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8:46 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Kansas City-Based Organization Played Role In Presbyterian Same-Sex Marriage Vote

The ruling by the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination Thursday to allow its pastors to officiate same-sex weddings was a major victory for a Kansas City-based organization that has spent years trying to make the church more inclusive.

By a vote of 429 to 175, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to initiate a process to redefine marriage in official texts as being between two people. They also voted with a smaller margin to allow Presbyterian pastors to decide as individuals whether or not to perform same-sex marriages.

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Government
6:59 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Kansas City To Outsource Ambulance Billing

City manager Troy Schulte and finance chair Jan Marcason said signing up with

Advanced Data Processing Inc., a company that already does billing for several cities in the metro, would save $800,000 and increase collections.

“For the taxpayers and for the city this is a good deal and I think we should approve it today,” Marcason told her council colleagues.

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World Cup KC
6:56 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Kansas City Man Highlights His Culture's Food And Sport During World Cup

Bella Napoli is Kansas City's headquarters for Italian soccer fans.
Credit Courtesy Bella Napoli.

  Italy didn’t even end up in the top four spots in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For a nation that’s obsessed with soccer, that was basically an utter failure.

This time around, the Azzurri, as the Italian team is known by its fans, started the World Cup with a strong victory over England. 

Last Saturday evening, about two dozen mostly blue-clad fans of Italy’s men’s soccer team crowded into Brookside restaurant Bella Napoli to chow on pizzas, tapas and other authentic Italian food from the menu while watching their team defeat England 2-1.

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Government
4:45 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Cash-flow Loan Triggers Debate About Brownback’s Economic Policies

The state of Kansas is loaning itself $675 million to ensure that it can pay its bills as it transitions from one budget year to the next.

That’s not unusual.

For the last 16 years, it has been standard practice for the State Finance Council to approve certificates of indebtedness, which transfer money from a fund used to collect fees and pay off bonds to the state’s general operating fund.

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Health
4:32 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Rose Brooks Domestic Violence Shelter Opens On-Site Clinic

Women and children escaping domestic abuse often need more than shelter. Many also have serious medical issues.

To address them, Rose Brooks Center, one of the area's largest domestic violence shelters, on Thursday opened a new two-bed health clinic inside its Kansas City facility.

Susan Miller, Rose Brooks' CEO, says the clinic will fill a vital need for the more than 800 women and children sheltered by the agency each year.

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Kansas Statehouse
3:30 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Concealed Firearms To Be Allowed In Kansas Capitol

Kansas lawmakers decided not to ban concealed firearms in the capital building.
Credit Wikimedia Commons - CC

Visitors who have a concealed weapons permit will be allowed to bring guns into the Kansas Statehouse starting in July.

A state law grants the Legislative Coordinating Council the authority to bar concealed firearms in the Capitol. But at a meeting Thursday, those legislators chose not to discuss any regulations. That means concealed guns will be allowed in the Capitol next month.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, says this puts the Statehouse on a par with many other facilities.

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History
3:20 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Then And Now: A Look Back At The Battle Of Westport

The Harris House Hotel that stood at Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue served as Union Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis' command post.
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

If you've ever noticed plaques in Kansas City's Westport district describing Civil War-era events, then you have at least a little background on the Battle of Westport, a series of battles that ended in a decisive Union victory and emancipation for slaves in Missouri.

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Tell KCUR
1:52 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Kansas Citians Share Their Best And Worst Summer Jobs

What was your best or worst summer job? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Andy Oakley / Flickr--CC

As the hunt for summer jobs heats up, we asked Kansas Citians to walk down memory lane this week.

We asked: What was your best or worst summer job? What did you learn from it? 

Kansas Citians shot back a plethora of of cool summer assignments, from brewery tour guide to acid rain researcher.

They fondly remember more typical posts, too, like lifeguard and ice cream scooper, according to feedback we received in our “Tell KCUR” question of the week.

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Kansas City Zoo
12:47 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Kansas City Zoo Hopes To Limit Crowds With Revamped Free Admission Program

The Kansas City Zoo is changing its admission system for free zoo days.
Credit Shawn Kincaide / Flickr--CC

The Kansas City Zoo is rolling out a new system for free visits after more than 20,000 people overwhelmed the zoo during a free admission day in March.

Some guests became unruly – and shots were fired in a parking lot as people left the zoo.

"We want everybody to come to the zoo, but what wasn't working was everybody coming on that one day we designated free day," says Kansas City Zoo executive director Randy Wisthoff.

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Community
11:35 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Meet The Man Behind Kansas City's Pollen Count

Dr. Charles Barnes, director of research for Children's Mercy's allergy, asthma, and immunology department, is the man behind the pollen count for Kansas City.
Cody Newill KCUR

Every morning, Dr. Charles Barnes treks up to the roof of Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., to pull a collection slide out of the hospital's spore trap, a small machine consisting of a vacuum pump and wind main.

The little plastic slide may not look like much, but it provides an accurate pollen count for the entire Kansas City metro area.

"We've had this same technology and process for the last 24 years," Barnes says. "It's really pretty simple."

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Arts & Culture
10:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Todd Bolender To Be Honored At 2nd Annual Kansas City Dance Festival

Kansas City Dance Festival co-artistic director Logan Pachciarz and dancer Molly Wagner rehearse a pas de deux from 'The Still Point.’
Julie Denesha KCUR

This weekend, the second annual Kansas City Dance Festival gets under way, assembling dancers and choreographers from the local, national and international stage.

A recent rehearsal found dancers Logan Pachciarz and Molly Wagner working on a pas de deux under the watchful eye of departing Kansas City Ballet ballet master James Jordan, as they honed both steps and expression during a walk through of the late Todd Bolender’s "The Still Point."

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Health
8:23 am
Thu June 19, 2014

AARP Ranks Kansas 17th In Long-term Care For Disabled And Elderly

Kansas’ efforts to address the ever-burgeoning needs of its aged and disabled populations rank 17th best in the nation, according to a scorecard released Thursday by AARP.

“Seventeenth — that places us in the second quartile of states, or somewhere toward the middle of the road,” says Maren Turner, director of AARP Kansas. “Kansas can do better than that. I mean, who wants to receive middle-of the-road services? Most people don’t.”

Kansas ranked 18th in a similar report last year. It came in ninth in 2011.

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Government
7:57 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Kansas City Council Approves Zoning For Plaza Office High-Rise

New high-rise office building proposed for north edge of Country Club Plaza
Credit Courtesy: Hoefer Wysocki Architecture

A Kansas City council committee approved zoning changes for a 14-story office tower on the north edge of the Country Club Plaza on Wednesday. There appears to be no organized effort to stop its construction.

In recent years, plans for a North-Plaza law office high-rise and a luxury hotel were derailed by opposition. But this time there is no business opposition and Dan Cofran of Friends of the Plaza says his group does not want to stop or delay the Block Real Estate project.

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Government
8:04 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Mayor Discusses 2016 Convention Odds At Young Republicans Meeting

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James, left, speaks at the Kansas City Young Republicans' monthly meeting about the odds of securing the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Credit Elle / KCUR

It'll be at least two more months before city officials learn if Kansas City has impressed the right people and secured a bid for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

The RNC site selection committee wrapped up its tour of top contenders last week – Cleveland, Dallas and Denver are also still in the running – and is giving the cities a chance to respond to any questions that came up during the visits.

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Higher Education
5:17 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Kansas Board Of Regents Approves Tuition Increase

College students in Kansas will see their tuition bills increase next year after the Kansas Board of Regents voted Wednesday to raise rates. 

The overall tuition and fee increases for undergraduate resident students in Kansas range from 2.5 percent at Fort Hays State University to more than 5 percent at Kansas State. Regents Chairman Fred Logan says this is the lowest increase in 13 years.

"It's always a tough job balancing access and excellence and I think we've done a pretty nice job of that here," says Logan.

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Health
2:28 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Former Kansas Family Still Hopeful Medical Marijuana Will Help Their Epileptic Son

Ryan and Kathy Reed recently moved from Kansas to Colorado hoping that a marijuana extract legally available in there will help control their son Otis' epileptic seizures.
Credit Trevor Graff / KHI News Service

Ryan and Kathy Reed celebrated their son Otis’ third birthday last week, hoping that better days are ahead for him in the family’s new Colorado home.

Otis suffers from uncontrollable epileptic seizures. His body stiffens with them hundreds of times each day.

The Reeds left Kansas for Colorado in early May to gain access to medical marijuana for Otis. He received his first dose of non-psychotropic marijuana extract – known as Charlotte’s Web – on May 8. In the weeks since, steady increases in the dosage have helped Otis to sleep better but haven’t reduced his seizures.

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Arts & Culture
1:12 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Take A Look At The World Cup Stadium Designed In Kansas City

The facade and roof of Arena das Dunas include 20 petal-shaped modules. These appear to move, like the nearby dunes.
courtesy of Populous

While watching the FIFA World Cup match between the United States and Ghana on Monday night, perhaps you noticed the venue.

The 42,000-seat stadium, called Arena das Dunas or The Stadium of the Dunes, has a petal-shaped canopy and was designed by Populous, a sports architecture firm based in Kansas City, Mo.

According to the firm, the challenge was to create a "grand space" for the people of Natal, Brazil. Architects drew inspiration from the flowing sand dunes that dominate the city.

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Health
11:16 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees In Missouri And Kansas Pay Less Than $100 A Month With Tax Credits

A new report analyzing health plan enrollment through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace shows that most people who signed up — about 70 percent — are paying less than $100 a month for coverage after their advance tax credits are accounted for and nearly half those who enrolled are paying less than $50 per month.

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Health
8:49 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Say What? Many Patients Struggling To Learn The Foreign Language Of Health Insurance

Jessie Yuan, physician at the Eisner Pediatric and Family Health Center in Los Angeles, treats diabetic patient Oscar Gonzales. Gonzalez was unaware he had been switched to Medi-Cal until Yuan informed him about the change.
Credit Anna Gorman / Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News

As soon as Deb Emerson, a former high school teacher from Oroville, Calif., bought a health plan in January through the state’s insurance exchange, she felt overwhelmed.

She couldn’t figure out what was covered and what wasn’t. Why weren’t her anti-depressant medications included?  Why did she have to pay $60 to see a doctor? The insurance jargon - deductible, co-pay, premium, co-insurance - was like a foreign language. What did it mean?

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Beyond Our Borders
7:39 am
Wed June 18, 2014

KC Anti-Crime Leader Says The Black Church Needs New Message For Grieving Teens

Anti-crime activist and minister Alvin Brooks at a recent meeting on how the church can better serve siblings of murder victims.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The homicide epidemic among young black men on Kansas City’s east side is leaving a generation of grieving teens in its wake, and some in the crime-fighting community feel black churches need to change their message to better help these young people deal with their loss.

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Sports
7:37 am
Wed June 18, 2014

'Dynamic Pricing' May Be To Blame For Empty Seats At Kauffman Stadium

Empty seats at recent Royals games are a sign of the teams records, and dynamic pricing practices.
Credit Valerie / Flickr--CC

After stagnating for a month in the American League Central standings, the Royals have taken off in the last two weeks. But when the last homestand concluded with two of the Royals’ most traditional draws, their attendance didn’t take off as they hoped.

New York Yankee fan Mo Moffitt, recently moved to Shawnee, Kan., from The Bronx, found a way to attend a Yankees game in Kansas City.

“If you’re a diehard to your team, you’ll show up,” said Moffitt a Royals home game.

But plenty of diehard fans during the most recent homestand did not.

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Arts & Culture
4:29 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas City Cartoonist Charles Barsotti Dies

A cartoon Charles Barsotti penned for KCUR.
Credit Charles Barsotti

Kansas City-based cartoonist Charles Barsotti died Monday, according to The Kansas City Star.

Barsotti, 80, was a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic and USA Today. He published more than 1,300 cartoons during his career.

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Arts & Culture
4:17 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

A New President And CEO For The Kauffman Center

The Kauffman Center Board of Directors named Paul J. Schofer as president and CEO.
Credit Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Paul J. Schofer was announced Tuesday as the new leader of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Since March 2012, Schofer has served as the Kauffman Center's vice president of operations and chief financial officer.

Schofer will replace outgoing president and CEO Jane Chu, who's leaving to take on a new post as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Education
3:16 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas Regents To Vote On Tuition Increases

The Kansas Board of Regents will consider proposed tuition increases at a meeting this week. Breeze Richardson with the board, says this will be the final step in the process. Universities have spent the last few months developing and submitting their proposals.

"Those proposals were brought forth at last months meeting, and then the final proposals will be presented [Wedesnday] and voted upon" Richardson said.

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Mental Health
3:07 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Report: Farmer Suicide Rate Higher Than All Other Workers

A new study shows that agricultural workers have unusually high suicide rates compared to other workers.
Credit Harvest Public Media

U.S. farmers are more than three times more likely to commit suicide than other workers, a new study has found.

University of Iowa researcher Wendy Ringgenberg compiled a study based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration farm death statistics from 1992 to 2010. In a recent interview with Iowa Public Radio, Ringgenberg said suicide rates have likely been underestimated and underreported. 

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Beyond Our Borders
2:11 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Three Prized Possessions From Kansas City's Black Archives

A bumper sticker advertising the first documented Juneteenth celebration in Kansas City is a part of the collection honoring the 40th anniversary of the Black Archives of Mid-America. Juneteenth celebrations remember June 19, 1865, the day the last slaves heard about the Emancipation Proclamation.
Credit The Black Archives of Mid-America

The Black Archives of Mid-America has provided a place to learn about African-American history in Kansas City, Mo., for the past four decades.  

And during that time, it has amassed a vast collection of papers, photographs and even physical structures to show what life was like as a black Kansas Citian. 

As the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary this week, we wanted to know more about the types of materials in the collection that started in 1974, when Horace Peterson III founded the Black Archives.

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Health
11:31 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Saint Luke's Plans To Build 60-Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Saint Luke’s Health System says it plans to build a 60-bed rehabilitation hospital in the Kansas City area in partnership with Nashville, Tenn.-based Centerre Healthcare Corp.

The hospital network says it has not selected a site for the proposed 60,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to open in 2016.

The rehab hospital will offer programs for stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations and other major medical conditions, Saint Luke’s said in a news release.

Harvest Public Media
9:43 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Agritourism A Growing Opportunity On The Farm

Many states have been making it easier to run agritourism operations by passing laws limiting farmers’ liability.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Farms aren’t just for food any more. With the local food movement growing, more savvy farmers are putting a price tag on more than those organic tomatoes. They are instead marketing and selling the “farm experience” in the form of agritourism attractions.

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Health
8:44 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas Hospitals Crafting Medicaid Expansion Proposal

Tom Bell, chief executive of the Kansas Hospital Association, says the group plans to submit proposed legislation to expand Medicaid in Kansas.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

It’s make-or-break time for advocates of Medicaid expansion in Kansas.

Fearing that political events may be conspiring to foreclose the opportunity to use mostly federal dollars to extend coverage to thousands of uninsured poor adults, the Kansas Hospital Association is preparing to shift its lobbying campaign into high gear.

The first step, says Tom Bell, the association’s chief executive, will be to craft an expansion proposal for lawmakers to consider in the 2015 session.

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Health
8:38 am
Tue June 17, 2014

VA Rural Health Care Pilot Under The Gun In Kansas

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says a Veterans Administration pilot program offering timely quality health care to rural veterans is being allowed to expire in a few months, even though VA officials tell members of Congress no decision has been made.

Moran and four of his colleagues sent a letter to the VA Secretary seeking an explanation. 

The pilot program, called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH, is offered through five pilot sites across the country, including one in Pratt, Kan.

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