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Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s first single-gender public school has a sponsor.

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission voted to accept Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy’s application Wednesday morning after an evening of public testimony overwhelmingly in support of the school.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who is on the charter school’s board of directors, told the commission most of his staffers are women.

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Kansas City likes to boast that it’s internationally recognized for jazz. A concert at the Gem Theater on Thursday provides some evidence.

“Our musicians are everywhere in the world. We are pretty famous for our musicians,” says vocalist Deborah Brown, a Kansas City native and one of the instigators of Jazz Sister Cities, a partnership between musicians in Kansas City, Missouri, and Szczecin, Poland.

Kansas City already has civic relationships with 13 sister cities around the world, but this is the first purely musical relationship, unrelated to City Hall.

file photo / Kansas News Service

The company that processes applications for Kansas’ privatized KanCare Medicaid program faces potentially steep fines if it doesn’t fix problems, responsible for massive backlogs, by the end of this week.

Maximus, a Maryland-based company that specializes in managing “human service programs” for states and the federal government, has operated the “KanCare Clearinghouse” since 2016.

There have been problems from the start.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

Colorado farmer Steve Kelly brushes aside a small mound of dry yellow dirt to reveal a sugar beet seed that’s no larger than a peppercorn. It seems insignificant, but the seed is different from what he planted more than 20 years ago.

“The quality of the beet wasn’t as good and yield and everything that way wasn’t as good either,” he said.  

Now all but 5 percent of sugar beet seeds in the U.S. are genetically modified, or GMO.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen
Celia Llopis-Jepsen / KCUR/Kansas News Service

Five-year-old Ridley Fitzmorris sits at a picnic table in his backyard in Lawrence, one leg dangling and the other tucked beneath him. His eyes are focused on a row of Hot Wheels that his therapist asked him to count.

“One, two, three,” he says in a whisper, his finger hovering over each toy car until he reaches the last one. Turning to an iPad that he uses to communicate, he clicks an icon. “Eight,” the computerized voice announces.

“Good job!” cooes therapist Ashley Estrada, a specialist in treatment for children with autism. “You did it by yourself."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A former 23-year veteran employee of the Kansas City Fire Department is suing the department for racial discrimination.

In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Travis Yeargans, who is black, says he's not the only one who has been discriminated against. The lawsuit claims KCFD has a "pattern and practice of not promoting African-Americans to any position above firetruck driver due to race."

Yeargans was promoted in 1996 to driver but never to captain. The lawsuit says he made several attempts to get the promotion.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

As elected officials processed Tuesday's news that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens had resigned, effective June 1, and that Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would become governor, Kansas City-area lawmakers and party leaders' responses ranged from sober to slightly salty. 

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Below is the full speech Missouri Governor Eric Greitens gave Tuesday afternoon: 

Today, I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri effective Friday, June 1 at 5 PM. I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten. I love Missouri and I love our people. That love remains.

Photo of Sporting KC fans in the Cauldron section of Children's Mercy Park
ryanknapp / Flickr--Creative Commons

Without the frenzied cheers and boos from the stands, that Major League Soccer match or NBA Final or American League showdown really would be only a game. But sports fans are far from just a madding crowd with a mob mentality. As Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” they—that is, we—contain multitudes.

If you’ve been to even one Sporting KC home game at Children’s Mercy Park, then you’ve seen them, and heard them.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a challenge to an Arkansas law that effectively blocks medication abortions, leaving the fate of a similar Missouri law up in the air.

A medication abortion is a procedure involving a combination of two pills. The woman takes the first at an abortion clinic and typically takes the second at home. Complications from the procedure are rare, with fewer than 1 in 400 patients requiring hospitalization. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A home once owned by Baseball Hall of Famer Satchel Paige in Kansas City’s Santa Fe Place Historic District was severely damaged by fire early Tuesday morning. 

The former Paige residence at 2626 E 28th St. was built in 1910. Paige lived in the home for almost 20 years, while he gained notoriety pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues and later Major League Baseball's Kansas City Athletics.

file photo / KCUR 89.3

Friday is the deadline for candidates in Kansas to make it official by filing with the secretary of state’s office to appear on the ballot.

That date is also an important cutoff for voters. It’s the final day people in Kansas can switch political parties before the primary election on Aug. 7.

Here are four things to know about the deadline:

     Party switching

People who want to switch political parties have to do it before Friday, June 1, at noon.

Ty Russell / OU Athletics

Patty Gasso has spent her last 24 years in the dugout, coaching Oklahoma’s softball team to 12 Women’s College World Series appearances.

But she’s an anomaly in the Big 12 Conference: one of only three women heading a softball team. Among the Power 5 conferences (Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12), the Big 12 is the only one to have more men running softball teams than women.

Jake Johnson

On day 20 of her stay in the cardiac intensive care unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kari Alejandre posted on her Facebook page, “I’m getting a new heart today. It will be my third.”

She had been receiving family and other well-wishers in her pajamas for nearly three weeks.

“Please tell people my mom picked out these jammies,” she said at one point, looking down at the pink flamingos on a field of black.

Harpers470 / Creative Commons-Flickr

The NFL now has a rule that requires players to "show respect for the flag and anthem" during pre-game ceremonies. Players aren't required to be on the field for the anthem but if they are, no kneeling or sitting is permitted. They must stand.

The rule, announced last week after a meeting by team owners, sparked an immediate political firestorm. President Trump said he was pleased, but suggested if a player doesn't want to participate, "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.8

Years of effort on the part of local activists and historians to designate the Quindaro ruins in Kansas City, Kansas, as a National Historic Landmark may be entering the final stages.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, along with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, have co-sponsored legislation to give the site the prestigious status. 

Courtesy Ray Weikal / Kansas City Public Schools

Three schools will get $1.4 million from education nonprofit SchoolSmartKC to improve student performance, Kansas City Public Schools announced Friday.

Principal Dana Carter says she started to cry when she found out on the second-to-last day of school she’d have an additional $600,000 to implement Gladstone Elementary’s strategic plan.

“Literally, tears ran down my face,” Carter says. “It was a very exciting moment. Then when I shared it with our staff, it was screams of joy, everyone applauding.”

Jen Houston got word back in January that Kansas City International airport was announcing its first-ever nonstop transatlantic flight.

"While I didn't know where it would be going, I knew that I would be on it. So when the announcement was made January 9, I booked my ticket," Houston says.

Aixois Bistro/Facebook

Kansas City might be known as a meat-and-potatoes town, but fried chicken has long been popular here.

“Fried chicken is popular because it’s inexpensive, usually, and it tastes good,” Charles Ferruzza told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Besides that, Ferruzza said, “It travels well — it’s just as good cold as it is hot.”

KCUR

Kansas City’s summer curfew for minors begins Friday evening and will remain in effect until September.

The summer curfew, enforced nightly from Memorial Day weekend until the last Sunday in September, requires anyone under 18 years old to be accompanied by a parent after 9 p.m. in five of Kansas City’s entertainment districts: the Country Club Plaza, Westport, Downtown, 18th and Vine and Zona Rosa.

Outside of these areas, the curfew is 10 p.m. for people 15 and under and 11 p.m. for teens aged 16 and 17.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Maybe what Kansas City’s slow-to-redevelop 18th and Vine district has needed all along is The Popper.

The entrepreneurial rapper, whose real name is Walter Edwin, recently opened a storefront just south of the historic street corner. True to his hometown cheerleading, the name of the shop echoes the title of his signature song: It’s called I’m KC.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Friday is the last day of school at DeLaSalle Education Center, a charter high school in Kansas City that primarily enrolls students who haven’t succeeded elsewhere.

It’s also a time of reflection for those who taught them.

At 22, first-year Teach For America corps member Pranav Nanda isn’t that much older than his students. At the start of the school year, Nanda worried students might not respect someone they saw as a peer. But over time, he came to see his age as an advantage.

Wikimedia Commons

Missouri has at least 4,889 untested rape kits that have yet to be submitted for DNA testing, according to a state audit. 

In 2017, crime labs around the state tested 869 rape kits, which preserve DNA evidence, the audit said. And the Kansas City Police Department had the longest turnaround among more than 250 law enforcement departments.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

An Independence man pleaded guilty today in Johnson County District Court to raping a 22-year-old sheriff's deputy in Olathe, Kansas.

Brady Newman-Caddell, 22, admitted to two counts of rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated criminal sodomy.

In October 2016, Newman-Caddell and 25-year-old William Luth of Blue Springs, Missouri, forced the Johnson County deputy into a car, covered her face and drove off before taking turns sexually assaulting her. 

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Developers who ask for tax incentives in Kansas City can claim an apartment that rents for $1,600 a month is affordable — and eligible for incentives.

An ordinance passed by the Kansas City Council on Thursday changes that.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Top Democrats in the Kansas House and Senate will request investigations into the use of no-bid state contracts, but the proposals will need the approval of some Republican lawmakers to advance.

The Kansas Department of Revenue used a no-bid process, called prior authorization, to award a multi-million dollar contract that outsourced some information technology services earlier this spring. 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Democrat Laura Kelly all but set the field in the Kansas governor’s race Thursday by picking fellow state Sen. Lynn Rogers as her running mate.

Among the leading contenders, only Republican former state Sen. Jim Barnett has yet to complete his ticket. He’s expected to do that a day ahead of next week’s June 1 filing deadline.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is calling for a federal investigation of billing practices at Putnam County Memorial Hospital, which was the subject of a highly critical state audit last year.

We’re all fans of the weekend, but this weekend is a fan’s dream.

Devotees of disparate diversions will have their ways with roots music, tattoos, science fiction, cult comedy, classic rock and more. Is it possible that any one person out there could be into it all?

Ooh. Call me a fan of that!

1. Westport Roots Festival

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

High poverty rates, aging infrastructure and vacant homes.

These are problems that commonly occur together and that discourage community revitilization.

The Marlborough Community Coalition in south Kansas City, five neighborhoods come together as one, is trying to do things differently.

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