Dan Margolies

Health Editor

Dan Margolies is editor in charge of health news at KCUR.  Dan joined KCUR in April 2014. In a long and varied journalism career, he has worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star and Reuters. In a previous life, he was a lawyer. He has also worked as a media insurance underwriter and project development director for a video production firm.

Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long…

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What would Elliot, dear friend of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, say?

When Elliot scattered a trail of Reese’s Pieces for his alien friend in Stephen Spielberg’s classic movie, he probably wasn’t thinking about the candy’s packaging.

But Columbia, Missouri, resident Robert Bratton was.

Bratton bought several boxes of Reese’s Pieces and Whoppers malted milk balls at a Gerbes grocery story in Columbia for $1 apiece.

wp paarz / Flickr — CC

As expected, Missouri has appealed a federal judge’s ruling blocking two abortion restrictions enacted by the Legislature in 2007.

Attorney General Josh Hawley had said he would appeal the preliminary injunction entered by U.S District Judge Howard Sachs last week.

The injunction blocks Missouri’s laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and abortion clinics to be outfitted like ambulatory surgical centers.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

President Donald Trump today named Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to help lead a commission on voter fraud and suppression, a body he has promised to create since taking office nearly four months ago.

Kobach, who has gained national notoriety for his claims of widespread voter fraud, will serve as vice chair alongside Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the commission.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

A federal judge has ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to turn over by Friday documents that he shared with then President-elect Donald Trump in a case challenging Kansas’ voter registration requirements.  

A federal magistrate judge had previously directed Kobach to produce the documents, but Kobach sought review of the order. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Wednesday denied Kobach’s request.

Guttmacher Institute

Along with Texas, Kansas leads the nation when it comes to imposing abortion restrictions not supported by scientific evidence, according to a report by a leading abortion rights organization.

apalapala / Flickr — CC

A challenge to Kansas’ law requiring residents to provide documentary proof of citizenship when registering to vote may proceed to trial, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson denied Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s motion seeking to throw out the challenger’s main claim.

That claim asserts that the law unconstitutionally burdens residents’ right to vote.

Something for Missourians and Kansans to consider when they consider the effects of the measure approved by the House to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act:

Both states are among the 11 with the highest levels of adults under age 65 with pre-existing medical conditions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

Thirty percent of people living in both Kansas and Missouri have a pre-existing condition.

Eric Williams / Kansas City Symphony

Many composers have set the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead to music. Mozart, Berlioz, Brahms and Verdi famously come to mind. Their compositions are considered masterpieces.

But Benjamin Britten’s genius was to juxtapose the austere and solemn Latin of the Requiem liturgy with the visceral and searing poetry of Wilfred Owen, who served in the British Army during World War I and died in France just days before the Armistice was signed.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Planned Parenthood Great Plains plans to move quickly to offer abortion services in Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri, now that a judge has blocked two Missouri abortion restrictions that had prevented it from doing so.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

After securing a court order blocking two Missouri abortion restrictions, Planned Parenthood now wants the licensing process for abortion facilities speeded up – a proposal opposed by the state.

www.mccaskill.senate.gov

President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress are promising to take another vote this week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. But Sen. Claire McCaskill says rural hospitals in the state could be forced to close if the health reform measure is repealed.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Thursday again defended President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, but this time he was met with protesters denouncing his stands on immigration and voter registration.

Dr. Farouk / Flickr — CC

STAT, a national publication that covers health, medicine and science, came out Wednesday with a lengthy story on the medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and it isn’t pretty.

www.16thcircuit.org

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell to the state Supreme Court.

Powell, a Springfield native and Mizzou law grad, will fill a seat on the seven-member court that has been vacant since Judge Richard Teitelman died in November.

At age 46, he will be the youngest member of the Missouri Supreme Court.  

Kansas City lawyers who dealt with Powell, both when he was a prosecutor and a judge, applauded his selection.

Jennifer Morrow / Flickr — CC

This story was updated to include the comments of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and the comments of Planned Parenthood. 

A federal judge has blocked Missouri’s restrictions requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges and abortion clinics to meet the specifications of ambulatory surgical centers.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A federal judge has ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to produce two documents that he flashed during a visit with then President-elect Donald Trump in November. The order comes in a case challenging a state law requiring documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration.

The law signed on Thursday by President Trump allowing states to cut off family-planning funding to Planned Parenthood won’t have an immediate effect on the organization’s affiliates in Missouri and Kansas.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he has secured his first conviction of a non-citizen for voting illegally.

In a news release, Kobach says that Victor David Garcia Bebek, a native of Peru, pleaded guilty last week in Sedgwick County District Court to three misdemeanor charges of voting illegally.

BigStock Images

The Platte County Courthouse, ordinarily a sleepy rural outpost, is abuzz these days with intrigue. 

That's because a leading candidate to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri is the subject of an ethics complaint that questions the propriety of his conduct in a sexual abuse case prosecuted by his office.

A federal judge says he plans to block Missouri’s abortion clinic restrictions in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last June.

In a “Memorandum to Counsel” on Monday, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs said he would grant the preliminary injunction requested by Planned Parenthood, but would give the state additional time to avoid “unintended damage” to standard medical regulations.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday: Local and federal officials have determined the cause of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex Monday and damaged many nearby homes to be accidental. 

"Based on an examination of the scene, interviews of witnesses and other information obtained during the investigation, investigators are confident the fire was caused by the accidental ignition of wooden building material ignited by a welder conducting hot work on the site," said Overland Park Fire Marshall Mark Sweany.

Bigstock

A former general manager of the Hillcrest Country Club in Kansas City has lost his quixotic lawsuit against Time Inc. seeking $12 million in damages for defamation and emotional distress.

A federal judge last week granted summary judgment to Time, ruling that statements made about Terry J. Clark in an article on Time’s GOLF.com website were neither false nor defamatory. U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree also found that Clark had failed to show he had sustained an injury because of the article.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons

Former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says she thinks it will take the state “decades” to recover from the effects of the state’s current financial woes.

In an appearance Friday on KCUR’s Up to Date, Sebelius was asked by host Steve Kraske what she made of the state today.

“Well, it breaks my heart,” Sebelius says, noting that the state’s revenue stream had always been “a carefully balanced dance, with a third coming from property tax, a third coming from sales tax and a third coming from income tax.”

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

In what is certain to shape up as one of its most important decisions in years, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday morning on whether the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights enshrines a right to abortion.

The case is on appeal from the Kansas Court of Appeals, which, in an evenly divided decision last year ruled that the state Constitution recognizes a “fundamental right to abortion.”

kslegislature.org

A Kansas senator who compared Planned Parenthood to Dachau doubled down on his statement and called Planned Parenthood worse than Nazi concentration camps.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, Republican of Leavenworth, told KCUR on Monday that he saw nothing wrong with the comparison, which he made in a letter to Planned Parenthood after a woman made a donation to the organization in his name.

Asked if he thought Planned Parenthood was akin to a Nazi concentration camp, he replied, “Worse. Much worse, much worse, much worse."

www.justice.gov

Tammy Dickinson, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is among top federal prosecutors ordered to resign by the Trump administration.

Don Ledford, a spokesman for the office, confirmed that Dickinson was among the 46 U.S. Attorneys who were told to submit their resignations.

Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Larson, a veteran federal prosecutor, will serve in her place until a presidential appointment is confirmed, Ledford said in an email.

Ledford said that Dickinson would not be making any public comments.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

ProPublica and three other journalism websites are teaming up to fact-check the accuracy of responses by members of Congress to constituents’ inquiries about Obamacare and its future.

And the first member of the House or Senate it fact-checked was Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who responded to California resident Meg Godfrey’s query about the health care law with the reasons he supports its repeal, buttressed with various statistics.

BigStock Images

This story was updated at 1:26 p.m. Thursday to include the comments of Michael Barrett, head of the Missouri public defender system.

Last July, Shondel Church was arrested in Kansas City for allegedly stealing a generator and tool box from his stepmother.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

It’s mid-Friday afternoon at Wendell Phillips at Attucks Elementary School and the gym is buzzing. It’s Score 1 for Health day at the school at 24th and Prospect in Kansas City, Missouri, and kids here are getting free health screenings from medical students at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, or KCU.

For these mostly second-year med students, the program offers invaluable hands-on experience. For some, the program is what appealed to them about KCU, an osteopathic medical school near downtown Kansas City.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Bryan Sheppard, who was convicted for the explosion that killed six firefighters in 1988 and was given a life sentence without parole, was resentenced Friday afternoon to 20 years, meaning he will soon be a free man.

As U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. pronounced the sentence in the federal courthouse in downtown Kansas City, family and friends of Sheppard’s began weeping audibly. Sheppard lowered his head.

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