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Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.8

Years of effort on the part of local activists and historians to designate the Quindaro ruins in Kansas City, Kansas, as a National Historic Landmark may be entering the final stages.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, along with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, have co-sponsored legislation to give the site the prestigious status. 

Joe Carson / Courtesy of Bob Hughes Jr.

Updated 5:45 p.m., Friday: After weeks of discussing which street to name after Martin Luther King Jr., an advisory group is recommending not renaming a street at all — but the Kansas City International Airport.

Mayor Sly James clarified at a press conference Monday, if the idea is approved by City Council, the new single-terminal would be renamed, not the entire Kansas City International Airport. But, he said that doesn’t make the proposed gesture any less significant.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Sometimes, spending time with family can change your life’s direction. That's what happened when one trip to Missouri rooted entrepreneur Faruk Capan, and his business, in the Midwest. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A committee has narrowed the list of what might be renamed in Kansas City to honor Martin Luther King Jr. 

The advisory committee, named by Mayor Sly James, said it will vote on its recommendation Sunday.

Stilwell, Kansas, is an unlikely place to find a Muslim Quran reciter who has over a million followers each on both Instagram and Facebook.

But for now, that's where you can find Fatih Seferagic.

When Seferagic was just four years old, his family fled war-torn Bosnia. He eventually ended up in Houston, Texas, when he was 14 years old and that’s when he gained a following after putting his Quran recitations up on YouTube.

FEMA

A handful of Johnson County's 197 sirens designed to warn residents of a tornado didn’t go off in South Johnson County, where an EF-1 tornado touched down the night of May 2.

“There were some sirens that we found out didn’t activate when they were supposed to and we’re running that down right now,” says Trent Pittman, Johnson County's assistant director of Community Preparedness.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Vi Tran’s journey has taken him from Vietnam to refugee camps in southeast Asia to Garden City, Kansas, and finally to a burger joint in Kansas City, Missouri, where he began telling his story and created a space for others' stories in all types of formats.

Past a row of pinball machines, at the back of the Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill, is a large room with concrete floors, black tablecloths draped over round tables, the smell of burgers and a bare-bones stage.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Crews in Kansas City, Missouri, spent Thursday cleaning up after severe storms, which spawned tornadoes, swept through the metro area Wednesday night. 

The National Weather Service reported that three minor to moderate tornadoes touched down in the Kansas City area around 9 p.m. Wednesday — in Raytown and Belton, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas. It also reported a tornado touched down a few hours earlier in Big Lake State Park about 100 miles north.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It’s been three months since Crecensio Mendez Ramirez, an undocumented immigrant who’d been living in the United States for 12 years, was taken into custody. Despite a letter-writing campaign and calls for his release, he remains in detention in a jail in Versailles, Missouri.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, paid a visit to the Ewing Marion Kauffman School Monday to check in on the AmeriCorps members serving with City Year at the charter school.

City Year Kansas City representatives presented Blunt with the  Voices for National Service Congressional Award for the work he's done to keep AmeriCorps and other national service programs alive.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Cheri Post recently had shoulder replacement surgery. It was painful, but she said she didn't need all of the prescription painkillers. 

"Then you go back for follow ups," Post said. "Doctors are still trying to give me medication. All they do is push pain pills on you."

According to Post, she soon had nearly 100 excess pills and no idea what to do with them. So, when she came across a notice that Kansas City police were collecting unwanted medicine Saturday, she jumped in her car. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A former guard at the Jackson County jail has pleaded guilty to corruption charges for taking a bribe to smuggle cigarettes, cell phones and phone chargers into the downtown jail.

Twenty-six year old Andre Lamonte Dickerson pleaded guilty to two of the four counts against him.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

This month has brought renewed attention to the historic Underground Railroad site known as the Quindaro Ruins in Kansas City, Kansas.

After a gathering of community members, historians and scholars sought to raise awareness about the importance of the site last week, Congressman Kevin Yoder has announced that he would introduce legislation to designate Quindaro a National Historic Landmark.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

This spring marks 25 years since 23rd Street in the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, was named after civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.

The efforts the community went through echo the current attempt by a coalition of black leaders to rename Paseo Boulevard after Martin Luther King Jr.

The Old Quindaro Township in Kansas City, Kansas, finally may be getting the recognition it deserves.

Between 1857 and 1862, Quindaro was a busy commercial port on the Missouri River. It was a mecca for abolitionists and settlers and considered a melting pot of Indians, European-Americans and freed slaves.  New England progressives came in the hopes of making Kansas an anti-slave state. It's best known as an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

In the cold of a Kansas City winter, Fran Marion and her two teenage children wrapped themselves in coats and blankets in their frigid rental home. Marion had repeatedly asked her landlord to fix their broken furnace. When he didn’t respond, Marion deployed the only option she could think of.

She withheld her rent check.

John Caldwell / Compile KC

Coffee carafes were nearing empty and there was a focused silence inside the Plexpod Crossroads on Sunday. It was the last day of Compile KC, a new event dedicated to bringing resources to Kansas City-based nonprofits. 

Local designer and software consultant John Caldwell took his cue from an event called Coders for Charities, which paired charities with software developers.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

When Paloma Ramos dropped out of school in 2014, she was already a year behind her classmates at Southwest Early College Campus.

Ramos had a plan, though. She would take online classes through the Missouri Options Program, catch up with her peers and graduate within six months. Only that didn’t end up happening. 

Paul Carless / Flickr — CC

People deserve to have more than their parking validated.

So be a validating force at weekend events focusing on folks whose contributions to the world continue to have meaning. Some are still with us. Some aren’t. Beyond their achievements, all deserve affirmation of their inherent worth – as do you, too, friend.

And if your corner of the world has free validated parking? It’s a great place to start!

1. Kansas City Ballet: ‘The Man in Black’

Pete O'Neal

In an interview from his remote village in Tanzania, Kansas City native and self-exiled founder of the Kansas City Chapter of the Black Panthers, Lindsey “Pete” O’Neal, says he regrets some of the actions for which he's been vilified and feared.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, city leaders on Thursday celebrated what they called major improvements to the urban core: $8 million spent over two years on a program to sell abandoned or dangerous houses for $1 each.

The program, designed to not just clean up neighborhoods but to cut down on crime, showcased one of its first graduates.

Laurie Schwab bought a home on East 29th Terrace in 2016 during the Kansas City, Missouri, Land Bank's $1 sale and has poured $21,000 into it so she can operate it as a transitional living stop for homeless people.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3 / File Photo

The Midwest has a reputation for being a neutral and accent-free place. But that simply isn't true.

Everybody has an accent and everybody has a dialect, and, yes, that includes the Midwest.

Labudde Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library/UMKC

It started with high school students.

On Tuesday, April 9, 1968, five days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, and the day of his funeral, the Kansas City, Kansas school district canceled classes.

But in Kansas City, Missouri, the school board and police department felt it would be safer to have students in class and off the streets.

Michael Ali was a student at the mostly-black Central High School.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The next U.S. census will happen in 2020, and it promises to reveal shifting demographics and changing communities. One neighborhood to watch is Strawberry Hill, a vibrant Kansas City, Kansas community that has long been home to immigrants from around the globe. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Time is running out for about 30,000 Kansas City, Missouri, voters who are eligible to vote on a southern streetcar extension.

Registered voters who live within the area roughly between the Missouri River and 53rd Street, and State Line Road and Campbell, have until April 3 to apply for a mail-in ballot.

Ballots will be sent to approved voters in May and due back on June 12.

This is the final step in a complicated three-election process that must be completed before any work on an expansion to the University of Missouri-Kansas City can begin.

Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation Kansas City

For most families in the United States, planning for a future without your parents is not something often talked about — at least, not until adulthood.

But for thousands of families with mixed immigration status in the metro, the sudden disappearance of a mother or father — or both — feels like a real possibility. An estimated 20,000 children of unauthorized immigrants live in the Kansas City area, according to 2014 census data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute.

Bigstock

When many black diners go out to eat, it’s not uncommon for them to question if race plays a part in the service they receive.

Turns out, that’s not paranoia.

Zach Brewster is an assistant professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Michigan. He has conducted several national research studies on the experience of dining and restaurant discrimination. In his 2015 survey of approximately 1,000 waiters and waitresses across the country, 53 percent of the participants admitted to not giving black diners their best service.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Law enforcement officers in Kansas City are engaged in an innovative approach to fighting violent crime.

In 2016, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kansas City Police Department won grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to use data and community involvement to attack the city’s violent crime rate. Funds are being matched locally.

It’s led by a Yale Law School graduate with roots in the Mennonite community of Newton, Kansas.

Missouri State Highway Patrol

Henry County 911 Emergency Communications said in a statement late Friday afternoon that a database error may have led to Clinton, Missouri, police officers being sent to the wrong address, where one officer died.

Officer Christopher Ryan Morton was shot and killed while responding to a 911 call Tuesday evening at an address on Grandriver Street in Clinton. Two other officers were wounded by James E. Waters, who was later found dead in the house. The cause of his death is still being investigated.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department could be getting even more money next year than first thought.

While most city department budgets will remain flat next year, KCPD is looking at a $5.6 million, a 2.2 percent boost.

Much of the increase will be used to hire 15 more officers and eight more dispatchers.

The department's 84 dispatchers are all working mandatory 12 hour shifts, according to Deputy Chief Roger Lewis.

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