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Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor

A pilot program designed to improve the health of people with severe and persistent mental illnesses will end July 1, but its backers say it hasn’t had enough time to show results.

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Italian food isn't just pasta in red sauce or hearty slabs of lasagna.

From fish that's served very simply to bucatini alla gricia (pasta with pork jowl), Kansas City's Italian restaurants range from the old-school to places that veer towards lighter fare.

On KCUR's Central Standard, the Food Critics discussed the difference between Italian and Italian-American food — then they searched for the best Italian food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

In the last half of the Kansas City Chiefs season, everything seemed to go right — an 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and their first playoff win since 1994. But in the courtroom, an age discrimination case against the Chiefs was turning problematic.

Court documents filed this week indicate the Chiefs have now settled the case out of court. Neither the plaintiff, former Chiefs maintenance manager Steve Cox, nor his attorney would comment on the settlement. The Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment.

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance marketplace closed Monday night, with higher enrollment than last year in Kansas and Missouri.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said 101,555 Kansans enrolled before the deadline. That’s about 5,000 more than the 96,197 Kansans who enrolled before last year’s deadline.

HHS provided numbers for several population centers:

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

In the 1930s and 1940s, many Jews in Europe lived in fear — or in hiding — from the Nazis. 

A cramped attic in Amsterdam served as a makeshift home for two years for Anne Frank, her family, and four others. 

This secret annex was discovered, and Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only one to survive the concentration camps – but their stories live on through Anne’s diary, first published in 1947. 

Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl, was turned into a play and a film in the 1950s. Now, decades later, there’s an update for a new era. 

USDA / Flickr creative commons

Food safety regulators are hoping new rules will reduce the number of Americans sickened by salmonella bacteria found on the chicken they eat. Currently, salmonella is estimated to cause about 1 million illnesses a year.

Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company will open a new visitor center this summer to accommodate high demand for tours and tastings.

Boulevard’s Jeff Krum says that while some 60,000 people toured the brewery last year, thousands more were turned away, especially on busy Saturdays in the summer.

“If you are not here and in line by 10 o’clock when we open the doors and begin to give away passes for that day’s tours, you’re out of luck because once we get to the end of that long line, all the tour passes for that day are gone,” Krum says.

A student advocacy group wants to reform how Missouri awards scholarships to top-performing students.

Right now any student who scores a 31 or higher on the ACT and stays in-state for college is eligible for a Bright Flight Scholarship worth about $3,000.

But Faith Sandler with St. Louis Graduates says these scholarships are being disproportionately awarded to students whose families can afford to pay for college.

Courtesy Photo / HNTB

No, we haven't forgotten about the heartbreaking loss against the Patriots that took the Kansas City Chiefs out of the NFL playoffs.

But Kansas City will be represented in a big way on Sunday as the Denver Broncos face off against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Andy Marso

AARP Kansas still believes the state needs a law requiring hospitals to notify designated caregivers of patient discharge instructions and, if necessary, demonstrate those instructions.

Kansas hospitals still disagree.

Is ‘Kansas City Nice’ Stifling Innovation?

Feb 4, 2016
Startland

This article was originally published on Startland News.

Let me start off by saying, I love Kansas City.

I love the humility. I love the blue-collar work ethic. I love the hospitality. I love the cost of living. In fact, I couldn’t be more proud to be a Kansas Citian. (I haven’t gone a day since the World Series without wearing at least one article of Royals or Kansas City gear.)

Nate "Igor" Smith / Wikimedia -- CC

Should you?

That’s the lingering question when considering some of this weekend’s, shall we say, more debatable activities – things that might feel good or be otherwise stimulating, yet also challenge everything from waistlines to moral judgements.

Not to worry. Much. It’s only the weekend. Isn’t that when you’re supposed to let it all hang out?

1. Monster Jam

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has given lawmakers a budget that balances on paper.

But it remains to be seen whether legislators will agree to the complex formula of spending reductions, budget transfers and administrative changes that Brownback is proposing to erase a projected $436 million shortfall in the budget year that begins July 1.

Lobbyists representing several groups and causes are lining up in opposition to many of the changes.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The state’s $3 billion privatized Medicaid system has been without an inspector general for more than a year. The Kansas Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the position.

Google Fiber

Some low-income housing residents in Kansas City now have some of the fastest Internet in the country — for free.

Kansas City is the first place Google Fiber is giving away its premier service, at no cost to users or the government. That’s because the city has become a primary laboratory in the effort to close the digital divide.

Kansas City was the first to get Google Fiber, and the service came with a promise to help close the “digital divide."  

Restoring Prairie On The Great Plains

Feb 4, 2016
Courtesy Prairie Plains Resource Institute

From the air, the Midwest looks like a patchwork of cropland and pastures. But before the land was turned over to plows and center pivots, most of it was a sea of grass. 

Native grasslands were first plowed by pioneers homesteading on the plains. More land was converted to crops as tractors and machinery arrived on the farm and conversion of land intensified. 

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

The state of Kansas is asking the state’s highest court to review last month’s decision by the Kansas Court of Appeals finding that the Kansas Constitution creates a “fundamental right to abortion.”

The request for the Kansas Supreme Court to take up the case was expected after the court of appeals upheld a lower court decision blocking a Kansas law that bans the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. The measure was signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback in April 2015 and was set to take effect on July 1, 2015.

Chiluba Musonda

Every year, thousands of young people leave their home countries to study in the United States. 

Some come here because they want to pursue opportunities they wouldn’t have at home, some are simply looking for adventure. And some wind up in Kansas City without even knowing where it is on a map.

Chiluba Musonda can thank the Yahoo search engine for his home in Kansas City.

When he was researching colleges from his home country of Zambia, he typed the following words into the search queue: mid-size colleges, affordable, in the U.S.

Rendering courtesy of Crawford Architects

Airline consultants have rejected a proposal to renovate existing KCI terminals rather than build a new one.

Consultant Lou Salomon of AvAirPros told the Kansas City Council Airport Committee Tuesday that the renovation plan lacks the flexibility needed for a forecast 40 percent passenger traffic growth by 2040 and underestimates the costs.

“The major renovations are just less efficient,” Salomon said. “And they cost more – and not just from the initial capital costs perspective.  They cost more to operate and maintain and to finance.”

Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotel Corp.

Petitioners trying to force a vote on the downtown Kansas City hotel deal were back in court Tuesday.

The group Citizens for Responsible Government sued the city in Jackson County Court late last year after the Kansas City Council wouldn’t put their question on the ballot.

“While the city completely respects the petition process – that’s why it’s in the charter, it’s an important part of the democratic process – you cannot use the petition drive to overturn certain laws,” says city spokesman Chris Hernandez.

Alison Claire Peck / alisonclairepeck.com

 Story of a Song is monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

Artists: Hermon Mehari, Julia Haile, Brad Williams, Anthony Saunders of The Buhs

The Song: "Can't Let Go"

Shawnee Mission North

It seems Kansas always manages to resurrect an education controversy from its past.

School finance is always a battle, but another old issue that many thought was settled — district consolidation — is back.

The House Education Committee Wednesday will debate a plan that would cut the number of school districts in Kansas in half — from 286 to 132.

Kansas health authorities say they are investigating what appears to be another food-borne outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in Overland Park.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment says at least 10 people who ate at the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar at 105th Street fell ill, including students from the Shawnee Mission School District.

Madison Crabtree

Chris Crabtree
Counterfeit Heart

Chris Crabtree calls his new album “a soundtrack to the novel Zen and the Art of Killing Yourself.” I haven’t read the book and don’t feel the need to, because this set of songs stands sturdily on its own. In fact, the album’s climactic centerpiece, "At the Time of My Passing," embraces the weighty implications of death and suicide, either real or imagined, with redemptive tenderness and hope.

Todd Wade / Flickr -- CC

The year is 2300 and Kansas City — as we know it — no longer exists.

The Eastern Empire — a loose federation of Chinese-led nations — has claimed the West Coast of the United States.

The refugee crisis from Americans fleeing east over the Rockies triggered a cataclysmic civil war, pitting the extremely wealthy against the extremely poor.

The very rich won, and the new nation that emerges has been restructured into a formalized, class-driven society.

Creative Commons

A food-borne virus traced to an Overland Park dinner theater has sickened even more people than originally thought, health authorities say.

More than 600 people have now reported symptoms of norovirus after attending the New Theatre Restaurant in mid-January.

Since the first reports of the illness, state and local health authorities have been working with the popular venue on cleanup and safe food practices.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Thousands of Kansans seeking Medicaid benefits are being forced to wait months because of continuing problems with a new computer system and a change in the state agency responsible for handling some eligibility determinations.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Editor's note: Finn Bullers, a champion of disability rights, unexpectedly died Sunday of complications related to pneumonia. He was 52. For many years, he was a reporter at The Kansas City Star, where he covered Johnson County government. Dan Margolies, editor of KCUR-based Heartland Health Monitor, has this remembrance.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Updated at 1:43 p.m.  

A 16th-century oil-on-wood panel, in the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for decades, is now considered to be the work of Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch. 

The Temptation of St. Anthony is one of only 25 paintings attributed to Bosch in the world — and only one of five in the United States. 

"You see the figure of St. Anthony resting on one hand on his staff, that is one of his significant attributes. And with his other hand, he is dipping a big, bulbous jug into the water," described Rima Girnius, associate curator of European painting, on Up to Date

"He's surrounded by a host of various, hybrid creatures, little monsters, that really personify different temptations that he is trying to resist."

Courtesy University of Missouri

Tucked away in a University of Missouri research building, a family of pigs is kept upright and mostly happy by a handful of researchers. Two new litters recently joined the assembly of pudgy, snorting, pink piglets.

While they look like an ordinary collection of pigs one might find in hog barns all over the country, these animals are special. They’re genetically engineered and they are part of a new crop of GE animals with technology that could be coming soon to the food on your dinner plate.

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