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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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 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.

Kansas City, MO – There's one slice of government spending no one seems to want. The detention camp at Guantanamo Bay is set to close next year. Government jobs would likely follow the detainees, but, communities across the country are maneuvering to keep them out. No place seems more up for a fight than the Leavenworth, Kansas. Frank Morris of member station KCUR reports.

Kansas City, MO – With all the lousy financial news lately you might be surprised to hear that some banks are doing pretty well. In fact, amidst a global economic meltdown, one Kansas City institution, UMB, just recorded its most profitable year ever! UMB's earnings jumped up 32% just in the last three months . (you know the three months with all the layoffs and urgent bank bailouts) KCUR's Frank Morris spoke with UMB's chairman and CEO Mariner Kemper.

Kansas City, MO – Sprint's cutting 8000 jobs this winter because it's been losing hundreds of thousands of customers almost every month for years. It's still the third largest mobile phone company, though, still has lots of cash, and Micheal Nelson, an industry analyst, says it's about to launch a serious rival to the I-phone, the Palm Pre.

Kansas City, MO – Ford's F series trucks are a staple of the Kansas City economy and one of the very few bright spots in domestic automobile manufacturing. KCUR's Frank Morris speaks with the truck's Chief Engineer about a rough year, and arguably a bright future, for making pickups.

Kansas City, MO – The job came open because Lynn Jenkins, the current State Treasurer, is heading for congress. She defeated Nancy Boyda, to represent Kansas' second district. Kathleen Sebelius, the governor, appointed representative McKinney. The treasures office oversees the state budget, and McKinney says he'll use his new position to push for a surge in public works projects.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – For one thing, people are just driving less. The lousy economy and high gas prices earlier this year have pushed down what officials call "vehicle miles traveled" by about three and a half percent. But Mary Peters, the US Secretary of Transportation, says traffic fatalities dropped almost three times as much by 10 percent.

Ms. Peters: The improvements we seen in lower numbers of fatalities and injuries are disproportionate to that drop off in vehicle miles traveled which tells us that we're making progress.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – American businesses cut more well over half a million workers last month, the biggest monthly employment decline since 1974. KCUR's Frank Morris spoke to people in Kansas City out looking for work.

photo: Frank Morris, KCUR

Newton, Iowa – These days, if you've got something in your home from Iowa, it's probably in a kitchen cupboard, or in the refrigerator. But for a long time it likely was the refrigerator, or the washing machine, or the dryer. Maytag and Amana once two of the largest appliance companies on Earth, sprang from little Iowa towns. Now those communities are scrambling to deal with that industry's sharp decline, and to capitalize Iowa's emerging alternative energy business.

Kansas City, MO – While lots of industries are in trouble these days, it's hard to think of one that's been turned upside down quite the way ethanol has. Three years ago the profits were huge, and companies excitedly planned hundreds of new plants. The "dot corn bubble" popped earlier this year, before the recession hit. Now the industry faces a major transition, in a recession.

Kansas City, MO – Long term forecast, look for warming with alternating droughts, floods and an ever increasing chance of ice storms and tornadoes for the next 100 years. The Director of the US Agriculture Department's National Soil Tilth Lab Jerry Hatfield says large parts of Kansas will likely have to stop growing wheat. Heavy storms will pose serious challenges for Missouri farmers. Hatfield doesn't think there will be less rain in total, but he expects it will be a whole lot less predictable.

Kansas City, MO – Missouri 5th District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver gave a fiery, impromptu speech to the election night crowd at the Midland Theater in Kansas City as he announced Senator John McCain's concession.

Kansas City, MO – There were several hundred hard core Democrats at the Midland Theater last night. Ecstatic, would be a pretty good word to describe them.

But heady as President Elect Obama's victory was and as much as they relished the gains in the Senate and House, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, fresh off his own very convincing win, says the Democratic government about to take over had better not get too cocky.

Kansas City, MO – Federal officials are investigating text messages and robo calls encouraging Missouri voters to vote tomorrow.

Complaints started coming in from around the state this morning. They were short text messages and automated calls, some attributed to CNN, with the same message: "Because of delays, Obama supporters are advised to vote Wednesday."

Kansas City, MO – An election snafu stalled voting for hours in central Kansas City, Missouri this morning.

Thousands of voters in Kansas City lined up well before 6 this morning. But when the polls opened at several sites in the central part of the city, election workers had bad news: The wrong voter registration books had been delivered.

Jason Semour says he's voted at the same location for 12 years, and never seen delays. This morning, Semour says he waited, with about 200 others, for two hours until workers finally delivered the right voter registration book.

photo: Frank Morris, KCUR

Lee's Summit, Missouri – Senator Joe Biden says the Republicans are out of touch, and waging a nasty campaign against Senator Obama. The Democratic Vice Presidential nominee was in Lee's Summit, Missouri on Monday morning.

Senator Biden needled Senator John McCain for supporting President Bush on taxes, regulation and other fiscal policy. He called McCain a sidekick, not a maverick. Biden then accused the McCain/Palin campaign of taking on an overly negative tone, that he says has undercut prospects to reunite the country after tomorrow.

Frank Morris

Lee's Summitt – Senator Biden needled Senator John McCain for supporting President Bush on taxes, regulation and other fiscal policy. He called McCain a sidekick, not a maverick. Biden then accused the McCain/Palin campaign of taking on an overly negative tone, that he says has undercut prospects to reunite the country after tomorrow.

Kansas City, MO – The presidential race is as close, if not closer in Missouri than anywhere else in the country. The difference here will be in the ground game.

Missouri Democrats say they're about to launch the most massive get out the vote effort the state has ever witnessed. Republicans say, "Bring it on."

KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – The troubled economy is driving thousands of people into food pantries for the first time ever this year. At the same time donations to those pantries are drying up and some have run out of food entirely, even here, in the nation's breadbasket. But while the economic hard times are pummeling food pantries, they're doing great things for another service catering to the poor thrift stores. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

Frank Morris

Belton, MO – A crowd of about 6-thousand arrayed on a Baptist school football field cheered Senator McCain's pledge to end the Iraq war in victory. Then McCain echoed Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden, who recently predicted that Obama would face an international crisis early in his term, if he's elected president.

We don't want a president who invites texting from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars.

Independence, MO – Republican Presidential Candidate, John McCain, campaigned in Missouri today. He spoke about the nation's economy this morning at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence. KCUR's Frank Morris reports from there.

Michelle Obama is also in the area today. She's hosting a rally for her husband, Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, this evening at the 18th and vine jazz district.

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser says crime is going to be his primary near term focus, moving forward after the city's impasse over the mayor's wife's involvement in City Hall. But published reports of Republican operative Jeff Roe consulting the mayor exasperated tensions between the him and the council.

Kansas City, MO – The outcome of the presidential election could come down to the vote in key parts of Missouri. The campaigns for Senator John McCain, the Republican, and Senator Barack Obama, the Democrat are both in high gear working here. As part of our ongoing election courage, KCUR's Frank Morris spoke with Senator Obama's campaign Chief of Staff , Jim Messina, about the ground war in Missouri.