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Segment 1: Some residents say big, new homes on small, old lots are changing the nature of the Kansas suburb.

Home teardowns are not a new problem in Prairie Village, but the issue is receiving a lot of new attention. Today, we asked city leadership how they would strike a balance between property owners' ability to build what they want on their own land, and preserving the look and feel of what's long been known as a modest, affordable community.

The Community - PopCulture Geek

Segment 1: Recent development projects will see some of downtown Kansas City's iconic buildings updated.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Democratic rising star Jason Kander on voting rights, Missouri politics and the 2020 presidential race.

While he may have lost his 2016 bid to unseat Missouri's Republican U.S. Senator, Roy Blunt, Democrat Jason Kander certainly hasn't disappeared from the political stage. Today, he tells us why he's turned his sights to expanding voting rights. Plus, Steve Kraske asks him why he's spending so much time in Iowa and New Hampshire lately.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Finding the best way to memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Kansas City.

Many in Kansas City agree there should be something here to memorialize the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The question is, what? Following suggestions The Paseo be renamed (or 39th Street or 63rd) Mayor Sly James appointed an advisory group to recommend how best to proceed. Today, we spoke with the co-chair of that panel, which recommended attaching Dr. King's name to a yet-to-be-built terminal at the airport.

Two people stand in front of a small white prop plane. The background is a blue sky.
James and Deborah Fallows

Segment 1: What Missouri lawmakers passed — and what they didn't — during last week's end-of-session chaos. 

There was certainly lots of news coming out of Jefferson City this year, but much of it didn't have a whole lot to do with legislation. Today, two regular faces around the Missouri Capitol tell us about the bills lawmakers pushed through, and what was lost or ignored this session in the wake of controversies swirling around Gov. Eric Greitens.

Segment 1: A ride-along with the police through homeless camps touched a nerve on social media.

Around the end of April, police officers and social service workers went searching for homeless camps in Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood. This "sweep out" of the camps elicited strong conflicting feelings. A journalist who went on a ride-along with the police on that day shares his perspective.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local 15-year-old creates a space for teens and young adults to embrace their love of books.

Book festivals for adults are a dime a dozen. Now, a teenager from Prairie Village is looking to give young readers a chance to geek out over their favorite past-time, too. We met the organizer, and spoke with two writers who are taking part this weekend in the first ever LitUp Festival.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

"Not enough teenagers are reading."

Fifteen-year-old Emery Uhlig says this was her motivation to organize a youth literary festival. As the driving force behind the LitUp Festival, the Prairie Village resident wanted to create space for teenagers to celebrate their love of books.

"In a world where we can have things instantly," she says, "people are moving away from books and toward digital media."

Author Clare Vanderpool agrees.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Segment 1: A merger with T-Mobile could change Sprint's long-standing relationship to the metro.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Students in Kansas City and across the country stage a school walkout, 19 years after a mass shooting at Columbine High School.

Katie Moore/The Topeka Capital-Journal

Annette Billings says poetry isn’t about precious kittens and pretty flowers. Rather, she says, the form often calls for much harder, more controversial subject matter.

“Sometimes I feel compelled to write about a murder,” she says, “or a woman who’s living in a domestic violence environment.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How do university students ensure their priorities have a voice in state government?

Students in Kansas and Missouri have concerns that go beyond their next exams and life after graduation. They point to soaring tuition rates, concealed weapons on campus, sexual harassment and assault, and state support for higher education. To communicate their concerns, student lobbyists work the hallways in both state Capitols. Today, we met the students who do this important work.

H.C. Palmer

H.C. Palmer had graduated from medical school but hadn't yet finished his residency when the Army drafted him in the mid-1960s.

President Lyndon Johnson's administration took 1,500 men from medical training programs across the country and sent them to Vietnam as surgeons.

By August 1965, Palmer found himself in a war zone as part of the First Infantry Division. All these years later, he says he’ll never completely find his way out — nor will others who’ve been similarly exposed to the “many horrific things that happen in war,” he told me in a recent interview.

Channy Chhi Laux

Channy Chhi Laux is an American. She earned two undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska and a master’s from the University of Santa Clara in California. Laux’s son is an Eagle Scout, and her daughter has nearly finished a doctorate at the University of Southern California.

Her list of American-sounding accomplishments is long, including working as an engineer in Silicon Valley for 30 years and starting a specialty foods company called Apsara.

Segment 1: South Kansas City is changing.

A revamped Red Bridge Shopping Center, a new Cerner campus, Wonderscope Children's Museum moving in ... the southern part of the metro is changing. What exactly is South Kansas City and what's going on there?

Segment 2, beginning at 24:45: A novelist on writing cross-cultural romances.

Segment 1: How do you learn how to read?

Reading is an important life skill that starts at an early age. But how do kids actually learn how to do it? There is research, of course, but implementing the findings is more complicated that you might think.

 

Jon Demlar

Francis Sommer had planned a vacation to Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain to visit an Army buddy. The friendship arose from a particularly fraught 2006 deployment to Afghanistan, and the two looked forward to reconnecting in a peaceful, beautiful place.

But it was Robert Sommer, Francis’ father, who spent the day with the friend.

Francis was killed in 2011.

courtesy: Robert Stewart

Robert Stewart has nurtured a lot of up-and-coming writers over the decades he's spent as an editor at New Letters magazine and as a writing instructor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

In December, Stewart released a new book of his own poetry. He called it "Working Class" in recognition of his roots as well as the blue-collar ethos he brings to writing.  

Paul Andrews / HTTP://PAULANDREWSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM/

Candice Millard is a Leawood resident and bestselling author who has written books about dramatic, vulnerable moments in the lives of historical figures like James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Find out how she discovered her niche writing about the lesser-known incidents in the lives of monumental individuals.

Guest:

Aaron Brown

Brian Daldorph, who teaches English at the University of Kansas, published his sixth book of poetry late last year. “Ice Age/Edad de Hielo” is both a celebration of his late father’s life and a glimpse into losing a parent to Alzheimer’s, which Daldorph did in 2012.

John Singer Sargent / Public Domain

Segment 1: A great and dreadful tableau of Great War horrors.

georgesaundersbooks.com

A recent high-profile deportation case in Lawrence has spurred local discussions about immigration law. Today, attorney Jonathan Willmoth explains why many immigrants to America overstay their visas, and what options those individuals have.

Peggy Clark / Washburn University

Nell Johnson Doerr’s husband rolled her up in a carpet so she’d survive Quantrill’s 1863 raid on Lawrence. Lying alongside the limestone foundation of her house, she hears her husband’s murder but is powerless to help him.

Kansas writer Thomas Fox Averill’s entirely fictitious book, “Found Documents from the Life of Nell Johnson Doerr,” is rooted in the abolitionist movement, but the character of Nell begins to live and breathe while trapped in the carpet.Readers familiar with Averill’s work might recall that the protagonists of his novel “rode,” found a baby in a raided house near her dead parents. Nell Johnson Doerr is that baby.

Lorie Shaull / Flickr -- CC

In the mid-1800s, a young woman and her husband moved to the Kansas Territory to help runaway slaves. The husband died during Quantrill's raid, leaving her alone. Hear Nell Johnson Doerr's story, as told through diary entries, letters and various documents found in the rafters of a Lawrence barn. But just one thing: this is a work of fiction. A chat with the author of this new novel.

Phillip Taylor / Flickr -- CC

A Kansas Citian just returned from his first trip back to Puerto Rico since it was devastated by two hurricanes. We hear how recovery is going from his on-the-ground perspective.

Then: when you think of Antarctica, you may picture a vast land covered with snow. But did you know that plants used to grow there? A scientist is back from an Arctic expedition with plant fossils that she collected — fossils that may tell us something about how life withstands climate change.

Shawn CMH / Wikimedia Commons

At the turn of the 20th century, two sisters who were determined to provide medical care to Kansas City's underserved kids founded what became a local institution. Today, we learn about the women behind Children's Mercy Hospital. Then, jazz vocalist Deborah Brown reflects on her Kansas City roots and a music career that's led her around the world.

Meg Kumin

Over the past several months, Kansas novelist Laura Moriarty has found herself in a firestorm.

Her fifth novel, "American Heart," is scheduled to be released on January 30. But readers who received advance copies, and those who only read a synopsis, have already expressed fury over the fictional world this white, non-Muslim writer imagined; her status as a white non-Muslim was one point of contention.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It took Sandra Allen a few years but when she finally read the 60-page autobiographical manuscript her paranoid schizophrenic uncle Bob sent her, she found a lens into his creative, curious and sometimes discombobulating mind. Today, Allen reflects on what her uncle's life reveals about mental health in America.

Clément Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia Commons

For a town of barely more than 3,400 residents, Norwich, Vermont, produces a lot of Olympians. Today, sports reporter Karen Crouse tells us about the town's mindset and lifestyle that, since 1984, has put an athlete on every U.S. Winter Olympic team except one (and sent two athletes to the summer games for good measure).

Andrey Shkvarchuk / Flickr - CC

"There are a lot of dangers during the winter, especially when we're hitting temperatures around zero," says veterinarian Wayne Hunthausen. Today, the pet behavior expert answers our burning questions about cold weather pet safety and how to avoid dangers like antifreeze, frostbite and melting salt. Then, we learn about "gaslighting," particularly as it relates to politics and the current #MeToo movement.

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