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Top Of The Morning News: December 19, 2012

City leaders weigh in on what’s at stake for Kansas City with the “fiscal cliff” and looming spending cuts. UMKC's Chancellor confirms 2 proposed sites for a possible downtown arts campus. Those stories & more from KCUR.

Council: 'Cliff A Threat To KC Economy, Services'

As the President and Republican Congressional leaders continue to butt heads in Washington, the “fiscal cliff” and its 10 percent across-the-board spending cuts loom. What would be the effect on Kansas City? Recent city council hearings on the pending crisis examined what’s most at stake.

Kansas Exhumes Bodies of “In Bold Blood” Killers

Kansas officials have exhumed the bodies of two men who were executed for the 1959 slayings of a Kansas family, featured in Truman Capote's nonfiction novel, "In Cold Blood." The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says the bodies of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith were exhumed yesterday at a Cemetery in Lansing, Kan. at the request of officials in Sarasota, Florida. The sheriff's office there wants to collect DNA that could help solve the 1959 murder of a family in Florida. The parents and two kids were killed soon after the slayings of Herb Clutter and his family in Holcomb, Kan.

UMKC Chancellor Confirms Proposed Arts Campus Sites

UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton confirmed yesterday that potential sites for a proposed downtown arts campus have been narrowed down to two. Morton said On KCUR’s Up to Date yesterday that both sites are in the Crossroads Arts District, one south and one east of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. He says the final site is likely to be determined based on donor input.

Backers of Light Rail Plan Take Efforts To Court

Supporters of a failed attempt to put a light rail plan before Kansas City, Mo. voters have taken the issue to court. A lawyer for transit activist Clay Chastain argued before the Missouri Court of Appeals yesterday that the Kansas City council and a Jackson county trial judge were wrong in refusing to put his 2011 initiative petition on an election ballot. An assistant city attorney said the petition was properly rejected because it didn’t provide the needed funding. The appeals court took the arguments under advisement and will rule later. The city, meanwhile, is now preparing to build a shorter, two-mile streetcar system. Voters in downtown Kansas City approved the plan last week.

Missouri’s Unemployment Rate Hits Four-Year Low

Missouri’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest point in four years.  November’s jobless rate is at 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent in October.  At the same time, the state lost 6800 non-farm jobs last month.  “There’ll be blips from time to time, but we never focus on any one month of data when it comes to the number of jobs gained or lost, but instead the overall trend,” says John Fougere, with the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “Right now the overall trend of Missouri’s economy appears to be positive.”

4-Year-Old Caught In Alleged Gang Shooting Taken Off Life Support

A four-year-old boy who was shot in the head amid an apparent gang dispute on Saturday has been taken off life support. The family of Aydan Perea is allowing his organs to be donated. The boy was with his father and two other men in a parked vehicle at the 2400 block of Denver Avenue on Saturday night, when a 1984 tan and white Chevrolet Monte Carlo stopped behind them and fired. The driver was also hit. Police later found the abandoned Cheve, but have yet to receive any tips on the incident. They’re looking for anyone who may have seen the cheve Saturday night before or after 8:50 pm.

Harrisonville Rep. Cosponsors Bill Allowing Teachers To Have Guns In Schools

A bill filed yesterday in the Missouri House would allow teachers to carry guns in schools. Representative Mike Kelley of Lamar and Rick Brattin of Harrisonville are sponsoring the legislation. There’s another gun related bill filed earlier this year in the state Senate. That would require schools to provide firearms safety training to teachers. It would also make all first graders participate in a gun safety course organized by the National Rifle Association.

Livingston County Jail Closes Indefinitely

A county Jail in Chillicothe, Mo. is closing immediately because of poor conditions and a lack of resources. There are currently 23 inmates at the 48-bed facility. County commissioners say they’re being moved today to the County Jail in Pattonsburg. 

Missouri Economy Expected To Grow

Missouri’s economy is expected to grow next year. That’s according to the annual revenue estimate that the Governor’s office and key legislative leaders released yesterday.

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