5:32 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Advocates, Hospitals Unite To Raise Kansas Breastfeeding Rate

Lori Peltier, a nurse at Stormont-Vail HealthCare, offers breastfeeding advice to parents of newborns, like Amanda Stice, left, with her 1-week-old daughter Rory. Stormont-Vail and other Kansas hospitals are working to adopt five principles that have been found to increase breastfeeding rates.
Credit Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Across Kansas, breastfeeding advocates are encouraging hospitals to revamp how they handle moms, babies and visitors after childbirth.

Dozens of studies have shown that breastfed babies grow up healthier than those reared on formula or cow’s milk. Breastfed babies’ immune systems are stronger. They have fewer allergies, fewer ear infections and less diarrhea. Their incidents of asthma, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome are significantly reduced.

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2:14 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

18 Big Lobbyers That Influenced The Farm Bill

Hundreds of companies and outside groups lobbied the 2014 Farm Bill and related issues during the drafting process.
Credit Bigstock

Setting the course for almost a trillion dollars of government spending, the 2014 Farm Bill attracted hundreds of companies eager to find their slice of the pie.

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8:42 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Lobbyists Of All Kinds Flock To Farm Bill

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., (in green), watches as President Barack Obama signs the Farm Bill at Michigan State University on Feb. 7, 2014.
Credit David Kosling / Courtesy USDA

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

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Primary Election 2014
8:18 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Tuesday Is Last Day To Register To Vote In Kansas Primaries

Tuesday is the final day for Kansans to register to vote or update their address before the Kansas primary election on August 5. There's also still time to provide missing citizenship documents that are keeping voter registrations from being processed.

Anyone who's registering to vote for the first time in Kansas needs to provide a document proving that they're a U.S. citizen. 

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8:13 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Royals Head Into All-Star Break On A Winning Note

On the day before the All-Star break, the Kansas City Royals scored a first for this season. Until Sunday, the Royals were not able to beat the Detroit Tigers at home. They were 0-and-6 before Sunday’s 5-2 victory.

Royals designated hitter Bill knows how quick the season can turn.

“Nothing ever seems to be easy against them (the Tigers),” said Butler. “We can play as good baseball as we can. We were playing really good when we went into their place. I think that’s the way they feel right now.”

8:12 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Kansas Health Officials Hope To Contain Measles Outbreak

State and local health officials are trying to contain a measles outbreak that started in May in the Kansas City area, and has since spread to Wichita.

Six of those are in the Wichita area. The four newest cases are all linked to Sal's Japanese Steakhouse, in Wichita. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says an employee of the restaurant was connected to the outbreak in Kansas City. Two other employees also became infected later.

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6:58 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Lindt Chocolate Maker Purchases Russell Stover

Credit Kansas Tourism / Flickr--CC

Another iconic Kansas City-based company has been sold. Lindt, a Swiss chocolate company, has reached a deal to buy Russell Stover, according the the New York Times. The announcement comes nine months after the sale of one of Kansas City's other iconic retailers — Boulevard Brewing Co.

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Arts & Culture
3:31 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Sneak Peek: Second Fridays In Kansas City

Renee Stout, 'Fatima's Sign,' 2002
Credit courtesy: Belger Arts Center

So — maybe First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District is a little too crowded for you. How about Second Fridays?

Some Kansas City metropolitan area galleries have started opening their doors on the second Fridays of the month to host new exhibitions or simply provide a less elbow-to-elbow opportunity to view the artwork.

Here's what's on tap:

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3:20 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Kansas Official: No Backlog In Processing Of Medicaid Applications

A Kansas state official insists there’s no backlog of Medicaid applications in the state, saying federal concerns have more to do with state and government computer systems not sharing information with each other.

Sara Belfry, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said all of the state’s Medicaid applications are being processed within the 45-day period that’s allowed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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3:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

TIMELINE: A Look Back At 40 Years Of Kansas City's Kemper Arena

A photo of Kemper Arena during the last phases of its construction in 1974.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library

It's easy to forget about Kemper Arena.

Nestled down in the south end of the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Mo., the aging arena has seen better days. Since 2007, the Sprint Center has hosted virtually all the big-name events coming through town, leaving Kemper nearly inactive for long periods of time.

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Arts & Culture
9:22 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Your Guide To KC Fringe, By The Numbers

At the red carpet walk in 2013, Emery Woods kept her headdress in place as she waited with other members of the burlesque troupe De Allure.
Credit File: Julie Denesha / KCUR

In 2004, when Kansas City launched its first fringe festival as a showcase for experimental work, the event hosted 30 performances over three days.

KC Fringe is now an 11-day festival, and includes nearly 400 performances by more than 100 artists in venues from downtown Kansas City, Mo., to the Country Club Plaza.

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8:39 am
Fri July 11, 2014

KCI Commission 'Overwhelmingly' Favors One-Terminal Plan

The commission tasked with reviewing KCI's terminals "overwhelmingly" favored the one terminal plan rendered here.
Credit Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

The recommendation to replace the three terminals at the Kansas City International Airport with one new building is still controversial among the general public.

But according to its final report, the mayor's airport advisory commission didn't find it was controversial at all.

Commission co-chairman Dave Fowler said Thursday that the panel began its study of the airport as a group divided in opinion, but finished in nearly complete agreement.

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Kansas City Public Schools
8:32 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Fellowship Projects Seek To Reinvigorate Kansas City Schools

Cecilia Belser-Patton is one of the Lean Lab fellows who has been working on innovative ways to help public schools in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

A new program is taking an entrepreneurial approach to tackling the longstanding problem of education in Kansas City, Mo. 

The Lean Lab at the Sprint Accelerator will announce six projects to help area schools Friday afternoon. 

For the past four weeks, fellows at the Lean Lab have been cooking up practical, simple ideas to reinvigorate education in Kansas City.

For example, one fellow is working on a grading system that will use smartphones and tablets to help track students' progress assignment by assignment. 

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Higher Education
8:32 am
Fri July 11, 2014

University Of Missouri Sets Fundraising Record

The University of Missouri raised a record amount of money in the past fiscal year.
Credit Courtesy photo / University of Missouri

Donors deposited a record-breaking amount of money into the University of Missouri’s coffers last fiscal year.

The university in Columbia, Mo., beat its 2013-14 fiscal year goal of raising $150 million by pulling in $164.5 million. The amount broke the previous record of $160 million raised in fiscal year 2008.

Thomas Hiles, ​MU vice chancellor for advancement, says the record is noteworthy because it was reached without mega gifts, which the university has received the previous two years.

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Arts & Culture
8:26 am
Fri July 11, 2014

New Opera 'Red Death' To Premiere At KC Fringe Festival

Nathan Granner, as Prince Prospero, invites his friends to his castle to escape the raging plague outside.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Edgar Allen Poe's 1842 short story "The Masque of the Red Death" serves as the inspiration for a new opera called "Red Death" that premieres next week in Kansas City, Mo.

The opera will be part of the KC Fringe Festival.

With music composed by Daniel Doss and a libretto by Bryan Colley, it follows Prince Prospero (played by Nathan Granner) as he attempts to escape a plague raging outside the castle walls.

Interview highlights:

On a "zany" Prospero

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5:17 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

World's Tallest Water Slide Opens In Kansas City, Kansas

Verrückt, the world's tallest water slide, is 17 stories high.
Laura Spencer KCUR

After much ado, the world’s tallest water slide is now open to the public. Verrückt — which is German for insane, by the way — plunges 17 stories to take the record, previously held for more than a decade by a giant slide in Brazil.

Design problems repeatedly pushed back the launch. We figured, since no one in their right mind would be one of the first to ride it, we’d send Frank Morris down it.

The approach to the slide

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Beyond Our Borders
4:49 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Meet The Eyes And Ears Of Kansas City's Ivanhoe Neighborhood

Florence Hayden (left) and Ida Dockary have kept tabs on their block in the Ivanhoe neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., by meeting every month since 1980.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Ida Dockary and Florence Hayden have seen it all during the 55 years they’ve lived on the 3800 block of the Ivanhoe neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., just a few doors down from one another.

At 81 and 86 years old, respectively, they were there when Ivanhoe was a thriving residential and business community. They watched as U.S. Highway 71 bisected the neighborhood, eliminating whole blocks of homes. They saw their streets become infested with crime and blight, and change from a mix of races to mostly all black.

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4:22 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Public Transit Tops Locals’ Wish List For Kansas City

Commuter rail was one of the most common responses we received from Kansas Citians when we asked "What's something that Kansas City needs?" on social media.
Credit Matt Hintsa / Flickr--CC

More bus routes. More bike lanes. More sidewalks and more direct flights out of Kansas City International Airport.

Those were some of the recurring requests we received from Kansas Citians this week, in addition to a widespread call for commuter rail in the metropolitan area.

When we took to social media and asked, “What’s something that Kansas City needs?” transportation dominated the feedback that came in, followed closely by desired improvements to public schools in Kansas City, Mo.

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4:09 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Hundreds Learn Mental Health First Aid At City-Wide Training Events

Warren and Eyvette Carter follow mental health first-aid lessons taught by Cadi Sanchez.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

At the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center on Thursday afternoon, Eyvette Carter struggled to carry on a basic conversation with her husband, Warren.

She was distracted in no small part by Karl Chaney whispering in her ear.

“Don’t trust him. Is he looking at you? Why would he want to talk to you?” Chaney said.

The group was taking part in an auditory hallucination simulation, designed to demonstrate the experience of a psychotic episode.

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3:42 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Missouri Creates Unique Medical Classification: Assistant Physician

Assistant physicians will be allowed to practice primary care in rural and underserved parts of Missouri.
Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr--CC


Missouri now boasts a new category of medical licensee: assistant physicians.

Despite strong opposition from some healthcare groups, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday signed into law a measure that would allow medical school graduates who have not completed residencies – or even obtained medical licenses — to practice medicine.

Nixon, however, issued signing statements warning of the need for additional safeguards to ensure that patients are not placed in jeopardy.

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2:40 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Dental Funds For The Poor Caught In Missouri Budget Battle

Medical experts, including professionals at the Mayo Clinic, argue that good oral health goes beyond caring for teeth and gums.
Credit Byrle Gross

Roughly $18 million that would restore basic dental benefits for hundreds of thousands of low-income Missouri adults is in limbo because of a sweeping budget action by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Acting under what he termed his constitutional duty to balance the state budget, Nixon late last month restricted or vetoed approximately $1.1 billion in spending for the fiscal year that began July 1.

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2:22 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Feds Demand Medicaid Backlog Fixes In Kansas

Kaiser Health News 

Tired of waiting for states to reduce their backlogs of Medicaid applications, the Obama administration has given Kansas and five other states until Monday to submit plans to resolve issues that have prevented more than 1 million low-income or disabled people from getting health coverage.

Besides Kansas, the targeted states are Alaska, California, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee.

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12:12 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Need A Birth Certificate To Vote In Kansas? Douglas County Promises Help

Kansas' voter ID law went into effect in 2012. But Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew says some residents have had trouble securing the documents they need to prove they're citizens.
Credit Cle0patra / Flickr-CC

The Douglas County clerk says his office will offer financial assistance to residents who need an out-of-state birth certificate to prove their citizenship and comply with Kansas' voter identification law.

County Clerk Jamie Shew says the current law creates two classes of Kansans: Those who were born in-state and can get a free birth certificate, and those who were born out-of-state and must pay to get a birth certificate.

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Harvest Public Media
9:40 am
Thu July 10, 2014

EPA Promotes Water Rule To Farmers

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters at Heffernan Farm in Rocheport, Mo., July 9, 2014.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

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9:05 am
Thu July 10, 2014

LISTEN: World Cup Songs From Around The Globe In Kansas City

If you were one of the 10,000-plus people who were at the Kansas City Power and Light District cheering on the U.S. national team, then you may know the I Believe chant well.
Credit Sporting Kansas City / YouTube


Of the 32 national soccer teams that made it to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup this year, Germany and Argentina will face off at 2 p.m. Sunday.

KCUR has been covering soccer fans cheering on their teams since the tournament began about a month ago.  (See our recent coverage on how international communities living in Kansas City are rooting for their teams.)

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Arts & Culture
8:30 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Parting Questions For The Rep's Kyle Hatley

The Rep's associate artistic director, Kyle Hatley, is moving to Chicago in August.
Credit courtesy: Kansas City Repertory Theatre

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre announced this month that Kyle Hatley, associate artistic director, plans to relocate to Chicago in August.

Hatley, a 33-year-old native of Memphis, started working at the Rep in 2008. During his time in Kansas City, Mo., he's earned a reputation as an energizing force in the theater community — as an actor and director, as well as the creator of innovative new works at the KC Fringe Festival and The Living Room.

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City Council
6:46 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Power And Light Building Could Become Apartments With Council Vote

The iconic Kansas City Power and Light building could be repurposed as apartments. The skyscraper, which was built in the 1930s, is mostly empty.
Credit Noah Jeppson / Flickr--CC

 Updated 6:11 p.m.:

The Kansas City City Council has postponed the vote on the Power and Light building so city officials can conduct another hearing on the proposal's financial implications.

The original post begins here:

The Kansas City City Council votes Thursday afternoon on declaring the historic Power and Light Building and several blocks surrounding it a blighted area.

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6:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Futsal Soccer Catches On In Kansas City

Children play a game of futsal soccer, which involves fewer players and a smaller field, at Wyandotte High School.
Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR

The soccer craze in the Kansas City area wasn’t just captured in the Power & Light District watch parties for the World Cup games.

It’s evident on full-size soccer fields on both sides of the state line. But the metropolitan area's newest soccer passion may be churning up on mini-courts in Kansas City, Kan.

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Child Care
2:35 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Missouri To Step Up Oversight Of Child Care Providers

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a student at Operation Breakthrough, a Kansas City day care center, before signing legislation tightening the rules for child care providers.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

There are roughly 2,300 child care providers in Missouri that don't have to follow any kind of health and safety regulations – a huge problem for parents trying to find suitable day care for their children.

"There are some folks out there who, either through negligence or circumstance, should not be in the business of providing child care," says Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, "and there's very little to stop them from setting up a sign,  throwing a swing set out back and calling themselves a childcare provider."

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Beyond Our Borders
12:52 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

The Story Behind Kansas City's House Of Cards

As a part of a community effort to eliminate neighborhood eyesores, artists transformed this abandoned apartment building into a house of cards in 2012.
Cara McClain KCUR

Have you ever driven through the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., and seen a building with playing cards instead of windows? 

That's the house of cards, an abandoned apartment building at 7th and Indiana streets, that community members used to create public art. After a couple of years of dormancy, there's now some renewed interest to continue the effort.

Here's the story of how that project began: 

A couple years back, the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., had a problem.

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