Community

Missouri's black homicide rate is nearly twice the national average, according to a study released Wednesday from the Violence Policy Center.

There were 247 black homicide victims in Missouri in 2012, or about 35 deaths per 100,000 people.

"If you compare it to the overall rate of 4.5 per 100,000, basically all races across the country, it's seven times the number," says Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann.

Valentina Cala / Flickr-CC

The suspected shooters who killed 10 journalists from French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and two police officers in an attack Wednesday have been connected to Al-Qaeda by many sources.

The Council on American Islamic Relations cautions that jumping to conclusions about the attackers can deepen anti-Islamic sentiments both intentionally and unintentionally.

The co-owner of a Shawnee gun shop died Friday after being shot during a botched robbery attempt, according to police.

Three of the four suspects in the attempted robbery were also injured by gunfire.

Shawnee police Maj. Dan Tennis told the Associated Press four people tried to rob the She's A Pistol gun shop Friday afternoon. Three were shot and two of them were critically injured. Another had less-serious wounds and was arrested with the fourth suspect in a residential area nearby.

Ultimately, police arrested all four suspects.

Derek Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

Around 200,000 Kansas City metro residents who got caught running red-lights by traffic cameras are getting the chance for a partial refund of their tickets.

A class action lawsuit involving 27 municipalities across Missouri has been settled by American Traffic Solutions, the company that leases the state's red-light cameras.

The settlement requires ATS to pay 20 percent refunds to citizens who successfully apply for them. 

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.

Donna Vestal

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

No doubt, many people in Kansas City first came here as children, the result of a parent's job transfer. A family move, but with unique circumstances for each individual. Such was the case for Donna Steele Vestal, KCUR’s content director.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

As the FBI investigates the murder of a young, gay, black man for a possible civil rights violation, friends of the victim are trying to start a broader conversation about race in Kansas City’s gay community.

Dionte Greene, 22, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.

People who knew Greene remember him as a loving son, devoted father and a caring friend. They say he was the last person they expected to be in trouble.

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:

espie (on and off) / Flickr--CC

The United Way of Greater Kansas City is making a list of so-called "warming centers" available to those looking for respite from this week’s bitterly cold weather.

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.

(Updated 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 6 with NAACP's request for an investigation.)

A grand juror is suing St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in an effort to speak out on what happened in the Darren Wilson case. Under typical circumstances, grand jurors are prohibited by law from discussing cases they were involved in.

Pizzabella / Facebook

From happy hour treats to sumptuous desserts, Central Standard's Food Critics covered a wide swath of Kansas City cuisine in 2014. And what better way to test their culinary knowledge than with a "Best-of" list?

Here are the Food Critics' choices for the best dishes of 2014 in Kansas City:

Mary Bloch:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death Tuesday of a worker at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Claycomo, Mo.

Bonita Winingham, the acting regional administrator for the Kansas City office, says the contractor died in what's called a "struck by" accident after being hit with a piece of equipment.

There have not been any deaths at the Claycomo plant in recent years, Winingham said after checking the plant's history through 2010.

The Kansas City, Mo., Police Department is investigating a Tuesday evening shooting on a Kansas City ATA bus.

KCPD Captain Tye Grant says police were dispatched to a bus at 39th and Prospect around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. He says shots were fired into the bus at an earlier stop, near Benton Avenue.

A 15-year-old girl was struck multiple times. Grant says she is at the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Grant says the department is investigating to see if the intended victim may have been someone traveling with the teenager who was shot.

Courtesy photo / American Jazz Museum

On Central Standard, we asked our listeners to tell us about the people in their lives and communities who died in 2014. 

Here are a few of the personal stories we heard during our conversation about memory and meaning.

black sleigh
Ben Nuelle

Long before all-wheel drive and snow tires, sleighs were essential winter transportation.

Those that survive are now antiques.

Fifteen years ago, cattle farmer Bill Engel went to auction in northeast Iowa when he bought his first wooden sleigh. He noticed people purchased these historic vehicles to tear them apart.

“They were taking the runner parts and making them into coffee tables,” says Engel.

Courtesy photo / KCUR

Finn Bullers guides his $30,000 electric wheelchair by using the bright beam of a light lodged in its frame.

The 51-year-old has been battling Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy, since he was growing up in Iowa.

As a young boy, Bullers would stuff his clothes with pillows to defy his already atrophying body and spend hours on a frozen farm pond trying to skate like the other kids.

Judith E. Bell / Flickr-CC

The Kansas City Star has been targeted by a nationwide billing scam, according to Star editors.

The paper has been publishing a warning box in its print edition cautioning readers to disregard any renewal notices asking for money to be sent to Oregon or Nevada.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

We asked for haikus/ to sum up 2014/ Thanks, Kansas City.

That is our thank you poem to everyone who obliged us and answered this week’s Tell KCUR question: What are your most important memories of 2014 in haiku?

The three-line, five-seven-five-syllable formula proved most effective in conveying 2014, with muses ranging from sports, to engagements, to family and public tragedies — plus one of KCUR's transmission hiccups.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

When national news editors review the top stories of 2014, Ebola, Isis and the World Cup might top the list.

But when we talk to editors of some hyper-local Kansas City papers, very different stories emerge.

Joe Jarosz, managing editor, Northeast News:

Kansas City Museum / KCUR

For millions of children in the United States, the holidays mean a visit to Santa Claus. The ritual is alive and well in the Kansas City area, but many families have another holiday icon, one specific to the region: The Fairy Princess.

The Fairy Princess is as much a part of the Kansas City holiday tradition as the Plaza lights, and has endured for more than eighty years.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

About 2 million people live in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The region is almost equally divided by the Kansas-Missouri state line geographically (land that is considered the metro) and by population. But that line doesn’t keep us from moving around a bit.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

The Kansas City metropolitan area is almost equally divided geographically and population-wise between two states —Missouri and Kansas.

But how does this state-divide define us as individuals within the community?

Christina Lieffring / KCUR

You’re driving uphill along winding roads in Wyandotte County, Kan.

You turn the corner and see a high chain-link fence surrounding a foreboding house out of a ghost story: it’s a three-story, red-brick, Victorian home with a high tower at the top and carved lions framing the doorway. That's Sauer Castle.

As a child, Patricia Schurkamp of the Wyandotte County Museum would regularly go up the hill to see the house. As an adult, she finally got to see the inside.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

The FBI is investigating the murder of a 22-year-old black man who may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation.

Dionte Greene, who identified as gay, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th and Bellefontaine in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.

Courtesy photo / KCUR

The past year was an eventful one in the Kansas City area, marked by big moments in sports, politics and high-profile tragedies.

We want to know what memories you think of when you ponder 2014.

But this week's Tell KCUR question isn't that simple. We want you to use a little poetry, too.

Tell KCUR:  What are your most important memories of 2014 in haiku?

To put it another way, "KC, what’s your fave/ 2014 memory/Haikus only please."

KMBC

At a Kansas City Police Department community listening session Saturday, Chief Darryl Forté said it’s “highly likely” that officers will wear body cameras soon.

Forté has called together a community work group to gather information on what camera services are best for the department, but said he doesn’t have a specific schedule at this time.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

In November, President Obama announced sweeping changes to immigration policy via executive action.

The action, which protects about 4.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States from deportation, has been met with controversy nationwide.

But Hispanic communities in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., say the measure is a step in the right direction.

Mingo Hagen / Flickr--CC

As podcasts pick up in popularity across the country, we wanted to see what Kansas Citians were choosing for their earbuds.

This week, we asked: What podcasts are you listening to? Why?

The question came as we prepared for our event, “Serial: The Listening Party,” set for Thursday night in Westport.  

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Lakeside Nature Center in Kansas City, Mo., is a place where people can get an up-close look at wild animals and plants that surround the area. It’s also one of the largest animal rehabilitation centers in Missouri.

Wild animals are brought in when they lose their habitat, are injured or abandoned. Humans are animal’s biggest threat, but the center is a place where humans are trying to help them out.

Pages