Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Nov 2, 2012

Three defendants were convicted of torching a downtown restaurant. And all eyes were on the East Coast and a storm like no other in its history. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week.

Superstorm Relief From The Midwest  
As Superstorm Sandy ravaged the coastal states. Rescue teams from across the nation headed east to help, including Missouri Task Force 1, which has members from the Kansas City area.  The 80 task force members are trained to search disaster areas for undiscovered victims and give them treatment if necessary.

Area power company workers were also among those pitching in to help the Superstorm-stricken.  And Forbes Field in Topeka became the temporary home of some military aircraft moved out of the storm's path.

Three Found Guilty In Hereford House Arson
Vincent Pisciotta, Mark Serentino and  Hereford House part-owner Rod Anderson were convicted of torching the downtown restaurant four years ago for the insurance money.  US Attorney David Ketchmark said the successful prosecution began with a grainy surveillance video that survived the fire.  The three defendants hadn't known that there was a decoy VCR in the restaurant and the real recorder was hidden in a locked closet.

Kansas City To Bring Back Funeral Picketing Law
Kansas City, Mo. restored a version of its funeral picketing ordinance. The original was repealed in 2009 after a federal court struck down a similar law. But the court reversed its stance. Councilmen Ed Ford and John Sharp, who proposed the new version, said it is a word-for-word duplicate of the one the court upheld. The ordinance will prohibit demonstrations within 300 feet of a funeral during or within an hour of the service.

McCaskill-Akin Race Drawing National Attention
The Claire McCaskill-Todd Akin race for the U.S. Senate continued to be one of the hottest in the nation.  Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich campaigned with Akin in Kansas City, chastising GOP leadership for pulling support from Akin after his infamous “legitimate rape” remark.

And that withdrawal of support came back to haunt the GOP as incumbent McCaskill debuted an ad featuring none other than presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

McCaskill's mother, Betty Anne McCaskill, died on Monday, but the Senator only canceled events for two days.  She said that even on her death bed her mother had asked her why she wasn't out campaigning.

Mayor Concedes In Weight Loss Race
Kansas City Mayor Sly James and local chamber of commerce CEO Jim Heeter wrapped up a five month battle to see who could lose more weight and body fat. Heeter won, but James proved to be a good loser in another sense, saying he won, too, because he became more aware of how lifestyle and weight affect health.
In the next few weeks, James, the chamber and Blue Cross Blue Shield say they’ll be rolling out a broader initiative, modeled after this one, that will target area businesses.