News

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency must take cost into consideration when regulating power plant emissions.

Kansas and Missouri were among 20 states that joined Michigan officials in a lawsuit over a 2011 EPA rule requiring electric utilities to minimize their emissions of mercury and other toxic substances from their smokestacks.

Kansas Attorney General's Office

As expected, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt quickly appealed Friday's court ruling finding most of the block grant funding law unconstitutional and ordering the state to make millions of dollars in back payments to school districts by Wednesday.

In a statement, Schmidt said a three-judge Shawnee County District Court panel broke new legal ground with its order, "including attempting to reinstate laws that the Legislature repealed months ago."

The language in the appeal takes the court to task. Schmidt called the order "cynical, calculated and unfortunately political" because the panel "issued its decision on the very day and barely one hour after the Legislature finally adjourned."

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear a case involving voter registration in Kansas and Arizona. The suit requests that the federal voter registration form be changed to require that some people provide documents proving their U.S. citizenship.

Kansas and Arizona already have that requirement on state voter registration forms. A lower court declined to make the change, and the federal registration forms will remain as-is, for now.

File photo

The filing of a murder charge against a former patient at the Osawatomie State Hospital is prompting questions about the state’s mental health system.

On May 14, Brandon Brown, 30, was released from a five-day stay at Osawatomie. He was sent to the state hospital after threatening other patients at the Haviland Care Center, a nursing facility in Kiowa County that specializes in treating adults with serious and persistent mental illness.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A lot of the hospitals in rural Kansas are called “Critical Access Hospitals.” It’s an important designation, because Critical Access Hospitals were created by the federal government to maintain access to health care in rural areas.

But Many Kansas Critical Access Hospitals are in financial trouble. Medicare requires them to offer 24-hour emergency services. But most don’t have enough ER patients to justify the cost of 24-7 service, says Melissa Hungerford, senior vice president for health care leadership at the Kansas Hospital Association.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A new emergency shelter for children in Wyandotte County opening up this summer got a little help from the community Saturday.

The proceeds from the "Luau with Love" at St. Patrick Catholic Church will help fund Robert's Place, a shelter where children in abusive homes can be taken after police have intervened.

Brian Seifferlerin / Harvest Public Media

Rodeo season is getting into full swing and at most rodeos, bull riding is the main event. But when the bull ride ends, the work begins for rodeo bullfighters, and a young bullfighter is making a name in the business by putting himself in the middle of the action.

At bull riding time at the Plum Creek Rodeo in Lexington, Nebraska, the rodeo corral is under the lights and the sun is a ripe orange in the west. Rowdy Moon bounces on the balls of his feet like a boxer waiting for the match to start.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Randy Attwood has been a journalist and a public relations professional. He grew up at the state psychiatric hospital in Larned, Kansas, where his father was the dentist. Here, he reads the opening of his novella "One More Victim":

Wikimedia --CC

You might not be as aware as you were when the FIFA World Cup commenced in June last year — but we're in the midst of another World Cup: the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The U.S. women's team defeated China Friday 1-0, and they take on Germany Tuesday in Montreal.

This year's U.S. team boasts four women with Kansas City connections. All the women play for FC Kansas City, Kansas City's professional National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team. Here is a little more about them so you can get on the bandwagon and root for our hometown women.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A committee in the Kansas House has dismissed a complaint against a Democratic lawmaker who made controversial comments earlier this year.

During a committee hearing in March, Rep. Valdenia Winn, of Kansas City, Kansas, said that “racist bigots” were supporting a bill to take away college tuition breaks for students who are in the country illegally.

During the Friday hearing, Republican Rep. Mark Kahrs moved to dismiss the complaint against Winn and the committee agreed unanimously.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

On the 114th and final day of the Kansas legislative session, a court ruling feared by lawmakers and eagerly anticipated by most educators was handed down .

A three-judge Shawnee County District Court panel ruled Friday that block grant school funding, one of the signature issues for conservatives in the Legislature, is unconstitutional.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Special interests have long eyed Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax as a potential pot of gold, if only voters would agree to hike the 17-cent-per-pack levy and direct the windfall to health and education programs.

Yet tax-hike advocates have failed narrowly at the polls three times going back to 2002, and the landscape is not much different as another campaign girds for battle next year.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Update, 8:04 a.m., Saturday

At the moment, Westar Energy isn't reporting any outages in Wyandotte or Johnson counties. Independence Power & Light reports 3,798 customers without power. The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities reports 9,873.

Kansas City Power & Light reports 22,447 outages in Jackson County and 2,333 in Johnson County.

Original post continues below

At around 2 a.m. on Friday, a storm with winds up to 80 mph rolled through the Kansas City metro area, taking down trees and power lines.

@mayorslyjames / Twitter

For some Kansas Citians, Friday's Supreme Court decision that same sex-couples have the right to marriage meant holding back tears at work.

That was the case for Twitter user Nicolette Martin (@nicoletteemma).

For Josh Neff, the decision meant breaking "the news to my LGBTQA daughter."

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR

Marriage equality advocates in Missouri and Kansas rejoiced Friday as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states are not allowed to place bans on unions by same-sex couples.

Within the predictable summer onslaught of overstimulated superheroes in crushing surround sound, it’s refreshing to find a charming and funny antidote in "I’ll See You in My Dreams." Directed and co-written by Brett Haley, the movie stars Blythe Danner as Carol, a widowed resident of a retirement village who finds companionship with one man around her age and another some forty years younger. Both of them succeed at whittling away the tough barriers she thought she has needed around her.

Wikimedia --CC

An Olathe Northwest High School graduate was a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the Sacramento Kings selected Willie Cauley-Stein with their sixth overall pick in the draft.

Cauley-Stein grew up in Spearville, Kansas, located outside Dodge City, then transferred in high school to Olathe Northwest.

Cauley-Stein departs the University of Kentucky after three years.

Image Courtesy of Starlight Theatre / Copyright Bob Compton Photography

At the end of May, more than 2,000 kids and their friends and parents headed to Starlight Theatre for the Blue Star Awards, Kansas City’s high school version of the Tony Awards. They got decked out in dramatic formal wear, walked down a red carpet and had their pictures taken, then performed bits of their shows and made acceptance speeches.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act preserves federal tax subsidies that nearly 270,000 consumers in Kansas and Missouri used to help them purchase health insurance.

If the decision handed down Thursday had gone the other way, those consumers, many of whom were previously uninsured, might have been forced to drop their coverage.

RELATED: High Court Upholds Health Law Subsidies 

The Kansas Health Consumer Coalition will cease operations this week.

“It’s been a struggle to maintain our funding,” said Carol Ramirez Albott, president of the Topeka-based advocacy group’s governing board. “Things just got to a point where we felt like we couldn’t adequately do the job.”

The board, she said, notified its supporters of the decision late last week.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A Shawnee County judge has temporarily blocked a new abortion restriction that was supposed to take effect July 1in Kansas. The legislation prohibits a procedure that the law calls “dismemberment abortion,” where a fetus is removed, in pieces, with tools.

The judge says the Kansas Constitution protects abortion rights, and that justifies putting the law on hold.

Janet Crepps, of the Center for Reproductive Rights, says this will stop women from having to use riskier procedures to end a pregnancy.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As KCUR begins an exploration of how the Missouri River unites and divides the Kansas City metro, we must first consider our unique congregation of bridges. There are 10 of them, if you include the highways. Thirteen if you count the rail tracks that go over the river. And each one — though probably many people can't identify them by name — offers a unique perspective and connection for travelers.

As part of the Beyond Our Borders project, we'll soon take a look at the current state of the bridges and how we use them. But for now, we offer a little bit of history.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Skepticism from the Missouri Public Service Commission didn’t stop a company that wants to build a pipeline across the state to harness Kansas wind energy from signing a jobs agreement Thursday.

Clean Line Energy announced it will work with Kansas City-based PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. to create 1,300 jobs for Missourians during construction of the Grain Belt Express.

Reactions to today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act – the federal tax subsidies made available through the federal insurance marketplace:

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.): “The Supreme Court has said it again and again: The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Today’s decision saves lives. The ACA is helping millions of Americans focus on their families, jobs, and quality of life, instead of worrying about what will happen if they and their family members get hurt or sick. Now I am no lawyer—I am simply a United Methodist preacher. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

We’d all like to make our mark and leave something of lasting value. Of course, some of us are luckier than others in that department.

As luck would have it, though, this weekend offers emblematic entertainment of undeniable significance, as well as the efforts of folks still seeking to make an enduring difference – from the “world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band” still successfully chugging away in its sixth decade to aspiring young makers trying to shake up the world with their inventions.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Many teachers enjoy their summers on a beach or some other far-flung vacation spot. But a small group of Kansas City educators has traded relaxation for innovation. 

The Lean Lab, based at Kansas City's Sprint Accelerator, recently launched its second cohort of "Incubator Fellows". The group of eight--six teachers, one UMKC student, and one tech entrepreneur--will spend four weeks this summer developing solutions to problems they find in Kansas City education. 

High Court Upholds Health Law Subsidies

Jun 25, 2015
Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

The Affordable Care Act survived its second Supreme Court test in three years, raising odds for its survival but by no means ending the legal and political assaults on it five years after it became law.

Dial Books

Summer vacation has officially started and for many parents, that means a lot of free time to fill for their kids.

How about a trip to the ancient Martial Empire or to a faraway desert island? These summer reading picks will take your young ones to some of the most remote edges of the earth.

Johnson County Librarians Dennis Ross and Kate McNair and retired librarian Debbie McLeod selected some titles to keep kids and teens reading all summer long.

Recommendations for ages 3-10

  • Smick! By Coreen Cronin, illustrated by Juana Medina. Ages 3 – 6.
  • Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton, Ages 4 - 8.
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson, Ages 5-10.
  • Billy’s Booger: a Memior (Sorta) by William Joyce and his younger self. Ages 5 – 10.
  • Princess In Black by Shannon Hale, Ages 6-9. 
christina rutz / Flickr-CC

A Kansas City Council Committee has determined that it should no longer be illegal to keep Vietnamese potbellied pigs as pets.

An amendment to a 1995 ordinance going before the full city council would allow for up to four potbellied pigs to be kept in residentially zoned areas as long as they are neutered and remain under 95 pounds.

Residents who want to keep potbellied pigs will have to keep them leashed or fenced when outside. 

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