News

Pages

Government
7:04 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Compromise: Put Leon Jordan's Name On Campus, Not Police Station

The Kansas City Council has come up with a compromise they hope will satisfy those who wanted the new East Patrol police station named after Leon Jordan, a former police officer and the founder of Freedom, Inc, while also satisfying those who opposed it.

Councilman Jermaine Reed explained the idea: name the campus, not the police station.

A parade of black community leaders and former council members spoke in favor of the naming to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  All cited the historic contributions made by Jordan to the city and to law enforcement.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
6:45 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Executive Action On Immigration Gives Kansas City Hispanic Communities Hope

El Torito II is located on Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. It started as a Hispanic supermarket, added a taco stand and now is one of the neighborhood's most popular restaurants, complete with an ice cream shop. It's one example of Central Avenue's growth in the past 20 years, when a wave of Latino immigrants came to the area.
Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

In November, President Obama announced sweeping changes to immigration policy via executive action.

The action, which protects about 4.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States from deportation, has been met with controversy nationwide.

But Hispanic communities in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., say the measure is a step in the right direction.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
4:09 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Obamacare Plays Major Role In Brownback Budget Fix

 

When Gov. Sam Brownback announced this week a list of stopgap measures to close a $280 million budget hole, one of the biggest chunks was $55 million from a “Kansas Department of Health and Environment Fee Fund Sweep” made possible in part by a federal law the governor has strenuously opposed and criticized.

Read more
Tell KCUR
3:39 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

What Podcasts Kansas Citians Are Downloading

What podcasts are you listening to? Why? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Mingo Hagen / Flickr--CC

As podcasts pick up in popularity across the country, we wanted to see what Kansas Citians were choosing for their earbuds.

This week, we asked: What podcasts are you listening to? Why?

The question came as we prepared for our event, “Serial: The Listening Party,” set for Thursday night in Westport.  

Read more
Arts & Culture
1:54 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Best Podcasts: Recommendations From KCUR Staff

With the hit podcast 'Serial' 2014 saw a resurgence in the listening platform.
Credit Doug / Flickr--CC

The line between radio show and podcast is pretty blurry.

After all, a podcast is just audio that you can stream or download on your own time. (You can subscribe to KCUR podcasts here.)

Many of our own staff at KCUR are also big consumers of podcasts, whether produced by public radio or not.

Here are some picks from our staff and interns:

Maria Carter, news director/newscaster

Read more
Community
9:33 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Kansas City's Owls Get All The Help They Need At Lakeside Nature Center

Kimberly Hess, Director at Lakeside Nature Center with Hooty the owl. Hooty is a 19 year old barred owl who came to the center after his nest was destroyed. He was malnourished, and developed cataracts. He cannot survive in the wild.
Suzanne Hogan KCUR

Lakeside Nature Center in Kansas City, Mo., is a place where people can get an up-close look at wild animals and plants that surround the area. It’s also one of the largest animal rehabilitation centers in Missouri.

Wild animals are brought in when they lose their habitat, are injured or abandoned. Humans are animal’s biggest threat, but the center is a place where humans are trying to help them out.

Read more
McTavish Weekend Extra
9:19 am
Thu December 11, 2014

6 Things To ‘Revue’ This Weekend In Kansas City

Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder are among the classic Motown recording artists enthusiastically depicted in their early prime in this touring Broadway musical.
Credit Courtesy / Theater League

What comprises a revue? Technically, it’s a show consisting of music, dancing and/or skits, often with a lively or sometimes lampooning tone.

More loosely — and we like to keep it loose around here — it’s any entertainment that evokes the essence of a variety show, where a succession of engaging bits makes up the whole.

If you remember The Ed Sullivan Show, then you’re with me. If you don’t, something tells me you’re still with me because you’re curious to see what revue-centric amusements the weekend has in store. Still there? I knew it!

Read more
Arts & Culture
7:22 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Ensemble Ibérica Explores Spanish Connections To Irish Carols

Soprano Victoria Botero keeps an eye on the verses as she rehearses 'The Darkest Midnight,' one of the best known carols -- one that is sung on Christmas Day.
Julie Denesha KCUR

In the 1720s, after studying in Spain, a young priest returned home to Ireland. He started writing Christmas carols influenced by Spanish liturgical music. Now known as the Kilmore Carols, these carols are still performed during the holidays in the small Irish village of Kilmore —and this year, in Kansas City. 

Read more
Government
7:20 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Kansas City To Extend Pension Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

Update, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11:

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council voted Thursday to extend city pension benefits currently offered to couples in conventional marriages to legally-married same-sex couples.

“So this is just one more example of our commitment to being inclusive to all of our citizens in Kansas City,” Councilwoman Jan Marcason said before the unanimous vote.

The original post continues below.

Read more
Government
7:02 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Kansas Republicans Criticize Brownback's Budget Plan

Two high-ranking Republicans have criticized Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to use state pension dollars to help fill a budget hole.

Senate Vice President Jeff King and state Treasurer Ron Estes have concerns about the move. They say the proposal hurts the public pension plan, known as KPERS, not long after an attempt to fix it.

Read more
Education
5:20 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

St. Joseph School District To Lose $2 Million In State Aid

The St. Joseph School District's summer school program is under scrutiny by the State of Missouri.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

Update, Dec. 18:

The St. Joseph School District filed an action plan Monday with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In the letter to St. Joseph superintendent Dr. Fred Czerwona outlining the summer school programs the state disallowed, DESE required a plan from the district to make sure these mistakes don't happen again.

Czerwonka sent a one page letter to DESE saying, among other things, the district will review the summer school handbook every year and any changes will be reviewed by DESE.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
4:47 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Wichita Center Feels Effects Of Limited Admissions At Osawatomie State Hospital

A decision last week by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to limit admissions to Osawatomie State Hospital has had an immediate effect on the state’s mental health system.

Marilyn Cook, executive director at COMCARE, the community mental health center in Wichita, says the state’s decision to suspend admission of voluntary patients and more closely screen involuntary admissions recently prevented the center from transferring several patients thought to be a danger to themselves or others.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
4:01 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Deadline Nears For Kansas Nursing Homes To Join Malpractice Fund

Cindy Luxem, president and CEO of the Kansas Center for Assisted Living, urged the inclusion of adult care facilities in the stabilization fund.

Hundreds of nursing homes and other assisted living facilities in Kansas will be required to participate in a fund meant to spread the risk of malpractice lawsuits starting next month. Advocates for those facilities say the change is a plus, but it has insurance agents scrambling to find liability coverage for their assisted living clients in a limited market.

Read more
Education
4:00 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Missouri Denied Federal Early Childhood Development Grant

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received some bad news Wednesday.

Its application for a $17.5 million grant to boost the number of children in state-funded early childhood education programs was turned down by the U.S. Department of Education.

The grants were announced in conjunction with a Dec. 10 White House summit on early childhood development. Eighteen states will share $226 million in federal grants to either develop state pre-kindergarten programs or expand existing programs.

Read more
Community
3:41 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Kansas City Response To Ferguson Calm But Tensions Simmer

Students and civil rights leaders marching the day after the Ferguson decision was released.
Credit Laura Ziegler / K

Kansas City, like many cities across the world, saw a public outcry to what many felt was an injustice in the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.

As anticipated, the decision set off immediate violence in the St. Louis suburb. The ruling reverberated with demonstrations and protests from New York to San Diego, and as far away as Sydney, Australia.

Here in Kansas City, the response was quick and vocal, but mostly peaceful.

Read more
Arts & Culture
3:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Kansas City's New Director Of Creative Services Names Her Top Three Priorities

Megan Crigger has been appointed the first Director of Creative Services for Kansas City, Mo. She starts on January 5.
Credit courtesy of Artist INC.

Kansas City, Mo., officials announced the first director of creative services Wednesday. 

Megan Crigger is an arts professional with nearly 20 years of experience in Austin, Texas. Most recently, she served as that city's cultural arts division manager with a focus on tourism, arts and culture. 

"Things that are my priority so align with what Kansas City is focused on that it just feels like a great natural fit," Crigger says. 

Read more
Community
3:03 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Body-Mounted Cameras Have Been A Useful Tool For Lenexa Police Despite Complications

Officer Dawn Layman is a Major with the Lenexa Police Department.
Credit Matt Hodapp / KCUR

In the wake of the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama earlier this month called for $75 million to provide 50,000 body-mounted cameras to police departments across the nation. 

Several Missouri police departments have recently started using the devices, and more will likely follow if the federal funds move forward.

Read more
Community
1:53 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Concern Over Firefighter Suicides Prompts KCFD To Seek Resources, Help

Firefighter Kimble Cowan sits with station dog Lucky as they head to refuel their fire truck.
Esther Honig KCUR

Sirens flash and wail as the 17-ton fire engine barrels down Independence Avenue in Kansas City's Historic Northeast. The four firefighters on board gear up in their flame retardant boots and jackets as they rush to the scene of a call.

“After 25 years I’ve seen just about everything you can image,” says firefighter Dan Utt, shouting over the blaring sirens. “Probably more than I’d like to recall to be honest.”

Read more
90.9 The Bridge
1:47 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Kansas City Music Guy Chris Haghirian To Host All Local Radio Show

90.9FM The Bridge's new music show "Eight One Sixty" is set to launch this January and focus on all things local in Kansas City's music scene.
Credit 90.9FM The Bridge

Kansas City community radio station The Bridge is launching a new hour-long music program this January hosted by local music aficionado Chris Haghirian.

"Eight One Sixty" will debut on Jan. 6 and air weekly on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. The show will play all local music and feature interviews, news and live performances from Kansas City-based artists. 

Read more
Government
7:55 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Brownback Unveils Plan To Reduce Kansas Deficit

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has released a plan to fix a budget deficit in the current fiscal year. Cuts to highway funding and the state’s public retirement system will be key to balancing the Kansas budget.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says the administration started by trying to find ways to reduce spending while minimizing the effect the cost-cutting would have on services.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
6:45 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Kansas, Missouri Continue To Struggle In Health Rankings

Credit Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons-Flickr

New health rankings  show Kansas stuck at No. 27 among the 50 states, the same slot it occupied last year. But there was a time – not that long ago – when the state ranked much higher than the middle of the pack.

The annual United Health Foundation rankings are a snapshot of 30 health measures ranging from clinical care to behavior and environment to state policy. Dr. Rhonda Randall, the foundation’s chief health advisor, says there’s no mistaking the trend.

Read more
Government
5:50 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Brownback Announces Cuts To Close Budget Gap

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced Tuesday he will use his power of allotments to make fee transfers and spending cuts to close a $280 million budget gap in the current fiscal year.

Brownback said in a prepared statement that the allotments come from recommendations made by budget director Shawn Sullivan.

Read more
Community
4:24 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

University of Kansas Announces $58 Million Gift From Estate Of Al And Lila Self

The University of Kansas has received its largest private donation ever. The $58 million gift from the estate of Madison "Al" and Lila Self was announced by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little at an event on Tuesday.

"This gift, in combination with what they've given before, totals $106 million," Gray-Little said.

Al and Lila Self died last year, both at the age of 91.  They were both KU alums, having met as students at the university. Al Self graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1943; they were married that summer.

Read more
Beyond Our Borders
1:32 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

For Neighbors, Construction On Kansas City Church Is Good News

Ivanhoe resident Mrs. Martha Tolbert welcomes construction at the Linwood Presbyterian Church and community center.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Martha Tolbert has lived directly across from the Linwood Presbyterian Church and adjacent Harold Thomas Center for more than 50 years.

The massive complex at Linwood Boulevard and U.S. Highway 71 has been an architectural icon in the Ivanhoe neighborhood since its construction around the turn of the century.  

But for decades, the buildings have been vacant, the majestic bell tower crumbling and the brick walls  increasingly dilapidated.

Read more
Government
8:01 am
Tue December 9, 2014

ACLU Wants Kansas Agencies To Recognize Same Sex Marriages

The ACLU wants all state agencies in Kansas to recognize same sex marriages. The group is now asking a federal court to make it happen.

The court filing specifically names several state officials, including the secretary of revenue. It says people in same sex relationships have been denied state benefits, like joining their spouse’s health insurance or filing joint taxes.

Thomas Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says the courts have let same sex marriages go forward in Kansas, and that means they should also be recognized by state agencies.

Read more
Arts & Culture
7:52 am
Tue December 9, 2014

For Kansas City Art Institute Film And Animation Students, It's Showtime

A still from 'Dictum,' by Kansas City Art Institute filmmaking student Ayah Abdul-Rauf.
Credit Ayah Abdul-Rauf / Kansas City Art Institute

Film and animation students at the Kansas City Art Institute get some big-screen time – and a chance to see how their work goes over with a live audience – at their end-of-semester show on Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Read more
Heartland Health Monitor
1:37 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

KCK ‘Healthy Campus’ Another Step Closer To Reality

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., in October unveiled this master plan for the development of a 'healthy campus' west of downtown Kansas City, Kan.
Credit Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.

 

A multimillion-dollar plan to transform downtown Kansas City, Kan., into a national model is one step closer to reality.

The Unified Government Board of Commissioners last week unanimously approved a new master development plan designed to help improve the health of Kansas City and other Wyandotte County residents by providing a state-of-the-art community center, more green space in which to exercise and access to healthy foods at a 30,000- to 35,000-square-foot urban grocery store.

Read more
Central Standard
12:24 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Lauren Krum Of 'The Grisly Hand' Picks Her Favorite Country Christmas Songs

Lauren Krum is a vocalist with The Grisly Hand.
Credit thegrislyhand.com

The incessant upbeat of canned Christmas music can leave even those who love the holidays with a feeling of cheer fatigue.

Kansas City-area singer Lauren Krum of The Grisly Hand, whose DJ alter-ego Lorna Kay spins classic country tunes all year long, shares some grittier winter songs to fill out the emotional spectrum this December.

Lauren's Picks:

Read more
Harvest Public Media
8:16 am
Mon December 8, 2014

For Ranchers, A Grass Land Rush

Cattle take a drink from a tank filled by a windmill. Rancher Dave Wright was hoping to buy part of a neighboring ranch to expand his herd, but it sold for extreme prices.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

After getting pummeled by drought and low cattle prices, many ranchers are across the Midwest are eager to grow their herds. As they do, grass is turning into a hot commodity.

The national beef herd is down to the size it was in 1951. Shoppers know that beef is more expensive, which has people switching to chicken and pork. To raise more cattle and perhaps bring down meat prices, ranchers need more pasture. The trouble for many ranchers is grass has grown expensive.

Read more
Community
7:50 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Hundreds Attend Memorial Service For Slain Kansas City Teen

Hundreds of members of the Islamic Somali community and other faith organizations came to honor the memory of Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

Several hundred people packed into the Somali Center of Kansas City Sunday to honor the memory of the teenager who was killed in a hit and run last week.

More than a dozen faith-based organizations and some civic leaders attended the memorial service for Abdisamad "Adam" Sheikh-Hussein to show their solidarity with his family and the Somali community.

Read more

Pages