Fuel: It's What's For Dinner

4 hours ago
Stephanie Joyce / Harvest Public Media

There are few places where the connection between energy and food is more obvious than at the Bright Agrotech warehouse in Laramie, Wyo.

Most of the building is filled floor to ceiling with giant shelves of cardboard boxes and tubing—equipment Bright Agrotech sells to farmers—but in one corner of the warehouse, there’s a small farm: rows and rows of greens and herbs, growing in white vertical towers under dozens of bright LEDs. The hum of electricity is palpable.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Every year, thousands of people snap out of their Thanksgiving food comas to grab deals during Black Friday. But for smaller vendors, the real holiday shopping event to wait for is Small Business Saturday. 

That's certainly the case for .POP!, a self-described "gypsy market" that's currently located at Bonfire on Johnson Drive. Every three or four months, .POP! moves to another space in Kansas City to show off local makers and their wares.

Kansas City Public Schools

What should you do if you're caught in an 'active shooter' situation? That question has received a lot of attention in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks this month that killed 130 people.

Prominent security officials like New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have said organizations like his are undergoing a 'very significant change' in how they approach such situations, trying to more actively fight such shooters instead of negotiating. 

J. Robert Schraeder Photography / The Coterie

Amid the vast genre known as holiday music, few classics stand out as much as A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack to the iconic Peanuts television special.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the TV cartoon is the Coterie Theatre's live production. Demand for tickets was so intense the show is now sold out until after Christmas (it runs through Jan. 3).

Cody Newill / KCUR

If you've driven past 11th and Main Street in downtown Kansas City since Tuesday morning, you've probably been a little perplexed about the large green rectangle that now adorns the pavement.

What is that strange new addition, you might very well ask? It's Kansas City's first "bike box."

Bike boxes are spaces just before traffic lights that give cyclists a slight head start when signals turn. It lets them pull ahead of cars by a few feet to safely make turns from bike lanes over to adjacent streets.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Let's be clear, pierogi is not a Thanksgiving food. But you may notice that in some spellings of the word (like the one used in the previous sentence), it has the word 'pie' in it.

That's not a sorry joke. The Slavic origins of the word pierogi, or pirogi (as it is also commonly spelled) yields the translation "pie." Really, they're dumplings but consider them little Slavic pies, too, and they become an eminently appropriate Thanksgiving dish. 

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

As concerns circulate about the attitude of the Kansas Department for Children and Families toward adoptions by homosexual couples, a special legislative committee is mulling controversial research about the effects of gay parents on children.

At a meeting last week, the 2015 Special Committee on Foster Care Adequacy heard concerns about the state’s foster care system, which has hit record levels of out-of-home placements in recent years.

A portion of the meeting was set aside to hear from Donald Paul Sullins, a priest and professor at Catholic University of America.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City-area Muslims say anxiety among the community is as high as it’s been since 9/11.

Terrorist attacks in Paris and around the world combined with increased anti-Muslim rhetoric has caused a spike in hate mail and venomous posts on social media.

There have been overt acts of aggression against Muslims in several cities in the United States in recent days. Local leaders say the issue of Syrian refugees has fueled Islamophobia, as well.

I wasn't introduced to green bean casserole until I was in my twenties. 

The dish won me over immediately, and I wanted to make it for my family one Thanksgiving. But dumping canned soup, canned green beans and a tin of crunchy fried onions into a casserole dish felt like cheating — as far as "cooking" goes. Particularly on a holiday that's about celebrating the season's bounty.

So I made a from-scratch version.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas tax revenues are plummeting and that may bode poorly for the future of the state's highway system.

Tax revenue has come in $57 million below estimates since the fiscal year began in July, leading the Brownback Administration to sweep money from different places to balance the budget. The biggest hit was taken by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).

You can talk about expansion projects, preservation projects and economic development around transportation, but for many, what’s happening to KDOT funding right now boils down to one thing.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt criticized the president for his lack of leadership during a stop in Kansas City Tuesday. At the same time, President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande held a joint press conference and called for increased cooperation to fight the Islamic State.

“What happens when the United States fails to provide leadership in the world is bad things and more disruptive things fill that leadership vacuum,” says Blunt.

It is still unknown what the impact of the landmark Gannon school finance case will be, since the Kansas Supreme Court won't ultimately decide on it until sometime next year. 

What is clearer now, though, is the state's stance on what role the Court should play in determining funding for Kansas public education. In short, the state thinks the Court has no role. Briefs filed in Gannon Monday by the state essentially tell the Court to stay out of its legislative business. 

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The arrest of a Topeka couple on child abuse charges has raised new questions about a custody battle that some say illustrates a pattern of discrimination against gay Kansans seeking to adopt children.

The 2014 custody case pitted a lesbian couple from Wichita, Lisa and Tesa Hines, against Jonathan and Allison Schumm of Topeka for custody of the Hineses’ foster child, Isabella, who had been in their care since she was 5 days old.

Joe Stanziola

Second Hand King
Before the Bomb Drops

In a 30-second slice from Before the Bomb Drops' opener, Second Hand King (Joe Stanziola) reminds us to “be glad [we’re] not in Baghdad,” plays a radio sample about the atomic bomb, and regrets drunkenly texting a girl he doesn’t care about. This enigmatic album gives Stanziola a platform to think through his own problems while telling the audience not to think so hard, because “nothing really matters.”

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

A white police officer with his arm around the neck of a black man. Officers standing in a line, wearing helmets and carrying rifles. These images are not from photographs taken this year or last year – as you might guess – but during the Civil Rights movement many decades ago. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, like many museums, maps out exhibitions in advance – often years ahead.

What Is The Carbon Footprint Of A Typical Thanksgiving Dinner?

Nov 24, 2015
Jack Amick / Flickr -- CC

Mike Berners-Lee may not be an expert on the American Thanksgiving. A native of the UK, he’s never actually had the pleasure of experiencing one. But as one of the world’s leading researchers on the carbon footprint of—well—everything (he even wrote a book subtitled “The Carbon Footprint of Everything”), he’s plenty familiar with the impacts of the foods that star in the traditional Thanksgiving Day spread.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Two University of Kansas Medical Center researchers at the forefront of national efforts to treat Alzheimer’s disease said scientists are making strides toward reducing the prevalence of a condition that affects as many as 5.1 million Americans.

Key aims include early detection and halting the progression of the disease, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a leader of the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center (KUADC).

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Monday that Kari Bruffett, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, will resign effective Dec. 31.

Bruffett has been a member of the Brownback administration since he took office in 2011.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

President Bill Clinton had nothing but praise for the man who ran against him in 1996 during a speech Monday at the University of Kansas.

Clinton was in Lawrence to receive the 2015 Dole Leadership Prize, which he was awarded for his legacy of bipartisanship during his terms in the White House.

But it was Bob Dole, says Clinton, who was truly willing to reach across the aisle.

“He could fight you like no tomorrow,” said Clinton of Dole, “but he never closed the door on something that could benefit a real person.”

Kansas Legislature

Two Kansas lawmakers who lost their health committee assignments because they support Medicaid expansion say the purge has given the issue more momentum.

Interviewed over the weekend for KCUR’s “Statehouse Blend” podcast, Republican House members Susan Concannon, from Beloit, and Don Hill, from Emporia, said Speaker Ray Merrick’s decision to remove them from the Health and Human Services Committee was a mistake if his goal was to shut down discussion on the expansion issue.

For years, people have been asking Cody Wyoming to reprise the now-legendary 2011 concert in which a long roster of Kansas City musicians played a live version of the Rolling Stones’ classic Exile on Main Street.

“As much fun as it was, I try not to repeat myself too much,” Wyoming says.

So, on Nov. 28, a long roster of Kansas City musicians will stage the Rolling Stones’ classic Sticky Fingers.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

After the patent on one of the most popular versions of genetically engineered soybeans expired this year, U.S. universities are creating new generic GMO soybean varieties, many of which are designed to guard against specific, local pests.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Move over turkey. Step aside stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year and it’s as popular as ever.

Love it or loathe it, the classic Midwestern casserole has come to mean more than just a mashup of processed food sitting next to the mashed potatoes.

Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

While the Gannon school funding case now before the Kansas Supreme Court has garnered most of the attention, there's another school finance case out there and that one has gone all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case, known as Petrella, was filed by parents in the Shawnee Mission School District in 2010 against the state. The parents argue the district should be able to raise unlimited local tax money to pay for education. The state right now caps how much money can be spent locally as a way to equalize education for all Kansas kids.

Cody Newill / KCUR

LGBT activists and supporters met at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City Saturday to promote positivity for local transgender residents.

More than 50 people attended the event, which featured poetry, songs and experiences from more than a dozen speakers about the struggles and strengths of Kansas City's transgender communities. The gathering capped off Transgender Awareness Week, a national effort to raise awareness about transgender identity.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The phrase reads “Not In My Name" and local Muslims with the Islamic Center of Johnson County want to see it on banners and T-shirts across the Islamic community in the Kansas City region.

Sporting a white T-shirt with #NotInMyName in bold blue letters across the front, local real estate broker Afir Ahmad says Muslims must publicly denounce acts of terrorism in the name of Islam.

“We want to disassociate ourselves from these murderers," he said in an interview after a midday prayer service Friday.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A large crowd of supporters and donors gathered Friday morning in the freshly renovated lobby space of the Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus.

After a seven-month, $5.6 million reconstruction, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's primary venue now has a new stage floor, new seats, updated lighting and acoustic design as well as an expanded lobby. 

Bernard Pollack / Flickr--CC

As the debate on whether to accept Syrian refugees rages, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says now is not the time for a new national identity.

“As Americans, we have always been a country of immigrants,” Nixon says. “We have always a place that welcomed people who had horrific things happen to them, whether it has been in Africa or Bosnia or now in Syria.”

He says he understands the concerns of Missourians who are reticent to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Tyler Adkisson / KBIA

Recent racially charged protests at the University of Missouri-Columbia have stirred up memories of the hostility toward blacks that Kwame Thompson says he saw and experienced at the university.

Thompson, a 1995 Mizzou graduate, describes his transfer to the University of Missouri as “culture shock,” explaining the campus had few black faculty members at the time.

“I can only remember ever being called (the N word) twice in my life,” Thompson tells us. “Both were at Mizzou.”

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Finding a fossil in Kansas City can be as easy as going to the park or checking around your basement.

"Both Kansas and Missouri have great fossil deposits," Bruce Lieberman told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

"They represent, in some respects, different time periods, especially if you get further east into Missouri, east of the Kansas City metro," he said.