Kyle Palmer

Morning Newscaster, Reporter

Kyle Palmer is KCUR’s morning newscaster. He’s a former teacher, so getting up early is nothing for him. Before moving to the classroom, Kyle earned a Journalism degree from Mizzou and worked as a reporter for Columbia’s NPR affiliate KBIA. He also did play-by-play for the Jefferson City High School football and basketball teams. He earned a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a radio documentary about Missouri’s New Madrid fault (it’s still there, people, and ready to blow!).

He’s lived in Texas, California, and India, and also earned a Master’s degree in Education Policy from Stanford University, where he was also the PA announcer for the women’s and men’s volleyball team. (Ask him anything about volleyball.) 

He now lives in Kansas with his wife. And they agree: of all the places they’ve lived, Kansas is the most…interesting.

Ways to Connect

Kansas Department of Corrections

Inmates turned over a tactical response vehicle, made weapons out of broken pieces of glass and tried to run over a corrections officer with a commandeered cart during a riot Tuesday night at the Norton Correctional Facility in north-central Kansas, according to a copy of the prison's log obtained by KCUR. 

The threat posed by inmates was serious enough that, at one point, responding officers were told to use lethal force if necessary. 

Kansas Department of Corrections

All is quiet Wednesday after a night of rioting at the Norton Correctional Facility about 320 miles west of Kansas City.

The Kansas Department of Corrections (DOC) has moved 100 inmates to other prisons around the state, according to spokesman Samir Arif. Fifty of those inmates were moved to Lansing.

Two staff members suffered minor injuries and were treated on site.

This is one of several uprisings the DOC has had to put down recently. The last disturbance was in July at the prison in El Dorado.

Keith Allison / Flickr — CC

The Kansas City Royals have faced plenty of on-field troubles recently. Now, it appears they have a problem to worry about off the field as well. 

Pitcher Danny Duffy was cited Sunday night for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Brian Ellison / KCUR

With little fanfare or advance notice, workers Friday morning began taking apart a Confederate monument along Ward Parkway just south of 55th Street. 

As cars rushed by, workers disassembled the monument's limestone column and benches with chainsaws and other power tools.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda, a clergy person at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, likes to be amazed at the natural world, what she calls "God's creation." So, she is expecting Monday's much-anticipated total solar eclipse to be an emotional event. 

"I'm going to have to have a box of tissues. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry because I'm the person who cries at a rainbow or at tremendous lightning," she says. 

Courtesy of Avila University

Officials at Avila University say they are investigating a swastika drawn on an academic building on the south Kansas City campus. 

University officials say the swastika was written in chalk and was discovered on the outside of Dallavis Hall Monday. An Avila spokesman says the swastika was quickly removed after being found.  

An email alerting faculty and students to the incident called it a “hate crime.”

"This incident is a hate crime. Avila takes incidents like this very seriously and the incident is being investigated," the email read. 

A Kansas City woman who says she intentionally went to the polls Tuesday morning without a photo ID, says she was first told erroneously by poll workers that she could not vote. When she insisted she could still cast a provisional ballot, she says an election judge checked a voting manual and then allowed her to vote on a paper ballot. 

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Officials from multiple states say they will not turn over voter data requested by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

This week, Kobach sent letters to all 50 states requesting their "publicly available voter roll data" to help with the work of a presidential commission on "election integrity" established earlier this year.

Rep. Kevin Yoder Twitter

As support for single-payer healthcare gains momentum among Democrats in the U.S. House, Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas blasts the idea as a “nightmare” scenario that must be prevented.

In an opinion piece published this week by Fox News, Yoder frames the Republican-backed American Health Care Act as a necessary alternative to the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, a plan which has now been co-sponsored by 112 of 193 House Democrats, including Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City. 

Frank Morris / KCUR

Hundreds of people, including members of the activist group Indivisible KC, looked for answers at a town hall hosted by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas, Monday morning.

The Republican's town hall at the Lenexa Conference Center was his first in Johnson County in over a year. It was a long time coming for some. 

"Indivisible has been asking for a town hall in the eastern part of the state since January and we finally got one,” Indivisible KC Board Member Leslie Mark said.

Shawnee Mission School District / YouTube

The ACLU of Kansas says a new policy adopted by the Shawnee Mission School Board may violate the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. It has sent a letter to Board President Sarah Goodburn, urging the board to rescind the policy. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Leo Morton on Tuesday announced he plans to retire from his position at the end of the next academic year.

Morton has served as chancellor since 2008. Prior to that appointment he was senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Aquila Inc. and also held positions at AT&T, General Motors and Corning Glass.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Updated, 4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump's move to fire FBI Director James Comey shocked Washington Tuesday night. It's only the second time in American history an FBI Director has been dismissed in the middle of a term, and it comes as the FBI investigates ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Reaction from members of Congress from Kansas and Missouri was mixed.

Joseph Morris / Wikimedia Commons

This post was updated at 1:38 p.m. on Thursday.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve the American Health Care Act, touted by the GOP and President Donald Trump as a better alternative to President Obama's signature health care effort, the Affordable Care Act. The final vote, 217 - 213. All 193 Democrats in the House, joined by 20 Republicans, opposed the bill. 

Rep. Kevin Yoder Twitter

Updated 2:41 p.m. 

The vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will not take place on Thursday. The AP reports that House GOP leaders have delayed the vote. According to NPR, "it could get a vote Friday, but the path forward is uncertain." 

Congressman Kevin Yoder still appears to be undecided. 

UMKC

This story has been updated to reflect some comments made by UMKC officials.

The 92-82 win Wednesday night by the UMKC men's basketball team over Green Bay was its first post-season appearance and victory in the 30 years the Kangaroos have played in Division I.

Twitter / Missouri Highway Patrol

From Olathe, Kansas, to Oak Grove, Missouri, Tuesday morning, metro-area residents were surveying damage and catching their breath after a line of severe storms rolled through Monday night, causing widespread damage but no major injuries or deaths. 

The National Weather Service says two tornadoes touched down near Oak Grove and Smithville and officials are set to survey damage there and in Olathe. Schools in Odessa, Oak Grove and Lee’s Summit canceled classes Tuesday due to continued power outages and damage to some buildings. 

Nearly a week after a deadly shooting in Olathe, Kansas, left one Indian man dead and two more men wounded, President Donald Trump condemned the incident in the opening lines of his first joint address to Congress Tuesday. 

Kashif Pathan / Flickr - CC

Kansas City Public Library officials say they plan on pressing charges after several marks of racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic graffiti were found inside the Central Library location downtown Sunday.

A library statement says the graffiti was found in a men's bathroom stall, on a portrait of former First National Bank executive Taylor S. Abernathy, on a glass window near the library's main entrance, and on a stairwell leading down to the library's vault level. 

All of the graffiti and the defaced portrait have been removed. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

In a quiet, rural area of Jackson County just north of Blue Springs, residents say the typical country quiet is being routinely interrupted by massive, earth-shattering blasts coming from a nearby commercial zone. 

Troy Lynn Norris says you don't hear the blasts, so much as feel them. 

"Maybe it would feel like an earthquake that lasts one or two seconds. It shakes my house," she says. "If I'm looking out the window, I can see the glass vibrate."

NLBM

Don Motley, who coached amateur baseball around Kansas City for decades and later in life became a driving force for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, died Sunday. He was 89. 

"Coach Motley, as he was affectionately known, gave nearly two decades of his illustrious life to help build the NLBM and guided it to unprecedented fiscal heights," Bob Kendrick, president of the museum, said in a statement. "His impact on the organization will be felt for generations to come."

Motley served as executive director for the museum from 1991 until he retired in 2008. 

Heartland Health Monitor file photo

Vicki Hiatt, who lost her bid to unseat Republican firebrand Mary Pilcher-Cook in the Kansas Senate by a mere 980 votes in the initial vote tally, has requested a recount.

Hiatt, a Democrat who ran for the District 10 seat, which includes parts of Johnson and Wyandotte counties, made the request in a letter today to Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker. The letter was prompted by election night tabulation problems in Johnson County that delayed the reporting of results until the next day.  

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR 89.3

By 7 a.m Tuesday, the line for voting at All Souls Church in midtown Kansas City had more than 100 people in it.

Numerous other polling places around the metro reported a similar early morning rush, especially in Missouri, where there was no early voting period as in Kansas.

"I was expecting to wait, and I'm glad to wait," said Linda Rives, a voter who waited at All Souls. "Sometimes I come here, and you can walk right in. There's hardly anybody here [other elections], but I'm excited to see such long lines today. It means people are participating." 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

If you think there seems to be a lot of early voters this year, you're right. 

In the first week or so of advanced in-person voting, Kansas counties in the metro area are experiencing numbers that suggest records could be broken. 

"I never thought we'd surpass 2008," says Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. 

That year, when Barack Obama beat John McCain, many precincts across the nation saw historic overall turnout. But this year, Shew and others suspect new early voting benchmarks could be set. 

Update 11:35 a.m. Friday.

Atchison officials have issued the all clear, saying it's safe to go outside after a chemical cloud enveloped the city this morning.

Atchison City Manager Trey Cocking says at 8:02 a.m. Monday two chemicals were "inadvertently mixed" at the MGP Ingredients plant causing a gaseous plume. 

Cocking says HAZMAT protocols were immediately followed. "They put a foam substance on it to treat it, and that's what they've been doing to mitigate it," Cocking says.

Projections show a widening gap between the number of primary care doctors the country needs and the number of med students choosing it over other sub-specialties. Programs like Health is Primary, which encourages medical students to select a primary care specialty, are looking to bridge that gap.

Guests:

At the turn of the 20th Century, Kansas City was known for more than just a raucous drinking and gambling scene. The "Paris of the Plains" also served as a center for new, syncopated styles of ragtime, blues and jazz. With the music came an assemblage of composers and music publishers who called KC home.

Guest:

What does the milestone of having a woman running for president in the U.S. say about our country now? Why did it take so long, and what does it mean for women moving forward?

Guests:

  • Rebecca Richardson is president of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus.
  • Elizabeth Vonnahme  is Associate Professor of Political Science at UMKC.
  • Jean Peters-Baker is the District Attorney of Jackson County, Missouri.

Dutch Newman / Facebook

Hila “Dutch” Bucher Newman, a leading figure in Missouri Democratic politics for decades, has died. She was 95.

The morning after Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman to head a major party ticket, the news of Newman’s death was announced to the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday.

Newman would have reveled in Clinton's moment. She wrote in a Facebook post in 2014, "I am so excited for a Presidential run by Hillary Clinton, I can hardly stand it!"

Before he was a senator, Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine was governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but his rise to power began years ago, at a place called Rockhurst High School, where he was president of the student body.

Guests:

  • Steve Miller, Jay Reardon and Keith Connor were Tim Kaine's classmates at Rockhurst High School. 

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