoon.

It was the second day of storms in the Plains states, and tornadoes were forecast for the Southern Plains through today.

A Section on 05/19/2017

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