Cody Newill / KCUR

Several dozen volunteers helped finish up the Blue Valley Middle School Outdoor Learning Center Saturday in memory of two of the victims of the shootings at Jewish community sites in Johnson County.

The South Kansas City Alliance will hold its second annual Economic Development Summit Saturday at Avila University. 

Alliance leaders say the aim of the conference is to encourage hopeful entrepreneurs while building relationships between area residents and businesses. 

Esther Honig/KCUR

Kansas City's food truck scene has exploded over the past few years.

If you crave international fare, like Australian meat pies, Cuban sandwiches or Spanish tapas — or more down-home grub, like barbecue, tacos or waffles — you can get it from one of our local food trucks.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Sprint will move to cut up to $2.5 billion in operating costs over the next six months, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal obtained an email detailing the move from the Overland Park-based telecommunications company's CFO Tarek Robbiati Thursday. So far, the company hasn't announced how they plan to cut the money, but layoffs are likely.

Ke’shauna Spratt was one of more than 1,300 young Kansas Citians who participated in the first Summer Job League, a Missouri workforce development program.

Spratt, 18, sent her summer answering phone calls at Children’s Mercy, helping patients start the scheduling process, and other administrative tasks.

“I actually want to get my bachelor’s in nursing, so it was a great opportunity to sit there and be able to work in a health care facility to be able to watch nurses,” Spratt says.

Jarrett Stewart / Flickr-CC

A Prospect Avenue bus rapid transit corridor moved a step closer to reality at Thursday's meeting of the Kansas City City Council.

The resolution passed by the Kansas City council commits to partial matching funds so the ATA can proceed with its application for a $30 million federal grant to expand the “MAX” bus rapid transit system to what is now the city's second-most utilized bus route.

Councilman Jermaine Reed said the Prospect line has about 6,000 regular riders. The MAX now operates in two corridors: Troost Avenue and Main Street.

One night after Sporting Kansas City won the U.S. Open Cup, FC Kansas City captured the league championship in women’s professional soccer.

Amy Rodriguez scored in the 78th minute in FC Kansas City’s 1-0 win over the Seattle Reign. It was a rematch of last year’s championship match in the National Women’s Soccer League.

In all three years of the league’s existence, FC Kansas City has reached the title match and has won two straight titles.

Copyright Talladega College. Photo by Peter Harholdt. / Collection of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama

At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Shawn Hughes is surrounded by American history depicted over the course of six murals painted in vivid colors with nearly life-sized figures.

There's a deck full of slaves about to mutiny on the Amistad, the mutinous captives on trial, an urgent scene in the woods as slaves are about to cross the Ohio River to freedom. There are students enrolling at the historically black Talladega College, bringing pigs and chickens to pay their tuition. And there are industrious workers building the university library.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Several hundred protesters met the Westboro Baptist Church outside Oak Park High School Thursday in support of the school's transgender homecoming queen.

Landon Patterson, a senior at the Northland school, was crowned queen two weeks ago. In response, the noted hate group decided to protest outside a gas station near the school.

They were met by a large counter-protest organized by alumni and supported by groups like the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ and local LGBT activists.

UAW Local 249

With a possible strike looming, Ford's Claycomo assembly plant has canceled the day shift on Sunday, when the United Auto Worker's Union has threatened to strike the plant. 

The UAW has threatened to strike Ford’s Claycomo assembly plant at noon. The company had scheduled a shift of workers on duty at that time, as part of a program of mandatory overtime to keep up with demand for Ford’s popular F-150 pickups.

A Ford spokesperson says the overtime was simply unnecessary.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas committee formed to vet a federally mandated plan to cut carbon emissions met for the first time Thursday in a hearing dominated by criticism of the plan.

Rep. Dennis Hedke, chairman of the Clean Power Plan Implementation Study Committee, blasted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for putting forth the rule, which is intended to prevent climate change.

“They have overstepped so many bounds it’s just almost unconscionable,” Hedke said.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

One of Summer Farrar's first assignments as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute was to draw the same pile of sticks every day for a few weeks.

The task, she says, turned out to be revelatory. 

"What it demonstrated was that you have to look at something over and over again until you see it differently," she told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard

Farrar never could have guessed then just how useful that lesson would turn out to be in a career that has taken a striking professional turn. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has exceeded a $250 million fundraising goal, a year early.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are already there,” Chancellor Leo Morton announced Thursday. “The campaign for UMKC has exceeded its goal and has done so a full year of schedule.”

But Morton added the university wouldn’t be calling it quits.

“Just because the goal has been reached, the campaign is not over,” Morton said. “We’re not done yet.”

Premasagar Rose / Flickr-CC

Wondering how to get your ha-ha on this weekend? Funny you should ask!

1. The Comedy Get Down Tour

Frank Morris / KCUR

China’s rapid industrialization and economic expansion over the past few decades has been a boon for U.S. farmers — especially soybean farmers. But China is slowing down, leaving American farmers exposed to the downside of being tied to the world’s second largest economy.

With tall stands of corn, and green soybean fields stretching for miles, the river bottom land around Langdon, Missouri seems a long, long way from Beijing, but economically it’s right next door.

Sonya Keys / Flickr-CC

Kansas City's world-famous Country Club Plaza shopping and entertainment district is up for sale. 

Owner Highwoods Corporation released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying it is seeking to divest itself of retail properties and focus on investing in office space, which the company says produces more return per dollar invested.

Todd Rosenberg Photography

It's been a decade since Michael Stern started his appointment as the fourth music director of the Kansas City Symphony.

Stern's contract with the Symphony was up in June 2016, and it was not a given that he would choose to stay. But officials announced Wednesday that his contract has been extended through the 2019 - 2020 season.

The United Auto Workers union is threatening to shut down Ford’s Claycomo assembly plant, with a strike that could start this weekend.  

Ford and union negotiators are at loggerheads over a number of issues specific to the Claycomo plant.  They involve the health and safety of workers and seniority for employees who do specialized jobs.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County is one step closer to the regional transit system that’s long been the vision of County Executive Mike Sanders.

Sanders announced Wednesday the county and the Kansas City Area Transit Authority had reached an agreement to buy the Rock Island Corridor, 17.7 miles of train tracks that stretch from the Truman Sports Complex through Kansas City, Raytown and Lee’s Summit.

“If you’re planning for what you have today, by definition, you’re falling behind the curve,” Sanders said. “Today, Jackson County and this community will not fall behind the curve.”

Advocates for elderly and disabled Kansans are anxiously awaiting the publication of the state’s plan to combine seven Medicaid waivers into one.

The waivers currently provide home and community-based services for people within a range of support categories, including developmental disability, physical disability, traumatic brain injury or frail/elderly.

Fidencio Martinez-Perez

When Fidencio Martinez-Perez was 7 years old, a smuggler brought him, his mother and his three brothers across the Mexican border.

Now he makes art in which the roads, rivers and boundary-markers of the United States resemble the blood vessels of human figures. His main material is simple, but significant.

Iowa Healthcare Collaborative

Roughly 1,000 Kansas doctors soon will be participating in a massive nationwide initiative aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of the health care system.

The Kansas doctors will be part of a six-state transformation project managed by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, a nonprofit organization formed in 2004 by doctors and hospitals in the state.

Dr. Tom Evans, the CEO of the Iowa collaborative, said each of the participating states will be free to focus on its own improvement strategy.

Nineteen-year-old Claudia Rivera shares a single-story tract home in Liberal, Kansas, with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jesùs Varela.

Last month, Varela’s mother moved in so she could watch Rivera’s baby boy, Fabian, while Rivera works at the Dollar General store and Valera pulls down a shift at the local meatpacking plant.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

After nearly two years of work, proponents of establishing a mental health crisis center in Kansas City’s urban core may be only weeks away from sealing a deal that involves a lot of moving parts.

“You can see the stars aligning,” said Kansas City Councilman Scott Wagner, a member of an informal coalition working since late 2013 to open the facility, which would stabilize individuals so they could be referred for other medical or behavioral health services.

A  major $30 million federal grant awarded to Kansas City this week aims to rebuild a crumbling public housing project and revitalize a Historic Northeast neighborhood in the process.

The grant will help pay for an intricate plan to revitalize the Paseo Gateway neighborhood just east of Interstate 35, bounded by Chestnut Trafficway to the east, Ninth Street to the south and Cliff Drive to the north. 

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

If Kansas legalized marijuana for broad medical use, marijuana-related car collisions and accidental ingestion hospitalizations likely would increase but crime and illegal consumption would not.

Those are the findings of a nearly yearlong study of other states that legalized marijuana for medicinal use done by the Kansas Health Institute, a health-policy information and research group based in Topeka, Kansas.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

In a few weeks, Kansas City Public Schools will have a brand new and unusual educational partner.

The district expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City to provide an array of services to Mexican students and their families in the district. 

About 25 percent of the district’s students are Spanish speakers and most of them have Mexican roots.

"We have children here who have come to this country at no choice of their own. This was a parent choice," says Luis Cordoba who runs the district’s Office of Student Interventions.

The Grisly Hand

The Grisly Hand
Flesh & Gold (self-released)

A guitar lick playfully references Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” less than a minute into the opening track of the Grisly Hand’s Flesh & Gold.

It’s the first of several nods to classic rock songs on the Kansas City ensemble’s new album. Yet the six members of the Grisly Hand aren’t mere copycats. Their most potent work equals the hallowed music of their inspirations.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Once upon a time Kansas was a national leader in public health. Credit largely goes to Dr. Samuel Crumbine, who early in the 20th century created and led what is now the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

He convinced Kansans to stop spitting on sidewalks. And he pushed state lawmakers to pass food purity laws and to ban the public drinking cup. 

But times have changed.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

It was the worst audit report ever issued about a Missouri school district.

But in a follow up report issued Monday, the state auditor says the St. Joseph School District is making progress.

The auditor report released in February — the only time the state auditor has ever given a school district a "poor" rating — was scathing.

The St. Joseph district, the report said, had a confusing and inconsistent payroll system that resulted in up to $40 million in unapproved stipend payments going back to 2000.