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5:32 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Legal Troubles Mount For St. Joseph School District

Legal troubles piled up for the St. Joesph, Mo., school districts this week as their insurer moved to be dismissed of liability in a pending lawsuit.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

It was a brutal legal week for the embattled St. Joseph, Mo., School District.

It was served with a third federal grand jury subpoena for documents, as staff welcomed back CFO Beau Musser after seven months on paid administrative leave after accusing him of sexual misconduct.

An outside investigation showed Musser did not act improperly. Musser sued the district and that lawsuit is still pending.

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Agriculture
4:45 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Ag Industry Calls For More Immigration Reform

Specialty crop farms, like orchards, rely heavily on migrant labor to hand pick fruit.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

In the debate over immigration reform, farm and ranch groups have been among those calling for change the loudest, and most frequently. But after President Obama announced changes to the immigration system, the response from the agriculture industry so far has been mixed.

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Central Standard
4:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance Is One Of A Kind

Kansas City's Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance is a time-honored tradition.
Credit Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance Facebook Page

On Thanksgiving morning, when people all over the nation express their gratitude by sleeping in or toiling away in the kitchen, several hundred Kansas Citians step out in their finest attire to head to a giant party -- with live music, dancing, and heaping helpings of Louisiana gumbo.

For breakfast.

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Beyond Our Borders
2:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City, Missouri, Companies Score Higher On LGBT Friendliness Than Kansas

For the most part, companies based in Kansas City, Mo., scored high on the Human Rights Campaign's latest study on LGBT friendliness in businesses.
Credit Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A new report ranking Kansas City-area companies on LGBT equality essentially gave the Missouri side a B — and Kansas a C. 

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Arts & Culture
1:18 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City Artist Uses Bread As A Means Of Social Change

In one of his community projects, Fresh Bread, Sean Starowitz set up shop in vacant lots and sold bread, priced for the neighborhood.
Credit Sean Starowitz / Courtesy photo

Bread can serve as an important connector between people.

It can fuel discussions, break through social barriers and institute change. 

A 2014 Charlotte Street Foundation award winner, Sean Starowitz is an artist whose work is hard to place on the walls of galleries. As the artist-in-residence at Farm to Market Bread Co., his projects often focus on bread and community. 

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Ferguson
12:39 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Eric Holder Urges Peace As Ferguson Grand Jury Prepares Indictment Decision

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a video urging peace leading up to a Ferguson grand jury decision about whether to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown.
Credit United States Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder asked police across the nation to prepare appropriately Friday for demonstrations tied to Ferguson, Mo. 

The warning comes as the public expects a grand jury decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

In a video post by the Justice Department, Holder said that protests are most effective when they're nonviolent.

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Arts & Culture
12:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Gospel Singer Ah'Lee Robinson Sings Out

Ah'Lee Robinson rehearses an a cappella version of 'Give me Jesus.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

For the past 20 years, Ah'Lee Robinson has helped young people find their own voices as executive director of the Kansas City Boys Choir and the Kansas City Girls Choir

Robinson is an accomplished gospel singer himself. On Friday, he’ll sing in a concert of "praise and thanksgiving.”

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Food Critics
12:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Restaurants Within 250 Miles Of Kansas City

The Lemp Mansion Restaurant in St. Louis, Mo., is just one of the destination restaurants that the Food Critics recommend.
Credit Chris Yunker / Flickr-CC

With holiday vacation days in sight, many will be leaving the Kansas City area to go visit loved ones.

Instead of just eating gas station burritos that look like they've been irradiated, why not stop for something a little more refined?

This week on Central Standard, food critics Mary Bloch, Charles Ferruzza and Cat Neville discussed the best spots to eat within 250 miles of the Kansas City metro. From fried chicken to artisan chocolates, they covered a wide range of tastes and culinary styles.

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Heartland Health Monitor
11:44 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Why Kansas Democrats Shied Away From Medicaid Expansion Issue

Post-election soul-searching by Kansas Democrats includes disagreement over whether Medicaid expansion should have been a larger part of the party’s strategy.

The Democrats lost all statewide races for the second straight time and lost another five House seats to drop their number in that chamber to 27. The defeats were part of a national wave of Republican election wins, but they have nonetheless led to talk within the Kansas Democratic Party about what could have been done differently.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:21 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Denver Company To Open Eating Disorder Facility In Kansas City

Tanja Haaland is the program director of the Eating Disorder Center of Kansas City.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

 

A highly regarded eating-disorder treatment center is about to make the Kansas City area its first site outside of its home state of Colorado, a development local clinicians said would help fill a critical gap in services here.

The Eating Disorder Center of Denver expects to open its partial hospitalization program on Dec. 29, according to local program director Tanja Haaland. The company is renovating 5,400 square feet of space in the lower level of an office building near Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Merriam, Kan.

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Government
8:52 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas Transportation Funding Might Help Balance State Budget

Kansas lawmakers may dip into highway funding to help balance the state’s budget.

The state Senate’s top budget officials say transportation money could help fill the gap. Andover, Kan., Republican Senator Ty Masterson chairs the Ways and Means Committee. He says transportation is a big expense to the state and Kansas has already built a healthy system.

"Pulling back to a point of preservation, and not this aggressive expansion, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing," Masterson said. "And it wouldn’t be prolonged."

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Film Review: Questions About Manhood Snowball In 'Force Majeure'

Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren and Lisa Loven Kongsli in 'Force Majeure'
Credit Magnolia Pictures

A potentially devastating mishap on a family vacation in the French Alps chills a marriage in Swedish filmmaker Ruben D. Ostlund's gripping and beautiful Force Majeure. The event — an ultimately benign avalanche at a ski resort — stops short of being catastrophic. But a fight-or-flight response by the husband and father buries the family in something less tangible than snow.

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Education
6:43 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Federal Investigation of St. Joseph School District Narrows

A third grand jury subpoena was served at the St. Joseph School District headquarters, which is about an hour north of Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

The federal investigation into the St. Joseph School District is becoming more focused.

A third grand jury subpoena was served on the Missouri district late Thursday.

This latest subpoena for documents asks for some very specific information.

In a news release, the district says the grand jury sitting in Kansas City, Mo., wants to know about the district's tuition reimbursement and teacher certificate reimbursement programs.

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Arts & Culture
6:30 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Kansas City Art Institute Names New Interim President

Tony Jones, chancellor and president emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will serve as the interim president of the Kansas City Art Institute.
Credit James Prinz / Courtesy: Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute Thursday announced new leadership — at least for the next 18 months. Starting Dec. 3, Tony Jones, chancellor and president emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will step in as interim president. 

Stephen Metzler, chair of the KCAI board of trustees, has served this role since August, when former president Jacqueline Chanda retired. 

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Government
4:18 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Brownback Won't Allow Marriage Rights To Gay Couples In Kansas

A lesbian couple apply for a marriage license at the Douglas County (Kansas) Courthouse last week after a federal court ruled that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Although gay and lesbian couples are getting married in at least 24 Kansas counties, Gov. Sam Brownback won’t allow any state recognition of the unions.

Brownback said Thursday that he won’t offer any of the benefits heterosexual couples get, such as name changes on a driver’s license or employee benefits for gay and lesbian state workers.

“There is still considerable legal ambiguity on the topic of same-sex marriage,” said Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokeswoman. “Once that ambiguity is gone, the governor will direct state agencies to comply with applicable laws.”

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:04 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

MU Health Care To Stop Hiring Nicotine Users

Credit Creative Commons-Pixabay

One of Missouri's largest employers will no longer hire nicotine users.

As of January 1, 2015, MU Health Care, the five-hospital University of Missouri health system based in Columbia, Mo., said it won't offer jobs to people who smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes, chew tobacco or "vape" electronic cigarettes.

The health system made the announcement Thursday to coincide with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout holiday.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:46 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Kansas Chosen For Free School Breakfast Grants

More Kansas kids may soon get free breakfast at school.

A program called Breakfast in the Classroom has added Kansas and six other states to the list of those eligible for the grant-funded program, bringing the total number of states to 18. The program has been in place since 2012 in the Kansas City, Kan., school district, but schools throughout the rest of Kansas will be eligible to apply this year.

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Tell KCUR
3:20 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

How Geography Plays Out In School Choice In Kansas City

How did you choose your child's school? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit alamosbasement / Flickr--CC

Geography plays a big role in how Kansas Citians decide where to send their kids to school.

At least that’s what we heard back from parents when we asked them this week about how they made the big decision.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:03 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Kansas Hospitals Continue Push For Medicaid Expansion

The Kansas Hospital Association on Thursday continued its campaign for Medicaid expansion by reminding policymakers how much the state is losing by not claiming federal dollars to cover more low-income adults.

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Community
12:35 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Nixon Says State Trying To Balance Speech, Safety In Ferguson Response

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, center, along with Lincoln Preparatory Academy Principal Joseph Hesman, left, and Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green, right, speaks to students about the National Blue Ribbon award.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says the state's response to an upcoming grand jury decision in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown will focus on ensuring safety while protecting civil liberties.

"We want to make sure that people who want to speak, want to say things, march and protest, have the right to do so in a protected way," Nixon said. "Safety-wise, we want to make sure people are able to stay safe."

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Arts & Culture
10:56 am
Thu November 20, 2014

New Release Brings Subterranean Sounds From 1960s, 1970s To Light

The new release, Local Customs: Cavern Sound features previously unreleased recordings by bands like Tide, the Reactions, Burlington Express, Faright, and more.
courtesy: The Numero Group

It was described as "one of the strangest recording studios ever built."

In the 1960s and 1970s, musicians found their way to Cavern Sound, a studio in an underground cave in Independence, Mo. James Brown and Brewer and Shipley recorded there. But so did garage bands, school choirs, gospel groups, and folk duos at a rate of $300 a day.

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:43 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Computer System For Kansas Social Services Still Awaits Rollout

A $135 million computer system meant to streamline applications for Kansas social services, including Medicaid, remains without a final “go-live” date more than a year after the rollout was originally scheduled to be completed.

Glen Yancey, chief information officer for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said Tuesday that his staff is “making final assessments” of the readiness the Kansas Eligibility and Enforcement System, or KEES.

Yancey declined to give a rollout target date, though, saying that policymakers above him have to make that call.

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McTavish Weekend Extra
10:42 am
Thu November 20, 2014

6 'Little' Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

Watch glass marbles be made by hand this weekend at the Moon Marble Comapny in Bonner Springs, Kan.
Credit Nick Harris / Flickr--CC

The big holidays are almost here. But there’s still time to do something that’s little before having a momentous bite of turkey or ceremonial cup of cheer.

This weekend may be your last chance to enjoy a tinier activity compared to family gatherings and parties that can be consuming and more than a tad crazy – “OK, Uncle Phil, it’s time to take off the lampshade now.”

So before it all gets larger and nuttier – “Now means now, Uncle Phil!” – do something smaller. From insects and puppets to marbles and more, take a walk on the little side.

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Economy
9:25 am
Thu November 20, 2014

After A Six-Year Dive, Wichita Aviation Industry May Be Looking Up

Beechcraft's King Air line in Wichita
Frank Morris KCUR

Wichita, Kan., calls itself the "Air Capital of the World."

But sales of the business jets made there took a nosedive during the recession and have struggled since.

A couple of fresh business ideas are trying to help. One centers on getting more people to travel in small planes. The other is repurposing business jet technology to build a jet fighter for the developing world. 

Hard times in Wichita

Wichita’s been through some tough years recentl. And so has Kevin Bell.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

GOP Lawmakers Reject Request For KanCare Investigative Committee

Republican members of a joint legislative committee say there’s no need to launch a state investigation into allegations that lobbyists connected to Gov. Sam Brownback engaged in “pay to play” deals involving KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat and member of the KanCare Oversight Committee, on Tuesday urged members to recommend the formation of an investigative committee in a report they’re preparing for legislative leaders.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:41 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Annette Bloch Donates $10 Million To KU Hospital For Expansion Project

Annette Bloch's $10 million grant will help fund construction of KU Hospital's building expansion, shown in this rendering.
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

The University of Kansas Hospital announced this afternoon that civic leader Annette Bloch will contribute $10 million toward a $279 million expansion to accommodate the hospital’s fastest growing specialties.

The 92-bed addition, which was announced earlier this year, will be located north of the hospital on the northeast corner of 39th and Cambridge streets in Kansas City, Kan. It will house surgical oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, and ear, nose & throat services.

Bloch structured the donation in the form of a challenge grant that must be matched by June 2016.

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Economy
3:21 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Technology Company Plans To Add 100 Jobs In Historic Western Union Building

Peter Fullerton, CEO of the Kansas City, Mo., Economic Development Council, announces The Nerdery will add 100 jobs in Kansas City. With him are Mike Downing of the Missouri Department of Economic Development and Mayor Sly James.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Nerdery, a Minneapolis-based technology company, will add 100 jobs in Kansas City, Mo., over the next five years, the Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday.

The company, which designs websites and mobile apps, will also invest $4.3 million in the historic Western Union building downtown. 

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Arts & Culture
2:41 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

In Their Annual Contest, Kansas City Architects Have Designs On The World

Des Moines Community Playhouse
Credit BNIM

After showing off their best work, Kansas City architects learned on Nov. 14 how they ranked against their local peers at the 2014 Design Excellence Awards program put on by the American Institute of Architects Kansas City.

Teams of architects from Los Angeles and New Orleans judged entries in two categories: overall design excellence and sports venue design. They bestowed the equivalent of first-, second- and third-place awards; top winners were the Honor Awards, given to projects that are “exemplary in detail, context and execution.”

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Kansas City Royals
1:59 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Billy Butler Picked Up By Oakland A's For $30 Million

Designated Hitter Billy Butler has played for the Kansas City Royals since 2007, but starting in 2015, that'll no longer be the case.
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

The Oakland Athletics confirmed Wednesday that Billy Butler will play for the team starting in 2015.

Despite showing a desire to remain a Kansas City Royal, Butler's $12.5 million option for 2015 was too much for Royals managers.

Oakland approached Butler with a three-year, $30 million contract and $5 million signing bonus.

Some had mixed emotions about seeing Butler leave the only professional team for which he's played. Dean Tangeman posted this response on Twitter:

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Heartland Health Monitor
1:35 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Rising KanCare Costs Add To Kansas Budget Problems

State officials will need to find an additional $40 million to meet rising KanCare costs in the current budget year, according to caseload estimates compiled by the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department.

KanCare is the name of the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Also, an anticipated increase in the number of children in the foster care system will require an additional $10.2 million in state funding in the current budget year, which ends June 30.

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