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File Photo / KCUR

When it comes to the “discussion draft” to replace Obamacare that U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled Thursday, Missouri’s two senators could not be farther apart.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt praised the measure, claiming it would address the “disaster” that is Obamacare, the name by which the Affordable Care Act is commonly known.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts website

Kansas U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts is not enthusiastic about the Senate’s version of the Obamacare replacement bill.

Nevertheless, he supports it.

Kathi Barnhill

Queer kids in rural America know what it's like to grow up scared.

Moises Serrano grew up in Yadkinville, North Carolina, population just under 3,000, about half an hour west of Winston-Salem. He wasn't just gay. His parents brought him across the border from Mexico when he was 18 months old. So: gay and undocumented.

Brian Collins / Heart of American Shakespeare Festival

What’s it all about? Feel free to take your time with that one – like your whole life.

For those in more of a hurry, this weekend may provide a profound clue or two to the big picture, courtesy of the high drama of Shakespeare, the joyful pop music of ABBA and a celebrity softball game devoted to helping sick kids in our community.

Glean what you can in the search for deeper meaning. Remember, it’s a process. So you might as well have a good time while you’re at it!

1. ‘Hamlet’

The poet Mbembe Milton Smith wrote some provocative words about a Kansas City suburb:

“There are uncharted places like Overland Park, Kansas or Greenwich Connecticut where they lock their back door if they heard black power was coming cause black folk wouldn’t dare come round the front.”

For a person of color, those words might articulate a vague feeling of uneasiness that accompanies a visit to Johnson County even today. But they come from the poem "Allegory of the Bebop Walk," written decades ago.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands. 

Rachel Arato-Hrabko

It takes a special kind of mid-life Midwestern songwriter to transform the tale of Ann Boleyn, Henry VIII’s famous second wife, and Thomas Cromwell, the king’s lesser-known chief minister, into a cheatin’ song.

Ron Reiring / Wikimedia Commons

If you walk through Union Station’s Sprint Festival Plaza (formerly known as the North Waiting room) during the week, you’ll see a dozen dangling figures working meticulously on the ceiling. If you look even closer, you can see the limestone architecture coming back to life.

Brian Slater / Courtesy Making Movies

One of Kansas City’s most accomplished rock bands, Making Movies tours extensively and collaborates with prominent artists — but this weekend they're part of a free concert in downtown Lawrence.

That free show comes as the band — brothers Diego and Enrique Chi, who are Panamanian immigrants; and brothers Juan-Carlos and Andres Chaurand — is enjoying a wave of national attention.

KC Hotel Developers, LLC

The long-planned Kansas City downtown convention hotel has a new flag and welcome infusion of cash from Loews Hotels, a New York-based luxury hotel operator.

Developer and attorney Mike Burke, who has pushed for the convention hotel project for more than six years, says Loews has agreed to invest a “substantial” amount of equity in the 800-room project and operate the hotel.

Meg Wingerter / Kansas News Service

The foster care system in Kansas has problems, but a national child welfare group sees one area where it could lead the way for other states.

Tracey Feild, director of the child welfare strategy group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said work on childhood trauma by KVC Kansas, one of the state’s two foster care contractors, could be a model for others. The Casey Foundation sponsors the annual Kids Count report and other child-focused research.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kansas City-based photographer Dan White has won a Pulitzer Prize and traveled the world photographing people and places. From his home and studio in the West Bottoms, he's preparing to set out on his next trip into the field.

But his latest trip isn’t taking him off to some far-flung location. White is headed to his troubled hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

“Makers” is a series that shares stories of why people are compelled to create something with their own hands. 

Bigstock

After repeatedly denying that they had listened to attorney-client phone calls at the Leavenworth Detention Center, federal prosecutors now acknowledge that at least one prosecutor did and they have moved to correct the court record.

In a filing Monday with the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said that a one-time prosecutor in his office had, in fact, listened to recorded calls between a defendant in an amphetamine distribution case and the defendant’s attorney.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

About 100 firefighters are battling a three-alarm fire at a warehouse on Southwest Boulevard.

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi says they received calls reporting the fire at Friday’s Only Furniture Outlet at 29th and Southwest Boulevard around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.

He says by the time crews arrived on scene, the blaze was heavily involved. 

"I arrived on the scene just about seven or eight minutes after it was here, and it was already through the roof. So they knew that it was a defensive fire immediately," Berardi says.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Growing up, Kansas City Mayor Sly James had to wait for his younger brothers to go to bed before he could read.

“I would sit on the attic steps with a flashlight and read Doc Savage books,” James said Tuesday as he accepted an All-American City Award for his efforts to promote reading. “It was my ritual.”

The mayor was appalled to learn in 2011 that only 33.8 percent of Kansas City students could read proficiently by third grade.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

In voting for a $1.2 billion tax increase to bolster the budget for the next two years, the Kansas Legislature avoided a projected $900 budget hole and began restoring past cuts to the mental health system.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Jim Barnett is throwing his stethoscope into the ring.

Again.

The 63-year-old doctor and former state senator is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

Again.

Barnett, who represented an Emporia-centered district in the Kansas Senate for a decade, won the 2006 GOP primary over a relatively weak field but lost to incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in the general election.

Four years later he came up short in a race against Tim Huelskamp for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

Updated, 2:22 p.m. Tuesday: Kansas City is among 12 cities that will receive "significant assistance" from the Department of Justice to fight violent crime. 

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning at a national summit on violent crime reduction efforts. 

The cities will become part of the new National Public Safety Partnership, officially launched Tuesday.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

KCUR health reporter Alex Smith has won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a radio feature about a deaf man who regained his hearing through cochlear implants.

A firefighter with the Mayview Fire Protection District was killed and another person was injured Monday in a three-vehicle accident.

Courtesy Oleta Adams

Fireworks lit the sky behind Oleta Adams as she headlined 18th and Vine's Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend — but they were intended for the audience a couple of miles away at Union Station, where the Kansas City Symphony was performing its annual Celebration at the Station.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

When evening falls, Brian Hunt makes his way to a comfortable chair in a sun room on the south side of his house near La Cygne, Kansas. But he’s not settling in to relax. He’s going to work.

Photo illustration by Andrea Tudhope

The quiet neighborhood in east Kansas City, Missouri, was just coming to life that Friday morning, May 20, 2016, when Daniel Wilson pulled up in his old white Monte Carlo, witnesses say, carrying a grudge and a gun.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Safety concerns continue to prevent recertification of Osawatomie State Hospital, although a recent inspection didn’t find any evidence of the patient violence that prompted federal officials to decertify it in late 2015.

Staffing shortages and concerns about security and patient safety prompted the initial order. Certain they had addressed those issues, state officials appeared confident the state-run psychiatric hospital would pass muster. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, with the victim's grieving mother at her side, said Monday that a man has been charged with the murder of a 24-year-old east Kansas City woman.

Ashley Geddes was discovered dead in her bedroom by her mother on June 1.

The suspect is 25-year-old Cedrick Russell, who lived next door to the victim on east 45th Place. Russell is also charged with sodomy, burglary, stealing and other offenses.

Anne Kniggendorf

People around here know Oz.

“Being in Kansas — holy crap — we just get inundated," says Matt Hawkins, the puppet designer for Paul Mesner Puppet Theater’s production of The Wizard of Oz. "Every truck stop is full of Wizard of Oz.”

So why would Mike Horner, the company's artistic director, bother with yet another production of the story?

Bumblee queens visit flowers of the alpine skypilot. These large bees have a distinctive flightz buzz, the bee version of a cargo plane flying from flower to flower.
Courtesy Zoe Moffett / Colorado College

See a bee; hear a buzz.

That is what researchers studying the declining bee population are banking on. A new technique based on recording buzzing bees hopes to show farmers just how much pollinating the native bee population is doing in their fields.  

Vegetable and fruit growers depend on pollinators to do a lot of work in their greenhouses and fields. Pollinators, like bees, flutter about the blossoms on plants and orchard trees, transferring pollen from plant to plant and ensuring that those organisms have a chance at reproducing.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

UPDATED Monday, 8 a.m.: More than 12,000 people remain without power Monday morning after storms this weekend damaged trees and power lines across the Kansas City metro area.

Kansas City Power & Light crews are continuing to repair power lines and restore power to customers. That work is slower with these storms than others, according to a Kansas City Power and Light official.

“There were a high number of individual outages so that’s why this restoration is taking a little bit longer than what we’ve seen in some other storms,” said Courtney Hughley, Kansas City Power and Light spokesperson. 

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Apartment construction in metropolitan Kansas City is hitting levels not seen since before the Great Recession with more than 5,000 units expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Many of those projects are going up in downtown Kansas City and similar places such as old Overland Park, where developers say renters both young and old covet a walkable environment.

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