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.

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Government
10:13 am
Thu September 4, 2008

Vote On City Volunteers Ordinance Postponed

Mayor Mark Funkhouser's indignance was visible when he talked to the media on Wednesday. But he was more humble and calm at Thursday's showdown on volunteers.
Photo by Dan Verbeck

Kansas City, MO – The ordinance setting a no family members in the office policy for volunteers made the council floor yesterday, but was delayed a week on technicalities raised by council member John Sharp.

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Government
10:41 am
Wed September 3, 2008

Bond Says High Expectations For Palin's Speech

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Senator Kit Bond talked with Up To Date listeners from the Republican national Convention Wednesday and he says those who criticize vice-presidential nominee Sara Palin for lack of experience are mistaken.

Bond says,"You know when you're talking about experience. Her experience having run local government agencies, state agencies, having been governor for almost 2 years, and being a working mom with five kids, that's a whole lot more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined."

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Government
9:22 am
Wed September 3, 2008

Kansas Delegate Says GOP Convention Finding Focus

Kansas City, MO – As the GOP National Convention gathers steam in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Republican Consultant David Kensinger of Topeka says the event is beginning to find its focus and an exciting one.

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KCUR News
2:30 am
Fri August 22, 2008

Kansas City Council Passes Domestic Violence Ordinance

Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City council passed a domestic violence ordinance Thursday that makes it a municipal crime to violate an order of protection... but not without a dissenting voice.

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Headlines
4:17 am
Sat August 16, 2008

Top Stories of the Week

Kansas City, MO –

  • American Airlines to cut up to 600 jobs at KCI
  • KC out of women's Final Four running till 2017
  • KCPD, airport force to "cooperate" at KCI
  • Council resolution would ban mayor's wife
  • Ordinance aims at protection order violators
  • Jackson County reevaluations chip at school funding
  • No county endorsement on KCK casino operation
  • Donnelly calls for recount of close Koster victory
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Headlines
4:17 am
Sat August 16, 2008

Top Stories Of The Week

Kansas City, MO –

  • American Airlines to cut up to 600 jobs at KCI
  • KC out of women's Final Four running till 2017
  • KCPD, airport force to "cooperate" at KCI
  • Council resolution would ban mayor's wife
  • Ordinance aims at protection order violators
  • Jackson County reevaluations chip at school funding
  • No county endorsement on KCK casino operation
  • Donnelly calls for recount of close Koster victory
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Government
12:51 am
Fri August 15, 2008

Council Presses For Squitiro Resignation

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and wife Gloria Squitiro. Council members urge him to end her volunteer work at City Hall.
Photo from

There are 13 members of the city council, counting the mayor. And nine of them are sponsoring a policy resolution on volunteers at City Hall.

Mayor Pro-tem Bill Skaggs wasn't among them, but the significance of the "legal protection" measure was fairly clear to him. Skaggs says his fellow council members seem to be expressing their disapproval of the mayor's wife, Gloria Squitiro, serving as a volunteer worker in the mayor's office... and the city being sued over allegedly discriminatory remarks she made.

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Government
12:38 am
Fri August 8, 2008

KC Council News: Nov. Light Rail Vote, No Police Change At KCI

Rendering by BNM Architects.

Kansas Citians can look forward to a vote on light rail and some fancy new parking meters downtown.

Councilman Russ Johnson's compromise starter route won unanimous final approval yesterday, and the sales tax to support it will go to the voters in November. Johnson says though most voters want a more expansive plan, the majority polled endorse the northland to 63rd Street plan.

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Government
3:52 am
Wed August 6, 2008

Voters Approve JoCo Public Safety Sales Tax

Johnson County Legislature chair Annabeth Surbaugh says the sales tax extension shows most voters trust their legislators forsight and stewardship.
Photo by Steve Bell

Johnson County gave a 53 to 47 nod to extending its one-quarter-cent tax indefinitely. Previously the tax was devoted to the public schools. County legislative chair Annabeth Surbaugh said the majority recognized that the sales tax is the best way to finance expansions of the jail and juvenile facilities and programs... and build a new crime lab.

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Government
1:54 am
Fri August 1, 2008

Governor Candidates Differ On Earnings Tax Repeal

Dr. Joseph Haslag, holder of the Kenneth Lay Chair in Economics at MU conducted the research on replacing the earnings taxes.
University of Missouri Photo

Like about 25 percent of major American cities, Kansas City and St. Louis have their own income tax - the Earnings Tax. The state legislature passed the law allowing the cities to tax income in the late 1940's.

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Government
1:33 am
Fri August 1, 2008

Light Rail Plan Expands To 63rd & Prospect

Freedom, Inc., the Urban League, the NAACP and civic leaders were on hand Thursday to advocate for adding two miles of track, but ended up praising rather than cajoling. Councilman Russ Johnson opened hearing with by announcing that the route had been altered.

Not all the testimony at the hearing was positive. Residents of the Main Street corridor and Bill Bates of American Century Investments expressed concerns about parking, effects on traffic and property access. Attorney Clinton Adams, Jr. responded with an invitation that drew laughter:

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Government
12:21 am
Fri July 18, 2008

Committee Reaction Mixed On Light Rail Starter Route

A light rail train like those envisioned in Kansas City beside a contemporary bus.
Picture courtesy of kansascitylightrail.org

Kansas City, MO – The light rail starter route before the Kansas City council had its debut on the committee floor Thursday and met mixed reaction.

The ordinance proposed by Councilman Russ Johnson features 12 miles of track from Vivion Road through downtown to Cleaver Boulevard and East to Prospect. Johnson told the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee the public will vote for it and i eager for the chance to do so.

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Government
10:48 am
Thu July 10, 2008

Light Rail Vote In November Still Possible

Kansas City Missouri voters will decide on a light-rail starter route and the 3/8-cent sales tax to support in on November 4th if the process started today continues to fruition.

Councilman Russ Johnson introduced an ordinance that calls for a November vote on the sales tax and a resolution to use the tax for a light-rail starter route if voters approve it.

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Government
10:43 am
Thu July 10, 2008

First Lady Hopeful Reaches Out To Working Women

Michelle Obama hosted a roundtable discussion at the University of Missouri, Kansas City today about the economic challenges of working women.

The aspiring first lady told a crowd 300 people that the struggles of balancing work and family are especially difficult for women today but her husband, Barack Obama, understands the plight of women and is best suited to take on those issues as President.

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Government
3:43 am
Fri January 18, 2008

Kansas City Voters Face Two Smoking Ban Proposals

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City voters will likely face two competing smoking ban proposals, and one to renew a tax that supports city buses. But as KCUR's Steve Bell reports, the final ballot isn't set in stone.

The city council agreed yesterday to fine-tune a 3/8 cent sales tax for the ATA so the proceeds could only go for bus service and planned to finalize putting it on the ballot next week. But City Attorney Galen Beauford Clay said Chastain's light rail lawsuit could invalidate that.

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Education
4:29 am
Mon February 19, 2007

Olathe Teacher Finalist for National Teacher of the Year

Students Alex Cole, Alex Parkinson and Anish Patel are rooting for their teacher, Josh Anderson in the Teacher of the Year finals.
Photos by Steve Bell

Olathe, KS –
For the fourth time in the past six years, Olathe Northwest speech drama and forensics teacher Joshua Anderson is one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.

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Business
8:38 am
Mon January 20, 2003

Tide Turned for Kansas as Energy Exporter

Wind farms present opportunities for Kansas but more power lines are needed

Kansas City, MO – A new report called the Kansas Energy Plan reminds Kansans that the oil and gas wells that dot the landscape are reminders of a disappearing era. At the same time it offers the hope on energizing at least one area of the lagging Kansas economy. The panel sees hope for more exports of wind, ethanol and coal-bed methane based energy.

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People
3:38 pm
Sun December 8, 2002

Web Site Recalls Pearl Harbor, WWII

Website devloper Scott O'Kelly displays 16\" transcription from World War II era.
Steve Bell

Americans this weekend observed the anniversary the attack on Pearl Harbor.

KCUR's Steve Bell visited the creators of a web site that recalls that day of infamy.

You can visit the web site here.

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Cops & Crime
9:01 am
Wed October 16, 2002

Should Kansas City Keep Its Municipal Prison?

So many people go to the Municipal Corrections Institution because they couldn't post bond that some call it the "debtors' prison."

Young traffic offenders are incarcerated alongside convicted felons. Following staff cuts MCI became so overcrowded that 16 convicted violent offenders had to be released in August.

The City Auditor says a city shouldn't be in the prison business at all.

KCUR's Steve Bell visited the jail and talked with various city officials who have a stake in what will become of the facility.

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KCUR News
2:42 pm
Wed September 11, 2002

A New Longview

Lee's Summit – Longview Farm was built for Kansas City lumber baron R.A. Long before World War I. Developer David Gale would preserve some of the old buildings as part of his planned commercial-residential community development. Preservationists say it's probably now or never. But will the development look wonderful now, but cause a traffic problem later?

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KCUR News
11:08 am
Tue August 27, 2002

Fighting Crime Online

Kansas City – The state of Kansas has won an award for KCJIS, its computer communications system for courts, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies.

Find links to some of the state agencies' sites below.

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