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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Kansas City, Mo. – The Pew Center for the States finds that state pension funds have promised retirees $1 trillion more than they have on hand to pay. Missouri's pension system is in relatively sound shape, but the one in Kansas is among the most troubled in the nation.

Kansas City, Mo. – A federal judge in Kansas City has sentenced three men for selling fraudulent credentials they claimed would make people immune to the requirements of citizenship.

The men are involved in the "sovereign citizens movement", an ultra-right wing outfit that rejects most federal government authority.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, Mo. –

Luke Ulrich, who grows corn and soybeans south of Lawrence, is thinking about spring. It's time to buy seed again, but hundreds of seed companies have gone under in the last two decades.

Kansas City, MO – The President of the Kansas City Wizards soccer team says work will start next week on a new stadium near the NASCAR track in Wyandotte County. That's bad news for Kansas City officials, who had, until recently, still hoped to lure the project back to the old Banister Mall area.

photo courtesy of <a href=\"http://www.kmbc.com/index.html\">KMBC TV Channel 9</a>

Kansas City, MO – Mayor Funkhouser dismissed the city manager Thursday afternoon, and asked him to leave the City Hall immediately. Six Kansas City council members supporting Wayne Cauthen said they were shocked today when they were notified that they'd be voting on his termination at today's council session. Councilman Ed Ford characterized it as a lack of respect.

MR FORD : "Government by ambush, is not the appropriate way for us to make what is probably the most important decision we make, which is the hiring and firing of a city manager."

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – For the last couple of years, feed prices have been so high that US farmers lost money on almost every pig they raised. China was one of the bright spots for US producers, their third largest, and fastest-growing export market. But H1N1 put a stop to that. Chinese officials said they were worried about catching "SWINE" flu from eating US pork, even though you can't. It was just cover, according to Ron Plain an agricultural economics professor at the University of Missouri.

Kansas City, MO – EBay has pulled the plug on an auction planned to raise money for the man accused of murdering Dr. George Tiller in Wichita.

A group of virulent anti-abortion activists had planned to auction artifacts of their movement to generate money for Scott Roeder.

Witnesses say Roeder shot and killed Gorge Tiller last spring.

Tiller had performed thousands of late term abortions.

Kansas City, MO – Union workers at the Ford Claycomo Assembly Plant have soundly rejected contract change concessions and the Sunday vote has national implications.

According to UAW local 249 officials, eight percent of rank and file voted in favor of concessions, soundly rejecting company proposals.

Ford wanted the changes to cut labor costs to put them on par with Chrysler and General Motors.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – People from the city, neighborhood associations and the federal government officially broke ground on a new bus rapid transit corridor along Troost Avenue yesterday.

It's an almost 31 million dollar project, with four out of five of those dollars coming from Washington.

The MAX will run deluxe buses, three of them hybrid electric models, from South East Kansas City through downtown.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – First thing Saturday morning at the big truck stop out in Oak Grove, Missouri the restaurant is not quite half full of truckers.
Jones: My name is Dee Jones. Dee is a nick name that I've gone by for 66 years, and I'm known nationwide by it.

Like many of the other guys Dee Jones is here killing time, and making calls, looking for work.

Kansas City, MO – Republican lawmakers are criticizing an Obama administration plan to move suspects held at Guantanamo Bay to a combination prison and court house facility. Administration officials are reportedly looking closely at two sites, one in Michigan, the other in Kansas. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

Kansas City, MO – Trucking companies are posting big losses as the recession drags on. One of the largest, YRC Worldwide, lost more than 300 million dollars in the second quarter, and may be headed for bankruptcy. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

The amount of stuff shipped by truck, as measured in tons, fell off steeply last year, and hasn't come back. It was down more than 13% in June. That makes for a lot of idled or under filled semis and steep losses for trucking companies.

Kansas City – In this recession pre-paid, the low end of the mobile phone market, is hot. Sprint established itself as a price leader in that segment early this year, coming out with its Boost, 50 dollar a month, unlimited voice plan. Virgin Mobile matched that. Now with Sprint taking over Virgin, the Overland Park based company will gain more than 5 million customers . But analyst Christopher King doesn't see a lot in the deal for Sprint, beyond that.

Kansas City, MO – Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing Dr. George Tiller in Wichita two months ago may enter a plea in court today. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

Tiller was one of the few doctors in the country who provided abortions in the last months of pregnancy, and a long-time target of abortion foes.

photo courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Kansas City, MO – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, for a town hall-style meeting. The discussion airs in three parts beginning Monday on PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Inside the Federal Reserve bank of Kansas City, Bernanke sat down to chat with Lehrer, and some local residents that his show had chosen. Bernanke was asked about Rep. Ron Paul's (R-TX) bill to require the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to review Fed monetary policy.

Kansas City, MO – Food, Inc., a documentary film about the modern agricultural industry, is a hit with big-city movie reviewers, small-scale organic farmers and vegetarians. Full of disturbing scenes depicting chickens, hogs and cattle being crowded into confined areas, the movie argues that large-scale agriculture produces inexpensive meat and vegetables at a high cost to the environment - as well as Americans' health.

Kansas City – Administrator Lisa Jackson's trip to Kansas City is mainly promotional, meant to encourage citizens to take more individual responsibility for cleaning up the environment. But, there the agency is taking a close look at the Kansas City area both as a place with problems to be solved, and as one that could stand as a national model.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – The original VORTEX experiment in the mid-1990s inspired the movie "Twister," in which scientists pursued tornadoes past flying tractors and right through an intact, rolling, farm house. KCUR's Frank Morris reports that the actual roving experiment hasn't been QUITE that kind of a white knuckle ride, but, a lot more important. Because cracking some of the basic mysteries about the wildest storms on earth will save lives.

Kansas City, MO – This summer, federal stimulus money will likely fund tens of thousands of projects across the country. Most of them will have very little to do with each other.

But Kansas City, Mo., is trying hard to coordinate its stimulus spending by targeting a particularly violent and blighted part of its urban core -- the part it has dubbed the "Green Impact Zone of Missouri."

View From A Porch

Kansas City, MO – This summer, federal stimulus money will likely fund tens of thousands of projects across the country. Most of them will have very little to do with each other.

But Kansas City, Mo., is trying hard to coordinate its stimulus spending by targeting a particularly violent and blighted part of its urban core -- the part it has dubbed the "Green Impact Zone of Missouri."

View From A Porch

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – This summer, federal stimulus money will likely fund tens of thousands of projects across the country. Most of them will have very little to do with each other.

But Kansas City, Mo., is trying hard to coordinate its stimulus spending by targeting a particularly violent and blighted part of its urban core -- the part it has dubbed the "Green Impact Zone of Missouri."

View From A Porch

Frank Morris

Whiteman AFB, MO – Biden spoke in huge hanger, right in front of a B-2 bomber, one of the most expensive weapons systems ever developed about the need take care of the day to day needs of military personnel.

Biden: The only sacred commitment a nation has, is to prepare those we send, equip them with all they need, and care for whatever their needs are when they come home.

Kansas City, MO – Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat, who represents much of Kansas City, Missouri in the US Congress, says a zone in the middle of the city will become the model for spending federal stimulus money. The "Green Impact Zone" is broadened by Troost Avenue from 39th to 51st streets, and stretches as far east as Swope Parkway. Cleaver calls it "the most innovative and significant development in modern Kansas City history".

Kansas City, MO – It seems logical that banks caught stuck with billions of dollars in worthless assets got into that mess by mistake.

But, that's not how UMKC law and economics professor Bill Black sees it. Black says an administration hostile to regulation allowed mortgage bankers to write "liars loans," and allowed rating agencies and investment bankers to cash in on the charade. Now, he says the Obama appointees are obscuring a giant mess...one riddled on all levels by a single element: fraud.

Kansas City, MO – If there's one thing you don't want to get sloppy with, it's nuclear weapons. But recent mishaps in handling US nukes have set off alarms. In response, the U.S. Air Force is "standing up" a new command to oversee all its ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers. Six communities from Cheyenne to Shreveport, to Knob Noster, Missouri had been clamoring for that mission until yesterday. KCUR'S Frank Morris reports.

Wichita, KS – Nothing says money and power like a business jet. But the industry that makes them is in a tail spin. Small airplane manufacturing is dominated by American firms, many located one mid-sized Midwestern city. KCUR's Frank Morris went there, by car, and brought back this report.

Kansas City, MO – Fort Leavenworth is famous for its prison, but the Army is much more proud of the Command and General Staff College there. They call it the "Intellectual Center of the Army," a kind of grad school for mid-level officers. The college honored one its graduates Thursday, February 26. The ceremony highlights the school's diplomatic role one that may be key to winning the war in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

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