Kyle Palmer | KCUR

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

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has once again thrown his support behind a fuel tax increase in order to fund highway improvements.

Speaking Thursday to host Steve Kraske on KCUR's to Date, Nixon says he hopes a bill pre-filed this month by Sen. Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) "gets to his desk."

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 Was a little-noticed provision slipped into this year's Kansas budget a backdoor way for the state to continue squeezing the Department of Transportation for more general fund revenue? Some lawmakers and transportation experts suggest that could be the case. 

COD Newsroom / Flickr

First-generation college students head to campus saddled with hopes and dreams, but not necessarily the same resources as their peers. With rigorous academic demands, responsibilities to their families, rising college tuition and increased focus on experiences like study abroad, students breaking through the higher-ed barrier face a unique set of challenges. 

Guests:

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

Public schools often go to great lengths to account for their students.

For RosaLinda Aviles, an attendance and dropout specialist for Kansas City Public Schools, it’s her primary duty.

Based at Northeast High School, she helps oversee a nine-school zone. If a student has been absent for several days, teachers will notify her. She and a district social worker then will try to intervene.

"Often the teachers will know a lot more about what's going, so that's helpful," Aviles says. "We then can call, send a letter, or do a home visit."

Kansas City Public Schools

What should you do if you're caught in an 'active shooter' situation? That question has received a lot of attention in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks this month that killed 130 people.

Prominent security officials like New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have said organizations like his are undergoing a 'very significant change' in how they approach such situations, trying to more actively fight such shooters instead of negotiating. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Let's be clear, pierogi is not a Thanksgiving food. But you may notice that in some spellings of the word (like the one used in the previous sentence), it has the word 'pie' in it.

That's not a sorry joke. The Slavic origins of the word pierogi, or pirogi (as it is also commonly spelled) yields the translation "pie." Really, they're dumplings but consider them little Slavic pies, too, and they become an eminently appropriate Thanksgiving dish. 

It is still unknown what the impact of the landmark Gannon school finance case will be, since the Kansas Supreme Court won't ultimately decide on it until sometime next year. 

What is clearer now, though, is the state's stance on what role the Court should play in determining funding for Kansas public education. In short, the state thinks the Court has no role. Briefs filed in Gannon Monday by the state essentially tell the Court to stay out of its legislative business. 

Plexpod

In recent years, Kansas City has emerged as a startup hub. Now, the metro's burgeoning tech community will soon have a centerpiece space in which to do its work. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Becky Bieker admits it's bittersweet. 

She's about to achieve what she and her husband Jon Bieker had been working towards for years — a dream, a lifetime goal.

And in its own way, she says, a small "win" in an ongoing battle. 

A battle she's been fighting since January, when Jon was gunned down in a robbery attempt at the old She's A Pistol location in Shawnee, Kansas.

"It's about not letting four people who committed a heinous crime to hold us down, run us out of business," she said.

Courtesy photo / Kauffman School

Education insiders in Kansas City have been closely watching the Ewing Marion Kauffman School  ever since it started in 2011.

Now, the rest of Missouri may perk up. 

This week, the Missouri Charter Public School Association named Kauffman its Missouri Charter School of the Year, citing its "strong academic performance," "innovative professional development" and "daily efforts to build community and engage parents." 

UPDATE (5:30 pm): Late Tuesday afternoon, MU Communications professor Melissa Click released a statement apologizing for her "language and strategies" in confronting reporters on Carnahan Quad on the Mizzou campus. 

"[I] sincerely apologize to the MU campus community, and journalists at large, for my behavior, and also for the way my actions have shifted attention away from the students' campaign for justice. From this experience I have learned about humanity and humility." 

In the immediate aftermath of Monday's events at the University of Missouri's Columbia campus, other local universities have taken notice — campus leadership needs to listen to student and faculty voice.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is starting that process now, mere hours after both UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned, chastened by student-led protests and faculty complaints that they were insensitive to a tense and frequently racist campus climate. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Few will argue against the notion that the Royals' recent run to a World Series title has been a good thing for Kansas City. The New York Times is lauding the metro's "resurgence" and newfound "swagger." Deadspin is fawning over the record-breaking turnout at Tuesday's victory parade. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Blue-clad and buzzing with 30 years' worth of pent up anticipation, Royals' fans began gathering in downtown Kansas City hours before the official start of Tuesday's World Series victory parade. 

Though they were here to cheer on the team that brought their city its first World Series title since the Reagan era, they also clearly drew a deeper meaning from the experience.

Karen Eisenbraun / Twitter

If you've watched the World Series at all this year (and if you live in Kansas City there is a very good chance you have, according to FOX's TV ratings) then you know 'Fur Hat Lady.' She's this year's 'Marlins Man.' 

There she is, peeking over the shoulder of right-handed batters and boring her sunglass-gaze into your deeper conscious. 

 

Sam Zeff / / KCUR

I wouldn't make a good Royal. 

In Game 4 of the ALDS in Houston, after the Astros hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh to go up 6-2, facing near-certain elimination from the postseason, I gave up. Stopped watching. Walked out of the bar, swallowed the bitter bile gathering in my throat, looked up resentfully at blue sky and thought it might be a good time to rake some leaves.  

Bring on football season, I thought. 

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

By now, many Royals' fans know these facts about Kansas City's World Series opponent, the New York Mets: they have tremendous starting pitching, infielder Daniel Murphy is on a historic postseason home run binge, and their season changed when they acquired Yoenis Cespedes in late July. 

But did you know the franchise was once managed by a Kansas City-native nicknamed the 'Old Professor'? Or that they once set the modern mark for regular-season futility? Or that their ticket prices to this year's World Series purport to be the most expensive in Major League Baseball history? 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

In the stilted nomenclature of Topeka politics, it's called the Special Committee on K-12 Student Success. While that sounds innocuous enough, this panel of 15 lawmakers — meeting for the first time Friday — could prove to be a major force in the roiling battle over the future of school spending in the state. 

"We are the eyes and ears of the House and Senate," says Rep. Ron Highland, a Wamego Republican who serves as the committee chair. "We will go back to our respective chambers and tell them, 'These are the things we've found.'" 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in October 2015.    

Ask a Royals' fan about FOX announcer Joe Buck, and you might get a response like Adam Jones'.  

"I think it's safe to say he did not call last year's World Series with any kind of objectivity."

A new report says five former players and recruits say McGee paid for strippers at on-campus parties.

This story was updated at 2:45 pm to include comments from UMKC officials.   

Right now, things don't look good for UMKC men's assistant basketball coach Andre McGee. 

A new report from ESPN's 'Outside the Lines' program corroborates allegations made by a self-described former escort that McGee paid her to provide strippers and sex for players and recruits. In the documentary, a portion of which aired Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America", Powell says McGee paid her $10,000 for "side deals", including sex with some players. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

In official parlance, the death of a firefighter is called a Line of Duty Death, or LODD. And the protocols and procedures for handling one run to several pages. The formal, sometimes antiquated, language of the protocol lends it the gravity with which fire officials approach this somber task. 

"Our methods may change, but our goals remain the same as they were in the past, to save lives and to protect property, sometimes at a terrible cost. This is what we do, this is our chosen profession, this is the tradition of the fire fighter," one section of the protocol reads. 

bigstock.com

Missouri is in the process of rewriting the learning standards that govern the academic expectations for students in the state. Later this month, the Missouri State Board of Education will meet to review the drafts of revised standards that were submitted to the state by working groups made up of educators and parents.

"We’re  optimistic that we’re going to have some very good standards, better than the ones we’ve had before," says Sarah Potter with the Missouri State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

AFGE / Flickr--CC

For the past seven years, Randi Weingarten has led the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers' unions in the United States. 

In an interview with KCUR, she discussed what may be behind the persistent teacher shortages in Kansas, the politically tinged process to rewrite Missouri's learning standards and a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court that could forever alter how unions like hers do business. 

Harpers470 / Flickr--CC

Twenty years ago, a sports team captured the heart of Kansas City. This squad blazed through the regular season, earning the league's best record. As a result, it claimed home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Its postseason games would be played in front of enthusiastic, boisterous fans hungry for a title. 

Sound familiar? As Royals fans gear up for Thursday's postseason opener at Kauffman Stadium, some can't help but recall other times in the not-so-distant past when a Kansas City sporting franchise has not necessarily taken advantage of home-field advantage. 

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

One of Summer Farrar's first assignments as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute was to draw the same pile of sticks every day for a few weeks.

The task, she says, turned out to be revelatory. 

"What it demonstrated was that you have to look at something over and over again until you see it differently," she told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard

Farrar never could have guessed then just how useful that lesson would turn out to be in a career that has taken a striking professional turn. 

A  major $30 million federal grant awarded to Kansas City this week aims to rebuild a crumbling public housing project and revitalize a Historic Northeast neighborhood in the process.

The grant will help pay for an intricate plan to revitalize the Paseo Gateway neighborhood just east of Interstate 35, bounded by Chestnut Trafficway to the east, Ninth Street to the south and Cliff Drive to the north. 

City of Kansas City, Missouri

An effort to put a downtown convention hotel up for a public vote took another official step forward Thursday.

But where it goes from here remains unclear. 

Officials with the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners say they have counted and validated signatures on a petition filed this week by a group seeking to challenge a recently inked deal to develop an 800-room Hyatt Hotel next to Bartle Hall

Liz / Wikimedia Commons

State education officials in Missouri hope a newly designed statistical model will identify down to to the district level what content areas and geographic regions in the state are facing drastic teacher shortages. 

"The better your data, the better you can address issues and solve problems. The better you can make things happen. The more we know what our specific problems are, the more we can attack them," Katnik says. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Name: Devon Teran

Number Of Years In Education: 8

Role: Assistant Principal, Alta Vista Charter High School (Kansas City)

Devon Teran grew up in Wichita with parents who were educators. In fact, his father served as superintendent of Wichita Public Schools before moving to Grandview nearly a decade ago. (Ralph Teran recently announced his retirement from that post.) 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

On a recent Friday afternoon, once students had left for the weekend, the fifth-grade team at the Kauffman School in Kansas City stayed behind and practiced walking down the hallway. 

They were working on how to lead students from class to class during passing periods. While six or so teachers played the role of (relatively compliant) students, one teacher would lead them down the hall giving instructions. 

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