Community

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Sculptor Spencer Schubert has his works prominently displayed across the region from Manhattan to Jefferson City, and now wants to do something closer to home as a healing gesture for his community.

He’s proposing a soaring sculpture of two hands grasping a knotted rope as a sign of unity to replace a controversial Confederate memorial removed last August from the median of Ward Parkway at 55th Street.

David Eulitt / Kansas City Star via AP

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor has asked for help in investigating a retired white police detective accused of preying on black women for sex over decades and pursuing the wrongful murder conviction of the son of one of the women.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas is the top federal prosecutor in the state, overseeing 50 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and 50 support staff based in offices in Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas.

As one of 93 U.S. Department of Justice outposts nationwide, it often works with local law enforcement officials on drug cases and other major state and federal crimes.

The office has a rich history. One former U.S. Attorney, Cyrus Schofield, left in the 1870s under a legal cloud that entailed taking bribes from railroads.

Kelsey Borch / Flatland

Two recent cases involving prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kansas, point to a problem that some criminal defense lawyers say has been building for a long time:

For years, they say, a small group of federal prosecutors in KCK has run roughshod over the rights of criminal defendants.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

In a big breakthrough for downtown commuters, Missouri highway and Kansas City officials have come up with an interim repair plan that avoids closing the Buck O'Neil Bridge entirely and buys time for a hoped-for, permanent replacement.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3 FM

Fort Leavenworth isn't just a military base with a lot of historic architecture. It's also a place where you can find one of Kansas' oldest trees.

Just east of the airfield there is a 200-acre stretch of land on a flood plain that's become an accidental wildlife refuge. It's the largest stretch of contiguous forest along the lower Missouri River.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

A coalition of social justice groups is pushing for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County to become the first government in the Kansas City area to issue municipal identification cards to residents.

The coalition, which includes the ACLU of Kansas, says as many as one in five Wyandotte County residents belong to demographic groups that are likely to have trouble obtaining a government-issued photo ID. 

HuffPost

A federal judge on Monday partially blocked President Trump's ban on transgender recruits to the military.

In a 76-page opinion Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia said parts of the president's ban are not supported by the evidence.

The judge's opinion reinstates Obama-era policy toward transgender service men and women, which lifted long-standing restrictions. For decades, the military identified gender non-conformity as a mental illness.  

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Updated, Wednesday, 1:45 p.m.

The victim of a Wednesday morning drive-by shooting in Brookside was Thomas Pickert, a personal injury lawyer for the law firm Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger.

Police have not yet confirmed the victim's identity.

Kansas City Police Sgt. Kari D. Thompson says the man was on the front porch of his Brookside home when he was killed Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A. Zahner Co., a world-renowned, architectural metal fabrication firm, is practicing its creativity on its $5 million expansion project at its downtown headquarters and manufacturing facility at Eighth and The Paseo.

Courtesy photo / Kansas City Public Library

Editors note: This story was updated at 10:35 A.M. Wednesday with comments from Irv Hockaday.

Laura Rollins Hockaday died Tuesday at St. Luke's Hospital.  She was 79.

Hockaday, who for decades chronicled the comings and goings of the social elite for the Kansas City Star, is being remembered today as a humble woman whose greatest legacy is the respect with which she related to all people.

Courtesy Exiled KC

Every October in Kansas City, people flock to the metro's haunted houses. 

Whether its the the converted warehouses in the historic West Bottoms or the Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun, "haunted-housing" is a time-honored tradition here.

But one of the metro's newest haunted attractions takes you out of the city — and into the woods. 

Exiled opened in 2016 at the ZIP-KC site in Bonner Springs, Kansas. 

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The congested bus transit center at 10th and Main is scheduled to be closed within two years, opening up space for a potential pocket park in the heart of downtown.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority plans to relocate the 1/2-acre transit center, currently a hub for 15 bus routes, to a new, larger site in the East Village area at the southeast corner of 12th and Charlotte.

HuffPost

The walls and shelves of Suzanne Wheeler’s home office in Shawnee, Kansas, are filled with awards and memorabilia from her 32 years in the Army. At the height of her career, she was in charge of plans, operations and training for the Kansas National Guard, responsible for 7,400 soldiers and airmen. She did combat tours in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired last year as a colonel.

courtesy: Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

The U.S. Department of Commerce is awarding $1.6 million to the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Greater Kansas City, or HEDC.

The grant, announced on Thursday, will be used to renovate an industrial building near 27th and Southwest Boulevard, at 2720 Jarboe, and turn it into a small business incubator. 

Pedro Zamora, the non-profit’s executive director, says minorities are sometimes left out of Kansas City's entrepreneurship community. 

Claire Tadokoro / KCUR 89.3

Gaby Carmona is a client advocate for a nonprofit, a mother of five, a wife, an active community and church member and a Clay County resident.

All those aspects of Carmona's life are now jeopardized because she is also a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient. The documentation that has become so essential to the wellbeing of her family is expiring.

“I’m experiencing all these different emotions. I’m feeling this sense of loss. I’m also grieving the fact that I’m losing something very vital and, gosh, it’s scary,” the 30 year old said.

Courtesy of UMKC

University of Missouri-Kansas City law students are helping young people who were brought to the country illegally as children renew their work-study authorization ahead of an Oct. 5 deadline.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

A rural hospital administrator in southwest Kansas has taken on the role of go-between for Kansans and immigrants from war-ravaged countries on the other side of the world.

courtesy: Heart to Heart International

Puerto Rico is still digging out from Hurricane Maria.

The storm knocked out power, and fuel supplies are low. People are struggling to meet basic needs, such as access to food and water.

"We bring hope to people. We're going to help make those circumstances better," said Heart to Heart International chief operating officer Kim Carroll. "Puerto Rico will recover if we help it, and that's what we need to do." 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, July 21, Maria Wakondo, a refugee from the Congo, was held up at knifepoint while walking home to her apartment. The robber took her whole purse, including $600 from her just-cashed paycheck. 

She wasn’t hurt, but the incident highlights some of the reasons new refugees can be vulnerable to crime.

Wakondo and her family recently moved to a new brick house in Kansas City's Historic Northeast.

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.

Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

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.

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