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Fri June 29, 2012
Top Stories Of The Week
Kansas City, Missouri got ready to spend more on development incentives and less on Kemper Arena. And the Supreme Court health care decision elated some, enraged others, but didn't immediately change anything.
Steve Bell revisits those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.
Health Care Ruling Prompts Strong Reaction, Little Action
Most Midwestern Democrats praised the U.S.Supreme Court's health care ruling Most Republicans condemned it. Missouri Democrats Jay Nixon and Claire McCaskill tried to sit on the fence, and some Kansas moderate Republicans like insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger said it was a proud day for the country
Governor Sam Brownback was not proud. Nor were the conservative Republicans in both the Kansas and Missouri Legislatures. Their strategy: don't expand Medicaid or implement other portions of the law. Stall till after the election in hopes Republicans will win big repeal it.
Dr. Ed Weisbart of Missouri Physicians for a National Health Program said failure to implement the health care law would leave 260,000 Missourians without coverage despite the fact that the federal government “is standing armed, ready and willing to pay it.”
Also up in the air is whether to create the on-line health exchanges. Kansas has already turned down the federal grant to pay for that.
Kobach, Foes Claim Victory In Arizona Immigration Law Ruling
The Supreme Court also partly accepted and partly rejected an Arizona Immigration law Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach helped write. Kobach called it a victory, but the ACLU's Gary Brunk said Kansas... and Missouri should think twice before passing any similar law.
The court rejected part of the law requiring all immigrants to carry registration papers, but said instructing state law-enforcers to check the immigration status of persons stopped for other reasons was allowable, depending on how it is enforced.
Kansas City Prepares To Scale Back Kemper Arena Operations
The Kansas City city council took back the management of Kemper Arena, relieving Anschutz Entertainment of the responsibility for two competing arenas. Finance chair Jan Marcason explained that the arena will remain available for American Royal events and a few others, but the city plans to stop “throwing good money after bad” and will try to operate Kemper Arena more economically. The American Royal and the Kemper family have proposed razing the aging structure and building a smaller arena for equestrian and agricultural events.
Big Incentives Greet Big Kansas City Development Projects
The council also approved millions in incentives for two projects: a 23-story apartment tower in the Power ad Light District and a corporate Headquarters at 435 and State Line for Freightquote. Mayor Sly James said that one, which lured Freightquote from Overland Park helps Kansas City, Missouri and makes a statement to Kansas that the city can win large victories in the “border war” and that it is time to end the competition to shift firms from one side of the state line to the other.
Both development projects involve millions in subsidies and tax abatement up to 100 percent for part of the abatement period. One has a total period of tax breaks that will last 25 years, the other 23 years.
Child Found Prisoner In Waste-Fpouled Midtown Closet
Neighbors were shocked when police found a child had been kept a prisoner in a squalid midtown closet. Jacole Prince, mother of the 32-pound ten-year-old was jailed on multiple charges of child abuse and endangerment. Her bond was set at $200,000.
KU Medical Center Wins National Cancer Institute Designation
Senator Pat Roberts gave advance word that the KU Med Center will be designated a research center by the National Cancer Institute. Cancer Center director Roy Jensen said KU has been working on earning the designation status for more than 30 years. The formal announcement should come within a month or two.
Court Orders Diocese To Turn Over Documents To Prosecutors
A court ordered the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese to turn over its documentation of its investigation of sexual misconduct by priests to prosecutors who are investigating an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse by former priest Shawn Ratigan. The Diocese had maintained that the records were so sensitive that they should not even be photocopied for internal use.
Heat, Drought Bring Fires, Threaten Fireworks Displays
An unseasonable heat wave brought temperatures above 105 degrees to parts of the metropolitan area. Hill City, Kansas reported highs around 117. Dry conditions complicated a major forest fire in the Mark Twain National Forest in southeastern Missouri, and there were grass fires in parts of Kansas. Fire departments were evaluating the near-drought conditions as the weekend began. There were no-burn orders in several Kansas suburbs and North Kansas City postponed s weekend fireworks display because of the danger of fires.