Eric Williams/Kansas City Symphony

This season, Kansas City Symphony audiences will discover a new assistant conductor leading the pops, family, and Screenland at the Symphony concerts: Jason Seber.

Seber relocated to Kansas City just a few months ago from Louisville, Kentucky, after three seasons as education and outreach director of the Louisville Orchestra and 11 years as music director of the Louisville Youth Orchestra. 

I recently talked with Seber about his background and expectations in Kansas City.

Kansans who register at motor vehicle offices will appear on the regular voter rolls and get standard ballots for the upcoming general elections. 

"If they call and ask if they're registered voters, they should be told that the answer is yes," says Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas. Online, those voters' status will be displayed the same as other registered voters. 

Alissa Walker / Flickr - CC

Before LaCroix Sparking Water became a trendy drink, it was a favorite of Midwestern moms.

That’s according to reporter Libby Nelson, author of "Why LaCroix Sparkling Water Is Suddenly Everywhere."

In her article, she traces how the bubbly drink  — which she remembers from her Kansas City childhood as “the pastel cases of tasteless soda that my Girl Scout leader packed into her minivan” — went from a Midwestern staple to a status symbol.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

This story first appeared on KCUR's Question Quest. You can find the episode here or wherever you download podcasts.

Just about every city has "that store." The one that just can't seem to find its footing for very long. One year it's a seedy liquor store, the next, a themed restaurant, the next, a sleepy book store.

The 19th-century English novelist George Eliot was reportedly no great beauty. One contemporary called the author of Middlemarch "exceedingly plain, with her aggressive jaw and her evasive blue eyes." Writer Henry James, who was an admirer, characterized her as "magnificently ugly, deliciously hideous."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Educators say students more than ever will need to continue their education past high school to have successful careers.

But as the cost of college continues to vastly outpace inflation, paying for a post-secondary education is becoming more difficult, if not impossible, for many families with a low or modest incomes.

The Kauffman Foundation hopes to ease that problem for 1,500 families in the Kansas City area with a $79 million investment over 10 years in a program it's calling KC Scholars.

An awesome snapshot of Kansas City is more than just picking an iconic location. Up to Date host Steve Kraske talks with three professional photographers who say  making a great photo takes plenty of preparation, a good plan and, in some cases, a tiny hexacopter.


Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

Does a prison’s failure to regard atheism as a “religious preference” violate the Constitution?

That’s the question raised by a former Missouri prisoner, who contended the failure of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) to list “atheist” on prison intake forms violated his First Amendment rights.

The case was filed in federal court in Kansas City more than four-and-a-half years ago by Randall Jackson, a persistent DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offender who served prison terms from 2006-08 and again from 2010-2014.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Plaza’s InterContinental would seek blight status from Kansas City so it could establish a special sales tax to help pay for hotel renovations.

During that city council meeting, Brett Ellison, general manager of the Marriott Country Club Plaza, issued a warning:

Courtesy Kansas City Missouri City Hall

Mayor Sly James asked a Kansas City Council committee on Wednesday to recommend spending $250,000 to begin planning for a three-day arts festival to take place in Swope Park next September.

Those funds would go toward hiring of a project manager who would spend the next year developing the festival, which would include visual, performing, and digital arts, as well as an educational component, all taking advantage of the assets in Swope Park: Starlight Theatre, the park's pavilion, and the Southeast Community Center.

Courtesy Eddie Moore

Originally from Houston, Eddie Moore, 30, moved to Kansas City in 2010. On Saturday, he and his band the Outer Circle perform at a release party for their new album Kings & Queens.

3 reasons we're listening to Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle this week:

1. Not only is Moore one of the only keyboardists in town who can play both gospel-infused and conventional post-bop forms of jazz, Moore he can occasionally be heard playing with rock, reggae and hip-hop ensembles.

Lindsborg Police Department

A man involved in a racist incident at a rural Kansas college has been trying to gain a foothold in state politics.

The chalk outlines of bodies and messages including, “Make Lindsborg White Again," scrawled on Bethany College sidewalks earlier this month rattled the campus and surrounding community

A police report of the chalkings from Sept. 3 names Gabriel James Wilson as a suspect.

Iowa farmer Paul Heineman harvests a field of oats, marking the first time his family has planted oats in decades.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On a hot, July day in Boone County, Iowa, farmer Brett Heineman shuttled a semi from one of his family’s fields to the local co-op. He and his uncle were harvesting the first crop of oats on this farm in decades.

Before corn and soybeans almost completely covered the landscape – today, they account for 95 percent of crop acres in Iowa – most Corn Belt farmers also grew oats or alfalfa. Now, the Heinemans are among the farmers taking a closer look at re-integrating the small grain into their operations.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

If Kansas is forced to reduce its budget by five percent over the next two fiscal years, higher education in the state could take a $56.4 million hit.

That's on top of $47.9 million in reductions the previous two years.

The data comes from budget documents submitted to the Governor's office by the six Kansas Board of Regents universities.

Courtesy photo - KCMO

The White House on Monday recognized  Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, as places where innovative tech things are happening.

On the first day of the Smart Cities Week conference in Washington, D.C., the White House unveiled a broad set of  initiatives to support internet-based efforts nationwide. And metro Kansas City is involved directly or tangentially in a number of them.

Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor

Several Kansans are scheduled to meet Tuesday with federal officials and counterparts from across the country to discuss issues related to the privatization of state Medicaid programs.

Courtesy John Fales

The president of the Kansas Dental Association said he has stopped taking patients from two of the state’s three KanCare insurance companies because of a 4 percent Medicaid reimbursement cut initiated by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration.

John Fales, a pediatric dentist from Olathe, said Scion — the dental benefits manager for United HealthCare and Amerigroup — has told him it will implement the cut before it is approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The recent news that Kansas is now the seventh-fattest state in the nation points toward a future of increased health problems, including cancer. In fact, as smoking rates decline and obesity rates rise, obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer.

A huge majority of Kansans say they would support reducing non-violent drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor as a way to reduce the prison population in the state.

The poll from the ACLU of Kansas shows that 86 percent of those polled either strongly support or somewhat support what the organization calls the "defelonization of certain nonviolent drug convictions."

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

At Ingels Elementary School in the Hickman Mills School District, children are lining up outside of their classrooms for the start of the school day. They know the drill; faces front, hands at sides, no talking. It’s the morning after Labor Day, and most of these students have been in classes for two weeks.


Courtesy UMKC Gallery of Art

Davin Watne and Barry Anderson were feeling some pressure.

“It’s been a while since you’ve had a faculty show,” people kept reminding Watne, the curator and director of the UMKC Gallery of Art.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It may sound strange, but people with Parkinson’s disease are stepping into boxing rings to help combat their symptoms. They aren’t throwing uppercuts for a shot at a title, but experts say they are winning an improved quality of life, and so are their families.

Perhaps the most famous person to have the disease was former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Dr. Stanley Fischer told Up To Date host Steve Kraske that the ultimate cause of Parkinson's is probably a combination of "bad genes, bad luck and wear and tear."

Kansas City Police Department

Kansas City Police will begin a 90-day test on body cameras this week, joining the growing number of agencies across the country that are using the devices amid increased scrutiny following controversial shootings.

John McGrath / Flatland

Four years ago, former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius returned home as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services with a prize the University of Kansas Cancer Center had been seeking for years: certification as a nationally recognized center through the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

But amid the hoopla, KU Cancer Center Director Dr. Roy Jensen declared the NCI designation was “merely a water break and a rest stop” on the way toward earning higher-echelon status from the institute as a “comprehensive” cancer center.

Longtime Kansas City Star editorial writer Yael T. Abouhalkah was laid off today, Abouhalkah said in a Twitter posting.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

Like most farmers, Mark Nelson, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat near Louisburg, Kansas, is getting squeezed. He’s paying three times more for seed than he used to, while his corn sells for less than half what it brought four years ago.

“It’s a – that’s a challenge,” Nelson says. “You’re not going to be in the black, let’s put it that way.”

Low commodity prices are rippling up and down the farm economy food chain from the farm to the boardroom, and it has many of the huge companies that control farm inputs looking to a new future.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

With just over 40 days until election day, Hillary Clinton's campaign opened an office in Kansas City Sunday.

More than a hundred people gathered at the grand opening in the Crossroads to sign up for volunteer opportunities, take selfies with life-sized Hillary cutouts, and connect with other supporters. 

Most polls have given Republican nominee Donald Trump a big lead over the Democrat in Missouri, but some have shown the state as a toss-up.

Islamic Center of Northland

A possible arson is being investigated at a mosque under construction in Kansas City.

Islamic Center of Northland leaders say they arrived at the site, near Barry road in Kansas City north, for a meeting early Saturday morning and discovered blackened interior walls. There was no serious damage reported. 

Kansas City police and a bomb squad responded. Police confirm that two burned bottles were found inside the building. 

Courtesy of Netflix

KCUR’s Peggy Lowe reported on the Maryville Rape Case in 2013 and has this analysis of a new documentary on the story, which premieres on Sunday on Netflix.

The good news about “Audrie & Daisy,” a new documentary focusing on Daisy Coleman, the girl at the center of the Maryville rape case, is that it documents how Coleman survived and found her tribe.