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. 

Ways To Connect

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

ryanknapp / Flickr--Creative Commons

You've probably heard by now that our very own Major League Soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, has made it to the MLS championship game, called the MLS Cup. The game will be played against Real  Salt Lake (pronounced ree-AL) at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday afternoon.

Sporting KC last played in a MLS final in 2004, losing to D.C. United. Kansas City, then known as the Wizards, won the MLS Cup in 2000.

Updated, 12:33 p.m.

The city has announced that they expect to be able to reopen City Hall aound 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Until then, police officers will continue to search the building floor by floor to determine if a threat still exists.

The original story starts below:

Multiple news organizations are reporting a bomb threat was called into Kansas City, Mo., City Hall Tuesday morning. KCTV5 reports the call was made to 911 at 8:04 a.m. 

StoryCorps

Since November 2008, the public radio community has been celebrating the day after Thanksgiving as a National Day of Listening.

The holiday is the brain child of StoryCorps founder, Dave Isay, and urges people to take advantage of time with friends and family and record interviews with loved ones.

You don't need to be a radio professional or have a studio to participate, but these tips should help you get started:

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Kansas City has simultaneously achieved the lowest and highest scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index scorecard.

Kansas City, Kan., earned a zero on the scorecard, which ranks city laws, policies, benefits and services that work to positively impact residents in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Briana O'Higgins + staff / KCUR

The word of the year, according to Oxford Dictionaries, is selfie. The company announced the 2013 selection on Monday in a press release.

According to the release, selfie can be tracked to 2002, where it was used in an Australian online forum.

Oxford claims the word's linguistic productivity is already evident by numerous spin-offs, like welfie (workout selfie) and drelfie (drunk selfie).

President Barack Obama is expected to address the nation at 10:45 a.m. 

Streetcar Neighbors / Facebook page

Kansas City, Mo. resident David Johnson on Tuesday posted a video that he believes is the first weld of the city's new streetcar tracks. The video was taken just north of 16th and Main streets in the Crossroads.

The streetcar will eventually run down Main Street from Union Station to the River Market when it is completed, which is expected by mid-2015.

Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, was arrested Sunday in Riverside, Mo. 

Riverside police pulled over a black Audi A8 for going 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. When the officer approached the vehicle he said he could smell marijuana.

A release from the Riverside Police Department says the officer was part of a K-9 unit and a dog was able to lead the officer to a black backpack that contained a substance that looked like marijuana. Along with the substance was the wallet of vehicle owner and Chiefs player, Dwayne Bowe.

St. Louis Public Radio/NPR

In partnership with NPR, St. Louis Public Radio has created a new website to keep track of all the gifts Missouri state lawmakers have been receiving from companies and organizations that have lobbyists at the capitol in Jefferson City. And, the information is searchable and downloadable. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Updated 5:36 a.m.

The ballot issues Tuesday were on the Missouri side of the Kansas City area, including the largest tax increase in Jackson County in more than two decades. Voter turnout was, as expected, light.

The results below are unofficial until certified.

Here are the latest numbers:

Blue Springs, Mo. Parks Sales Tax:
In Blue Springs, voters defeated a permanent half-cent sales tax that would have raised $3 million a year for parks-related projects, including community recreation centers.

Laura Spencer / KCUR-FM

The Kansas City Business Journal reports that Kansas City-based CEO of Boulevard Brewing Co., John

McDonald has sold the majority interest in the company to Belgian brewery Duvel Moortagat.

McDonald started Boulevard in 1989 and brought the company to national acclaim. McDonald told the Kansas City Business journal that he turned 60 this year and needed to figure out what he was going to do with the brewery.

Courtesy / Arabia Steamboat Museum

One hundred fifty-seven years ago Thursday the Arabia, a steamboat traveling the Missouri River westward from St. Louis, sank. The actual event was relatively minor, the only casualty was an mule that was tied to the deck — all 130 passengers were able to make it ashore safely.

U.S. Senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill, announced Friday that Kansas City will receive a $20 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the streetcar project.

In a release, McCaskill said it is fantastic news for families and businesses in Kansas City.

"This streetcar project will encourage housing, construction and business development in the city — and that will mean more jobs across the region," she said.

Folly Theater

KCUR and the Folly Theater will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Cyprus Avenue with a live event at the Folly on Saturday, September 28.

The celebration starts at 7:30 p.m. with a music performance by Sam Baker at 8:00 p.m.

You can find out more about the show and buy tickets at the Folly Theater website.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

AS Roma defeated the MLS All-Star team Wednesday night 3-1 in the MLS All-Star game at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The MLS team included three players from Sporting Kansas City, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. Their opponent from Italy included United States National Team center midfielder Michael Bradley who received high praise during from stadium fans on his announcement onto the field.

USFWS Mountain Prairie / Flickr--Creative Commons

A drive through the Flint Hills in Kansas is one of the 10 iconic U.S. drives, according to Smarter Travel.

Route 177 from Cassoday, Kan. to Manhattan, Kan. runs 87 miles through the last of the rolling tallgrass prairie lands. Along the route are many small towns, including Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove.

Mick Thompson / Where The People

The White House has formally responded to five petitions that request Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. have their non-profit status revoked and that they be federally recognized as a hate group.

Nearly 700,000 people have signed the petitions since December 2012 when they were created.

In a post on the White House website the administration says while they do not maintain a list of hate groups, they agree that the practices of Westboro Baptist are "reprehensible."

Anthony Cramp / Wikimedia--CC

From its inception, Americans have celebrated the Fourth of July with grand fireworks displays.

John Adams envisioned fireworks as part of the festivities before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, and the first commemorative Fourth of July featured a display that began and ended with 13 rockets.

Shareholders in Sprint Nextel Corp. have approved a $21.6 billion sale of 78 percent of the company to Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp.

The vote in Overland Park, Kan. Tuesday comes at the end of months of negotiations that originally included a $25.5 billion offer to buy all of Sprint from Dish Network. Dish Network has since retreated from that offer, but may still pursue shares of Sprint network provider, Clearwire.

KCUR

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidelines Wednesday regarding student transfers between unaccredited and accredited school districts.

Among other things the guidelines urge accredited districts that border those without accreditation to adopt and publish policy on class size and teacher ratios by August 1.

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