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Sat September 7, 2013
Top Stories Of The Week
The Hall Family Foundation pledged a big grant with strings attached and leaders listened as area citizens spoke their mind on a WalMart, a retirement home and military involvement in Syria. KCUR's Steve Bell looks back at those and other top stories on this week's Saturday News Review.
Forums find little support for air strike on SyriaAs Congress prepared for a vote on a limited air strike on Syria, it was a hot topic of conversation – with strongly divided opinions. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver held a public forum attended by about 200. Most, like opposed involvement.
The balance at a forum held by Congressman Kevin Yoder last week was similar. All but one member of the Kansas congressional delegation oppose the air strikes. Missouri's delegation has been slower to take firm positions on the issue.
Big incentive, second opposition group for med-research sales taxThe Hall Family Foundation promised Children's Mercy Hospital $75 million for a new building – but only if a 1/2-cent Jackson County sales tax for medical research is approved by the voters.
Bill Hall made it clear he wants the tax to pass, and the following day announced a $100,000 grant from the Hall family for the ad campaign supporting it..
Two first political committees are organizing to oppose the tax. The latest to register with the secretary of state proposes a campaign for donations and a 1/8-cent sales tax. .
“Hard-50” rewrite completed, becomes Kansas law
The Kansas Legislature quickly passed a new Hard-50 sentencing law to replace the one probably rendered invalid by the US Supreme Court. The new one's retroactivity provision may not stand a court test, but Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said it was a gamble to try to preserve “Hard-50” sentences already imposed.
Governor Brownback Promptly signed the bill, it was published by the state and became law Friday.
Kansas Senate confirms controversial court appointment
The Kansas Senate approved the appointment of Caleb Stegall, top legal advisor to Governor Brownback, to an appeals court judgeship. Democrat Anthony Hensley led the opposition, which was more about the new appointment process than about Stegall, who is the first appointee under a new process that did away with a citizens nominating committee.
Hensley said that though Stegall was qualified, the senators should be able to verify that he was the most qualified candidate.
Missouri veto session looms, law enforcement officials speak out
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster came down on the side of fellow Democrat Governor Jay Nixon on the effort to override Nixon's veto of a bill criminalizing the enforcement of federal gun laws. Koster said the law would be unconstitutional and would hinder law enforcement.
The bill's Republican sponsor Doug Funderbunk called Koster's opinion an erroneous “worst case scenario,” and urged legislators to override the veto.
Police officials in Kansas City and St. Louis agreed with Koster.
Diocese reports on sex-offender allegations, resists more disclosure of names
Jenifer Valenti, the ombudsman on allegations of sexual misconduct by Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese proiests said the number of calls of concern was up but the number of actual boundary violations was down slightly. Valenti believes the increase in reports is a result of an education campaign to raise awareness of signs of abuse.
Valenti disagreed with critics who said the names of all “boundary violators” be made public. She said the Diocese was being very careful about risk of child abuse, but said the time for divulging names is after someone has been charged with an actual crime.
Neighborhoods reject WalMart, retirement center
Waldo area residents had their way about a proposed . WalMart neighborhood market on the site of the old Bingham Junior High School. After a town hall meeting, the school district said it would not sell the site to the retailer.
Prairie Village residents managed to axe plans for the Mission Chateau retirement home on the site of the former Mission Valley Middle School.
Jogger died of natural causes
Autopsy results on a Liberty jogger who was found dead in an outdoor restroom in July were released. The report concluded that Chad Rogers' death resulted from a congenital heart defect.