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Harvest Public Media
9:59 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Soybean Acres Up, Corn Down In This Year's Planting

Farmers have planted a record number of acres in soybeans this year, while planting fewer in corn.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers planted a record number of soybean acres this season. But corn is flat in several Midwestern states, while down slightly in others.

Those are some of the takeaways from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report on planted grain acres for the season, which offers the first glimpse of production for 2014.

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Weather
9:54 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Thousands Still Without Power Across Kansas City Metro

This map shows how many people in the Kansas City metro area were without power, as of 9:50 a.m. Tuesday. Green zones mean 1 to 49 people are without power; yellow means 50 to 499; orange means 500 to 999.
Credit kcpl.com

Updated, 1:30 p.m.

According to an update on the KCP&L website: "We have restored nearly 90 percent of our affected customers. During the span of the storm, we had approximately 73,000 customers without power...Currently, we have approximately 6,500 customers remaining without power."

Our original post continues here:

Although there were no serious injuries reported in Monday night’s severe storms, rain and powerful wind gusts knocked out power for thousands across the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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Sports
9:41 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Missouri 340 Canoe Race Postponed Due To Flooding

Contestants at the 2007 Missouri 340 race cast off from Kansas City on a long journey to St. Charles.
Credit Marek Uliasz / Flickr-CC

For hundreds of paddlers, the Missouri 340 race is a true test of endurance, but flooding along the Missouri River has put the competition on hold.

The popular canoe race runs 340 miles from Kansas City to St. Charles. Organizers said they felt that heightened water levels would introduce too much debris and keep racers from being able to reach shore when they needed a break. 

Scott Mansker, race director, says postponing the race isn't ideal because people already have taken time off work to race. But the delay ultimately won't kill the competition, he says.

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Harvest Public Media
6:02 am
Tue July 8, 2014

On The Farm, Chefs Learn The Basics Of Food Production

Farmer Kate Potter shows chef Terrah King how to gut a chicken at Chef Camp in Livingston County, Ill.
Sean Powers Harvest Public Media

With farm to table restaurants springing up left and right, cooks are having to go beyond the grocery store. That’s why about a dozen chefs from Chicago and central Illinois recently gathered for a two-day crash course on where their food comes from – the farm.

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Government
6:00 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Kansas City Opens 'Dead Letter Office'

Kansas City is trying to clean out outdated laws from the books.
Credit CC Google Images

Last month, the city of Kansas City, Mo., opened what they’re calling a 'Dead Letter Office,' which is actually a website where the residents and business owners can petition to repeal out-of-date city regulations.

Assistant City Manager Rick Usher focuses on small businesses and entrepreneurship. He says due to Kansas City’s long history, some of the old rules are still in the books.

“Kansas City you know we’re over 150 years old. The city has weathered every economic, political, social, environmental crisis that has occurred through those times,” Usher said.

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Health
3:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rural Kansas Hospital Bolsters Recruitment By Enticing 'Missionary' Doctors

Kearny County Hospital CEO Benjamin Anderson has been to Zomba, Zimbabwe five times in the past four years doing medical mission work. He is pictured here with one of the children from the village.
Credit Tim Walter

Although 25 percent of Americans still live in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors do, according to the National Rural Health Association, and finding physicians and other medical professionals willing to work in the hinterlands remains a serious, growing problem in Kansas and other parts of the United States.

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Government
3:33 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Overland Park Expected To Green-Light Google Fiber

Credit Neerav Bhatt / Flickr--CC

The Overland Park City Council will vote Monday night on a pair of plans to bring Google Fiber to the Kansas suburb, months after striking a preliminary deal.

Google Fiber walked away from that discussion after several council members asked about liability for city-owned utilities such as light poles, even though they ultimately wanted to approve the plan. 

That shouldn't be a problem moving forward, says Councilman Paul Lyons.

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Health
3:27 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

KU Medical Center Tests Promising Alzheimer's Drug As Part Of Trial

Dr. Jeffrey Burns uses a PET scan to screen patients for an international drug trial.
Credit Stefani Fontana / KCUR

It’s a form of dementia that afflicts as many as 5.2 million people in the United States. It has no cure.

And as the population ages, the number of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to quadruple over the next 35 years, according to a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

That means that by 2050, 1 in 85 people will be living with the disease.

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Harvest Public Media
8:34 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Mutton Busting A Rodeo Tradition For Rough And Tumble Kids

Two cowboys lift a mutton busting participant onto a wooly sheep at the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede rodeo.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

A furry beast, a brave rider and a roaring crowd make up the list of ingredients for the Western rodeo tradition known as “mutton busting.” Think of it as bull-riding, but for 6-year-olds, and the furry beast is actually a wooly sheep.

Mutton busting has its roots in Colorado, where it was first introduced in the 1980s at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The crowd-pleaser is now a favorite at many rodeos and county fairs across the Midwest and Great Plains.

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Government
7:56 am
Mon July 7, 2014

KC Health Department Teaching Classes On Pesticide-Free Pest Control

Credit CC Wikimedia

Michael Swoyer from the Kansas City Health Department receives a lot of calls from residents with bedbugs.

Unfortunately, he says there's not much the city can do to help them — exterminating bedbugs is a time-consuming and expensive business.

So, Swoyer and the Kansas City Health Department are organizing classes for the general public on how to prevent rats, mice and bedbugs from colonizing in homes – and what people should do if they’re already there.

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Weather
7:51 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Wet June Helps Ease Drought Conditions In Kansas

Last month was the fifth wettest June on record, and that has helped ease drought conditions across Kansas.

Assistant State Climatologist Mary Knapp says June was a critical month, because in parts of Kansas it's normally the wettest month. A lack of June rain would have meant Kansas missed a good chance to reduce the drought.

July is also a wet month in some areas, and Knapp says possible cooler weather this month could help further reduce the drought.

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Economy
7:50 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Fireworks Sales Generate Economic Returns For Some Metro Communities

Fireworks are a big business for metro communities that allow their sale and use.
Credit Anthony Cramp / Wikimedia--CC

For municipalities that allow fireworks sales, July 4 is a way to rake in the revenue.

Let's start with the cost of doing business.

"The permit fee for a fireworks tent is $1,000," says Spring Hill, Kan., city administrator Jonathan Roberts.

Fireworks are banned in most of Johnson County. But in recent years, Spring Hill, De Soto and Edgerton have decided to allow fireworks within city limits.

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Health
3:50 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Two Cases Of Rare Chikungunya Virus Diagnosed In Kansas

Two adults in Sedgwick County, Kan., in the south-central part of the state, have been diagnosed with a rare virus after returning from separate trips to the Caribbean.

The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus can result in joint pain and weakness that may last for years, but Kansas health officials say local transmission is highly unlikely.

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Beyond Our Borders
3:45 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

How Residents Turned Things Around In Kansas City's Ivanhoe Neighborhood

Margaret May helped host KCUR's community listening session with the Ivanhoe neighborhood.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Few neighborhoods in Kansas City. Mo., have faced as many problems as the Ivanhoe neighborhood in the city's urban core.

Crime, drug houses, frequent vacancy, and trash buildup have plagued the area for decades, but neighborhood residents have been working towards change. 

Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council Executive Director Margaret May has worked in the neighborhood since 2001, and has seen it blossom as residents like Ida Dockery take ownership and responsibility for cleaning it up.

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Flooding
12:30 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Flooding Risk Along Missouri River Lessens

For weeks, the Missouri River has been at flood stage upstream of Kansas City in Nebraska and eastern Kansas.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

If current forecasts hold, the Missouri River should fall below flood stage late Friday.

For weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has been monitoring a stretch of the Missouri between Rulo, Nebraska, and Leavenworth, Kansas, after heavy rains fell upstream in South Dakota and Iowa.

On Thursday, though the river remained above flood stage in St. Joseph, Kansas City District Chief of Emergency Management Jud Kneuvean says the metro has been relatively fortunate.

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Tell KCUR
10:51 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Kansas Citians: 50 Years After The Civil Rights Act, We Still Have A Long Road

Marriage equality was a common issue Kansas Citians cited when we asked, "What are today's biggest challenges for civil rights?"
Credit Wikimedia -- CC

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As a country, we’ve since made progress on equal protections laws — not as much as some would’ve hoped — and new issues have emerged.

This week, we took to the airwaves and social media and asked: What are today’s biggest challenges for civil rights?

Discrimination based on race remains a hot-button issue, according to your answers.

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Government
8:17 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Kansas Statehouse Visitors Can Now Carry Hidden Firearms

Visitors with a concealed carry permit can now bring handguns into the Kansas Statehouse.

The change took effect this week, and Statehouse security officers have a process in place to determine who's carrying in the Capitol. Visitors with a firearm will need to provide their concealed carry permit and a photo ID.

Kansas Capitol Police Officer Stephen Crumpler says staff will screen the person for other weapons and use a system to double-check that the concealed carry permit is valid.

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Arts & Culture
8:00 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Public Art Commission Awarded To Iowa Artist Sparks Discussion

A rendering of David Dahlquist's artwork at the KCPD East Patrol.
Credit courtesy of the artist

More than 200 cities across the United States have a percent-for-art ordinance, calling for a portion of construction project budgets to be set aside for public art.

Kansas City's one percent for art ordinance has been in effect since 1986. The first installation: "Bull Wall" by Kansas City native Robert Morris in the West Bottoms in 1992.

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Health
5:01 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Medical Groups Clash Over Missouri Bill Creating New Class of Health Provider

Missouri legislators have approved a plan creating a new class of health provider to address the shortage of physicians in rural areas.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Over a fifth of Missourians, especially those who live in rural areas, don't have adequate access to doctors, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Now the state Legislature has approved a plan to address the problem by creating a new kind of health occupation.

The first such plan in the country, it has pitted health providers against one another amid concerns about its effect on the health of patients and the dilution of professional standards.

Medically underserved

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Health
4:06 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

KU Hospital Ranks Among 50 Top-Grossing Nonprofit Hospitals

University of Kansas Hospital
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

The University of Kansas Hospital was one of the nation’s top-grossing nonprofit hospitals last year, according to a recent analysis.

The cost report data, assembled by the American Hospital Directory and cited in a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review, showed the KU Hospital billing its public- and private-pay patients $3.96 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013.

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Sports
12:18 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Kansas City World Cup Watch Events Spawn Serious Soccer Fans

Best friends Miguel Torres and Alex Bedockie from Kansas City enjoyed a good party and a game that may have made lifelong soccer fans out of some in the crowd.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

At least 13,000 fans chanting “I believe that we will win!” jammed the central common area of the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City, Mo., to cheer on the U.S. men's soccer team Tuesday in their World Cup match against Belgium.

Many were literally waving the American flag. Even more were wearing it.

Miguel Torres, in a red-white-and-blue top hat, beads and body paint, came out to support the country as much as the team.

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Families
11:04 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Missouri And Kansas Among Worst States For New Parents

This map grades states based on their economic protections for new parents employed in both government and private-sector positions.
Credit www.nationalpartnership.org

A new study has rated Missouri and Kansas among the worst states in the country for new parents.

The National Partnership for Women & Families gave both states a failing grade in the third edition of "Expecting Better," an analysis of economic supports for state and private sector workers with new children.

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Beyond Our Borders
10:15 am
Wed July 2, 2014

3 Challenges Of Transforming A Vacant Lot Into An Edible Landscape

This section of a vacant lot in the Ivanhoe neighborhood is envisioned as the future site of an orchard.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

There are thousands of vacant lots in Kansas City, Mo. In the Ivanhoe neighborhood, from 31st Street to Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard and Prospect to Paseo, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council owns more than 150.

"Every lot can't be a community garden. Every lot can't be an urban farm. So it's like, what else can we do with these lots?" asks Dina Newman, who's coordinating a project in Ivanhoe called LOTS of Love.

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Harvest Public Media
9:23 am
Wed July 2, 2014

My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home

Growing up in Nebraska, Kari Williams spent many vacations visiting her family’s farms.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.

But not former Nebraskan and current Coloradan Kari Williams. Her family vacation memories center on smells of cow manure, adventures on horseback and roosters with bad attitudes on farms in central Nebraska.

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Health
8:57 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Surprise Halt To Kansas Health Homes Program Dismays Medicaid Providers

Kansas Medicaid providers with expansion plans ready to go after spending months and thousands of dollars preparing for the state’s new health homes initiative said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” that state officials abruptly chose to indefinitely delay much of the program’s implementation while giving the providers less than 24 hours' notice of the state’s decision to hit the pause button.

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Headlines
7:53 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Arbitrator Orders Diocese Of St. Joseph-Kansas City To Pay Victims $1.1 Million

Credit An arbitrator ordered the diocese to pay victims $1.1 million.

In a ruling just made public, arbitrator Hollis Hanover ordered that the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City -St. Joseph wasn’t doing everything it should have to protect children from sexual abuse. He also ordered the Archdiocese to pay the victims $1.1 million.

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Public Schools
3:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

A Look Back At The Plan That Tried To Unify Kansas City Public Schools

The future of Kansas City and St. Louis public schools is uncertain, but unification could be a potential solution.
Credit Liz / Wikimedia Commons

In 1967, Missouri Rep. Jim Spainhower was tasked with creating a bill that would reorganize public school districts throughout the state.

Known as the Spainhower Commission, the plan would've cut the total number of school districts down to 20.

Reactions to the Spainhower Commission were almost uniformly negative at the time, as many Kansas City and St. Louis suburb residents thought it was a ploy for tax money and desegregation. 

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Health
12:45 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Walgreens Will Offer Medical Services In Collaboration With HCA Midwest

Credit Mike Mozart / Flickr -- Creative Commons

As part of a growing trend linking traditional healthcare providers with retailers, HCA Midwest Health System announced Tuesday that it will offer coordinated care at select Walgreens stores.

HCA, the biggest health system in Kansas City, said the Walgreens Healthcare Clinics will be staffed by nurse practitioners, who will provide care for minor illnesses and injuries, health testing and other non-emergency services.

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Economy
12:36 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Missouri Wants To End Economic 'Border War,' But Kansas Will Need To Act

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signs legislation agreeing to end economic incentives and tax breaks for companies that move across the state line, but only if Kansas also agrees.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri lawmakers want to put a stop to economic incentives for businesses who move across the state line from Kansas.

But the legislation Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law Tuesday only goes into effect if Kansas agrees to a similar measure to end what's commonly known as the "Border War."

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Holiday
12:26 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Your Guide To Fourth Of July Festivities In Kansas City

KC Riverfest fireworks light up the Missouri River next to the Christopher Bond Bridge to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Credit MoDOT Photos / Flickr-CC

Whether you're rocking a Stars and Stripes jumpsuit or merely soaking in the patriotic atmosphere, Independence Day is a time for celebration.

But with so many displays, parades, and other festivities, it can be a little daunting to decide just how to celebrate.

That is why we've decided to plan out your itinerary for the entire day. Here are some of the best places in the metro area to make your Fourth of July a real humdinger:

Morning activities

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