Fri June 21, 2013
Top Stories Of The Week
Regents approved Kansas tuition increases. And Kansas City ended up in the middle of the debate over privacy and national security. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
FBI says Kansas City man was involved in NYSE bombing plot
A top FBI official told a Capitol Hill hearing that Kahlid Ouazzani, who lived in ther Kansas City area and admitted sending money to AlQueda, had been part of a terrorist plot to bomb Wall Street.
Documents released by the Justice Department detailed the ineffective plan and referred to a “cooperating witness.” A local spokesperson said the cooperating witness was Ouazzani.
Retired FBI special agent Jeff Lanza told KCUR's Frank Morris that he was confident the FBI believed that the bombing plot was real, adding that it also was a weak example of the success of homeland security measures in foiling terrorists.
But Lanza also said the FBI may have shared stronger examples with lawmakers behind closed doors.
Missouri Supreme Court upholds school transfer law
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that accredited school districts can't refuse transfer requests from neighboring unaccredited ones.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education followed up with guidelines suggesting that the districts could set reasonable limits on how many they could accept.
The guidelines also indicate that unaccredited districts like the one in Kansas City, Missouri, are responsible for providing transportation for transferees to at least one district. For example, the unaccredited Kansas City school district could designate one district and not transport kids to others.
Two lawsuits filed challenging new Kansas abortion law
Planned Parenthood of Overland Park filed suit on Thursday asserting that part of Kansas' new abortion law is a violation of their right of free speech.
Peter Brownlee of the organization explained that the law specifies what doctors must tell their patients, and the Brownback administration says it is accurate information, but “we know it is not.”
The following day a second suit was filed by two Overland Park physicians who also provide abortions. That suit focuses on tax and regulatory aspects of the law as not providing equal treatment among the various kinds of medical facilities in the state.
Task force on KCI single terminal plan holds its first meeting
The Mayor's task force on airport terminal plans held its first meeting and spent most of it at what co-chair Bob Berkibile called “airport school.” Berkibile said the operation of the airport was a very complex matter and it was essential that every member of the citizens panel learn technical and regulatory details in order to make an sound decision.
Mayor James convenes city charter review committee
The City Charter Review commission also had its first meeting. Mayor Sly James is expected to push for more mayoral power. But at that meeting he said he does not plan to be present at the meetings for some time because it would be interpreted by some as “pressuring” the committee.
City manager Troy Schulte told the group the new charter should leave the city more flexibility of organization rather than defining departments and their purviews.
Tuitions will increase at Kansas' 6 state universities
The Kansas Board of Regents met and approved tuition increases of up to about 8 percent, repeatedly emphasizing that cuts to higher ed funding made by the legislature were to blame. They also voted for raises for administrators if those rasises could be paid for by private donations.
Art thieves caught, but trails museum statue was destroyed
The thieves took a life-size statue of a pioneer woman and her baby from outside the National Frontier Trails Center in Independence. The criminals were apprehended as they tried to sell the bronze as scrap metal, but unfortunately they had already chopped the statue into pieces The museum's diredtor, Dave Aamodt said he was disappointed that the art was destroyed, but had known from the start that was a possibility.
County assessor resigns over thousands of incorrect assessments
The Jackson County assessor resigned, accepting the blame for as many as 85,000 incorrect property tax estimates. The Kansas City Star reported that a consultant had warned the assessor that of serious problems with the assessment data, but the department sent out the tax bills anyway.
Man electrocuted in KCK park by wire reported down hours earlier
Controversy swirled over why a downed power at a Kansas City, Kansas park wasn't fixed hours before a man was electrocuted by it. Employees of the utility said they had been short-staffed, trying to cope with many power failures. But they had no explanation why a power line down in a public place was still not repaired four or more hours after it was reported.
Woman awarded $13 million over Vatterott business practices
A Lee's Summit woman said whe knew she would never collect anything near the $13 million awarded in a deceptive practices judgment against Vatterott College. The court found that representatives of the college basically pulled a “bait and switch” move, enrolling her in a program for medical office workers after promising training as a medical assistant, then informing her the more advanced program would cost her much more than she was told it would.
Sprint-Dish-Clearwire drama appears settled
As of Friday, it appeared to be final that Sprint Nextel would buy Clearwire and merge with SoftBank, with DishNetwork out of both pictures. The agreement with Clearwire also prohibited that network from further conversations with Dish. Dish, which had missed a deadline for a higher bid to buy a major portion of Sprint, then said it was dropping out of the bidding because of unspecified “developments.”