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Health
3:02 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Two Measles Cases In Johnson County Spur Investigation

Kansas state health officials confirmed two cases of measles in Johnson County Friday. The cases may be linked to four others on the Missouri side of Kansas City.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Aimee Rosenow says everyone at risk of exposure is being contacted, and the investigation into the two Johnson County cases is ongoing.

One of the patients is an unvaccinated child, the other is an adult. 

"We're not certain of the vaccination status of the adult, but they are connected," she says.

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Veterans Affairs
3:00 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Sen. Blunt: Kansas City VA Medical Center Kept Unauthorized Cardiology Waiting List

Kansas City VA Medical Center
Credit File / U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Update, 4:45 p.m.:

The Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center says its cardiology clinic never kept a secret waiting list, but "a serious clerical mistake" delayed several veterans waiting for follow-up care.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt flagged the facility Thursday in a growing scandal over long wait times for veterans. He told reporters he planned to press the hospital for more information "based on my firm belief the Kansas City Medical Center is likely to be found to be one of those hospitals that has a secret waiting list."

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Beyond Our Borders
11:16 am
Fri June 6, 2014

The Story Behind The Lost Song About Fairyland Park

A commemorative postcard from Fairyland Park features lyrics from the song.
Courtesy Brancato family

Thousands of dancers flocked each week to the Fairyland Park Dance Pavilion in Kansas City, Mo., in the decades between opening day in 1923 and when the park closed in the 1977.  The park was owned by the Brancato family, a family of Italian immigrants and successful business people who'd come to the United States at the turn of the century.

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Up To Date
8:52 am
Fri June 6, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List: June 6-8

Theatre in the Park presents "The Pirates of Penzance" at Shawnee Mission Park.
Credit Theatre in the Park

If you're looking for a variety of entertainment this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for June 6-8.

Styx and Foreigner with Don Felder
Classic rock
7 p.m. Sunday
Starlight Theatre in Swope Park
Tickets: $20 to $127.50
(kcstarlight.com)

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Health
8:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Kansans Gather To Address Sliding Health Ranking

Rankings from the United Health Foundation show Kansas is on a long, steady decline — from 8th healthiest state in 1991 to 27th in 2013.

To address the problem, health officials from all over the state are spending two days in Wichita at the Kansas Health Foundation Symposium. The event is a call to action to make Kansans healthier.

"That is the purpose of this conference—to spark the discussion to help us reverse this horrible trend in Kansas," said Kansas Health Foundation President and CEO Steve Coen, summarizing the need for the symposium.

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Sports
7:55 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Lured By The Fastball, Young Baseball Players Injured More Than Ever

Brad Stoll, a youth baseball coach in Lawrence, Kan., has had high school players go through Tommy John surgery.
Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR

More high-profile major league baseball pitchers have been sidelined by season-ending elbow injuries this year than ever before. But this epidemic is not just a big league concern. Young players, lured by the fastball, are getting hurt, too.

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Arts & Culture
5:19 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Violinist Angèle Dubeau Mines Cancer Experience In New CD

When Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with cancer, her fans reached out and asked her to share her experience through music.
Credit Courtesy: Analekta

Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2013. Her latest CD, Blanc, traces the range of emotions during her illness - from anxiety to sadness to hope - with songs by composers such as Dave Brubeck, Mark O'Connor and Cat Stevens.

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Tell KCUR
5:06 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Hey GOP, Kansas Citians Say To Come For The Amenities — Or Don’t Come At All

A selection committee for the Republican National Convention in 2016 has narrowed the pool to four cities to host the GOP bash.
Credit truthout.org

Officials in Kansas City, Mo., may be clamoring to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

But social media buzz in Kansas City wasn’t always as welcoming, according to feedback we received this week in KCUR’s informal polls.

On Wednesday, convention selection committee members began their site visit in Kansas City, one of the four finalists competing to host the convention.

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Health
3:36 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Bluford Takes Pride In Truman Medical Center Turnaround

John Bluford (left), retiring CEO of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., reflected on his health care career in a conversation this week with R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the Kansas City Public Library. The discussion took place at the downtown branch of the Kansas City Public Library.
Credit Mike Sherry / KCPT - Hale Center for Journalism.

After only two weeks as the new CEO of Kansas City’s safety-net hospital system, John Bluford called an emergency 6:30 a.m. meeting of the Truman Medical Centers board.

After assurances that he was not going to quit, Bluford told the board members, “I understood when I took this position that the system was broken. It’s not broken. It’s structurally defective.” And that, he said, “was the baseline we started from.”

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Harvest Public Media
3:12 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

What Does The ‘Right To Farm’ Mean In Missouri?

Rep. Vicki Hartzler of Missouri supports a proposed "right to farm" amendment to the state's Constitution.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Congress members are throwing their support behind a proposed “right to farm” amendment in Missouri’s constitution. But critics are pointing to the measure’s ambiguous language as problematic.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from the central part of the state, is one of several U.S. representatives pushing for Missouri voters to approve the amendment in a state-wide primary election Aug. 5.

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Government
2:46 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Kansas City Leaders Hoping To Woo Republican Convention Scouts

Kansas City Bid Task Force Co-Chairman Troy Stremming, left, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, RNC Site Selection Committee Chairwoman Enid Mickelson and Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James speak at a press conference Thursday.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

City leaders spent Thursday courting a delegation from the Republican National Committee in hopes of a securing a bid for the 2016 convention.

So far, the RNC is impressed.

"We've had children out to lead us in the pledge of allegiance. We had the high school band out on the tarmac to greet us. We had another young lady who just sang beautifully for us," says former Utah Congresswoman Enid Mickelson, the chairwoman of the site selection committee. "Those are the kind of traditional values clearly you have in Kansas City, and we think are important to spotlight."

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Central Standard
2:42 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

The Best Eats In Kansas City's Historic Northeast

Authentic tacos, African cuisine, and pastries are just some of the diverse food options available in Northeast Kansas City.
Credit Russell Mondy / Flickr-CC

This year, KCUR is embarking on a project called "Beyond Our Borders," an attempt to take a closer look at the cultural and geographical borders in Kansas City.

The first border we are examining is Troost Avenue, which acts as a racial and socioeconomic diving line in Kansas City's urban core. 

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Business
9:59 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Reports: Sprint Works Out $32 Billion Deal With T-Mobile

Sprint Corp. has worked out a $32 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile US Inc., according to reports Wednesday.

The deal was reported by varying media outlets, including the Kansas City Star, but no sources were identified. Sprint has not confirmed the reports and a spokesman for the company declined to comment to The Star.

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Government
8:55 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Missouri Reaches Agreement With Walgreens Over Deceptive Pricing

The State of Missouri has reached an agreement with Walgreens over what Attorney General Chris Koster had called deceptive retail pricing.

Speaking Wednesday in Springfield, Mo., Koster says the settlement requires Walgreens to pay for an independent auditor, selected with the approval of the AG’s Office.

"This independent auditor will visit 25 percent of Missouri's Walgreens stores every quarter to verify that prices advertised on the shelves match the prices that consumers are paying at the register," he said.

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Beyond Our Borders
8:04 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Kauffman Charter School Sets High Bar, But Can It Be Replicated?

A student at the Kauffman School shows his work to Principal Hannah Lofthus. Lofthus, who has been principal for three years, will transition to the school's chief executive officer this summer.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

It’s a lofty goal for any charter – be the premiere public school in Missouri and a model for the rest of the country.

And for a new school, it’s especially bold. Yet that’s been the vision of the Kauffman School since before it opened.

This week while other metro-area kids were enjoying that first taste of summer, sixth graders at the Kauffman School were sitting in science class. It's quiet except for the scratch of pencil on paper.

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Johnson County
8:01 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Johnson County Commissioners Plan Small Property Tax Rate Hike

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners has announced that it plans to raise property taxes in the 2015 budget. But, if the increase is implemented, it will be far from staggering.

Board of Commissioners chairman Ed Eilert says the recommended increase likely won’t mean a large burden for homeowners. Under the recommended increase revealed Wednesday, owners of properties valued at $249,000 would pay about $2 more per month. The increase would cover an anticipated $45 million budget shortfall over five years.

Arts & Culture
7:58 am
Thu June 5, 2014

KC Rep Receives Lead Gift For Renovation Project

In this conceptual sketch, the renovated lobby is envisioned as a "central living room" for theater patrons, as well as UMKC students.
Credit Helix Architecture + Design

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre on Wednesday announced $3 million from the Hall Family Foundation, the largest gift in the company's history. The funds will support the renovations of the Spencer Theatre and its lobby in James C. Olson Performing Arts Center on the UMKC campus.

The center was completed in 1979. The Rep's artistic director, Eric Rosen, said the stage is ready for an upgrade as the company marks its 50th year.

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Health
6:21 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Planned Parenthood Of Kansas And Mid-Missouri Chooses New CEO

Laura McQuade will head Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri starting July 1.
Credit Courtesy / Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has chosen a new president and chief executive officer to succeed Peter Brownlie, who retired two months ago.

Laura McQuade has served for the past six years as chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York. The organization more than doubled its budget and staff during her tenure, according to a news release announcing her appointment.

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Health
4:20 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

One In Eight Kansas Pregnancies In 2013 Involved Women Who Smoked

 In Kansas last year, more than 4,800 women smoked cigarettes during their pregnancies, according to a preliminary summary of birth statistics released Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The finding means that in 2013, about one in every eight births - 12.5 percent - involved mothers who smoked for at least three months shortly before or during their pregnancies.

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Health
3:38 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Data Show Vast Disparities In Kansas City Area Hospital Charges

New figures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show large disparities between medical charges in Kansas City hospitals.
Credit Mercy Health / Flickr-CC

Considering a major joint replacement?

If you check into the University of Kansas Hospital, you might be charged more than $115,000. But if you go to Olathe Medical Center just 22 miles down the road, you’re apt to be billed just over $50,000.

Coping with renal failure? At Truman Medical Center, the bill is likely to add up to more than $14,000. But at Research Medical Center, a mere six miles distant, it’s more likely to come to $48,000.

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Government
2:22 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Reps. Cleaver, Yoder Encourage Civil Political Discourse

Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder, left, teases Missouri Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver about almost missing a flight home. The two were promoting a new group that encourages people from different political parties to meet.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder and Missouri Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver were in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday to promote a new political discussion group.

The group – called the Village Square – encourages people to meet across party lines to talk about political topics with civility and respect.

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Central Standard
2:09 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

LISTEN: Upcoming Lawrence Poet Reads Her 'Boundaryless' Prose

Lawrence, Kan. poet Patricia Lockwood is becoming well known for her off-the-wall poetry.
Credit Grep Hoax

The following content may be offensive to some. Discretion is advised.

In the world of poetry, Patricia Lockwood is the "it girl" right now. The Lawrence, Kan., resident's poem "Rape Joke" went viral last summer, pushing her Twitter following to more than 40,000.

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Performance
1:54 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Kansas City Theater Scene Celebrates 50 Years

Dr. Patricia McIlrath founded the KC Rep in 1964. She died in 1999.

The 1960s marked “the second golden age” in Kansas City’s theater history, according to historian Felicia Hardison Londré. It was a time of transition from touring companies providing entertainment to the city creating its own.

For Kansas City, this meant the creation of the first resident professional theater company since the 1930s: the Missouri Repertory Theatre, now known as the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. The “solid foundation” of the Rep, said Londré, led to the thriving theater scene across the Kansas City metro today.

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Central Standard
1:17 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

What People Are 3-D Printing At The Johnson County Public Library

The 3-D printer is one of many high-tech gadgets available at the Johnson County Library's Maker Space.
Esther Honig KCUR

Libraries have long been a place where new technologies can be seen and interacted with for the first time. In the 1980s, it was the personal computer. In the 1990s, the World Wide Web. Now, 3-D printers are becoming increasingly available in libraries across the country, and they are part of the transformation of the role of the institution. 

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Health
9:45 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Wichita VA Hospital Had Secret Waiting List For Patients

The director of the VA hospital in Wichita said Friday that they kept a secret waiting list for patients.
Credit Jeffery Beall / CC

Despite assurances to the contrary, the VA hospital in Wichita kept a secret waiting list for patients. The hospital's director revealed that information Friday in a message to Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.

Roberts told the Wichita Eagle he was not happy to see that message just hours after he’d met with officials of the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, who assured him the hospital was doing just fine. But one patient of the Wichita VA facility says the news is no surprise.

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Health
9:44 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Brownback Discusses Opposition To Medicaid Expansion in Heritage Foundation Interview

Gov. Sam Brownback
Credit file photo

The inaugural edition of a Heritage Foundation news site features an interview with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback explaining “how Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion hurts states.”

The interview is featured in the Daily Signal, a new online publication “supported by the resources and intellectual firepower” of the foundation, which describes its mission as promoting “conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.”

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Government
8:30 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Kansas City FBI Posts Rewards For Laser-Pointer Violators

Children's Mercy Hospital trotted out its helicopter to emphasize the dangers of laser-beaming aircraft.
Credit Kansas City, MO Aviation Department

Children's Mercy Hospital joined with federal and local law enforcement Tuesday at Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Mo., to promote a 90-day crackdown on people who point hand-held lasers at flying aircraft.

Children's Mercy displayed its “Just for Kids” helicopter as an example of the kind of aircraft that could be downed by a misplaced laser beam in a pilot's eyes. 

Kansas City police helicopter pilot Cord Laws said he could recount five times when the police chopper has been lasered, including during one difficult landing on a helipad. 

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Health
5:43 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Grant Aims To Cure Kidney Patients’ Failure To Stick To Medication Routine

UMKC Professor Cindy Russell studies medication adherence among kidney transplant recipients.
Credit University of Missouri - Kansas City

About 75 percent of kidney transplant recipients fail to properly take the medications they need to stay healthy, says Cynthia Russell, a professor at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies.

After receiving a transplant, patients - many of whom previously needed kidney dialysis – typically feel healthy and often simply forget to take medications as needed twice a day.

“They are active. They are feeling good. They are just living normal lives,” Russell says.

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Health
2:39 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Robot Helps Save The Day At Rural Hospital

Sophisticated medical robots like these are being used at a growing number of hospitals in Kansas and elsewhere, including small, rural facilities such as Hamilton County Hospital in Syracuse. Chief executive Bryan Coffey credits a robot with helping turn around the hospital's troubled finances while saving residents long drives to big-city medical centers for specialty care.
Credit Hamilton County Hospital

Some small, rural Kansas hospitals are using highly sophisticated medical robots in ways that are helping ease the shortage of specialists in their areas and - in at least one instance - boosting the bottom line.

Hamilton County Hospital, in Syracuse, Kan., was on the brink of closing little more than a year ago because of financial and staffing problems, but use of a robot has been a key factor in the facility’s dramatic turnaround, according to chief executive Bryan Coffey.

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Health
9:46 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Chronic Pain Expert To Speak In Kansas City Tonight

Judy Foreman

Judy Foreman, a nationally recognized expert on chronic pain and its effect on the nation’s health care system, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.

Foreman, a Boston-based science writer and a nationally syndicated health columnist, is the author of the book “A Nation in Pain,” an in-depth look at how pain is perceived – and misperceived - and treated in the United States.

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