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Central Standard
5:39 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Parking Dilemmas Are Growing Pains For Kansas City's Developing Downtown

From the top floors of City Hall, as of January 2015, the view of downtown is about half -consumed by parking. See highlighted areas.
Credit Patrick Quick / KCUR

Kansas City’s downtown is like an adolescent going through an awkward phase.

It’s part of growing up, and we’re excited about where things are headed, but the process is at turns uncomfortable and confusing.

File the parking situation  under “uncomfortable.” That was the basis for Thursday’s conversation on Central Standard.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:35 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Olathe Medical Center Unveils $100 Million Expansion Project

A four-story obstetrics and neonatal intensive care unit is one of several components of an expansion announced Friday by Olathe Medical Center.
Credit HMN Architects and Pixel Foundry

 

Olathe Medical Center on Friday announced the largest expansion in the hospital’s six-decade history, a cradle-to-grave project that calls for new buildings for obstetrics and patients with dementia.

With an estimated price tag of more than $100 million, including buildings and equipment, the project also calls for construction of a new cancer center and expansion of the hospital’s cardiovascular center.

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Education
3:27 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Roberts: New School Lunches Out Of Reach For Many Districts

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts visits with cafeteria works at Mill Valley High School.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts dined on chicken teriyaki bites, brown rice and green beans at Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kan., Friday, where he discussed federal nutrition guidelines with students and staff.

"This menu I think would meet even Mrs. Obama's approval," Roberts quipped, taking a bite of pineapple.

Roberts, the new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has long criticized the new school lunch rules pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Roberts says the standards are impossible for some districts to meet.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:05 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Kansas Legislators Consider Allowing Access To Drugs In Early Testing Phase

Legislators heard emotional testimony Thursday from an Emporia woman about a bill to allow access to drugs in preliminary federal testing.

They also heard questions about whether the “Right to Try” legislation is sound policy or an ideological quest that will give terminal patients false hope.

Versions of “Right to Try” have passed in Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Michigan and Louisiana.

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Education
9:37 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Independent Review Supports UMKC Bloch School's Top Ranking

A report released Friday confirms the rankings of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bloch School of Management.

The Journal of Product Innovation Management ranked the Bloch School number one in innovation management research. Controversy started last year after an article in the Kansas City Star questioned the validity of ranking the school as a global leader.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:45 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Yoder, Advocates Push For Savings Accounts For Kansas Children With Disabilities

Olathe resident Rachel Mast, 15, spoke Thursday to a House committee. She and Rep. Kevin Yoder, at far right, spoke in favor of a bill to allow tax-exempt savings accounts for Kansas children with disabilities.
Credit Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

 

On a day when Congressman Kevin Yoder testified before a Kansas House committee, it was a 15-year-old Olathe South High School freshman who stole the show.

Rachel Mast, who has Down syndrome, ebulliently encouraged the Children and Seniors Committee to approve a bill to allow tax-exempt savings accounts for Kansas children with disabilities that would not jeopardize their Medicaid benefits.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:30 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Kansas Mental Health Providers Wary Of Effort To Regulate Use Of Drugs

Kari Bruffett, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, met Wednesday with mental health advocates to discuss potential changes to state regulation of prescription mental health drugs.
Credit Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

 

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is attempting to head off opposition to a bill being crafted to allow the state to regulate the use of prescription mental health drugs.

Kari Bruffett, secretary of KDADS, met Wednesday with the Kansas Mental Health Coalition to ask its members to drop their opposition and instead help her draft a workable bill.

“We are open to having that discussion,” Bruffett said.

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Sports
8:30 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Mike Alden To Step Down As Missouri Tigers Athletics Director

Missouri Tigers athletics director Mike Alden announced Thursday that he’ll step aside at the end of August.

The news came out prior to the men’s basketball game at Mizzou Arena Thursday night.

When Missouri Tigers first-year head coach Kim Anderson was hired last spring, he says Mike Alden dropped no hint that he didn’t plan to be around much longer as athletics director. After the Tigers lost to top-ranked Kentucky, 69-53, to plunge deeper into the depths of their struggles, Anderson said he wants to justify being hired by Alden.

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Economy
7:52 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Talk Of Detente In The Kansas City’s Economic Border War

Blake Schreck, Lenexa Chamber of Commerce CED President & Economic Development Director, stands near Freightquote, a company was lured from Lenexa, Kan., to Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

Stealing from your neighbor may not sound like a good idea, but Kansas and Missouri can’t seem to get enough of it.

For years now, the states have been locked in an economic border war, paying businesses –through tax incentives — to move across the state line, without necessarily creating new jobs. Lately there have been a few tentative signs of rapprochement. 

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Arts & Culture
5:57 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Kansas City Star Lays Off Art Critic Alice Thorson

Art critic Alice Thorson has worked for the Kansas City Star since 1991. On Monday, she was told that her job was eliminated.

Over the last decade, major newspapers and magazines across the country have cut back on arts coverage. 

Editors at The Kansas City Star notified art critic Alice Thorson on Monday that Feb. 6 would be her last day. The termination did not come as a surprise for Thorson, the paper's art critic since 1991. She knew she was "on borrowed time," she says. In 2009, Thorson's full-time job was reduced to part-time; theater critic Robert Trussell’s position was downsized at the same time. 

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:01 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Surgeon General Visits Kansas City, Addresses Immunization, Violence

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was in the Kansas City area Thursday for a "listening tour" and met with reporters.
Credit Todd Feeback / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was in town Thursday as part of a “listening tour,” meeting with community leaders, physicians and others to discuss public health concerns. Among the topics they addressed were childhood obesity, violence, prescription drug abuse and access to health care. Murthy, a Harvard-trained physician, was confirmed as the nation’s top public health official in December after the position had been vacant for more than a year. He met with reporters this morning. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

Immunization

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Harvest Public Media
4:07 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Your Bacon May Get Cheaper As Farmers Slow Hog Disease

Healthy hogs that made it to market last year fetched a high price. But millions of piglets were lost to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.
Credit File: Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Bacon and pork chops could become cheaper this year thanks, in part, to fewer pigs getting sick with the virus that devastated hog farms in 2014.

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Sports
3:58 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Former Chiefs Lineman Will Shields Up For Fourth Time As Hall Finalist

Kansas City Chiefs player Will Shields is up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the fourth time.
Credit Courtesy / Pro Football Hall of Fame

After striking out three times in a bid to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this may be the year that former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Will Shields gets in.

He’ll find out this weekend when the announcement is made in Arizona where the Super Bowl is taking place. There’s hope that Shields’ involvement with one of the NFL’s hottest issues off the field may put him over the top.

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Kansas Legislature
3:45 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Kansas Senate Bill Has Educators Worried

A bill filed Tuesday would cut state aid to Kansas school districts in the current fiscal year.
Credit Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A bill in the Kansas Senate would reduce the amount of state aid to most school districts in Kansas in the current fiscal year.

The measure is what educators in Kansas feared the most — a bill that would force districts to cut their budgets before the current fiscal year ends in July.

The measure would cut state aid for Local Option Budgets, that portion of school budgets raised through local property tax.

The state provides money to help equalize those taxes between wealthy and low-income districts.

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Community
3:41 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

39th Street Corridor Enjoys Benefits Of KU Med Growth

Jimmy's Jigger is now called Jazz and has been a medical center hangout for decades.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Right before James “Jimmy” Bowers died in 1995, his local dive, Jimmy's Jigger, was bought by a local restaurateur who converted it to a New Orleans-style food and drink joint called Jazz. The company preserved the booze-soaked wooden floor and bar and brought in live music seven nights a week.

Like "The Jigger," as it was called, Jazz remains a hangout for staff and students from KU Medical Center across State Line.

Jazz manager Marty Elton says the relationship with the hospital always has been — and continues to be — essential.

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Up To Date
3:05 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Kansas City Based Team Wins First KC Startup Weekend EDU

The team of MyLearningKC won Kansas City's first Start Up Weekend EDU last week. (From left, Charles Breedlove, Niko Colom, Michael Legler and Tyler Morrison. Not pictured, teammate Daniel Woodhams.)
Credit Courtesy Photo / The Lean Lab

Last weekend, innovative minds from all over the Kansas City area competed in Kansas City Startup Weekend EDU.

More than 22 teams pitched their ideas for improving education through technology, and from those, nine were selected to work with mentors and turn them into real-life applications.

The winning team, MYLearningKC is developing an app that will teach Japanese though a game.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

State Auditor Schweich Enters Governor's Race With Criticism Of Primary Opponent

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich is running for governor in 2016.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

On the second day of his gubernatorial campaign, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich continued swinging at well-financed Republican primary opponent Catherine Hanaway.

"I'm very concerned about one billionaire in St. Louis who seems to be intent on not only buying the governor's mansion, funding over 70 percent of the campaign of my primary opponent, but also trying to buy certain legislators," Schweich said during a stop in Kansas City Thursday.

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Community
2:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Leaving Kansas City For Los Angeles: A Jazz Drummer’s Tale

Zack Albetta moved to Los Angeles, California from Kansas City in 2010. He misses the close knit music scene in Kansas City and his friends, but he's making his own way in LA, working as a professional drummer.
Credit Courtesy / Zack Albetta

Zack Albetta is originally from Santa Fe, N.M., but he came to Kansas City to get his master’s  at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. He worked closely with Bobby Watson exploring Kansas City’s deep jazz history, and he really loved Kansas City's music scene. 

“I was thinking, I have gigs, I do a lot of playing, I do a lot of teaching, the cost of living is low. So for a while, there wasn’t anything really calling me anywhere else,” says Albetta.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:57 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Children’s Mercy Hospital Dealing With Mysterious Neurologic Condition

13-year-old Billy Sticklen undergoes rehab at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., for a neurological condition.
Credit Mark McDonald / Children's Mercy Hospital

 

 

Children’s Mercy Hospital has a medical mystery on its hands.

Doctors there are trying to figure out what caused a severe neurologic condition between mid-September and early October in three patients, including a 13-year-old from Joplin, Mo.

And like other researchers around the country, they’re trying to figure out if the condition – which the medical community has termed acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) – is related to the recent nationwide outbreak of a polio-like virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:24 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Kansas Hospitals Say Feds Willing To Negotiate On Medicaid Expansion

Jeff Korsmo, chief executive of Wichita-based Via Christi Health, spoke about Medicaid expansion this week before a Kansas legislative committee.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

A group of Kansas hospital leaders is doing what Gov. Sam Brownback has so far declined to do: negotiate with federal officials on Medicaid expansion.

A delegation of hospital executives recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and outline an expansion proposal they are developing for Brownback and Kansas lawmakers to consider this session. 

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Community
3:17 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Kansas City Community Organizations Count Homeless Residents

Think of it as a census for people who don't have addresses.

Starting Wednesday and continuing into Thursday, volunteers with programs who aid Kansas City's homeless population will tally how many of the city's residents lack a permanent place to say. 

Teresa McClain is associate executive director of Community LINC, one of the organizations participating in the survey. Community LINC provides transitional housing, so McClain's staff knows how many people are using the organization's services and where to find homeless people.

But elsewhere it's more complicated.

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Gender Equality
2:59 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Women's Foundation Releases Interactive Study On Gender Equality In Missouri

A new study from the Women's Foundation and MU shows deep income disparities for Missouri women when compared to men.
Credit The Women's Foundation & The University of Missouri / Community Commons

The Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City has released the full results of its collaboration with the University of Missouri examining gender equality in Missouri. 

The study identifies five main areas of inequity: income, child care, health insurance, poverty and representation. Each area can be further broken down by county and even local tract maps to give a better idea of what issues affect specific areas.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Kansas City Program Focuses On ‘Healthy Women, Healthy Babies’

Erica Hardin holds her 3-month-old son, Marcus, at home.
Credit Todd Feeback / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

 

Faced with a surprise pregnancy – and then feeling the pressure of transitioning from an independent woman to a new mom – Erica Hardin struggled mentally and financially after the birth of her daughter.

Much to her relief, Kansas City had a program aimed at reducing disparities in infant mortality and post-birth complications between minorities and the general population.

Known as Healthy Start, home visits through the program provided Hardin with everything from moral support to diapers and instructions on applying for food stamps.

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Weather
2:15 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Why It's Good That Temperatures Are Going To Drop Again

People spend a warm Wednesday afternoon on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Temperatures reached the 70s in late January.
Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Soak up the sun while you can, Kansas City — the warm weather won't last.

Temperatures are expected to drop Thursday, with snow possible this weekend. Bummer, right? Not exactly, says Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp.

Knapp says too many warm nights in January can trick vegetation into thinking it's spring when there are still weeks of winter ahead. In this area, the last freeze is usually in April.

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McTavish Weekend Extra
1:47 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

6 Free (And Almost Free) Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

The annual Royals FanFest is just one of the almost-free things you can do this weekend.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Confession time: I used to think that “free” was a four-letter word. F-R-E-E. Oh, wait, it is.

Let me start over: I used to believe that anything free couldn’t be worth that much. This is America, right? You pay for what you get. If you wanted to “See The U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet,” it was going to cost you and be worth every gas-guzzling penny.

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Education
8:35 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Kansas City Metro Schools Seek Bandwidth As They Add Mobile Devices

Fort Osage School District in eastern Jackson County has recently added a lot of traffic to its Internet highways.
Credit Kyle Palmer / KCUR

The best way to visualize a school district’s Internet connection may be to compare it to a busy network of highways:

First, an Internet service provider, like Time Warner or Google Fiber, sends in the Internet on one big eight-lane freeway to a district’s main servers. Here, the Internet connection may meet some firewalls and content filters — think of these as tollbooths — and then, the Internet is streamed out to the district’s schools through fiber cable on what you might think of as two-lane country roads.

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Government
7:52 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Kansas House Votes To Bar Late-Night Legislative Work

Members of the Kansas House have voted to amend their rules so they won’t work into the early hours of the morning passing legislation.

The rules says they can’t work past midnight, which often happens at the end of the session. Several lawmakers said the late nights can lead to bad decisions.

Republican Rep. Barbara Bollier, a retired physician, says studies show lack of sleep has effects.

“You are impaired, to the equivalent of being drunk. We do not allow alcohol on this floor for a reason. Because our decision making is supposed to be effective,” says Bollier.

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Heartland Health Monitor
6:00 am
Wed January 28, 2015

When Is Genomic Sequencing Worth The Cost?

Earl McWilliams hugs his daughter Millie, who has a rare genetic disorder.
Credit Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Millie McWilliams comes to life when she listens to the party music of Jason Aldean. The 9-year-old discovered the country-pop superstar at a family friend’s house, and her love of the genre came as a bit of a surprise to her parents.

“I’ve actually gotten into it because of her!” Earl McWilliams says. “You know, that’s how it is with your kids. You find yourself interested in whatever they’re interested in, just to stay connected to them.”

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Agriculture
5:42 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Obama Proposes Boost In Funding To Fight Superbugs

The majority of antibiotics sold each year in the U.S. are used to treat livestock, rather than humans.
Credit File: Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

In the budget President Obama is sending to Congress he’s asking for more than $1 billion to combat antibiotic resistance, and some of that money would focus on animal agriculture.

Antibiotic resistance can make common medications ineffective, meaning sick people don’t get better and doctors have fewer options to treat bacterial infections.  

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Education
4:45 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Johnson County Voters Agree To More Local Dollars For Five School Districts

Voters in five Johnson County school districts have agreed to an increase in how much money can come from local property taxes.

Kansas schools have two major sources of money, state dollars and local property taxes. But the state limits how much districts can tax. Last year the Legislature raised the cap from 31 to 33 percent of a district's budget.

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