Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Jul 27, 2012

Google finally announced that its fiber network is coming soon... and what it will cost. But the story that affected the most people was the drought that's already here... and likely will be for weeks to come.

Drought Grips Midwest

As the drought continued. Lake, river and pond levels were down, but demand for water was up. Megan Kawby with Water One in Johnson County said water consumption has been twice that of a typical summer. Water main breaks surged and water departments urged residents to watch the lawn-watering.

Heat and windy conditions raised concerns about fires. A 20-acre fire in the Northland came to within 50 feet of homes. Fire Department battalion Chief Lew Hendrix told TV-9 news that if the wind had shifted the houses could have caught fire.

In Springfield, The president of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Lonny Duckworth said this is one of the most severe droughts he has ever seen. Duckworth says it definitely challenges the drought of 1980, one of the worst in recent memory.

On Thursday, Governor Jay Nixon added $5 million to a state program to help Missouri farmers meet the cost of drilling wells deeper. Nixon said the $2 million previously allocated was simply not enough. The program provides grants to pay up to 90% of the cost of deepening the well.

The drought is expected to continue into the fall. Mid-week the Kansas City area got a smidgen of rain – a trace in some sections, about an inch in others.

Google Announces High Speed Plans

Google finally ended its year-long dry spell on information on its its ultra-fast fiber network, announcing it will likely connect the first customers in September and the service will include more than Internet. It will include TV and cloud computing access for those who choose the full package. High Speed Internet will be priced at $70 a month.

The same day Wicked Broadband announced plans to bring a similar service to Lawrence.

Horton Loses Bid For Third Trial

John Henry Horton lost a bid for a third chance to convince a jury that he did not kill Lizabeth Wilson in Prairie Village in 1974. His first conviction was overturned and the second questioned by the state Supreme Court, but a Judge in Olathe concluded that excluded evidence would not have convinced a jury that Horton had not killed the 13-year-old.

Diocese Removed From Sex Abuse Suit

A Jackson County judge removed the Catholic Diocese from a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse by Rev. Michael Tierney, Tierney was accused of taking advantage of children in the 1970s. The judge said she was honoring precedent in recent cases and commented that it would be virtually impossible to prove that the diocese willfully failed to supervise Tierney..

Brownback Touts Kansas Finances, Dems Disagree

Kansas is doing just fine, fine enough that the state will pay off bonds early for several projects. Governor Sam Brownback made that and said the state's finances are now solid enough to handle the large income tax cut lawmakers approved last session. And the governor said he hopes to continue to shrink Kansas government. Critics of the multi-year, billion-dollar tax cut say it could cause budget problems in the future. State estimates show Kansas ended the fiscal year on June 30th with more than $460 million in reserves.