Citizens protested the planned removal of 189 stop-lights. And three key Kansas City area businesses were about to see major ownership changes. Those & other top stories on this week's Saturday News Review.
Sprint Agrees To 70% Buyout By Softbank
Japanese wireless carrier Softbank says it will pay $20 billion for a 70 percent interest in Sprint Nextel. CEO Dan Hessee said the deal will let Sprint pay down its debt, buy new network equipment and make some acquisitions of its own.
Analysts agreed, and said the sale will be good for the Kansas City area. Sprint stock went up and it upped its stake in Clearwire. Softbank stock went down and AT&T complained to regulators that if they allow the deal Softbank will control too much wireless spectrum.
HCA To Buy St. Joseph's. St. Mary's
The following day, HCA announced that it's negotiating to buy St. Joesph and St. Mary's Hospitals from their nonprofit owner. Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross had concerns about St. Mary's, which is only 5 miles from another HCA-owned facility. With the purchases HCA would control more than 26 percent of area hospital admissions.
Chicago Group Buys Board Of Trade
The following day CME Group which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade and New York Mercantile Exchange announced that it is buying the Kansas City Board of Trade for $126 million. Mark Davis of the Kansas City Star said it was all about hard red winter wheat.Some were concerned that CME would close the Kansas City exchange, which began trading in 1856.
Council Stops Stoplight Replacement
The Kansas City city council put a stop on plans to replace about 180 stoplights with stop signs. City staff had abruptly announced the first 37 on the list and set them on “flash” with no consultation with the public or the city council. Complaints poured in. The council put the stoplight replacement program on hold to allow time for public input.
Action On CID Rules Delayed
The council didn't act on plans to tighten the rules and increase accountability for Community Improvement Districts. Councilman Ed Ford is among those that want more limits on areas that get permission from the city to raise their sales taxes and keep the money for improvements. But he also made it clear that more discussion by his council committee is needed before they'll have a formal proposal for the full council.
New Plan For New Airport
City Aviation Director Mark Van Loh unveiled the latest plans for a new single-terminal KCI Airport. The new terminal would be built on the site of the present Terminal A, Terminal B would be razed after the new building is open, and Terminal C would become an office building. Van Loh said the total budget will not exceed $1.2 billion, to come from existing funds and the airlines. The new terminal could be open by 2016.