Christina Lieffring

Intern, Central Standard
Christina Leiffring / KCUR

For decades Johnson County has lured people from all over the Metro with its promise of safe neighborhoods and good schools. Some have made sacrifices to make the move, because the cost of living in Johnson County is higher than other parts of the metro area. 

Megan Rojas crossed the border from Wyandotte into Johnson County and is trying to make it work for herself and her children. On a recent visit to her home, her son, Julian, like a typical two-year-old,  has already eaten two bowls of peaches and is still hungry.

“He eats all day,” she says.

He picks out Rice Krispies with milk and Megan tells him he has to eat at the bar in the kitchen.

“That’s one thing that I don’t like is that there isn’t enough space to put a table. So he has to sit at the bar or on the couch,” she says. “I wish we had a table. But living in a two bedroom doesn’t give you much space.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Lake Quivira may be the only gated city that straddles a county line in Kansas.

Most of its 400 homes are in Johnson County but 17 of them are across the line in Wyandotte County. The political boundary between the two cuts through the lake on the northern end.

The clubhouse, golf course, and tennis courts — even the gas station just outside the security booth — are in Wyandotte County.

But during my recent trip to Lake Quivira — I found that if you didn't know which side the homes or amenities were on, it was impossible to tell where you were —WyCo or JoCo.

Wichita State University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

As we continue our long-term exploration of lines that unite and divide our metro, a project we call Beyond our Borders, we’re turning an eye to the border between Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas.

Long noted for their differences (and rivalry), Wyandotte was at one time, at least in part, Johnson County.

The making of a state

Suzanne Opton / The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In the photograph, a young soldier with a downy blond buzz-cut lies perfectly still, face down on the ground. On stage, an ancient Greek warrior goes through the four stages of events that lead to post-traumatic stress.

The arts community is asking big questions about the life of the soldier. What role does art play in public discourse around combat?

Guests: 

Christina Lieffring / KCUR

You’re driving uphill along winding roads in Wyandotte County, Kan.

You turn the corner and see a high chain-link fence surrounding a foreboding house out of a ghost story: it’s a three-story, red-brick, Victorian home with a high tower at the top and carved lions framing the doorway. That's Sauer Castle.

As a child, Patricia Schurkamp of the Wyandotte County Museum would regularly go up the hill to see the house. As an adult, she finally got to see the inside.

Thanksgiving traditions used to be all about turkey and potatoes on Thursday, with Black Friday shopping early the next morning. As stores begin Black Friday sales earlier and earlier, the shopping mayhem has started to intersect with Thanksgiving itself. This year, a number of business have forgone marketing huge sales in order to promote the fact that they're closed, and giving employees the day off.

Guests:

Alexey Ladokhin

Kansas City’s Ukrainian community is small but active, regularly hosting events and get-togethers. Many came during the fallout of the Soviet Union and still have direct ties to their homeland. So for them, this tumultuous year of protest, violence, annexation and war has taken its toll.

Here is a look into the lives of three Kansas City-area Ukrainians and how they manage being so far away from a country and family close to their hearts.

Alexey Ladokhin

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Syria, Liberia and Ukraine are places most Kansas Citians know through news reports. But for immigrants from these countries, headlines aren't the half of it; friends, relatives and even memories remain in places left behind. Sound and stories take us around Kansas City, and around the world, as experts on the transnational experience add perspective. 

A new social media platform that helps people connect with their neighbors has entered into partnerships with Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. Which got us wondering: What happened to a friendly wave across the driveway?

Guests:

The sound of a motorcycle revving its engine signaled trouble back when the Shangri-Las sang "Leader of the Pack," but the biker image has grown more nuanced since then. This conversation explores the evolving reality of motorcycle culture in Kansas City. 

Guests:

In many school districts, immigrant students with low English comprehension aren't always immediately identified as needing ESL (English as a Second Language) courses when they enroll. A new proposal in Kansas City, Missouri would help identify these students earlier so they have access to the assistance they need. We look at this program as well as the latest trends in ESL education. 

Guests:

Who has the power in capitalism? The critics of capitalism say the rich have the upper hand. But author John Hope Bryant thinks the story is more complex than that. He thinks that capitalism works best when it benefits not the few, but the many.

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Kyle Hatley arrived in Kansas City to serve as Assistant Artistic Director for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in April 2008. He drove into town in the midst of a tornado, and he hasn't stopped moving since.

After eight years of tireless immersion in both the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the grassroots theater scene, Hatley has decided it's time to return to Chicago. There, he will join his fiance, actress Emily Peterson. 

University of Kansas

Ethnomusicologist Daniel Atkinson describes Louisiana State Penitentiary (commonly called "Angola") as a “living, breathing plantation.” The land where the prison stands today was converted from plantation to penitentiary after slavery was abolished. 

Christina Lieffring / KCUR

Counties and states all over America host seasonal fairs. Originally, they were organized to share the latest technology in agriculture and genes among livestock. But in an age of instant information are state and county fairs still relevant? On Tuesday's Central Standard, we investigate the modern function of fairs, and talk with some professional livestock judges about their criteria for appraising animals and producing the food of tomorrow.

Guests:

Christina Lieffring / KCUR

People usually associate state and county fairs with Ferris wheels and food on a stick. But in areas that have seen their demographics shift from rural to urban populations, these fairs are now serving a new role of connecting city folk to their country roots.

One way the Wyandotte County Fair, which runs July 22 to 26, does this is through its competitions in arts and crafts, food, agriculture and livestock, run by the local 4-H club.

Citizen Koch is a new documentary that investigates the political influence of Kansas-born billionaires David and Charles Koch. The film has a strong point of view, which has drawn mixed reviews.  On Tuesday's Central Standard, we talked with the directors about how Citizen Koch was made and their approach to documentary filmmaking.

James Hill / Creative Commons, Flickr

    

Languages change. Sometimes slowly and organically, sometimes quickly... and on purpose.

Kazakh President Nursaltan Nazarbayev wants the people of Kazakhstan to use Latin script (rather than Cyrillic) to write in their native language.

Geishaboy500 on Flickr

Music is often connected with emotions, but what about food? Can a cocktail taste like a song? On Thursday's Central Standard, we spoke with two Kansas City bartenders who recently completed a feat of synesthesia - creating original cocktails inspired by songs from local musicians.  The event was called Mixtapes & Mixology.

Google Images - CC

Last month, the city of Kansas City, Mo., opened what they’re calling a 'Dead Letter Office,' which is actually a website where the residents and business owners can petition to repeal out-of-date city regulations.

Assistant City Manager Rick Usher focuses on small businesses and entrepreneurship. He says due to Kansas City’s long history, some of the old rules are still in the books.

“Kansas City you know we’re over 150 years old. The city has weathered every economic, political, social, environmental crisis that has occurred through those times,” Usher said.

CC Wikimedia

Michael Swoyer from the Kansas City Health Department receives a lot of calls from residents with bedbugs.

Unfortunately, he says there's not much the city can do to help them — exterminating bedbugs is a time-consuming and expensive business.

So, Swoyer and the Kansas City Health Department are organizing classes for the general public on how to prevent rats, mice and bedbugs from colonizing in homes – and what people should do if they’re already there.

Ivanhoe is a neighborhood on Kansas City’s east side with a rich history. Though recent decades have brought on hard times, the community, led by spokeswoman Margaret May, has rallied to restore its former glory. Some residents are frustrated by vacant houses on their blocks, while others love the new farmer’s market and point–with a sigh of relief—to reduced crime rates.

Peter Pettus

July 2nd is the 50th anniversary of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. This historic piece of legislation outlawed race based discrimination, enfranchised voter registration rights, and desegregated businesses, public spaces, and schools.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson and Anita Dixon share their unique first hand experiences with the Civil Rights Movement in and around Kansas City, then and now.

CC Public Domain

  

This spring marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a Kansas case that went to the Supreme Court and ultimately ended with the ruling that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In the first half of Tuesday's Central Standard, we shared some little-known stories of the desegregation process from the months and years that followed.

Flickr, .sanden.

The U.S. Patent Office revoked the Washington Redskins’ trademark, which has some Kansas City sports fans concerned about the fate of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year the National Congress of American Indians released a report that included the Chiefs in a list of sports teams they said profited from harmful stereotypes.

Richard Lanoue, President of the Indian Council of Many Nations which is based in Kansas City, doesn’t see it that way. Lanoue says the term “redskins” is racially disparaging but "chief" is different.

Will Taylor / Flickr, Creative Commons

It's one of life's great inevitables, and we don't mean taxes.

Death Cafes, where people get together to hang out and talk about death and dying, have started popping up in cities worldwide. Locally, we have two Death Cafes: one in St. Joseph, Mo. and another in Kansas City, Mo. 

Christina Lieffring

For Bill Brown, the “father” of high altitude ballooning, it all started when he saw a documentary of a man who parachuted from 100,000 feet above ground.

“The description he gave of being able to see for hundreds of miles in all directions and see the blackness of space and the curve of the earth … I wanted to see that for myself,” he said. “Some people strapped a bunch of balloons to a lawn chair, but that seemed a little risky, so I decided to come up with a camera and a small video camera to put up in a small weather balloon.”

Kaufman Foundation / https://flic.kr/p/9Xno7i

If you make your product with a 3-D printer, is it still a craft? On Monday's Central Standard, we sit down with local participants of Kansas City's Maker Faire (coming up June 28 and 29) and a Professor of Art to tinker with our concept of what it means to "craft."

Guests:

Gina Kaufmann, KCUR

On Thursday's Central Standard, we looked back at the history of intervention in mental health crises, going all the way back to the 19th century. 

The Glore Psychiatric Museum (formerly known as State Lunatic Asylum #2) captures both the treatments of the past and the controversies they sparked. Treatments in mental health hospitals once ranged from a "bath of surprise," which disrupted thought-patterns by dropping the patient into a shockingly cold bath, to lobotomies and fever cabinets.

This weekend, 'near space explorers' will be gathering  in Hutchinson, Kan. for the annual Great Plains Super Launch.  They are hobbyists who launch weather balloons and track their progress using GPS or HAM radio.

On Thursday's Central Standard, we talk with participant John Flaig who uses these balloons to take dramatic photographs from the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

Guest:

John Flaig, near space photographer

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