Kansas City Week in Review - February 21, 2014





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Published on Feb 21, 2014

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Missouri school officials expressed relief this week that the Missouri state Board of Education did not adopt a controversial plan that would have called for the near-immediate state intervention of their district. Instead the State Board's long awaited plan for dealing with unaccredited schools provides a range of interventions for dealing with troubled districts. From putting them on short-term performance contracts to appointing a new form of governance where a new school board could be appointed or even a new administrator who answers to the state education commissioner. Those districts that don't improve quickly will be designated as "lapsed." Schools could be turned over to new operators, become part of a newly constituted district, or be parceled out to neighboring districts.

Do businesses have a first amendment right to run their companies according to their religious beliefs?

Hobby Lobby has been fighting the Federal government over requirements in the Affordable Care Act that they provide birth control coverage to employees, particularly birth control methods that induce an abortion. The issue is expected to hit center stage next month when the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments in the Hobby Lobby case. But this week the owners of Kansas City's JE Dunn construction company joins the culture war. They have filed a legal brief supporting Hobby Lobby. They say to be forced to provide emergency birth control including the morning after pill violates their Roman Catholic faith.

Jay Nixon still has more than two years left in his term as Missouri Governor. So why is the race to replace him already getting so crowded? This week former Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Brunner says he's interested in the race just days after former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway announced her candidacy for the GOP nomination. Republican Missouri Auditor Tom Schwike says he's also interested in running. Their presumed opponent would be Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster.

The Amber Alerts would not stop Tuesday night. They lit up phones, electronic billboards, social media and interrupted radio and TV broadcasts throughout the metro. But they weren't enough to save the life of Hailey Owens, abducted just blocks from her home in Springfield Missouri in a crime drama that played out over the course of just a few hours. Why did a news event that occured more than two hours from Kansas City so overwhelmingly impact the metro this week?

A developer has stepped forward to try and preserve Kemper Arena and turn it into a mecca for youth sports. Foutch Brothers LLC has announced a plan to buy the arena from the city and invest $21 million to transform Kemper into a youth sports complex and they envision 1,000 kids a day going to the West Bottoms facility. But how does this gel with the American Royal's concept of tearing the facility down and replacing it with a smaller one better suited for agricultural events?

More disturbances involving teens on the Country Club Plaza this week. This time, the Police Chief saying enough is enough. We're "toughening the department's approach." He says. I thought they had already done that?

This week in Kansas a Democratic lawmaker not a Republican introduces a bill that allow teachers, caregivers and parents to spank children hard enough to leave marks. Rep. Gail Finney from Wichita, says she wants to allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and that could leave redness and bruising.


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