News

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda, a clergy person at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, likes to be amazed at the natural world, what she calls "God's creation." So, she is expecting Monday's much-anticipated total solar eclipse to be an emotional event. 

"I'm going to have to have a box of tissues. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry because I'm the person who cries at a rainbow or at tremendous lightning," she says. 

courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This Monday, August 21, the moon will cover the sun in a rare total solar eclipse across a 70-mile path of the United States.

The eclipse starts at 11:40 a.m. and reaches totality around 1:06 p.m. in parts of Kansas and Missouri. 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

News of White House strategist Steve Bannon’s resignation broke Friday afternoon during U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s town hall meeting in Topeka.

The second-term Republican was fielding questions about President Donald Trump’s fitness for office when a man in the back of the American Legion hall reading the news on his cell phone shouted that Bannon was out

Jack Hummel, Western Music Association

On a sunny summer afternoon, a group of cowboys took to the outdoor stage in front of the Raphael Hotel on the Plaza and started singing in four-part harmonies.

That band, 3 Trails West, is one of the only practitioners of cowboy music in Kansas City — and has been named the band of the year by the Academy of Western Artists and the Western Music Association.

But what exactly is cowboy music? It isn’t country music. Or country-western.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

An online news site that says it "holds government and mainstream media accountable" attacked an instructor at Johnson County Community College Thursday, suggesting her six-figure salary was related to her gender and race.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Former Hickman Mills Supt. Dennis Carpenter has started his new job in Lee’s Summit.

Netflix

Who else is watching "Ozark"?

The Netflix show set in Missouri provoked lively conversation on a recent edition of KCUR’s Central Standard, where host Gina Kaufmann’s guests included one of the program’s showrunners, Chris Mundy, along with Lake of the Ozarks native Michael Duggan and myself.

We were interested in how the show represents Missouri — and the larger urban-rural divide in the Midwest.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Council put off a decision Thursday to finalize ballot language for a vote on a new airport.

The council split seven to six in favor of the delay.

Third District Councilman Jermaine Reed argued the council should delay the vote until more of the members could agree on how it should read.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced immediate pay increases for corrections officers during a news conference Thursday afternoon at the state prison in El Dorado. 

Brownback said all officers will receive an immediate 5 percent salary increase, and starting pay will be increased across the corrections system. The hourly pay rate for entry-level corrections officers will climb from $13.95 to $14.66.

At El Dorado, where the staff vacancy rate is 47 percent, the hiring hourly rate will go from $13.95 to $15.75, he said.

Courtesy Jim Wilson

Out with the same game this weekend.

Among varied delights, sample an international array of food flavors, get into idiosyncratic country music, bow to the full force of female-fueled classic rock or simply take part in a rare public expression of gourd gratitude – yes, it’s a thing.

Whatever you choose, may the miscellaneous be with you!

1. Ethnic Enrichment Festival

jasonesbain / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has given the go-ahead to a lawsuit filed by the parents of an autistic teenager who was shot multiple times with a Taser after he stopped to tie his shoe on the lawn of a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan this week denied dismissal motions filed by the five law enforcement officials named as defendants in the case by the parents of Christopher Kramer.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons--CC

President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders came up short in their initial efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says they’re still working to engineer its failure.

In a recent interview, Sebelius, who spearheaded implementation of the ACA, said she knows that the law isn’t perfect. But she said it would be working better if Republicans would stop undermining it.

“The notion that this law is imploding is just not accurate,” Sebelius said.

courtesy: Kansas City Parks and Recreation

The controversy surrounding Confederate statues and memorials across the United States has officials in Kansas City, Missouri scrutinizing one here. And it's in a very prominent spot: right in the middle of Ward Parkway, just south of 55th Street.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

Complaints from Kansas Citians about rotting floors, broken fixtures and black mold in rental units often make their way to City Hall. But short of condemning an entire building or advising renters on do-it-yourself remedies, officials currently can’t do much to help.

Prompted by health officials and some neighborhood groups, Councilman Scott Wagner wants to give the city some better tools — and he wants to do it sooner rather than later.

Archives of American Art / Smithsonian Institution

Joe Jones doesn’t sound like the name of a great artist – it sounds like the name of a house painter, which is what Jones was during his early days in St. Louis. But an exhibition at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph argues that Jones' name deserves to be as well known as his regionalist contemporaries: Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and "American Gothic" painter Grant Wood.

Alex Smith

The large majority of the questions about plans for a new airport that Kansas City Mayor Sly James fielded at a public forum on Wednesday evening came down to one thing: money.

From the stage of the Gem Theater, James seemed at times challenged to avoid repeating himself as he answered variations on the same questions about how the new airport would be paid for, what it would cost taxpayers and the amount of economic boost it would create.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Democratic Party and the Democrat leader in the Kansas Senate, Anthony Hensley, called out top Republican officials Wednesday for not condemning the white nationalist march and violence in Charlottesville, Va.

The weekend events left one person dead and dozens injured. Two officers also died when a state police helicopter monitoring the rally crashed. 

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Residents of the Flint Hills on Wednesday took a fight against an oil company to Kansas energy regulators as part of their broader battle to stem wastewater disposal in the area.

They fear that a request from Quail Oil and Gas to jettison up to 5,000 barrels a day of brine near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve brings a risk for earthquakes or contamination of local groundwater — claims that the company disputes. 

Courtesy Zach Krumme

The path of totality marked by next week's historic total eclipse of the sun arcs across much of Kansas City and its surrounding areas.

Danielle Hogerty / KCUR 89.3

The lunch crowd boarded the streetcar at Union Station on a busy Wednesday afternoon. Every seat was taken and people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder. The doors shut, but instead of taking off, the train idled. Four mysterious riders in dress coats and fedoras approached the car. The doors opened again, and, with one uniform step, they boarded the train.

These mysterious travelers were actually dancers. They remained fairly still for the first minute, but as soon as someone signaled for a stop, the dancers broke out in random movements.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas officials have cleared an initial hurdle in their effort to regain federal certification for Osawatomie State Hospital.

Problems that federal inspectors cited in May have been fixed, making the state’s largest mental health hospital eligible for a full recertification inspection, according to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

That inspection must take place within the next 120 days, according to KDADS Secretary Tim Keck.

Courtesy Soul Revival

Soul Revival is a Kansas City group that performs a sophisticated form of contemporary R&B. Desmond Mason, an accomplished keyboardist, composes and orchestrates their music, while Derick Jolliff-Cunigan is the primary vocalist.

After a series of performances at out-of-the-way venues, Soul Revival graduates to the prestigious RecordBar on Saturday, where, in addition to performing original compositions, they'll cover hits by the likes of Musiq Soulchild and Luther Vandross.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is on the verge of breaking the team’s home run record. Former slugger Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni’s record of 36 home runs in one season has stood since 1985.

But if you consider the Kansas City A’s era, the record is further away — but still within reach. Some die-hard Kansas City fans don’t want that record to fall.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Is high school too early to figure out what career path to follow?

The Olathe School District doesn’t think so.

When the new Olathe West High School opens for all students on Thursday, the district will have a total of 17 specialty academies in its five high schools.

For as long as most people can remember, the main mission of Johnson County schools has been preparing kids for college.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Updated, 4:56 p.m. Tuesday: There won't be a decision this week on a new terminal proposed for Kansas City International Airport.

Instead, the four teams that submitted proposals to build a single terminal KCI are being asked to answer four additional questions by Friday, when the airport selection committee reconvenes.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Paul Davis kicked off his campaign for Kansas’ 2nd District seat in Congress by calling Washington broken and criticizing a culture there that quashes bipartisanship.

“No matter what party you affiliate with, no matter who you voted for in the 2016 presidential election, Washington is not working for you,” said Davis, who served as the top Democrat in the Kansas House and narrowly lost a bid to unseat Gov. Sam Brownback in the 2014 election.

Neal Herbert / NPS

By this point, you've surely heard that there's going to be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Aug. 21. If not, here are some links to help you get up to speed.

Courtesy of Avila University

Officials at Avila University say they are investigating a swastika drawn on an academic building on the south Kansas City campus. 

University officials say the swastika was written in chalk and was discovered on the outside of Dallavis Hall Monday. An Avila spokesman says the swastika was quickly removed after being found.  

An email alerting faculty and students to the incident called it a “hate crime.”

"This incident is a hate crime. Avila takes incidents like this very seriously and the incident is being investigated," the email read. 

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Missouri State Board of Education on Tuesday advanced what’s been characterized as a “skinny” plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Better known as ESSA, the Obama-era reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act replaces the controversial No Child Left Behind Act as the law governing school accountability. Among other things, ESSA outlines how federal Title I dollars should be distributed to schools with large populations of students living in poverty.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two children died and four adults were injured in an early morning apartment fire in Overland Park.

The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday near 88th Street and Broadmoor, according to fire department spokesman Jason Rhodes. He says firefighters immediately called for a second alarm.

"Upon arrival they were met with heavy smoke and fire showing from two sides of a two-story apartment complex," Rhodes says.

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