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

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3 / File

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.

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

(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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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

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.

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:

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.

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