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Digital Ally

A Lenexa-based company that makes body cameras for law enforcement says sales “quadrupled” last year after unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Digital Ally is working with more than 1,000 agencies across the country, including Ferguson, says Heath Bideau, in charge of international sales and marketing for the company.

“I really don’t think anybody could have expected it to increase as quickly and dramatically as it did,” Bideau says.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Wednesday that it had renewed its navigator grants with two Kansas programs: Ascension Health and the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved (KAMU).

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Erica Anderson, a health promotion specialist for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, likes to tell a story about a woman who came to one of her workshops eager to talk about electronic cigarettes.

The woman, who was pregnant, said she was in a restaurant when a man at the table next to her started puffing on an e-cigarette, which delivers nicotine to users in a vapor. As the white cloud of vapor wafted over to her, she got up and asked the restaurant owner to tell the man to stop.

Joe Ledford / POOL/Kansas City Star

A judge told convicted Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. Thursday he could not call two defense attorneys as witnesses during the penalty phase of his trial.

Cross, who is representing himself, is trying to convince the jury he deserves life in prison for the murders of Reat Underwood, William Corporon and Terri LaManno in April 2014. Cross had asked Ron Wurtz and Val Wachtel, two Kansas attorneys with experience litigating death penalty cases, to testify on his behalf.

An advisory committee charged with helping state officials design a system for regulating the use of prescription mental health drugs for Medicaid patients met for the first time Tuesday.

“This is going to be an evolving process,” said Dr. Vishal Adma, a committee member and president of the Kansas Psychiatric Society.

KHI News Service photo

A federal rule buried in a host of other proposed Medicare and Medicaid changes has nursing home administrators in Kansas — and other states — shaking their heads.

brent flanders / Flickr-CC

The looming wonders of weekend diversions can lure this enthusiastic messenger away from mere explication to attempt airy and alliterative turns of phrase in pursuit of apprising the public as appealingly as possible.

In other words: I can get carried away with this stuff, especially when it comes to a three-day weekend. But exaggerate? That’s never the plan.

Take this weekend’s arguably provocative promise of “wet and wild” things to do – really? Without a doubt. Pretty much. Mostly. Oh, well, let’s give it a whirl.

1. Kansas City Irish Fest

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

This past weekend, the KC Zine Collective hosted the first-ever KC Zine Conference at the Uptown Theater. It was lively and well-attended — a colorful scene, adorned with twinkle lights, banners and, of course, the vibrant zines themselves, exhibited by up to 90 local and regional artists.

Courtesy Wabaunsee County Historical Society

It's a familiar sight around rural Kansas: Some old, falling-down building, obviously abandoned long ago.

One of those buildings was in Volland, which can’t be even be considered a town — it's just four houses (three of which are empty), a boarded-up white building and an old brick store about an hour and a half west of Kansas City, just beyond the town of Alma (population 800).

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The counties and the towns across the Missouri River from what we know as Kansas City-proper have had an identity of their own for a long time. And you don't have to live here long to figure that out.

Scratch the surface of an old-timer up here and you might find some of the Old West.

Funding For Kansas Court System Threatened

14 hours ago

Funding for the entire Kansas judicial system is now in legal limbo. A Shawnee County judge has struck down a law that changes the way chief judges are selected. But that law was tied to other legislation that said all funding for the judicial branch of government would be stripped away if the first law was struck down.

A Kansas City council committee advanced a rare redevelopment plan Wednesday: one that would renovate 304 apartments in the urban core. 

The issue is blight, one all too common in Kansas City's 3rd District.

Green Village Apartments along Topping between 17th and 23rd Streets were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

The 304-unit complex was kept nearly full for more than 20 years, but now 70 percent of the apartments are vacant.

Roxsen Koch of the Polsinelli law firm spoke on behalf of the developer who wants to renovate the 1-4 bedroom apartments. 

City of Kansas City, Missouri

This week's promise that the first of Kansas City's four streetcars will be delivered by Oct. 29 improved the chances of having the starter line open as hoped for Big-12 Tournament crowds in March.

A delivery date moved back from June to December would have made a March start virtually impossible.

City Manager Troy Sculte, streetcar project director Ralph Davis and Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend all vowed Thursday to do their best to meet the March start goal.  And all believed it is possible if everything goes right. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance this summer that would've raised the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020. But competing petitions and state laws have complicated the issue, and threatened the raise for Kansas City workers. 

'A glorious day for workers'

Activists and low-wage workers with activist group Stand Up KC protested for higher wages for years before the council's vote. For Subway worker Dana Whitman, who has struggled to pay rent on the wages she earns, that day earlier this summer was a day of joy and relief. 

courtesy Grand Arts

After a 20-year run in the Crossroads Arts District, this First Friday will be the last for Grand Arts. The closing reception for the exhibition "Universe of Collisions," by The Propeller Group, a collective based in Vietnam and California, marks the end of the non-profit arts residency venue.

Founder Margaret Silva announced plans last year to donate the Grand Arts building, a former auto shop at 1819 Grand Boulevard, to the Kansas City Art Institute for its graduate program.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

West Terrace Park sits on the edge of a bluff on the west end of Kansas City's Quality Hill neighborhood.

It offers a scenic overlook of the West Bottoms, the Kaw and Missouri rivers, and downtown Kansas City, Kansas. 

In the 1960s, parts of the park — including a road, a grotto, and a staircase, were demolished for the Interstate 35 extension. Over time, the history and grandeur of what was left of the park was covered by mud, graffiti, trash and invasive bush honeysuckle. 

But Kansas Citian Sean Owens, who has admired the park since he was a kid, wants to uncover, cleanup and restore this park to its original beauty.

Tax collections in Kansas were $30 million below estimates for the month of August. The state’s tax revenues were hurt by large tax refunds given to companies as part of economic development programs. Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan says there were bright spots in other areas of the tax numbers and the report would have looked significantly better without the large refunds.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Jeff Siegfried knows just about anything you’d ever want to find out about a 50-acre corn field in northern Colorado.

The 24-year-old easily rattles off the various gadgets he uses to measure soil moisture, plant health, air temperature.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Adding extra preparations following the disastrous bird flu outbreak this year, federal authorities have tapped Kansas State University to share its course on responding to agricultural emergencies.

K-State's National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, or NABC, is helping the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide training to first responders, according to a release from K-State.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

A national expert on the federal government’s plan for reforming its support for child care says Kansas has a lot to be concerned about.

“When you look at Kansas, you see that you’ve lost lots of children who were receiving child care assistance and that you’re paying very low rates to child care providers who serve families getting assistance,” said Helen Blank, director of child care and early learning at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. “You don’t want that, and you don’t want that to be cut any further.”

Convicted Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. is expected to present evidence all week that he says will explain his actions on April 13, 2014.

The same Johnson County jury that found Cross guilty of capital murder in the deaths of William Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno on Monday will consider whether Cross should get the death penalty or life in prison.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

On a recent summer morning, a dozen would-be teachers gathered outside Kansas City's Juvenile Justice Center, preparing to go inside. 

"This is a lockdown facility," cautioned Uzziel Pecina, the professor leading what was a rather unusual field trip. "Are there any questions before we enter?" 

Pecina teaches what he calls a "summer community immersion" course at University of Missouri-Kansas City's Institute for Urban Education. 

Saint Luke's Health System

The families of five patients who died under mysterious circumstances in 2002 at a Chillicothe, Missouri, hospital and whose wrongful death lawsuits were blocked by the Missouri Supreme Court are trying a different legal tack.

They’re asking the high court to allow them to amend the lawsuits so they can sue the hospital and Saint Luke’s Health System, which now runs it, for fraud.

This week, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office will take comments on a plan to cancel incomplete voter registrations after 90 days. There’s a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday in Topeka.

Courtesy of Victor & Penny

Victor & Penny and their Loose Change Orchestra
"Live at the Living Room Theatre"

Many a young band could learn a thing or two about rocking from the uke, acoustic guitar, clarinet and bass combo featured on this live set.

Allison Long / POOL/Kansas City Star

Updated: 4:17 p.m.  

A Johnson County jury has found Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. guilty of all charges in the shooting deaths of three people at Overland Park Jewish sites.

Cross was charged with a single count of capital murder, three counts of first degree attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of criminal discharge of a firearm at a building.

After hearing the first verdict, Cross said, "I think the fat lady just sang," and then yelled, "Sieg heil!"

Original story begins here:

courtesy of A to Z Theatrical Supply and Service

After five decades in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, A to Z Theatrical Supply and Service has moved to a long-vacant building in east Brookside. 

Bill Brownlee / Plastic Sax

For decades, Kansas City's jazz community has celebrated Charlie Parker's birthday with a musical tribute at his grave site in Lincoln Cemetery.  In recent years that's taken the form of a "21 Sax Salute" — only with a lot of instruments besides saxophones, and a lot more than 21.

Susie Fagan / Heartland Health Monitor

Editor's note: This story was updated on Sept. 1 to include the response of the CEO of Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

A former emergency room nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital has filed a federal “whistleblower” lawsuit alleging that the hospital falsified patient records to obtain higher Medicare and Medicaid payments.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. on behalf of Megen Duffy alleges that top hospital officials knew about the fraud, which began in 2007, and threatened to fire employees who objected.

Amy Mayer

Farmers and agriculture officials are gearing up for another round of bird flu this fall, an outbreak they fear could be worse than the devastating spring crisis that hit egg layers and turkeys in the Midwest, wiped out entire farms and sent egg prices sky-high.

The potential target of the highly pathogenic avian flu this fall could be broilers, or meat chickens, as the outbreaks have been triggered and carried by wild birds, which will be flying south in great numbers this fall through several U.S. flyways.

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