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An agreement between the University of Kansas and Children’s Mercy will strengthen research, education and clinical ties between the institutions in oncology and beyond, officials said Wednesday at a signing ceremony.

“This just makes so much sense,” said Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC). “It also is the best thing for our kids, and that is what has to drive all of this.”

National Weather Service

The Kansas City metro area could be in for a wet and wild Wednesday with severe thunderstorms, large hail and even tornadoes possible as storm cells loom to our west and southwest.

National Weather Service Pleasant Hill meteorologist Jenni Laflin says there's around an 80 percent chance that the metro will see some rain tonight, but more severe probabilities can't be quantified just yet.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Shortly after a massive twister struck his city in May 2011, Joplin, Missouri, resident Brandon McCoy described what he saw during what turned out to be one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.

“Standing on the sixth floor, I was trying to help a woman out of some debris, and you look outside and, just, everything’s gone,” he told NPR at the time. “Everything. And nobody knew what happened.”

The tornado left a wide swath of destruction in its wake. One hundred fifty-eight people died. Property damage was catastrophic.  

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

A Kansas City, Kan., facility meant to improve emergency mental health care was lauded by state officials, mental health service providers and law enforcement officials at a first-anniversary celebration Tuesday.

Rainbow Services Inc. opened April 7, 2014, to provide stabilization services for mental health or substance abuse emergencies. The facility near the University of Kansas Medical Center previously housed the Rainbow Mental Health Facility, a former state mental hospital.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday signed a law that bans dilation and evacuation (D&E), a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

The law, titled the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, redefines "dilation and evacuation" as "dismemberment." Language in the law says the fetus is pulled apart limb by limb and allowed to bleed to death before being removed from the pregnant woman's body. 

Updated, 4:27 p.m.

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt has the right to intervene in two cases challenging Missouri’s execution protocol.

Flynt had sought to unseal judicial records in the cases, but a federal judge found that Flynt’s “generalized interest” did not justify intervention.

In reversing that decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the judge applied the wrong legal standard.

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Children’s Mercy Hospital said late Monday that it has joined a consortium organized through the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Children’s Mercy joins the University of Kansas and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo., as the third member of the NCI Consortium, according to Children’s Mercy spokeswoman Melissa Novak.

The institutions will provide more details at a news conference Wednesday at Children’s Mercy, she said.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Nate Storey’s greenhouse in west Laramie is packed with vegetables growing in long, upright plastic towers.

Storey’s set-up is an urban farmer’s dream: the waste from fish tanks fertilizes the crops through plastic tubing that drips water onto the vertical garden. The greenhouse is small, but produces a lot of food.

Like a proud father he shows off bok choy, butter lettuce and spinach.

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Terrie Van Zandt-Travis had only been a preschool teacher for three weeks when one of her more challenging students scampered away right after lunch. She looked around the classroom, and what she saw stopped her in her tracks. 

"He was face down in the trash can," she said. "We had peaches that day and there was a peach between every single finger. He was pulling them out of the trash can and jamming them into his pants."

She says she'll never forget this 4-year-old's face when he told her, "I'm taking food home for me and my brothers." 

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

The energy was palpable at Kauffman Stadium, as fans filed in to watch the Royals defeat the White Sox 10-1 in the first game of the season. Though a light drizzle fell from a grey sky, there's wasn't an empty seat to be found. Standing room only tickets sold for more than $100. 

Couldn't make it to the game? The Up To Date team arrived at the stadium bright and early to capture the experience — check out the slideshow above.

Courtesy / jojowhite10.com

Legendary Kansas University basketball player Jo Jo White will be inducted in to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the hall announced Monday.

White, who played guard at KU from 1965-69, was a two-time All America at Kansas. He also led the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal at the 1968 games in Mexico City.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, White had a long NBA career with the famed 1970s Boston Celtics. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star with the team and helped the Celtics to two league championships, in 1974 and 1976.

A lawmaker in the Kansas House warns that a campus religious freedom bill could attract national attention like the type that has been aimed at Indiana recently.

The Kansas bill would bar colleges from taking action against religious student groups that want to exclude people from their organization.

Republican Rep. Stephanie Clayton urged her colleagues to vote against the bill in a House committee.

“If we pass this, we might face national backlash. It could have an adverse effect on the Kansas economy,” says Clayton.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

It’s a new baseball season, but memories linger from last year when the Kansas City Royals played in the World Series for the first time in 29 years. Monday’s Opening Day pre-game activities will commemorate that.

Opening Day also gives fans a chance to check out a new look inside Kauffman Stadium. Construction workers frantically gutted and restored the old stadium club area, known the last few years as the .390 restaurant. Gone are the large windows, the carpet, the tiles and the more formal settings open only to members. It’s replaced by an open air food and beverage destination called “Craft and Draft” and open to all ticket holders.

Rama / Wikimedia Commons

Updated Wednesday, 9:21 a.m.:

According to the Jackson County Election Board's unofficial results for Tuesday's municipal election, Independence's levy increase passed with 64 percent approval and Lee's Summit's bond issue passed with nearly 80 percent approval.

The original post begins here:

Photo courtesy Mindy Corporon


It's been almost a year since three people were gunned down outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park, Kansas. The avowed anti-Semite accused of killing William Corporon, 69; Reat Underwood, 14; and Terri LaManno, 53; on April 13, 2014, will face capital murder charges at a trial this summer.

Jen Chen / KCUR

Thick or thin crust, red or white sauce, square or triangle ... Kansas City offers a plethora of pizza choices for just about everyone.

On this week's show, Erik Borger, chef/owner of Il Lazzarone, shows our Food Critic Charles Ferruzza how to make a certified authentic Neapolitan pizza. Craig Jones also discusses pizza tips for the home cook, and the Food Critics weigh in on the best pizzas in Kansas City.

Charles Ferruzza:

I love pizza: The good, the bad and the ugly...

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Just in the last handful of years, an industrial area in Lawrence, Kansas has been transformed into what's called the Warehouse Arts District. Previously boarded up buildings, like a former grocery warehouse and a cider vinegar plant, now house a gallery, a few dozen artist studios, and apartments. 

For years, Missouri has been the only state in the country that doesn’t monitor prescription drugs, but that may be about to change.

The Missouri Senate on Thursday, by a 24-10 vote, approved a bill that would create a drug monitoring program that addresses some of the privacy concerns raised by opponents. The vote marked the first time the Senate has approved such a program.

Sylvia Maria Gross -- KCUR

For nearly 20 years, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys have created songs about love, love lost and heartbreak. This Saturday, the band releases its first album in 10 years, "Long Shot of Hard Stuff."

After a decade-long hiatus, Scott Hobart (Scott is his real first name) didn't think they'd have a new album.

"I just thought we'd kind of ride our own western-cut blazers into the sunset or something, but we did it," he said. "When the opportunity came up, we just said, 'well, why not, let's try it.' The worst thing that can happen is that we get three songs out or something."

Jen Chen, KCUR

According to Erik Borger, the chef-owner of Il Lazzarone, there's a specific way to make authentic Neapolitan pizza. And he should know; his original Il Lazzarone restaurant in St. Joseph has been certified as authentically Neapolitan by the American Delegation of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.

Recently, our food critic Charles Ferruzza visited Borger's newest outpost in Kansas City's River Market to get the details on making an authentic Neapolitan pie.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families has responded to a “whistleblower” lawsuit filed by a former child protection worker who accused the agency of firing her after she called her supervisor’s attention to false reports filed by a social worker.

In its response, filed this week in Cowley County District Court, DCF said that because the child protection worker, Karen King, did not share her concerns with a legislator or an auditor, she is not entitled to whistleblower protection.

Rep. Don Hill, a Republican from Emporia, introduced a bill last year that would have raised the state’s cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack.

The bill died in the House Taxation Committee, where the chairman, Rep. Richard Carlson, a Republican from St. Marys, did not deem it worthy of a hearing.

Todd Feeback / KCPT

The 40-mile stretch of highway between Olathe, Kansas, and Liberty, Missouri, is a key artery in the region’s health care system, bookended by community hospitals and passing a few more medical centers along the way.

Yet this part of Interstate 35 is quickly becoming something more: a cancer corridor, dotted with expanding oncology programs and bordering even more in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri, and in the suburbs on both sides of the state line.

The Kansas legislature voted 98-26 Wednesday to ban an abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. If signed into law, as Gov. Sam Brownback has promised to do, Kansas would become the first state in the country to ban the procedure. 

The procedure is a common second trimester abortion procedure, making up 8.8 percent of all abortions in Kansas. The bill renames the procedure "dismemberment," claiming that the fetus is pulled limb from limb before being removed. National Right to Life director of state legislation Mary Spaulding Balch said in a press release that "dismemberment abortions brutally — and unacceptably — rip apart small human beings." 

Courtesy / Lyft

The Kansas City council committee for transportation and infrastructure unanimously passed a controversial ride-hiring ordinance Thursday.

Ride-hiring company Uber has said if the ordinance is adopted it will force them to suspend services in Kansas City.

Revisions to the ordinance decreased the vehicle permit cost for TNC (transportation network company) drivers from the already lowered $150 fee to $100 as long as the company pays a $40,000 base fee. TNC drivers will also have to pass a physical, complete exams, and acquire a business license and a chauffeur's license at their own expense.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

Steve Bean is the guy who oversees Kansas City's 127 tornado sirens, each expected to alert people within a mile of potentially life-threatening storms. It's part of his job at the city's Office of Emergency Management.

Even so, he doesn't have tornado nightmares. 

"In an odd way, I love it," he admits. "We spend a lot of time preparing for the 'big one,' so to speak. So it's kind of like — I guess it's like fishing. Once in a while, you want to catch something. Now, I don't want tornados to come, but we do like to be able to see that we made a difference."

Cody Newill / KCUR

Dozens of low-wage workers rallied Thursday outside the McDonald's at 3741 Broadway in Kansas City to protest a recent decision by the fast-food giant to raise wages for some workers.

McDonald's is raising wages by at least a dollar for about 90,000 employees in corporate-owned restaurants. That means employees working in franchised restaurants won't get a raise unless franchise owners follow suit.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Kansas City has been making a lot of lists lately, recognized by various national websites and newspapers as a top entrepreneurial city and a great town for millennials.

Kevin Harber / Flickr--CC

The 2014 American League Champion Kansas City Royals  face the Chicago White Sox in their home opener Monday afternoon. And to get ready, we asked you to imagine yourself in the line up. What music would you want to hear blasted over the speakers at Kauffman Stadium as you stepped up to bat?

We had a deluge of Tweets, Facebook comments and phone calls with a range of responses — from the silence of John Cage’s "4'33"" (hmmmm ...)  to "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate, to George Frederic Handel’s Royal Fireworks Suite.

Bennie Campbell called to say he’d like hear Jim Neighbors singing "To Dream the Impossible Dream." Come on, Bennie, have a little confidence!

The Senate voted Wednesday to solidify policies restricting cash assistance to low-income Kansans over the objections of a senator who represents an urban district and other Democrats.

Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Democrat from Wichita, said her Senate colleagues displayed ignorance of the realities of poverty in Kansas by passing House Bill 2258

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