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Jeffrey Beall / UMKC

When the 6-foot, 7-inch, 330-pound Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle first walked into her office, Susan Wilson suspected Ryan O’Callaghan’s drug abuse had deeper roots than physical injury.

In time, her suspicions would prove true.

At first glance, O’Callaghan fit the bill of a chronically injured NFL player who became reliant on prescription pain medications to soothe his discomfort.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday signed a bill creating a task force to examine the Kansas foster care system.

The number of children in the Kansas foster care system has set records in recent years, passing 7,100 in April. The death of an abused boy in Kansas City, Kansas, also raised concerns about whether the system was protecting children. 

Catherine Wheeler / KCUR 89.3

Where Highway 169 meets Barry Road sits the iconic Kansas City Police Department's North Patrol Division station. Interim Chief of Police David Zimmerman says it’s affectionately referred to as the “bumblebee” thanks to its black and yellow exterior.

That station will officially close its doors Monday, June 26, and a new station will open Wednesday, June 28.

Today community members and officials celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new home of the North Patrol Division at 11000 Northwest Prairie View Road, overlooking I-29.

Farmers complained when China rejected shipments of U.S. corn after finding unapproved varieties.
File: Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This story was updated at 3:12 p.m.

A federal jury in Kansas City, Kansas, awarded nearly $218 million to Kansas corn farmers after finding seed giant Syngenta AG was negligent when it introduced strains of genetically engineered corn seed into the marketplace that were not approved for import by the Chinese government.  

The eight-member jury returned its $217,700,000 verdict after an 18-day-long trial, the first of eight certified class actions lawsuits against Syngenta brought in state court.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

“Let’s go divas, let’s go!” the girls chant, before dissolving into giggles.

On the last day of a Kansas City Public Schools-sponsored summer camp, students cheer on their friends in an engineering challenge.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

In his 26 years at Meade Unified School District 226, a 400-student district southwest of Dodge City, Superintendent Kenneth Harshberger has watched the educational landscape change.

Teachers are harder to recruit — even for elementary jobs, which were traditionally easier to fill.

“The first time I tried to hire an elementary teacher 25, 26 years ago, we had over 100 applicants,” he recalled. “Now I can’t get five applicants.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The same group of elderly white men meet every morning at 6 a.m. at Fubbler’s Cove diner on Front Street in Orrick, Missouri. And pretty much every day they discuss the usual stuff: the weather, the crops, etc.

On a recent warm spring day, I dropped in to ask for their opinions on how they think national politics affects them.

“You probably don’t want to hear,” said one, who asked that I not use his name.

These guys disagree all the time – about everything from the new mayor to the food.  But it doesn’t get in the way of their daily coffee and conversation.

Courtesy Lindsay Adams

When did we stop telling folk tales? The days of white-haired elders sitting by fires under the stars recounting local legends might be over, but storytelling and oral traditions aren't. 

In fact, Kansas City playwright Lindsay Adams has created her own folk tale.

"I just had this image of the woman crying and the river flowing and keeping all the wheat alive. I wrote it down in a notebook," she says. "And then I came back to it, started writing and it just sort of came. It was pretty magical."

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands. 

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

When it comes to the “discussion draft” to replace Obamacare that U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled Thursday, Missouri’s two senators could not be farther apart.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts website

Kansas U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts is not enthusiastic about the Senate’s version of the Obamacare replacement bill.

Nevertheless, he supports it.

Kathi Barnhill

Queer kids in rural America know what it's like to grow up scared.

Moises Serrano grew up in Yadkinville, North Carolina, population just under 3,000, about half an hour west of Winston-Salem. He wasn't just gay. His parents brought him across the border from Mexico when he was 18 months old. So: gay and undocumented.

Brian Collins / Heart of American Shakespeare Festival

What’s it all about? Feel free to take your time with that one – like your whole life.

For those in more of a hurry, this weekend may provide a profound clue or two to the big picture, courtesy of the high drama of Shakespeare, the joyful pop music of ABBA and a celebrity softball game devoted to helping sick kids in our community.

Glean what you can in the search for deeper meaning. Remember, it’s a process. So you might as well have a good time while you’re at it!

The poet Mbembe Milton Smith wrote some provocative words about a Kansas City suburb:

“There are uncharted places like Overland Park, Kansas or Greenwich Connecticut where they lock their back door if they heard black power was coming cause black folk wouldn’t dare come round the front.”

For a person of color, those words might articulate a vague feeling of uneasiness that accompanies a visit to Johnson County even today. But they come from the poem "Allegory of the Bebop Walk," written decades ago.

Courtesy @MLB_Players Twitter

There was a ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check to officials with The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City’s historic 18th & Vine neighborhood Wednesday. It happened again before the Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Stadium later that afternoon.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands. 

Rachel Arato-Hrabko

It takes a special kind of mid-life Midwestern songwriter to transform the tale of Ann Boleyn, Henry VIII’s famous second wife, and Thomas Cromwell, the king’s lesser-known chief minister, into a cheatin’ song.

Ron Reiring / Wikimedia Commons

If you walk through Union Station’s Sprint Festival Plaza (formerly known as the North Waiting room) during the week, you’ll see a dozen dangling figures working meticulously on the ceiling. If you look even closer, you can see the limestone architecture coming back to life.

Brian Slater / Courtesy Making Movies

One of Kansas City’s most accomplished rock bands, Making Movies tours extensively and collaborates with prominent artists — but this weekend they're part of a free concert in downtown Lawrence.

That free show comes as the band — brothers Diego and Enrique Chi, who are Panamanian immigrants; and brothers Juan-Carlos and Andres Chaurand — is enjoying a wave of national attention.

KC Hotel Developers, LLC

The long-planned Kansas City downtown convention hotel has a new flag and welcome infusion of cash from Loews Hotels, a New York-based luxury hotel operator.

Developer and attorney Mike Burke, who has pushed for the convention hotel project for more than six years, says Loews has agreed to invest a “substantial” amount of equity in the 800-room project and operate the hotel.

Meg Wingerter / Kansas News Service

The foster care system in Kansas has problems, but a national child welfare group sees one area where it could lead the way for other states.

Tracey Feild, director of the child welfare strategy group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said work on childhood trauma by KVC Kansas, one of the state’s two foster care contractors, could be a model for others. The Casey Foundation sponsors the annual Kids Count report and other child-focused research.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kansas City-based photographer Dan White has won a Pulitzer Prize and traveled the world photographing people and places. From his home and studio in the West Bottoms, he's preparing to set out on his next trip into the field.

But his latest trip isn’t taking him off to some far-flung location. White is headed to his troubled hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands. 

Bigstock

After repeatedly denying that they had listened to attorney-client phone calls at the Leavenworth Detention Center, federal prosecutors now acknowledge that at least one prosecutor did and they have moved to correct the court record.

In a filing Monday with the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said that a one-time prosecutor in his office had, in fact, listened to recorded calls between a defendant in an amphetamine distribution case and the defendant’s attorney.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

About 100 firefighters are battling a three-alarm fire at a warehouse on Southwest Boulevard.

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi says they received calls reporting the fire at Friday’s Only Furniture Outlet at 29th and Southwest Boulevard around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.

He says by the time crews arrived on scene, the blaze was heavily involved. 

"I arrived on the scene just about seven or eight minutes after it was here, and it was already through the roof. So they knew that it was a defensive fire immediately," Berardi says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Growing up, Kansas City Mayor Sly James had to wait for his younger brothers to go to bed before he could read.

“I would sit on the attic steps with a flashlight and read Doc Savage books,” James said Tuesday as he accepted an All-American City Award for his efforts to promote reading. “It was my ritual.”

The mayor was appalled to learn in 2011 that only 33.8 percent of Kansas City students could read proficiently by third grade.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

In voting for a $1.2 billion tax increase to bolster the budget for the next two years, the Kansas Legislature avoided a projected $900 budget hole and began restoring past cuts to the mental health system.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Jim Barnett is throwing his stethoscope into the ring.

Again.

The 63-year-old doctor and former state senator is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

Again.

Barnett, who represented an Emporia-centered district in the Kansas Senate for a decade, won the 2006 GOP primary over a relatively weak field but lost to incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in the general election.

Four years later he came up short in a race against Tim Huelskamp for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

Updated, 2:22 p.m. Tuesday: Kansas City is among 12 cities that will receive "significant assistance" from the Department of Justice to fight violent crime. 

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning at a national summit on violent crime reduction efforts. 

The cities will become part of the new National Public Safety Partnership, officially launched Tuesday.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

KCUR health reporter Alex Smith has won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a radio feature about a deaf man who regained his hearing through cochlear implants.

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