Community

Elana Gordon / KCUR

A storm moved across the Kansas City area late Wednesday and early Thursday bringing light to moderate snowfall.

Due to the weather, many schools have canceled or delayed classes. Including, Academie Lafayette, Benjamin Banneker Elementary, Hickman Mills Schools, Independence Public Schools, Kansas City Public Schools and Center School District.

Check kmbc.com for a full list of closings.

@NWSKansasCity / National Weater Service Kansas City

People across the south Kansas City area felt a blast Tuesday evening after an explosion at a lawn care business in Grandview.

Firefighters were called to JW Lawn Service near 140th and I-49 after receiving calls about an explosion and fire shortly after 7 p.m. 

Firefighters took a defensive position, waiting to go into the burning building because of reports of ammunition inside. They reported at least a dozen more explosions while on the scene.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

According to statistics sourced from local police departments, the total number of homicides in the Kansas City metropolitan area reached 200 in 2016, the highest for nearly ten years. As many Kansas Citians prepared to welcome in 2017, community organization, AdHoc Group Against Crime, held a vigil Saturday morning to remember these victims and support their families.

Gwen's River City Images / Flickr--CC

It’s not a trick of the light – the water flowing from Kansas City taps is faintly pink.

The culprit? Too much sodium permanganate, a chemical added during the water treatment process.

“When the Missouri River has what we call a high color content, when there are a lot of silts and clays in the river, there may be some materials that some people find unappealing,” Mike Klender, plant manager, says. “Part of our treatment process is to use sodium permanganate to combat those taste issues.”

elisfkc / Flickr--CC

An estimated 40,000 travelers will pass through Kansas City International Airport Tuesday. Airport officials expect about 12 percent more passengers this holiday season compared to 2015.

They’ve seen 31 consecutive months of growth.

“We’re really busy, not only with folks traveling home after spending the Christmas weekend with family, but also those that are ready to depart on a winter break vacation, maybe a ski trip,” airport spokesman Justin Meyer says.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Out in Sugar Creek, Missouri, on top of a snowy hill, there are three houses with a long history. Every year around this time, that history comes to life, with the help of Stan and Barbara Salva. 

Stan was born and raised in Sugar Creek, and he spent a long stint as the town's mayor. Barbara has lived there since they married 50 years ago, but she's absorbed the history of the place "like a sponge."

Antioch Community Church

A years-long dispute over whether a Northland church that installed a digital sign violated Kansas City’s sign ordinance has ended in the church’s favor.

Antioch Community Church, which sits on a four-lane road between I-35 and Vivion Road, erected the sign in 2010 with an $11,426 bequest from a parishioner’s estate.

Unbeknown to the church, however, a Kansas City ordinance prohibited digital signs on church property in residential areas.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

At 3 o’clock in the morning on Saturday, Alvin Sykes sent a text followed by a phone call to North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr who was still on the floor of the Senate.

He didn’t hear back, so he assumed the worst. His bill was dead.

But at 5:33 a.m. Kansas City time, Burr responded. 

“He sent a text,” Sykes told me over coffee at a Kansas City, Kansas diner.

”He said 'It just happened. Sorry it took all night, but it’s done.’”

A 47-mile stretch of the Katy Trail in Cass County opened Saturday.
Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

The Katy Trail State Park, the nation’s longest rails-to-trails project, now stretches to the outskirts of Kansas City. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon opened a new section of the pathway Saturday, connecting the town of Pleasant Hill in Cass County southeast of Kansas City to Windsor.

The 47-mile stretch, along an old rail corridor, took the Missouri Department of Natural Resources seven years to construct, at a cost of $15.5 million.

Ervins Strauhmanis / Flikr -- CC

The Midwest is generally not renowned for the beauty of its town planning. Acres of concrete strip malls with  barren parking lots indicate a lack of aesthetic concerns. However, one Kansas mayor wants to protect his city’s aesthetics from telecommunications infrastructure.

Chess may not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing Missouri's fame, but St. Louis, Missouri, was declared by congress the "chess capital of the nation," and the reigning state champion is a Kansas City local.

Tony Rich, the executive director at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL) attributes the success of St. Louis as an epicenter for chess to the chess community that has developed there in the last 10 years.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Do you remember when playgrounds were made out of wood and metal? Falling off the monkey bars onto gravel or concrete? And do you remember that switch, when it seemed like all of it was replaced with colorful plastic?

Well, adventure playgrounds, which have unique play elements and introduce more risks, are popping up more and more around the country and in Kansas City, bringing back some of those old-school vibes for a new generation.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's Woodswether Terminal on the Missouri River has seen the last of its barge traffic for the year. Port KC reopened the public port in 2015 (it closed in 2007), and it looks as if 2016 has been a successful year.

The Army Corps of Engineers only guarantees enough water for navigation from April 1 to the end of November. Last year was an unseasonably warm winter, so the Woodswether Terminal had cargo moving in and out by barge as early as February. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A shootout in Midland True Value's parking lot at Gregory Boulevard and Prospect Avenue that started after 2 a.m. Sunday ended in seven gun-related injuries and three vehicle accidents. One victim is in critical condition.

Minutes after receiving a call around 2:19 a.m., police arrived at the scene where suspects were engaged in active shooting. According to the Kansas City Police Department, one officer, fearing for safety, fired shots. No officers were injured.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Except for the chain of events it spurred in the victim's life, the assault and robbery of Brad Grabs 14 years ago in the Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, would not have been particularly notable.

Despite the ensuing anger and fear, Grabs says prayer and reflection on the events of that Sunday afternoon led him to believe his assaulters weren’t “bad kids,” he told KCUR’s Brian Ellison on a recent episode of Up To Date. They were youngsters caught in a bad situation with little opportunity for positive growth.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Schlitterbahn will tear down the world's tallest water slide after the investigation into a 10-year-old Kansas boy's death is complete.

Verrückt has been closed since Caleb Schwab died while riding it on Aug. 7. 

In a statement, spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said the Henry family, which owns Schlitterbahn, was "heartbroken" by what happened at its Kansas City, Kansas, water park:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

It goes without saying that religious communities are not monolithic. That may be especially true after this election.

So when I got an assignment to get “the response of religious communities” to the presidential election, my impulse was to visit with every religious institution in the area. Not possible. So I arbitrarily selected representatives of a few denominations, knowing it would be but a sample, a snapshot, of what some houses of worship were feeling.

I began with mosques. 

Courtesy The Kansas City Star

My last encounter with Charles Gusewelle was early in 2015. He was trying to reach me by phone and I was on a weekend getaway to Key West. But I found his mysterious message — we weren’t fast friends, and I had no idea why he was calling — and returned the call. Of course, he was on deadline — this was a Saturday afternoon when I reached him. And the Sunday column he’d drafted was about me. Really?

I found that column this morning after learning that Gus had died, at 83, early Tuesday.

Mindy Mazur / Women's Foundation

Are Missouri’s myriad occupational licensing requirements making it harder for women to enter the workforce?

A new study from the Women’s Foundation out Tuesdays suggests that while some licensing requirements protect the health and safety of Missourians, others limit women’s entry and re-entry into the workforce.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Balloons were practically spilling out of the doors, as parents and children filed into the Central Library in downtown Kansas City for the first ever City School Fair this weekend. 

The library was buzzing throughout the day, with a steady crowd of visitors. Fifty schools were in attendance, spread out at booths on all three floors of the library. 

"It's kind of like a college fair," said library spokesperson Courtney Lewis.

Courtesy of Anna Cole

It's Election Day, which has us thinking about those times in our childhood when we ran for office, or managed our best friend's campaign. Back when things were simpler ... right?

Wrong, says Anna Cole. 

As a fifth grader at Bryant Elementary School in Kansas City's Brookside neighborhood, Cole ran for school president.

It was the fall of 1991, and Cole was geared up. After getting into student council in the third grade, then progressing to treasurer in fourth, she was ready for higher office.

Photo illustration by BigStock Images

Ask food critic Charles Ferruzza what restaurants in Kansas City might look like in 30 years, and he envisions places where “farm-to-table” has gone to the extreme.

“Can you see the day people will come in with their very own sorghum from their backyard and ask you to cook it?” Ferruzza asked chef Ted Habiger on a recent episode of Central Standard

Anzacosf2010 / Wikimedia Commons

Do you get a thrill of wearing your "I Voted" sticker on Election Day? If so, transit officials hope to make it simpler for you to vote Tuesday in the Kansas City metro.

Some 134,000 people voted early in Johnson County, Kansas, already (Missouri doesn't have early voting.)

But for anyone who couldn't vote early, buses from the major four systems in the region will be free all day Tuesday.

Barb Shelly / KCUR 89.3

Aubrey Paine is a 2nd grade teacher, the mother of a 1-year-old girl, a Kansas City Chiefs fan and a technology buff. So it isn’t as if she needs more excitement in her life. But lately she’s taken to looking at her class roster every night, just to see what the morning might bring.

“We have all these new kids. I never know what to expect,” she told me on a recent Tuesday afternoon. The newest student had joined the class just that day. You couldn’t miss him: the shaggy-haired boy in soccer shorts, an athletic shirt and eyes that darted between eager and guarded.

KCStat, the city agency charged with using data to improve government efficiency, expects the new Kansas City Assessment and Triage Center (KC-ATC) that opened Monday to reduce the use of emergency rooms and jails.  

Data show that 8,000 people with substance abuse problems and 9,000 with mental health issues visited area emergency rooms between 2012 and 2014. Some of them showed up in the emergency room more than 100 times.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Some started preparing their turn-of-the-century homes along stately Gladstone Boulevard on Sunday; others planned to start as early as 6 a.m. on Halloween morning.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill plastic skeletons or blow-up black cats.

Homeowners along the boulevard near the Kansas City Museum have worked for years with the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association to create Halloween blowouts featuring music, sound effects and displays with multiple moving pieces.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

"Mr. Townsend...you couldn't find a better person than that person," says Lola Madrigal, remembering her friend Jimmy Townsend, the late owner of the Green Duck Lounge in Kansas City.

Madrigal joined a big group of Townsend's friends and family across the street from his club on Saturday to celebrate his birthday by carrying on one of his favorite traditions.

"For three days, as long as I can remember, forty years or more. Just fed everybody, anybody who would come through — free. Three days, every year for his birthday," says Abel Titsworth, a close friend of Townsend. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

“I love the chainsaw guys,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon interrupts.

Dwain Carter, director of disaster relief for the Missouri Baptists, is trying to tell the group what his organization does in the aftermath of a tornado. Often tree limbs and wooden structures need to be removed by chainsaw crews. But Carter lets the governor continue.

BigStock Images

At first, the man appears drunk.

He’s walking along an on-ramp from Lackman Road onto I-435 in Lenexa, Kansas. At 1 p.m., traffic is heavy.

The man doesn’t react well when a police officer arrives.

“He takes a few swings at the officer. They’re obviously not Mike Tyson swings, but they’re swings nonetheless, where if something happened right there it could very easily spill over from the shoulder onto the highway where somebody would really get hurt,” Lenexa police Capt. Wade Borchers said, recounting an incident from earlier this year that involved another officer.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It’s a cloudy afternoon in Kansas City, Kansas. Officer Kevin Terry buckles up in his old, white cop car before heading out to visit a Head Start preschool. He recently met one of the coordinators at a neighborhood association meeting.

“I told her I would stop by today to talk about a possible ‘stranger danger’ lesson she wants to give to her kids,” Terry says.

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