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9:27 am
Wed June 11, 2014

7 Questions For Doug Frost On Beer And The First-Ever Boulevardia

Music, food, and craft beer will jostle for center stage this weekend at Boulevardia, a three-day festival in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo.

More than three dozen brewers from 11 states, from Oregon to Maine, as well as two Belgian breweries, will be on tap to provide samples. And – of course — there will be beer from local favorites in Kansas and Missouri (such as Boulevard Brewing Co., the organizer of the event).

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Beyond Our Borders
5:33 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Program Offers Grief Counseling For Kansas City Teens Affected By Homicide

(From left) Tanee, 14, Makala, 14, Mantez, 17, and Audrey, 17, speak at a forum at a Kansas City public library at 30th and Prospect streets. All have lost siblings to homicide.
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

There’s a hush in the community room at the Lucile H. Bluford Public Library at 30th and Prospect streets, something like the quiet in a church just before the service starts.

The two dozen folks gathered here at 6 p.m. on a Monday night in June want to hear from the four sitting as a panel in the front of the room, people that despite their young ages, have years of mourning to share.

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Agriculture
4:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Recent Heavy Rains Won't Eliminate Drought In Kansas

This map shows dry conditions covering most of the state of Kansas.
Credit Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Despite recent heavy rains across the state of Kansas, officials say the precipitation is likely not enough to end the drought.

Assistant State Climatologist Mary Knapp says Kansas has seen almost double what would be a normal amount of rain for the first part of June. But she says the rains won’t be enough to bring conditions back to normal, as the first five months of the year were very dry.

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Health
3:56 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Want Medicaid Expansion? You Can Move, Missouri Senator Says

Missouri Senator Ed Emery's letter explains his reasons for opposing Medicaid expansion.
Credit Debbie Cole

How divisive was the debate over Medicaid expansion in Missouri this year?

Just ask Debbie Cole, a 51-year-old mother of four who lives in Butler, Mo., and signed a petition asking state legislators to extend Medicaid to cover more low-income residents.

“We all live different lives, and some people out there may be working two or three jobs and have no insurance, and they need it to survive,” she says.

About a month after signing the petition, Cole got a letter from her state senator, Republican Ed Emery of Lamar.

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Sprint
3:19 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse On T-Mobile, HD Audio And Work-Life Balance

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse sat down with Steve Kraske to talk about the recent rumors and changes surrounding the company.
Credit John Taylor / Flickr-CC

When Sprint Corp. CEO Dan Hesse took the helm of an ailing telecommunications corporation seven years ago, he had his work cut out for him.

In the past year, things have moved very quickly for the company, with a majority buyout by Japan-based SoftBank Corp., layoffs and recent rumors of a merger deal with T-Mobile.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sat down with Hesse to discuss the whirlwind of activity surrounding Sprint, and what it all means for consumers.

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Poverty
2:46 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Johnson County Demonstrates Sharp Uptick In Suburban Poverty

Poverty in suburban Johnson County doesn't look like it does in urban Kansas City, Kan., or rural parts of the state. 

And that makes it harder to address a growing problem in a part of the metro seen as affluent, says County Manager Hannes Zacharias.

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Harvest Public Media
8:24 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Drought Hammers Winter Wheat Across The Plains

Farmer Jim Haarberg of Imperial, Neb., compares the heads of wheat from two different stalks to demonstrate the stunting effects of drought.
Ariana Brocious Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.

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Education
8:01 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Kansas Teachers Union Promises Lawsuit

The largest teachers union in Kansas is promising a legal challenge to part of a controversial education funding law. The legislation includes additional school funding in response to a court ruling, but lawmakers also added policy changes that angered many teachers.

The bill makes it easier to fire teachers in Kansas, by eliminating the guarantee of a due process hearing before a teacher is removed, if the teacher requests it. The KNEA says the provision was added to the bill in an improper manner.

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Harvest Public Media
7:52 am
Tue June 10, 2014

A Signal To Hog Producers: Cargill To Stop Use Of Gestation Crates

Barns like this one often house more than a thousand pregnant sows in gestation crates.
Credit Sarah McCammon / Harvest Public Media

Cargill, one of the country’s largest pork producers,announced Monday that it will stop using gestation crates, the controversial narrow cages meant to house and separate sows. Cargill is joining other major meatpackers, like competitors Tyson and Smithfield Foods, in planning to move away from hog crates.

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Veterans
9:16 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Veterans Say Long Wait Times Are Just Part Of The Problem At VA

VFW Adjunct General John Hamilton, center, speaks at a town hall meeting convened to discuss issues with veterans' care.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

For months, Kansas City resident Cherie Fishback has been writing letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of her boyfriend, Lee Murphy, who last year had to have emergency gallbladder surgery.

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Health
7:36 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Area Legislator: Missouri Lawmakers Nearly Reached Medicaid Expansion Deal

Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Lamar, says lawmakers came close to expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Credit Missouri News Horizon / Flickr--CC

A last-minute deal to expand Medicaid in Missouri almost materialized in the waning days of this year’s legislative session, briefly breathing life into an issue that had seemed all but doomed.

Missouri State Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, provided a behind-the-scenes look at high-level negotiations that occurred just before the session ended without an agreement to expand Medicaid eligibility.

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Foster Care
2:31 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Number Of Children In Kansas Foster Care Hits Record High

The number of Kansas children in foster care is at an all-time high.
Credit Cathy Mores / KHI News Service

The number of Kansas children in foster care has reached an all-time high. The explanations why vary.

In April, there were 6,156 children in the system. That’s 356 more children than in April 2013 and 872 more than two years earlier.

Dona Booe, chief executive of the Kansas Children's Service League, sees the escalating numbers as evidence of a building crisis.

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Health
9:44 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Foundation President Sounds Alarm On State’s Drop In Health Rankings

Dr. David Kessler, a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, led an effort to reduce tobacco use and now sees obesity as a top threat to Americans' health.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Kansas Health Foundation President Steve Coen was blunt and to the point.

“Kansas is sick,” Coen said in opening remarks Thursday at the foundation’s 2014 Health Symposium in Wichita. “Something has gone seriously wrong in the state of Kansas, and we’ve got to do something to get it back on track.”

Coen’s diagnosis was based on the 2013 health rankings compiled by the United Health Foundation, which listed Kansas as the 27th healthiest state in the nation.

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Central Standard
8:40 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Low-Income Neighborhoods In Kansas City Have More Parks, Fewer Playgrounds

Dion Hardiman goes five miles from home to take his daughters to Loose Park, because they love the high slides and sand pit.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Recently, Kansas State University researchers visited every park in Kansas City, Mo., to analyze the distribution of parks and park amenities throughout the city.

They found low-income neighborhoods, including Kansas City's east side, have fewer playgrounds than high-income neighborhoods. That’s in spite of having a higher concentration of parkland in those same neighborhoods. Researchers studied 219 parks and about 12,000 acres of parkland.

Green space in low-income areas

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Harvest Public Media
7:50 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Farmers Hope For River System Improvements

When fully loaded, the Crimson Glory barge carries 1,400-2,200 tons of cargo.
Rich Egger Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ag groups in the Midwest say the U.S. river system needs an upgrade, and they’re hopeful it will come with proposed improvements in legislation recently passed by Congress.  

The nation’s rivers are essential for moving agricultural products to market.

“It’s our third coast, if you will,” said Jim Tarmann, field services director with the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “Over 60 percent of our grain exports move via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. That’s how things get to our world markets.”

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Sports
7:41 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Team USA Departs For World Cup In Brazil

The USA team that will participate in the World Cup soccer tournament departed for Brazil Sunday night.

Kansas City soccer fans will have a watchful eye on this team with two players from Sporting Kansas City on the roster. Seventeen-year-old Ady Barraza, a soccer player at Olathe Northwest High School, was at the Overland Park Soccer complex over the weekend along with other teens trying out for club teams. While trying to map out their own futures, they’re in tune to what will be happening at the World Cup in Brazil.

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Transit
7:36 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Judge To Review Challenged Light-Rail Ballot Initiative This Week

Clay Chastain, a former Kansas City resident, has taken the city to court after his 2011 plan for light rail never made it on the ballot.
Credit Video frame courtesy of TV-9

Kansas City transit advocate Clay Chastain is in town this week to promote his light-rail proposal ahead of hearing that could put the issue before voters.

Chastain, a former Kansas City resident who now lives in Virginia, has for years pressured the city to build an interconnected transit system with a hub at Union Station. His idea has a lot of moving parts – light rail line to the airport, commuter rail to the southeast and streetcars to the Kansas City Zoo. And in 2011, he gathered enough signatures to put a 3/8-cent sales tax on the ballot to help pay for it.

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Beyond Our Borders
4:14 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Kansas City's Historic Northeast Balances History With Urban Reality

Lisa Donnici
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is known for its great cuisine and iconic old homes.

But it also grapples with a reputation of vandalism and other crime, says Lisa Donnici, who moved to the Historic Northeast roughly 14 years ago.

Her relationship with the area — made up of six distinct Kansas City neighborhoods that are just south of the Missouri River — goes back much farther, however.

She grew up there as a child, but her mother moved the family away so Donnici could attend schools in the suburbs. Marriage brought her back to the area.

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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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