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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 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."

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.

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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. 

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

A state official on Wednesday announced that Osawatomie State Hospital has stopped admitting patients.

Addressing a meeting in Topeka of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, Ted Jester, assistant director of mental health services at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said admissions were suspended Saturday evening when the hospital’s census reached 146 patients.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A private developer interested in the old Bannister Federal Complex fielded questions Wednesday night from south Kansas City residents concerned about environmental remediation efforts.

CenterPoint Properties is in the middle of an 18-month study to identify possible future uses of the site, which operated as manufacturing plant in World War II before housing the General Services Administration starting in the 1960s.

Caroline Kull / KCUR

More than half of Kansas City —  51 percent — is located north of the Missouri River, in the area widely referred to as the Northland.

Standing in Berkley Riverfront Park looking across the Missouri River, the Northland is just a stone’s throw away. Yet from south of the river, the Northland can feel like another city altogether.

To figure out why, I spoke with people both close to and far from the Missouri — in the River Market area near downtown Kansas City and at Oak Park Mall across the state line in Overland Park, Kansas.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A controversial restriction on local property tax revenue in the recently passed Kansas tax bill could have implications for county health departments.

Republican legislators inserted the property tax “lid” into the $400 million tax bill as a sweetener for colleagues who were loath to vote for a tax increase. It requires local governments to get voter approval to take in any tax revenue above the rate of inflation that comes from increased property values.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Who says teaching doesn't pay? 

Probably not Libbi Sparks. The Independence high school teacher recently cashed in a career's worth of math lessons to the tune of $30,000. 

Sparks teaches math at William Chrisman High School in Independence, Missouri, and has nearly three decades of experience teaching in public schools.

She's taught everything from middle school pre-algebra to dual-credit Calculus II. In 2012, she earned prestigious National Board certification. 

In other words, she knows what she is doing. 

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Early on a Monday morning, percussionist and music teacher Amy Hearting of Kansas City reads a newspaper outside a coffee shop before going off to teach an elementary school workshop.

She loves her work but says she’s not in it for the benefits and certainly not for the big salary.

“I feel like I’m doing what I want to be doing in life,” Hearting says. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with health insurance, and it doesn’t really come with an annual income where that is an easy reality for me.”

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James floated to an easy victory over opponent Vincent Lee in Tuesday's municipal election, while Katheryn Shields beat out Councilman Jim Glover in a tight race for the 4th District seat. 

James won with 87 percent of votes, according to unofficial election board results. Despite thoughts that a June election might increase turnout, the opposite turned out to be true: only 13 percent of registered voters in Jackson County cast a vote.

Turnout was even lower in Clay and Platte counties, both of which saw just 8 percent of voters show up to the polls.

Vox efx / Flickr--CC

Mayor (99% of precincts reporting)

  • Sly James 87%
  • Vincent Lee 13%

Council At-Large Seats

1st District (99% of precincts reporting)

  • Scott Wagner 80%
  • Jeff Roberts 20%

Attorneys general in 10 states, including Kansas, have asked a congressional committee to investigate efforts by the Obama administration to “coerce” states to expand their Medicaid programs by withholding unrelated healthcare funds.

Enforcement of a law designed to limit where low-income Kansas families can spend their public assistance will take longer than expected, state officials said Monday.

The new law, initially scheduled to take effect July 1, will not be enforced for at least six months.

Theresa Freed, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, attributed the delay to “a computer-system fix that needs to be done.”

Also delayed, Freed said, will be enforcement of the new law’s $25-a-day ATM withdrawal limit for public assistance accounts.

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