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Larger demand for distinctive craft beers is opening up opportunities for smaller breweries.  And the Kansas City, Missouri  city council has taken action to make it easier to open a "nanobrewery."

Ordinance sponsor Scott Taylor says he became involved because a family in the Brookside-Waldo area wanted to open a 1,000 square-foot nanobrewery catering to customers in the local market rather than selling to wholesalers.

But entrepreneurial efforts were thwarted by the fact that breweries had to be located in property zoned for manufacturing. Such space, where available, was too large, too expensive and poorly situated for consumer sales.

The new ordinance changes the zoning requirement.  The nanobreweries can operate in storefronts, strip malls or other retail locations. 

Courtesy of James Randi

In the 1970s and '80s, a magician known as the Amazing Randi was a favorite talk show guest for the wryly entertaining way he debunked his fellow illusionists, evangelical faith healers, and psychics alike.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback criticized the approach of the federal government in fighting climate change Thursday as he signed a bill asserting state authority over new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency power plant rules.

House Bill 2233 stipulates that the state will form a plan to comply with the new federal regulations but places several administrative hurdles in the way of that plan.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families won’t be dropping 350 families from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families rolls on July 1.

Instead, these families — all of whom have been on TANF for at least 36 months — will have a six-month “grace period” to figure out how to make ends meet without their TANF benefits. The new cutoff date for these families will be Jan. 1.

The Kansas City Star / Google Creative Commons

Despite coming off a nearly 50 year, record-low homicide rate in 2014, Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Darryl Forté isn't content to just rest on his laurels.

Amid unrest from protests over police killings of unarmed African Americans in the United States, Forté has promised a renewed focus on deescalating situations and training officers to retreat from potentially lethal situations.

Courtesy Photo / Books by Ace

You may not know her name, but she’s brushed shoulders with Margaret Thatcher, worked on Wall Street, and shattered records raising money for George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign.

Annie Presley has been behind the scenes of many of the biggest fundraising efforts in Kansas City and she recently released a book with co-author Christy Howard. Read This...When I’m dead, A Guide to Getting Your Stuff Together For Your Loved Ones, is a self-described irreverent work-book designed to make sure your family and friends are prepared for your death.

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: A fractured Kansas Legislature is working overtime to produce a balanced state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. This story attempts to explain the reasons lawmakers are on the brink of a constitutional crisis. KHI News Service, a partner of KCUR-based Heartland Health Monitor, will continue to monitor events and update them as necessary. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Most of the Kansas Congressional delegation, state and local officials as well as the Secretaries of both Agriculture and Homeland Security smiled, shook hands, even hugged as they came together for the latest in a series of ceremonial groundbreakings for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF.

The Manhattan, Kansas facility has been in the works for 16 years, said Sen. Pat Roberts, the grandfather of the project, who first pushed for greater food and agriculture safety with Kansas State University officials in 1999.

Steven Depolo / Flickr-CC

What is time? A trick of the mind? Something you can never get back or something that lasts forever?

Answers may be revealed at some of this weekend’s community festivals and live shows that by their very nature promise to deliver a timeless appeal. Or there may be no answers at all, of course. That’s the way that might go. I mean, figuring out what time means in a weekend is a pretty tall order.

Still, it’s all in the doing, isn’t it? Dare to tap into the eternal!

1. Rockfest

Walter Byers, the former NCAA boss who grew up in Kansas City, died at his ranch in Kansas Tuesday. He was 93.

Byers attended Westport High School. Before he was the executive director of the NCAA, he had a brief career as a sportswriter.

When the NCAA was headquartered in Kansas City, Byers molded it into the big-time structure it is today. But when Byers retired, he turned his back on college athletics.

“When I quit after 41 years, sportwriting and the NCAA, I took it cold turkey,” said Byers in 1994. “I felt that’s the only way you get over the withdrawal pains.”

Frank Morris / KCUR

Just a few years ago, downtown Hamilton, Missouri, looked a lot like many other forgotten, rural towns. Abandoned, forlorn buildings marred the main drag.

But in recent years, an explosively fast-growing startup business in rural northwestern Missouri has shaken up a staid industry, producing a YouTube star and revitalizing a town with a proud retail history.

That's why Dean Hales, who has lived here 77 years, is so delighted now.

This story was updated at 5:14 p.m. to include comments from a spokeswoman for Cox Medical Center.

Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri, is the latest hospital to come under scrutiny for billing Medicare for a rare form of malnutrition usually seen in third-world countries.

In a report released Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) said not one of the hospital’s 59 claims for the treatment of Kwashiorkor that the OIG reviewed was legitimate.

Judith G. Levy

For her installation at La Esquina as part of an exhibit called Disturbances in the Field, artist Judith G. Levy tells succinct family stories, focusing on disconnects.

There's the stark contrast between the side of her family that supported Nazi Germany and the side that had to flee Nazi Germany. And what about the gap between her great-uncle's wife's appearance and the family's insistence that she was a Sephardic Jew, rather than Ethiopian?

The Kansas Insurance Department on Tuesday said that premiums for some individual and small-group health plans are likely to increase by as much as 38 percent for 2016.

The projection is based on an early review of health insurance companies’ requests for raising rates.

The proposed increases, which are not yet public, were filed with the department on or before May 1.

“It’s safe to say that most — but not all — of the major carriers in the state are proposing double-digit rate increases,” said Clark Shultz, the department’s director of governmental affairs.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A committee in the Kansas House has advanced a new tax plan aimed at filling a budget hole. The panel voted to send the bill to the full chamber for debate. It would raise the sales tax on non-food items and reinstate some business income taxes that were eliminated in 2012.

Republican state Rep. Mark Hutton, himself a business owner, says it’s a philosophical question. Should Kansas business owners continue to pay zero income tax?

“When we’re asking everybody else in the state to step up and pay more in sales tax. I think it’s commensurate,” says Hutton.

Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo officials announced Tuesday the birth of a Western Lowland gorilla. The baby is the first gorilla to be born at the zoo since 1975.

In a Facebook post the Zoo said the baby was born on Memorial Day and both mom and baby are doing well.

The mother is 27-year-old Makari and the father is a 31-year-old silverback named Radi. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Senate has approved bi-partisan legislation to clarify the circumstances under which veterans are allowed to get medical care from their hometown providers at the VA’s expense.

Access to local, non-VA health care is part of the Choice Act, which became law last year. It’s meant as a way to assist veterans who live far from VA facilities or can’t get an appointment within 30 days.

KHI News Service file photo

A state senator and an aide to Senate President Susan Wagle listened intently Tuesday as Jennifer Winn made an impassioned case for legalization of cannabis oil for seizure disorders.

Winn, a Wichita business owner, gained notoriety last year when she faced off against incumbent Sam Brownback in a long-shot bid to become the Republican nominee for governor.

Creative Commons/www.gotcredit.com

As we reported last week on how The Kansas City Star is changing, we wanted to know more about how  news is consumed in Kansas City.

We took to social media and our airwaves and asked, “How do you keep up with the news?”  

Story updated at 12:26 p.m.

Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City overbilled Medicare $581,000 over a two-year period, a federal report concludes.

The report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) says the hospital failed to comply with Medicare requirements for 80 of 294 inpatient and outpatient claims reviewed by OIG.

Kate Reeder

A song recorded in a hotel room at the Westin during this year’s Folk Alliance International Conference is now raising money for a cause, and the musicians who championed the project are back in Kansas City for a show this week.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Just outside St. Louis, Missouri, on a high, windy bluff overlooking the Missouri River, a trio of grey-haired cyclists pump up tires and make adjustments to their bikes while their friend Henry Lazarski paces the parking lot, eager to get rolling.

Lazarski, a 73-year-old real estate lawyer from Paris, France, traveled to Missouri to ride the Katy Trail, which stretches almost the entire width of the state just short of Kansas City. At about 240 miles, it’s the longest continuous bike trail in the country.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR

Topeka poet Annette Hope Billings has described herself as a shy child who found her voice through theater productions at Topeka High School – but she didn’t fully devote herself to expressing that voice until after a long career as a nurse. After nearly forty years in that field, Billings retired earlier this year to concentrate on writing full-time. In March, the Topeka Capital-Journal wrote a profile of Billings.

File photo

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services on Thursday outlined a plan to limit the number of patients admitted  to the state mental hospital at Osawatomie.

The plan was unveiled at the first meeting of an advisory committee tasked with identifying the ideal mix of hospital and community-based services for Kansans with mental illnesses.

Federal regulators are requiring extensive renovations to make Osawatomie State Hospital safer for patients.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The downtown performance space known as The Living Room arrived on the scene in 2010 with a debut season that included two plays by John Kolvenbach. Five years later, Scott Cordes and Katie Gilchrist are back in the directors’ chairs with both plays being performed in repertory.

Hotel Muehlebach Centennial Times

In May of 1915, the Hotel Muehlebach opened its doors in downtown Kansas City with a 500 balloon release from the roof. In the 100 years since, there have been booms and busts, multiple renovations, and visits from Babe Ruth, The Beatles and 16 presidents.

At its opening, the Muehlebach was boasted as the most opulent hotel in Kansas City, originally with 12 stories, 500 rooms, two restaurants, a tea room and a music room. It was the first hotel in the area to have air conditioning — a luxury at the time.

A Senate committee on Thursday learned that a bill proposing that the state collect a 3.5 percent fee on health insurance policies sold to Kansans on the federal government’s online marketplace could be used to force a vote on Medicaid expansion.

“I want to know if Senate Bill 309 could be a vehicle for Medicaid expansion,” Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, asked in the final minutes of the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing.

Hyatt Hotels

Plans for an 800-room, $300 million downtown convention hotel continues to advance at a whirlwind pace. 

The full Kansas City council approved the basics of the deal Thursday, including a contribution of $13 million in city-owned land and $35 million in cash. 

Mayor Sly James said the hotel was part of his pre-election vision, but the plan is not about personal aggrandizement. 

“This was done because everybody on this council, I think, agrees that this was something we needed to get done,” he said.

Sedalia, MO Police Department

The manhunt continues for James Horn, now wanted in connection with the murder of his former girlfriend, Sandra Sutton, and her 17-year-old son. The  bodies of the woman and her son were found in her brother's home in Clinton, Missouri Thursday morning. 

Sutton's stolen car was found in Sedalia just two blocks from the house where she said Horn had kept her prisoner for months, sometimes confining her in a wooden box. Warrants had been out for Horn in connection with those crimes for about three weeks.

Clinton Police Lt. Sonny Lynch said his department had not been aware that the woman was staying in their community.

“She was advised by a couple of different victim advocates to get a protection order and to inform law enforcement of her location. That was done. But she felt as though she was safe over here staying with her family member, and from talking with the victim advocate folks, she just did not feel like she wanted to do that,” Lynch said.

Film 4 Productions

When editorial writers hoped to spur the country's westward expansion with the phrase “Go west, young man,” they might not have envisioned a sixteen-year-old from Scotland whose beloved has a bounty on her head. But that’s the deceptively simple narrative of Slow West, director and writer John Maclean’s creative, at times dazzling new western.

Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Jay, a teenager who left his native Scotland for the Colorado territories circa 1870, a place and time of volatility and random violence. Equipped with money, a gun, and two suitcases stuffed with clothes and cooking utensils, he’s on horseback and intent on reuniting with Rose (Caren Pistorius), his girlfriend from back home. Stopped and held at gunpoint by a grizzled outlaw, Jay is saved by a fellow renegade named Silas (the charismatic Michael Fassbender), who conveniently shoots the robber through the head.

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