Briana O'Higgins

Digital Content Editor

A California native, Briana comes to KCUR by way of KMUW in Wichita, Kan. and KUSP in Santa Cruz, Calif.

She started working in public radio as an intern at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio to fulfill a degree requirement while studying at Antioch College.

She has a graduate certificate from the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Documentary Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

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KCUR.org transitioned Friday to a new design that will make listening to and viewing content easier across devices.

The new "responsive" design will automatically tailor to your viewing device, whether you are on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Bullying became the topic of a national conversation in 2010 after a young college man committed suicide after his roommate filmed him being intimate with another man.

Since, there have been major campaigns to combat bullies and bullying, and schools across the country have mobilized anti-bullying efforts and policies.

File photo

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday his candidacy for U.S. Senator in 2016. Kander made the announcement in a press release and in a video posted to his website

"For years, even with our economy suffering at home and our national security threatened abroad, too many politicians in both political parties have been more concerned with scoring political points than doing what's right for our country and its hurt all of us," he says in the video.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Oh the heat. Sometimes it hurts so good — too much can make it hurt so bad.

If you like the pain, there are a handful of restaurants across the metro that invite you to test your limits. For the rest of you spice lovers, there are even more places that try to strike a tolerable, yet delicious balance both in heat and flavor.

Wikimedia Commons

Is there a smell, in all the land, like sizzling ground meat charring on the grill?

Burgers are a staple of classic Americana, as we confirmed on Central Standard.

They're a national comfort food, according to Feast Magazine's Jenny Vergara, and she says that if you're going to make cuisine in America, you're going to have to conquer the burger.

In 2014, we launched a series to look at why people come to Kansas City and why they stay, called Going To Kansas City.

file photo / Harvest Public Media

Here at KCUR we grew a lot in 2014, not only in numbers but also in the way we go about reporting the news. Our Community Engagement team launched a long-term project and mobilized our staff to get out and meet you and to listen more to our community.

Updated: 5:38 a.m.

Hey kids, it's cold out there. There isn't much snow, but many schools are closed and some are delayed. Woot!

Here are the schools in the Kansas City metro that are closed or delayed on Jan. 7:

It's here, another year. 2015. 

Last year was a big one for KCUR. Our newsroom grew and grew; we launched a big project called Beyond Our Borders, a health collaborative called Heartland Health Monitor and a new talk show with a new host.

Gov. Sam Brownback's chief of staff is resigning to accept a position with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the administration announced Monday. Landon Fulmer will step down Jan. 5.

Jon Hummell, Brownback's policy director, will replace Fulmer. He will continue to also serve as policy director until the administration names a successor.

Fulmer has been chief of staff since April 2012. 

Courtesy / Facebook

Kansas City Mayor Sly James released a statement on Facebook Monday night after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.

"Many people are in pain this evening because of this decision," he wrote. "I encourage our community to take to prayer, reflection, and even peaceful protest."

James' statement went viral overnight — reaching more than 6,000 likes and 1,200 shares.

Andrea Nguyen / Flickr--CC

Some slurp them, some swirl them and unfortunately, some cut them up. But with nearly endless varieties (even gluten-free), everyone eats noodles.

This week on Central Standard food critics Charles Ferruza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch discussed Asian noodles of all sorts from the slurpy noodles in Vietnamese pho to the more saucy pad thai.

Here are their recommendations:

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Voters in Missouri went to the polls Tuesday to vote for various political offices and four constitutional amendments that seek to change teacher tenure rules, trial procedures in cases of sexual crimes against minors, early voting periods and gubernatorial budgeting powers.

Below are the results for a selection of races and measures. You can find full results at the Secretary of State website.

Unofficial election results will be updated below as precincts across the state report results.

Mike Mozart / Flickr--CC

Sprint Corp. announced Monday that it would layoff at least 2,000 employees.

The cuts, which are expected to save Sprint around $400 million, are part of an aggressive cost-cutting package introduced by CEO Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian businessman who took over from ousted CEO Dan Hesse in August.

“The Sprint brand was weak," Claure told investors during an earnings call Monday. "We had no clear value proposition for consumers. The measure of our own customer’s willingness to recommend Sprint was the lowest among the four big wireless carriers.”

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Four-year-old Will Duke from Kansas City, Mo., likes few things in life more than the swings at Loose Park, but this year’s Royals team might give any swingset a run for its money.

Duke knows only a winning hometown team; he has favorite players (Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore), and even has a Royals take on a favorite baseball tune.

Listen to Duke sing his Royals version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." And let's hope it brings them a little luck as they go into Game 6 Tuesday night.

Ryan Knapp / Flickr--CC

Sporting Kansas City will leave Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference and join the Western Conference in 2015, the MLS announced Monday.

The move will be a homecoming of sorts for Sporting KC, which played in the Western Conference from 1996 to 2005. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Kansas City Royals tied up the World Series Wednesday night against the San Francisco Giants with a 7-2 win in Kansas City. Each team has one win in the best-of-seven Series.

The teams will now travel to San Francisco and face-off in Game 3 on Friday night at AT&T Park. The Royals will need to win at least one game in San Francisco to bring the 2014 Series back to Kauffman Stadium.

Fox Sports

The Kansas City Royals will face off against the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series.

The Giants secured their spot as the NLCS Champions Thursday, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in San Francisco. The game was the fifth in a best-of-seven series to clinch the pennant.

The Giants tied up the score 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homerun from Michael Morse. After switching out the pitcher in the top of the ninth, they kept the score tied into the bottom of the inning.

John Spertus / KCUR

It's been 29 years, so we almost forgot what it felt like, but on Wednesday Kansas Citians around the globe had a sweet sip of victory after sweeping the Baltimore Orioles to take the ALCS Championship.

We still have to prove we're the world's best — but for the time being, the sound of success is all you can hear in Kansas City.

John Spertus / for KCUR

Last week, the NPR station in Baltimore, WYPR, made a wager with us over the ALCS Championship: If the Orioles take the pennant, the staff at KCUR must produce a radio spot of at least 30 seconds congratulating their team and if we win, they will produce a spot congratulating the Royals.

Well, we all know who came out on top.

Call it a public radio-baseball throwdown.

Last week our reporter Cody Newill wrote a piece comparing our city to Baltimore, in an attempt to playfully compare the two cities with teams playing for the ALCS Championship.

Well, before long the staff at Baltimore's public radio station WYPR got wind of the article and responded with their own comparison. But they didn't stop there.

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

Kansas City barbecue — we know you've heard of it.

The president eats it when he visits, and Anthony Bourdain said Kansas City barbecue is the best in the world.

But how did it all get started? And who made Kansas City barbecue famous?

Mindmatrix / Wikimedia-CC

Nuts — they are in so many dishes, but they are hardly ever the star of the show. Without them so many of our favorite dishes would fall flat, but when we talk about food they rarely get their due recognition.

This week, Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch give nuts their moment in the spotlight and pick out the 'nuttiest' dishes available in and around the Kansas City area.

Here are the Critics' favorite 'nutty' dishes:

A Kansas City police offer fatally shot a man late Wednesday after the man allegedly threatened the officer with a sword-like object. He died at the scene.

KCPD responded to an outside disturbance shortly before midnight on the 4200 block of 57th Terrace in Kansas City, North.

The Kansas City Star reports the man did not respond to officer's commands and became confrontational.

Dave E. Dexter, Jr. Collection / LaBudde Special Collections Department - UMKC

Fifty years ago Wednesday, The Beatles played a concert at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The concert was not originally part of the band's first cross-country U.S. tour, but business man and owner of the Kansas City Athletics baseball team, Charlie O. Finley, managed to bring them to Kansas City.

Finley flew to San Francisco to talk to the band's manager, Brian Epstein, and offered $50,000 to bring The Beatles to Kansas City. They finally agreed on $150,000, and the Fab Four flew into Kansas City to play a show on one of their only days off from the tour.

Kansas City area teachers and students got a welcome surprise Wednesday after Google "flash funded" all the requests posted by metro teachers to a crowdsourcing website. 

Teachers across the nation can post their needs to the website DonorsChoose.org with the hope that someone will fund the request. Google has "flash funded" the requests in multiple metro areas over the last few months, including San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Chicago.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA opens in Merriam, Kan., at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and a line has been forming outside of the store since Monday.

IKEA's promotion for the grand opening includes giving away free furniture to people who start standing in line up to 48 hours in advance of the opening. The first 40 people in line will get a free couch worth $399, the next 100 people will get a $69 chair. On Thursday, the second day the store will be open to the public, IKEA will give the first 40 people a $299 mattress and the next 100 people $59 towards home delivery.

Robert Francis / Flickr--CC

Update, 7:11 a.m., Wednesday:

Police have apprehended a man they say has been positively identified as the suspect in the assaults at a Motel 6 in the Northland. The are continuing to investigate whether there is a link between the suspect and the triple homicide in south Kansas City. 

Update, 8:15 p.m.:  

Police say the shooting may be related to an incident at a northland Motel 6 Tuesday afternoon. The hotel is close to where an SUV taken from the scene of the homicides earlier in the day in south Kansas City was found. 

Julie Fallone / Town Topic

  At some point, we all get a sweet tooth. For some of us it is a little more frequently than we would like, for others its an occasional craving.

Whether you are in need of a decadent mousse or plain old fashioned ice cream cone, our Food Critics are here to guide you (and your tooth) to the sweetest treats in the metro.

Here are suggestions from the Food Critics and listeners to Central Standard:

Greg Echlin / KCUR

You may have heard that the Royals are doing really well. They are 15 games over .500, and are first in the AL Central. They're doing so well they made the cover of this weeks' regional Sports Illustrated

"September is coming, and for the first time in nearly 30 years it will matter in Kansas City," the headline reads. That hasn't happened since the last time the team made the playoffs: 1985, when the Royals went on to win the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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