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Image courtesy of Larry Christy

Larry Christy owns Missouri River Rafting, where he guides canoe and rafting trips. He’s logged more than 5,000 miles on the water. He’s canoed the entire length of the Missouri River, from Montana to St. Louis – it took him three months. During the winter he works as a carpenter, restoring Victorian houses. He's also written poetry since he was a child. Here, the river guide and carpenter reads a poem about work.

Esti Alvarez / Flickr-CC

Most adults in Missouri who work with children are required by law to report any suspected child abuse to the state. Too often, child advocates say, reports don’t get made but they hope to fix that later this year.

Two years ago the law requiring child abuse to be reported to the Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services drastically changed.

For years teachers, coaches or other youth workers had to report suspicions to a supervisor. Now state law requires those reports to be made directly to state investigators.

Cassie Mundt

The worn, forlorn Teddy bear clearly misses the little girl with him in the photograph from nearly 110 years ago. Mable was her name.

But more little girls will be coming now. Kansas City's Toy and Miniature Museum is open again.

After a year of renovation and redesign, the National Toy and Miniature Museum at 5235 Oak reopened Saturday.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 100 nurses and activists gathered outside Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park Friday to protest what they say are unfair work conditions.

According to data provided by the hospital to the nurses, 59 percent of shifts in one of the hospital's surgical units weren't adequately staffed. The protesters also say that Kansas nurses are paid $3 less than the national average wage.

Linda Schall has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years. She says understaffing forces Menorah nurses to work 12-hour shifts without breaks, which can lead to bad practices.

Kansas is wrapping up the first month of the new fiscal year on a sour note. The state’s tax receipts in July came in just shy of expectations.

Over the month, total tax collections in Kansas were short by just about 1 percent, or nearly $4 million. The shortfall was largely driven by sales tax revenue coming in lower than expected.

Emilian Robert Vicol -- Flickr/CC

In his book, Understanding Modern Money, Randall Wray wrote that the way the eurozone was structured would likely cause a financial crisis.

That was in 1998.

Wray, a professor of economics at UMKC, is just one of a handful of economists who predicted the current crisis in the eurozone (the countries in the European Union that use the euro as currency).

JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES

  An outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the Hutchinson area continues to spread. The Reno County Health Department is investigating more than 70 cases.

So far, 46 of those cases have been confirmed as pertussis. Most of them involve school-age children. The highly contagious disease is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

The Kansas City Royals are enjoying a great baseball season this year.

Despite the last few games, the Royals still have the best record in their division, and they’re looking forward to another post-season run. Las Vegas was rating them a favorite to win the World Series — even before the team picked up pitcher Johnny Cueto and utility man Ben Zobrist

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A health care company that serves veterans and their families is adding 500 jobs in Kansas City.

“Our privilege as a corporation is to do one thing,” said David McIntyre, president and CEO of TriWest, “and that is to be there for the federal government to assist them in serving those who serve.”

McIntyre says TriWest picked Kansas City because of Missouri’s “Show-Me Heroes” program, an initiative to get business to hire veterans.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival had it all: an indie pop band on stage, long lines at the beer booths, folks hanging out on a hot summer day.

Sort of like a Grateful Dead concert, only with free burritos.

But the Chipotle Cultivate events, with four held across the country this summer, aims to do a little more than just than just the classic summertime music festival. Billed as offering “food, ideas and music,” the festival offers a chance to “learn a free burrito” after going through four exhibits.

Maureen Didde--CC / flickr

 A tweet by the City of Smithville caught our eye the other day — according to the United States Census Bureau, their population is on the verge of hitting 10,000.  

 

Northland suburbs are growing in leaps and bounds — much faster than downtown Kansas City, or communities like Overland Park.  

 

Scott Wagner / LinkedIn

Kansas City's next Mayor ProTem is a Northlander. 

Mayor Sly James appointed the members and chairs of 11 Kansas City council committees on Thursday, and 1st District Councilman Scott Wagner got the nod to both be Mayor Pro Tem and to chair the important Finance Governance and Ethics Committee. 

The Northland is an economically robust and rapidly growing area and its residents have often expressed feelings of being given second-tier treatment by a council dominated by south-of-the-river seats. The last Northland Mayor Pro Tem was Bill Skaggs during the administration of Mark Funkhouser. But both Alvin Brooks, who proceeded Skaggs, and Cindy Circo, who succeeded him were from south of the river.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Activists with Missouri Jobs with Justice protested in Westport Thursday over a challenge to Kansas City's new minimum wage ordinance.

The group Missourians For Fair Wages is a coalition of business groups, including the Missouri Restaurant Association, that oppose the wage hike, and have been collecting petition signatures to put it on the ballot through a referendum.

Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute's ceramics department dates back to the 1960s – and has a storied history, with larger than life professors who shaped the program like Ken Ferguson, Victor Babu and George Timock. 

This summer, Kansas City firms Helix and McCown Gordon Construction collaborated on a $750,000 renovation of "the old kiln room." 

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration on Thursday announced $63 million in changes to the state budget.

Much of that comes from increases in federal aid, cost-cutting measures and some services costing less than initially projected. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, outlined in a Statehouse news conference.

The biggest single change — $17.6 million — comes from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which provides health coverage to children in low-income families.

Executive Office of the President of the United States

Advocates of government-sponsored health care gathered Thursday at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, to mark the anniversary of legislation that’s both a local story and a milestone for medical care in the United States.

Fifty years ago, on the same stage where speakers sat, President Lyndon Johnson signed the law establishing Medicare and Medicaid, vastly expanding insurance protections for the elderly and for low-income Americans.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

It's taken six months since a report from the Missouri State Auditor severely criticized the St. Joseph, Missouri School District and three of its top administrators, but Thursday the district finally pushed out its scandal-tainted former HR director.

The district says it reached a severance deal with Doug Flowers. It will pay Flowers $32,000 to leave the district.

SqueezeBoxCity / www.squeezeboxcity.com

Music isn’t just an open door – it’s a palace of passageways leading to all kinds of tunes around every corner.

This weekend, check out some of the different ways to explore the musical mansion, from superstar country to indie rock, jazz, blues and more.

The best part? You get to sing along.

1. Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Some say that local government is the toughest branch, because it’s closest to the people.

For Mission, Kansas Mayor Steve Schowengerdt, it's easy.

“If you're honest and talk straight the people tell you what they want and what they don't like and you adjust,” he says.  

Schowengerdt stopped by KCUR studios to talk with Up To Date host Steve Kraske about the meatiest issues on Mission's table. 

Here are five questions Kraske asked the Mayor:

Publik15 / Flickr-CC

Kansas officials have decided against participating in the Excellence in Mental Health Act, a federal initiative that could have generated millions of dollars for behavioral health programs throughout the state.

Cody Newill / KCUR

After a year of construction, crews have finally completed laying Kansas City's downtown streetcar tracks. 

More than 100 people showed up to the project's "River Market Rail Rally" Wednesday, which celebrated the streetcar's progress, as well as new artwork that will be showcased on two other stops in the River Market neighborhood near downtown.

Esther Honig / KCUR

On a muggy afternoon in June, John Bruhn drives through Kansas City’s Ivanhoe neighborhood, reading the house numbers out loud until he sees No. 3735. With a clipboard in hand, he walks down the path to a small, yellow house and knocks at the front door.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Cerner Corp. on Wednesday landed what’s thought to be one of the biggest health information technology contracts ever awarded.

The Washington Post reported that the 10-year contract for the U.S. Defense Department’s Military Health System was worth $4.3 billion. Bloomberg Business said the contract was valued at as much as $9 billion through 2033.

Cerner beat out archrival Epic Systems for the contract, which calls for Cerner and its partners to upgrade health records for 9.5 million people at more than 50 hospitals and hundreds of clinics in the United States and abroad.

Sheridan's Frozen Custard / via Twitter

Even as government officials brace for a recurrence of bird flu this fall, the massive spring outbreak is still affecting food producers.

Kansas City residents, flocking to local favorite Sheridan’s 12 frozen custard stands because of this week’s heat wave, are met with notices that the custard recipe has been changed because of an egg shortage.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

An emotional Barbara Nelson thanked Jackson County officials and neighbors Wednesday for the home she now owns.

“I’m going to walk in that grass today without my shoes,” she declared through her tears after receiving a clear title to the house she and her daughters moved into six years ago.

Nelson, once homeless, was the first recipient of a completely renovated house through Jackson County’s Constructing Futures initiative. The program provides on-the-job training to people who were incarcerated as they work to fix up a vacant house.

REACH Healthcare Foundation and Mid-America Regional Council

When it comes to health outcomes in the 11-county Kansas City metropolitan area, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

That’s the takeaway from a regional health assessment released Tuesday by the REACH Healthcare Foundation in Merriam, Kansas, which aims to improve health care for the poor and medically underserved.

The good news: Except for obesity and diabetes, health outcome trends in the metro area are improving.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

We live in a time where pretty much anything you need can come right to your door, thanks to technology — that is, if you live in a big city like New York or San Francisco.

Whether it’s driving services like Uber, groceries that come right to your door, on-demand laundry, or someone who will come over in a minute to change a light bulb — the proliferation of these services, available through an app, has created what the start-up world calls “The Convenience Economy.”

But a trend that has exploded in big cities has been slower to arrive in the Kansas City metro.

Blake Miller, Partner & Director of the Accelerator at Think Big Partners in Kansas City attributes part of that to the physical layout of the city.

“A lot of it is our sprawl, we’re 319 square miles of a city. For a lot of these companies to become truly successful it’s [about] density and the clusters of people around it,” Miller told Up To Date host Steve Kraske.

That sprawl, Miller says, has led to a driving culture in the metro.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry passed a physical on the first day of training camp in St. Joseph and that’s big news.

Eric Berry abruptly left the Chiefs in the middle of last season when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Nothing much has been said about Berry’s future since his treatments were completed in June.

But Chiefs coach Andy Reid was encouraged by Berry’s appearance when the five-year veteran reported to training camp.

Caroline Kull / KCUR

A group opposing the new Kansas City, Missouri minimum wage ordinance have effectively blocked its implementation. 

Opponents of a higher minimum wage have filed only 100 of the 3400 signatures they need to send the repeal measure to the voters, but Caitlin Adams of Jobs With Justice believes there's more to the strategy than just getting it on the ballot.

“What this does is delay enforcement and implementation of the bill. It means it holds up a whole lot of Kansas City folks getting a raise until this gets figured out,” said Adams.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Show day at the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska starts early and goes fast.

I arrived around 9 in the morning, but Emily Lambrecht had already spent an hour and a half in the wash stalls, scrubbing and shampooing her calves so they would sparkle in the show barn.

This was showtime. The 17-year-old 4-H and FFA exhibitor spent months working up to this one day.

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