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Business
11:42 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Google To Begin Rollout Of Fiber Service For Small Businesses

Google Inc. announced Wednesday that it would begin recruiting small businesses in Kansas City to test its Google Fiber product.

The Kansas City Business Journal reports after nearly two years of asking Kansas City companies to "hang in there," Google is ready to launch the pilot.

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Health
8:23 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Brownback Urged To Veto Health Compact Bill

Gov. Sam Brownback would be taking a political risk by signing a bill that could eventually give state officials control of Medicare and other federal health care programs, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said Tuesday.

Praeger, a Republican in the final year of her third and final term, said because the bill could “jeopardize” the benefits of the nearly 450,000 Kansans enrolled in Medicare signing it could alienate senior voters.

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Health
6:13 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Preschool Trauma Program In Kansas City Getting National Attention

Preschool teacher Twakisha Jones leads her class in a song.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Every parent knows that young children have meltdowns now and then - at home, at school, in the grocery store - but sometimes a tantrum can be more than a bad day. It can be the sign of traumatic stress.

A program started in Kansas City, Kan., offers teachers and parents an alternate way to deal with intense emotions and potentially avoid the long-term impact of trauma. The program has been spreading in recent months, even getting national attention.

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Health
6:10 am
Wed April 16, 2014

NIH Director Talks About One And Done At KU — For Flu Shots

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, spoke Monday with Shane Stecklein, an MD/PhD student at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, brought Collins to Kansas to highlight bioscience initiatives in the state.
Credit Mike Sherry / The Hale Center for Journalism

That annual flu vaccine could be a thing of the past by the end of the decade, the director of the National Institutes of Health said during a Monday visit to the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Dr. Francis Collins said that NIH-funded researchers are perhaps five years away from developing a universal flu vaccine, one that is effective against virtually all strains. Individuals might need a booster down the road.

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JCC Shootings
11:20 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Johnson County Shooting Suspect Held On $10 Million Bail

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, left, and Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe meet reporters Tuesday to discuss murder charges against the suspect in the Jewish Community Center shootings.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The 73-year old southwest Missouri man suspected in the killings of three people near the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan., made his first court appearance Tuesday, wearing a bullet-proof vest and looking confused as a Johnson County judge set his bail at $10 million.

Frazier Glenn Cross was charged with two felony counts of murder -- one count of capital murder and one count of premeditated first-degree murder -- for the killings of three people in two locations.

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Arts & Culture
5:42 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Museum Visit Sparks Memories Of Childhood Dollhouse

A two-story dollhouse built in the early 1970s by Charles Denesha.
Julie Denesha KCUR

On my fourth birthday, my grandfather gave me a dollhouse. It was a yellow, two-floor house that he built in his basement workshop in Kansas City, Kan. The dollhouse had six rooms and came with an assortment of handmade furniture, painted floors and wallpaper in nearly every room.

I was thrilled by the gift and I played with the dollhouse, constantly moving my dolls from room to room, creating little dramas in my young mind. My dolls talked on the tiny rotary phone, ate breakfast in the kitchen and slept in their neatly-appointed bedrooms.

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Community
7:14 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Blue Valley High Lost A 'Star In The Making'

Blue Valley High School was closed on Monday.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Blue Valley High School, at 159th and Nall in Stilwell, Kan., was closed earlier this week for a previously scheduled professional development day. Still, counseling support was available for staff and students in the wake of Sunday's shootings that killed three people, including a Blue Valley student and his grandfather.

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Government
6:28 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

JCC Shooting Suspect Could be Charged Tuesday

Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass, along with state and federal law enforcement authorities, meets reporters Monday to confirm hate crime charges against Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., which could be filed by Tuesday.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The southwest Missouri man who allegedly killed two Methodists and a Catholic near the Jewish Community Center on the eve of Passover is expected to be charged with federal and state crimes on Tuesday.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, of Aurora, Mo., will be charged with hate crimes, authorities said Monday. Cross was “on the radar” of the FBI for some time, but was not being monitored before he opened fire on Sunday at two locations, said Special Agent Michael Kaste.

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Community
6:16 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Suspected Shooter In JCC Attacks Has 30-Year History Of Hate

Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, is accused of killing three people on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit courtesy: Johnson County Sheriff's Office

The man suspected of killing three people at two Jewish facilities in Johnson County, Kan., is a well-known neo-Nazi and someone who authorities say spent much of his life calling for attacks on Jews.

Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr. faces state murder charges and likely hate crime charges in federal court, after allegedly murdering three people in shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom assisted living center in Overland Park, Kan., Sunday.

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Health
5:39 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

KU Student Diagnosed With Tuberculosis

Campus officials say a student on the KU Lawrence campus has been confirmed to have tuberculosis.

KU officials say the student is doing well, and is expected to make a full recovery. Health officials are conducting a TB contact investigation.

Fewer than 50 people are believed to be at risk from exposure to the communicable lung disease. They will all be tested to see whether they've been infected. If so, they'll be treated with antibiotics.

Harvest Public Media
4:27 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Vertical Farming: Towering Vision, Uncertain Future

This four-story meatpacking plant built in 1925 is now home to five farming operations. It’s what’s becoming known as a “vertical farm.”
Peter Gray Harvest Public Media

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food in urban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out.

Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level.

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Community
7:49 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Shootings At Johnson County Jewish Facilities Have Global Impact

Shootings took place on Sunday at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom retirement home (pictured) in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom retirement home in Overland Park, Kan. became international news overnight as new details about the tragedy emerged.

Authorities have been learning about the racist and anti-Semitic ideology of the suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., who hate-group trackers have been following for years.

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Community
4:02 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

UPDATED: Victims, Suspect Identified In Overland Park Shootings

On Monday, police tape was still wrapped around a parking lot at Village Shalom in Overland Park, Kan. to keep visitors out of the crime scene.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Updated 10:47 a.m.:

Frazier Glenn Cross, the suspect in Sunday's shootings, is being held at the Johnson County Detention Center without bond. Kristi Bergeron, of the District Attorney's Office in Johnson County said he will not be arraigned Monday.

He will face both federal and state charges.

Updated 10:36 a.m.:

The Children's Center for the Visually Impaired released this statement:

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Community
5:44 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Malted Milk Balls End 'Great Ape Escape' At Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo visitors were locked up indoors for an hour Thursday while seven chimpanzees ran free outdoors in an area accessible only to zoo personnel.

Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff told TV-9 the chimps using a tree branch for a ladder was an example of primate intelligence and strength.

"Chimps are so much stronger than humans that they can go up in a tree and pull on something long enough and pull a piece of log off, that's apparently what happened," he said.

Government
5:43 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Kansas City Council Gets Final Streetcar Line Price

Eight hundred tons of streetcar rail – 50 truckloads – will be delivered to Kansas City next week, marking the end of bargaining and a final negotiated maximum price for the project: $102 million.

City engineering service manager Ralph Davis assured the city council Thursday that they're getting a good deal. Davis said the city has worked through a "value engineering" process to eliminate unnecessary costs, and in doing so saved about $5 million. He said city representatives had also negotiated down the contractors' fees and charges. 

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Beyond Our Borders
5:30 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Tulips On Troost Still Blooming, But Efforts Are Dying Out

The Tulips on Troost program has struggled in recent years, but streets near Rockhurst University reflect the school's continuing participation in the program.
Julie Denesha KCUR

When the first blankets of tulips bloomed along Troost Avenue as part of the Tulips on Troost street beautification program, national, even international press paid attention.

But the program was never supposed to be just about flowers. It was also an effort to reimagine Troost, which for years has been thought of as an economic and racial dividing line.

Today, the program is all but defunct, lacking funds and human capital to keep it alive.

Driving north along Troost from 75th street, there aren't many signs of tulips. 

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Government
5:24 am
Fri April 11, 2014

ERA DOA? The Fight For Equal Rights Lives On In Missouri

One of the people who marched in the Equal Rights Action Day at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Tuesday
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

  It was a chant from a different era.

“ERA now! ERA now! ERA now!”

As much as it sounded straight out of the past, the rallying cry was used Tuesday as a coalition of women’s groups marched to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into a new year it takes a woman to earn what a man took home last year.

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Government
8:16 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Area Governments Pool Resources To Bring The 2016 GOP Convention To KC

Bid fund will help sell promoters dream of a GOP nominating convention in Kansas City in 2016
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR-FM

Kansas City is going after the 2016 Republican nominating convention but the city won't go it alone. Four local governments have put some skin in the game.

Johnson County, Wyandotte County’s Unified Government, Kansas City and Jackson County are in for $65,000 each. Kansas City’s contribution follows $100,000 of city Convention and Visitor’s money - a small ante, Mayor Sly James says, for what could be a big payoff if Republicans stage their convention here.

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Health
3:06 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

KU Hospital, Others Attacking Problems Of Child Deaths

Chloe Robinson, 5, shared a laugh with her home health nurse, Jamie Blake, last week outside the Neonatal Medical Home at the University of Kansas Hospital.
Credit Mike Sherry / The Hale Center For Journalism

Chloe Robinson was about the size of a bag of frozen spinach at birth. Born 15 weeks early and weighing only 1 pound, she spent her first eight months in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Kansas Hospital.

That was five years ago, and, one day last week, Chloe ran around a hallway at the hospital like any kid her age.

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Dance
1:11 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

After 30-Year Career With The Kansas City Ballet, James Jordan Moves On

James Jordan (at left), as Van Helsing, in Michael Pink's 'Dracula.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

After nearly three decades with the Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Master James Jordan has accepted the same post with The Sarasota Ballet as of the 2014-2015 season.

Devon Carney, the Ballet's artistic director, said in a news release that Jordan's national reputation as a stager of Anthony Tudor ballets led to the Florida connection.

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Community
9:29 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Kansas City Police Investigate More Reports Of Highway Shootings

Police say there might be as many as 20 victims in the spree of highway shootings around the Kansas City area.

Captain Tye Grant says since the shootings have been widely publicized, a number of people have come forward who think they may have been involved in a similar incident.

Police are now looking into 20 possible shootings on area highways, but Grant emphasizes the number is extremely fluid.

“Because honestly that is changing so much by the time I give it to you and the time you report it, it’s going to change," says Grant.

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Harvest Public Media
8:48 am
Thu April 10, 2014

While Farm Life Changes, FFA’s Blue Jacket Stays The Same

The blue corduroy jackets sported by high schoolers in FFA have been a part of the group's brand since its founding in 1928.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

The blue corduroy jacket worn by high school students in FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, is an icon of rural life. To the average city dweller the jacket is a vestige of dwindling, isolated farm culture, as fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms. The numbers tell a different story however. In spite of that demographic shift, a record number of kids are donning blue jackets this year.

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Health
7:47 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee Urges E-Cigarette Ban On Buses

A city council committee is recommending that e-cigarettes and similar nicotine delivery devices be banned from Kansas City buses and streetcars.

The city already bans tobacco smoking of any kind on public transit vehicles and other public facilities, but some smokers have been using e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes to circumvent those bans.

Dr. Rex Archer of the Health Department told the Public Safety committee there is no data on adverse health effects of the vapors emitted from the devices, but there is no question about the danger of the liquids that fuel them.

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Government
7:41 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Lesser Prairie Chicken Threatened Species Listing Ruffles Feathers in Kansas

Rancher Wayne Keller scans the horizon for lesser prairie chicken. He says the 4-year drought in western Kansas has been especially hard on the birds.
Frank Morris KCUR

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days.

This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

Now, after they were recently listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government, complaints of federal overreach and lawsuits have followed.

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Arts & Culture
5:58 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Folk Alliance International Names New Executive Director

Folk Alliance International's new executive director Aengus Finnan.
Credit courtesy: Folk Alliance International

Folk Alliance International announced its pick for a new executive director on Wednesday.

The board of directors selected Aengus Finnan, a musician, community leader and arts administrator. Finnan will replace Louis Meyers, a South by Southwest co-founder who's served as executive director since 2005.

The 3,000-member organization moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City in August.

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Agriculture
1:42 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Kansas Congressman Introduces Ban on GMO Labels

Anti-GMO protestors at a Denver, Colo., rally last year
Credit (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

State efforts to label genetically-modified food would be outlawed under a bill unveiled by a Kansas congressman Wednesday – a plan immediately criticized as a “legislative Hail Mary” that won’t pass.

The bill by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Wichita, would also bar the Food and Drug Administration from labeling efforts, a move highly popular with consumers, and allow so-called “natural” foods to contain bio-engineered ingredients.  

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Arts & Culture
12:37 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Portraits And Party Scenes From Kansas City's Drag Ball Culture Revealed

Private Birthday Party / Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC

In the 1950s and 1960s, gay and lesbian clubs dotted the Kansas City metro area.

Bars, with names like The Ivanhoe Cabaret and The Terrace, "were widely viewed as having some of the finest entertainment around," according to the News-Telegraph in a 1992 article. But these drag balls, also called "tea parties" or "private birthday parties," were mostly underground events.

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Environment
10:27 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Genetic Mapping Gives Endangered Missouri River Pallid A Boost

A pallid sturgeon caught during a broodstock collection on the Missouri River, about 20 miles away from Liberty, Mo.
Suzanne Hogan KCUR

The Missouri River has turned into a harsh home for the pallid sturgeon — commonly known as the "Missouri River dinosaur."

The white flat-nosed fish has been on the planet for more than 70 million years, and it’s been on the federal endangered species list since 1990. But genetic research and stocking efforts are helping these ancient bottom feeder species.

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Government
6:33 am
Wed April 9, 2014

City And School Board Election Results

Cities

Excelsior Springs Council (2 elected)

* Sharon Powell 775
* Ambrose Buckman 772
Mark Spohn 663
Reggie St. John 543

Excelsior Springs bond issue

Shall the city issue up to $18 million in bonds to build a community center? (4/7ths majority.)

* Yes 982
No 596

Gladstone Council

* R.D. Mallams 1158
Shari Le Poindexter 654

Grain Valley mayor

* Michael Todd 331
Chuck Johnston 274
Barbara Kountzman 202

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Government
5:51 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Brownback Comments On School Funding, Health Care Compact

Credit Steve Bell

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was in kansas City, Kansas Tuesday for the official signing of a bill that substantially reduces the percentage rate employers are required to pay into the state's Unemployment Trust Fund.

Brownback used the occasion to tout what he called a call, growing Kansas economy.

"People have said you can't cut taxes, create a business-friendly environment and fund state government," he said, adding, "Well, yes you can, and we are."

After the ceremony, the governor also commented on several bills on or soon coming to his desk.

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