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Top Stories Of The Week

Six JJ's Restaurant employees sued the gas company. Two area airport control towers were on the federal closing list. And Mayor Sly James stayed calm under surprise attack. KCUR's Steve Bell looks back at those and other top stories on this week's Saturday News Review.

State of City Address Interrupted, Man Arrested

Mayor Sly Jame's State of the City message was upstaged by a protester who grabbed the mic, spewing expletives till tackled. The mayor remained calm said later that he never felt endangered, but the criticism of the city was unfair. James, who gave an upbeat address, said he believed the city was doing very well, especially since revenue has been short.

The man who interrupted the speech, Derron Black, was charged with two misdemeanors. He said he plans to run against James in two years.

Employees Sue MGE. Contractors Over Plaza Fire

On Friday, the first lawsuit was filed over the explosion and Fire at JJ's Restaurant on the Plaza. Six employees who were injured are suing Time Warner, Missouri Gas Energy, contractor Heartland Midwest, two utility line locating and marking services and one MGE employee,

The suit charges, among other things, that the location of the gas line was not properly marked, no evacuation was concucted, and employees were told none was needed.

Baseball Museum Gets Jackie Robinson Film Event

Negro League Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick was elated when producers announced a Kansas City pre-release showing of a new movie about Jackie Robinson.. Harrison Ford is scheduled to appear at the April event. In the movie, “42,” Ford plays Dodgers manager Branch Rickey, who hired Robinson away from the Kansas City Monarchs, breaking the major league baseball color line.

Judge Strikes Missouri Birth Control Exception Law

A federal judge invalidated a Missouri law that allowed any employer with a moral objection to ignore the birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Brent Butler is with the insurance company coalition that filed the suit. He explained that the insurers had been placed in a no-win situation by the law – obey federal law and face a state violation or obey state law and face a federal violation.

Stem Cell Research Foes Win In Missouri Science Funding Suit

The Missouri Supreme Court struck down MOSIRA, a science and technology incentive fund, because the bill creating it had more than one subject. Groups that challenged it were concerned some of the money could go for embryonic stem-cell research.

Kansas Towns, Cities Argue To Keep Open Carry Bans

Several area Kansas communities opposed a bill forbidding local governments from banning open carry of firearms. Mike Taylor spoke for Kansas City, Kansas. He said the cities feel they believe they should be able to prevent people from “strapping on a holster and walking down Main Street. Conservatives in the Legislature insist prohibiting that is a violation of the Second Amendment.

Abortion Bill Passes Kansas House, Advances in Senate

A 70-page abortion bill passed the Kansas House and was endorsed by a Senate Committee. Olathe Republican Lance Kinzer touted the legislation as a guarantee to Kansans that none of their tax dollars would go to support abortion. The bill forbids personal medical deductions for abortions, ends tax breaks for nonprofit abortion providers, and mandates that doctors warn patients that abortion may cause breast cancer. The American Cancer Society says studies suggesting that link were flawed.

Mixed Success For Kansas Bills Restricting Unions

The Legislature sent Governor Brownback a bill ending payroll deductions for public employee union members for political causes..The governor is expected to sign it. But legislators backed off on two bills limiting teachers union bargaining rights. The matter of what the unions can bargain for is for now left to be negotiated by the teachers union and the school districts.

Bond Bridge Suicide Darkens First Day Of Spring

On Thursday, two people jumped from the Kit Bond Bridge, leaving a pickup truck abandoned on the span. Despite an hour-long rescue effort involving boats, no trace of them was found. Based on registration of the truck and a cell phone left in it, police believe they were a man and his adult daughter who lived in a rural area south of Kansas City.

Johnson County Takes Heavy Hit In Federal Control Tower Closings

On Friday, the FAA announced control towers to be closed because of sequestration. The list included the the towers at Johnson County's Industrial and New Century Airports. In addition, the control towers at Topeka, Manhattan, Hutchinson, Columbia and Branson are scheduled to shut down.

K-State and Mizzou Fall in Upsets; KU Advances to Play North Carolina

In NCAA “March Madness” post-season play, Missouri and K-State fell by the wayside, both defeated by lower seeded teams. But number 13 Western Kentucky couldn't do the same with number one Kansas. With a 64-57 win the Jayhawks advance to face Roy Williams's North Carolina tomorrow (Sunday). The winner of that game goes on to the “Sweet 16.”

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