Dan Verbeck http://kcur.org en Kansas City Police Helicopter Unit Founder Takes Dream Flight http://kcur.org/post/kansas-city-police-helicopter-unit-founder-takes-dream-flight <p>Nearly 50 years ago, the bosses in the Kansas City Police Department were not too keen about a change in the way they were supposed to patrol the streets.</p><p>The first helicopters had just arrived, but they were practically unheard of in police work.</p><p>Only after the concept worked did it get almost universal approval. The man who prodded and promoted the idea watches from the distance now. But for a brief hour, the innovator went back to the heliport he started.</p><p><strong>A guy walks into the helicopter unit</strong></p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:51:00 +0000 Dan Verbeck 52613 at http://kcur.org Kansas City Police Helicopter Unit Founder Takes Dream Flight Federal Authorities Ask For Help In Protecting Consumers From Fraud http://kcur.org/post/federal-authorities-ask-help-protecting-consumers-fraud <p></p><p>In recognition of <a href="https://www.ncpw.gov/">National Consumer Protection Week</a>, postal inspectors and U.S. Attorneys from Western Missouri and Kansas are asking the public for help fighting sweepstakes scams. According to prosecutors Tammy Dickinson and Barry Grissom, most are operating from outside the United States.</p><p></p><p>Many of the lottery winning schemes mail impressive looking certificates. Tom Noyes of the postal inspection service in Kansas City says most gullible victims are elderly and will often send up front money to con artists.</p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 23:11:35 +0000 Dan Verbeck 52255 at http://kcur.org Federal Authorities Ask For Help In Protecting Consumers From Fraud Archeology Bolsters Background Of Historic Kansas City Homestead http://kcur.org/post/archeology-bolsters-background-historic-kansas-city-homestead <p>The name Wornall means a lot in Kansas City.&nbsp; It’s a road, a historic place and a large connection to the Battle of Westport in 1864.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>An archeology project, begun last year and now completed, aims to cement&nbsp;that piece of history for generations ahead.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Science and sweat</strong></p><p>In the front yard of the&nbsp; Greek Revival Style house, built more than 150 years ago by John Wornall,&nbsp;archeologist Doug Shaver was out in the sun&nbsp;shoveling dirt into a box with a screen on the bottom, sifting out anything that wasn’t dirt.</p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 17:56:29 +0000 Dan Verbeck 52232 at http://kcur.org Archeology Bolsters Background Of Historic Kansas City Homestead Missouri Audit Finds Hickman Mills Misspent Money http://kcur.org/post/missouri-audit-finds-hickman-mills-misspent-money <p>The Missouri Auditor’s office pledges to return to troubled Hickman Mills School District this year after a scathing performance <a href="http://www.auditor.mo.gov/News/vNews.aspx">audit released Tuesday night</a> that stops just short of claiming criminal conduct.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Most of 15 separate cases of errors listed in the 40-page document are termed poor business practices by deputy auditor Harry Otto. He includes overpayment of a former superintendent, untrained MAP test overseers and excessive paid trips out of town. </span></p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 15:31:49 +0000 Dan Verbeck 52168 at http://kcur.org Missouri Audit Finds Hickman Mills Misspent Money Scion Of Historic Kansas City Organized Crime Family Guilty Of Bank Theft http://kcur.org/post/scion-historic-kansas-city-organized-crime-family-guilty-bank-theft <p>The o<span style="line-height: 1.5;">wner of an ATM servicing company whose family directed the highest levels of organized crime in Kansas City &nbsp;has pleaded guilty to bank larceny and money laundering. &nbsp;</span></p><p>Prison time is expected for 46-year-old Anthony Civella, Jr. It&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">is is the first and only federal conviction for </span>Civella<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> whose father and grandfather served long sentences for a variety of offenses purportedly connected to mob activities. &nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 15:00:02 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51936 at http://kcur.org KCK Mayor's First State Of The Government Address http://kcur.org/post/kck-mayors-first-state-government-address <p>The Unified Government of Wyandotte&nbsp;County and Kansas City, Kan., County needs to lower its taxes and drop its mill levy. That was part of the message on Tuesday for <a href="http://www.wycokck.org/dept.aspx?id=1198&amp;menu_id=1094">Mark Holland</a> in his first term as chief executive of the Unified Government.</p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 13:11:01 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51794 at http://kcur.org KCK Mayor's First State Of The Government Address Critics Express Concern Over Potential KCI Changes http://kcur.org/post/critics-express-concern-over-potential-kci-changes <p></p><p>Mayoral investigators searching for best ways to improve Kansas City International Airport heard another barrage of public input Monday night.</p><p>Most of it was against radical change from multiple terminals. The most common sentiments were to update the existing structure.</p><p>Alan Norman said he finds the airport user-friendly but not perfect.</p><p>"There are some operating inefficiencies there and maintenance problems and security problems that are expensive," said Norman.</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 13:48:41 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51788 at http://kcur.org Critics Express Concern Over Potential KCI Changes Kansas City Regional Rail Outlook Brightens With Union Pacific Accord http://kcur.org/post/kansas-city-regional-rail-outlook-brightens-union-pacific-accord <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Prospects for a regional rail system east of Kansas City got brighter Monday. Jackson County now has an understanding with Union Pacific to buy three abandoned rail lines.</span></p><p></p><p>Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders has liked regional rail because it’s far cheaper than the light variety of rail transit. Tracks exist and rolling stock is plentiful.</p><p>The cost is $60 million.</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 13:38:58 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51773 at http://kcur.org Kansas City Regional Rail Outlook Brightens With Union Pacific Accord One Year Later, Still No Final Chapter In JJ's Blast http://kcur.org/post/one-year-later-still-no-final-chapter-jjs-blast <p>One year has passed since the explosion and fire at JJ's&nbsp;restaurant killed waitress Megan Cramer and injured 15 on the edge of Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.</p><p>Investigators have found fault in the blast, but legal action continues.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ten lawsuits are on file by people legally claiming damage in the natural gas explosion. Suits are not expected to go to trial for more than a year. </span></p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 13:52:23 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51496 at http://kcur.org One Year Later, Still No Final Chapter In JJ's Blast Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Cop In Killing Of Kansas City Firefighter http://kcur.org/post/grand-jury-refuses-indict-cop-killing-kansas-city-firefighter <p></p><p>A &nbsp;Jackson County grand jury has declined to file charges against a&nbsp; Kansas City, Mo., police officer in the 2013 shooting death of a firefighter.</p><p>The criminal case is closed in the Dec. 1, 2013,&nbsp;death of Anthony Bruno.</p><p>Bruno and the policeman struggled during a brawl leading to the shooting on a downtown street.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">There had been a dispute over cab fare outside Bruno’s wedding reception party. The pair fought and struggled on the pavement as the officer tried to arrest Bruno.</span></p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 23:04:59 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51303 at http://kcur.org ACLU Sues Missouri Over Same-Sex Marriage Ban http://kcur.org/post/aclu-sues-missouri-over-same-sex-marriage-ban <p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri&nbsp; has filed suit, trying to overturn the state’s refusal to accept same-sex marriage.</p><p>The suit is in the name of a Kansas City couple and seven others around the State.</p><p>The suit assumes public attitudes have changed since the Missouri Constitution was altered to ban same-gender marriage a decade ago. &nbsp;</p><p>Jim MacDonald and Andy Schuerman were legally married in Canada and are raising Schuerman’s &nbsp;biological 3-year old daughter, Grace.</p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 12:36:57 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51177 at http://kcur.org ACLU Sues Missouri Over Same-Sex Marriage Ban Former Grandview Mayor Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud http://kcur.org/post/former-grandview-mayor-pleads-guilty-wire-fraud <p></p><p style="margin-top:0in;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:.2in;margin-left:0in; line-height:15.75pt"><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; font-family: Georgia, serif;">The former mayor of Grandview, Mo., pleaded guilty to wire fraud at U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday.<o:p></o:p></span></p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 22:59:51 +0000 Dan Verbeck 51137 at http://kcur.org Former Grandview Mayor Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud MoDOT Prepares For The Next Winter Storm http://kcur.org/post/modot-prepares-next-winter-storm <p style="margin-left:.5in;">The state of Missouri is shipping fresh supplies to storage barns in Kansas City, but there is no guarantee there will be enough to last until spring.</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">A tractor trailer loaded with salt pulled into a Lee’s Summit storage dome Thursday within minutes of&nbsp;Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's arrival for a press conference.</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">The dome was last filled six weeks ago, but it was virtually empty after recent snowstorms.</p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 13:28:17 +0000 Dan Verbeck 50925 at http://kcur.org Kansas City Invention Makes Snow Removal Easier Across The Country http://kcur.org/post/kansas-city-invention-makes-snow-removal-easier-across-country <p>Kansas City area drivers may not love multi-inch snowfalls but since 2005 they have stood a better chance of getting through it. That was the first time something called a “tow-plow” showed up on highways and it was created in Kansas City as one-of-kind.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Since those days, its use has spread to other parts of the county.&nbsp;</span></p><p>The contraption is pulled behind a truck instead of pushed from the front.</p><p><strong>Efficiency of the 'tow-plow'</strong></p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:47:36 +0000 Dan Verbeck 50745 at http://kcur.org Kansas City Invention Makes Snow Removal Easier Across The Country State And City Officials Encourage Residents To Stay Home http://kcur.org/post/state-and-city-officials-encourage-residents-stay-home <p>The snow storm approaching the Kansas City metro area could deliver the deepest blanket of white this year.&nbsp; The storm is prompting <a href="http://kcur.org/post/modot-urges-people-stay-roads-and-highways-tuesday">calls for people to stay off the streets Tuesday</a>&nbsp;– when the heaviest snowfall is expected between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.&nbsp;</p><p>The prospect of further clogged highways and streets in and around Kansas City has brought pleas from both the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Transportation.</p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 00:16:23 +0000 Steve Bell & Dan Verbeck 50731 at http://kcur.org Federal Belt Tightening May Threaten Missouri Disaster Relief http://kcur.org/post/federal-belt-tightening-may-threaten-missouri-disaster-relief <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Kansas City won’t be getting the volume of federal funding it’s been accustomed to &nbsp;for preparation against terrorist attacks and natural disasters, said</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;Sen. Claire</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span>McCaskill<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, meeting with Kansas City reporters.</span></p><p></p><p>The Senator said the mood toward smaller government will work against paying for disaster aid the way it has been since Sept. 11.</p> Sat, 01 Feb 2014 19:26:18 +0000 Dan Verbeck 50603 at http://kcur.org Federal Belt Tightening May Threaten Missouri Disaster Relief Public Comments Heard On Changes To Kansas City Schools http://kcur.org/post/public-comments-heard-changes-kansas-city-schools <p></p><p>More than a dozen people, picked from among scores who wanted to speak, &nbsp;reacted with passion to proposed changes in Kansas City Public Schools Wednesday night.</p><p>Nearly all who spoke to a two- thirds filled Paseo Academy Auditorium wanted to keep local control of schools.</p><p></p><p>Public testimony taken by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was first in a series around the state.</p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 13:51:33 +0000 Dan Verbeck 50487 at http://kcur.org Public Comments Heard On Changes To Kansas City Schools Missouri Governor Brings School Funding Debate To Younger Audience http://kcur.org/post/missouri-governor-brings-school-funding-debate-younger-audience <p></p><p>Coming out of his State of the State call for more education spending, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon brought his case to Kansas City and a younger audience with a stake in the future.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>The forum was an assembly of some 700 Center High School students.</p><p>The Governor tried to break down staggering financials to something a less sophisticated economics mind would understand, telling students the system can open more than a local earnings’ future, to world-wide.</p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 14:07:20 +0000 Dan Verbeck 50364 at http://kcur.org Missouri Governor Brings School Funding Debate To Younger Audience Suspect In University Arsons Will Go To Prison http://kcur.org/post/suspect-university-arsons-will-go-prison <p>A man from Columbia, Mo., is going to federal prison for six and a half years for setting fires at University of Missouri’s main library and at Stephens College.</p><p>The penalty includes $600,000 in restitution.</p><p>At least seven fires were set in Ellis Library in September 2011. Computers and security cameras and windows were shattered with a pipe.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Damage and cleanup was worth roughly $1.5 million.</span></p><p>Christopher Curtis Kelley, 27, also damaged the repository of Missouri State Historical Society housed in the same building.</p> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 11:36:19 +0000 Dan Verbeck 50179 at http://kcur.org Bannister Rebirth By Cerner On 2.5 Year Schedule http://kcur.org/post/bannister-rebirth-cerner-25-year-schedule <p></p><p>Visible occupancy of the new Cerner office complex in southeast Kansas City&nbsp; will appear by late 2016.</p><p>The timetable was laid out by executives of the medical information giant, the Mayor and Missouri’s governor.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>The numbers include &nbsp;240 acres on site of the old Bannister Mall.</p><p>A $4.3 billion dollar development capable of eventually handling 15 ,000 new jobs.</p><p>Fifteen hundred jobs will be available early-on, according to Cerner&nbsp;president&nbsp;Zane Burke.</p> Sat, 18 Jan 2014 12:15:06 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49945 at http://kcur.org Bannister Rebirth By Cerner On 2.5 Year Schedule Kansas City Streetcar Expansion Will Likely Be Up To Voters http://kcur.org/post/kansas-city-streetcar-expansion-will-likely-be-voters <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">An ambitious expansion of the Kansas City streetcar system has gotten approval from a City Council Committee.</span></p><p>The plan is for a taxing district that covers a wide swath south of downtown.</p><p>A variety of possible extensions of the system branch east and south from the starter line.</p><p>Supporters are in a hurry to move the system past its current fledgling movement.</p><p>Council members were told the tax district would provide local funding as seed for federal grants, necessary for expansion.</p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 01:19:46 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49886 at http://kcur.org Kansas City Streetcar Expansion Will Likely Be Up To Voters Platte County Boutique Drug Death Sparks Call For Law Change http://kcur.org/post/platte-county-boutique-drug-death-sparks-call-law-change <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Platte County Sheriff, Prosecutor and Social Service Agencies hope a change in Missouri law will give teeth to fighting potentially deadly synthetic street drugs. &nbsp;</span></p><p>The recommendation comes after a charge was filed in connection with the death of a Northland teenager.</p><p>The manslaughter charge against 17-year-old Krista Meeks of Riverside contends she knew the synthetic LSD she allegedly sold a 15-year-old boy and a younger friend could kill and that other drugs like it had killed in the past.</p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 22:03:14 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49819 at http://kcur.org Platte County Boutique Drug Death Sparks Call For Law Change Airlines Lukewarm On New KCI Terminal Concept http://kcur.org/post/airlines-lukewarm-new-kci-terminal-concept <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Airlines that use </span>KCI<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> are not convinced a complete terminal replacement would help their business.</span></p><p>Airline officers took their turn appearing before the advisory group on the airport’s future.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The advisory group appointed by the Mayor is exploring whether to recommend a new terminal layout or renovate what’s there.</span></p><p>Southwest Airlines executive Ron Ricks spoke for all major carriers at the airport and said the current system operates well.</p> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 01:11:47 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49752 at http://kcur.org As KCI's Terminal A Closes Its Doors, Airport Future Still Uncertain http://kcur.org/post/kcis-terminal-closes-its-doors-airport-future-still-uncertain <p>Overnight Wednesday, movers hauled US Airways' remaining equipment out of KCI&nbsp;Terminal A to Terminal C, but the future of KCI&nbsp;remains undecided.</p><p>City officials say Terminal A won’t necessarily be demolished, but c<span style="line-height: 1.5;">losing little-used Terminal A saves about $2.5 million a year, says</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;Joe</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">McBride with city aviation.</span></p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 13:58:45 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49511 at http://kcur.org As KCI's Terminal A Closes Its Doors, Airport Future Still Uncertain Survey Finds Kansas Business Owners Feel Overtaxed http://kcur.org/post/survey-finds-kansas-business-owners-feel-overtaxed <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Kansas business lobby is armed with new data to convince this year’s legislature to press for lower taxes and other change.&nbsp;</span></p><p>The basis is a Kansas Chamber of Commerce commissioned survey of 300 company owners.</p><p>The December 2013 questionnaire found 57 percent of those surveyed thought they paid too much in taxes.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Thirty-six percent thought they paid about the right amount.&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:51:36 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49428 at http://kcur.org Majority Of Kansas City Water Pipes Withstand Sub-Zero Temps http://kcur.org/post/majority-kansas-city-water-pipes-withstand-sub-zero-temps <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Despite some of coldest weather in years, the Kansas City Water Services Department has not been inundated with service calls for frozen pipes or lines. Though, t</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">roubleshooters await a second full night of sub-zero temperatures.</span></p><p>Almost 100 calls have come from customers who say their water taps deliver nothing, but Jennifer Kincaid of the city’s Water Services wants people to stay aware the danger to pipes remains through Monday night. &nbsp;</p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 22:29:22 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49346 at http://kcur.org As Frigid Weather Rolls In, Service Agencies Reach Out http://kcur.org/post/frigid-weather-rolls-service-agencies-reach-out <p>In answer to the bitter cold, a Kansas City Salvation Army team that deals with the camp-living homeless will be out for the next three nights. The numbers served are small, but the services are life-saving.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On a Summer night, relief volunteers see about a hundred people in the makeshift camps. Numbers dwindle to 30 or 60 a night when the harshest winter hits. </span></p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:31:13 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49321 at http://kcur.org Metro Drivers In Kansas Claim Legal Exceptions To Texting Law http://kcur.org/post/metro-drivers-kansas-claim-legal-exceptions-texting-law <p></p><p>Police and highway patrol on the Kansas side of metro Kansas City are finding it hard to enforce laws against texting while driving. Loopholes allow it to go on, relatively unchecked as numbers bear out.</p><p>Kansas law is pretty clear, stating you can’t drive on road or highway “while using a wireless communications device to write, send or read a written communication.”</p> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 13:47:21 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49099 at http://kcur.org Findings Delayed In Probe Of Deadly JJ's Restaurant Explosion http://kcur.org/post/findings-delayed-probe-deadly-jjs-restaurant-explosion <p></p><p>A Missouri State agency has asked for more time to report findings on the deadly explosion at JJ’s Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">The findings are now expected nearly a year after the blast and fire.</span></p><p>A report had earlier been expected weeks ago.</p><p>A buildup of flammable natural gas exploded at the restaurant on the west side of the Country Club Plaza last Feb. 19.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">It killed one person, Megan Cramer, who worked at the restaurant.</span></p> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 14:09:55 +0000 Dan Verbeck 49053 at http://kcur.org Type A Flu Cases Rising In Kansas City http://kcur.org/post/type-flu-cases-rising-kansas-city <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Kansas City has seen a steady, week-by-week rise in the number of people reported suffering from influenza.</span></p><p>That is a significant increase, according to Jeff Hershberger of the health department, who said 264 cases, most of which were Type A, turned up the week of Dec. 15, 100 more than the week before and more than double from Dec. 1.</p><p></p><p>The most recent report includes 259 of Type A flu, two of Type B and three that are undefined.</p> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:27:25 +0000 Dan Verbeck 48912 at http://kcur.org Type A Flu Cases Rising In Kansas City