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. 


3:08 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Kansas City School Closings For Monday, March 3

Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

  Updated 7:19 p.m.

Snowy, winter weather made another visit to the Kansas City area over the weekend, bringing multiple inches of snow and subzero temperatures to the region. 

Snow packed roads, ice and continuing temperatures below freezing prompted many area schools to cancel or delay classes for Monday. The list below will be updated as closures and cancelations come in.

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8:38 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Tell KCUR: Where Were You During the JJ's Explosion?

Credit KCUR

This week will mark the one-year anniversary of the explosion at JJ's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.

As we look back, we want to know your memories of those tragic hours and days, and what has stayed with you.

Tell KCUR: Where were you when the explosion occurred? What about the tragedy sticks with you?

Whether you were a regular at JJ's or had never been, we want to know your thoughts as we remember the disaster that happened the night of Feb. 19, 2013.

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Olympic Dreams
9:04 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Olympic Dreams In Kansas City: Figure Skating And Ice Dancing

Kansas City has multiple places to get started in figure skating.
Credit supersum / Flickr--CC

Figure skating and ice dancing are the two Winter Olympic sports that combine sport with art. The choreographed performances show not only elite skill and athleticism, but also artistry and emotion. 

Practiced inside on a standard sized rink, figure skating is a sport that is easily practiced in the Kansas City area.

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1:04 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

And, Another One: Kansas City School Closings For Thursday

Some Kansas City area schools canceled classes for a third consecutive day.
Credit Heather Prewitt

Updated: Wednesday, 7:49 p.m.

Here we go again. Some school districts across the Kansas City metro are calling for another snow day Thursday as a result of snow, ice and bitterly cold temperatures.

The following schools have canceled or delayed classes for Thursday, Feb. 6:

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11:02 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Check Out This Kansas Citian's Awesome Snow Storm Video

A still from filmmaker Lasaro Abalos' snow video shows a Kansas City fountain during Tuesday's snow storm.
Credit Lasaro Abalos

During the snow storm that swept across the Kansas City metro Tuesday, KMBC cameraman Lasaro Abalos was on assignment to gather shots of the snow. While he was out gathering shots for television, Abalos decided to make something a little different and slower as a side project.

"I have a 4 and 6-year-old and I never get a chance to enjoy the snow fall  with them because I'm always covering it for news," Abalos wrote in an email. "Seeing the excitement in my kids eyes when it snows made me see the beauty of a snowfall."

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1:15 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

PHOTOS: What Your Snow Day In Kansas City Looks Like

Reporter Peggy Lowe's dog, Harley, loves snow days too.
Peggy Lowe KCUR

Heavy snow blanketed the Kansas City metro Tuesday, bringing a snow day for most students and a holiday (or work-from-home day) for many adults.

We rounded up photos in the slideshow above from KCUR employees for a glimpse of what is going on across the metro.

We also compiled photos from social media users in the region, you can see their photos below:

12:09 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Kansas City School Closings For Wednesday

Around 5 inches of snow had accumulated in south Kansas City by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Updated: Tuesday, 9:34 p.m.

A winter storm moved across the Kansas City metro Tuesday bringing heavy snow to the region. Forecasters expect snow to stop falling by early Wednesday, but the amount of snow will close some schools for the second consecutive day.

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2:57 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

MoDOT Urges People To Stay Off Roads And Highways Tuesday

A winter storm that is expected to move across the Kansas City metro area Tuesday has prompted the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDot) to urge people to stay home, if possible.

"This storm is forecast to shape up much like the heavy snow we faced nearly a year ago," said MoDOT engineer Dan Niec, in a release Monday.

Niec said in February 2013 many employers sent workers home midday after they realized how heavy the snow was falling, clogging highways and interstates and bringing snow removal efforts to a standstill.

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2:42 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Kansas City Area School Closings On Tuesday

Credit KCUR

Updated: Tuesday, 7:18 a.m.

A storm is expected to move across the Kansas City area Tuesday bringing moderate to heavy snowfall.

A winter storm warning has been issued for 6 a.m. Tuesday until at least 9 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters expect 6-10 inches of snow, with the heaviest accumulations across the Kansas City metro and the northern part of Missouri.

Due to the severe weather, the following schools have canceled classes:

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11:14 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Hands Up, Missouri! The High-Five May Soon Be The Official State Greeting

A new bill in the House could designate the high-five as the official greeting in the state of Missouri.
Credit Hello Turkey Toe / Flickr--CC

A freshman state representative from the St. Louis area has introduced a bill in the House that would make the high-five the official greeting in the state of Missouri.

Democratic Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, of Berkeley, introduced House Bill 1624 earlier this week.

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Missouri Statehouse
1:32 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

New Website Tracks The Life Of Bills In Missouri Legislature

This screen grab shows the homepage of
Credit Saint Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

A new website unveiled Tuesday will track the life of some bills introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate during the 2014 legislative session., created by Saint Louis Public Radio and the Beacon, will track bills in five categories: health; elections and ethics; guns; education; jobs; and the economy. There is a sixth category that will track bills that have seen recent action.

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KCI Airport
12:57 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Southwest Airlines Announces Nonstop Service To D.C.

Southwest Airlines announced Tuesday that it would begin nonstop service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., beginning Feb. 1.

Southwest received authority to serve the route after filing a petition with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The request was backed by the Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

In a release from the Kansas City Aviation Department, James said the announcement solidifies Kansas City's reputation as a top-tier, centrally located travel destination.

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9:51 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Legendary Kansas City Radio Man Dan Verbeck To Retire

Dan Verbeck (right) with KCUR news director, Frank Morris.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Veteran Kansas City radio newsman, Dan Verbeck announced his retirement Monday. Verbeck has been a reporter in the Kansas City region for 40 years. Since 2008, Verbeck has served as a general assignment reporter at KCUR.

Previously, Verbeck worked at KMBZ 980 AM for 23 years, where he was well known for his signature signoff: "Cruiser 980 ... clear."

"I have always admired Dan as a hard-boiled radio newsman who has a poetic and empathetic approach to the people in his stories," said KCUR News Director, Frank Morris.

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Missouri Statehouse
3:36 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

LIVE BLOG: Missouri State Of The State 2014

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver his sixth State of the State address Tuesday.
Credit Courtesy /

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered his sixth State of the State address Tuesday evening at the Statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo. He presented his proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and called for an increase of $278 million to K-12 schools and a freeze on undergraduate tuition. 

His speech was followed by the Republican response, delivered by House speaker Tim Jones of Eureka.

Saint Louis Public Radio and the Beacon live-blogged the speech. You can follow along below.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:20 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Missouri House Speaker Urging Medical Malpractice Caps

The Speaker of the Missouri House is pushing lawmakers to restore caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Missouri law created a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. But that cap was tossed out in 2012 by the Missouri Supreme Court.

House Speaker Tim Jones says without the cap, millions of dollars could be shifted from patient care to legal defense costs.

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7:45 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

READ: Gov. Brownback Delivers 2014 Kansas State Of The State Address

Credit state of Kansas

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback delivered his 2014 State of the State address Wednesday night at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. He called on the state to institute all-day kindergarten and allocate funds to address the housing shortage in rural areas and to focus on water needs in the state.

You can read the full text of Gov. Brownback's address here:

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11:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

KCPT's 'The Bridge' Brings More Local Music To Kansas City Airwaves

Credit 90.9 The Bridge

A new Kansas City noncommercial radio station that features local music officially launched this week.

Kansas City's public television station, KCPT, bought KTGB "The Bridge" last May, and ownership was officially transferred last month.

After KCPT's purchase, studios for The Bridge were moved to the KCPT headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Previously, they were housed in Warrensburg, Mo., where the station was owned and operated by the University of Central Missouri.

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9:29 am
Fri January 3, 2014

R. Crosby Kemper Jr. Dies At 86

Kemper Jr. displayed a lifelong passion for the arts.
Credit Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kansas City banker and philanthropist, R. Crosby Kemper Jr. has died at the age of 86.

Kemper was best known for leading Kansas City-based UMB Financial Corp. He died Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif.

His son R. Crosby Kemper III says he was there enjoying the great weather over the holidays.

Kemper Jr. was born in Kansas City on Feb. 22, 1927 to R. Crosby Kemper Sr. and Enid Jackson Kemper. He worked in banking for more than 50 years, starting at his father's City National Bank as a night transit clerk and eventually becoming president in 1959.

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10:20 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Remembering Kansas Mariachi Pioneer, Teresa Cuevas

Teresa Cuevas plays her violin in a 2008 photo.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Mariachi musician and founder of a groundbreaking all-female mariachi band, Teresa Cuevas, died late last year at the age of 93.

Cuevas founded Mariachi Estrella with seven other women from her church choir in 1980. They became a regional phenomenon, trading the mariachis' traditional black pants for long maroon shirts. The band played shows all over Kansas.

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11:17 am
Tue December 31, 2013's Most-Viewed Stories From 2013

In 2013, Kansas' Flint Hills were considered one of the top iconic drives in the United States by Smarter Travel.
Credit Edwin Olson / Flickr--CC

The Maryville rape case story, originally reported by KCUR in July, topped our most-viewed web content list by a landslide this year. The case garnered national attention this fall after the Kansas City Star's story was picked up by the aggregator news site, Gawker. Also near the top was the merger between Chinese company, SoftBank Corp., and Kansas City's own Sprint Corp. 

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Business & Tech
2:52 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Brace Yourself For A Faster Sprint In 2014, CEO Says

Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint Corp.
Credit John Taylor / Wikimedia-CC

Sprint Corp. CEO Dan Hesse won't confirm reports that his company may one day merge with wireless carrier T-Mobile, but he did have lots to say about Sprint's future in an interview with Marketplace host David Brancaccio.

Hesse told Brancaccio 2013 was a year of rebuilding, and that he thinks Sprint customers will consider worth it when those efforts are completed in 2014.

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Business & Tech
9:50 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Kansas On Bloomberg's List Of Most Innovative States

Kansas, in all its prairie glory, ranks among Bloomberg's most innovative states.
Credit Roy Montgomery / Flickr--CC

Kansas is among the most innovative states in the nation, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The state came in 18th out of 20.

States were ranked on the number of STEM professionals in the state, science and technology degree holders, percentage of utility patents and a three-year analysis of productivity change, among other things. 

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12:49 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Last Part Of KanCare Overhaul Delayed, Again

Kansas will not be allowed to move forward with the plan to move long-term services for the state's intellectually and developmentally disabled to the KanCare program.

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3:12 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Winter Storm Expected To Bring Ice, Snow To Kansas City Metro

Winter weather is expected to move across the Kansas City area this weekend, likely bringing freezing rain, snow and ice.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Kansas City metro. Ice accumulations on Saturday are expected to be less than an inch, Saturday night could see up to eight inches of snow.

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2:59 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Kansas City Announces $100K For Art At Streetcar Stops

This streetcar stop in Portland, Ore. features public art.
Credit brx0 / Flickr--CC

The city of Kansas City, Mo., will commission $100,000 of public art for the first phase of the streetcar line, and has announced a request for proposals. 

In a release Friday, the city said it is looking for professional artists or artist-led teams to create proposals for art projects to be displayed at selected streetcar stops. The release says while all proposals will be considered, the city is looking for ideas that integrate the artwork into the infrastructure of the stops.

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9:29 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Remembering The Kansas Citians We Lost In 2013

Longtime Kansas City journalist and KCUR talk show host, Walt Bodine, died this year at the age of 92.
Credit KCUR

As 2013 comes to a close, we remember some of the local public figures who died this year. This list is by no means exhaustive, but recognizes some of the most prominent people who were lost in the philanthropic, arts and media communities of the Kansas City region.

As always, share your comments (or additions to the list) below.

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Cops & Crime
1:31 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Man Arrested In Plot To Bomb Wichita Airport

An employee of the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kan., has been arrested in what Kansas U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said was a plan to bomb the airport.

Terry Lee Loewen was identified as an alleged plotter earlier this year, according to the FBI special agent-in-charge at the Kansas City regional office, Michael Kaske.

Authorities say 58-year-old Loewen thought he was driving a car with a bomb onto airport tarmac when arrested Friday. No one was injured.

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9:26 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Winter Weather Closes Schools And Cancels Activities

Updated 3:04 p.m.

Rain is expected to continue this afternoon with snow tonight and overnight, according to an update from the National Weather Service.

In the latest report, NWS forecasters say: "Light snow accumulations will be possible with a dusting to 3" in the local area. Snow will end by daybreak Saturday, with a chilly day anticipated."

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the metro area through 9 a.m. on Saturday.

School and community closings (Saturday)

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10:52 am
Fri December 6, 2013

KCUR Bids Farewell To Long-Time Announcer, Kim Noble

Credit KCUR

After 19-years of working the airwaves for KCUR, announcer Kim Noble has decided to leave the station to devote more time to civic interests. She also plans to carve out time for the occasional sunny, warm, tropical beach.

Noble started working at KCUR part-time on weekends, that position turned into a full-time announcing gig as the station’s midday host.

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1:58 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Missouri Has The Happiest Cities, According To Instagram

St. Louis and Kansas City topped a list of the 20 happiest cities in the United States, based off of an analysis of Instagram photos.
Credit KCUR

Missouri's two largest cities sit at the top of a list of the 20 happiest cities in the U.S., compiled by startup company, Jetpac.

St. Louis came in as the happiest city, based off of an analysis of images from social media site Instagram. Kansas City, Mo., came in at No. 2.

According to Business Insider, Jetpac has been analyzing millions of photos uploaded to Instagram to uncover trends in the United States.

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