Community

Community
10:02 am
Thu February 12, 2015

KCATA Updates Transit Plan For Downtown Kansas City, Gets Ideas

Officials with the Kansas City transit system want input from the public about how to improve service downtown.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

At two public meetings on Wednesday, officials with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority shared the latest work on a broad vision for transit in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Around 60 downtown residents, business people, and commuters heard about changes to bus routes, efforts to beautify and fortify transit stations, and improved pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Last summer the public told the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority transit downtown is about much more than commuters now.

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Fracking
8:08 am
Thu February 12, 2015

With More Earthquakes Than California, Oklahoma Pays A High Price For Cheap Oil

A salt water injection well surrounded by new subdivisions in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Frank Morris KCUR

If you think of an illustration of Oklahoma, you may picture a pan-shaped state, with an oil derrick on it.  But Oklahoma is fast becoming famous for something else — earthquakes.  In 2014, it registered more perceptible tremors than anywhere else in the contiguous United States, and they seem to be getting stronger. The industry that has long sustained Oklahoma is likely the one now cracking its foundations.

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Death Penalty
7:49 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Walter Storey Executed; First Execution In Missouri This Year

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 5:36 pm

Updated at 12:17 a.m., Wed., Feb. 11 -- Walter Storey's execution was carried out at 12:01 a.m. by lethal injection, according to a brief statement from the Missouri Department of Corrections.  His time of death is listed as 12:10 a.m.

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Community
4:44 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

St. Louis City Officials Want To Know More About Kansas City Policing Initiatives

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, left, works closely with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department under Darryl Forte as part of the city's 'focused deterrence' policing initiative.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Other cities are looking to Kansas City, Mo., as an example of how to curb violent crime after the city saw fewer homicides in 2014 than it had in four decades.

In fact, City of St. Louis officials will travel here in coming weeks to look at the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, a policing initiative run out of the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office.

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Community
9:46 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Meet The KCK Couple That Help Look After A Sacred Shawnee Indian Grave

Ernesto and Lupe Arvizu stand in front of White Feather Spring. A natural spring, that's part of a national historic site, that memorializes the life of the Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwatawa.
Credit Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Ernesto and Lupe Arvizu didn't know they were living next door to a sacred burial ground when they first moved to the Argentine neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan., 20 years ago.

White Feather Spring is a national historic site that memorializes the lesser known Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwatawa, who spent the last years of his life in KCK.

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History
5:50 am
Tue February 10, 2015

How The Lesser Known Shawnee Prophet Ended Up In Kansas City, Kansas

Credit c/o Kansas State Historical Society

In the early 1800s, before the Shawnee Indians were relocated to Kansas and then Oklahoma, there was a powerful Shawnee spiritual leader at the center of American Indian resistance against white settlers. The Shawnee Prophet — Tenskwatawa — condemned inter-tribal violence and preached for all the tribes to come together as tribal land was threatened by settler expansion and the United States government.

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Tell KCUR
3:25 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

What Kansas Citians Want To Ask Lawmakers In Kansas And Missouri

As legislative sessions get underway, we asked Kansas Citians what they would like to ask their lawmakers.
Credit Wikimedia Commons - CC

As legislators in Kansas and Missouri get back to work, we thought it a good time to ask you, the people of Kansas City, what you would like to ask them. Or tell them, if you're so inclined. 

We got an array of responses back.

@Mattk2 tweeted: if given the choice between funding education and cutting taxes, which would you choose and who (did you) listen to?

A number of you referred money in politics.

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History
10:03 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Meet The Controversial Man Who Gave Johnson County Its Name

Rev. Thomas Johnson
Credit Kansas Historical Society

The Rev. Thomas Johnson was a character in history who had many friends and foes, and his murder 150 years ago remains unsolved to this day.

Johnson established the Shawnee Indian Mission, a now national historic site in modern day Fairway, Kan.

His legacy lives on, even though you have probably never heard of him — he is the namesake of Johnson County, Kansas.

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Community
1:57 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Will This Be The Last Chance For Kansas City Kids To Go Sledding?

Meteorologists say that Wednesday's snowfall likely won't be the last chance to sled in Kansas City this winter.
Credit Heather Prewitt / KCUR

The 2014-2015 winter season hasn't been particularly white in the Kansas City metro area, but Wednesday's expected 1-3 inch snow accumulation and early dismissals by some area schools has us wondering: will this be the last chance kids will get to go careening down (mostly) snow-covered hills?

National Weather Service forecaster Jared Leighton says probably not.

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Beyond Our Borders
11:10 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Why I Love Missouri And Kansas ... Almost The Same

My Missouri pride was in full force on graduation day at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1984. I had no idea how Kansas would influence my life.

Here’s the thing about the Kansas-Missouri border:

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Commentary
10:22 am
Mon February 2, 2015

When It's From Stuart Scott, A BooYah Can Matter

Here's the note Stuart Scott wrote to Deb Skodack's 14-year-old son Charlie.
Credit Deb Skodack

Stuart Scott, a sportscaster and anchor on ESPN's SportsCenter, died Jan. 4 at the age of 49. Here is one local woman's remembrance of a chance encounter.

Thank you, Mr. Scott. My kid listened to you.

Only once in my life have I ever sought a souvenir from a celebrity. It was in a Phoenix restaurant in 2004 where I was enjoying a girls’ weekend with my husband’s sisters.

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Community
8:36 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Kansas City Transportation Authority Takes Over 'JO' Bus Line

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority now manages Johnson County, Kansas' "JO" bus line.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Johnson County's "JO" bus line is now managed by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, effective Feb. 1. The consolidation effort has been in the works for more than a year.

Jameson Auten of the KCATA says that the merger isn't a total takeover, but just a managerial shift. 

"Johnson County remains in control of policy decisions, but the KCATA is able to provide recommendations on how to better coordinate services," Auten says. "This arrangement does provide cost savings to Johnson County."

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Community
5:34 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Schools Closings: Monday, February 2, 2015

Brrrr! It's cold out there. Temperatures across the area in the single digits. A few schools, mostly in rural areas, have canceled classes today. 

Cancelations:

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Central Standard
5:39 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Parking Dilemmas Are Growing Pains For Kansas City's Developing Downtown

From the top floors of City Hall, as of January 2015, the view of downtown is about half -consumed by parking. See highlighted areas.
Credit Patrick Quick / KCUR

Kansas City’s downtown is like an adolescent going through an awkward phase.

It’s part of growing up, and we’re excited about where things are headed, but the process is at turns uncomfortable and confusing.

File the parking situation  under “uncomfortable.” That was the basis for Thursday’s conversation on Central Standard.

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Tell KCUR
1:51 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Tell KCUR: What Do You Want To Ask Or Tell Your Legislators?

As the legislative sessions in both Kansas and Missouri get under way, lawmakers face a number of challenging and controversial issues.

In Kansas, education funding and state finances are at the center of debate. In Missouri, school transfers and ethics are at the top of a long agenda.

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Community
3:41 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

39th Street Corridor Enjoys Benefits Of KU Med Growth

Jimmy's Jigger is now called Jazz and has been a medical center hangout for decades.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Right before James “Jimmy” Bowers died in 1995, his local dive, Jimmy's Jigger, was bought by a local restaurateur who converted it to a New Orleans-style food and drink joint called Jazz. The company preserved the booze-soaked wooden floor and bar and brought in live music seven nights a week.

Like "The Jigger," as it was called, Jazz remains a hangout for staff and students from KU Medical Center across State Line.

Jazz manager Marty Elton says the relationship with the hospital always has been — and continues to be — essential.

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Community
2:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Leaving Kansas City For Los Angeles: A Jazz Drummer’s Tale

Zack Albetta moved to Los Angeles, California from Kansas City in 2010. He misses the close knit music scene in Kansas City and his friends, but he's making his own way in LA, working as a professional drummer.
Credit Courtesy / Zack Albetta

“Leaving Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of why people decided to live somewhere else. It follows our series “Going to Kansas City.”

Zack Albetta is originally from Santa Fe, N.M., but he came to Kansas City to get his master’s  at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. He worked closely with Bobby Watson exploring Kansas City’s deep jazz history, and he really loved Kansas City's music scene. 

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Community
3:17 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Kansas City Community Organizations Count Homeless Residents

Think of it as a census for people who don't have addresses.

Starting Wednesday and continuing into Thursday, volunteers with programs who aid Kansas City's homeless population will tally how many of the city's residents lack a permanent place to say. 

Teresa McClain is associate executive director of Community LINC, one of the organizations participating in the survey. Community LINC provides transitional housing, so McClain's staff knows how many people are using the organization's services and where to find homeless people.

But elsewhere it's more complicated.

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Gender Equality
2:59 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Women's Foundation Releases Interactive Study On Gender Equality In Missouri

A new study from the Women's Foundation and MU shows deep income disparities for Missouri women when compared to men.
Credit The Women's Foundation & The University of Missouri / Community Commons

The Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City has released the full results of its collaboration with the University of Missouri examining gender equality in Missouri. 

The study identifies five main areas of inequity: income, child care, health insurance, poverty and representation. Each area can be further broken down by county and even local tract maps to give a better idea of what issues affect specific areas.

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Community
9:46 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Sexual Assault Complaints Up At KU

It may seem counterintuitive, but officials at the University of Kansas say they’re pleased they saw an increase in the number of discrimination complaints in 2014.

The office that handles allegations of discrimination received 169 complaints last year. In 2013, that number was 85.

Jane McQueeny, director of the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, says most of the complaints are under the category of Title IX violations. That's the federal law regulating sexual harassment and violence on campuses.

About a third of the complaint were rape allegations.

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Community
10:31 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Second Section Of The Fairfax Bridge Demolished

The Fairfax Bridge is being demolished so a new bridge can be built in its place.
Credit MoDOT Photos / Flickr-CC

Kansas and Missouri's transportation departments demolished another section of the Fairfax Bridge Saturday. 

The section was the second to be taken down with explosives this year. Both KDOT and MoDOT say the bridge, which crosses the state line, can no longer bear the weight of cars and trucks passing over it daily.

Several dozen people parked off of the 7th Street Trafficway in Kansas City, Kan., to get a view of the explosion. David Dumler brought his son to watch as a familiar bridge from his childhood was taken down.

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Community
6:43 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Kansas City Looks For Answers After Drive-By Shootings Claim Lives of Kids

The office of civic leader Alvin Brooks is plastered with flyers like these, pleading with information about unsolved youth homicides in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo., ended 2014 with fewer homicides than the city had seen in nearly 50 years.

But that good news doesn’t lessen the tragedy of a death such as Angel Hooper’s. The 6-year-old was gunned down in the parking lot of a gas station at 107th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard in October, the first of four child victims of drive-by shootings in the metro in recent months.

Emotions run high when kids become innocent victims of violent crime, but the number of drive-by shootings in the metro has not risen.

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Beyond Our Borders
4:32 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

4 Small (But Kinda Big) Differences Between Kansas And Missouri

Liquor laws between the Kansas and Missouri are just one of the little differences between the two states.
Credit Greyerbaby / Pixabay / CC

The Kansas-Missouri state line is one of the easiest state borders to cross. In fact, it's one of the only state dividers that has an actual road lying on most of it

But as Kansans and Missourians know, there are plenty of differences between the states.

Here are a few of the technicalities when it comes to state laws governing everyday life:

Alcohol

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Community
11:58 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Suicide Prevention Workshop Encourages Teens, Parents To Talk About Depression

The family of a Shawnee Mission West student  who committed suicide in 2011 is holding a workshop Monday night for teens and their parents to talk about depression.

Joe Karlin created the Tom Karlin Foundation in memory of his 17-year-old son.

When it comes to teen suicide prevention, "the biggest thing is not so much a resource issue but the stigma that surrounds depression and mental health," says Karlin.

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Community
8:27 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Ferguson Church Hosts Congressional Black Caucus

Nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus visited Wellspring United Methodist Church on Sunday. Seated left to right in the first row are: G.K. Butterfield, Andre Carson, Lacy Clay, Sheila Jackson Lee and Karen Bass.

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:58 pm

Wellspring United Methodist Church in Ferguson hosted nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Sunday for a service commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The chair of the CBC, G.K. Butterfield, told the congregation that all 46 members of the caucus are committed to comprehensive criminal justice reform.

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MLK Day
8:12 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations To Continue In 'Fuzzy' Thompson's Absence

The Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson's memorial service. Thompson had a big hand in Kansas City's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Leaders from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups in Kansas City are promising that the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations will continue in the absence of The Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson.

Thompson was laid to rest Saturday, just two days before MLK Day. The long-time civil rights activist had a big hand in organizing Kansas City's events honoring the life and work of King. 

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Community
11:36 am
Sun January 18, 2015

LISTEN: Remembering Rev. Nelson 'Fuzzy' Thompson

For nearly 50 years, the Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson fought for civil rights in America and abroad. Thompson was a follower of Martin Luther King Jr. and a major proponent of nonviolent protest. 

Thompson was laid to rest Saturday, just two days before Martin Luther King Day. We caught up with those who knew Thompson best at his memorial service. 

Voices:

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Tell KCUR
3:09 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Tell KCUR: Why Do People Leave The Kansas City Area? Have You Ever Left?

In 2014, we launched a series to look at why people come to Kansas City and why they stay, called Going To Kansas City.

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Beyond Our Borders
11:32 am
Fri January 16, 2015

How The Kansas-Missouri State Line Became A Road

The original Livestock Exchange building sat on State Line Road and 16th St. Its location is likely the reason the road was built in the mid-1800s.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collection / Kansas City Public Library

For the past four months, KCUR's Beyond Our Borders project has examined how the Missouri-Kansas state line affects the lives of those around it

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Community
3:00 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Volker Neighbors Learning To Love KU Hospital And Medical Center, Gradually

Patient Sherry Cordle and visitor Linda Harrington walk across the street to smoke in the only designated smoking place on campus.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

The University of Kansas Hospital and University of Kansas Medical Center run along State Line Road adjacent to Kansas City, Missouri's Volker neighborhood. A tight-knit few blocks, where students unwind in neighborhood bars and long-time homeowners chat while walking dogs.

The institution is growing, and like many "town and gown" situations, the expansion has created some challenges.

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