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Sat July 27, 2013
Top Stories Of The Week
George Brett went back to the front office. Governor Brownback called a special legislative session. And President Obama came Warrensburg. Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.
President pitches his priorities in Warrensburg
President Obama, promoting affordable education as a major part of his economy agenda, made the second stop of a barnstorming tour in Warrensburg, Mo.
In his speech, he endorsed the University of Central Missouri's partnering with Lees Summit School District, Metropolitan Community College and local energy, health care and engineering firms, including Cerner Corporation.
The President cited the program as an example of creating quality jobs by making education affordable, efficient and relevant.
Other key points of the president's economy improvement program include job creation through the new federal health care law and more investment in infrastructure improvement.
GOP quick to criticize president's speech
Republican Missouri Senator Roy Blunt took issue with the Obama economy agenda before Air Force One had landed in Missouri.
Basing his remarks on White House pre-release information on the speech, Senator Blunt said the president's attention to the economy was admirable, and he was proud that Warrensburg was chosen for the address, but the approach was one that would not work.
Blunt said that there was too much focus on public sector jobs “are the bill, not the way to pay the bill,” and that any programs should be way to grow private sector jobs. He said the way to produce those jobs is to repeal the federal health care law, approve the Keystone pipeline and give more tax relief to businesses.
Brownback calls special legislative session
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback called a special legislative session to rewrite the state's “Hard-50” sentencing law, which Attorney General Derek Schmidt said may be unconstitutional under a recent Supreme Court decision.
That decision said juries must have a voice in the process of exceptional sentences, and the Kansas law allows judges to decide whether persons convicted of certain offenses will draw sentences of 50 years without possibility of parole.
The legislature will reconvene in Topeka on September 3.
Kansas election law may draw federal investigation
Meanwhile, some Kansas Democrats including state party chair Joan Wagnon were calling for the Justice Department to add Kansas to its list of states under scrutiny for changing voting procedures. US Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier in the week that he would call for investigations of new state laws which make it more difficult for some population groups to exercise their right to vote.
Currently, 12,000 Kansas have voter registrations that are being held “in suspense” as a result of a new law requiring first-time registrants to provide proof of citizenship.
Brett leaves dugout for front office
George Brett ended his temporary career as Royals hitting coach, announcing at an emotional news conference that the team has accepted new coach Pedro Grifol and “it was time to return the role of front-office executive."
Brett accepted coaching duties May 30, agreeing he would do the job for at least 30 days.
At the media event, he expressed gratitude for the team's confidence in him and said he believed his coaching had made a positive difference, but it was “time to move on.”
His eyes welled with tears as he commented that being able to wear the uniform again after 20 years away from the playing field had been a “very special” experience.
Union between station and museum grows troubled
It was still indefinite whether Union Station would end its marriage with the Kansas City Museum. There had been talk of separation ever since the two institutions came together 10 years ago. But situation came to a head when the Station board fired the Museum director two weeks ago. Museum advisory board member Scott Wagner urged against any hasty action “based on a personnel decision.”
But the advisory board has, though, recommended re-hiring the director and forming an independent management foundation.
Council frowns on investment in gun companies
The Kansas City city council formally took a stand against city pension funds investing in gun manufacturers.
Mayor Sly James said it was part of a multi-city effort to engage the companies in discussion about urban firearms control, with New York, Chicago and some California cities among the cities passing similar resolutions.
He denied that the intent was to stigmatize lawful, responsible gun owners.
Missing Liberty jogger found dead
Hundreds of people turned out over the week to help search for Chad Rogers, who never came back from jobbing Monday night. On Friday, Liberty police announced that a body, likely Rogers, had been found in a portable outdoor restroom at a construction site about a mile and a half from his home.
Though police could not confirm the identity of the dead man, his father, Greg Rogers, acknowledged that it was his son, and thanked the community for its help and support.
The medical examiner is still looking into what caused Rogers' death.