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. 


8:47 am
Tue November 25, 2014

In Statement On Ferguson, Kansas City Mayor Says 'We All Feel Pain'

Mayor Sly James released a statement after a grand jury announced no charges would be brough against the police officer involved in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
Credit Courtesy / Facebook

Kansas City Mayor Sly James released a statement on Facebook Monday night after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.

"Many people are in pain this evening because of this decision," he wrote. "I encourage our community to take to prayer, reflection, and even peaceful protest."

James' statement went viral overnight — reaching more than 6,000 likes and 1,200 shares.

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Central Standard
3:33 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Asian Noodles In Kansas City

Asian noodles, whether pho or pad thai, are always delicious.
Credit Andrea Nguyen / Flickr--CC

Some slurp them, some swirl them and unfortunately, some cut them up. But with nearly endless varieties (even gluten-free), everyone eats noodles.

This week on Central Standard food critics Charles Ferruza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch discussed Asian noodles of all sorts from the slurpy noodles in Vietnamese pho to the more saucy pad thai.

Here are their recommendations:

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Election 2014
7:11 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Missouri 2014 Election Results

Missouri voters might not have had quite the same heated races to vote for like Kansans, but they did have four constitutional amendments to decide on.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Voters in Missouri went to the polls Tuesday to vote for various political offices and four constitutional amendments that seek to change teacher tenure rules, trial procedures in cases of sexual crimes against minors, early voting periods and gubernatorial budgeting powers.

Below are the results for a selection of races and measures. You can find full results at the Secretary of State website.

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

Read more
4:00 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Sprint Announces 2,000 Layoffs

Sprint Corp. is owned by Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp., but the telecommunications firm's headquarters is in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Mike Mozart / Flickr--CC

Sprint Corp. announced Monday that it would layoff at least 2,000 employees.

The cuts, which are expected to save Sprint around $400 million, are part of an aggressive cost-cutting package introduced by CEO Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian businessman who took over from ousted CEO Dan Hesse in August.

“The Sprint brand was weak," Claure told investors during an earnings call Monday. "We had no clear value proposition for consumers. The measure of our own customer’s willingness to recommend Sprint was the lowest among the four big wireless carriers.”

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2:13 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Listen To This 4-Year-Old Sing 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' For The Royals

Brothers Andrew and Will Duke of Kansas City are part of a new passel of Royals fans young enough that they haven’t yet experienced disappointment at the hands of the team.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Four-year-old Will Duke from Kansas City, Mo., likes few things in life more than the swings at Loose Park, but this year’s Royals team might give any swingset a run for its money.

Duke knows only a winning hometown team; he has favorite players (Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore), and even has a Royals take on a favorite baseball tune.

Listen to Duke sing his Royals version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." And let's hope it brings them a little luck as they go into Game 6 Tuesday night.

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2:52 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Sporting Kansas City To Return To Western Conference

Sporting KC playing the San Jose Earthquakes, a Western Conference team.
Credit Ryan Knapp / Flickr--CC

Sporting Kansas City will leave Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference and join the Western Conference in 2015, the MLS announced Monday.

The move will be a homecoming of sorts for Sporting KC, which played in the Western Conference from 1996 to 2005. 

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10:34 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Royals Tie Up The Series With Game 2 Win In Kansas City

The crowd at Lew's in Waldo celebrates as the Royals take the lead over the San Francisco Giants in Wednesday night's game.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Kansas City Royals tied up the World Series Wednesday night against the San Francisco Giants with a 7-2 win in Kansas City. Each team has one win in the best-of-seven Series.

The teams will now travel to San Francisco and face-off in Game 3 on Friday night at AT&T Park. The Royals will need to win at least one game in San Francisco to bring the 2014 Series back to Kauffman Stadium.

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10:15 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Royals To Face San Francisco Giants In World Series

Fox sports reporter Erin Andrews talks with Giants player Travis Ichikawa after he hit the game-winning homerun.
Credit Fox Sports

The Kansas City Royals will face off against the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series.

The Giants secured their spot as the NLCS Champions Thursday, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in San Francisco. The game was the fifth in a best-of-seven series to clinch the pennant.

The Giants tied up the score 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homerun from Michael Morse. After switching out the pitcher in the top of the ninth, they kept the score tied into the bottom of the inning.

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Kansas City Royals
3:32 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

LISTEN: What Winning Sounds Like In Kansas City

Finally, Kansas Citians can say they know what having a winning sports team is like.
Credit John Spertus / KCUR

It's been 29 years, so we almost forgot what it felt like, but on Wednesday Kansas Citians around the globe had a sweet sip of victory after sweeping the Baltimore Orioles to take the ALCS Championship.

We still have to prove we're the world's best — but for the time being, the sound of success is all you can hear in Kansas City.

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11:21 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Listen To The Staff At WYPR In Baltimore Congratulate The Royals

Kansas City Royals player Lorenzo Cain takes a swing as teammate Eric Hosmer stands on deck.
Credit John Spertus / for KCUR

Last week, the NPR station in Baltimore, WYPR, made a wager with us over the ALCS Championship: If the Orioles take the pennant, the staff at KCUR must produce a radio spot of at least 30 seconds congratulating their team and if we win, they will produce a spot congratulating the Royals.

Well, we all know who came out on top.

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11:44 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Baltimore NPR Station Makes Wager With KCUR Over ALCS Championship

Call it a public radio-baseball throwdown.

Last week our reporter Cody Newill wrote a piece comparing our city to Baltimore, in an attempt to playfully compare the two cities with teams playing for the ALCS Championship.

Well, before long the staff at Baltimore's public radio station WYPR got wind of the article and responded with their own comparison. But they didn't stop there.

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12:42 pm
Sat October 11, 2014

LISTEN: How Kansas City Barbecue Became Famous, Explained In 90 Seconds

Gate's Bar-B-Q is famous in Kansas City for their iconic welcome: 'Hi! May I Help You?'
Credit Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

Kansas City barbecue — we know you've heard of it.

The president eats it when he visits, and Anthony Bourdain said Kansas City barbecue is the best in the world.

But how did it all get started? And who made Kansas City barbecue famous?

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Central Standard
12:21 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Food Critics: The 'Nuttiest' Dishes In Kansas City

Black walnut pie was among the most talked about nutty dishes available in the Kansas City metro.
Credit Mindmatrix / Wikimedia-CC

Nuts — they are in so many dishes, but they are hardly ever the star of the show. Without them so many of our favorite dishes would fall flat, but when we talk about food they rarely get their due recognition.

This week, Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch give nuts their moment in the spotlight and pick out the 'nuttiest' dishes available in and around the Kansas City area.

Here are the Critics' favorite 'nutty' dishes:

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9:25 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Man With Weapon Fatally Shot By KCPD Officer

A Kansas City police offer fatally shot a man late Wednesday after the man allegedly threatened the officer with a sword-like object. He died at the scene.

KCPD responded to an outside disturbance shortly before midnight on the 4200 block of 57th Terrace in Kansas City, North.

The Kansas City Star reports the man did not respond to officer's commands and became confrontational.

2:51 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

PHOTOS: Remembering The Beatles Concert In Kansas City 50 Years Ago

The Beatles played a show in Kansas City in 1964 after Charlie O Finley paid them $150,000, around $100,000 more than cities that were on the original tour schedule.
Dave E. Dexter, Jr. Collection LaBudde Special Collections Department - UMKC

Fifty years ago Wednesday, The Beatles played a concert at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The concert was not originally part of the band's first cross-country U.S. tour, but business man and owner of the Kansas City Athletics baseball team, Charlie O. Finley, managed to bring them to Kansas City.

Finley flew to San Francisco to talk to the band's manager, Brian Epstein, and offered $50,000 to bring The Beatles to Kansas City. They finally agreed on $150,000, and the Fab Four flew into Kansas City to play a show on one of their only days off from the tour.

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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

Precincts reporting: 3,487 of 3,487

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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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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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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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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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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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4:21 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Kansas City Woman's Project On Beauty Standards Goes Viral

Esther Honig

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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