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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Community
8:08 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Interviews Provide Insight Into Bob Dole's Career

The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has made hours of interviews about Bob Dole's Senate career available online. The announcement coincides with the former Kansas senator's 91st birthday.

You can now go online for videos and audio of high-profile people talking about Bob Dole's nearly three decades in the U.S. Senate. Here's former president George H.W. Bush.

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Community
10:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Why 33 Years Later, We Still Don't Have A Memorial For The Skywalk Disaster

Thirty-three years after the deadly collapse of a skywalk at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near downtown Kansas City, Mo., the foundation trying to build a memorial for the victims says it has raised 70 percent of their goal.

The Skywalk Memorial Foundation has $382,824 in cash donations, leaving them with around $163,000 to raise to reach the amount necessary to begin construction. The proposed memorial will be at Hospital Hill Park at 22nd Street and Gillham Road.

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Community
10:33 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Kansas City-St. Joe Diocese To Pay $1.1M For Failing To Report Abuse

The Kansas City-St. Joesph Catholic Diocese has been ordered to pay $1.1 million to victims for failing to follow through on their promise to improve how they deal with sexual abuse.

The ruling from an arbitrator says the diocese is responsible for the damages after concluding that it did not promptly report a priest who had produced child pornography, the New York Times reports.

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Beyond Our Borders
9:52 am
Fri June 27, 2014

How School And District Boundaries Shaped Education In Kansas City

Street map of Kansas City showing grade school and high school districts as well as the locations of schools. "Red Lines Indicate High School Boundaries" and "Colored School Districts" are marked in green.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library / Kansas City, Mo.

Earlier this year, we embarked on a year-long investigation of the lines that divide and unite us — starting with a look at Troost Avenue.

The road has been used as a border for many things, including neighborhood associations, census tracts, political districts and public schools. 

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Community
4:21 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Kansas City Woman's Project On Beauty Standards Goes Viral

Argentina
Esther Honig estherhonig.com

This week, KCUR freelancer Esther Honig had a giant shock when her project Before & After, a cross-cultural examination of beauty, went viral.

Honig sent an unaltered image of herself to freelance graphic artists in more than 25 countries and asked them to perform one task: make her beautiful. The result is more than 40 images that together tell a complex story of global standards of beauty. And the response has been enormous.

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Government
7:40 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Kansas City Out Of Running For 2016 GOP Convention

Mayor Sly James joined RNC committee members at a press conference during their site visit to Kansas City in early June.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Update, 1:10 p.m.

The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that Cleveland, Ohio, and Dallas, Texas, were finalists to host the 2016 Republican Convention. Kansas City and Denver have been eliminated.

Committee members were in Kansas City earlier this month to tour facilities and meet city officials. In a release, the committee says the decision was based on a review of bids and information gathered at site visits to each city.

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Community
8:46 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Kansas City-Based Organization Played Role In Presbyterian Same-Sex Marriage Vote

The ruling by the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination Thursday to allow its pastors to officiate same-sex weddings was a major victory for a Kansas City-based organization that has spent years trying to make the church more inclusive.

By a vote of 429 to 175, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to initiate a process to redefine marriage in official texts as being between two people. They also voted with a smaller margin to allow Presbyterian pastors to decide as individuals whether or not to perform same-sex marriages.

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World Cup KC
8:37 am
Tue June 17, 2014

What Kansas City Sounds Like When The U.S. Team Scores In The World Cup

Kansas City soccer fans gathered in the Power & Light District Monday night to watch the U.S. men's team in their World Cup opening game.
Credit Sporting KC / YouTube

Even if you missed the game Monday night, you probably know by now that the U.S. men's soccer team defeated Ghana in their opener at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The win was sweet revenge after losing to Ghana in the last two World Cups.

Winning always sounds good, but it sounded especially good coming from Kansas City's Power & Light District where fans cheered on local players, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi:

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Business
9:59 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Reports: Sprint Works Out $32 Billion Deal With T-Mobile

Sprint Corp. has worked out a $32 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile US Inc., according to reports Wednesday.

The deal was reported by varying media outlets, including the Kansas City Star, but no sources were identified. Sprint has not confirmed the reports and a spokesman for the company declined to comment to The Star.

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Beyond Our Borders
8:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Data Maps Show Troost As Racial, Economic And Educational Divide

Credit Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service / University of Virginia

As KCUR examines how Kansas Citians divide themselves in our Beyond Our Borders series, we wanted to look at the demographics of the areas where we are focusing our reporting.

Earlier this year, we asked the community which lines were the most divisive in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Troost Avenue was cited as one of the most prominent racial and socioeconomic borders

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Community
8:47 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Poll: Kansas Sixth Most Charitable State

Kansas: known for farms, flat terrain and ... charitable residents?
Credit Roy Montgomery / Flickr--CC

Kansas is the sixth most charitable state, according to a poll out this month from the research company Gallup.

Sixty-two percent of Kansans reported donating money in the past month, while 45 percent donated time and 39 percent donated some of both.

Missouri came in at 34th with 64 percent of residents donating money, 41 percent donating time and 31 percent engaging in both.

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Business
10:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Kauffman Foundation CEO To Step Down

Tom McDonnell, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will leave the organization at the end of the fiscal year.

In a release, the Foundation says because of personal plans, McDonnell is unable to make the long-term commitment the organization needs to see through a multi-year strategic plan effort.

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Sports
11:42 am
Tue April 29, 2014

New Sport Phenomenon 'FootGolf' Coming To Kansas City

FootGolf combines soccer with golf and is played on a traditional golf course.
Credit vanderlanos / Flickr--CC

A new sport is catching on across the United States, and soon you will be able to play in Kansas City. The sport will make its Missouri debut at the city-owned Heart of America Golf Academy at Swope Park in Kansas City, Mo.

FootGolf has been gaining popularity since its inception in Europe around 2008. According the the sport's Wikipedia page, the first ever FootGolf tournament was organized in the Netherlands in 2009.

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Community
1:52 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Kansas Ranks Among The 'Nerdiest' States

Kansas joins other western states as the most nerdy, according to the real estate blog, Estately.
Credit blog.estately.com

Kansas is among the "nerdiest" states, according to a playful new report from the real estate blog, Estately.

The blog ranks Kansas as the 12th nerdiest state based on an analysis of interests listed in Facebook profiles. To determine each state's ranking, Estately tallied the percentage of people who mentioned the nerdy things listed below, then ranked the cities on a per capita basis:

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Community
9:14 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Employees In Kansas City Start Work Earlier Than Most Of The U.S.

Workers in Kansas City get to work earlier than most of their counterparts across the U.S.
Credit Tim Samoff/Flickr / Creative Commons

People who are employed in Kansas City, Mo., start work earlier than the majority of the United States — at around 7:51 a.m.

That's considerably earlier than our counterparts in New York, who go in around 8:24 a.m., and our neighbors in Lawrence, Kan., who get to work around 8:15 a.m.

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Community
12:39 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

What Is The Difference Between A Hate Crime And An Act Of Terrorism?

A federal hate crimes charge is expected against the suspect in the April 13 shootings at Jewish facilities in Kansas.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

In the wake of shootings that took the lives of three people April 13 at Jewish facilities in Johnson County, Kan., we have been wondering about what constitutes a hate crime and how that differs from acts of terrorism.

On the KCUR program Central Standard,  host Gina Kaufmann explored the differences with professors Jessica Hodge and Steve Dilks from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Economy
10:35 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Spirit Airlines To Begin Service In Kansas City

Spirit Airlines will begin service from Kansas City to five cities in August.
Credit Courtesy / Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday they will begin service in Kansas City beginning August 7.

The Florida-based airline will provide non-stop service from KCI Airport to Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit and Las Vegas on August 7 and Houston beginning August 8.

“We look forward to help customers traveling to or from the Kansas City area to save money with our ultra-low fares and optional services for a total price that is tough to beat” said Mark Kopczak, Spirit’s Vice President of Network Planning in a release.

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JCC Shootings
9:53 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Mayor In Ozarks Resigns After Connections To JCC Shooting Suspect Surface

The mayor of a small town in the Ozarks has resigned after making racist comments and revealing he was once friends with the man accused of killing three people at two Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan., on April 13.

Ozarks Public Radio reports that Marionville Mayor Dan Clevenger said he would resign Monday after four of five aldermen voted to impeach him. 

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Beyond Our Borders
6:48 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Kansas City Grocer's Hand-Painted Signs Are A Lost Art In The Modern Age

Grocer William Rosser has been painting signs for his independent grocery stores in Kansas City for more than 50 years.
Briana O'Higgins KCUR

Every morning, William Rosser starts his day painting signs.

The 77-year-old butcher and owner of Wild Woody's Happy Foods on 31st Street and Myrtle Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., has been painting grocery signs for more than 50 years.

"I make sure every display's got a sign on it. That's my whole goal," he says.

Rosser's store is one of few remaining independent grocery stores in the area. It serves Kansas City's east side — an area largely considered to be a food desert.

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Business
11:42 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Google To Begin Rollout Of Fiber Service For Small Businesses

Google Inc. announced Wednesday that it would begin recruiting small businesses in Kansas City to test its Google Fiber product.

The Kansas City Business Journal reports after nearly two years of asking Kansas City companies to "hang in there," Google is ready to launch the pilot.

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Community
3:01 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

KCUR And KCPT Announce Regional Public Media Collaboration

Credit Courtesy / KCPT

KCUR and Kansas City public television station KCPT announced a news collaboration on Thursday.

The collaboration is not a merger, the two public media stations said in a statement, but rather a pooling of resources and a commitment to partner on reporting and engagement projects.

The initial focus will be on health and agriculture reporting, along with a Kansas City launch of the Public Insight Network (PIN), a nationwide database that helps connect journalists to sources. 

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Community
1:07 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Kansas City Makes Latest Cut For Republican National Convention

Credit Photoguyinmo / Flickr-CC

Kansas City made the next cut in the running for the 2016 Republican National Convention, the GOP announced Wednesday.

Denver, Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Cleveland are also still contenders for the convention. Pheonix and Columbus were eliminated.

Shortly after the announcement, Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James said the city would have no problem accommodating the expected 40 thousand conventioneers.

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Beyond Our Borders
9:26 am
Thu March 27, 2014

How Troost Became A Major Divide In Kansas City

Mansions, like this one belonging to Flavel Tiffany, established Millionaire's Row on Troost between 26th and 32nd streets.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

Eds note: This look at the Troost corridor is  part of KCUR's months-long examination of how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City. KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism. 

We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what’s being done to bridge or dissolve them. 

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Community
2:00 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

New Research Concludes Kansas Is Not The Flattest State

Flatter than a pancake?! Maybe in some parts.
Credit Mudkipz_KGM / Flickr--CC

You may have caught wind of a study conducted about a decade ago claiming the state of Kansas was indeed flatter than a pancake. 

Using the 'flattening ratio,' researchers in the geography departments at the University of Texas and Arizona State University concluded the topography of Kansas was flatter than that of a "well-cooked pancake" from the International House of Pancakes (IHOP)

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Health
12:01 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

UMKC Awarded $7 Million To Establish HIV Prevention Resource Center

Jacki Witt (left) and Laurie Krom will be co-directors of the new center at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.
Credit Janet Rogers / UMKC Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

  The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a $7 million grant Monday to establish its School of Nursing and Health Studies as a national HIV-prevention resource center.

The award comes from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is the largest in the school's history.

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Community
10:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Kansas City Newsman Dan Verbeck Looks Back At His Radio Career

Dan Verbeck retires from KCUR Friday after a decades-long career reporting in Kansas City.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Longtime Kansas City journalist Dan Verbeck retires from KCUR Friday.

Verbeck started his broadcast news career more than 40 years ago. He spent most of those years in Kansas City. 

His departure signals the end of an era for radio listeners in the city, who have heard him on KMBZ, KMBR, KCMO and most recently on KCUR.

Dan sat on the other side of the microphone this week to talk about his career, his favorite stories and what he will miss about reporting.

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Community
3:27 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

A Nerd's Guide To A Weekend In Kansas City

A young man and woman dressed as Starfleet officers at a previous Comicon, the woman is giving the Vulcan salute.
Credit Pop Culture Geek / Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Ok nerds. We know you’re descending on Kansas City this weekend for the epic Planet Comicon conference featuring science fiction celebrities like William Shatner, Sylvester McCoy and almost the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But in between catching glimpses of Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton and the blue Power Ranger, we thought you may want to eat, drink and scope out our fine city.

Here we present you the nerd’s guide to a weekend in Kansas City:

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Education
10:26 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Only 12 Families Request Transfer From Kansas City Public School District

Only 12 families with a total of 23 students applied to be transferred out of the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools at the district's expense, the Kansas City Star reports.

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Community
3:00 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

KCUR Announces New Host For Daily Talk Show 'Central Standard'

Gina Kaufmann previously worked at KCUR as the co-host of The Walt Bodine Show from 2008-2010.
Credit KCUR

Gina Kaufmann, a veteran broadcaster and former co-host of The Walt Bodine Show on KCUR, will return to the station as host of the 10 a.m. weekday program, Central Standard.

Earlier this year, KCUR announced the merger of Central Standard and their weekly newsmagazine, KC Currents.

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Education
10:22 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Kauffman School Announces New CEO

Hannah Lofthus greets Kauffman School students on the first day of classes in August, 2013.
Credit Courtesy / Kauffman Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School announced Monday that Hannah Lofthus will be the next CEO.

Lofthus is the founding principal and chief academic officer of the charter school and will transition into the role of CEO over the next several months.

In a release, board chairman Robert Strom said the promotion puts the strongest and best leader for the school in place while providing continuity of leadership.

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