Top Stories Of The Week | KCUR

Top Stories Of The Week

Aug 31, 2013

Kansas City got a $20 million grant for the downtown streetcar system. And the Kansas City city council decided on a slightly scaled back new crime lab. Steve Bell revisits those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.

Council approves bonds for compromise-size crime lab

City council finance chair Jan Marcason said “the best minds in the city” tried and tried to figure out how to build the 71,000 square-foot crime lab Kansas City, Missouri police wanted, but just couldn't come up with an acceptable way to pay off the bonds.

The plan finally approved includes a crime lab in the vicinity of 60,000 square feet in size, partly by juggling space within the proposed East Patrol campus near 27th and Prospect.

The council approved a $78 million bond package, part of which will underwrite other projects including youth soccer fields and repairs to Municipal Auditorium.

Medical research sales tax goes to ballot, opposition is active

Jackson County legislators approved putting a sales tax for medical research on the November ballot. County Executive Mike Sanders said the idea had more potential, both in terms of the economy and the public good, than any he had encountered in his political career.

But an advertising campaign against the tax was already running before it was scheduled for a public vote. Transit proponents also expressed concerns, saying they were worried the research tax could kill a future tax for a commuter rail system.

BATS merger makes Lenexa the #2 stock market town

Lenexa became destined to be a financial capital of the US as electronic stock exchange BATS Global Markets announced plans to merge with Direct Edge – taking the number two spot away from NASDAQ and nipping at the heels of the New York Stock Exchange.

Regulators were expected to approve the merger.

Hard-50 rewrite ready for Kansas special session Sept. 3

A rewritten Hard-50 sentencing law was ready for next week's Kansas special legislative session. Under the current version the sentence can be levied judges, but the US Supreme Court has ruled that juries must be involved.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the bill's retroactivity would result in many appeals of sentences over several years, but making it retroactive is the best way to protect existing Hard-50 sentences that may have been invalidate.

Brownback defies open records request

Governor Brownback defied an open records request for the names of all the candidates for an appeals court judgeship to which he appointed a staff member. His office turned over the records... with the names redacted.

It was the first appointment under a new Kansas system that eliminates a citizens' nominating commission.

Missouri sues Walgreen's over pricing, overcharging issues

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued Walgreen's after investigating deceptive advertising and pricing complaints.

Koster said his office conducted an investigation, making more than 200 purchases at Walgreen stores. He said on 20 percent of those his investigator was charged more than the price posted on the shelves.

Walgreen's faces similar suits in two other states.

AG releases opinion, agrees with Nixon on tax cut bill

Koster also responded to a request from Republican leadership, and opined that the tax cut bill his fellow Democrat Governor Jay Nixon vetoed could require three-years'- worth of refunds.

House Speaker Tim Jones called the opinion “political,” and continued his push to override the veto.

Kansas City a fast-food strike market

Kansas City was one of 60 cities where fast-food workers went on strike for higher wages. Strike supporter Mike Bainum, who said he used to sell restaurant supplies told KCUR;s Dan Verbeck that the low wages paid force the workers onto public assistance rolls.

Man charged in killing of Elmwood Cemetery deer

Prosecutors charged 19-year-old Phoenix VanKirk with shooting a tame deer, Ella, in the Elmwood Cemetery. It could cost him up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

TIGER grant provides $20 million for streetcar system

Senator Claire McCaskill announced that Kansas City has received a $20 million federal grant for the proposed downtown streetcar system.

Midwest honors March on Washington anniversary

Kansas City and the nation honored the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King's “I have a Dream” speech. There were commemorations in both Jefferson City and in Topeka, where Kansas Governor Sam Brownback called King “a prophet” whose dream will, but has not yet come true.