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Fri March 2, 2012
Top Stories Of The Week
“Border wars” ended with a game to remember. The tornado season got off to an early, punishing start & more: Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
Fire Chief's Dramatic Statement
“Our personnel in the department have provided us everything I have asked them to do, and I have failed them,” were the emotional words with which Chief Smokey Dyer summed up his compliance with a request to submit a budget trimmed by $7.6 million dollars. Dyer said one fire station would have to be closed, staffing reduced at eight others, response times slowed. The council talked about restoring some of the money, but is legally obligated to produce a balanced budget.
Early Retirement for Chief Dyer?
A couple of hours after Dyer made his remarks, the council approved a plan that would let him retire now, rather than in 25 years, with full benefits. City Attorney Galen Beaufort minimized the timing of the move. Mayor Sly James inquired in open meeting about the retirement deal, and was told it had been in the works for a long time, and was not “rushed through.”
Tornadoes devastate Branson, Harveyville
Tuesday night tornadoes spared the Kansas City area but devastated parts of the Branson strip and rural areas nearby. The hardest-hit community was Harveyville, Kansas, southwest of Topeka. Chad Omitt of the National Weather Service said the storm turned nasty so fast that no tornado warning was issued.
Half of Harveyville's buildings were damaged or destroyed, half its residents injured, one man died.
New Risk Report for NBAF
A revised risk assessment on the proposed National Bio-Agro Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas Friday put the likelih ood of a pathogen release at less than one percent, not the 70 percent estimated in the first assessment by the National Academy of Sciences. K-State Research Vice-president Ron Trewyn said the new estimate is as low as it could get. The National Academy of Sciences is expected to review the new DHS estimate in June.
“Border Wars” Rivalry Ends
The final in-conference “Border Wars” basketball game saw KU edge MU by one point in a cliff-hanger overtime with the buzzer sounding just as Mizzou got off a shot that a second earlier would have scored. Missouri coach Frank Haith expressed some interest in continuing the rivalry, but KU's Bill Self was quite willing to see the Tigers take their ball, go home, and look for a new rival in the SEC. The MU-KU rivalry lasted 104 years.
Brownback Medicaid, Schools Plans Falter
Kansas Governor Brownback's school-funding plan was running out of steam in the legislature, and Democrat Paul Davis said there was bipartisan skepticism about the governor's plan to privatize Medicaid, saying the changes were coming too fast.
School Takeover Bill Advances
The Missouri House of Representatives sent the Senate a bill that would allow the state to take over the unaccredited Kansas City school district at the end of the school year. A competing Senate bill would break up the district and absorb its parts into surrounding ones.
MO Revenues Lag, But More Released for K-12
Governor Jay Nixon restored $5 million in K-12 education cuts, based on lottery ticket sales. But state revenues continued to be less than budgeted for spending.