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KCUR Morning Newscast 07-01-08

By Maria Carter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-726231.mp3

Kansas City, MO – A Jackson County circuit judge has ruled that the Independence School District can enter seven disputed schools. The judge rejected a request for a temporary restraining order from Kansas City schools stemming from a November vote in which residents of each district agreed to extend the Independence district into Kansas City territory. Independence officials will begin walk throughs and inventories of the school today, but the legal battle will continue. The Kansas City Missouri Building corporation says it's the rightful owner of the schools.

White House hopeful Barack Obama defended his own patriotism and vowed never to call into question others' patriotism in the race. Obama delivered a half hour long speech on patriotism yesterday to a packed auditorium at the Truman Memorial Building in Independence.

The Illinois Democrat told the crowd no party can lay sole claim to patriotism. Obama said, After all, when we argue about patriotism we are arguing about who we are as a country and more importantly who we should be. Surely we can agree no party or political philosophy has a monopoly on patriotism.

Critics have questioned Obama's commitment to the country, citing his lack of a flag lapel pin early on and recent comments made by his wife.

Missouri has joined a growing number of states to enact laws cracking down on Internet harassment. KWMU's Bill Raack reports that the bill signed by Governor Matt Blunt is in response to the Megan Meier MySpace suicide.

13-year-old Megan hanged herself in 2006 after cruel messages about her showed up on a website. Her death prompted lawmakers from St. Charles County to write legislation targeting Internet bullying and harassment.

Megan's mother, Tina Meier, says she's grateful for the law: It touches my heart immensely to know that the state of Missouri has worked so hard in honor of my daughter and for all of the other families. So, for me to know that my daughter is still out there working to be able to protect all of the other families for me that's a wonderful thing.

The cyberbullying bill also increases the penalty for harassment from a misdemeanor to a felony when its committed by an adult to a minor.

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt has taken control of a special fund set up by Attorney General Jay Nixon. It's the latest blow in a long-running political battle between the Democratic candidate for governor and the now lame-duck G.O.P. incumbent.

Blunt's spokesperson Jessica Robinson says Nixon's office deliberately mishandled funds from a multi-state drug company settlement. Robinson says,"A check that was made out to another account was deposited into his trust fund, instead of the account to which that 630-thousand dollar check was actually made."

Robinson says the governor's Office of Administration will oversee the trust fund's remaining balance of 142-thousand dollars. The Attorney General's office is on record as saying its actions are legal, and that Governor Blunt is playing politics.

Johnson County residents are now able to register to vote by fax or email. Officials say that they're adding this policy to help voters save gas money, and to make it more convenient to vote in the digital age. They also hope it gets more people to cast ballots.

Karen Browning, the Johnson County Assistant Voting Commissioner explains, It will probably be something that will catch on and be utilized more and more as people learn about it.

There are now more than three hundred thousand people registered to vote in Johnson County. That number is expected to increase as the November election approaches.

U-S Senator Pat Roberts has kept a wide financial lead over his main Democratic opponent Jim Slattery. Roberts raised more than 850-thousand dollars for his re-election in the last three months. The Kansas Republican now has just over 3 million dollars in the bank. Slattery's campaign says the Democrat raised some 500-thousand dollars over the same period.

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