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Education
3:54 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

St. Joseph Public School Administrator Returns As Stipend Scandal Continues

The St. Joesph School District has been suffering under a scandal over stipends handed out to administrators by Superintendent Fred Czerwonka.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

The St. Joseph School District in St. Joseph, Mo., faces a raft of problems, including an investigation by the FBI, a federal grand jury in Kansas City, the U.S. Department of Education and the Missouri State Auditor. 

But at least one of the embattled district’s problems may be cycling to an end.

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Heartland Health Monitor
12:11 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Kansas Consumers Have More ACA Enrollment Options

Sherry Calderwood, a waitress at a Topeka breakfast spot frequented by legislators and lobbyists, didn’t buy insurance through the Obamacare marketplace last year but will this year to cover the cost of treating a recently diagnosed blood disorder.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

 

Sherry Calderwood wishes she could turn back the clock.

Last fall, she and her husband decided not to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace because it cost too much.

RELATED STORY: Kansas City Groups Target Hard-To-Reach For Health Insurance 

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Sports
11:39 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Sprint Center To Host 2017 Elite Eight

Kansas City's Sprint Center will host the Midwest Regional games in the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Credit Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

No stranger to big-time college basketball, Kansas City will play host to late-round games in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the NCAA announced Monday.

Kansas City is the host of 2017’s Midwest Regional games, which include two Sweet Sixteen games and one Elite Eight matchup. The games will be played at the Sprint Center.

The Final Four is scheduled to be played in Phoenix. San Jose, Calif., will host the West Regional games. The South Regional games will be held in Memphis, Tenn. New York will host the East Regional games.

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:55 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Kansas City Groups Target Hard-To-Reach For Health Insurance

Informational tables lined the entry hallway at a recent LGBT health fair held in Kansas City, Mo. The exhibits continued around the corner.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

 

As the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period began Saturday, for-profit and non-profit groups ramped up efforts to assist populations that have proven hard to reach.

At events in and around Kansas City, counselors, insurance brokers and insurance companies held public education events and free health fairs to reach the uninsured and underinsured among minority populations and apprise them of their coverage options. 

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Community
9:25 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Mission's Johnson Drive Reconstruction Project Nears Completion

The Johnson Drive reconstruction project that started in mid-2013 in Mission, Kan., is finally coming to a close. 

For many business owners, having their parking blocked off by construction for so long dealt a major blow to their bottom line. Hershel Casey of the Casey Brothers service station said that he was surprised by just how much the construction hurt business.

"Well during the summer months, we were down about 45 to 60 percent on business," Casey said. "I think it took about twice as long as it should've."

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Harvest Public Media
7:24 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Migrant Farmworkers Remain Crucial To Harvest

Both Veronica Jaramillio and her mother Maria have spent decades traveling the country as migrant farmworkers.
Esther Honig for Harvest Public Media

On a warm October afternoon Veronica Jaramillo walks through rows of skinny apple trees on the orchard where she works as the sun sinks behind rolling Missouri hills.

The 30 year-old migrant farmworker reaches into a tree on the Waverly, Mo., orchard, and in one fluid motion, picks a Golden Delicious apple.

“I don’t like picking the Golden,” laughs Jaramillo. “They’re real delicate and you can bruise them with just your fingertips.”

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Harvest Public Media
7:19 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Meat Labeling Rules May Change

Rules that require more information on meat labels may be on the outs.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack seemed to signal for the first time Friday that the rules are not compliant with World Trade Organization standards and must be fixed.

“We’ve done a 360-degree look and I can tell you that we do not think there’s a regulatory fix that would allow us to be consistent with the law, which I’ve sworn to uphold, and to satisfy the WTO,” Vilsack said.

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Education
6:51 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Group Scrutinizes Kansas Teacher Benefit Packages

A survey of school districts in Kansas by an efficiency commission has raised some questions about benefits paid to school district employees. The survey from the K12 Performance and Efficiency Commission showed differences in retirement and other benefits offered to employees.

Dave Trabert is a commission member and he also heads the Kansas Policy Institute, a think tank advocating for what they call a "low-tax, pro-growth environment."

He questions the higher benefits packages offered by some districts.

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Community
11:20 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Jeff Piehler, Prairie Village Man Who Built His Own Coffin, Has Died

Jeff Piehler, seen sitting in the pine coffin that he built, has passed away.
Credit Shari Hartbauer / Lincoln Journal Star

Jeff Piehler, the retired Prairie Village thoracic surgeon who built his own coffin, died Friday after a 12-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

In February, Piehler penned a New York Times op-ed about his decision to build his own coffin. Though his family believed it was morbid at first, building the coffin helped Piehler come to terms with his own mortality. 

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Arts & Culture
4:04 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Library's MakerSpace: More Sewing, Recording, 3-D Printing To Come

An example of 3-D printing created in the MakerSpace at the Johnson County Central Resource Library.
Credit courtesy: Johnson County Library

The Johnson County Library Foundation recently announced a $70,360 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The funds will boost the scope of the MakerSpace at the Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park, Kan. 

The MakerSpace opened in 2013. It’s where you can learn to sew, record music, or print something in 3-D.

Kate McNair, teen services coordinating librarian, says demand for the MakerSpace, with its tools and technology, exceeds capacity. 

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Sat November 15, 2014

With 'The Big Meal,' KU Theatre Students Bite Off A Lot

The cast of KU University Theatre's 'The Big Meal.'
Credit Courtesy of Lindsey Roesti

University of Kansas theater professor Peter Zazzali wanted to challenge his students. So, heading into Thanksgiving, they're putting on a play called “The Big Meal.”

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Heartland Health Monitor
6:42 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

ESPN Program Raises Food Safety Issues At Kansas City Stadiums

Cockroaches, mold and mouse feces at Kauffman stadium food stands: Those were some of the food safety violations that Aramark district food safety manager Jon Costa related to ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" television program in a segment that aired on Friday. 

Costa, whom the Philadelphia-based company has since placed on paid administrative leave,  also voiced his concerns about food safety at Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums to the Kansas City, Mo., health department on Nov. 3.

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Beyond Our Borders
5:28 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Kansas City, Missouri, Is A Model For Progressive LGBT Policy, Group Says

Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., each received vastly different marks on LGBT-friendliness in a recent report.
Credit Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, calls Kansas City, Mo., “a beacon of hope” for the LGBT community.

Kansas City, Kan., however, represents a city “at the opposite end of the spectrum” in terms of LGBT rights, according to a new report.

“The simple reality is LGBT people in Kansas City are living in two completely different worlds divided by a line,” the Washington-based group says in a statement.

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Central Standard
4:27 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Painter Hung Liu Summons Ghosts From China's Past

Hung Liu stands in front of Mu Nu, Mother Daughter, a painting the permanent collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Credit Paul Andrews

Back-breaking labor makes people colorless.

That's how artist Hung Liu remembers it, anyway. At the age of 16, she was sent to the Chinese countryside to live and work without a wage as part of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. High school had filled her head with too much non-proletarian knowledge; she would have to unlearn it all through hard labor. 

"Working in the cornfield, you sweat. In the morning, you pull the wheat with mud all over your hands. We were colorless," Liu says.

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Tell KCUR
11:46 am
Fri November 14, 2014

The Triumphs And Failures Of Online Dating In Kansas City

What are your online dating success and horror stories? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Online dating doesn't seem any worse or fruitful than traditional dating, according to feedback we received this week from avid online daters in the Kansas City area.

Earlier this week, in anticipation of our storytelling event with NPR, "Storied: The Science of Online Dating," we asked our listeners: What are your online dating success and horror stories?

We heard a mix of recounts of dating mishaps and successful couplings.  

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Heartland Health Monitor
10:38 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Head Of Kansas Prescription Monitoring Program Resigns

The executive director of Kansas' prescription drug monitoring program, Marty Singleton, announced his resignation due to health issues.
Credit Phil Cauthon

 

The man who shepherded Kansas' prescription drug tracking program through a software upgrade is resigning after a little more than a year on the job.

Marty Singleton, director of the Kansas Tracking and Reporting of Controlled Substances system,  said in a phone interview that he is stepping down due to "personal health issues."

“I met with my doctor," Singleton said. "Been down this road before, and it’s better just to nip it in the bud.”

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Beyond Our Borders
9:22 am
Fri November 14, 2014

What Kansas City's Guilty Pleasures Cost On Both Sides Of The State Line

Asad Naseem is a clerk at a Sinclair gas station on 75th Street and State Line Road in Kansas City, Mo. He says many of his clients are Kansas residents who cross the state line to buy inexpensive cigarettes.
Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

If you're in the mood for booze, cigarettes or candy in the Kansas City area, consider taking the state line into account when you make your purchases.

That's because the Missouri-Kansas border definitely plays a role in what you will pay for life's guilty pleasures, KCUR found in its phone survey of prices across the metro.

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Missouri Football
8:51 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Mizzou To Face Brigham Young At Arrowhead In 2015

Not since the Missouri Tigers squared off against the Kansas Jayhawks in 2011 has any big-time college football team played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Next year, however, MU will play a game there against Brigham Young University.

MU athletics director Mike Alden said he knows fans would love a rematch between the Jayhawks and Tigers, but it's up in the air whether that could be arranged.

"Boy, it would be awesome if one of these days we could get that together," Alden said. "But who knows?"

Arts & Culture
8:11 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Lawrence Residents Weigh In On Plans For East 9th Street

Artwork and studios, like artist Dave Loewenstein's on E. 9th Street, are not uncommon in East Lawrence.
Laura Spencer KCUR

East Lawrence, Kan., is a mecca for artists with its affordable housing and studio space.

But an influx of funds for creative placemaking could change all that.

In June 2014, Lawrence Arts Center received a $500,000 ArtPlace America grant. The 9th Street Corridor project calls for a transformation of six blocks between New Hampshire and Delaware streets.  The plan includes "multimodal paths, upgrade amenities, and new models of urban infrastructure" along with art. 

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Government
11:51 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

American Royal Kemper Plan Faces Opposition

The ongoing struggle between the Kansas City Council and the American Royal to decide what to do with Kemper Arena continues.
Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

A special committee of the Kansas City Council held its first hearing Thursday on the American Royal proposal to replace Kemper Arena. The idea of demolishing the old arena and building a smaller one met some determined opposition.

Representatives of the American Royal and Sporting Kansas City said their plan is a boost for a venerable institution, youth sports and the West Bottoms. 

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:47 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Two Kansas City-Area Companies Won’t Have To Comply With Birth Control Mandate

Two Kansas City-area companies that challenged the Affordable Care Act’s so-called contraception mandate won’t be required to cover birth control as part of their employees’ health care plans.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, Senior U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith on Wednesday barred federal officials from enforcing the requirement against Randy Reed Automotive Inc. and Sioux Chief Manufacturing Co.

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Education
2:58 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

College Costs Continue To Climb In Missouri, Kansas

It's no surprise to parents, but the cost of a college education continues to rise.

The College Board issued a report Thursday showing the average in-state student paid $9,139 in 2013-2014. That's up 17 percent in the past five years, according to the report.

In-state students in Kansas and Missouri fare a little better.

The average cost in Kansas is $8,086. That's up 16 percent in the past five years.

In Missouri, in-state students paid $8,383 last year. But that's an increase of only five percent in the last five years.

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Government
10:59 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Some Kansas Counties Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Brian and Randy, a gay couple from Johnson County, sign their marriage license papers Thursday before one of the clerks in Douglas County.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Updated at 2:34 p.m.

At least six of Kansas' 105 counties issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Thursday, a day after  the U.S. Supreme Court let take effect an order overturning  a ban state officials had feverishly hoped to keep in place.

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Arts & Culture
10:41 am
Thu November 13, 2014

JJ's Restaurant Re-Opens In New Location

Nearly two years after a natural gas explosion and fire destroyed JJ's restaurant, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and owner Jimmy Frantze cut the ribbon at the restaurant's reopening ceremony in the Polsinelli Building in the West Plaza.
Julie Denesha KCUR

JJ's restaurant re-opened Wednesday night for dinner in its new location in the West Plaza district of Kansas City, Mo., inside the Polsinelli Building at 900 W. 48th Place.

It's been a work in progress for more than 11 months. When a natural gas explosion destroyed the original location in February 2013, it was questionable if the popular meeting spot would ever recover. 

In the days following the explosion that left server Megan Cramer dead, JJ’s co-owner Jimmy Frantze couldn’t even bring himself to look at the building.

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McTavish Weekend Extra
9:34 am
Thu November 13, 2014

7 Country Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

Rapidly rising young country star Hunter Hayes will be in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit Larry Darling / Flickr--CC

From bluegrass and honky-tonk to stuff that can seem a lot like pure pop, country music is a relative thing.

And, shucks, if it don’t just keep on a changin’ with the times. (How do you like my drawl? Trust me, it’s swell.)

Anyhow, the malleable music and adaptable culture of the country experience is available to all around the metro this weekend – 10 gallon hat optional. Well, unless you already own one, and then you have to wear it. Them’s the rules.

1. Hunter Hayes

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Government
4:56 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Same-Sex Marriage To Proceed In Kansas

Same-sex marriages will be allowed to go forward in Kansas.

That comes after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wednesday not to block the marriages while a lawsuit over the issue waits before an appeals court.

Kerry Wilks, from Wichita, and her partner Donna are parties in the lawsuit. She says she was thrilled to hear the news.

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Heartland Health Monitor
4:28 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Cerner Breaks Ground on Massive South Kansas City Complex

A computer rendering of Cerner Corp.'s proposed $4.45 billion campus in south Kansas City.
Credit Cerner Corp.

Cerner Corp., the Kansas City-based health care information technology giant, broke ground Wednesday on its huge campus in south Kansas City, Mo., a project that’s eventually expected to house as many as 16,000 workers.

Cerner officials, along with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Kansas City mayor Sly James, took part in the ceremony at the site of the now-demolished Bannister Mall, once one of the area’s biggest shopping centers. The mall closed in 2007 and was torn down in 2009.  

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Education
4:00 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Kansas Educators Worried About Budget Gap

Gov. Sam Brownback claims victory on election night.
Credit Andy Marso / KHI News Service

This week some very dire budget predictions came out of Topeka: In the next two years Kansas may come up $1 billion short of expenses.

But that’s in the future. Right now the state has to find $279 million.

When budget experts gathered Monday, school districts all across Kansas were watching closely.

They knew if the projected budget shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year was bad, they faced potential cuts in state funding.

Not next year but this year — money already budgeted would be lost.

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Community
1:48 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Forum Set For Missourians Facing Long Waits For Social Services

The Kansas City Workers' Rights Board will hold a community forum Wednesday evening to draw attention to long waits for programs the Missouri Department of Social Services administers.

Alice Kitchen, a steering committee member, says it's been more difficult to apply for Medicaid, food stamps and other programs since the department outsourced much of the Family Support Division's work to a third-party company.

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Community
11:53 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Victims' Families Plan Memorial As Alleged JCC Shooter Appears In Court

The Overland Park, Kan., Jewish Community Center hosts a memorial service for the three victims of April's shootings there and at nearby Village Shalom.
Credit Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Updated, 4 p.m. Wednesday:

The families of the three people killed near Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan., in April are planning a week-long community event to memorialize their loved ones.

Mindy Corporon, whose father and son were killed in the shooting, says the families wanted to make the announcement Wednesday to coincide with the preliminary hearing of accused murderer Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., which was postponed earlier in the day.

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