Kansas City Kansas

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Can data help Kansas City, Kansas, reverse decades of urban decay?

Mayor Mark Holland thinks so.

It’s economics 101, the mayor says: property values plummet when there are more houses than people. That’s what happened when white families started to leave Kansas City, Kansas, in the 1960s. 

“Thirty-thousand fewer people is about 10,000 empty homes,” Holland says, “which has become about 6,000 vacant lots.”

More minorities moved in but not fast enough to make up for the population loss. Today, fewer than 150,000 people live in Kansas City, Kansas.

Courtesy photo - Creative Commons

If you're a Kansas City, Kansas resident, you may have noticed your trash got picked up late this week.

A spokesperson for Deffenbaugh Industries, Inc., which contracts for trash pick-up in the area, says the recent Memorial Day holiday and severe storms have caused delays in trash pick- up.

And Deffenbaugh spokesperson Lisa Disbrow says it may happen again.

"We are working to get back on track but there may still be some delays this week," she says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

William Conway. Charles Luken. Frank Rohrback. Maurice Bedell. Wesley Walden. Thomas Medina. James Reynolds.

“Those are the men, the deputies, who are carved in this monument,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 40 President David Toland said Wednesday at the dedication ceremony for a memorial honoring fallen Wyandotte County sheriff deputies. “I hope these are the last.”

An emotional Rick Whitby, president emeritus of FOP Lodge 40, shared personal stories about two of the fallen deputies.

Whitby said he was the last to talk to Reynolds before he died in 1984.

overlandpark.com

To celebrate or not to celebrate is not the question this weekend. Only how.

Answers include a Memorial Day weekend party hosted by the Kansas City Symphony, a sprawling American roots music jamboree and a sentimental arena rock concert that might have fans “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” anyone who’s handy – which is always one way to make a new friend.

Let the celebrations begin!  

1. Celebration at the Station

Courtesy Dawayne Gilley

The Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival has had a hard life. In fact, fans of the scrappy two-day concert featuring all-local musicians probably thought it was dead, since it hasn't graced the corner of 13th and State with baleful riffs and barbecue smoke since 2009.

But like the characters in its performers' songs, it's found a way to survive. After seven years of silence, festival founder Dawayne Gilley says he's bringing it back this summer.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is moving to the Kansas Speedway.

The annual barbecue contest was held last year at the Truman Sports Complex after it outgrew the West Bottoms, its home for 36 years.

Carolyn Wells with the Kansas City Barbecue Society says having enough space to accommodate everyone is the most important consideration.

“Accommodate them, and accommodate them well. Barbecue teams need electricity, they need water, and they need real estate,” Wells says.

She survived a person's worst nightmare. KCUR's investigative team brings us the story of how one woman’s vicious attacker was finally found after 17 years, and of the mistake that left the case open for so long.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Wyandotte County prosecutors filed charges Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of Kansas City, Kansas Det. Brad Lancaster.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman charged Curtis Ayers of Tonganoxie, Kansas with capital murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and burglary, two counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm.

At a press conference, Gorman said Ayers' bond was set at $10 million. He also said the case could be prolonged if Ayers fights extradition from Jackson County back to Wyandotte County.

Illustration by Jacob Joslyn

Juliette was startled awake on August 17, 1999, and faced a woman’s worst nightmare: a man was in her bedroom, brandishing a large knife.

“He said, ‘Be quiet and I won’t hurt you,’” says Juliette (a pseudonym). “I thought that meant he was going to rape me and leave.”

Maria Carter / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil outside the Kansas City, Kansas City Hall to remember police detective Brad Lancaster, who was shot and killed as he pursued a suspect near the Kansas Speedway on Monday.

Mayor Pro Tem Hal Walker says he first met Lancaster just after he graduated from the police academy. “It was clear then as it was clear throughout his career what great potential, what great service he gave to his community,” says Walker.

thecollectivefunds.co

About a year ago, a group of Kansas City entrepreneurs noticed a troubling pattern — they were having the same conversations over and over again with their peers.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

A child care co-op. An eHarmony for high school mentors. An avatar that shows kids how the food they eat affects them.

On Friday, all of these were just ideas. By Sunday night, they’ll be reality.

Entrepreneurs from all over the region gathered this weekend to re-imagine the future of education by developing tools, apps, and educational resources — all in 54 hours.

courtesy of Heidi Holliday / Rosedale Development Association

A gas explosion Tuesday morning destroyed one of the buildings in the Rosedale Ridge housing complex, an affordable housing project which closed in 2015 due to poor conditions.

The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department reported heavy damage to the building, one of six in the complex. The building has been torn down.

In the 1950s, Delano Lewis was a student at segregated Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas. Since then, he's held top positions in the Peace Corps, served as president of NPR, was a board member at Apple and served as the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.  

Delano Lewis speaks about the power of education on his life tonight at 5 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation. To register to attend go to www.kauffman.org.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

In a much anticipated filing with the Kansas Supreme Court,  state Attorney General Derek Schmidt says problems with equity in school funding have been solved and there's no reason for the high court to consider shutting down public education on June 30.

“The Legislature’s good-faith, careful, reasoned and well-documented determination should be given substantial deference,” said Schmidt's 25-page brief filed late Friday afternoon.

What would you do with $50 million?

Kansas City Chief Innovation officer Bob Bennett would incorporate autonomous vehicles into public transportation, enable your car to connect with other vehicles, and create a “smart” Prospect bus line that’s Wi-Fi enabled and can sense what’s going on around it.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

July 2017 may seem like a long ways away, but when you’re planning to allow guns on college campuses, it might as well be just around the corner.

How Kansas colleges will comply with the law allowing guns on campus while maintaining security is complicated.

But it’s perhaps most complex at the KU Medical Center and the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas.

Since Kansas lawmakers passed a bill that would allow almost anyone to carry a concealed gun on college campuses, we've been hearing the arguments against it.

Fresh off his third State of the Government address, Mayor and CEO of Wyandotte County Mark Holland is thinking about health care, small businesses and the need for population growth.

For the last 25 years, Bob Marcusse has been at the helm of the Kansas City Area Development Council. We look back on his career and talk about how the city has become more marketable since he began his position.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in October 2015.   

Near a greasy spoon restaurant in the Quindaro neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, two young men were killed in a drive-by shooting on a sunny afternoon earlier this year. Two more killings after what had already been a violent stretch of months.

Pastor Sheldrick Walker was in his church a few miles away when he got the news from fellow pastor Adrion Roberson.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 100 people met at the Adrion Roberson Athletic Field off North 9th Street and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, for a community healing and prayer event Saturday.

The metro area has seen at least 16 children killed over the last year, many in drive-by shootings. Minister LaRon Thompson said it was simply time to speak out against the violence.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

When you get called down to the office in high school it is often for something unpleasant.

But for 575 Kansas City, Kansas School District students that surprise call might be exactly the boost they need to go to college. "It was like, surprising and really thrilling. Like, yes, wow, finally," says Wyandotte High School senior Katya Diaz right after she picked up her offer from Kansas City Kansas Community College Monday.

Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland is in the middle of a “listening tour” across Wyandotte County to find out how residents think the Unified Government should spend a $12 million-per-year windfall coming to the county. 

With the recent passing of Jesse Hope, the founder and curator of the Old Quindaro Museum and one of the historic township's most dedicated champions, questions arise about the future of the site and its legacy. 

Guest:

  • Laura Ziegler, community engagement reporter, KCUR
Wondaland Records

Kansas City, Kansas, native Janelle Monae on Thursday released a new single that's an anguished litany of black men and women who've been killed by police and other injustices.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A new emergency shelter for children in Wyandotte County opening up this summer got a little help from the community Saturday.

The proceeds from the "Luau with Love" at St. Patrick Catholic Church will help fund Robert's Place, a shelter where children in abusive homes can be taken after police have intervened.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A committee in the Kansas House has dismissed a complaint against a Democratic lawmaker who made controversial comments earlier this year.

During a committee hearing in March, Rep. Valdenia Winn, of Kansas City, Kansas, said that “racist bigots” were supporting a bill to take away college tuition breaks for students who are in the country illegally.

During the Friday hearing, Republican Rep. Mark Kahrs moved to dismiss the complaint against Winn and the committee agreed unanimously.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

If you ask almost anyone from the community of Argentine in Kansas City, Kansas what to see in their neighborhood, they’ll tell you to go see the mural.

The landmark that stretches across a block of Metropolitan Avenue is a point of pride for the residents — it’s only been tagged with graffiti twice since it was painted 17 years ago.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Health advocates are partnering with students and faculty at the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning to help Wyandotte County residents make their communities more conducive to healthy living.

The Community Health Council of Wyandotte County (CHC) is leading the effort with a four-year, $1.6 million grant from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program aimed at reducing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke in communities across the country.

Connecting for Good

Connecting for Good, a Kansas City-area non-profit that’s working to provide digital literacy and computer access across the metro, established a computer lab last year across from the Juniper Gardens Housing Project in Kansas City, Kansas. The organization recently added 25 computers, because the lab became so popular.

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