Top Stories Of The Week
Winter arrived with power outages and canceled flights. Another area couple won a $50 million Powerball jackpot. And the shooting of 20 school children in Connecticut spawned radically different ideas on gun control. Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
Ideas, Leaders Clash On Gun Control
Following the Connecticut elementary school shooting disaster Midwestern voices calling for tougher gun laws included Missouri's Democratic US Senator Claire McCaskill, who invoked her father's penchant for hunting and said he never needed a rifle that was designed for warfare.
Kansas City Missouri Mayor and former marine Sly James voiced similar sentiments, commenting that the weapons in question were designed for killing people. “That's why they're called assault weapons,” he added. James signed a letter from a group of mayors endorsing tougher gun laws. The following day the Kansas City city council joined the mayor in a call for restoration of the federal ban on assault weapons.
Others, many of them Republicans, had different thoughts. Missouri US Senator Roy Blunt said no gun control bill had a chance of passing, and he, personally, would vote against anything that threatened the second amendment. Blunt said he believed the problem was inadequate mental health programs.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback also focused on mental health care and said a gun control debate would be so hot it would stall progress on other legislative issues.
Republican Missouri State Representative Mike Kelly was among those saying more guns is the answer. He introduced a bill to allow Missouri teachers to carry concealed guns at school. Kelly's bill immediately drew three co-sponsors, one a Democrat, and more than 2 dozen promised votes in the Missouri House.
Winter Arrives In Kansas City
The first storm of winter got Kansas City's attention...partly because, as National Weather Service meteorologist Even Bookbinder said, 'we really didn't have any winter last year.” The storm brought
moderate amounts of snow with drifting n the far northern reaches of the metropolitan area. Its major punch was not from the snow, but from winds that caused power outages for more than 30,000 KCP&L customers. On Thursday, more than half the flights at KCI were canceled because of the Midwest blizzard.
Parking Lot Signs Stolen From Arrowhead
Forty-one Arrowhead Stadium parking lot signs went missing. They were multi-sided signs that weigh a hundred pounds apiece that help game attendees find their cars. The signs had been taken down for work on the poles and placed on the ground. Police believe they were stolen by someone who planned to sell them as scrap-metal.
Council Prepares To End Hotel Tax Exemptions
The Kansas City city council prepared to raise a tax few area residents ever pay – going along with a convention and visitors association request to end exemptions from the 7 ½ percent convention tax on hotel rooms for lodgers from government and non-profit agencies. Finance chair Jan Marcason called it a leveling of the playing field. The increased revenue would be used for facilities maintenance and to promote conventions and tourism, and she said the tax receipts gave cities like Branson ans Springfield a promotion-budget advantage. The idea still needs a full council vote and the approval of the voters.
Johnson County Couple Wins Big Powerball Jackpot
A Johnson County couple who prefer to remain anonymous won a $50 million Powerball jackpot, which translates into a lump sum of just under 23 million after taxes. Just a month ago a Platte County couple won a $290 million lump-sum Powerball jackpot.