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Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Two prominent leaders in Kansas City called on Congress today to pass legislation that would continue to protect from deportation those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, or DACA. 

Ana Jimenez, a graduate student at the University of Kansas, says her parents brought her to America when she was just ten and sacrificed everything so she could go to college. DACA allowed her to get a social security number and a drivers license.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

There's no doubt that violence can have a profound impact on young people. But accessing feelings doesn't always come easy.

Toward that end, the Kansas City Public School District has created a special class at Central Acadamy of Excellence to give students an opportunity to create an artistic expression that might unlock hidden feelings about violence.

Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling / Buckley Air Force Base

KCUR has learned that Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith listens to NPR on his way to practice.

In an interview with sports reporter Graham Bensinger, Smith says that he listens to NPR when he's driving to work out, going to play at Arrowhead Stadium and pretty much everywhere else too. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

After hearing more than five hours of testimony late Friday afternoon, Kansas City Municipal Judge Joseph H. Locascio handed down a decision in a matter of minutes: With a few quick words, he found Steven Paul Woolfolk, director of programming and marketing at the Kansas City Public Library, not guilty of three charges stemming from an incident at a library event in May 2016.

Ziegler Family / KCUR 89.3

Reporter Laura Ziegler reflects on what bringing her family and her father under one roof really meant.

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Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Nestled between Kansas City’s downtown business district and the River Market are a bunch of buildings that once literally hummed with the sound of fashion.

From the 1940s through the early 1980s, Kansas City had one of the largest garment industries in the nation. It spanned the area roughly from Wyandotte to Washington and Sixth to Ninth Streets. The local manufacturers there created some of the country’s best-known brands: The Donnelly Garment Company, commonly known as Nelly Don, and YouthCraft, maker of coats and dresses. At its peak the industry was estimated to support over 75 companies.

This summer, NPR reporters are returning to their hometowns to see how they've changed. Sarah McCammon grew up in Kansas City – on the Missouri side of the state line.

Like a lot of places, Kansas City is experiencing a couple of major trends – suburban sprawl and, more recently, a downtown revitalization.

My two siblings who still live there are a pretty good example of this. My brother, Dan Fowler, is in his late 20s, works for a tech startup and, like many of his friends, lives in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Courtesy the Clark family

Pretty Pennington was killed by a girl fight, a handgun and an AK-47.

She’d been to a friend's wedding that Saturday night, Nov. 12, 2016 — a fun party where she danced all night, picking up her phone only to post pictures to Snapchat. Her mother, Marvella Clark, was sitting at a table and noticed Pennington’s cell phone buzzed constantly.  

3D Development

The sale of The Kansas City Star building is expected to be completed Thursday, although the new owner has no immediate plans to redevelop the historic property at 1729 Grand Blvd.

“I’ve worked a little over a year on the transaction so I’m excited to complete the acquisition,” says Vince Bryant of 3-D Development.

“The good news is, it’s a big facility. We’re exploring possibilities as low volume as storage or a data center. On the big side would be higher end office.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

In May, local Drug Enforcement Administration agents, along with Kansas City police, raided a house in Kansas City, Kansas.

What they found surprised them: 16 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

"We had no idea that it was 100 percent fentanyl," says DEA special agent Troy Derby.

But they were certainly aware of the risks of even a minute amount of the powerful opioid.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two councilmembers who represent constituents along Indian Creek say Kansas City needs a regional approach to flood control.

Scott Taylor and Kevin McManus, both of whom live in south Kansas City, Missouri, held a news conference Tuesday urging city leaders to work with other municipalities to keep Indian Creek from flooding again, as it has twice this summer. They plan to introduce a resolution at Thursday’s city council meeting.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Twenty years ago, there weren’t any Kansas wines sommelier Doug Frost would recommend.

He told the late Walt Bodine as much during an interview on KCUR – so Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery owner Michelle Meyer sent him a bottle made from Kansas grapes to try.

“Winemakers here in Kansas and Missouri have to be more clever than winemakers on the left coast,” says Frost as he sips a Valvin Muscat on the porch of Meyer’s winery in Basehor. “This wine is as friendly as can be. It’s like taking spring flowers, throwing them in the air, and they land in your glass.”

Paul Andrews PAUL ANDREWS / Paulandrewsphotography.com

For his day job, he smoked ribs at a barbecue joint. But his secret identity was a playwright. Hear Nathan Louis Jackson's journey to becoming a writer for television and stage, including the Netflix series Luke Cage.

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Brian Ellison / KCUR

With little fanfare or advance notice, workers Friday morning began taking apart a Confederate monument along Ward Parkway just south of 55th Street. 

As cars rushed by, workers disassembled the monument's limestone column and benches with chainsaws and other power tools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

In a video that plays on loop in the background of his memorial service, the young officer grins as he performs the step routine, slapping his thighs in unison with the community members he’s dancing with.

His triumphant smile is the last frame – he knows he just nailed it.

“One thing’s for sure: Thomas Orr was the best stepper on the force,” Lee’s Summit Police Chief Travis Forbes said at the officer’s funeral Thursday.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Across the United States, millions got a near-once-in-a-lifetime chance to view a total solar eclipse Monday. In the weeks leading up to the event, lines of people looking to get special solar eclipse glasses stretched outside of shops. And even Amazon had to issue a recall for some glasses that weren't up to snuff.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Star reporters are being given new assignments as part of parent company McClatchy Inc.’s “reinvention” of newsrooms across the newspaper chain.

The health beat has been transformed into the “bad medicine” beat, the education beat into “raising Kansas City” and the crime beat into “courts uncovered,” to cite three examples.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

On Sunday, several hundred people gathered in Mill Creek Park. They marched through the Country Club Plaza to counter the white supremacist movement and racism in general. Militia members were there to meet them. 

 

Like a number of people at the protest, Will Jones kept a wary eye on about two dozen armed men, dressed in camouflage and Kevlar, standing nearby.

 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda, a clergy person at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, likes to be amazed at the natural world, what she calls "God's creation." So, she is expecting Monday's much-anticipated total solar eclipse to be an emotional event. 

"I'm going to have to have a box of tissues. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry because I'm the person who cries at a rainbow or at tremendous lightning," she says. 

"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) / MGM

When you start a show called "Midwesternish," at some point there'll be an episode about The Wizard of Oz. If this film defines Kansas for the entire world, what exactly does it say and do we believe it? 

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courtesy: Kansas City Parks and Recreation

The controversy surrounding Confederate statues and memorials across the United States has officials in Kansas City, Missouri scrutinizing one here. And it's in a very prominent spot: right in the middle of Ward Parkway, just south of 55th Street.

Courtesy Zach Krumme

The path of totality marked by next week's historic total eclipse of the sun arcs across much of Kansas City and its surrounding areas.

Neal Herbert / NPS

By this point, you've surely heard that there's going to be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Aug. 21. If not, here are some links to help you get up to speed.

Scott Schiller / Creative Commons

2015 was the most successful year since 1969 for the nation's largest cassette tape manufacturer. We meet the founder of that company, based in Springfield, Missouri, and try to figure out why people are returning to cassettes.

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Courtesy photo / Le'Andrew Vaughn family

Sixteen-year-old Adarius Barber was set to be a junior at Washington High School, where he was to have his first football practice on Monday.

His 17-year-old cousin, Le’Andrew M. Vaughn, was a promising baseball player, a rising senior at F.L. Schlagle High School. 

Both boys were college-bound, according to a spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School District.

Photo courtesy of RBerteig via Flickr

Get ready for a traffic jam. 

Across the United States, millions of people plan to travel the highways and byways to view the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The moon will block the sun along a narrow band through 14 states — including Kansas and Missouri. The eclipse begins around 11:40 a.m., with totality just after 1 p.m.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

As they carry donated food out of Great Western Bank in Shawnee, Kansas, five teenage boys boast about whose load is heaviest.

One flexes. “Them’s cannons right there!”

Another snorts. “I’m stronger than – ”

“Yeah, right,” interrupts Will Anderson, their mentor. On this last day of an intensive two-week summer program, he’s driven junior members of the Urban Ranger Corps across town to pick up donations for the food pantry at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Anderson jiggles the van keys. “Let’s go.”

Jennifer Tufts / KCUR 89.3

Vacant since 1972, the first black-owned hospital in Kansas City – where black doctors and nurses could practice medicine and receive advanced clinical training – sits decaying under 45 years of neglect.

Once a triumph of community-wide cooperation, the Wheatley-Provident Hospital remains on the city's dangerous buildings list for an eighth year. Absent a plan for its rehabilitation, it could be demolished by 2019.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Michelle Daytona served in the Army from 1997 to 2005 in Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea and Iraq.

She got a medical discharge when an IED blew up nearby, injuring her. 12 years later, she still has constant pain in her back and legs.

When Daytona got home, she began her transition — a process she’d fantasized about since she was 7 years old.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR 89.3

The Garden of Eden isn't as far away as you might think. It's in the small town of Lucas, Kansas and it's filled with art. On this episode, a grassroots art project and it's unexpected caretaker. 

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