Chastain Takes Light Rail To Mo. Supreme Court

Jul 9, 2009

Kansas City, MO – Light rail activist Clay Chastain won't be back in Kansas City shopping centers circulating petitions this summer, but it doesn't mean he's giving up.

Chastain announced Wednesday that he is appealing his lawsuit to overturn the city council's repeal of his light rail plan that voters approved to the state Supreme Court.

Kansas City, Missouri – The Missouri Housing Development Commission held a teleconference yesterday at their home office in Kansas City to tighten standards for employees and contractors.

But tightening rules could have unintended consequences.

One change on the table is restricting current employees from working for with any company that does business with the agency for two years after they leave.

Afghan Sword Needs Ploughshare Part

Jul 6, 2009

Jefferson City, MO – Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have repealed most of Missouri's motorcycle helmet law. Marshall Griffin reports.

Motorcycle riders in Missouri still have to wear helmets. A bill that would have allowed them to ride helmet-free if they're at least 21 years old has been vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. The bill would have still required helmet use on interstate highways. Tom Holloway with the Missouri State Medical Association says he applauds the governor's veto.

Kansas City , Mo. – When he's not hosting World War II veterans around the nation's capitol, Dole is neck deep in the health care debate.

Senator Dole joins Steve Kraske for a discussion about health care reform, his support for Sam Brownback's campaign for Governor, and his take on the Obama administration so far.

Council Advances Defense Plant, Stalls Citadel

Jun 26, 2009

Kansas City, MO – The city council endorsed a defense plant, but held off on a shopping center Thursday.

Rezoning and planning activities necessary to relocate the Bannister Road "Honeywell Defense Plant" to a site off Highway 150 in Grandview sailed through the council by a unanimous vote.

But the proposed Citadel Plaza Shopping Center development at 63rd and Prospect hit stormy seas. The stumbling block: a proposed $20 million loan from the city that the developer said could move the project to the construction stage within two months.

City Faces Bond Rating Downgrade

Jun 25, 2009
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Kansas City, MO – As Kansas City prepares to sell municipal bonds for the Performing Arts Center parking garage, the city council Finance and Audit Committee got the news Wednesday that one of three companies that rate municipal bonds may be poised to downgrade Kansas City's bond ratings.

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon And Steve Kraske

Jun 19, 2009

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon talks with Up to Date host Steve Kraske about the Kansas City Chiefs moving their training camp back to Missouri and the $25 million in tax credits in exchange for improvements at the Truman Sports Complex.

They also discuss how the Governor is approaching state budget cuts, look at the details of the Jobs Bill, and how the job of governor is different than Nixon expected it to be.

63rd & Prospect Shopping Center Plan Revived

Jun 12, 2009

Kansas City, MO – The proposed Citadel Plaza shopping center at 63rd and Prospect did not die with the light rail plan that featured it as the southern terminus. A new lead developer gave a progress report to a city council committee Thursday.

Developer Steve Block says the legal and tax questions are out of the way and he has an anchor tenant. Block said he has brought "significant capital" to the project, and as early as next Thursday will ask the council for $20 million worth of backing to purchase land and finalize planning efforts.

Not Just Another Highway Job: Veep Biden In OP

Jun 11, 2009
kcur photo by Tim Lloyd.

Overland Park, KS – On a small stage, peering down an embankment to U.S. 69 in Overland Park , Vice President Joseph Biden touted economic recovery via highway renovation.

Foundation Funds Programs For Regional Jail

Jun 4, 2009
Video frame courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Kansas City, MO – Plans for the new regional jail are moving ahead, with the same mental health and social services program that is in place in the Kansas City correctional Institute.

A council committee got the good news Wednesday that the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City will continue its $900,000, three year grant that finances the programs.

Kansas City, MO – Clay Chastain was back in Kansas City over the weekend, collecting petition signatures in Brookside. And this time he wants to amend the City Charter. KCUR's Steve Bell reports.

The activist says he is circulating petitions on two issues. One is the latest revision of his long-running push to create a light rail system in Kansas City. The other would end the right of the city council to repeal voter-approved initiatives - as they did when his light rail plan passed three years ago.

Mayor Sticks To Basics In State Of City Address

May 29, 2009
Photo courtesy of the City of Kansas City, MO.

Kansas City, MO – It was State of the City day at City Hall Thursday. And with the city clerk's office counting recall election petition signatures, Mark Funkhouser's first remarks were on the State of the Mayor.

Funkhouser's references to those who would oust him were brief, but emphatic: "Let there be no misunderstanding: I will be giving my third State of the City address at this time next year."

Kansas City, MO – Plans for a new memorial honoring the victims of the skywalk collapse at the Hyatt Regency were approved by Kansas City Missouri's Parks and Recreation Board yesterday. The Skywalk Memorial will be a 36-foot landscaped plaza on Hospital Hill, next to Children's Mercy. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.

Cautious Council Likes Downtown Hotel Idea

May 22, 2009
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotel Corp.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City city council received the first report on a proposed new 1,000-room downtown hotel with cautious enthusiasm yesterday.

It takes seven hotels to accommodate a convention of 2,000 persons - and two of them are more than a mile and a half from the convention center. That, according to the Convention and Visitors Association will have cost the city 4 Billion dollars in convention business by 2014.

Jefferson City, MO – Governor Jay Nixon and the Republican-led general assembly pledged late last year to work together during the 2009 legislative session, which ended on Friday. Both sides came away with wins, especially when their interests coincided, as with the economic development bill. But both entities lost on some key issues as well. KWMU's Marshall Griffin reports.

New KC Zoning Plan In The Works

May 15, 2009
Graphic courtesy of the City of Kansas City, MO.

Kansas City, MO – The city council was confronted with a 362-page ordinance yesterday - one that would change the zoning laws of the entire city.

Planning and Zoning chair Terry Riley said the massive document will update zoning provisions that date back as far as the 1930s, focus more on mixed-use development and make it easier for businesses to negotiate the zoning maze.

City Planning and Development Director Tom Coyle reassured the council, "If you were zoned residential before the update, you will be zoned residential after."

Kansas City, MO – Earlier this year, the City Council cut the budget for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority by 7 million dollars. They cited a declining sales tax. The KCATA is raising bus fares, and last year, voters extended a 3/8th cent sales tax for transit. But even so, officials said bus service would be reduced on 25 routes. That is, unless they could secure funds from the state of Missouri.

Protest Disrupts Council Meeting

May 8, 2009

Kansas City, MO – Thursday's Kansas City city council meeting included an example of cooperation, a small protest demonstration and an expression of indignation.

Cooperation between the city and Jackson County will give Sheriff's officers the power to make routine arrests for small offenses within the city limits where till now they had to call a Kansas City police officer to make the arrest, do the paperwork and follow through with court appearances.

Performing Arts Parking Garage Moves Ahead

May 7, 2009

Kansas City, MO – As the superstructure of Kansas City's new performing arts center begins to reveal its shape, the focus this week turns again to its parking facilities. Performing Arts Center development manager Ken Dvorak gave a city council committee a forecast on the parking garage yesterday.

Ken Dvorak: "That excavation will be complete in about a month or so. The construction documents: they're completed right now, out for review by the city, to the owner, to get owner comments, city comments back, and then put it out for bid in about two weeks."

Topeka, KS – Tuesday brought unprecedented developments in Kansas politics. The state saw Governor Kathleen Sebelius resign after she was confirmed by the U-S Senate as secretary of health and human services. And Tuesday night, Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson -- a former chairman of the state Republican Party -- was sworn in as the state's next Democratic governor. We get more from Statehouse reporter Joseph DiNitto.

Listen to the Statehouse News on the Kansas Public Radio website.

Sebelius Confirmed As HHS Secretary

Apr 28, 2009

Kansas City, MO – Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been confirmed as secretary of health and human services by a 65-31 Senate vote.

The governor's office has announced that Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson will be sworn-in as governor at 7 o'clock Tuesday evening in a ceremony in the North Wing of the Statehouse.

Employees Give Council Bad Report Card

Apr 23, 2009
Photo courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2. Right click to enlarge.

Kansas City, MO – The city council Finance and Audit Committee heard the results of Kansas City's first employee satisfaction survey since 1992 on Wednesday. Auditor Gary White read off the numbers.

Eighty-five percent of city employees are satisfied with their jobs. Seventy-five percent said the health benefits suit their needs. But the mayor and council got bad grades.

Funds Transfer Ordinance A Slap At Funkhouser

Apr 16, 2009
Video frame courtesy of KCCG, Channel 2.

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City city council passed enabling ordinances for development projects in the northland... and a resolution endorsing Aim4Peace that members hope will help the organization find grants to replace city funding eliminated in the new budget.

Last-minute wording revisions sent an ordinance requiring council approval of line-item transfers of funds sent it back to committee for another review. But not before a confrontation over its subtle slap at Mayor Mark Funkhouser.

Frank Morris

Whiteman AFB, MO – Biden spoke in huge hanger, right in front of a B-2 bomber, one of the most expensive weapons systems ever developed about the need take care of the day to day needs of military personnel.

Biden: The only sacred commitment a nation has, is to prepare those we send, equip them with all they need, and care for whatever their needs are when they come home.

Follies Of Foreclosure Fear: Enter Missouri AG

Apr 8, 2009
kcur photo by dan verbeck