News

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

It's a rare person who can make a full-time living as a playwright in Kansas City. Nathan Louis Jackson is such a person. His gig as playwright-in-residence at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre was recently renewed.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James made an impassioned plea on behalf of the earnings tax campaign at a NAACP forum Thursday night.

“I think the earnings tax is of particular interest to Kansas Citians, whether they’re black, white or Latino,” James said before the forum, which about two dozen people attended.

Revenue generated from the 1 percent tax on people who live or work in the city makes up the bulk of the general fund and pays for vital city services like police, fire and ambulance. State law requires a vote to renew the earnings tax every five years.

Courtesy of Hyatt Hotels

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit to force a vote on the downtown convention hotel deal.

The group Citizens for Responsible Government sued the city in Jackson County Court late last year after the Kansas City Council wouldn’t put their question on the ballot.

In oral arguments Feb. 2, the city argued that requiring a vote on the already-signed contracts to build a downtown convention hotel would violate tax increment financing law.

Judge Jennifer M. Phillips agreed, dismissing the lawsuit on Thursday.

Frank Morris / KCUR

A technology company called Pramata is branching out to Kansas City.  The company’s office in Kansas City's Crossroads neighborhood will be its only U.S. hub outside of the San Francisco area.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Mayor’s Office wants more Kansas City businesses to adopt family-friendly policies as a workplace retention strategy.

In a joint news conference with the Women’s Foundation Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James announced the “When Work Works” initiative, which encourages companies to make their business a place people want to work.

James says he’s seeing already seeing innovative policies around parental leave from Kansas City companies.

“When you’re concerned about whether you can afford to be on that leave, it just stresses everybody out,” James says.

KHI News Service

Some supporters of Medicaid expansion say that Gov. Sam Brownback’s rural health task force is little more than political cover. They say that in an election year Republican lawmakers opposed to expansion need to be seen as doing something about the financial pressures that forced a hospital in southeast Kansas to close its doors and that are threatening others.

But Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, the person appointed to lead the group, says the governor’s critics have it wrong.

Courtesy of KCATA

Kansas Citians will soon be able to request on-demand rides to stops not on the regional bus system.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority announced Thursday it will launch a new shuttle service called Ride KC: Bridj in March.

“We want to be a transit authority, not just a bus company,” says KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen. “What that means is offering options and connections. Connect the dots.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

If you look at the travel brochures about Kansas City, or talk to the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association, the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District is always listed among the top destinations.

People come from all over the world in search of that distinctive Kansas City sound.

Pixabay / CC

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, which means you and your lover (or lovers!) can enjoy an entire romantic weekend together.

If a romantic weekend together sounds like a terrible idea, consider finding another significant other, or just keep reading. I promise I’ve put together an entirely un-cheesy, love-tastic weekend.

Friday Evening

Allan Ajifo / Wikimedia -- CC

Sunday is Valentine’s Day, the great validator of lovingly bestowed flowers and candy, as well as hugs and kisses that hopefully go with them.

If you have a special someone, good for you. If not, that opens up other opportunities, doesn’t it?

Whatever your romantic status, follow your heart this weekend. You never quite know where it will take you. Or who might join you on the way.

1. Dancing with the Kansas City Stars Sweetheart Dance

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Every Tuesday and Friday, about a dozen seniors from the Santa Fe Towers Apartments in Overland Park eagerly drop quarters into the fare box of the 812 Flex route bus. 

Many of the passengers are old hats when it comes to public transit. They've got their fare ready well before they get on the bus, and some pull along wheeled baskets to tote around the groceries they'll get from Hy-Vee.

One of the riders on a recent Tuesday was a woman named Carolyn, who asked that only her first name be used. She's used buses to get around Johnson County for the past 7 years.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council recently tasked the city manager's office with reviewing a proposed $18 million in additional spending for projects in the 18th and Vine Historic District. It's been more than 25 years since the council committed $20 million in sales taxes to begin redevelopment of an iconic Kansas City neighborhood that had crumbled.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

A modified master plan for Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) consolidates two east side schools and turns over one of the buildings to the district's charter school partner, a plan that packed parents from the targeted school into the board meeting Wednesday night.

The new plan still closes Southwest Early College Campus and moves its students to East High School. It also still closes Satchel Paige Elementary on east 75th Street.

Payday Loan Magnate Scott Tucker Arrested In Kansas City, Kansas

Feb 10, 2016
Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr -- CC

Scott Tucker, a Kansas City man who came upon tremendous wealth by running a payday lending enterprise, was among three people arrested Wednesday in connection with a federal investigation into these businesses.

Tucker and his attorney, Timothy Muir, were arrested in Kansas City, Kansas. Both men were charged by a grand jury in U.S. District Court of Southern New York on charges of conspiracy to collect unlawful debts from payday loan consumers.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

House members were denied a vote on Medicaid expansion on procedural grounds in a floor debate Wednesday that mirrored one the Senate had a day earlier.

Rep. Jim Ward, a Democrat from Wichita, tried to attach the amendment to enact expansion during the beginning of an hours-long debate on the state budget.

“This is vital to the future of Kansas,” Ward said, adding that expanding Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act would extend coverage to about 150,000 low-income Kansans and draw federal funds to help struggling hospitals.

A bill originally promoted as preventing lottery winners from claiming public assistance would now also cut off households that have received cash assistance for more than two years.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, confirmed that the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee had amended Senate Bill 372 to lower the lifetime Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) limit from 36 months to 24 months.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

A legislative hearing Tuesday on a bill to prohibit Kansans under 18 from using commercial tanning beds produced emotional testimony from cancer victims and sharp exchanges between lawmakers and the proposal’s lone opponent.

And it seemed clear by the hearing’s end that the bill had the support of several lawmakers who normally would be troubled by the prospect of regulating private businesses.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

On a Saturday afternoon, four female students from Kansas City's Alta Vista Charter High School are making a three-hour trip in a rented minivan to Omaha. As they get closer, they each practice their pitches for why they deserve a full-ride scholarship to college. 

Brittany emphasizes the long hours she puts into extracurricular work making an electric car.

Anahi lays out how she wants to be a lawyer to better "serve my community" as an adult.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The 18th and Vine Jazz District played a crucial role in Kansas City's history as a center for African-American commerce and culture. Today, it's home to the American Jazz Museum, Black Archives of Mid-America, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and more.

Keith Allison / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re a professional baseball player, the last thing you want to hear is that you’re not running correctly.  But that’s what happened to one of the star players for the Kansas City Royals.

With spring training starting this month, outfielder Lorenzo Cain is still trying to adjust his running style.

That didn’t show in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Cain’s dash from all the way from first base to home on a single clinched the second straight American League pennant for the Kansas City Royals. 

Out of sync

Cuts to the crop insurance program will again be a talking point on Capitol Hill.

The budget drafted by President Obama and released Tuesday would make cuts to the crop insurance system, allocate more funds for agricultural research and fund the summer program that provides free meals to children.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

After three years of providing state funding for a medical research center focused on adult stem cell treatments, Kansas legislators are asking when the center will be financially independent.

Officials from the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center had just presented their annual report Monday when Sen. Jeff Melcher, a Republican from Leawood, asked whether they were seeking “venture funding or any private equity to continue this once the state’s contribution to this research has ended.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County Prosecutor announced charges Tuesday in the murder of a Raytown man gunned down while jogging near Blue Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street.

Craig L. Brown, 24, faces a single count of second degree murder in the May 13, 2012, shooting death of Harry Stone, 60. Stone described the two men who’d fired at him from a passing car to an anesthesiologist before dying in surgery.

A bill being heard this week by a Missouri legislative committee promotes shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after separation or divorce.

The legislation proposes adding language to the state’s child custody law to emphasize that the best interest of the child is equal access to both parents – a change that would encourage judges to pay more attention to research on the best interest of children.

Courtesy Little Class Records

Julian Davis
Who Walks In, When I Walk Out? (Little Class Records)

With the first listen to Who Walks In, When I Walk Out? any roots fan is going to ask, “How old is this guy again?” The quesiton’s inevitable.

It’s also unfair. (He’s sixteen.) Julian Davis would be a wonderful discovery even if he were as old as Grandma Moses.

Tammy Worth / Heartland Health Monitor

The first time Rebecca Schunck tried to commit suicide she was 25. She called the police following a fight with her father, threatening to kill him and then herself.

Over the next decade, she says she tried to end her life more times than she can count – possibly 75 to 100 attempts. Her preferred modus operandi was medication overdose, but she also tried drowning, hanging herself and injecting air into her veins. During her final attempt in 2011, she got into her car with the windows up and turned the engine on. A concerned friend called the police, and officers arrived at Schunck’s house just a couple of minutes before she would have likely died.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt toured the Metro YMCA Head Start in Kansas City, Missouri, Monday to learn more about a program that helps kids deal with trauma.

“Here’s a case where you’re investing early and trying to figure out what you can do to intervene in the life of a child that has some traumatic experience,” Blunt said after sitting in on a lesson at the Crittenton Children’s Center.

The teacher used baby dolls to show the 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds how to care for someone else.

Courtesy Adam Dolezal

The persistent decline of honeybees has scientists scrambling to understand what’s causing the problem and how to correct it. Humans may be part of the problem.

U.S. beekeepers report losing about a third of their colonies each year and the figure increased from 2014 to 2015.

File photo

This story was updated at 4:13 p.m.

Missouri has settled a dispute over the terms of a multibillion settlement with the big tobacco companies that has cost it tens of millions of dollars over the last dozen or so years.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the settlement Monday, saying it will allow the state to recoup $50 million it lost in arbitration and preserve millions of dollars in future payments.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Residents living just south of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, might just get a grocery store after all.

Truman Medical Centers disappointed people in and around the Beacon Hill and Longfellow neighborhoods when, in mid-2015, it nixed plans to build a supermarket on the northeast corner of 27th Street and Troost Avenue. The project had been in the works for about four years.

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