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Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas public colleges will have to allow firearms on their campuses starting in July. But they’re still battling with the gun lobby over how people should be allowed to carry their guns.

In preparation for the law mandating concealed carry on campuses, the colleges have proposed some restrictions. For example, people carrying a semi-automatic weapon on campuses would not be allowed to keep a round in the chamber.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Mayor Sly James initially said the ordinance had failed, but after a moment of confusion he announced that the Kansas City Council has enacted a $8.50 an hour minimum wage, effective Sept. 18, 2017.

The ordinance calls for an eventual $13 minimum wage in 2023.

But it might not stand. The Council voted just hours after the Missouri House fast-tracked a bill to prevent cities from adopting a higher wage than the state minimum, which is $7.70 an hour and the current rate in Kansas City.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A western Kansas man accused of voting in two states has agreed to a plea bargain, saying he “simply made a mistake.”

Lincoln Wilson, a 65-year-old Republican from Sherman County, will plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts of voting without being qualified and two misdemeanor counts of false swearing to an affidavit, according to his lawyer, Jerry Fairbanks.

The lone African-American charged in Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s voter fraud crusade, Wilson faced the most charges, including three felonies and six misdemeanors.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

If you're looking for a public-service job in law enforcement, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office wants to talk to you.

That's according to Sheriff Calvin Hayden, who says his department is a long way from where they need to be staffed — 50 uniformed deputies short, to be exact.

"That's our huge issue right now," he says. "Recruiting is our No. 1 priority for this year."

Hayden, who took office in January, attributed the deficiency to the increased criticism law enforcers are receiving.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

For years Kansas Sen. David Haley has introduced bills to stiffen penalties for hate crimes and they’ve gone nowhere.

But Haley and others think his bill might have more urgency this year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had a hearing on Senate Bill 128 Wednesday, just weeks after a man opened fire on two Indian immigrants in an Olathe bar, wounding one and killing the other.

Othree / Flickr — CC

Want to get far-far away this weekend, but can’t? There might be a way.

Get your international travel ticket punched by taking advantage of local go-and-dos that can transport you – well, at least in spirit – to Ireland, Japan and other distant lands by way of music, dancing and even costumed role-playing.

How far can you go? Don’t look at me, I’m following you!

 

1. Snake Saturday Parade and Brookside St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Reports that Gov. Sam Brownback may soon be leaving the state to take a United Nations post have lawmakers and others at the Statehouse talking about how things might change with Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer in charge.

Megan Mantia

Lynnette Miranda is never quite sure what art will be in the shows she curates. Miranda, a Miami native who’s six months into an 18-month stint as the Charlotte Street Foundation's curator-in-residence, says she curates artists, not art objects.

BigStock Images

This story was updated at 1:26 p.m. Thursday to include the comments of Michael Barrett, head of the Missouri public defender system.

Last July, Shondel Church was arrested in Kansas City for allegedly stealing a generator and tool box from his stepmother.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

At a time when Kansas is facing a serious budget deficit and a court order saying school funding is inadequate, Gov. Sam Brownback may be leaving the state for a job in Italy. A former high-ranking government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells Kansas Public Radio that Brownback will be named the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture in Rome.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

The Big 12 basketball tournament starts today at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. The multi-day event generates an estimated $13.6 million for the local economy.

At the same time, the Missouri legislature is looking at three bills that would require people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. If passed, such a measure could prevent Kansas City from keeping or getting other big events.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he's closely monitoring the bills’ progress.

Courtesy Photo / Office of U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall

Kansas freshman Republican Congressman Roger Marshall is getting a baptism of fire as he campaigns for the American Health Care Act — the bill Republicans introduced this week to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Courtesy The Elders

The Kansas City based Celtic-rock band The Elders has long been one of Kansas City’s most popular bands, performing regularly at prominent civic gatherings including the Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, the band oversees another annual tradition: The Elders’ 15th annual hoolie.

In honor of their featured status this week, we're playing "Meetings of the Waters," off of the band's seventh studio album, 2014's Story Road.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

An adult stem cell center established by the Kansas Legislature in 2013 is almost ready for its first clinical trial.

Buddhadeb Dawn, executive director of the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, told legislators Tuesday that the trial will focus on treating graft-versus-host disease and will begin after final approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Bryan Thompson / KCUR 89.3

Fire crews battled hot spots overnight Tuesday in Reno County, but residents of one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods were allowed back to their houses.

No deaths or injuries were reported in the county, but eight homes were destroyed.

Velera Adams and her husband got the call, along with thousands of others, to evacuate from rural Hutchinson just as night fell Monday. She said they drove to a church parking lot just outside the evacuation zone.

“And we could see the fire, all along north of there,” said Velera Adams. “It was pretty scary.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Big 12 men’s basketball tournament begins Wednesday downtown at the Sprint Center. Top-seeded Kansas doesn’t play until Thursday in the quarterfinals, but KU has already put itself in elite company winning its 13th consecutive regular season Big 12 title. That ties the Jayhawks with UCLA.

KU faced challenges on the court, but even more trouble off the court en route to this year’s title.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

After the EF-3 tornado that destroyed homes in Oak Grove, Missouri, residents of the damaged neighborhoods were mostly in good spirits Tuesday afternoon – happy to be alive and grateful for neighbors who were helping clean up.

Jennifer Swartz’s home on South Clinton Street was gone. She and her husband were having dinner in Lee’s Summit when the storm hit on Monday night. When they tried to return home, they hit a blockade and drove to Independence, where they spent the night with her husband's parents.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s East Side is receiving renewed attention this year with several initiatives aimed at attracting investment to an area that’s struggled economically for many decades.

 

Topping the list is a grassroots proposal championed by East Side clergy and others that will ask voters next month to approve a 1/8th cent sales tax increase. It would generate an estimated $8 million annually to support development east of Troost Avenue.

 

There are other new plans and proposals as well.

 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri state auditor Monday issued a highly critical report of executive compensation in the University of Missouri System, calling some $2 million paid to top leaders over the last two years "hidden bonus pay."

Much of Auditor Nicole Galloway's fire was focused on how the UM System handled the resignation of former University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

But she also highlighted additional compensation paid to other top system executives, including UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton.

Twitter / Missouri Highway Patrol

From Olathe, Kansas, to Oak Grove, Missouri, Tuesday morning, metro-area residents were surveying damage and catching their breath after a line of severe storms rolled through Monday night, causing widespread damage but no major injuries or deaths. 

The National Weather Service says two tornadoes touched down near Oak Grove and Smithville and officials are set to survey damage there and in Olathe. Schools in Odessa, Oak Grove and Lee’s Summit canceled classes Tuesday due to continued power outages and damage to some buildings. 

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

It’s mid-Friday afternoon at Wendell Phillips at Attucks Elementary School and the gym is buzzing. It’s Score 1 for Health day at the school at 24th and Prospect in Kansas City, Missouri, and kids here are getting free health screenings from medical students at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, or KCU.

For these mostly second-year med students, the program offers invaluable hands-on experience. For some, the program is what appealed to them about KCU, an osteopathic medical school near downtown Kansas City.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Looking back, Mira Mdivani says she can now connect the events and put them in context.

“Before the shooting, actually,” she says, “I had a phone call from an Indian national who emigrated to the United States and is a United States citizen.”

Mdivani, an immigration attorney in Overland Park, Kansas, was recalling the Feb. 22 shooting at an Olathe bar in which two Indian men were targeted in what appears to have been a racially motivated attack.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Of course, Republicans dominate Kansas. They hold all the statewide offices, and control both houses of the Legislature.

Meantime, Kansas Democrats have just elected a younger, and more progressive chairman, John Gibson. Gibson’s a lawyer who was raised on a farm in Missouri, went to MIT, and settled in the countryside northeast of Topeka.  

A Colorado farm field
File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The agriculture sector needs to ramp up its response to climate change, especially in the Midwest, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Researchers at the University of Maryland used climate projections and historical trends in agricultural productivity to predict how changes in temperature and rainfall will impact food production.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators heard testimony against physician-assisted suicide Monday from a former state representative.

“This is a direction we don’t want to go,” said Steve Brunk, a Republican who represented a Wichita-area district for 12 years. “We value life, and we don’t want to take the step of looking down this corridor where we negate the value of life and we assist people in dying.”

It’s already a felony for physicians to help patients end their lives in Kansas.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's curbside recycling program started in 2004. Since then, our diversion rates, as in the measurement of how much trash we are keeping from the landfills has stayed consistently around the in the 25-30 percent range. The goal is to reach an 80 percent diversion rate by 2020. We're a ways off, but regional experts remain optimistic. 

"We are recycling much more than the numbers show," says Marleen Leonce.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

The suspected gunman in the Feb. 22 shooting that left one man dead and two injured at an Olathe, Kansas, bar asked two Indian nationals if their “status was legal” before shooting them, according to a probable cause affidavit released Monday morning from Johnson County District Court. 

The document, which outlines the police case for detention of the suspect, says that roughly 30 minutes before the shooting, the three victims were seated in the patio area at the front of the neighborhood bar, Austins Bar and Grill near 151st and Mur-Len. 

University of Missouri

In a very critical report, the Missouri auditor called into question incentive payments made to top executives of the University of Missouri System. In a report released Monday, Auditor Nicole Galloway also questioned how much the system paid to the former chancellor of the Columbia campus after his resignation and how much the system spends on car allowances for UM System executives.

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students Liz Hada, left, and Melissa Garcia Rodriguez say they have experienced racial tension in some of their classes, despite feeling generally welcomed by most students and faculty.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don’t reflect the nation’s demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system’s greatest challenges.

File Photo

The first weeks of the legislative session are a time for lawmakers to put forward their favorite ideas that have little chance of becoming law. In most years, that list would include changes to Medicaid, but things are different with the 2017 Kansas Legislature.

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