Community

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

About 300 alumni of North Kansas City High School, some of whom traveled hundreds of miles, gathered one last time Thursday night to pack themselves on wooden planks for the Hornets' final girls and boys basketball games at the facility that's been open since 1951.

These days, high school gymnasiums are usually built with retractable bleachers. But when the North Kansas City High School Fieldhouse is torn down and the wooden planked seats removed, the wrecking ball will drop on two giant slabs of staircased concrete.

Courtesy of St. Luke's Health System

We know we need a good night's sleep. It’s good for our health, our cognition and productivity and our relationships.

It's so important that now, some Kansas City companies want to help their employees sleep better at night. The KC Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on sleep for the business community on Thursday morning. (Alas, it starts at 7:30 a.m.)

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Employers in Johnson County, Kan., had a problem: lots of jobs, but no way to get their workers from Kansas City, Mo., to this mushrooming suburban job market.

So transit authorities in both areas – along with some private companies – have cooked up a possible solution to the staffing problem.

Ride KC Job Access, a customized public transit system created by Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Johnson County Transportation Council and private vehicle rental companies, will provide vans that accommodate a greater variety of work schedules.

Micelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

For decades, the Wonder Hostess Thrift Shop Bakery was an institution at 30th and Troost in Midtown Kansas City. People in the neighborhood remember it from as far back as the 1970s, when it was a quick and cheap place to stop by for day-old bread and discounted baked goods.

It closed about six years ago, and a new player has taken over in that location. People can still buy food there, but it’s a far cry from the processed HoHos and Zingers they used to get from Hostess.

courtesy: Kauffman Foundation

Each Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., between 100 to 200 people gather at Kansas City's Kauffman Foundation to hear two entrepreneurs pitch their startups. Throughout February the lineup is focused on black-owned businesses in honor of Black History Month. 

"1 Million Cups has traditionally been the entry point into the entrepreneurial community here in Kansas City, one of the many," says Adrienne Haynes, who attends the events so frequently that she describes herself as a "1 Million Cups caffeinator."

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

At the end of President Donald Trump's first year in office, KCUR wanted to know how his agenda was affecting the Kansas City metro, and how residents thought the president had been doing. 

We did a series of stories and talk show discussions on the topic, and spent time at sites around the region gathering people's thoughts. We plan to do more of this in the future, but for this first round of conversations we went to Parkville, Missouri; Midtown and Northeast Kansas City, Missouri; and Orrick, Missouri. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It's Saturday afternoon, and Estephania Chang-Jimenez, 19, just got off work. The small Lee's Summit apartment fills with the aroma of fresh mole and cilantro from her mom's cooking. It was a long day.

"There was nothing crazy, just the normal pinching and kicking," Chang-Jimenez laughs.

City of Kansas City

A surveillance camera set up by the Kansas City Neighborhoods and Housing Services department catches a lot of illegal dumpers. Usually, they are tossing tires, trash bags, beer and water bottles. But at least twice this month, the camera captured what appears to be a U.S. Postal Service employee dumping mail.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Landlords in Jackson County are filing hundreds of eviction requests each month, resulting in thousands of eviction orders every year. And those recorded evictions – 175,000 court filings over 17 years, according to a study by a housing policy researcher – are only a fraction of the landlord-tenant disputes that force low-income Kansas Citians out of their homes.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Five days after he was inaugurated as president, Donald Trump issued an executive order cracking down on illegal immigration.

It included money for tighter security at the border, plans for a border wall with Mexico and tougher standards for becoming a U.S. citizen.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

One year after the Women's March on Washington swept cities across the world, including Kansas City, Missouri, Randy Fikki's 9-year-old daughter asked him why there wouldn't be a local march this year.

"I didn't have an answer for that," Fikki says.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Next up for the Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce's Big 5 initiative? Improving public transportation.

The Chamber hosted a kickoff event Wednesday morning, where regional representatives from Kansas City Area Transit Authority and Ford Motor Company, to name a few, outlined goals for KC-area transit.

Sunflower Development Group

An old Kansas City Public Schools building that’s been sitting empty since 2010 will be soon be repurposed into affordable housing for seniors.

Sunflower Development Group broke ground Monday on the Blenheim school site at Gregory and Prospect. Director of Development Mark Moberly says old schools can easily be converted into residential housing because they’re already subdivided into classrooms. Sunflower has already completed one KCPS renovation, the Faxon School Apartments.

Usually making a travel list is a good thing for a city, state or country — but Missouri is now on Fodor's 'No List' of places to avoid in 2018. 

Among a list of destinations to avoid for reasons like high murder rates (Honduras), ethnic cleansing (Myanmar) and the environmental threats of tourism (Thailand), Missouri makes the list for apparent racism. 

There's no question the state made national headlines last year.

Courtesy of KCPT

For Mike McGraw, it was always about the story, never about his ego.

He was a relentless truth teller, a reporter who, once having latched on to a subject, wouldn’t let go until he got to the bottom of the matter.

He was offended by injustice, despised phoniness and had no patience for pieties and platitudes.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

In one of his last acts as mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, Mark Holland has called a meeting of the UG Commission today to discuss a report that KCK firefighters were paid for work they didn’t perform last year.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

"Where are the brave ones?" 

Academic coach Charlette Wafer looks out across an auditorium of students, administrators and community members at Central Academy of Excellence. She's reciting a poem. 

"Where are the brave ones? The ones who don't use guns to solve problems. The ones who are mentors and provide support before things get started. The ones who aren't afraid to snitch. The ones who are brave enough to stitch ... Our wounds, our community, our families, our city back together. Where are the brave ones?"

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Though it's not the final say, Kansas City officials decided Wednesday they'd be OK with privatizing some sidewalks in Westport so business owners can screen for guns at the entrance of the entertainment district . The measure now goes to the full City Council. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Amid a rise in homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, the Violence-Free Kansas City Committee (VFKCC) is urging community members to take a short online survey on violence in the metro. 

This is the final phase of a two-year project, spearheaded by the Kansas City Health Department in partnership with the Prevention Institute, a nonprofit group which takes a public health approach to violence and has worked in cities like Minneapolis and Oakland.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Sunayana Dumala says February 22, 2017 is a day she doesn't want to remember.  It was that evening police came to her door in Olathe, Kansas, to tell her her husband had been murdered.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla had decided to go for a drink at Austin's Bar and Grill in Olathe with his friend and colleague from Garmin, where they were both engineers. An angry patron had shouted hate rhetoric at the men, both Indian-born, and returned with a firearm. Kuchibhotla was fatally shot.

Courtesy photo / Twitter

The armed assailant who entered a Lenexa Costco store on Sunday was a 58-year-old Kansas man who was shot by an off-duty policeman who happened to be shopping at the store.

Lenexa police say the gunman was Ronald O. Hunt of Edwardsville, Kansas. No other details about the man or his motives have been released.

Scraps KC Executive Director Brenda Mott with Cracker, a homeless volunteer.
Tom Taylor / KCUR 89.3

Scraps KC is a place to let go of your unwanted materials, inspire creativity and a refuge for the homeless from the streets.

Down in Kansas City's West Bottoms, Scraps has been open for 13 months. Executive Director Brenda Mott calls it a creative reuse center. It's like a thrift store targeted at crafters.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

“Let’s hear what you've got,” Nathan Louis Jackson says to Roben Pope, a junior at Central Academy of Excellence in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jackson rests his elbows on the table so he’s at the same level as Pope, one of a dozen students in a special creative writing class here. He’s relaxed and informal.

“Doesn’t matter how much," he says. "Got just a few lines, got an idea? Let’s just hear whatever there is.”

Courtesy BNIM

After a 36 year absence, a full-service YMCA will be returning to downtown Kansas City — this time in the historic Lyric Theater at 11th and Central.

The Missouri Development Finance Board on Tuesday approved up to $4 million in state tax credits, a move that will allow the YMCA to complete its fundraising for the project that's been in the works since 2012.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

As Kansas City continues to see increases in violent crime, new Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith says he’s doubling down on community policing.

The chief, who was selected in July, says he wants to expand the number of community interaction officers.

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.

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