Community

Cody Newill / KCUR

Activists and LGBT community members held a memorial service for Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old transgender, Latina woman who was brutally run over three times in a parking lot Aug. 15. 

Dozens showed up to the service in Westport, which was organized by the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and Una Lucha KC. Many placed red roses, a favorite of Dominguez's, on a pedestal next to an alter covered in candles and pictures.

Johnson County

University of Missouri-Kansas City students with a valid student ID can now ride Johnson County's bus lines for free.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority expanded the service as part of its new focus on regional transportation since former Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon was hired as president.

Joe Ledford / POOL/Kansas City Star

Updated, 4:25 p.m. Friday:

The trial for accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. will enter a second week.

Cross took the stand Friday to present his case, which included a long-winded rant about a Jewish plot to end the white race and a detailed retelling of what happened in the Jewish Community Center parking lot on April 13, 2014.

POOL/Joe Ledford / The Kansas City Star

Updated, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday: The avowed anti-Semite accused of killing three people in a shooting spree last year will get an extra half-day to prepare his defense.

Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., who is representing himself, has been granted a continuance after a lengthy back-and-forth with the judge.

Cross has said repeatedly he wants to explain “what caused me, a retired Army sergeant living a great life, to do what I did” to the jury.

Joe Ledford / POOL/Kansas City Star

Accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. had just one question for the state’s firearms expert, who testified for more than an hour.

“What are the chances I’m going to get those guns back when I’m exonerated?” Cross asked David Wright, a supervisor at the Johnson County Crime Lab.

An exasperated Chris McMullin, the deputy prosecutor, objected at once.

On the second day of the accused Jewish Community Center shooter’s trial, Maggie Hunker told the jury she stared down the barrel of Frazier Glenn Cross Jr.’s gun and lived to tell the tale.

Hunker testified she had just finished lunch with a friend at the Village Shalom retirement home when she watched Cross gun down Terri LaManno in the parking lot.

“She was screaming, ‘No, no, no!’” said Hunker.

Hunker said at first, she was too stunned by what was happening to be scared. She said after she saw Cross shoot LaManno, he turned to her and asked, “Are you a Jew?”

Courtesy photo / City of Merriam, Kansas

When Ken Sissom became the mayor of Merriam, Kansas, in 2008, he knew exactly what he was getting into.

He was on the police department in Merriam for 26 years, serving the last 13 as police chief.

“When I became mayor in 2008, I had attended every city council meeting, with the exception of maybe four or five, since 1992. So there were no surprises for me on the Mayor’s job,” he said.

For a city of its small size — only 4.5 square miles — it has 600 business, which makes it an interesting place to govern.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

“She was a young person, out there, struggling to survive on her own.”

That’s how Kris Wade remembers 33-year-old Jasmine Collins. Wade had known Collins for about a year as part of the Justice Project, a non-profit that provides advocacy and services to transgender women in poverty, among others.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

How long can you let your lawn grow before the city gets involved?

In Overland Park, Kansas, that number is 8 inches, according to Kim Hendershot, supervisor of code compliance for the city. In Parkville, Missouri, you can let it grow a whole foot. 

Shane Keyser/ / POOL / Kansas City Star

Assistant District Attorney Christopher McMullin opened the trial of accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. Monday with a quote from the defendant shortly after his arrest.

"'I'm an anti-Semite,'" McMullin repeated, voice booming across the courtroom. "'How many goddamn Jews did I kill?' These are words captured on video as the defendant sat in the backseat of an Overland Park police car minutes after he killed three people."

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City Aviation Expo and Air Show drew thousands of people to the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport over the weekend.

People streamed across the closed Broadway Bridge to attend the show, which hasn't run since 2011. Air Show director Ed Noyallis says the main point is to get kids excited about aviation.

"They're all thrilled, you know, it's just fun," Noyallis said. "Airplanes are always a fascination for everybody."

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A jury has been selected in the trial of Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. who is accused of killing three people at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park, Kansas on April 13, 2014.

The jury selection, which began last Monday, narrowed a pool of 200 down to 17 jurors on Friday. The jury is made up of eight women and nine men – five of which are alternates.

KCUR

 

If you were building a soundtrack for summer 2015, what would be at the top of your playlist?

You know, that one song that plays over and over in your head and defines the summer.

When we polled our newsroom, Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" and The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" were two popular favorites.

Tell KCUR: What's your song of the summer?

Courtesy photo / KCATA

Four months into his new job as president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Joe Reardon has several things to brag about, and a few still on the to-do list.

The former mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, appreciates being able to focus on a single mission for a change.

“It's an exciting time, and the first four months have been great. We're singularly focused on connecting people ...  I'm loving every minute of it,” Reardon told Steve Kraske on Up To Date.

His charge is to connect multiple jurisdictions across the metro that have their own public transit system into a single, metro-wide system, under the brand, “Ride KC.”

“When we're out on a day-to-day basis, we don't pay attention to the jurisdictions. And this economy doesn't either, so were trying to develop a system that allows us to really answer to that call,” he said.

On Thursday morning, sisters Debbie and Darlene Ball were sweeping up around the front yard in St. Louis’ Fountain Park area. Several big teddy bears were strapped to a fence at the two-family flat where police shot and killed the pair’s nephew — Mansur Ball-Bey.

Debbie Ball lives in the flat where the shooting occurred. The incident led to tense confrontations between police and residents, the deployment of tear gas and the burning of a car and a vacant home.

Lane4 Properties

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority has agreed to a 19-year tax abatement for the Red Bridge Shopping Center in south Kansas City.

Lane4 Properties Vice President Brandon Buckley says the hope is more Mom and Pop retailers will be willing to locate in old retail space if a developer makes needed infrastructure repairs first.

“By putting in the money it takes to get the spaces ready to go, we think it’ll have a positive impact in terms of encouraging retailers to really invest in the market,” Buckley says.

The Unified Government Of Wyandotte County

Kansas City, Kansas mayor Mark Holland wants his residents to help him solve a city budget puzzle.

The CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County is in the middle of a listening tour to hear what residents think their government should do with an extra $12 million a year — which stems from the paying off of bonds for the Village West development.

Red-X today
Leigh Burmesch / KCUR

Before Walmart or Target, there was Red-X.

 

A fixture in the Northland’s Riverside community for more than 65 years, Red-X is not your average general store. For one, it’s monolithic. The L-shaped building takes up about 85,000 square feet. It’s a grocer, deli, pharmacy, liquor store, hardware store and unofficial museum.

 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

It's not that there's a problem with plans to develop the Quindaro Township site in Kansas City, Kansas — it's the way they're being executed.

The African Methodist Church owns nearly 100 acres of  the Quindaro site, once an important spot on the Underground Railroad, a thriving business and cultural community, and site of the first African American University west of the Mississippi.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Kansas City is a new destination for barge traffic again. For the first time since 2007, barges are docked and unloading cargo at the downtown terminal.

The port is in the West Bottoms near the confluence of the Missouri and Kaw River. Just a few weeks ago, it didn't look like there was any activity at the terminal. But today, it's busy with traffic as a crane steadily unloads mill scale, a steel byproduct  from the barge, and semi trucks pull in to load it up.

Frank Morris / KCUR

More than four out of five Kansas City area residents have to cross the Missouri river to get to Kansas City International Airport.  For many it’s a lengthy drive, one that begs the question “why is our airport so far?”  

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Slavery along the Missouri River in what is now the Kansas City metro area was not the slavery of Gone With The Wind.

University of Missouri-Kansas City history professor Diane Mutti-Burke, who has written extensively about slavery in Missouri, says slave owners tended to have less than 20 slaves. Those with more than 20 are historically defined as "plantations."

Just one potential juror was dismissed Tuesday morning from serving in the trial of the accused Jewish Community Center shooter, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., because of opposition to the death penalty.

Cross faces a single count of capital murder for the deaths last spring of William Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno. The trial, expected to start next week, will likely stretch into September.

Kelsey Smith

Squirrels can be found just about anywhere in the Kansas City area, from the densest parts of the urban core, to rural prairie or forest settings.

They typically are a grayish color, brown or an orangey red, but recent black squirrels sightings in one Northland neighborhood have residents curious about the origins of their new dark furry neighbors.

“It’s weird. Two or three years ago if you had asked me if there is such a thing as a black squirrel, I would have said no. I had no idea,” says Dave Wood who lives on Erie Street in North Kansas City.

But now, Wood says, on his street the creatures are pretty commonplace.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr.

Cross, who also uses the surname Miller, appeared in court wearing a suit and a Confederate flag tie. He asked the prosecutor, seated closer to the jury box, if he'd be willing to switch seats.

Caroline Kull / KCUR News

Port KC, the organization in charge of riverfront development in Kansas City, has an ambitious plan for the south bank of the Missouri River. 

For Michael Collins, the group's president and C.E.O, the idea of another park on the river isn't enough.

"We want to see what we can do to push the needle or do better than other riverfront communities across the country," says Collins.

Though Collins says it's too early to talk specifics, the first stage of development will be multi-family housing and mixed-use retail.  Groundbreaking is slated for this fall.

National History Day

Fifteen-year-old Jay Mehta is inspired by Winston Churchill.

So much in fact, that he spent over 300 hours studying his life and character to put on a performance that won first place in his category in the annual National History Day contest, which attracts more than 600,000 student historians nationwide. 

His ten-minute performance starts before 1940 when Hitler began his campaign in Western Europe, Prime Minister Chamberlain resigned, and Churchill became Prime Minister.   

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

If you've been to Macken Park in North Kansas City recently you may have found yourself suddenly surrounded by food trucks. That's because of a of trial food truck "pod" program the city hopes will bring new tastes and visitors to North Kansas City.

The Northland News reported last week that not everyone from North Kansas City is excited about this new gathering spot.

Northlanders who use the southbound Interstate 35 to get onto northbound I-29 should expect delays this weekend when the Missouri Department of Transportation closes the ramp for repairs.

The ramp from southbound I-35/I-29 to Parvin Road will also close, as well one lane of northbound I-29 at Davidson Road to accommodate bridge repairs.

"We'll have a signed detour in place," says MoDOT resident engineer Zach Walker, "which will be southbound I-35 to Levee Road and then back up to northbound 35."

Terry Smemo

If you can’t be at home, find some peace and quiet.

That’s what we heard this week on social media when we asked, “Where are you most comfortable when you’re not at home?”  

Many of the responses were tied to the solace of the outdoors, particularly running trails and the woods. On Facebook, Michelle Hammack said her home away from home is a “dirt road.”

Some people preferred indoor silence.

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