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5:08 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Case Dropped Against Attorney In Suit Challenging Owners of Power & Light District

A federal judge has thrown out racketeering charges against Linda Dickens, the local attorney who is suing the owners of the Kansas City Power and Light District  for racial discrimination on behalf of African American clients.

In a ruling handed down Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum said the allegations by The Cordish Companies, Inc. did not meet federal racketeering standards.

The so-called RICO Act , or Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act, is used to bust up ongoing organized crime operations.

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Government
4:53 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

McCaskill: Police Departments Need To Invest In Body-Mounted Cameras

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, was in Kansas City Wednesday touring a manufacturing company. She talked about the events in Ferguson, Mo., and how police can better serve their communities in the future.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says after what happened in Ferguson, Mo., more law enforcement agencies should be equipped with body-mounted cameras.

"I believe with today's technology, body cams on police officers not only protect members of the community from somebody who might be overreacting, but it really protects police officers, also," says McCaskill, who was in town Wednesday visiting a Kansas City manufacturing company.

McCaskill says she would support legislation requiring the cameras for all police departments that receive federal funding.

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Northland Schools
4:48 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

New Way To Manage Northland Crime Tips

Credit Courtesy Crime Stoppers

Parents and students in Northland school districts  have a new, more efficient way to relay tips to Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers has promoted its 474-TIPS hotline number for 32 years. More recently, the organization started taking tips by texts. The Northland Safe School Task Force got so many texts that officials reached out to Kansas City Crime Stoppers to help manage the information from students and parents.

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Government
3:27 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Sen. McCaskill Says Not Reauthorizing Export-Import Bank Would Hurt Missouri Businesses

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, center, tours the Western Forms factory in Kansas City. The company, which makes aluminum models used to pour concrete houses, uses the United States Export-Import Bank to do business overseas.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill toured a Kansas City manufacturing company Wednesday before calling on Congress to reauthorize the United States Export-Import Bank.

The bank helps finance and insure overseas purchases of American-made goods.

According to McCaskill, 96 Missouri companies currently use the Export-Import Bank, including Western Forms. The Kansas City company sells aluminum molds to pour concrete houses and does about half of its business abroad.

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Harvest Public Media
7:53 am
Wed August 27, 2014

USDA Predicts Drop In Farm Income

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

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KCK School District
5:23 am
Wed August 27, 2014

In Wake Of Sandy Hook, KCK Public Schools Roll Out District Police

New Kansas City, Kansas School District police officers will be in all district high school and middle schools this year
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, a lot has changed in the way police respond to a school shooter.

Squads no longer wait for SWAT teams to arrive. Now, they rush in to try and stop the shooter as quickly as possible.

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Health
5:14 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Kansas Advanced Practice Nurses Push For Their Own Primary Care Practices

The lobbyist for a group of advanced practice Kansas nurses seeking a compromise with doctors on scope of practice legislation was not expecting much heading into the first round of talks.

But the marathon session held late last week changed Mary Ellen Conlee’s outlook.

“I’m much more optimistic,” Conlee says.

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Health
4:11 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

KU Hospital Joins Forces To Oppose Liver Transplant Proposal

Dr. Timothy Schmitt, left, and Dr. Sean Kumer perform a liver transplant at KU Hospital.
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

 

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital have teamed up with dozens of other transplant programs to urge delay of a proposal that would change how livers for transplant are distributed around the country.

The proposal, scheduled to be taken up in Chicago in mid-September, would have a profound impact on KU Hospital, which runs one of the top liver transplant programs by volume in the country, and other regional transplant centers.

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Government
3:20 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

So Far This Year, Crime Is Down In Kansas City

Fewer violent crimes were reported in Kansas City, Mo., in the first half of 2014, down 7 percent compared to the same time last year.

"For example, homicides, we've had 42 this year, which is way too many," says Kansas City Police Captain Tye Grant. "But year-to-date, that's in comparison to 67 last year."

Mayor Sly James tweeted a copy of the police department's monthly crime summary Tuesday, calling the drop "good news" for Kansas City.

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Harvest Public Media
8:17 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Marijuana Industry Faces Food Safety Test

Organic Alternatives Manager Maka Kalaí holds a card with cannabis safety tips. The cards were developed by the Cannabis Business Alliance and are handed out with every purchase at the Fort Collins, Colo., store.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

  When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use earlier this year, it also opened up the sale of food products infused with the drug to anyone over the age of 21. That means a whole set of bakers and food companies have to ensure their products aren’t contaminated with foodborne pathogens, and that they’re not falling in to the hands of children or too potent to eat.

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Politics
8:14 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Brownback, Davis Clash Over Kansas Education Funding

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has unveiled some education goals he'll push for if he's reelected to a second term in office. Brownback says he'll aim for 60 percent of Kansas adults to have a college degree or technical certificate.

At events in Topeka and the Kansas City area Brownback also hinted at a clash over education funding between himself and his Democratic challenger in the gubernatorial race, Rep. Paul Davis.

Brownback touted funding increases during his time in office, specifically money targeted at technical education programs.

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Education
3:43 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Educators Meet In Kansas City For Early Childhood Education Summit

Educators are meeting in Kansas City to discuss the importance of pre-kindergarten education.
Credit CC: Lochoaymca

Educators, politicians, doctors and clergy all gathered in Kansas City Monday to discuss early childhood development.

Almost everyone agrees Pre-K education is crucial. The mantra for early educators is, "Talk, read, play."

Before they start kindergarten, teachers say, children need a lot of interaction with adults. Research shows that, on average, lower income children start school knowing 900 fewer words than more affluent children.

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Health
3:13 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Kansas Ranks 47th Worst For Use Of Drugs To Control Dementia Patients

Jodi Buckmeier, a licensed practical nurse, checks medication information for residents at Brewster Place in Topeka. Brewster Place ranks among Kansas nursing homes with the lowest rates of use of antipsychotic medication for its residents - at 7.8 percent for the last quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014 - although the state's overall rate ranks 47th worst.
Credit Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

 

Experts say powerful antipsychotic drugs — sometimes given in combination — are used too much and often inappropriately as “chemical restraints” or sedatives to control the behavior of Kansas nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and that efforts to curb the practice so far are showing weak results compared with other states.

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Ferguson
2:10 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Mayor Sly James On Ferguson, Profiling And Diversity

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James stopped by KCUR to talk about Ferguson and how Kansas City is similar and different from the St. Louis suburb.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

In light of protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the police shooting of Michael Brown, Kansas City leaders held a panel Saturday centered around a big question for people of color: What should I do when I am stopped by the police?

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Agriculture
11:42 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Millions Lost In Grain Elevator Failure Prompts Talk Of Safety Net

Before it defaulted on loans and was shuttered by regulator, the Pierce Elevator was a major business in town.
Credit Bill Kelly / for Harvest Public Media

In Nebraska, farmers say they’re left with about $9 million in unpaid claims when a grain elevator failed in the town of Pierce. It looks as if farmers’ losses could eventually top $4 million.

Without a financial safety net to depend on, farmers are watching this case in eastern Nebraska. They’re looking for lessons in order to avoid another massive financial wreckage in the future.

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Arts & Culture
11:19 am
Mon August 25, 2014

PHOTOS: Wiley's Kansas City Street Art Beautifies Utility Boxes

Corner of W. 45th St. and Belleview
C.J. Janovy KCUR

On Central Standard in July, host Gina Kaufmann asked the Kansas City graffiti artist known as Gear to explain his theory that graffiti is “the beautification of the city.”

Most graffiti artists choose areas that are run-down or buildings that haven’t been taken care of by their landlords, Gear said.

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Literature
9:28 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Writer Lois Lowry On 'The Giver'

Author Lois Lowry. Her 1993 children's novel, The Giver, has been turned into a film.
Credit courtesy: NEH

  Acclaimed Newbery Award-winning children's author Lois Lowry's book for young people, The Giver, is now a film. 

"The Giver was the first book that I wrote that veered out of the realistic, and tiptoed a bit into fantasy. Some people call it science fiction. I don't like to think of it that way," Lowry tells our New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

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Ferguson Shooting
1:01 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

Chris Koster To Host Two-Day Workshop To Discuss Minorities In Police Departments

Chris Koster will host a workshop in Kansas City and St. Louis to discuss increasing the number of minority police officers in police departments.
Credit Attorney General's Office

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Sunday that he will host a two-day workshop in Kansas City and St. Louis to discuss why so many cities in Missouri have low numbers of minorities in their police departments. Koster said in a release announcing the event that he wanted to talk with police chiefs, school administrators and community leaders to find out why many urban police forces around the state don't reflect the racial makeup of cities they serve. 

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Chiefs
9:09 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Matt Cassel Makes Triumphant Return To Arrowhead Stadium

Matt Cassel enjoyed his return to Arrowhead Stadium with a 30-12 win Saturday night.
Credit Kyle Engman (Creative Commons)

Quarterback Matt Cassel returned to Arrowhead Stadium Saturday night for the first time since he played for the Kansas City Chiefs two years ago.  Cassel jump-started the Minnesota Vikings In their 30-12 exhibition win over the Chiefs.

Cassel was the focal point of the frustration that Chiefs fans felt two years ago when the team was 2-14.

When there were cheers after Matt Cassel was injured two years ago, it brought out the wrath at the time of his teammate Eric Winston.

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Education
9:02 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Missouri School District MAP Scores To Be Released This Week

Credit Christopher Sessums / Flickr--CC

Later this week the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will release Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores for every school in the state.

The state already released preliminary results for Kansas City Public Schools on Aug. 6 when DESE announced the district had been provisionally accredited. At that time DESE said Kansas City received 86 out of a possible 140 points. Enough for the board to accredit the district for the first time in two years.

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Community
4:08 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Mayor Sly James, Politicians Offer Young African-American Men Advice On Interacting With Police

Mayor Sly James and other officials offered advice on police interaction to African American men on Saturday.
Credit Ben Palosaari

Politicians, religious leaders and police hosted a town hall meeting Saturday at St. James United Methodist Church to help young African-American men be prepared for one question: What do I do when I am stopped by the police?

The nation and media continue to be focused on what happens next in Ferguson, Mo. after unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer two weeks ago. Local authorities wanted to take this chance to help avoid a Ferguson in Kansas City.

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Arts & Culture
9:30 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Film Review: Anna Kendrick's Flakiness Complicates Her Family's 'Happy Christmas'

Lena Dunham and Anna Kendrick attempt a babysitting job with Jude Swanberg in "Happy Christmas."
Credit Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

The new dysfunctional family comedy Happy Christmas may have modest goals, but it makes an impact thanks to several lively and well-crafted performances. Chief among those is Anna Kendrick. The Oscar nominee from Up in the Air is delightfully scattered as Jenny, a young woman fresh off a break-up who retreats to her brother’s home in Chicago in hopes of reconnecting with old friends and sustaining a semi-permanent buzz.

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Arts & Culture
7:45 am
Fri August 22, 2014

'Word Play' Exhibition At The Belger Explores Power And Humor In Text

The Belger Arts Center has collected the work of Renee Stout for decades, including 'Fatima's Sign.' Gallery assistant Mo Dickens describes it as a voodoo menu, lotions and potions you might find in a voodoo shop.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The experience of viewing a work of art often involves words — think of the neatly typed wall panels with an artist’s name and background, or details about the work itself. The written word — and its role in and on an artwork — is the focus of a Belger Arts Center exhibition in the Crossroads Arts District. 

"A couple of years ago, there were some visitors waiting for the elevator over there," says gallery assistant Mo Dickens, on the third floor of the Belger Arts Center. "And I heard one turn to the other and say, 'Hmm … I don’t know. I’ve never liked text on paintings.'" 

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Government
12:32 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Kansas City Council Sidesteps Chastain Lawsuit Threat, Reaffirms Ballot Language

Legal maneuvering continued Thursday over a court order to put a Clay Chastain light rail proposal on the Kansas City ballot. The city still appeared to stay a step ahead of the perennial activist.

After the Kansas City Council voted to put the two sales taxes Clay Chastain proposed to pay for his light rail initiative on the ballot with no mention of the plan or light rail, Chastain threatened to sue charging that the council failed to give the public the required 24 hours notice of their final vote.

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Arts & Culture
3:19 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Black House Collective To Premiere Five New Chamber Operas

Mezzo-soprano Anna Hoard sings in the role of Charlene in George Lam's 'Sherman's March.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

As they waited for other musicians and singers to arrive, composer Hunter Long and mezzo-soprano Anna Hoard lounged among music stands and percussion instruments in a sixth-floor room in the Town Pavilion building in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Hoard sings the role of Charlotte in Long’s new chamber opera titled Lost in Translation, one of five new operas that will have their world premiere on Friday.

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Tell KCUR
1:54 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

What Kansas City Can Learn From The Ferguson Shooting

Tear gas, shown here streaming in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this week, was one of law enforcement's crowd-control measures amid looting and riots in the wake of the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

The shooting of an unarmed man near St. Louis — and the aftermath that has ensued — offers Kansas City broader lessons tied to law enforcement and media coverage.

That’s according to people who responded to our question of the week on the air and via social media: What can Kansas City learn from events in Ferguson?  

“Our police force doesn’t need to arm itself like this is Iraq,” Kansas Citian @OfficialMKoussa answers on Twitter.

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Arts & Culture
8:05 am
Thu August 21, 2014

At The Nerman, American Indian Art Is Contemporary

Norman Akers' "Transience"
Norman Akers

This fall, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opens its blockbuster exhibition "The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky," with works ranging from a 2,000-year-old stone pipe to beaded designer shoes from 2011. To spark enthusiasm, three enormous teepees now compete with the Shuttlecocks on the Nelson’s south lawn.

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Sports
5:24 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Can SungWoo Save The Royals From Sports Illustrated Cover Curse?

Many Royals fans credit the team's winning streak to South Korean super-fan, SungWoo Lee.
Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR

You may have heard that the Royals are doing really well. They are 15 games over .500, and are first in the AL Central. They're doing so well they made the cover of this weeks' regional Sports Illustrated

"September is coming, and for the first time in nearly 30 years it will matter in Kansas City," the headline reads. That hasn't happened since the last time the team made the playoffs: 1985, when the Royals went on to win the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Government
3:27 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Christie Says Republicans Will Spend Big On Kansas Governor’s Race

Kansas Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, Gov. Sam Brownback and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stop by Oklahoma Joe’s on their way to a Mission Hills fundraiser.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made another trip to Kansas City Wednesday to stump for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and attend a fundraiser in Mission Hills.

Christie heads the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

“Kansas is an important race for us in the country, and that’s why I’m here and told the governor I’ll be back between now and election day as well,” says Christie. “RGA is going to make a significant investment here in Kansas, because we believe in Sam.”

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Education
2:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Kansas, Missouri ACT Scores Up Slightly, But Not All Graduates Ready For College

Kansas students' scores on the ACT edged up slightly this year, with the statewide average outpacing scores nationally by about a point.

Missouri ACT scores also went up in 2014.

But even though the number of high school graduates who are ready for college has increased in recent years, less than a third of students in either state reached college benchmarks in the four subjects measured by the test.

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