News

Laura Spencer

Chris Selby reads his work at poetry slams, where he goes by the name TOASTER — he says that’s slang for “awkward and old-fashioned.”

He’s seen several people close to him deal with the challenges of cancer, and he wrote this poem after the breakup of a toxic relationship a friend diagnosed as “emotional cancer.”

AP Photo

The public should expect to see significant evolutions in Medicare and Medicaid in coming years, a national health care expert told a Kansas City audience Friday.

Genevieve M. Kenney of the Urban Institute said an inevitable component of Medicare’s need to save money will be talk about raising the eligibility age. The current age of eligibility is 65, but life expectancy has increased since enactment of the program 50 years ago.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Former Kansas City Royals All-Star Billy Butler is back at Kauffman Stadium Friday — but in a different uniform.

He's in his first season with the Oakland Athletics and getting used to wearing the green and gold uniform colors of his new team.

"Yeah, it's one of those things. It's my locker. I just knew what to put on," said Butler. "Yeah, it's different. I put on a royal blue shirt on this morning. I didn't realize I actually put a royal blue shirt on."

Mayra Chiachia/Flickr -- CC


Niecie's peach cobbler, Glacé's sweet corn ice cream, Winstead's skyscraper milkshake ... what makes for an unusual dessert that you can only get at a specific place in town? Is it in the presentation, an interesting take on a traditional classic, something totally original — or all of the above?

 

On this week's show, KCUR's Patrick Quick reminisces about the Peach Nehi float, a treat from Osceola, Missouri, and then our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza and Jill Silva weigh in on the best signature desserts in Kansas City.

mcclatchyinteractive.com

      

  The last time the Oakland A’s came to town, the result was one of the wildest come-from-behind victories in Kansas City sports history. Tonight’s rematch at the K marks an historic comeback of another sort, at least for one longtime fan favorite. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes.”

In the history of Kauffman Stadium, only a handful of men have stepped up to the plate more often than William Raymond Butler, Jr. His 2,422 appearances include seven home openers, one All-Star debut, and, of course, the bottom-of-the-ninth in Game Seven of the World Series. Tonight, he’ll be there again for the first time since. And, for the first time ever, this home plate won’t be home.

The Royals have started this year with the same intensity that electrified the city in October. It’s as if they don’t realize the season ever ended. Which makes it even harder to believe that Billy Butler, the man known as “Country Breakfast,” is now an Oakland Athletic. It’ll be tough to see him in that green-and-gold, only in part because no one looks good in those colors. The A’s will come in here looking to avenge their Wild-Card humiliation. But for Butler and fans, the sure-to-be-bittersweet reunion calls for a warmer brand of payback.

Scutter / Flickr--CC

Kansas City is up-and-coming. We're totally cool, and this October we found out our city (and our boys in blue) look great on national television.

We are used to telling visitors what they should do while they are here (Eat the bar-b-q! Go to the Nelson-Atkins!). 

Mid-America's vast prairies have inspired countless artists. But in a place so wide open, there's always the danger of a person's voice getting blown away by the wind. Perhaps that's one reason 'Lost Writers of the Plains,' a new multimedia literary project, captured the imagination of Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

An updated computer lab at the Mattie Rhodes Center in the Historic Northeast will help Kansas City's Latino community access the technology they need for work and school.

The League of United Latin America Citizens, or LULAC, runs the Empower Hispanic America technology center housed at Mattie Rhodes, 148 N. Topping Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. AT&T donated $200,000 to LULAC to update seven of its community technology centers.

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Kansas has more laws restricting access to abortion than almost any other state. Most of these laws restrict the women seeking the abortion or the clinics providing the abortion. But until recently, the anti-abortion movement hasn't had much success in restricting the abortion procedures themselves. 

Until last week, when Kansas was the first state to ban "dismemberment abortions." While there is no medical procedure by that name, the law seems to ban "dilation and extraction" abortions, also called D&E. 

Paul Sableman / Flickr-CC

 

When hungry Kansas Citians need a lazy night in, they often reach for the phone. They know a wide variety of local pizza places are ready to deliver cheesy goodness to their doorsteps. 

Unless they live east of Troost Avenue.

While national chains Papa John's and Domino's will deliver east of Troost, many local pizza places won't.  

Minsky's on Main Street won't go there. Pizza 51 sits three blocks away from Troost at 51st and Oak — it won't deliver there either. Neither will Pickleman's. Sarpino's Pizza in Midtown will, maybe.

Rendering courtesy of Cordish Co.

A second Power and Light District apartment tower at Truman Road and Grand has won big dollar incentives from the Kansas City council.

The council Thursday approved underwriting construction of the 24-story Two Light luxury apartment tower and its parking garage for up to $17 million and endorsed what amounts to 50 percent property tax abatement for 25 years.

Councilman Jim Glover told colleagues to think of it not as a subsidy, but an investment.

Jake Jacobson

Louis Meyers has heard a lot of music.

He's a banjo player. He’s also one of the co-founders of Austin’s South By Southwest music, film and tech festival, and he spent ten years as director of Folk Alliance International – he was the one responsible for moving the organization and its annual conference to Kansas City. But there’s one record he’s heard only in his imagination: a bluegrass version of The Who's classic rock opera "Tommy."

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Approximately 350 low-income families will be dropped from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program after a new welfare reform measure takes effect July 1, state officials said Thursday.

The measure, signed into law Thursday by Gov. Sam Brownback, lowers families’ lifetime eligibility for TANF from 48 months to 36.

Families that have reached or exceeded the 36-month threshold when the law takes effect will be cut from the program. They will remain eligible for food stamps but will lose their cash assistance.

Kelly Magerkurth

Kansas has a new poet laureate. The responsibility has fallen to the widely published and award-winning Eric McHenry, an associate professor of English at Washburn University in Topeka.

Poets laureate earn the honor after a rigorous application process involving a selection panel of their literary peers. When we asked McHenry why he wanted to be poet laureate, he expressed his feelings in the language of the common man:

“It sounds really cool.”

Kansas will not, for the time being, change the way it licenses teachers in a half-dozen districts around the state.

Those districts have what’s known as innovative status.

The Legislature passed Innovative District legislation two years ago. It allows those districts the state has granted innovative status to ignore most state laws and regulations to see if they can come up with new programs to boost outcomes.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

When Sister Berta Sailor called Kansas City Mayor Sly James' cell phone a couple of weeks ago, he picked up.

The director of the child care and social service agency Operation Breakthrough told the mayor some of her patrons wanted to participate in events marking the one year anniversary of the shootings at Jewish sites in Overland Park — but there was a problem. The march and candlelight vigil were to start at the Jewish Community Center, and she didn’t have a way to get her people there.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions and sentences of three men found guilty of torching the landmark Hereford House restaurant in October 2008.

The 8th U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the claims of restaurant co-owner Rodney J. Anderson and his two co-defendants, Vincent Pisciotta, and Mark A. Sorrentino.

In September 2013, a federal judge sentenced Anderson, a well-known civic leader, to 15 years in prison. Pisciotta received a 20-year sentence and Sorrentino a 15-year sentence.

Worm That Turned / Wikimedia -- CC

What makes a classic? Well, that depends on your opinion. One person’s gratifying archetype can be another’s utter dud, and impassioned arguments may ensue.

Even without classic consensus, most of us tend to seek quintessential quality in the things that interest us; the quest for which can be appreciated in a variety of events around the area that clearly aspire to be memorable. Succeed or fail, let the classic chips fall where they may.

Isn’t it great when we work together? Have yourself a classic weekend.

Danny Clinch / Sacks And Co.

One of the most intriguing musical acts in Kansas City these days is a duo whom most musicians and fans here had never heard of until about a year ago.

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear — who is actually Madisen’s mom, Ruth Ward — started performing together off and on about six years ago in coffeehouses in Independence, Blue Springs and Overland Park. They played a lot of covers—Tracey Chapman, Adele, Fleetwood Mac — until Madisen started experimenting with songwriting and found he was getting a great reaction to his original songs.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Over a span of a dozen years, the University of Kansas Cancer Center estimates that philanthropists, taxpayers and other funders will plow about $1.3 billion into its effort to become one of the nation’s most elite cancer-fighting institutions.

In fact, nearly half that sum is already out the door, spent mostly in the run-up to the 2012 announcement that the KU Cancer Center had become the only institution within hundreds of miles to earn recognition through the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he intends to sign a controversial welfare bill despite concerns from those who work with poor Kansans about whether the restrictions it imposes are realistic or enforceable.

The governor will sign the bill at a Thursday morning media event featuring former welfare recipients who obtained jobs with help from a state training program.

Edwin Olson/Google Images -- CC

Whether it's the sound of the wind rustling through the tall grass, the crackling spectacle of a controlled burn or just the sheer enormity of this swath of land, the prairie has inspired authors for hundreds of years. We discuss the best books about the prairie with our Book Critics Jeffrey Ann Goudie, Mark Luce and Kaite Stover.

Kansas City Public Schools

New life has been breathed into a potential partnership between the Kansas City Public Schools and the area's most successful charter school.

On Monday, the Academie Lafayette board received a $2 million offer of support from the Stowers Foundation to try and revive a partnership that would involve the Southwest Early College Campus on Wornall Road.

The offer apparently took both the Academie Lafayette board and KCPS administration by surprise.

"It was not on the agenda for the meeting. It was unexpected,"  Lafayette spokeswoman Sarah Guthrie says.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A group of men in the vanguard of a new model of housing for chronically homeless people with mental illnesses sat around a small conference table eating pizza recently in Leavenworth.

It was the monthly social gathering for residents of the Marion Apartments, a single-story, 10-unit complex just off Main Street.

Porter Arneill, public art administrator for Kansas City, Missouri, and director of the Municipal Art Commission since 2002, is leaving for a new position in Lawrence, Kansas, where he'll be director of arts and culture. His last day on the job in Kansas City is April 22. 

"The past 13 years with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, have been tremendously rewarding for me and it's clear the city is moving in a good direction, particularly through the realms of art, craft, design and culture!" Arneill wrote in an email.

A native of St. Louis, Arneill trained as a sculptor and earned his master's degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art. But in the 1990s, he turned to arts administration. 

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas health authorities say four additional people have tested positive for tuberculosis out of 70 tested last week at Olathe Northwest High School. 

The tests were conducted after a student came down with the infection last month. More than 300 people were tested shortly afterward and 27 tested positive for the disease.

The latest tests were done after officials found additional people who may have had contact with the student.

Being infected isn’t the same as having the disease, whose symptoms include fever, night sweats, coughing and weight loss.

Lauren Manning / Flickr--CC

Four Kansas school districts will end the school year early because state aid has been cut for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The Smoky Valley School District in Lindsborg, just south of Salina, which serves about 1,000 students, says it will close three days early due to a $162,000 budget cut.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Richard Eiker, 45, earns $11.05 an hour at McDonald's, a job he's held for 25 years. He has no sick pay, no medical benefits or retirement, and even though he makes more than minimum wage, he struggles to pay his bills and take care of his needs.

He’s part of a movement in Kansas City and nationwide to demand a $15 per hour minimum wage.

He says that after 25 years of working every position at McDonalds, he is afraid to leave in search of better pay.

Chris Potter / StockMonkeys.com

Missouri claimed nearly $35 million in unallowable Medicaid reimbursements after failing to comply with requirements under Medicaid’s drug rebate program, an audit released Tuesday found.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia cover prescription drugs under the program, which helps offset the costs of outpatient prescription drugs for Medicaid patients.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Mindy Corporon and her husband, Len Losen, watched as thousands of people began a walk from the Jewish Community Center to the Church of the Resurrection in Overland Park, Kansas, Monday night.

It's been a year since Reat Underwood, 14; William Corporon, 69; and Terri LaManno, 53; died in the shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom. 

And tomorrow, Corporon will look onward, the theme for the walk and the last of the SevenDays events planned in honor of her late son and father.

But not yet. Not tonight.

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