Midwesternish

Some call it fly-over country -- the big, burly middle between the East and the West. We’re coast-less, and OK with that. Life out here isn't what it used to be. We're Midwestern ... ish. This is a podcast about the thinkers, doers and change-makers that make up our part of the country. Hosted by writer, storyteller and public radio journalist Gina Kaufmann, a Midwesterner born and raised.

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ANTHONY LADESICH

Anthony Ladesich never got to buy his dad a drink. He died when Anthony was only 19. But after listening to his father's old reel-to-reel tapes, Anthony discovered a dad he never knew, and what he heard blew his mind.

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As more young people identify as Nones (as in "no religious affiliation"), are they still making room for rituals in their daily lives?

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As a kid, Ed Dwight never dreamed he might one day go to the moon, but he did fantasize about escaping life in Kansas. And it was that idea of escape that was so powerful for a young black man in the 50s.

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Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A shooting in Olathe, Kansas that left one Indian man dead and another injured has captured national and international attention. How does violence like this change South Asian immigrants' perceptions of the Midwest and the "American Dream?"

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COURTESY OF NABIL HADDAD

There's no question that the McDonald's Happy Meal was invented in Kansas City, Missouri. The question is...who invented it? To find an answer, we go on a journey from 1950's Lebanon to Salina, Kansas.

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KCUR Studios released today Midwesternish, a new podcast about the thinkers, doers and makers in the middle of the country.

John Lodder / Flicker

When you hear the words "Conservatory of Music" what do you see ... pianos, violins, brass in padded rooms? What about a guy sitting behind a computer screen? Meet the first student to be admitted to a Missouri music conservatory to study and play the computer.

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EVA WILSON / LEAWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH

In 2016, the homicide rate in Kansas City, Missouri, was the highest it had been in a decade. Twelve of the people killed that year were under the age of 16. Meet some of the people whose lives have become intertwined with this ongoing violence.

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E.G. Schempf / Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

Artist and pastor Dylan Mortimer has cystic fibrosis, a disease that fills the lungs and other organs with a thick mucous, eventually clogging airways and limiting the sufferer's ability to breathe. When Mortimer was growing up, the life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis was the late teen years. Now, thanks to advances in medicine, it's 37. Mortimer is 36.