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2:19 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Plaza Art Fair Draws Big Weekend Crowds

Sculptor Julie Kradel praised the crowds at the 83rd Plaza Art Fair this weekend.
Credit Ben Palosaari

This weekend, the Country Club Plaza hosted its 83rd annual Plaza Art Fair. And it was Cedar, Michigan-based sculptor Julie Kradel’s first time displaying her work at the city's traditional kickoff to Autumn. Around noon on Sunday Kradel was pleased with her first interaction with Kansas City art fans. She said visitors were knowledgeable and engaging. 

“I’ve actually had people come back Friday, Saturday and Sunday – the same people," she said as customers looked at her work.

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Community
1:30 pm
Sat September 20, 2014

Wyandotte County Opens New Urban Hiking And Biking Trail

(Left to right) Wyandotte County Commissioner Brian McKiernan, Kaw Valley Drainage District Board Chair Bundy Jenkins and Wyandotte County Mayor/CEO Mark Holland praised the opening of the new path Saturday morning.
Credit Ben Palosaari

The beginning of the new Armourdale Hike and Bike – Island View Loop trail doesn’t look much like the gateway to urban nature oasis. It’s adjacent to an industrial park and underneath the 18th Street Expressway Bridge, next to unused railroad tracks. There’s a fair amount of broken glass and other debris littering the ground around the trail. But on Saturday morning, jubilant city officials in workout clothes opened the trail to the public, and the talk was largely of turkeys, deer and bald eagles that live near the trail.

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Election 2014
8:01 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Would-Be Kansas Governors Spar Over Taxes and School Spending

Kansas Governor’s debate from left to right: Moderator Micheal Mahoney, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

The three candidates for governor in Kansas diverge on taxes, health care and school funding, but they   came together Friday for a debate sponsored by the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. 

The contest is largely between incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback and his Democratic challenger, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis. Friday’s gubernatorial debate in Overland Park also included the Libertarian candidate, Keen Umbehr, who echoed some of Gov. Brownback’s views and pledged to take his income tax cuts to a new level.

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Health
1:48 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Medical PACs Mull Stance On Medicaid Expansion

Fifteen medical-related political action committees registered with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission had a total of almost $600,000 cash on hand at the July 24 reporting deadline, and officials from the top PACs said they're still forming the legislative agendas that may inform how they spend that money.

RELATED: Kansas Medical PACs Concentrate Spending On Incumbents

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Up to Date
1:21 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Kansas Citians Take Volunteering To The Extreme

Kirsty Morgan, of Lee's Summit, bundles up in Kazakhstan for what is known as extreme volunteering.
Credit Courtesy of Kirsty Morgan

Most people have spent time at a local soup kitchen or sorted cans for food banks, but others take an entirely different approach to donating their time. 

But an extreme volunteer commitment can mean you’re giving weeks, or even years, of your life to help others. And sometimes you'll get into some pretty hairy situations as a result.

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Beyond Our Borders
1:16 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Keep Your Leaves Off My Side — A Kansas City Cartoonist's Take On The Border Wars

Credit Charlie Podrebarac

Local cartoonist Charlie Podrebarac is familiar with the tensions that sometimes arise over the Kansas-Missouri state line. He lives on the Kansas side, but has often highlighted the border conflict in his Cowtown Cartoons. He’s been penning Cowtown since 1984 for the Kansas City Star. In his series, “soldiers” take the battlefield on State Line Road armed with leaf blowers and rakes in an ironic statement about the “border war” between Missouri and Kansas. It’s part of a series of cartoons about metropolitan Kansas City that use a leaf motif.

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Arts & Culture
1:03 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Lawrence Public Library Releases Banned Books Trading Cards

'Harriet the Spy' by Louise Fitzhugh
Lora Jost

The Lawrence Public Library on Thursday revealed this year's set of banned books trading cards.

It marks the third time the Kansas library has celebrated Banned Books Week by highlighting shunned classics and contemporary works with a set of trading cards. 

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Arts & Culture
10:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

A Nelson Curator's Favorite Works In 'The Plains Indians' Exhibition

Gaylord Torrence, senior curator of American Indian art, stands at the entrance to the exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The new exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, includes nearly 140 masterworks from private and public collections across North America and Europe. 

There’s a 2,000-year-old pipe, 18th century-painted robes and beaded designer shoes from 2011. 

Some curators might find it offensive if someone asked them to choose a few favorite works — well, actually, just two — from an exhibition they'd worked on for nearly five years. 

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Health
9:44 am
Fri September 19, 2014

KDADS Identifies 11 Communities With Greater Mental Health Needs

Lea Taylor, an assistant secretary for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, says KDADS has been working with officials in Kansas communities that appear to have above-average numbers of residents with mental illness.
Credit Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

 

A Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services official said Thursday that the agency has identified 11 communities that appear to be referring inordinate numbers of patients to the state hospitals for mentally ill or have above-average numbers of inmates in the state’s correctional systems who are known to be mentally ill.

“We’ve been going out and meeting with people in those communities,” said KDADS Assistant Secretary Lea Taylor, addressing a statewide conference in Lawrence on law enforcement training and mental health crises.

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Community
9:40 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Panel Focuses On Sexual Assault at University Of Kansas

Critics of how the University of Kansas deals with sexual assault cases are using this T-shirt to raise awareness.
Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR

Concerns about the way the University of Kansas handles sexual assault cases have been boiling over in recent weeks.

Reports of alleged sexual assaults garnering minor punishments have prompted protests and even a video produced by students telling others not to attend KU. Thursday night, university officials held a panel discussion where they answered questions, took suggestions and explained university policies surrounding sexual assault.

More than 100 people gathered for the discussion. Those who spoke expressed concerns about the process and suggested improvements.

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Beyond Our Borders
9:21 am
Fri September 19, 2014

MAPS: Demographics Show State Line Is Not A Significant Border In Kansas City

State line from 75th Street north (left), and state line from 75th Street south (right).
Credit Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service / University of Virginia

The Kansas City metropolitan area is steeped in state line rivalry.

University of Kansas Jayhawks and University of Missouri Tigers have grudges dating back to the pre-Civil War years. Jackson County, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan., are politically divided, and we even have a road called 'State Line Road' to mark which side is which. 

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Tell KCUR
8:45 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How One Sprint Employee Is Bracing For Expected Layoffs

Officials at Sprint Corp., which employs roughly 7,000 people at its U.S. headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., expects job cuts in the fall.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Last week, Overland Park-based Sprint Corp. officials indicated job cuts were coming in the fall.  

The extent of the layoffs at the Kansas company, which employs roughly 7,000 people locally, hasn’t been divulged, but at least one Sprint worker is taking the news to heart.

“Personally, I am cleaning everything out of my cube,” said Peg McMahon, a Sprint employee who responded to our Tell KCUR question of the week.

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Health
6:54 am
Fri September 19, 2014

KU Pathologist Welcomes Federal Initiative To Fight Antibiotic Resistance

President Obama on Thursday issued an executive order directing the federal government to step up the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

It’s a fight with enormous consequences, according to Rebecca Horvat, who oversees infectious disease testing at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Horvat is well familiar with bacteria that are impervious to front-line antibiotics.

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Arts & Culture
6:37 am
Fri September 19, 2014

'Hardbody' Director Missy Koonce On Wanting To Marry A Musical

For Norma (Victoria Barbee), in the spotlight, and the other characters in the Unicorn's 'Hands on a Hardbody,' a truck is the key to a better life.
Credit Cynthia Levin

Hands on a Hardbody, the show now playing at the Unicorn Theater, isn’t particularly sexy. There’s a little bit of romance, but the “hard body” isn’t a person -- it’s a pickup truck on the lot of a fictional Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas. There, ten contestants try to keep one hand on the truck for as long as they can. The last person with a hand on the truck gets to drive it home.

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Election 2014
5:09 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Kansas High Court Orders Democrat's Name Off U.S. Senate Ballot

The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered that the name of the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas be removed from the ballot. 

The Democrat, Chad Taylor, announced he was dropping out of the race two weeks ago, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Taylor had failed to meet the requirements of a state law allowing candidates to drop out.

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Arts & Culture
3:50 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

UMKC Selects Architects To Begin Designing Downtown Arts Campus

Helix Architecture of Kansas City and HGA of Minneapolis were selected as the design team for the proposed downtown campus for the Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Credit courtesy of Helix Architecture + Design, Inc./HGA

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has chosen a team of architects to design the first phase of its proposed downtown arts campus.

The winning team is the duo of Kansas City’s Helix Architecture and Design and the Minneapolis-based HGA.

The selection comes after a competition last week where five teams participated in a three-day design session and presented their concepts to the public on Sunday. More than 200 people attended.

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Health
2:43 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Olathe Medical Center Opens Facility For Final Stage Of Life

A new inpatient hospice that opened Wednesday at Olathe Medical Center features a screened-in porch. It faces west "so it gets beautiful sunsets in here," said Sally Lundy, director of hospice and home health for the medical center.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

 

Olathe Medical Center officials say they have added a building block to their vision of providing cradle-to-grave care.

On Wednesday, in front of a crowd of about 300 donors, employees and other well-wishers, the hospital officially opened a freestanding inpatient hospice on its land at Interstate 35 and 151st Street.

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Central Standard
12:42 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Bluegrass Meets Trashgrass At The Walnut Valley Music Festival

At the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kan., it's common to see an old pickup truck converted into a stage for acoustic musicians to perform in.
Credit Walnut Valley Music Festival

Since 1972, bluegrass, country and even Irish orchestral music have sounded from stages and campsites at the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kan. 

In a conversation with Central Standard's Gina Kaufmann, longtime festival goers Lowen Millspaugh and Kasey Rausch called in from Winfield where the 2014 festival is taking place right now.

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Arts & Culture
12:19 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

7 Nostalgic Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

Adult Prom at the Uptown is just one of many nostalgic things you can do this weekend in the Kansas City area.
Credit imeanwhat.com

Whether those who ignore history are really doomed to repeat it is a tough call. 

Either way, it’s safe to say that folks who refuse to acknowledge the past are doing themselves no favors in the fun department, because retro is where it’s at people — especially this weekend in Kansas City.

Get ready for a dose of yesterday, from sentimental celebrations of the Fab Four and Neil Simon’s pseudo-youth to a festive remembrance of the Show-Me State’s favorite 19th-century psycho outlaw.

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Beyond Our Borders
11:27 am
Thu September 18, 2014

When It Comes To Kansas City's State Line, It's Complicated

State Line Road winds through the industrial west bottoms as it divides Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

I’m someone who simply will just say "I’m from Kansas City.” But, sometimes people will ask "Kansas City, Kansas, or Kansas City, Missouri?"

Then I go into the convoluted explanation how I live in the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo., but in Kansas, not far from the state line. It gets kind of boring.

But State Line is anything but boring.

I recently found Blue Springs, Mo., resident D.J. Lee at Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que (formally known as Oklahoma Joe's) in Kansas City, Kan.

"To cross the street and be in a different state ... pretty awesome!" says Lee.

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Health
11:07 am
Thu September 18, 2014

700 Kansans, 1,700 Missourians To Lose Health Coverage Over Immigration Questions

This map shows the number of people expected to lose health insurance puchased through the exchanges because of citizenship or immigration expirations. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Discrepancies in immigration status data will cause about 700 Kansans who enrolled in health insurance plans through the online federal marketplace to lose their coverage at the end of the month.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said earlier this month they were attempting to contact some 1,800 Kansans whose immigration status was in question because of data differences in their online applications.

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Crime
10:54 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Charges Filed In Attempted Firebombing Of Cleaver's Office

A 28-year-old Kansas City man has been charged in connection with the vandalism of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II's Kansas City office earlier this month.

The U.S. Attorney' Office for the Western District of Missouri filed criminal charges against Eric G. King Wednesday. King allegedly threw a hammer through the window of the congressman's office and attempted to throw two Molotov cocktails through the broken window in the early morning hours of Sept. 11.

No fire damage was reported, and no one was in the office at the time.

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Agriculture
8:13 am
Thu September 18, 2014

U.S. Pesticide Levels Drop But Still Threaten Aquatic Life

Pesticide pollution in American streams has dropped over the last 20 years according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey, but scientists say aquatic life is still at risk.

Changes in regulation and the development of less toxic herbicides and insecticides have reduced the risk pesticide pollution poses to humans. However, the pesticide levels in some regions were high enough to cause harm to plants and animals that live in streams.

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Health
7:52 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Kansas To Share Suicide, Homicide Data With CDC

Kansas Department of Health and Environment has received a federal grant of almost $1 million to help the CDC develop strategies to reduce the number of violent deaths, and the state will share homicide and suicide data with the National Violent Death Reporting System for five years.

The system delves into not just how these deaths happen, but why. It collects data on homicides such as the relationship between the victim and the suspect. In cases of suicide, it gathers details on depression, financial stress, and relationship problems.

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Education
5:11 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Missouri Amendment 3 Campaign Closes Down For Good

Amendmend 3 would limit teacher contracts to no more than three years and would prohibit teachers from negotiating any classroom evaluation system.
Credit www.audio-luci-store.it / Flickr--CC

Teach Great, the Rex Sinqufield-backed campaign to drastically change the way teachers are evaluated in Missouri, has shut down.

Last week, late in the day on Sept. 9, Teach Great spokesperson Kate Casas issued a statement saying the organization would not pursue the Amendment 3 campaign. She said that instead Teach Great would embark on a statewide listening tour and that it looked forward to working with elected officials on other grassroots efforts.

Instead, she now says, Teach Great is closing its doors for good.

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Economy
3:36 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Gates & Sons Can't Cut Benefits After Strike, National Labor Relations Board Says

The National Labor Relations Board says Gates & Sons shouldn't have cut free employee meals after workers at the Main Street restaurant went on strike.
Credit Brandon Burke / Flickr--CC

A three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board says Kansas City-based Gates & Sons Barbeque engaged in an unfair labor practice after workers participated in strike last summer.

According to the complaint, which was filed by the Workers' Organizing Committee on the employees' behalf, about a quarter of the Main Street restaurant's workforce informed their supervisor they planned to strike on July 30, 2013, and return to work the next day. The strike was part of an organized effort among Kansas City fast-food workers to ask for higher wages.

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Health
3:01 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

KanCare Payments To Rural Hospital Smooth Out

With 60 employees and a $3 million annual budget, Hanover Hospital was owed $140,000 by the three insurance companies Kansas contracted with to administer Medicaid.
Credit Andy Marso / KHI News Service

 

A small rural hospital in Hanover, Kan., is on more stable financial footing after one of the private insurance companies administering the state's Medicaid system paid its outstanding claims.

Roger Warren, a physician who runs Hanover Hospital, said last month that $140,000 in outstanding claims from the managed care organizations operating the state' Medicaid program, KanCare, were hampering his ability to pay bills. The $140,000 represented more than half of the facility's monthly operating budget.

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Health
2:52 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Medical PACs Boost Candidates With Health Care Ties

Brian Caswell is a Democrat running against a Republican incumbent for a seat in the Kansas House — a tall order in most of the state's 125 districts.

But according to Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission filings, Caswell, of Baxter Springs, raised more money than his primary opponent, Rep. Michael Houser of Columbus, before the primary races this year. And by the July 24 reporting deadline, Caswell's campaign was nearly as well-funded as Houser's, despite the incumbent's cash-on-hand head start.

Caswell's secret?

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Kansas City History
2:28 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

The Types Of Things Lurking Underground In Kansas City's Caves

This addition to the already enormous 6 million plus square foot SubTropolis underground complex in Kansas City, Mo., is currently under construction.
Tumblr - SubTropolis Hunt Midwest

You'd never find it by just looking around, but beneath the grounds of Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun is one of the largest systems of underground businesses in the country. 

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Health
1:11 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Kansas Medical PACs Concentrate Spending On Incumbents

Political action committees for medically related groups in Kansas tended to throw their money behind incumbent House members before this year’s primary — even if those members did not support all of the groups’ political initiatives.

Fifteen medically related PACs raised about $253,000 and spent about $125,000 this year in the reporting period that ended July 24. Updated reports are due to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission on Oct. 23, before the upcoming general election.

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