Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Aug 17, 2013

A city councilman fessed up to sexting. A rodeo clown sparked a nationwide controversy. And a federal agency blamed the JJ's Restaurant fire on a drilling contractor. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories.

Contractor Cited in Plaza Blast And Fire

OSHA fined the company that broke the gas line that led to the February Plaza explosion and fire $161,000 and put them on a list of severe safety violators.

Heartland Midwest's attorney, Brad Russell said OSHA did not name any federal, state or local statute his client had violated and that the ruling will be challenged.

OSHA also fined the restaurant the blew up $2,000 for not having a proper evacuation plan.

Councilman Michael Brooks Blackmailed Over Sexting

Married Kansas City councilman Michael Brooks, admitted e-mailing naked pictures of himself to another woman – who then tried to get $60,000 to not release them. But he said blackmail had no role in the city paying $15,000 to a promoter for an event that was later canceled. (The city never got the money back.)

City Manager Troy Schulte told TV-9 if the extortion attempt had been publicly known, the contract might not have gone through.

Brooks, who is also a minister, apologized for his sexting, calling it a “terrible mistake.”

Rodeo Clown Incident Provokes National Controversy

A rodeo clown in a Barack Obama mask during a Missouri State Fair bull-riding event provoked a nationwide uproar... and the disapproval not only of Democrats, but Republican leaders including Senator Roy Blunt.

The clown was banned from the fair for life and the president of the rodeo cowboys association resigned... and was hoping he would not lose his job as superintendent of schools in Boonville.

But blogs, conservative web sites and facebook were crowded with reactions saying the outrage was unjustified and would not have occurred if any other president had been mocked.

Challenge Coming For Kansas Voter Registration Law

The ACLU threatened to sue over the new Kansas voter registration law that requires proof of citizenship for first-time registrants.

The ACLU's Doug Bonney said a letter went to Secretary of State Kris Kobach telling him that if .he did not take action to get the law changed and to enable voting for now nearly 15,000 Kansans whose registration is “in suspense” the organization will take action.

Kobach said he had been expecting the lawsuit and would “continue to enforce the law.”

Kansas Planned Parenthood Suit Narrowed.

A federal judge narrowed Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against Kansas to one issue about having to post contested information on the organization's web site. Planned Parenthood has agreed that it will distribute the state's abortion “information” brochures so long as it does not have to profess that it endorses controversial statements in it, such as that there is a link between abortion and cancer.

Animal Shelters Lose Bid To End High Licensing Fee

The Missouri Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by animal shelters over a $2500 licensing fee on a legal technicality. They ruled that the organization had sued over a version of the law which had subsequently repealed and replaced.

The first law charged a $500 fee for dog breeders, kennels and animal shelters, but violated state requirements that it stick to a single subject and intent. The replacement law raised the fee, but followed correct legislation guidelines.

Budget Concerns Slow Bonding For Crime Lab

Kansas City's city council postponed a vote on bonds for a new East Patrol station and crime lab, bickering over what would have to be cut if there are more cost overruns.

Mayor Sly James commented that budget restraints were real but the issue had become a political football among differing interest groups – all of which had valid points to make.

The police boardl is looking into whether some of the costs can be paid for by grants.

NFL Purse Policy Irks Some Chiefs Fans

Some fans groused about a new policy at Arrowhead stadium allowing only small clutch purses and plastic bags. The first implementation of the new NFL rules was at Friday night's game.

Rewards Offered For Killer Of Pet Deer

Animal rights organization PETA posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever shot and killed a tame pet deer, “Ella.” at a local cemetery. Citizens had already offered a combined $1500 reward.

Former Councilman Charles Hazley Dies

Charles Hazley, who died this week was a Kansas City, Missouri city councilman, political figure and leader of the African American community in decades past. He was 71.