Steve Bell

News Reporter

Afternoon reporter Steve Bell brings more than 40 years of news experience to the KCUR newsroom. Fifteen of those years he served as a news or program director. His first newscast was at KANU in 1958. He has hosted news and talk programs on five Kansas city AM-FM stations and two commercial TV stations and was for many years the the signature voice of KCPT-19. Since joining KCUR in 2001, Steve has won two  first place awards from Public Radio News Directors International -- for best newscast and best feature reporting.  He has also received a number of awards from the Missouri Broadcasters Association and the Kansas City Society of Professional Journalists.  Steve  has a Ph.D. in psychology and dabbles in guitar and banjo playing.

Pages

Education
7:01 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Missouri Education Board President Defends Nicastro Amid Email Controversy

Missouri Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro.
Credit State of Missouri

The president of the Missouri board of education is criticizing groups that are calling for Missouri Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro, to resign. Meanwhile, one of those lawmakers says the Kansas City district has no voice on the state board.

Read more
Headlines
9:15 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Concussion lawsuit filed against KC Chiefs

Five former Chiefs players sued the team over the long-term effects of football field concussions. Attorney Kenneth McClain said his clients won't get much relief under an earlier NFL settlement. McClain adds that the suit is possible because of a particular provision of Missouri law and that it is possible the St. Louis Rams will face a similar lawsuit

Sporting KC prepares for MLS soccer championship game

Read more
Government
7:37 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Kansas City Council Committees Stall On Downtown Drive-Thru, Traffic Cams

Drive-thru moratorium stuck on 2-2 vote

Opponents of a downtown drive-through restaurant and supporters of red-light cameras made no headway in Wednesday's KCMO city council committee meetings, but but neither are ready to throw in the towel.

Supporters and opponents of a proposed moratorium on all drive-thru restaurant construction in the downtown loop argued for more than two hours at a public hearing held by the Planning and Zoning committee.

Read more
Cops & Crime
7:15 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Bomb Hoax Shuts Down City Hall, Airport Hearing

Credit City of Kansas City

A public hearing on future terminal plans at KCI Airport was among the city business interrupted Tuesday by a bomb threat that shut down City Hall for more than five hours.

 Only four members of the public had a chance to speak to the Airport Terminal Advisory Group when a telephone bomb threat prompted the evacuation of the building.

Early on police found and subsequently destroyed a suspicious but harmless package outside City Hall. But business didn't resume until after 2 p.m.

Read more
Headlines
8:56 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Court deals heavy blow to red-light cameras.

On the day the city council was to vote on changes to save Kansas City's red-light-cameras from one court decision, a second decision cast doubt on whether that could be done,

The ruling says running a red light is a moving violation and you can't ticket a driver for such a based on a photo of the rear of the vehicle.

GOP makes it official: Convention is KC possibility

Read more
Government
7:34 am
Wed November 27, 2013

New Court Ruling Threatens Kansas City Red-Light Cameras

Just as city attorneys thought they had come up with changes to save Kansas City's traffic-cam ordinance from one court decision, another court rendered the changes useless.

As he withdrew the revised ordinance, Councilman John Sharp expressed frustration. “It's been very difficult for us to follow court direction when we're getting different court directions in a very brief period of time," he commented.

Read more
Government
7:23 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Kansas City Council Moves To Save Red-Light Cameras

Credit The Pelican Institute

The Kansas City council committee has endorsed changes to the city's red-light camera ordinance. If the full council agrees Tuesday the cameras will be back in operation in ten days

Kansas City stopped issuing red-light camera tickets earlier this month after a Missouri court ruled that running a red light is a moving violation, and must be charged against a specific driver.

Read more
Arts
8:15 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Kansas City Arts Task Force Presents Findings To Mayor

Mayor Sly James spoke to artists at a public meeting in January 2013 at ArtsTech in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

After about two years of research, work and community engagement, Kansas City Mayor Sly James' Task Force for the Arts presented its findings on Thursday during the City Council’s business session.

Read more
Headlines
8:04 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Phase II streetcar expansion corridor defined

The city council approved further study of three extension routes for the downtown streetcar system.

The proposed extensions are two eastward branches (Independence Avenue and in the 31st Street-Linwood corridor) and a south extension as far as Waldo. Consultants hope for 50 percent federal funding.

Corinthian Hall KC Museum, collection could change hands

Read more
Government
6:25 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Streetcar Expansion Routes Narrowed, Studies Continue

The Kansas City, Mo., city council has approved a report that supports adding another eight to 10 miles of streetcar track to its 2.2 mile starter system over the next decade. 

Favored routes are eastward branches along Independence Avenue and the Linwood-31st Street corridor and a southern extension as far as Brookside or Waldo.

Members of the study group say federal grants should fund 50 percent of the cost.

Read more
Business & Tech
8:16 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Auto Manufacturing Expanding In Kansas City Area

The Kansas City city council is expected to approve tax incentives for an expansion of the area's automotive manufacturing industry this afternoon.

Wednesday, a council committee endorsed ten-year tax abatement and $10.5 million in industrial revenue bonds to help turn a building in the east bottoms into a manufacturing facility for auto interior components. Troy Curran of Grupo Anolin says the company already has 2700 people working n North America.

Read more
Headlines
7:35 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Missouri to honor same-sex joint income tax returns

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that Missouri would honor joint tax returns of same-sex couples who married in states where those marriages are recognized.

Republican leadership in Jefferson City expressed outrage, accusing Nixon of ignoring the state constitution and the will of the voters.

Nixon calls for truce with Kansas on economic border war

Read more
Headlines
7:26 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Chiefs made it nine in a row. Kansas City won a big convention. And Jackson County turned down the idea of a sales tax for medical research. Those are some of the stories we revisit on KCUR's Saturday News Review.

Sales tax proposals soundly defeated

Eighty-four percent of Jackson Countians who voted Tuesday voted against a half-cent sales tax for medical research.

The “vote no” campaign on the Jackson County tax measure was so strong that Mayor Cannon Ross said it also defeated a Blue Springs sales tax measure for a community center and parks projects.

Read more
Government
7:34 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Kansas City Streetcar Phase II: East, South Or Both?

Artist's rendering of proposed Main Street streetcar line
Credit City of Kansas City

Plans for Phase II of a streetcar system roll on. And though where the second stretch of track will be laid is not decided yet, the choices are narrowing.

The report the city council heard Thursday recommends one or more extensions of streetcar line, with the highest scores for routes south on Main to 51st Street, east on Linwood or 31st Street for several miles and/or east on Independence Avenue to Benton. Those selections rated highest on a combination of factors including potential economic development.

Read more
Business & Tech
5:17 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Hallmark Will Eliminate Up To 250 Jobs, Most In KC

Hallmark Cards has announced plans to eliminate as many as 250 positions, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The article says 100 of the job cuts will come this year.  The staff reductions involve "the greeting card development process" and an exit from the party goods market.

Headlines
7:05 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton died this week. He was 81.
Credit photo by dan verbeck.

A school funding lawsuit by Shawnee Mission District parents survived a dismissal attempt. Kansas City bought four streetcars. And former Congressman Ike Skelton died. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.

Long-time Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton dies

Read more
Government
6:36 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Kansas City Council Approves $17.9 Million Streetcar Purchase

Kansas City will purchase four streetcars like the ones pictured for $17.9 million.
Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City councilman who has steered the city's streetcar project from its start says Thursday was probably the most significant mile post in the process. The city is ready to sign the contract for four streetcars.

Councilman Russ Johnson says the council's approval of the $17.9 million contract was the true “point of no return,” the day that the plan changed from a dream to a project underway.

“This is where you're really getting serious about building this project," Johnson told his colleagues. "We're going to go 'box it out' and buy something.”

Read more
Headlines
7:05 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

The Chiefs were number one. And the Kansas City, Missouri School District got another accreditation disappointment. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.

KC schools lose out on accreditation bid

Read more
Government
7:32 am
Tue October 22, 2013

KC Charter Commission Recommends Stronger Mayor

The Kansas City Charter Review Commission has agreed on the basics of the proposal it will send the city council.

Most commission members agreed with Mayor Sly James that the mayor should have more power, including the authority to fire the city manager.

Commission member Jim Rice is a long-time area health executive and political observer. He says he doubts the issue of mayoral power will go to the voters.

Read more
Headlines
7:08 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

The Chiefs set a record. Phill Kline indefinitely lost his Kansas law license. And a Maryville rape case got national attention, thanks to Kansas City reporters. KCUR's Steve Bell looks back at those and other top stories on this week's Saturday News Review.

Special prosecutor to reopen Maryville teen rape case

Read more
Government
12:52 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Kansas City Council Moves To Curb Car Shredding Thieves

Looks like a tow job. Could be a car theft.
Credit Wikipidia

Almost three-quarters of the more than 2500 vehicles stolen in Kansas City, Mo. this year are over ten years old and showing their age.

Sgt. Rod Gentry of the South Patrol says many of them are being towed away sold as scrap metal.

"Someone could run out of gas or have a flat tire and leave to seek assistance and return, really in thirty, forty minutes or an hour and find their car gone," says Gentry. "Not only gone but completely destroyed."

Read more
Cops & Crime
8:36 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Court Asked To Appoint Special Prosecutor In Maryville Sexual Assault Case

A Missouri prosecutor who dropped charges in an alleged sexual assault case involving a 14-year-old girl in Maryville, Mo. says he's asking a court to appoint a special prosecutor to look at the case.

Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice said in light of the attention the case has generated this week he was asking for a special prosecutor in order to uphold the public confidence in the justice system. But he also continued to insist that the charges were dropped because the Coleman family stopped cooperating and chose not to be deposed.

Read more
Headlines
7:05 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Kansas City, Missouri unveiled a new logo reminiscent of the KC Monarchs emblem this week.
Credit Emily Elmore / Single Wing Creative

The Kansas Supreme Court listened to arguments on school funding. Overland Park voters extended a sales tax. And tax incentives were approved for Kansas City's biggest office complex ever. Steve Bell revisits those and other top stories of the week on KCUR's Saturday News Review.

Council approves Bannister renewal incentives

Cerner estimates the cost of its Bannister Mall area redevelopment project at $4.3 billion, more than half of which is underwritten by tax breaks from Kansas City and the State of Missouri.

Read more
Government
2:01 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Bannister Mall Project To Get Combined $1.6 Billion In Incentives From City, State

Architects' concept of the proposed Bannister office complex
Credit Rendering by Gould Evans Architects

Big plans for the Bannister Mall area got final approval from the city council Thursday.

Cerner Corporation gets big incentives for its $4.5 billion Bannister area redevelopment project. Tax incentives from the city and the state of Missouri total $1.63 billion.

Too much in tax breaks? Councilman Scott Taylor didn't think so.

Read more
Government
11:31 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Committees Move On Pit Bulls, Bannister Redevelopment

The city of Kansas City, Mo. has received a grant to pay for spaying or neutering more than 800 pit bulls.  But at least for now, the free service will apply only in two zip codes.

Pit bull and pit bull mix owners in Kansas City have a choice: spay or neuter the dogs or pay a breeder's fee. Deletta Dean of the city's department of neighborhoods and housing services told a city council committee that a grant from PetSmart Charities would provide $100,000 for spay and neuter services in the 64130 and 64132 zip codes.

Read more
Headlines
7:26 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Artist's conception of the actual streetcars that will run on Main Street in downtown Kansas City, MO.
Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri

The Missouri Supreme Court looked at the state's school transfer law. Day traffic on the health insurance exchanges. And the shutdown idled thousands of Kansas City federal workers. Steve Bell recaps those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.

Shutdown furloughs most of KC's 27,000 federal employees

Read more
Headlines
7:05 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Top Stories Of The Week

Shawn Ratigan: sentenced to 50 years

The legislature overrode 10 Jay Nixon vetoes, but couldn't reverse the vetoes of tax cuts and gun rights bills. And sentencing day came for a former priest who took lurid pictures of little girls. KCUR's Steve Bell recaps on those and other top stories of the week on the KCUR Saturday News Review.

 

Former priest Ratigan gets 50 years

Defrocked priest Shawn Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison.

Read more
Government
12:33 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Out Of Town Firms Prevail For Streetcar Construction Management

To the disappointment of some contractors' and labor organizations, two out-of-town firms will manage the construction of Kansas City's downtown streetcar line. The battle was over the process.

It wasn't the usual process of lowest price for the most product. Construction management was awarded on a point system with heavy weighting for experience with similar work.  And when the two out-of-town companies won, outcries began.

Read more
Cops & Crime
5:15 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Catholic Priest Sentenced To 50 Years For Child Pornography

A judge on Thursday sentenced Father Shawn Ratigan to 50 years in federal prison.

Shawn Ratigan, a 47-year-old Catholic priest convicted of making child pornography, was sentenced to 50 years by a Kansas City federal judge Thursday afternoon. 

Judge Gary Fenner labeled Ratigan a pedophile in serial fashion.

Minutes before, Ratigan choked back emotion as he told the judge, "Fifteen years is a lot of time, but fifty, come on."

Parents of the two-year-old girl photographed by Ratigan said they never want their child to see him again. The mother of the child said her daughter considered the priest her "best friend."

Read more
Government
11:57 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Area Organizations Join 'No Override' Coalition

Against the veto override: (left to right) REDiscover CEO Alan Flory, AARP Advocacy Director Norma Collins, Independence Schools Superintendent Dale Herl.
Credit Steve Bell

The AARP, Independence School District and mental health organization Re-discover have joined more than 40 others to form a coalition to quash the movement to override Gov. Nixon's veto of the GOP House Bill 253 tax cuts.

Representatives of the three organizations held a news conference at the AARP offices on Ward Parkway Monday.

Superintendent Dale Herl said the tax cut would likely cost Independence schools $5.8 million while saving middle class families very little. Herl said a family of four with an income of $48,000 would only end up with a $6 per year tax cut.

Read more

Pages