Courtesy Johnson County Library

How Johnson County Librarians Grow Young Poets

Johnson County might not have a reputation as a hot spot for cultivating young poets. But that’s exactly what’s been happening for more than a decade now, thanks to some librarians. Earlier this month, the Johnson County Library published the latest edition of Elementia, a gorgeous glossy magazine with original artwork and poetry by nearly 60 middle and high school students.
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Central Standard

Shrinking Middle Class Paints Difficult Picture For Kansas City, Nation

Can you make $300,000 a year and still be middle class? What about $25,000? What income range is middle in Kansas City, specifically?

Elle Moxley / KCUR

As Doctors Learn More About Brain Injuries, New Concussion Recommendations Needed

Dr. Joseph Waeckerle says he's always been interested in sports medicine because athletes are usually highly motivated to get better and get back on the field. Put simply, they're better patients. But now doctors know more about concussions than they did when Waeckerle, a longtime Kansas City physician, studied sports medicine in the 1970s.
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Courtesy / KCU

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) said Friday that it plans to open a campus in Joplin, Mo., with the capacity to graduate 150 doctors a year.

The development comes through a collaboration between KCU, located at 1750 Independence Ave., Mercy Hospital Joplin, Freeman Health System, the city of Joplin and philanthropic leadership from Joplin area, according to a news release.

Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff's Office

Update, 5:35 p.m.:

Attorneys representing the man accused of killing three people outside two Overland Park, Kansas, Jewish sites last year told a Johnson County judge Friday they'll need more than 150 days to prepare his defense.

But Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. disagreed, arguing he'd stand trial in 30 days if Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan would allow it.

"I asked about a speedy trial months ago," Cross complained to Ryan.

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

A former child protection supervisor with the Kansas Department for Children and Families office in Winfield has filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit, accusing the agency of firing her for calling her supervisor’s attention to false reports filed by a social worker.

In the lawsuit, filed in early December in Cowley County District Court, Karen King asks that she be reinstated with back pay.

King’s attorney, Orvel Mason, declined to comment on the case.

“What’s in the petition is pretty much what we’d have to say,” he said. “We’ll leave it at that.”

For the past month, Kansas Rep. John Wilson has told everyone who will listen that his medical marijuana bill is different.

Wilson, a Democrat from Lawrence, proposed a bill to allow low-THC cannabis oil to be used specifically to treat seizure disorders. He was inspired to do so by parents in his district who moved to Colorado to access the treatment for their young son.

Courtesy Photo / Paula Rose

Gender representation at Wikipedia is well-documented. Studies conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation (which serves as Wikipedia’s support structure) conclude that less than 15 percent of the popular online encyclopedia’s contributors are female.

According to Siko Bouterse, director of community resources at the Wikimedia Foundation, diversity among editors is vitally important to Wikipedia’s vision.

“Our vision for Wikipedia is ‘the sum of all human knowledge,’” she says. “We need everyone to contribute to that. The encyclopedia is incomplete without that.”

The lack of female editors has significant repercussions on the encyclopedia’s content. Pages on women’s health, women’s issues, and famous women artists tend to be mere paragraphs long, or as Wikipedians say, “stubs,” if they even exist at all.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas City, Missouri's newly approved budget for the coming year still calls for fewer people and no raises.  But last minute revisions eased some of the cuts in the original version.

The $1.5 billion spending plan the city council approved still pumps $80 million into long neglected pension funds and honors a fire department call for $10.5 million more to cover overtime and operating expenses. 

But improved collections for ambulance services inspired number crunchers to restore a portion of cuts planned in three notable areas.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As curator of The Fishtank, an evolving performance space in the Crossroads Arts District, Heidi Van has helped ignite a growing interest in experimental theater. She's produced shows in the building's front windows with the audience in the street, performed a play in a lingerie shop around the corner, and tweaked the art of clowning.

In this month's installment of Director's Cuts, Heidi Van talks about how her avant-garde sensibility might influence her first directing job at The Coterie: a production of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat

Sony Pictures Classics

In contemporary movies where characters are motivated by revenge, they're usually armed with guns and bullets — and there will be blood. But director Damian Szifron's Wild Tales has a different type of arsenal.

By compressing six short films into a two-hour triumph, Szifron turns revenge into an urge that can be as hilarious as it is sinister. This Academy Award nominee from Argentina lost the Best Foreign Language Oscar to Poland's Ida, a film whose calm, contemplative nature couldn't be more different from Wild Tales' brash and buoyant effervescence.

St. Joseph School District

The embattled St. Joseph Board of Education Thursday night appears to have put one of its many legal problems behind it.

The board voted 5-0 to settle a lawsuit filed by CFO Beau Musser after he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct.

"We are relieved that we are at this point," said board member Chris Danford.

The amount of the settlement was not released. But it appears there are still a few details to work out.

Musser was one of the whistle-blowers on $270,000 in stipends secretly given to 54 top administrations last spring by former superintendent Fred Czerwonka.

According to his lawsuit, Musser was worried that the board was kept in the dark about the stipends and concerned it may violate Missouri law.

When he brought those concerns to Czerwonka and HR director Doug Flowers he was accused of misconduct. According to the lawsuit, Czerwonka and Flowers offered to buy out Musser's contract in return for his silence on the stipends.

Charvex / Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Rashaan Gilmore is a Kansas City native with a lot to say about our city's unspoken code for polite conduct. During a January conversation about race in Kansas City's LGBTQ community, he said, "We don't like to talk about things that are uncomfortable, we don't like to talk about things that are difficult. We're Kansas City Nice."

We invited Gilmore and some fellow panelists back to to Central Standard to unpack that phrase.

Here's Gilmore's definition of Kansas City Nice:

A uniquely Kansas City behavior that gives the appearance of kindness, helpfulness or interest but which belies a true attitude or feeling of envy, anger, disinterest or apathy.

And here is his list of 9 key characteristics that he thinks should tip us off when this particular form of politeness is in full effect.

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Remembering Kansas City's Steve Metzler

This week, Kansas City lost philanthropist, community leader, and arts enthusiast Steve Metzler. We remember his life and legacy and shared with those whose lives he touched.