News

Frank Morris / KCUR

A line of storms moved through the Kansas City area early Monday evening, producing heavy rain and tornadoes.

The Clay Country Sherriff’s office reports a tornado touching down near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 152 in Liberty.

Many intersections in the metro flooded after the thunder clouds quickly dumped several inches of rain. The Kansas City Fire Department reports high water downtown near Interstate 70 and 13th street.

Kansas City Power & Light reported more than 9,000 customers were without power across the Kansas City area.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The Northland. Kansas City north. Northtown (also spelled Northtowne in some cases.)

Whatever you call the part of the Kansas City metropolitan area north of the Missouri River, we wanted to know more about its boundaries. But the answer is a little muddy.

The question is a key part of our exploration of life north of the river in KCUR's Beyond Our Borders series.

Leawood Police Department

High-speed car chases are familiar scenes in movies and on TV — cop cars flying down the streets and highways with their sirens blaring, trying to keep criminals from getting away. But what many don’t realize is that in real life police pursuits are dangerous, and often end in crashes or — in the worst cases — death.

Photo courtesy of the Gay & Lesbian Archive of Mid-America / LaBudde Special Collections, University of Missouri-Kansas City

After the U.S. Supreme Court's recent marriage equality ruling, members of Kansas City’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities will begin turning their attention to other issues. Meanwhile, three pioneers of the gay-rights movement provided KCUR with some historical context for LGBT activism in Kansas City.

Three decades of local activism began in the late 1980s, when gay men and women all across the country were responding to the AIDS crisis. One of the organizations was ACT-UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. Jon Barnett founded the local chapter.

Caroline Kull / KCUR

A group of Troost Avenue neighbors and urban planners want to fight blight on the Kansas City corridor by changing the street’s development code.

 

After three years of collaboration, they’ve created a plan and will bring it to the Kansas City Council's Plan Commission Tuesday.

 

Four Kansas City Royals will be American League starters at next week’s All-Star game in Cincinnati, the best in franchise history.

Salvador Perez will be the starting catcher. Alcides Escobar will make his first All-Star appearance as the starting shortstop. Lorenzo Cain, also a first-timer, will man right field while Alex Gordon will handle left in his first start.

Gordon said last year’s World Series appearance and this year’s success command attention.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Bram Wijnands has made a name for himself as a jazz musician in Kansas City.

After a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1998, he received recognition as Kansas City's Ambassador of Swing from then mayor Emanuel Cleaver, who also designated April 6 "Bram Wijnands Day."

Today, he performs regularly for The Majestic, and has performed at various restaurants and venues around the city, including Kansas City Bier Company and the American Restaurant.

Text messaging 911 service is likely to come to one part of the metropolitan area within the year. But the startup will involve a special kind of texting technology for deaf persons using landline phones.

In a report to the Kansas City City Council, MARC Public Safety Director Keith Faddis says the main focus of early testing is mainly in Johnson County and on the TTY system.  Johnson County is the location of the Kansas School for the Deaf, and Faddis says it already has considerable TTY message traffic.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

It's a big week for the Broadway Bridge – expect lane closures and delays as inspectors check the safety of the 60-year-old structure.

“The paint looks OK on Broadway, but when you really get in your bucket truck and you hang over the edge and start looking underneath, there is a lot of deterioration, a lot of areas — they call it section loss,” says Brian Kidwell, assistant Kansas City district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Two years ago, inspectors found problems — big ones — that necessitated closing the bridge for repairs.

More than 4,000 members of the Mennonite Church USA gathered in downtown Kansas City July 2 to meet, worship and pass church-wide resolutions together at their biennial convention. But congregations are bitterly divided over two resolutions passed dealing with same-sex marriage.

The first resolution passed by nearly 1,000 delegates from congregations all over the country allows same-sex marriage if that congregation is within a regional conference that allows it. It calls for "Christian forbearance" and tolerance. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Creative and commercial writer Lisa Stewart has traveled thousands of miles as a long-distance horseback rider, through the Rockies and the Midwest. In 2012, she took at 500-mile solo ride in Kansas and Missouri. 

flickr user jeff_golden

The night sky will light up this Fourth of July weekend with dozens of fireworks celebrations across the Kansas City metro.

The largest — and possibly the loudest — is likely to take place Saturday night at Jackson County's festivities at Longview Lake. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

A Lee's Summit fireworks stand that was blown over by a tornado has reopened just before the Fourth of July. 

High winds caused the tent to collapse Wednesday evening, ruining at least $20,000 worth of fireworks. The stand is run by volunteer students and Parent Teacher Student Association members at Lee's Summit North High School.

PTSA member Rebecca Fisher said there was a little grumbling, but the students got the tent back up and running within 24 hours.

Hillary Clinton will make her first visit to Kansas City as a 2016 presidential candidate later this month. The presumptive Democratic front-runner will speak at the National Council of La Raza's annual convention on  July 13. 

NCLR President Janet Murguia, a University of Kansas graduate, said thousands of Latino leaders and activists will be on hand to hear Clinton's address. 

The conference will be held at the Kansas City Convention Center from July 11-14. 

Wikipedia Commons/geograph.org.uk

The Kansas City City Council put the finishing touches on an update of city rules on pet potbellied pigs Thursday, and in the process eased some restrictions.

To make it easier to adopt the animals or find homes for strays, pedigree papers are no longer necessary for the pigs . The word of any veterinarian that the pet pig is of the Vietnamese potbellied variety will suffice. 

The weight limit of 95 pounds was removed.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

On a warm afternoon at Garfield Elementary school in northeast Kansas City, a class of grade schoolers charges out into the schoolyard to spend an hour riding bikes. They’re getting training from members of the nonprofit group BikeWalkKC.

The program was created three years ago to teach bicycle safety skills. But BikeWalkKC’s education program manager, Maggie Priesmeyer, says she and her fellow instructors found they would often be teaching children to ride for the first time.

Cyrus Farivar / Flickr--CC

White trash, bigotry, honor and home.

Those were just some of the words that Kansas Citians used to describe the Confederate flag when we asked, "What does the Confederate flag mean to you?" in our online and on-air Tell KCUR poll this week.

The sentiments echoed a national discussion on the Confederate flag in light of recent shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, which has provided a polarizing debate.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The newly elected Kansas City Council features a lot of new blood— six out of the 12 members have never served on the council before. 

In the spirit of getting to know our newly elected council men and women, we asked them — what is the greatest challenge facing Kansas City as you start your term?

A controversial tax enacted five years ago by Mission, Kansas, has been ruled illegal by the Kansas Court of Appeals.

The so-called transportation utility fee, derided by critics as a “driveway tax,” pays for street and infrastructure maintenance and is imposed on all improved real estate in the city.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court on Thursday ruled that the fee is in fact an excise tax that Kansas law, with certain exceptions, prohibits cities from imposing.

J. Robert Schraeder / courtesy of The Coterie Theatre

The extraordinary freedom of expression that we have in this country is routinely utilized by artists who choose to perform on stage, along with audiences that seek to be engaged by their efforts.

Keep that in mind this Fourth of July weekend, while enjoying the talents of actors and musicians who are free to go wherever their creative spirit leads.

That kind of liberty? Only in America.

1. ‘Pippin’

PROMO Missouri

Some Missouri counties are going slow – and two are outright refusing – to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Of the state’s 114 counties, 11 have yet to implement the changes brought on by last Friday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning bans on same-sex marriage.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

At 33, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the image of composure. But when she was appointed to the position just a few months ago, she inherited an office that was still reeling from suicides of former Auditor Tom Schweich, and his aide Spence Jackson.

An attempt by the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to circumvent three rejections from the City Plan Commission met strong citizen opposition in a Kansas City Council committee hearing Wednesday.

Members of the St. Francis Xavier Church and neighbors objected to the plan to build a 237-bedroom “Catholic-oriented living experience” for college students at the site of the former St. Francis School at 53rd Street and Troost Avenue.  Objections included parking problems, population density, design and the basic premise itself.

Julia Szabo / KCUR

In the next couple of years, Kansas education will face some of its most unstable times ever.

The Legislature has cut classroom funding. There’s no school finance formula and the the whole system may be thrown into chaos depending on what the state Supreme Court does.

All of this is all taking a toll on recruiting and retaining teachers, and there's mounting evidence that Kansas teachers are becoming disenchanted. And out-of-state districts are taking advantage.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Wall clouds were reported across the Kansas City metro Wednesday night, including some reports of rotation and even brief touch downs in eastern Jackson County and Cass County.

Trained spotters and residents reported a tornado in Lee's Summit and one in Pleasant Hill. There were reports of some damage, and as of 8:11 p.m., more than 10,000 Kansas City Power & Light customers were without power. 

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

It doesn’t take long to drive a car across the Missouri River.

Depending on traffic, the roughly half-mile trek can take just one minute. But if you don’t have a car, the Missouri River can seem like a much larger obstacle.

According to the U.S. Census, about 84 percent of the Kansas City metro population drives alone to work. That leaves the other 16 percent commuting by other means, like carpooling, public transit, walking, biking or just working from home.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Since 2000, money that was supposed to be used primarily for early childhood development in Kansas has been repeatedly raided by the Legislature to help balance the state's budget. Now, says Kansas Action for Children in a report released Wednesday, the Kansas Endowment for Youth (KEY) Fund will be almost depleted in two years.

Bigstock

When it took effect five years ago, the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act had some restaurant and business owners concerned.

But their worries about the state law prohibiting smoking in most public places — including workplaces, public buildings, bars and restaurants — have largely gone unrealized.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has withdrawn his challenge to same-sex marriage in the state, dismissing his lawsuit against a Johnson County judge who directed clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Schmidt’s move follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Schmidt on Tuesday filed a notice of dismissal of his lawsuit with the Kansas Supreme Court. The two-page document, citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v.Hodges, said the action was now moot.

Kansas City Power & Light

In Kansas City, the U.S. women’s soccer team had its most visible display of support Tuesday night during their semifinal match against Germany. The match was shown live in the outdoor courtyard area of the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City.

But before Tuesday’s match, there were already signs of strong Kansas City support. Since the women’s World Cup started, there have been ongoing discussions of an outdoor gathering in the Power & Light District — something like the many celebrations the district organized during the men's World Cup last year.

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