Briana O'Higgins

Digital Director

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. 

Ways to Connect

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Courtesy / KCPT

KCUR and Kansas City public television station KCPT announced a news collaboration on Thursday.

The collaboration is not a merger, the two public media stations said in a statement, but rather a pooling of resources and a commitment to partner on reporting and engagement projects.

The initial focus will be on health and agriculture reporting, along with a Kansas City launch of the Public Insight Network (PIN), a nationwide database that helps connect journalists to sources. 

Photoguyinmo / Flickr-CC

Kansas City made the next cut in the running for the 2016 Republican National Convention, the GOP announced Wednesday.

Denver, Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Cleveland are also still contenders for the convention. Pheonix and Columbus were eliminated.

Shortly after the announcement, Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sly James said the city would have no problem accommodating the expected 40 thousand conventioneers.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

Eds note: This look at the Troost corridor is  part of KCUR's months-long examination of how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City. KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism. 

We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what’s being done to bridge or dissolve them. 

Mudkipz_KGM / Flickr--CC

You may have caught wind of a study conducted about a decade ago claiming the state of Kansas was indeed flatter than a pancake. 

Using the 'flattening ratio,' researchers in the geography departments at the University of Texas and Arizona State University concluded the topography of Kansas was flatter than that of a "well-cooked pancake" from the International House of Pancakes (IHOP)

Janet Rogers / UMKC Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

  The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a $7 million grant Monday to establish its School of Nursing and Health Studies as a national HIV-prevention resource center.

The award comes from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is the largest in the school's history.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Longtime Kansas City journalist Dan Verbeck retires from KCUR Friday.

Verbeck started his broadcast news career more than 40 years ago. He spent most of those years in Kansas City. 

His departure signals the end of an era for radio listeners in the city, who have heard him on KMBZ, KMBR, KCMO and most recently on KCUR.

Dan sat on the other side of the microphone this week to talk about his career, his favorite stories and what he will miss about reporting.

Pop Culture Geek / Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Ok nerds. We know you’re descending on Kansas City this weekend for the epic Planet Comicon conference featuring science fiction celebrities like William Shatner, Sylvester McCoy and almost the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But in between catching glimpses of Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton and the blue Power Ranger, we thought you may want to eat, drink and scope out our fine city.

Here we present you the nerd’s guide to a weekend in Kansas City:

Only 12 families with a total of 23 students applied to be transferred out of the unaccredited Kansas City Public Schools at the district's expense, the Kansas City Star reports.


Gina Kaufmann, a veteran broadcaster and former co-host of The Walt Bodine Show on KCUR, will return to the station as host of the 10 a.m. weekday program, Central Standard.

Earlier this year, KCUR announced the merger of Central Standard and their weekly newsmagazine, KC Currents.

Courtesy / Kauffman Foundation

The Board of Directors of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School announced Monday that Hannah Lofthus will be the next CEO.

Lofthus is the founding principal and chief academic officer of the charter school and will transition into the role of CEO over the next several months.

In a release, board chairman Robert Strom said the promotion puts the strongest and best leader for the school in place while providing continuity of leadership.

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.


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.

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.

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:

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."

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:

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.

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.


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:

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.