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Top Stories Of The Week

Elana Gordon

Kansas got final permission to privatize Medicaid. And Kansas Citians agonized over the story of murder, suicide, and an orphaned child. Those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.

Chiefs Linebacker Kills Girlfriend And Himself

The tale of tragedy began with a 9-1-1 call from a distraught mother pleading for help as her daughter-in-law lay dying. The mother of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher was present when her son shot Kasandra Perkins, mother of his infant daughter, multiple times.

Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked General Manager Scott Pioli and Coach Romeo Crennel, and in their presence, took his own life.

Mayor Sly James said it was another example of the disturbing trend of urban violence and wondered aloud whether fandom's ire over a losing season added to stresses that caused Belcher to crack.

James remarked that it must be oppressive to be able to go to dinner without “having people get in your face and call you 'loser' and 'scum.'”

The Chiefs played the Carolina Panthers as scheduled the following day and won, breaking an 8-game losing streak. The Chiefs and the NFL announced that a trust fund for the couple's daughter will hold more than a million dollars. Mayor James observed that it won't bring her parents back.

States Ponder Medicaid Expansion

The debates over whether to expand Medicaid and take advantage of the national health care law continued. In Missouri, expansion advocates lobbied Republican legislators who oppose it. .

Cynthia Keele of the Missouri chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who is a the wife of a banker, told the lawmakers that 40 percent of Missouri's bankruptcies are caused by medical debt.

The Kansas Health Institute estimated that following through on the expansion would end up enrolling 100,000 more Kansans at a cost of about a half-a-billion dollars over the first seven years. And that made the report's author, Scott Bruner, skeptical about whether the expansion would happen.

Meanwhile, Kansas received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Medkcaid Services to proceed with privatizing its existing programs.

Council Changes Ambulance Board, Marathon Supervision

The Kansas City city council expanded the advisory board for the Fire Department ambulance service. Councilman John Sharp explained that the changes would still leave Fire Department management and EMTs well-represented on the board, but would give the council a stronger voice.

The council also passed an ordinance to help avoid problems caused by charity walks and marathons. Jan Marcason, who was a sponsor, cited problems including a marathon in the West Bottoms during American Royal season and one that cut off customers from the City Market on Saturday. The parks department will take over the approval and coordination process.

Flu Season Arrives Early

Flu cases began popping up in Missouri – with 2,000 cases confirmed in eastern sections of the state, and Dr. Christopher Harrison of Children’s Mercy Hospital said the state normally would not have recorded that many cases until after Christmas.

Compounding problem of the early start that will extend the flu season, Harrison says, there’s a new flu strain this year, so a greater number of people don’t have basic immunity to it without a flu shot.

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