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Education
4:56 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Central Middle School Gets High-Tech Overhaul

Central Middle School math teacher Stacy Gilson says the school's focus on the 7th 8th grades will help students form a good relationship with education.
Credit Ben Palosaari

"That's the boys' restroom," Central Middle School 7th grader Camryn Jones says as she gives her family a tour of her brand-new school. 

"Is it different than the girls' bathroom?" her grandmother asks as she pokes her head through the door.

Camryn keeps walking. What she really wants to show off to her family is her math classroom at the end of the hall. 

“I can learn a lot from this room, because math’s my favorite subject," she says standing by her desk. 

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Up To Date
3:19 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Dr. Wes Crenshaw On How To Navigate A Blended Family

The Brady Bunch was a largely happy (though fictional) blended family.
Credit ABC Television / Wikimedia-CC

When families split and merge, the result isn’t always as seamless as The Brady Bunch. How to make yours a happy home when step-parents are involved depends largely on the example the adults set.

On Monday's Up to Date, psychologist Wes Crenshaw, a board-certified family psychologist and longtime guest on the show, offered advice on how to overcome the challenges of starting a blended family and tools to navigate the world of step-parenting.

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Health
3:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Praeger To Cross Party Lines And Endorse Anderson For Kansas Insurance Commissioner

Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a Republican, will endorse Democrat Dennis Anderson on Tuesday, according to a news release issued by Anderson’s campaign.

Anderson is seeking to succeed Praeger as the state’s insurance regulator. He’s running against Republican Ken Selzer, who emerged from a crowded field to capture the GOP nomination in the August primary.

The release issued Monday says that Anderson will “announce the newest endorsement of his campaign,” and goes on to say that both he and Praeger will be available to answer questions.

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Health
2:09 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Specialists In South Dakota Use Telehealth System To Give ER Care In Kansas

Michelle Peak, a registered nurse, and other staff at Phillips County Hospital watch their new video link with Avera eEmergency.
Credit Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

 

A new nurse was on duty a few weeks ago in the emergency room at the Phillips County Hospital in Phillipsburg, Kan., when paramedics arrived with a critically injured patient.

She immediately pushed the red button on some newly installed equipment. Seconds later, a seasoned ER nurse and board-certified doctor sitting at a bank of monitors 380 miles away in Sioux Falls, S.D., were using a high-definition camera and other diagnostic equipment to monitor the patient, give advice and document everything the on-site nurse was doing to save the patient’s life.

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Education
12:19 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Missouri Education Commissioner To Step Down In December

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro is stepping down at the end of 2014.
Credit State of Missouri

Updated, 3:45 p.m. Monday:

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro is retiring at the end of the year, according to a statement out Monday from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Nicastro has led DESE since 2009. During her tenure, the department oversaw the first transfers under a Missouri law that allows students from unaccredited school districts to leave for neighboring accredited districts.

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Health
8:57 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Missouri’s E-Cigarette Veto Override May Lead To Showdown With FDA

Early last Thursday, Missouri legislators overwhelmingly overrode the governor’s veto of a bill governing electronic cigarettes and the nicotine-infused mixtures they deliver.
Credit Bigstock

Call them e-cigarettes, vapes, e-juices or e-liquids. Just don’t call them tobacco.

Early last Thursday, Missouri legislators overwhelmingly overrode the governor’s veto of a bill governing electronic cigarettes and the nicotine-infused mixtures they deliver. While the new law bans sales to minors, it also prevents e-cigarettes from being classified as "tobacco products."

“It was operating under the guise of protecting youth, but really it just created a special carve-out for a special interest,” says Traci Kennedy, executive director of Tobacco-Free Missouri.

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Politics
8:08 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court To Hear Senate Ballot Arguments

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Democrat Chad Taylor should be removed from the ballot for a U.S. Senate seat.

Taylor dropped out of the Senate race recently and he's trying to get his name removed. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says Taylor's name should stay on the ballot. University of Kansas Political Science Professor Burdett Loomis calls the situation "extraordinarily unusual." He can't remember a legal battle with a high-profile candidate trying to be removed from the ballot in Kansas.

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Harvest Public Media
7:58 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Climate, Space Create Challenges For Local Food

Josh Kilbane runs Yampa Valley Farms outside Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of those places.

Problem number one is infrastructure.

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Virginia Minor
1:33 pm
Sat September 13, 2014

Suffragette Pioneer Virginia Minor Inducted Into Hall Of Famous Missourians

Suffrage leader Virginia Minor is the newest addition to the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Credit Barbara Womack

There's a new member of the Hall of Famous Missourians at the State Capitol. But her story isn't as widely known to Missouri residents as other historical figures in the hall like Bob Barker, Ginger Rogers and Mark Twain.

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Royals
10:34 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Royals Fall Out Of First Place In American League Central

Royals manager Ned Yost says he wants his players to "to toughen up."
Credit Keith Allison, Creative Commons

For the first time since August 10th, the Kansas City Royals are not in first place in the American League Central.  They lost to the Boston Red Sox Friday night, 4-2.

With Detroit’s victory over Cleveland, the Kansas City Royals trail the Tigers by a half-game in the American League Central.  The Royals have dropped four out of their last five games, but manager Ned Yost says there isn’t time for the team to pity itself with 16 games remaining.

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Arts & Culture
8:00 am
Sat September 13, 2014

At New Fields, Sculptor Jake Balcom Kicks Around The Meaning Of Soccer

Kansas City artist Jake Balcom started installing "Triple Blome" at Swope Park's Soccer Village on Monday, Sept. 8.
CJ Janovy KCUR

The Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department celebrated the opening of Soccer Village on Friday. In addition to pristine practice fields with perfect synthetic grass and a natural-grass championship field with grandstands that seat 1,500 people, there’s also a sculpture, thanks to the city’s One Percent for Art Program.

The artist, Jake Balcom, installed the work last week with help from two friends, Spencer Schubert, also a local sculptor, and musician Brent Jamison.

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Elections
3:51 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

The New Justice In Kansas: Judicial Selection And The Governor’s Race

Justice Caleb Stegall

The candidates for governor in Kansas are sparring over taxes, health care and school funding. But in many ways there’s a more fundamental issue that separates  Gov. Sam Brownback from his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. Both stand on opposing sides of a running battle over how state Supreme Court justices should be chosen.

Lots of people are influential in one way or another, of course, but Kansas Supreme Court justices really do make a difference, says Michael Kaye, a trial advocacy professor at Washburn University School of Law.

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Community
3:16 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

What It Takes To Bring The Circus To Kansas City

A miniature horse in a temporary enclosure at the Sprint Center chews hay on Friday morning. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performs in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

How do you get 18 tigers, 20 horses, 16 poodles and a half-dozen Asian elephants to downtown Kansas City, Mo.?

By circus train, of course.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Assistant Animal Superintendent Ryan Henning says the logistics of bringing so many animals to town are almost as interesting as the show itself.

Henning answered a few of our questions while showing us around the temporary horse enclosures at the Sprint Center.

How do you get that many animals to town?

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Central Standard
2:26 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Pass The Pawpaw: Foraging For Missouri's Banana

The pawpaw fruit continues to ripen, just off the hiking trails at Burr Oak Woods located in Blue Springs, Mo.
Credit KCUR's Gina Kaufmann

You know how sometimes you stumble across a word you've never heard before in your entire life, and then suddenly, the word is everywhere? That happened to me with the pawpaw.

I was born and raised in Missouri, so discovering in my thirties that a random fruit with a made-up-sounding name is considered my state's own banana? That came as a shock (though, to be fair, it's also known as the Indiana banana and the West Virginia banana). 

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Arts & Culture
1:37 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

How The Power Of A Pipe Organ Is Like Riding A Harley

The Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875, in Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Credit courtesy: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Jan Kraybill, principal organist for the Dome and Spire Organ Foundation and organ conservator at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, plays and maintains the three largest pipe organs in the Kansas City metro area. The Kauffman Center's Casavant organ is the third largest with 5,448 pipes. 

"On this organ, I have an amazing array of colors that I can contribute to the [Kansas City] Symphony’s sound," Kraybill told Up to Date host Steve Kraske, "Colors that are different than what the Symphony can produce.”

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Food Critics
12:18 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Seasonal Dishes In Kansas City

Root vegetables are just some of seasonal ingredients to be found in Kansas City metro restaurants this fall.
Credit Skånska Matupplevelser / Flickr-CC

As temperatures start to drop and fall begins, it's time to start thinking about culinary standbys that characterize the season.

From root vegetables to fresh apple cider, there are plenty of seasonal ingredients and dishes in the Kansas City area to get you in a fall mindset. 

Here are Central Standard's Food Critics' and local callers' choices for good seasonal dishes in the Kansas City metro:

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Health
12:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Missouri, Kansas Health Clinics Get $9.6M For Primary Care Services

The Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center has been awarded nearly $270,00 in federal funds to expand primary care services.
Credit Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center

 

Twenty-five health centers in Missouri and 16 in Kansas have been awarded $9.6 million in federal funds to expand primary care services.

The funding is part of $295 million awarded to 1,195 health centers nationwide under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The money is to be used to hire new staff, help the clinics stay open longer and provide services such as oral health, mental and behavioral health, pharmacy and vision services.

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Education
9:48 am
Fri September 12, 2014

School Scam Sweeps Across 22 States Including Missouri

Authorities in 22 states, including Missouri, are investigating a scam aimed at school districts.

There’s nothing fancy about this scam. There’s no hacking or card readers.  It’s just what the Better Business Bureau calls an old time invoice scam.

It works like this: someone sends around invoices for $647.50 for workbooks.

The company name on the invoice, investigators say, is Scholastic School Supply, which is suspiciously close to Scholastic Inc., the huge educational book publisher.

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Health
9:23 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers Upset With Article In Newsletter Opposing Health Care Compact

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, is questioning the Johnson County Commission's intention to publish an article critical of the health care compact supported by the Brownback administration.
Credit File photo

 

A newsletter for Johnson County seniors has become a source of consternation to some legislators, who say an upcoming article critical of the health care compact passed this year unfairly portrays the legislation as a threat to Medicare.

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Election 2014
7:17 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas High Court to Hear U.S. Senate Ballot Dispute

The battle over the ballot in the Kansas Senate race continues. Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, the Democratic nominee, is trying to keep his name off the ballot this November. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is trying to keep his name on. And now, the Kansas Supreme Court will decide.

Next week, the Kansas Supreme Court will hold a hearing on a petition by Chad Taylor to get his name removed from the ballot. The court has scheduled arguments for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas City Poet Xanath Caraza Has Words For El Salvador

Xanath Caraza, far right, was among the presenters at the Segundo Festival Internacional de Poesia de Occidente in El Salvador in August.
Credit Xanath Caraza

Kansas City poet Xanath Caraza is used to answering questions from the college students in her writing classes at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. But last month, she spent an intense six days answering questions from children who want to be poets in El Salvador, which is struggling with gang violence after years of civil war.

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Government
4:47 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas City Council Toughens Domestic Violence Enforcement

Kansas City, Mo., toughened its protections against domestic violence Thursday, giving city prosecutors the power to take violators of ex parte orders of protection to court.

The ordinance was back on the floor after a revision to address Councilman Ed Ford's insistence that it be modified to make it clear that persons could only be prosecutors if they had received notice of the protection order. He still objected that the revised ordinance could make it difficult for estranged couples to communicate about children or other important matters.

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Government
4:43 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Council Approves Tax Abatement for Kansas City Research Park

A biotech research park in south Kansas City and 25-year property tax abatement to support it gets the go-ahead from the Kansas City council.

The idea of the research park and rezoning to allow it sailed through on Thursday. But the council wrangled over the tax abatement for Oxford on the Blue for about an hour and a half.

Councilman Russ Johnson tried to convince the group it was time to stop - as he put it "giving away the farm."

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Sports
4:29 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Kansas City Opening Nine New Soccer Fields At Swope Park

The new Swope Soccer Village opens Friday.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

City officials hope nine new soccer fields in Kansas City's urban core can make Swope Park a destination for youth sports.

"So many of these venues are out in the suburban areas as you get over in western Wyandotte County or Overland Park or southeast of here, but you're in the heart of the city right here," says Parks Director Mark McHenry.

Ground crews spent Thursday putting the finishing touches on the new Swope Soccer Village at 63rd Street and Lewis Road. McHenry reaches down and scoops little rubber pieces from the synthetic grass.

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Health
4:17 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Sales Tax Exemption For Farmers Markets

Vegetables and other products sold at farmer's markets in Missouri will be exempt from sales tax, after a bill veto was overridden by the House and Senate.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Products sold at Missouri farmers markets will be exempt from sales taxes following a veto override by the Republican-led Legislature.

The bill was among a slew of last-minute tax-exemption measures that Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, had vetoed earlier this year as fiscally irresponsible. Republicans said some merely clarified state policy and others helped the state remain economically competitive.

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Tell KCUR
1:00 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Kansas Citians More Worried About Local Violence Than International Terrorists

Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. This 9/11 tribute appeared in New York on the anniversary in 2010.
Credit A. Strakey / Flickr--CC

In the days leading up to the 13-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on Thursday, Kansas Citians took to Twitter, speculating about whether the day would bring more violence, given recent anti-American killings in the Middle East.

We decided to ask our listeners, “How safe do you feel in Kansas City, 13 years after 9/11?”  

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Government
12:12 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Investigation Continues Into Vandalism At Rep. Cleaver's Kansas City Office

Law enforcement officials are investigating after someone threw two bottles through a window at Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's Kansas City, Mo., office early Thursday morning.

The bottles resembled Molotov cocktails, but they did not ignite and did not cause damage other than the broken window.

John Jones, Cleaver's chief of staff, said in a statement it's the second time something like this has happened in the past three years.

Education
9:53 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Google 'Flash Funds' Classroom Requests From Kansas City Teachers

Kansas City area teachers and students got a welcome surprise Wednesday after Google "flash funded" all the requests posted by metro teachers to a crowdsourcing website. 

Teachers across the nation can post their needs to the website DonorsChoose.org with the hope that someone will fund the request. Google has "flash funded" the requests in multiple metro areas over the last few months, including San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Chicago.

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Government
8:13 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Tax Breaks Advance For Biotech Research Park

Tax abatement for a 344-acre biotech office park south of the Cerner Three Trails Campus has cleared committee and advances to the city council floor.

The Plans Zoning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday agreed with PIEA development authorities that Oxford on the Blue merits 26-year property tax abatement.

The proposal calls for 100 percent abatement for 10 years and 50 percent for an additional 15 year, but Councilman Ed Ford explained that not every part of the project is expected to get the full 25-year break.

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Crime
8:09 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Capital Murder Charge Filed Over Topeka Officer's Killing

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor says he is filing a capital murder charge and will seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a Topeka Police officer. Taylor says Ross Preston Lane is charged with shooting Topeka Police Corporal Jason Harwood during a traffic stop Sunday. Taylor says under state law, the premeditated killing of a police officer is one of the scenarios justifying a capital murder charge.

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