Briana O'Higgins

Digital Content Editor

A California native, Briana comes to KCUR by way of KMUW in Wichita, Kan. and KUSP in Santa Cruz, Calif.

She started working in public radio as an intern at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio to fulfill a degree requirement while studying at Antioch College.

She has a graduate certificate from the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Documentary Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

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Education
9:53 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Google 'Flash Funds' Classroom Requests From Kansas City Teachers

Kansas City area teachers and students got a welcome surprise Wednesday after Google "flash funded" all the requests posted by metro teachers to a crowdsourcing website. 

Teachers across the nation can post their needs to the website DonorsChoose.org with the hope that someone will fund the request. Google has "flash funded" the requests in multiple metro areas over the last few months, including San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Chicago.

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Community
1:38 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Meet The People Waiting In Line For The IKEA Opening

Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA opens in Merriam, Kan., at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and a line has been forming outside of the store since Monday.

IKEA's promotion for the grand opening includes giving away free furniture to people who start standing in line up to 48 hours in advance of the opening. The first 40 people in line will get a free couch worth $399, the next 100 people will get a $69 chair. On Thursday, the second day the store will be open to the public, IKEA will give the first 40 people a $299 mattress and the next 100 people $59 towards home delivery.

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Crime
3:46 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

UPDATED: Three Dead, Two Injured In South Kansas City Shooting

file photo
Credit Robert Francis / Flickr--CC

Update, 7:11 a.m., Wednesday:

Police have apprehended a man they say has been positively identified as the suspect in the assaults at a Motel 6 in the Northland. The are continuing to investigate whether there is a link between the suspect and the triple homicide in south Kansas City. 

Update, 8:15 p.m.:  

Police say the shooting may be related to an incident at a northland Motel 6 Tuesday afternoon. The hotel is close to where an SUV taken from the scene of the homicides earlier in the day in south Kansas City was found. 

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Food
11:55 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Desserts In Kansas City

Golden Boy Pies out of Overland Park, Kan., was one of our Critics' recommendations. You can get a slice at Town Topic.
Credit Julie Fallone / Town Topic

  At some point, we all get a sweet tooth. For some of us it is a little more frequently than we would like, for others its an occasional craving.

Whether you are in need of a decadent mousse or plain old fashioned ice cream cone, our Food Critics are here to guide you (and your tooth) to the sweetest treats in the metro.

Here are suggestions from the Food Critics and listeners to Central Standard:

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Sports
5:24 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Can SungWoo Save The Royals From Sports Illustrated Cover Curse?

Many Royals fans credit the team's winning streak to South Korean super-fan, SungWoo Lee.
Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR

You may have heard that the Royals are doing really well. They are 15 games over .500, and are first in the AL Central. They're doing so well they made the cover of this weeks' regional Sports Illustrated

"September is coming, and for the first time in nearly 30 years it will matter in Kansas City," the headline reads. That hasn't happened since the last time the team made the playoffs: 1985, when the Royals went on to win the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Central Standard
11:21 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Food Critics: Best Brunch In Kansas City

Credit Erica Firment / Flickr--CC

Brunch. Sometimes it is leisurely and relaxing, sometimes after a long night, it is just necessary. 

From upscale to fresh and light to downright greasy, the Central Standard food critics have you covered for all your mid-morning needs in the Kansas City metro. 

Here are our food critics' recommendations:

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Elections
7:52 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Missouri Primary Election Results

Missourian's votes are coming in the for the Aug. 5 primary election.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Voters in Missouri went to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for the Nov. 4 general election and to decide on five ballot measures that would amend the state's Constitution. Kansas City voters south of the river voted to decide whether or not to create a tax district to fund the city's streetcar.

Below are results for a selection of those races and measures, you can see complete election results at the Secretary of State website.

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Elections
7:39 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Kansas Primary Election Results

The votes for Kansas' public offices are coming in for the Aug. 5 primary election.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

Voters in Kansas went to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for the Nov. 4 general election. Below are results for a selection of those races, you can see complete election results at the Secretary of State website.

Unofficial election results will be updated below as precincts across the state report results. 

Updated: 6:05 a.m., Wednesday

UNITED STATES SENATE - REPUBLICAN
Precincts reporting: 3,487 of 3,487

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Business
7:33 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Reports: Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Off, Hesse Out As CEO

Sprint Corp., will end its pursuit of T-Mobile, according to reports Tuesday.
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

Sprint Corp. is ending its attempt to acquire T-Mobile US Inc., and Dan Hesse will no longer be CEO of the company, according to media reports out Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "people familiar with the matter" say Sprint and its parent company SoftBank will not pursue the deal any further because it would too difficult to win approval from regulators.

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Elections
10:42 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Constitutional Amendment 5

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 5 would expand protections for gun owners in the state.
Credit Sean / Flickr--CC

When Missourians go to the polls Aug. 5 they will be asked to consider whether or not to amend the state constitution to strengthen the right to own and bear firearms.

Ballot language:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?

What it means:

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Community
8:08 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Interviews Provide Insight Into Bob Dole's Career

The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has made hours of interviews about Bob Dole's Senate career available online. The announcement coincides with the former Kansas senator's 91st birthday.

You can now go online for videos and audio of high-profile people talking about Bob Dole's nearly three decades in the U.S. Senate. Here's former president George H.W. Bush.

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Community
10:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Why 33 Years Later, We Still Don't Have A Memorial For The Skywalk Disaster

Thirty-three years after the deadly collapse of a skywalk at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near downtown Kansas City, Mo., the foundation trying to build a memorial for the victims says it has raised 70 percent of their goal.

The Skywalk Memorial Foundation has $382,824 in cash donations, leaving them with around $163,000 to raise to reach the amount necessary to begin construction. The proposed memorial will be at Hospital Hill Park at 22nd Street and Gillham Road.

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Community
10:33 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Kansas City-St. Joe Diocese To Pay $1.1M For Failing To Report Abuse

The Kansas City-St. Joesph Catholic Diocese has been ordered to pay $1.1 million to victims for failing to follow through on their promise to improve how they deal with sexual abuse.

The ruling from an arbitrator says the diocese is responsible for the damages after concluding that it did not promptly report a priest who had produced child pornography, the New York Times reports.

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Beyond Our Borders
9:52 am
Fri June 27, 2014

How School And District Boundaries Shaped Education In Kansas City

Street map of Kansas City showing grade school and high school districts as well as the locations of schools. "Red Lines Indicate High School Boundaries" and "Colored School Districts" are marked in green.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library / Kansas City, Mo.

Earlier this year, we embarked on a year-long investigation of the lines that divide and unite us — starting with a look at Troost Avenue.

The road has been used as a border for many things, including neighborhood associations, census tracts, political districts and public schools. 

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Community
4:21 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Kansas City Woman's Project On Beauty Standards Goes Viral

Argentina
Esther Honig estherhonig.com

This week, KCUR freelancer Esther Honig had a giant shock when her project Before & After, a cross-cultural examination of beauty, went viral.

Honig sent an unaltered image of herself to freelance graphic artists in more than 25 countries and asked them to perform one task: make her beautiful. The result is more than 40 images that together tell a complex story of global standards of beauty. And the response has been enormous.

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Government
7:40 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Kansas City Out Of Running For 2016 GOP Convention

Mayor Sly James joined RNC committee members at a press conference during their site visit to Kansas City in early June.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Update, 1:10 p.m.

The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that Cleveland, Ohio, and Dallas, Texas, were finalists to host the 2016 Republican Convention. Kansas City and Denver have been eliminated.

Committee members were in Kansas City earlier this month to tour facilities and meet city officials. In a release, the committee says the decision was based on a review of bids and information gathered at site visits to each city.

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Community
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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World Cup KC
8:37 am
Tue June 17, 2014

What Kansas City Sounds Like When The U.S. Team Scores In The World Cup

Kansas City soccer fans gathered in the Power & Light District Monday night to watch the U.S. men's team in their World Cup opening game.
Credit Sporting KC / YouTube

Even if you missed the game Monday night, you probably know by now that the U.S. men's soccer team defeated Ghana in their opener at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The win was sweet revenge after losing to Ghana in the last two World Cups.

Winning always sounds good, but it sounded especially good coming from Kansas City's Power & Light District where fans cheered on local players, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi:

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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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Beyond Our Borders
8:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Data Maps Show Troost As Racial, Economic And Educational Divide

Credit Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service / University of Virginia

As KCUR examines how Kansas Citians divide themselves in our Beyond Our Borders series, we wanted to look at the demographics of the areas where we are focusing our reporting.

Earlier this year, we asked the community which lines were the most divisive in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Troost Avenue was cited as one of the most prominent racial and socioeconomic borders

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Community
8:47 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Poll: Kansas Sixth Most Charitable State

Kansas: known for farms, flat terrain and ... charitable residents?
Credit Roy Montgomery / Flickr--CC

Kansas is the sixth most charitable state, according to a poll out this month from the research company Gallup.

Sixty-two percent of Kansans reported donating money in the past month, while 45 percent donated time and 39 percent donated some of both.

Missouri came in at 34th with 64 percent of residents donating money, 41 percent donating time and 31 percent engaging in both.

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Business
10:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Kauffman Foundation CEO To Step Down

Tom McDonnell, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will leave the organization at the end of the fiscal year.

In a release, the Foundation says because of personal plans, McDonnell is unable to make the long-term commitment the organization needs to see through a multi-year strategic plan effort.

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Sports
11:42 am
Tue April 29, 2014

New Sport Phenomenon 'FootGolf' Coming To Kansas City

FootGolf combines soccer with golf and is played on a traditional golf course.
Credit vanderlanos / Flickr--CC

A new sport is catching on across the United States, and soon you will be able to play in Kansas City. The sport will make its Missouri debut at the city-owned Heart of America Golf Academy at Swope Park in Kansas City, Mo.

FootGolf has been gaining popularity since its inception in Europe around 2008. According the the sport's Wikipedia page, the first ever FootGolf tournament was organized in the Netherlands in 2009.

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Community
1:52 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Kansas Ranks Among The 'Nerdiest' States

Kansas joins other western states as the most nerdy, according to the real estate blog, Estately.
Credit blog.estately.com

Kansas is among the "nerdiest" states, according to a playful new report from the real estate blog, Estately.

The blog ranks Kansas as the 12th nerdiest state based on an analysis of interests listed in Facebook profiles. To determine each state's ranking, Estately tallied the percentage of people who mentioned the nerdy things listed below, then ranked the cities on a per capita basis:

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Community
9:14 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Employees In Kansas City Start Work Earlier Than Most Of The U.S.

Workers in Kansas City get to work earlier than most of their counterparts across the U.S.
Credit Tim Samoff/Flickr / Creative Commons

People who are employed in Kansas City, Mo., start work earlier than the majority of the United States — at around 7:51 a.m.

That's considerably earlier than our counterparts in New York, who go in around 8:24 a.m., and our neighbors in Lawrence, Kan., who get to work around 8:15 a.m.

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Community
12:39 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

What Is The Difference Between A Hate Crime And An Act Of Terrorism?

A federal hate crimes charge is expected against the suspect in the April 13 shootings at Jewish facilities in Kansas.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

In the wake of shootings that took the lives of three people April 13 at Jewish facilities in Johnson County, Kan., we have been wondering about what constitutes a hate crime and how that differs from acts of terrorism.

On the KCUR program Central Standard,  host Gina Kaufmann explored the differences with professors Jessica Hodge and Steve Dilks from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Economy
10:35 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Spirit Airlines To Begin Service In Kansas City

Spirit Airlines will begin service from Kansas City to five cities in August.
Credit Courtesy / Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday they will begin service in Kansas City beginning August 7.

The Florida-based airline will provide non-stop service from KCI Airport to Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit and Las Vegas on August 7 and Houston beginning August 8.

“We look forward to help customers traveling to or from the Kansas City area to save money with our ultra-low fares and optional services for a total price that is tough to beat” said Mark Kopczak, Spirit’s Vice President of Network Planning in a release.

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JCC Shootings
9:53 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Mayor In Ozarks Resigns After Connections To JCC Shooting Suspect Surface

The mayor of a small town in the Ozarks has resigned after making racist comments and revealing he was once friends with the man accused of killing three people at two Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan., on April 13.

Ozarks Public Radio reports that Marionville Mayor Dan Clevenger said he would resign Monday after four of five aldermen voted to impeach him. 

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Beyond Our Borders
6:48 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Kansas City Grocer's Hand-Painted Signs Are A Lost Art In The Modern Age

Grocer William Rosser has been painting signs for his independent grocery stores in Kansas City for more than 50 years.
Briana O'Higgins KCUR

Every morning, William Rosser starts his day painting signs.

The 77-year-old butcher and owner of Wild Woody's Happy Foods on 31st Street and Myrtle Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., has been painting grocery signs for more than 50 years.

"I make sure every display's got a sign on it. That's my whole goal," he says.

Rosser's store is one of few remaining independent grocery stores in the area. It serves Kansas City's east side — an area largely considered to be a food desert.

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Business
11:42 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Google To Begin Rollout Of Fiber Service For Small Businesses

Google Inc. announced Wednesday that it would begin recruiting small businesses in Kansas City to test its Google Fiber product.

The Kansas City Business Journal reports after nearly two years of asking Kansas City companies to "hang in there," Google is ready to launch the pilot.

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