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Context of 'Morning, August 27, 2005: Schools Close; Universities Encourage Evacuation'

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Anti-gay activist Fred Phelps, pastor of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas (see November 27, 1955 and After), announces his candidacy for governor. Phelps intends to run as a Democrat. Phelps ran for governor of Kansas in 1990 and won less than seven percent of the Democratic primary vote (see 1990). In 1992, he ran for Senate, again unsuccessfully, and used anti-gay slurs against his opponent (see 1992). He has also run unsuccessfully for mayor of Topeka. Phelps says Governor Bill Graves (R-KS) is wrong for allowing thousands of tax dollars to be wasted at state universities on “seminars taught by militant homosexual activists spreading gay propaganda.” Phelps says, “As governor, I would promptly close down all illegal gay and lesbian activity in Kansas, beginning with the regents schools.” He says he would eliminate all property taxes and close Washburn University’s School of Law. Aside from being a minister, Phelps is a disbarred lawyer. (McLean 3/26/1998) Phelps is given little chance of winning the Democratic primary against challenger Tom Sawyer, a longtime member of the Kansas House of Representatives. (Associated Press 7/20/1998) Sawyer will indeed defeat Phelps in the Democratic primary, and lose to Graves in the general election. (Kansas Secretary of State 12/1/1998)

Mayor Giuliani announces that New York City schools will be closed the following day. He explains that power is out on west side of Manhattan and that NYC Department of Health (DOH) tests indicate that no airborne chemical agents were released during attack. (CNN 9/12/2001)

Several public schools announce that they will be closed next week. Tulane University announces that it will close at 5:00 pm today, and encourages its students to evacuate. (Times-Picayune Blog 8/27/2005)

The Contraflow Plan, which was activated 24 hours ago to expedite evacuation of Southeastern Louisiana (see 4:00 pm August 27, 2005), ends at 4:00 pm today according to State Police, and the roads return to the two-way traffic. (The Times-Picayune reports that Contraflow ends at 5:00 pm. (Times-Picayune Blog 8/28/2005) ) Police warn that the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway will close when maximum sustained winds reach 35 mph. (Louisiana State Police 8/28/2005)


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