Community

Ronald Brockmeyer, the municipal judge in Ferguson, has resigned less than a week after a scathing federal report called his court little more than an ATM for the city. And the Missouri Supreme Court has ordered all Ferguson municipal court cases transferred to Judge Roy L. Richter of the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Stand Up KC

More than 200 activists marched in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights March through Selma, Ala.

The march was organized by Stand Up KC and the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity. Most of the protestors were fast-food workers who are calling for $15 an hour wages and union representation. 

Terrance Wise has worked for Burger King for more than 10 years. He believes that corporations are slowly warming up to raising wages for workers.

Kansas City has some of the Internet's best service anywhere. Providers there jostle for customers who can now expect broadband that's about 100 times faster than the national average.

But, four years after Google Fiber landed in Kansas City, people are still trying to figure out just what to do with all that speed.

Kansas City's a modest, Midwestern place. Residents are proud of their barbecue and baseball team. But Aaron Deacon says that now there's something else: inexpensive, world-class Internet.

Monroe Dodd

Ask people in Kansas City, Kansas what it means to have a unified government, and you’ll get some interesting answers.

“Kansas City is like Australia,” says Hannah Milner, a stay-at-home mom who has lived in KCK for seven years. “They’re a country and a continent. We’re a county and a city.”

Despite this strong metaphor, Milner admits, “I don’t really understand the government side of things.”

That’s a fairly common sentiment in the Kansas City area. So let’s go back in time to see how the unified government developed, and what it means for KCK today.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

In 2012, Democratic Sen. Pat Pettey was elected to represent Kansas' 6th district. Redistricting had just added a small part of Johnson County to a district that was previously only Wyandotte County. Today, the 6th district covers part of Kansas City, Kan., west to Edwardsville. It also covers parts of Merriam and Overland Park in Johnson County.

U.S. Census Bureau / Cooper Center at the University of Virginia

Some county lines seem arbitrary: just a government formality running through an otherwise homogenous community. The Wyandotte-Johnson county line does not fall into this category. In fact, it's hard to imagine two more different counties — they stand on opposite ends of every measure, from health to education levels to household income. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A day after a Department of Justice report called out the Ferguson, Mo., police department for racial bias, Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City to tout a summer jobs program he says will help low-income young adults land their first job.

"It's where you first learn the value of a hard day's work, the pride that comes with earning your own paycheck and the liberty of spending it how you want to," says Nixon, "but for too many kids in low-income and minority communities, these opportunities just are not available."

A manhunt continues in Kansas City, Kan., for a suspect or suspects who wounded a Wyandotte County sheriff's deputy early Wednesday morning.

The deputy stopped at a gas station in the 4400 block of Shawnee Drive around 1 a.m. His shift had just ended, and he was in uniform when he was shot during an apparent robbery attempt.

Johnson County District Attorney

The man accused of killing three people last spring at two Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites has two names.

There's the name he was born with, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., which he used to build a following of like-minded anti-Semites and radical extremists in the 1980s.

And then there's the name he was given after turning state's evidence, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., which remains his legal name.

Dan Wood / Vimeo-CC

A wise man once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 

Luckily, there are two time-lapse videos of Kansas City's sights that will help you stop and look around our beautiful city. The first came out late last year, and the second just a few days ago.

Be sure to keep some tissues handy if you're the sentimental type:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The man accused of killing three people at two Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites last spring will stand trial for capital murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and other charges stemming from the shootings.

Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan found the state had established probable cause in its case against Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 74. The judge agreed with a request from Cross' legal team to postpone arraignment.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

If you lived in Kansas City when the 20th century began, you knew the name of Thomas Swope. If for no other reason, you had heard of the massive park he gave to the city. Probably, you had picnicked and played in its 1,300 acres. If you kept up with the city’s moneyed elite, you knew that the multimillionaire Swope stood in the top rank.

When Swope died in 1909 at age 81, Kansas Citians by the thousands paid their respects as his body lay in state in the rotunda of the public library. They lined the streets to watch the funeral procession to Grace Cathedral.

Updated, 2:35 p.m. Monday:

An eyewitness to the shootings last spring at Overland Park, Kan., Jewish sites told a Johnson County judge Monday she feared for her life when the defendant asked if she was a Jew.

"I knew if I gave the wrong answer, he would shoot me," Maggie Hunker testified.

Hunker had just finished eating lunch with a friend at Village Shalom on April 13, 2014, when she saw a man gun down a woman in the retirement home's parking lot.

That woman was later identified as Terri LaManno.

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.

MoBikeFed / Flickr-CC

A recent federal ruling will help connect the Kansas City metro to the Katy Trail. 

The Surface Transportation Board issued its decision Thursday to allow 144 miles of the Rock Island Railroad tracks to be used as a bike trail. The railroad hasn't been used for more than 30 years.

Once completed, it will create one of the longest cycling trail networks in the country. 

Eric Bunch of BikeWalkKC says the connection will be a boon for both Kansas City and the entire state. 

Kansas City, Mo., residents had one of their last chances to speak out about the city's proposed budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year Saturday.

The biggest issues were incoming cuts to cultural facilities like the American Jazz Museum and safety net health clinics. The Jazz Museum alone stands to lose $125,000 in funding.

Bart Everson / Flickr-CC

What does Kansas City, Mo., have in common with fast-growing San Francisco, a city that's made headlines for its lack of affordable housing?

Rent is up here, too – about 8.5 percent over last year, according to a Zillow report that ranks Kansas City No. 4 on a list of cities that saw rental rates spike between 2013 and 2014.

Daniel Boothe / KCUR

The first thing you notice when you walk into Thou Mayest in the east Crossroads district of Kansas City, Mo., is the eclectic décor. It’s got cozy corners with funky furniture. Exposed brick and recycled wooden tables. Fishing poles and Boy Scout badges from the 1950s. You feel like you are in a high-end flea market, inside a cabin in the woods, located in a bustling downtown neighborhood.

The whole place is one gigantic conversation starter. With coffee.

Humble beginnings and a chance meeting

Cody Newill / KCUR

The NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame will be moving a portion of its collection into Union Station this summer. 

The "Gridiron Glory" exhibit is a self described "best-of" collection of the full Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. More than 200 items like former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway's jersey and vintage film footage of Super Bowls past will fill the exhibition.

(Updated 5:10 p.m.)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, shocking the state’s political world and throwing turmoil into the state’s 2016 contest for governor.

c/o Kelly Sue DeConnick

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the comic books Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet, and she writes for the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

In 2014, Kansas City, Mo., officials began the process of rewriting its taxi code, citing public safety concerns about ride-hiring companies such as Uber and Lyft, and a conflict concerning fairness in the cab industry. The response to a draft of the proposed changes has been mixed.

City permits

Wichita State University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

As we continue our long-term exploration of lines that unite and divide our metro, a project we call Beyond our Borders, we’re turning an eye to the border between Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas.

Long noted for their differences (and rivalry), Wyandotte was at one time, at least in part, Johnson County.

The making of a state

Neil Nakahodo / for KCUR

As we embark on our next exploration for Beyond our Borders, our dive into lines that unite and divide our metro, we are now turning our attention to Wyandotte and Johnson counties.

As part of our Tell KCUR initiative, we recently asked: What do we get wrong about Wyandotte and/or Johnson Counties?

It's a crime in Kansas City, Mo., to leave your car running with a key in the ignition, though plenty of people do it when temperatures drop.

And it means a sharp uptick in car theft every winter – more than 600 cars stolen citywide in December and January.

That's why Sarah Boyd of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department Media Unit gets on Twitter and Facebook to remind people that leaving a key in the ignition is practically inviting thieves to steal their cars.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

You can’t miss the little parking lot in the heart of Westport – about 70 spaces at the corner of Westport Road and Mill Street right in front of Buzzard Beach, the Westport Saloon and Ernie Biggs Dueling Piano Bar.

The lot's long occupied some of Westport's prime real estate. That's why it caused such a stir when owner Doug Weltner announced plans to build two buildings for three restaurants there earlier this month.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Members of Kansas City’s Ukrainian community gathered Sunday at an Overland Park church to collect coats for  friends and families in the war-ravaged Ukraine.

Although there are only a few hundred Ukrainians in the area, most have loved ones in parts of Ukraine where the fighting with pro-Russian rebels continues to be intense, in spite of a weekend truce.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists gathered outside the Kansas State Capitol Saturday to protest Gov. Sam Brownback's executive order rescinding sexual orientation and gender expression protections for state employees.

The rally was organized by LGBT activist group Equality Kansas. Executive Director Tom Witt says that, despite being frustrated with Brownback's order, he remains optimistic.

In The Book of Mormon, a young Mormon travels to Uganda on a mission. The hardships he encounters cause him to question not only the success of his mission, but also the very faith that sent him on it in the first place. 

As The Book of Mormon heads to Kansas City, Mo. for a limited run, we're sharing stories of tested faith from Kansas Citians.

This one comes to us from Jason Harper. It begins like this:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Many of us tag along with Pitch restaurant critic Charles Ferruzza on his restaurant adventures, enjoying his witty asides as much as his souffle descriptions. He hints at his life story when it's relevant to what's happening at the table, but for the most part, the man behind the meals is a mystery.

When Ferruzza sat down with Central Standard’s Gina Kaufmann for a Portrait Session, he said one thing he’s not is a “foodie.”

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