Kansas City, MO – President Barack Obama has nominated Beth Phillips to be U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, which is centered in Kansas City. The Obama administration announced the nomination yesterday.
Phillips has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Kansas City office since last year and has prosecuted child exploitation cases. She served as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson County from 1997 to 2001, when she entered private practice.
Kansas City, MO – Die-hard activist Clay Chastain is returning to Kansas City with still another light rail plan. And this time he wants to change the city charter so the council can't repeal a voter-approved initiative as they did with his 2006 plan.
Kansas City, MO – Another storm appears to be brewing between Mayor Mark Funkhouser and the city council - this time over the amount of information provided on appointees to boards and commissions the council must approve.
Council members say they need more information on appointees to TIF and economic development commissions, citing tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars the city pays out in business incentives.
The mayor resists, saying appointees will decline the jobs if they have to be vetted.
Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser's "City that Works" campaign may be starting to work according to a new survey of citizen satisfaction released by the auditor's office Thursday.
Over a thousand households polled in June and July report Kansas City doing a better job for its citizens than a group questioned a year ago. The city's ratings improved on 47 items, and though it remains to be seen if those gains will hold up in the next quarter's survey, the Mayor was pleased.
Kansas City, Mo. – The White House is intent on making the Kansas City Green Impact Zone a national model for urban rebirth. Cabinet level attention made it clear what the Obama Administration wants as the stimulus venture is just beginning to take shape. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports.
Topeka KS – It could cost more for Kansas smokers to light up in the future.
Today, Governor Mark Parkinson said he'll consider a tobacco tax increase in the coming legislative session if state tax revenues don't improve.
"If we don't need to increase revenue, if we can meet our budgetary needs without increasing taxes, we won't increase tobacco taxes just for the sake of increasing them," Parkinson said. "But if we need the revenue, we'll look at it."
Some estimates have put next fiscal year's budget deficit at more than 500 million dollars.
Kansas City, MO – It is no longer illegal to picket at funerals in Kansas City, Missouri. The city council repealed what was said to be the nation's first municipal funeral picketing law Thursday.
Kansas City's leaders passed an ordinance prohibiting picketing at funerals several years before Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church started picketing the funerals of servicemen killed in action. But the ordinance was never enforced, even on the occasions the Church picketed military funerals in Kansas City.
Kansas City, MO – Facing a budget trimmed $300,000 by the city council, Liberty Memorial officials are asking permission to use 90 percent of the interest from the Liberty Memorial Endowment fund for routine maintenance on the Kansas City landmark.
The Liberty Memorial endowment fund was originally intended to grow by compounding interest for future major maintenance projects.
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City city council had a busy day in its committees yesterday, making decisions related to taxes, confidentiality leaks, the troubled new bulky items pickup system and the ordinance banning picketing at funerals. KCUR's Steve Bell reports.
St. Louis, MO – Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill faced tough questions at a town hall meeting on healthcare in rural Jefferson County yesterday. KWMU's Adam Allington reports.
After two hours of Q&A, several objections surfaced over and over people are concerned about potential funding for abortion, private insurance may go bankrupt if forced to compete with a public option and the whole thing will just cost too much.
Leavenworth, KS. – A general who once protested Iraq war handling during the Bush administration says the jury is still out on Obama team foreign policy. Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni made his points at Fort Leavenworth to an audience including officers from other countries. He said the premise is good, to internationalize strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Zinni chided NATO allies, countries from which many of the students hailed and the general knew it. KCUR's Dan Verbeck was there.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas City emergency responders are looking forward to a new communication system that will let fire, police and ambulance crews talk to each other, and eventually, with units from other neighboring cities. KCUR's Steve Bell reports.
When every second counts, having to have a dispatcher serve as intermediary can be frustrating and time consuming. But that method will end when new interoperable radios are installed in all Kansas City, Missouri emergency response vehicles.
Kansas City, MO – The battle over the volunteer duty of the wife of Kansas City's mayor is on again. The city council passed a revision of the volunteer ordinance that sponsor Ed Ford said addressed the points raised by a judge that declared the original ordinance unconstitutional last week.
Specifically, Ford's changes expand the limits on family members volunteering to include appointed officials and city employees, and define the "regular volunteer work" the first ordinance prohibited as anything over ten hours per month.
Kansas City, MO – The proposal for rubber-tired trolleys transporting people through Kansas City's various entertainment districts from the River Market to Waldo is back, in a scaled-down version.
The original plan involved a $400,000 loan from the city and daytime and evening operation. But the contractor had concerns about profitability, so the new plan is for a $200,000 loan and nighttime operation only.
Kansas City, Mo. – After months of being beset from many sides, Kansas City's mayor takes home a win. A Jackson County circuit judge finds the city council was wrong to ban his wife from working in his office. Mark Funkhouser is successful, arguing an ordinance barring his wife and daughter from volunteering in city hall is unconstitutional. Judge Justine Del Muro ruled the ordinance was vague and it's authors were irrational. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports.
Kansas City, MO – A threat of a lawsuit made by the Fred Phelps family and their Westboro Baptist Church was met with defiance by a city council committee yesterday, but its members are calling it a "lose-lose situation."
The Phelps family sends an ultimatum: repeal the city's ordinance prohibiting picketing at funerals or face a first amendment lawsuit - a suit city legal advisors say the city would likely lose. A loss would invalidate the ordinance and force the city to pay the Phelps's court costs - upwards of $30,000.
Kansas City, MO – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, for a town hall-style meeting. The discussion airs in three parts beginning Monday on PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Inside the Federal Reserve bank of Kansas City, Bernanke sat down to chat with Lehrer, and some local residents that his show had chosen. Bernanke was asked about Rep. Ron Paul's (R-TX) bill to require the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to review Fed monetary policy.
A report from the Government Accountability Office questions how the Department of Homeland Security determined the safety of six sites for a proposed animal disease research lab. Manhattan, Kan., was selected as the site for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF.
A draft report argues DHS used poor techniques to determine how diseases would spread if they were accidentally released.
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City city council has settled the Ruth Bates bias suit against the City and Mayor Funkhouser out of court... ending months of controversy and averting a trial that could have started next week.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser expressed disappointment. He said he was ready to go to trial and confident he would have been vindicated, but he had been focusing on his agenda, and "now, we can put this behind us and we can do that."
Kansas City, MO – U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stopped in Kansas City today, where she announced a new round of grant money for job training programs in the health care industry. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.
Solis says 220 million dollars in stimulus funds are now available for health care training programs. During a visit to KU Medical Center, she said her agency predicts the health industry will be one of the main employers in the U.S. over the next few years.
Kansas City, MO – With the trial set to start July 27, Kansas City's city council set the wheels in motion for a possible out-of-court settlement of a discrimination lawsuit against the city and the mayor.
Meeting behind closed doors, the council gave the city attorney the go-ahead on attempting negotiations on a lawsuit filed by former mayoral office employee Ruth Bates. Bates claims she was treated unfairly because of her gender and suffered racial insults from the mayor's wife, Gloria Squitiro.