Frank Morris

National Correspondent and Senior Editor

Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.

Morris grew up in rural Kansas listening to KHCC, spun records at KJHK throughout college at the University of Kansas, and cut his teeth in journalism as an intern for Kansas Public Radio, in the Kansas statehouse.

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Harvest Public Media
5:15 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

From Flush To Fertilizer: City Farms Recycle Waste

Birmingham Farm, owned by the city of Kansas City, Mo., uses treated human waste as fertilizer.
Jeremy Bernfeld Harvest Public Media

While most Americans don’t farm, they do contribute to agriculture by buying food at stores and restaurants. And about half of us make an additional donation in the form of fertilizer. With spring at hand, farmers are getting ready for planting. That means enriching the soil and that may just involve you.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Cities Turn Sewage Into 'Black Gold' For Local Farms

Thick jets of processed sewage arc out 30 to 40 feet from giant moving spreaders at Birmingham Farm in Kansas City, Mo.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:07 am

On a normal day, Kansas City, Mo., processes more than 70 million gallons of raw sewage. This sewage used to be a nuisance, but Kansas City, and a lot of municipalities around the country, are now turning it into a resource for city farmers hard up for fertilizer.

After the sewage has been processed at a treatment plant, it's piped out to Birmingham Farm on the north side of the Missouri River.

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People
4:42 pm
Sun April 7, 2013

After Years Of Struggle, Veteran Chooses To End His Life

Tomas Young was paralyzed from the chest down during his deployment to Iraq. Since then, his health has only deteriorated. He has decided to refuse care and end his life, and his wife, Claudia Cuellar, says she respects his wishes.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:19 am

After a dozen years at war, an estimated 2 million active-duty service members will have returned home by the end of 2013. Some reintegrate without much struggle, but for others it's not so easy. The psychological wounds of war can sometimes prove to be just as fatal as the physical ones.

For injured veterans such as Tomas Young, life is a daily struggle. But this Iraq War veteran, who says his physical and emotional pain is unbearable, has decided to end his life.

At War

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Government
8:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Signs Off With 'Last Letter'

Tomas Young and Claudy Cuellar at home
Frank Morris KCUR

listen

Nearly two million active duty U.S. servicemen and women are due back home by the end of this year. Many have struggled to reintegrate, but few more profoundly, or more publicly, than Tomas Young of Kansas City.   Young now says he’s ready to take his own life, but not before making one more stand against the war that wrecked his body. 

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People
11:23 am
Sun March 24, 2013

Legendary Broadcaster Walt Bodine Dies At 92

Longtime journalist, author and talk show host Walt Bodine died early Sunday morning. He was 92.

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Cops & Crime
2:28 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

'Anti-Smurfing' Campaign Targets Meth Cook Suppliers

Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County Prosecutor, shows off a new anti-smurfing poster.
Frank Morris KCUR

Missouri holds the dubious distinction of being #1 in domestic methamphetamine production. State Attorney General Chris Koster and Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County Prosecutor, unveiled an effort to curb meth by shaming people who help drug producers get around limits on pseudoephedrine sales.  

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Agriculture
3:42 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Drought-Stricken Plains Farmers 'Giddy' Over Heavy Snow

Kirk Sours says heavy snow creates extra work on his ranch, but he's thrilled that the pending melt will bring his otherwise dry pastures much-needed moisture.
Frank Morris/KCUR

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:34 pm

Two rapid-fire snowstorms belted Kansas with more than 2 feet of snow this week. They caused thousands of accidents and all kinds of hardships — but they also produced very broad smiles from some quarters.

That's because in a place as dry as Kansas has been lately, a blizzard can be a blessing for farmers and ranchers.

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Around the Nation
4:42 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Major Storm Blankets Plains States

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:09 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

A lot of kids have the day off from school today, thanks to a huge winter storm in the Midwest. A foot of snow fell on Kansas City, one of the worst storms in the city's history. That city declared a state of emergency, as did several others in the region. Frank Morris, of member station KCUR, reports.

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Winter Storm
6:56 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Snow Snarls Traffic, More Snow Expected

A stalled car gets a push along Troost Avenue.
Frank Morris KCUR

It was a bad day to try to get around in Kansas City. KCI essentially closed at mid-morning with about 300 flights cancelled. Although flights are expected to resume later tonight, more cancellations are all but certain tomorrow morning. Driving was terrible, too.

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Fire
8:09 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Plaza Explosion Timeline Raises Questions

James cautions not to assign blame in Plaza blast before all the facts are in.
Frank Morris KCUR

The investigation into the blast and fire that rocked the Country Club Plaza and destroyed JJ’s Restaurant has entered a new phase.  

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Fire
2:46 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Blame Elusive In Plaza Blast

KC Mayor Sly James and Fire Chief Paul Berardi. 'Today is about people, not blame.'
Frank Morris KCUR

Workers using heavy equipment to install fiber-optic cable hit a gas main hours before the blast.   According to the Kansas City Business Journal, gas company workers showed up about 20 minutes later.

They were still on site later when firefighters responded to the leak, about 45 minutes before the explosion. 

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Fire
7:05 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Fire Hits Plaza Business

TV-9 cameras capture a Kansas City fire truck silhouetted by the intense flames that destroyed a building near the Country Club Plaza
KMBC, TV-9 News

A fire caused by an apparent gas explosion near JJ's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza has sent at least 14 people to area hospitals with injuries, some of them critical. The fire started around 6:00 Tuesday evening.  

Update 7:07 PM.  Residents from a nearby apartment building were evacuated.  Some are reporting that there was a strong smell of gas earlier in the afternoon. One resident of the nearby building also told reporters someone was operating a backhoe in the area earlier in the afternoon. 

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Books
4:52 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Evan S. Connell On 'Mr. and Mrs. Bridge'

  Kansas City native Evan S. Connell died Thursday at the age of 88. His fiction and non-fiction works were wide-ranging, but he was probably best known locally for his two novels, "Mrs. Bridge" and "Mr. Bridge," about a fictional well-to-do Kansas City family.

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Government
2:17 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

McCaskill Hopes For Compromise On 'Fiscal Cliff'

Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, says that falling over the so-called fiscal cliff, the deep program cuts, and big tax increases set to hit January 1st wouldn’t be as dramatic as some people imagine.

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Government
5:42 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Blunt, McCaskill Take Opposing Views On Senate Rule Changes

The U.S. Capitol.
wikimedia commons

Averting big, abrupt tax increases and spending cuts isn’t the only issue pressing in Washington this week.

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Government
4:55 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Rep. Cleaver On 'Plan B' And The Fiscal Cliff

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote Thursday on a proposal advanced by Speaker John Boehner to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

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America's Big Beef
7:42 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Beef Checkoff Feud Exposes Divide Within Cattle Industry

Allen Berry co-owns a cow-calf operation with his wife near Trenton, Mo. Like all other cow-calf operators, Berry pays into a fund that benefits the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board for each animal sold.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

When Allen Berry brought his 11 yearlings to the Green City Livestock Market in central Missouri last month, he paid into a fund that at first blush, seems a bargain.

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America's Big Beef
5:12 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Judging A Cow By More Than Its Cover

Owner Rhett Lowderman and his team gather around his prize-winning Hereford, LCC Patton Kiwi 116 ET, which won the Reserve Grand and Champion Intermediate Female Award at the American Royal.
Frank Morris Harvest Public Media

Backstage behind the cattle pens at the giant livestock show at the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo., “cow fitter” Maddee Moore was awash in glamour goods.

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Election 2012
7:16 am
Wed November 7, 2012

McCaskill Beats Akin In Race That Was Not Even Close

Senator Claire McCaskill's victory speech last night in St. Louis.
Frank Morris KCUR

Senator Claire McCaskill did something few thought possible last night - she won a decisive re-election victory over Representative Todd Akin in one of the most closely watched Congressional races in the country.

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Election 2012
5:43 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Battle Comes To An End In US Senate Race

Suburban Missouri has been a battleground in the U.S. Senate race. KCUR’s Frank Morris was in Chesterfield, outside St. Louis, with the Akin campaign, before he conceded to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

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Business & Tech
9:42 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Sprint CEO, Employees Positive About Softbank Deal

Financial "work in progress" is underway at the Overland Park, KS. wireless giant.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

If regulators and shareholders approve the deal, Japanese company SoftBank will buy a 70% share in Overland Park-based Sprint Nextel. 

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Business & Tech
4:08 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

KCP&L's Big Battery Aims To Help Spark Midtown Resurgence

1 Megawatt Battery in the SmartGrid Innovation Park

KCP&L’s new “Smartgrid Innovation Park” is parked between the back wall of a pretty downtrodden, urban core grocery store, and an old humming electric substation. 

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Business & Tech
10:04 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Sprint Nextel Confirms Acquisition Talks

Overland Park-based Sprint Nextel has confirmed that Softbank Corp., which owns a large mobile carrier in Japan, is in talks to purchase a commanding stake in Sprint.

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Election 2012
4:28 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Akin Defends 'Unladylike' Comment

Rep. Todd Akin defended his characterization of his opponent as "unladylike."
Frank Morris KCUR

Representative Todd Akin, the Republican challenging Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill in this election, was on the defensive again today in Kansas City.

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Around the Nation
4:26 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Despite Record Drought, Farmers Expect Banner Year

With far less than half of their normal corn yield, the Ulrich brothers are relying in part on government-subsidized crop insurance to keep their farm afloat.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:39 am

After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.

In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Election 2012
6:33 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Republican Support Returns For Akin

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin faces incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in the November election.

Political endorsements and the promise of PAC dollars have come streaming back to Representative Todd Akin, who’s challenging incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill for the U.S. Senate seat in Missouri. 

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My Farm Roots
12:11 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Grateful To Be Home

Rose Alderson and her husband Loren have farmed outside of Nickerson, Kan., for decades.
Frank Morris Harvest Public Media

Rose Alderson is a bright-eyed, energetic grandmother who loves her home a few miles outside of Nickerson, Kan.

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Business & Tech
9:50 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Kansas City Touted As 'The Place' For Startups

Kansas City Mayor Sly James welcomes startups.
Courtesy Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City’s civic and business leaders are mounting a push to spawn high-tech companies here.

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Cops & Crime
6:53 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Bishop Robert Finn: Guilty On One Count

Protesters gathered at the Jackson County Court House on Thursday. David Biersmith holds a quote attributed to Bishop Robert Finn who faced trial.
Frank Morris KCUR

A Jackson County judge today found Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph guilty of failing to report suspected child abuse.   It’s the first time such a high-ranking Catholic Church official has been convicted on a criminal charge.

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Cops & Crime
1:01 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Verdict Expected In Bishop Finn Case

David Clohessy with SNAP, conferring with David Biersmith from Voice of the Faithful, outside the courthouse on Thursday.
Frank Morris KCUR

UPDATE at 3:30 pm: Bishop Robert Finn: Guilty on one of two counts. 

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