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Government
2:45 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

ACLU Broadens Suit Over Kansas Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

A couple holds their marriage license in Iowa, a state where same-sex couples can go to get legally married.
Credit Alan C. / Creative Commons-Flickr

 

The American Civil Liberties Union has broadened its lawsuit over Kansas’ ban on same-sex marriage, seeking to enforce inheritance, driver's license and health insurance rights on behalf of same-sex couples.

The original lawsuit was filed in October by two lesbian couples and sought a ruling that Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. The amended complaint seeks to require state officials to recognize the marriages of couples who were wed in other states as well as in Kansas.  

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:30 am
Wed November 26, 2014

KU Medical Center Group Recruits Rural Teens For Health Jobs

Traci Olberding, a University of Kansas pharmacy student from Atchison, speaks to a group of northeast Kansas high school students.
Credit Andy Marso / KHI News Service

 

 

In the last two years Seth Nutt has traveled to nearly every corner of Kansas, introducing rural students to health care professionals.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:21 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Kansas City Unveils Plan For Downtown Bike Lanes

Kansas City, Mo., unveiled plans to add a mile-and-a-half of biking lanes downtown.
Credit BikeWalkKC

 

Bike commuters and enthusiasts may soon have more options for safely trekking through downtown Kansas City, Mo.

The Public Works Department disclosed plans Tuesday for redesigning traffic flow and creating bike lanes on a mile-and-a-half stretch of Grand Avenue between the Crossroads and the River Market.

“It’s an opportunity to take Grand from a traditional 1960’s six-lane arterial into a more walkable, livable three-lane street with bike lanes and better pedestrian accommodations,” said Wes Minder, manager of capital planning for the city.

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Government
6:03 am
Wed November 26, 2014

American Royal Withdraws Kemper Arena Replacement Proposal

The fate of Kansas City's Kemper Arena is perhaps in more doubt than ever after the American Royal Association board of directors withdrew its proposal that the arena be torn down and replaced with a smaller one.

Kansas City, Mo., city council committee chair Ed Ford received a letter from the Royal's attorneys Monday indicating that the association was scrapping its proposal and had no desire to engage in future discussions with the city.  The reason cited was "negative dialogue ... detrimental to the American Royal and its core mission."

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Community
6:01 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Kansas City Response to Ferguson Orderly, Thoughtful

Civil rights activists marched in support of family and friends of Ferguson teen Michael Brown in Kansas City.
Credit Julia Davis / KCUR

From the Country Club Plaza to the federal courthouse to a church at 46th and Benton Boulevard, activists in Kansas City, Mo., protested passionately, but generally with civility Tuesday in the wake of the controversial decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.

Four people were arrested for blocking traffic and one for assaulting a Kansas City police officer's horse, according to Kansas City Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp.  Otherwise, peaceful marches took place around Westport and the Plaza.  

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Harvest Public Media
6:00 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Turkey Economics, Plus Fun Facts And A Recipe On The Side

According to farmer Ann Knowles, turkeys can change the color of their waddles at a moments notice, flushing from pale pink to candy-apple red.
Credit Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

Farmers raised fewer turkeys this year than they have in the past three decades - about 235 million gobblers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ann Knowles raised 70 broad breasted bronze and white turkeys on her small farm in western Illinois.

She coops up the plump birds at night to guard against predators, but lets them roam freely during the day.

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Beyond Our Borders
5:57 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Look What Happens When Kansas, Missouri Test Scores Are On A Level Playing Field

Missouri and Kansas fourth-grade math scores compared using the state standards (top), and the international benchmarking.
Credit American Institutes for Research -- highlighting KCUR

For years, states have decided the definition of reading and math proficiency with their own sets of standards.

The result? Kansas children often seem to come out ahead of Missouri children in math and reading, when comparing the states' data.

But when this data is normalized across all 50 states, there's a different story.

RELATED: What You Probably Didn't Know About Academic Standards In Kansas And Missouri

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Beyond Our Borders
5:19 am
Wed November 26, 2014

What You Probably Didn't Know About Academic Standards In Kansas And Missouri

When test scores for students in Missouri and Kansas are compared using international benchmarking, Missouri students perform better.
Credit gvarc.org / Creative Commons

It’s not really fair, but when many people around here think of quality schools, they think of Kansas.

Indeed, going back decades lots of real estate agents have guided new residents to the Kansas side of the line.

But there’s a significant difference between how Missouri schools and Kansas schools are judged.

"Our Missouri standards tend to rank at the more rigorous levels than do our standards assessments in Kansas," says Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight of the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:51 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

KCK Home Health Provider Convicted Of Medicaid Fraud

A Kansas City, Kan., home health attendant has been convicted in a federal case based on fraudulent Medicaid billing practices.

Doris Betts, 55, pleaded guilty to health care fraud in federal court. Her conviction was announced Tuesday by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose office is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to investigate home health care fraud in Kansas.

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Government
2:44 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages In Missouri Remain On Hold After Judge’s Order

A federal judge in Missouri has declined to lift the hold on his judgment striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:34 am
Tue November 25, 2014

State Releases Plan To Keep Medicare Reimbursements At Osawatomie Hospital

The corrective plan for the Osawatomie hospital includes regular "fire watch" room checks when the facility is over its legislature-approved capacity.
Credit File photo

State officials have a three-pronged plan to ensure Osawatomie State Hospital maintains its Medicare reimbursements after a federal agency announced last week they are in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, mental health advocates say the situation at that hospital underscores the need for legislators who hold the state's purse strings to allow the executive branch to follow through on reforms that are still in their early stages.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:04 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Kansas Safety Net Clinics Seek New Sites

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is seeking a $650,000 grant to expand.
Credit File photo

 

Even with the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans still lack health insurance.

For them, safety net clinics are a lifeline. These clinics provide primary care for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

Today, there are federally funded clinics in 21 Kansas counties, but there soon could be more.

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Ferguson
8:47 am
Tue November 25, 2014

In Statement On Ferguson, Kansas City Mayor Says 'We All Feel Pain'

Mayor Sly James released a statement after a grand jury announced no charges would be brough against the police officer involved in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
Credit Courtesy / Facebook

Kansas City Mayor Sly James released a statement on Facebook Monday night after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.

"Many people are in pain this evening because of this decision," he wrote. "I encourage our community to take to prayer, reflection, and even peaceful protest."

James' statement went viral overnight — reaching more than 6,000 likes and 1,200 shares.

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Government
8:21 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Kansas Government Won't Rule Out Tax Increase To Fix Budget

Gov. Sam Brownback is staying tight-lipped about his plans to fix a hole in the state budget. But he says he's looking at all the options. 

Following a meeting at the Statehouse, Brownback gave few details to the media about what he'll propose. He says all options are on the table, including tax increases or slowing future scheduled decreases.

Brownback also won't say whether he'll make budget cuts, known as allotments before lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January. Right now, he says he's conferring with state agencies and studying the numbers.

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Heartland Health Monitor
6:00 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Much Smoother ACA Enrollment Period, Says Health Exchange Worker

Samuel U Rodgers marketplace counselor Joe Torres says this year's ACA open enrollment is going much better than last year's.
Alex Smith KCUR

Only six people were able to sign up for private health insurance plans on the first day of open enrollment last year, due to widespread computer problems with the online insurance marketplaces. So enrollment helpers breathed a big sigh of relief earlier this month when the second round of enrollment launched with few glitches.

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Arts & Culture
5:45 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Photographs Play Music, Thanks To 'Augmented Reality' At Thornhill Gallery

J. Anthony Snorgrass, professor of advertising, branding and strategic media at Avila University's School of Visual and Communication Arts
Credit C.J. Janovy / KCUR

A word of advice to everyone who ventures into the new photography exhibition at Avila University’s Thornhill Gallery: Charge your devices. Also, you’ll need to download an app called Layar

Experiencing “augmented reality,” it turns out, requires a bit of pre-planning.

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Ferguson
5:23 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

LIVE UPDATES: Ferguson, Nation Reacts To Grand Jury Decision

A stream of protests followed the deadly shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed teenager, by officer Darren Wilson in August.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

This is where you can find the latest updates on the Ferguson grand jury decision from our colleagues over at St. Louis Public Radio.

Below is a mix of their reporting and reliable community sources on developments related to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 9.

Authorities will revel whether or not a grand jury has decided to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on charges tonight at 8 p.m.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:46 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Kansas Effort To Tighten Regulation Of Mental Health Drugs Raises Concerns

Kansas law currently bars state officials from placing restrictions on mental health drugs prescribed to Medicaid recipients. A legislative committee recommended repealing that law last week, saying the state needs to step in to prevent inappropriate use of such drugs.
Credit Rex Roof / Creative Commons-Flickr

 

A legislative committee’s recommendation could reignite a debate over whether the state should have the power to regulate Medicaid reimbursements for mental health medications, as it does for other types of drugs.

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Government
2:31 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Gay Marriage Remains Up In The Air in Missouri

Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, talks to reporters after oral arguments in Jackson County Court on September 25. With him is one of the couples who brought the lawsuit, Randy Short (left), and his partner Eric Goodman-Short.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Gay marriage in Missouri is moving in fits and starts, allowed in just three areas and refused in others.

Attorney General Chris Koster has yet to appeal the federal court decision striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Koster has said he plans to appeal but has yet to do so. He has until Dec. 10.

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:28 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Kansas House Delegation Supports EPA Restrictions

       

Three measures seeking to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week along largely partisan lines, with all of the Republicans in the Missouri and Kansas delegations voting in favor of the bills and the two Missouri Democrats voting against them.

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Harvest Public Media
10:20 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Women Have Always Been Farmers, Now They’re Being Counted

The co-owner of a dairy near Fort Morgan, Colo., Mary Kraft says the skills needed to be a successful farmer have changed in recent years.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

When farmer Sondra Pierce had her first child, she decided to forgo daycare.

“Soon as I had my son, because I had my son very early, I would put his car seat in the tractor and he would ride with me,” Pierce says.

During harvest on her sugar beet farm in rural Boulder County, Colo., she’d buckle him up in the seat right next to her.

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Community
10:00 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Additional Murder Charges Filed In South Kansas City Shooting Spree

A man accused of killing five people in a south Kansas City, Mo., crime spree in early September now faces two additional charges of first degree murder.

Brandon Howell, 34, already faced three counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of 63-year-old Darryl Hurst, 88-year-old Lorene Hurst and 69-year-old Susan Choucroun.

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Education
7:50 am
Mon November 24, 2014

How The Common Core Is Changing Math Instruction For Elementary Students

Fourth-grade teacher Emily Callahan at Ravenwood Elementary School in North Kansas City, Mo., talks to her students about the different strategies they could use to solve a math problem.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen parents complaining that the Common Core has ruined math for their kids.

They’ll share comedian Louis CK’s bit about the incompressible homework his kids are bringing home.

“‘Bill has three goldfish. He buys two more. How many dogs live in London?,’” he tells David Letterman. “Or something like that.”

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Education
5:32 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Legal Troubles Mount For St. Joseph School District

Legal troubles piled up for the St. Joesph, Mo., school districts this week as their insurer moved to be dismissed of liability in a pending lawsuit.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

It was a brutal legal week for the embattled St. Joseph, Mo., School District.

It was served with a third federal grand jury subpoena for documents, as staff welcomed back CFO Beau Musser after seven months on paid administrative leave after accusing him of sexual misconduct.

An outside investigation showed Musser did not act improperly. Musser sued the district and that lawsuit is still pending.

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Agriculture
4:45 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Ag Industry Calls For More Immigration Reform

Specialty crop farms, like orchards, rely heavily on migrant labor to hand pick fruit.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

In the debate over immigration reform, farm and ranch groups have been among those calling for change the loudest, and most frequently. But after President Obama announced changes to the immigration system, the response from the agriculture industry so far has been mixed.

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Central Standard
4:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City's Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance Is One Of A Kind

Kansas City's Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance is a time-honored tradition.
Credit Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance Facebook Page

On Thanksgiving morning, when people all over the nation express their gratitude by sleeping in or toiling away in the kitchen, several hundred Kansas Citians step out in their finest attire to head to a giant party — with live music, dancing, and heaping helpings of Louisiana gumbo.

For breakfast.

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Beyond Our Borders
2:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City, Missouri, Companies Score Higher On LGBT Friendliness Than Kansas

For the most part, companies based in Kansas City, Mo., scored high on the Human Rights Campaign's latest study on LGBT friendliness in businesses.
Credit Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A new report ranking Kansas City-area companies on LGBT equality essentially gave the Missouri side a B — and Kansas a C. 

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Arts & Culture
1:18 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City Artist Uses Bread As A Means Of Social Change

In one of his community projects, Fresh Bread, Sean Starowitz set up shop in vacant lots and sold bread, priced for the neighborhood.
Credit Sean Starowitz / Courtesy photo

Bread can serve as an important connector between people.

It can fuel discussions, break through social barriers and institute change. 

A 2014 Charlotte Street Foundation award winner, Sean Starowitz is an artist whose work is hard to place on the walls of galleries. As the artist-in-residence at Farm to Market Bread Co., his projects often focus on bread and community. 

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Ferguson
12:39 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Eric Holder Urges Peace As Ferguson Grand Jury Prepares Indictment Decision

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a video urging peace leading up to a Ferguson grand jury decision about whether to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown.
Credit United States Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder asked police across the nation to prepare appropriately Friday for demonstrations tied to Ferguson, Mo. 

The warning comes as the public expects a grand jury decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

In a video post by the Justice Department, Holder said that protests are most effective when they're nonviolent.

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Arts & Culture
12:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Gospel Singer Ah'Lee Robinson Sings Out

Ah'Lee Robinson rehearses an a cappella version of 'Give me Jesus.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

For the past 20 years, Ah'Lee Robinson has helped young people find their own voices as executive director of the Kansas City Boys Choir and the Kansas City Girls Choir

Robinson is an accomplished gospel singer himself. On Friday, he’ll sing in a concert of "praise and thanksgiving.”

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