Maria Carter

Newscaster, News Director

Maria Carter grew up in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated from Reed College in Portland, Ore. with a degree in economics. After a year off, she returned to her home state to study journalism at the University of Missouri, receiving her Master’s degree in 2004.

Maria started working at KCUR as an intern and was later hired as a general assignment reporter. She covers local politics and anything else happening in the Kansas City area. In 2006, she spent a month in northern Louisiana, lending a hand at the local public radio station and covering the thousands of evacuees temporarily in the area.

Ways to Connect

courtesy: Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

The U.S. Department of Commerce is awarding $1.6 million to the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Greater Kansas City, or HEDC.

The grant, announced on Thursday, will be used to renovate an industrial building near 27th and Southwest Boulevard, at 2720 Jarboe, and turn it into a small business incubator. 

Pedro Zamora, the non-profit’s executive director, says minorities are sometimes left out of Kansas City's entrepreneurship community. 

Robert Scoble / Flickr — CC

Kansas City is launching an effort to be the home to Amazon’s second corporate headquarters.

Amazon plans to plow more $5 billion into building another headquarters that will be an equal to the current one in Seattle. The internet retailer plans to employ some 50,000 people with average salaries topping $100,000 at what it is calling “HQ2.”

Cerner Corporatioin

The Cerner Corporation announced Sunday that CEO and co-founder Neal Patterson has died. He was 67.

In a statement, Cerner said Patterson died from “unexpected complications that arose after a recent recurrence of a previously disclosed cancer.”

Cerner vice chairman and co-founder Cliff Illig will take over as interim CEO.

“This is a profound loss. Neal and I have been partners and collaborators for nearly 40 years, and friends for longer than that,” Illig said.

The company, headquartered in North Kansas City, employs 25,000 people worldwide.

Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen/Twitter

Two Kansas lawmakers say they are okay after reports of a shooting at a Congressional baseball practice outside Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning. 

NPR reports Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican from Louisiana, one of his aides, and two Capitol Police were injured in the shooting. 

Aerial Ozarks

Heavy rains flooded much of Missouri over the weekend, covering roads and knocking out power. The floods reached historic levels in several places, including Tecumseh, Missouri.

The town sits just a few miles north of the Arkansas border. Fast-rising flood waters stranded Autumn Shirley and her family on the roof of their house for more than nine hours this weekend.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

One employee was killed and four more were injured by an explosion at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri.

The Joint Munitions Command says the explosion occurred at approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday in a primer mixing cell. The injured workers were evaluated on scene and refused further treatment.

@NWSKansasCity / National Weater Service Kansas City

People across the south Kansas City area felt a blast Tuesday evening after an explosion at a lawn care business in Grandview.

Firefighters were called to JW Lawn Service near 140th and I-49 after receiving calls about an explosion and fire shortly after 7 p.m. 

Firefighters took a defensive position, waiting to go into the burning building because of reports of ammunition inside. They reported at least a dozen more explosions while on the scene.

INTERCONTINENTAL KANSAS CITY AT THE PLAZA

A busy day for Kansas City councilmembers ended months of debate by cutting back the city’s economic development incentives while awarding money to two hotel projects.

Just two weeks ago, the council had deadlocked on the incentives measure and decided to delay a vote. On Thursday, the tide had shifted. The council voted 9-4 to approve the plan.

The ordinance caps tax incentives at 75 percent of a projects cost in most case. The exceptions include distressed areas and projects that do well on the AdvanceKC scorecard, providing things like high-paying jobs.

Maria Carter / KCUR 89.3

At Frank Rushton Elementary, students aren’t just getting new boxes of pencils and crayons. They’re getting a whole new school.

"Compared to the other building, it’s really nice,” says parent Ayesha Marks. “I like the library upgrade with the computer and books and everything.”

“It’s awesome,” says third-grader Gianni Ramos of the school. “It’s much bigger and has more space.”

A lot more space. The old building, near the intersection of 43rd and Rainbow Ave., was jam-packed.

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!"

File photo

In the past few years, Kansans have become used to monthly revenue numbers in the red. Still, May's figures came as a shock. On the last (mostly ceremonial) day of the 2016 legislative session, state revenue officials announced Kansas had come up nearly $75 million short of projections. Both individual and corporate income tax collections fell short of the mark. 

Maria Carter / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil outside the Kansas City, Kansas City Hall to remember police detective Brad Lancaster, who was shot and killed as he pursued a suspect near the Kansas Speedway on Monday.

Mayor Pro Tem Hal Walker says he first met Lancaster just after he graduated from the police academy. “It was clear then as it was clear throughout his career what great potential, what great service he gave to his community,” says Walker.

Courtesy photo / Kansas City Public Schools

More than a week after the election, the Kansas City Public Schools board is complete.

The Kansas City Election board announced Wednesday that John Fierro, Natalie Lewis and Ajia Morris won seats on the board. All three were write-in candidates and so were their only challengers, which delayed the results.

Lewis spent two decades working in the private sector before she became a teacher. She beat architect Albert Ray for the sub-district 1 seat.

Fierro is the president of the Mattie Rhodes Center. He won the in sub-district 3 against Marisol Montero.

Courtesy of KCP&L

Kansas City Power and Light has agreed to buy wind energy from two plants now under construction in northwest Missouri.

NextEra Energy Resources is building its Osborn wind farm east of St. Joseph. It’s expected to be up and running by the end of the year and provide 200 megawatts of energy. A little further north, Tradewind Energy plans to complete the 300 megawatt Rock Creak wind farm near Tarkio, Missouri by September 2017.

Phil Roeder / Flickr--CC

Kansas hasn’t gone Democratic in a U.S. Presidential election in more than 50 years, but ahead of his visit to Kansas City Wednesday, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told KCUR he thinks he’ll do well in the state’s caucuses on March 5.

“Sometimes to be a Democrat in a conservative state means that you are pretty progressive because you’ve got to stand up to the tide there,” says Sanders. “So we think we have a chance to do very, very well in Kansas.”

Amanda Gehin / Missouri Department of Conservation

A hard freeze is bad for most flowers, but a patch of prairie in midtown Kansas City has seen so-called “frost flowers” in full bloom this winter.

Frost flowers aren’t really flowers at all. They are ribbons of ice twirling out from the stalks of some plants including the white crownbeard, a wildflower flower native to Missouri and Kansas.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza will soon have a new owner.

Country Club KC Partners LLC is buying the Plaza for $660 million, Highwoods Properties announced Monday. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter.

Country Club KC Partners is an equal partnership between Taubman Centers and the Macerich Company, which are based in Michigan and California, respectively. Both companies own and manage dozens of malls and shopping centers.

Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City police are investigating an apparent suicide of a firefighter outside a fire station at 34th and Paseo.

There's another shakeup at the University of Missouri. On Monday afternoon, R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor for the Columbia campus, announced he would move to a new role at the end of the year.

The day started with UM system President Tim Wolfe resigning. Members of the student activist group Concerned Student 1950 had been protesting Wolfe for weeks after a number of racially charged incidents on the Columbia campus.

Jason Wickersheim / Two West Advertising, twowest.com

There’s no doubt about it.

Tons of people went to the Royals World Series victory parade and rally. The city is estimating 800,000 people.

bridj.com

Kansas City soon could be home to something called microtransit.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is negotiating with Bridj, which offers a popup bus service.

Bridj is the bus version of Uber or Lyft. Customers sign up and can use an app to book a bus ride and be picked up within a five-minute walk. Unlike Uber or Lyft, you’re riding a small bus with 10 or so other people.

KCATA CEO Joe Reardon says it another way to connect people to jobs.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Most Kansas Citians already knew it’s hard not to love the Kansas City Royals, but even die-hard Mets fans can’t help but like the boys in blue.

Cody Rogers drove 21 hours from Catskill, New York, to get to Kansas, where he's been working for the summer in the wind turbine industry.

A Mets fan, he was at Game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium. “The Mets mean everything to me,” says Rogers. 

Aguilar Hernandez

On a sunny day, two workers had a big job ahead of them — removing the 7-foot bars that for years covered the front windows of El Paso del Norte, a bakery and taqueria on Independence Avenue in northeast Kansas City.

Mike Iniguez and his brothers run the restaurant. He says the neighborhood was “kind of sad” when his father opened the business in 1998.

It was a working class area, and many of the homes and businesses there were rundown. But low home prices drew Latinos and other immigrants to the historic neighborhood.

Missouri Department of Tourism, via flickr

An anonymous donor has given the Kansas City Art Institute a gift of $25 million. It's the largest in the school's history and believed to be one of the largest donations to any arts college in the country.

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation presented the record-setting donation to the school at a private ceremony Tuesday. Debbie Wilkerson, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a press release, "The gift comes from a donor who has the highest confidence in the Kansas City Art Institute, and therefore, wants to demonstrate that support financially."

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is rejecting Republicans claims that her new autobiography shows the Democrat’s 2012 campaign violated federal campaign laws.

The book, Plenty Ladylike, details the heated Senate race between McCaskill and Republican Todd Akin. Her campaign ran an ad supporting Akin in the primary.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Sen. Paul LeVota announced Friday he will resign from the Legislature, following allegations he sexually harassed two college interns.

LeVota, a Democrat from Independence, maintained his innocence in the announcement on Facebook: "As I stated before, I did not engage in harassment of any intern in the Missouri Senate and an investigation found no proof of misconduct."

Courtesy photo / AMC Entertainment Inc.

AMC Entertainment Inc. will be getting new leadership.

The Leawood-based movie theater chain announced Tuesday morning that CEO Gerry Lopez will step down Aug. 6 to “pursue another opportunity.”

Frank Morris / KCUR

A line of storms moved through the Kansas City area early Monday evening, producing heavy rain and tornadoes.

The Clay Country Sherriff’s office reports a tornado touching down near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 152 in Liberty.

A tornado also reportedly touched down in Eudora, Kansas, but in both cases, no injuries were reported.

Many intersections in the metro flooded after the thunder clouds quickly dumped several inches of rain. The Kansas City Fire Department reports high water downtown near Interstate 70 and 13th street.

Vox efx / Flickr--CC

Mayor (99% of precincts reporting)

  • Sly James 87%
  • Vincent Lee 13%

Council At-Large Seats

1st District (99% of precincts reporting)

  • Scott Wagner 80%
  • Jeff Roberts 20%

Maria Carter / KCUR

Talking about the Johnson and Wyandotte County border in Kansas for the past few months literally has hit close to home for me — I live just a few blocks north of the county line in Wyandotte. As I found out since moving there, I'm closer to home than I realized.

I never really thought I’d live in Kansas. I grew up a Missourian. My parents fled the Johnson County suburbs for the Missouri Ozarks after I was born.

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