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KCUR News
10:41 am
Tue February 2, 2010

Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles McGee

Kansas City, Mo. – Imagine facing enemy fire at wartime, at the same time as facing the humiliation of discrimination. That's the story of the all-black Flying Class 43-G, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen. These men took part in an Air Force experiment to find out if blacks could be competent aviators.

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KCUR News
10:20 am
Mon February 1, 2010

Smog Cited In Potential Project Stopper

Kansas City, Kan. – An environmental watchdog organization has gone to federal district court to ask a Kansas judge to freeze a permit to build a giant rail yard and truck depot in Johnson County .

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did an assessment of the project last summer. The Natural Resources Defense Council doesn't think the job was thorough enough, considering possible health impact of diesel fumes from thousands of trucks expected at the cargo transfer site.

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KCUR News
6:38 pm
Sat January 30, 2010

Saturday Errands Interrupted At Corinth Square

Prairie Village, Kan. – Police closed off a 600 foot area of the Corinth Square Shopping Center this morning at 83rd and Somerset in Prairie Village after reports of an an unidentified object. Officers who had seen the object said it was wired and could be explosive, but upon investigation by a bomb squad, found the object to be harmless.

About 11:45 AM, police evacuated the busy parking lot as well as The Hen House Grocery Store, Hattie's Coffee Shop, a tailor, nail salon, cleaners, optical shop, and shoe repair.

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KCUR News
7:28 am
Fri January 29, 2010

Audit: Staff Missed 'Red Flags' In Prison Sex Scandal

Topeka, Kan. – A Kansas legislative audit says prison officials missed warning signs that resulted in inappropriate sexual contact between staff and inmates at a Topeka women's prison.

KCUR News
5:17 pm
Wed January 27, 2010

Feds Say KC No Longer Tops List For Mercury Storage Site

Kansas City, Mo. – To a neighborhood's relief, the federal government is backing off from the idea of making the Bannister Road federal complex a toxic waste storage site after the defense plant there closes.

The idea of storing tons of toxic mercury at the site drew the unanimous objection of the city council over the summer because the facility is in a residential area and also in a flood-plain, raising the possibility of contaminating the water supply.

Councilman John Sharp called making it a waste dump a stupid idea as early as July.

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KCUR News
5:35 pm
Tue January 26, 2010

Prison Vans Across The Prairie Roll No More

Olathe, Kan. – It hasn't been unusual for Johnson County Kansas to farm out its jail inmates to places as far away as the Colorado line. An era ended this week as all prisoners were moved back to home base.

For lack of local space prisoners were contracted to other counties around Kansas. The practice lasted more than twenty years. A fleet of vans was almost constantly moving with inmates. It cost the county some $30 million in this decade alone.

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KCUR News
4:08 pm
Tue January 19, 2010

KC Star Reporter Works In Africa

Kansas City, Mo. – It's easy to become accustomed to the American brand of journalism, with its steady diet of 24/7 news, and newspapers competing with the web for readers. Kansas City Star wire editor Greg Moore recently got a taste of another culture of journalism. He spent several weeks in Kenya and Uganda, working with local reporters there.

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People
2:44 pm
Tue January 19, 2010

Missouri Poet Laureate Walter Bargen Talks Shop

Columbia, MO – Missouri's first poet laureate will have to step aside soon to let another writer take his place. Walter Bargen's two year term as the state's top poetry official ends this month. KBIA's Maureen McCollum has more on Missouri's first poet laureate and how to become the second one.

Missouri poet laureate Walter Bargen read his poem "Poet as Grand Marshall of the Fall Parade."

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KCUR News
1:01 pm
Tue January 19, 2010

Local Haitians Pray, Respond To Earthquake

Cousins Victoria Blaise and Ginette Pittman are still waiting to hear from some family members in Haiti. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, Mo. – Food, medical supplies and rescue crews continue to make their way towards Haiti, in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. And Kansas City is home to several thousand people from Haiti.

This weekend, some gathered at church services to seek comfort in the face of tragedy, and look to each other, and God, for support.

KCUR's Susan B. Wilson and Sylvia Maria Gross were at the First Haitian Baptist Church on the East side this morning (Sunday, January 17, 2010) to hear from people there.

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KCUR News
11:56 am
Tue January 19, 2010

Young People Predict Future Of Civil Rights Movements

Shanee Howard of Schlagle High School in Kansas City, KS. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

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KCUR News
4:20 pm
Mon January 18, 2010

Death Penalty Question Rises Again

Topeka, Kan. – A law enacted in Kansas in 1994 and never used to its ultimate conclusion, will come up for a review among state legislators this week. Hearings will begin tomorrow in Topeka.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will debate merits of the death penalty law, its costs and effectiveness. Kansas enacted its death penalty statute sixteen years ago. No one has been executed in the state during that time.

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KCUR News
2:53 pm
Mon January 18, 2010

Settlement Closer In Soldier's Unjust Punishment

Manhattan, Kan. – A former Kansas soldier stands to receive half of the multi millions of dollars he sought after his wrongful conviction for rape 28 years ago. Eddie James Lowery served ten years in prison before DNA testing proved he did not rape an Ogden, Kansas woman.

Lowery was a Fort Riley soldier when he went to prison in 1982. He was paroled in 1991.

If those he later sued will agree, he will receive a settlement of 7 and a half million dollars. Lowery had been seeking compensation of 15 million dollars.

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KCUR News
11:02 am
Wed January 13, 2010

Kansas High Court Rulings Countered In Statehouse

Topeka, Kan. – The chairman of the Kansas House Judiciary Committee intends to counter the state Supreme Court over sex offender laws.

The house bill is designed to reinstate enhanced sentences for people convicted of trying to commit a violent sex crime against a child. Twice in 2009 the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in ways Representative Lance Kinzer feels weakened what is known as Jessica's Law.

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KCUR News
11:03 am
Sun January 10, 2010

Winter Storm's Reach Is Wide

Greater Kansas City – We've had an extended period of bad weather in the Kansas City area, with historic amounts of snow, record low temperatures, and school cancellations - almost everyone's life has been disrupted.

Some are getting a little cabin fever -- like Joyce Lucas, a Kansas City woman who (as of January 6th) had only left her house once since Christmas.

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KCUR News
5:15 pm
Fri January 8, 2010

Unforeseen Duty Hazard: Gunfire In The Snow

Kansas City, Mo. – Some were shocked to hear that a Kansas City snowplow driver had come under gunfire early on the morning of January 8th. Then, the case became even stranger.

The 31 year old public works employee had parked the plowtruck under the Interstate 470 overpass at James A Reed Road when a brown Ford Taurus pulled alongside and shots were fired into the truck. The driver, alone in the cab, was wounded in the back.

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KCUR News
10:04 am
Fri January 8, 2010

Council Calls for New Snow Removal Plan

Snow plows have cleaned the main thoroughfares in the lingering storm system, but the city was criticized for its service on neighborhood streets.

Kansas City, MO – Besieged with complaints about snow removal on residential streets, the Kansas City City Council discussed the matter at length Thursday. And they took their first action to try to improve the service the same day.

The council learned that Kansas City has already overspent its $2.5 million dollar snow removal budget by $300,000, and that situations like the repeated snows and below freezing temperatures are not covered in the city snow removal plan.

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KCUR News
6:18 am
Fri January 8, 2010

Kansas Updates Fish Consumption Advisories

Wichita, KS – Kansas authorities are cautioning the public about the possible dangers of eating fish caught in certain rivers around the state.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife issued a warning Tuesday about potentially toxic fish in some waterways.

The warning cites the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in fish, while cadmium and lead have shown up in tests on shellfish.

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KCUR News
6:50 pm
Thu January 7, 2010

"Stuck in the House by the Snow"

70-year-old Joyce Lucas, inside her house in the Blue Hills neighborhood of Kansas City. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – Frigid weather, piling snow and school cancellations are keeping many people at home these days. And some might be getting a little cabin fever. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross just visited with Joyce Lucas, a Kansas City woman who has only left her house once since Christmas.

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KCUR News
10:45 am
Thu January 7, 2010

Plummeting Temperatures Cause Problems

Kansas City, MO – Temperatures are forecast to fall, not rise today in the Kansas City region. Those who venture outside will meet a truly brutal combination of weather conditions.

Winds rose as snowfall tapered off not long after midnight leaving from 3 to 5 inches as a rule. Driving became slick yesterday afternoon and continued through the night. The National Weather Service radio from Pleasant Hill noted 3 am winds gusting into the mid 20 mile per hour range and expected to intensify

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KCUR News
10:14 am
Thu January 7, 2010

Heavy Trucks Plow through Snow

Kansas City, MO – With snow cutting visibility since late yesterday, travel became difficult in car and truck. Heavier trucks often get around better.

The weight of the load can be a positive factor. Take a fully loaded truck with a cargo of water. A thousand gallons in the rig driven by Jim Rash who hauls water to houses where there's no public water supply.

It's a cold job unloading water that's constantly freezing the pump and hoses. Rash's teeth are chattering.

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KCUR News
2:42 am
Thu January 7, 2010

Overland Park Mayor Comes Out To Support Snow Removal Street Crews At Night

Overland Park, Kansas – As it continued to blizzard well into Wednesday night and Thursday morning, snow crews and public officials metro-wide were saying they thought they'd be working into the weekend. Temperatures are supposed to drop below zero while winds are expected to pick up.

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KCUR News
11:59 am
Wed January 6, 2010

Former Official Says Public Not in Danger from High E. coli Levels

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – The former state Department of Natural Resources official who took the blame for delaying the release last year of E. coli test results from the Lake of the Ozarks defended his actions before a Missouri Senate committee.

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KCUR News
4:49 pm
Tue January 5, 2010

Weather Testing To The Limit

Warren Zeller speaks from twenty years highway experience: approaching storm is dangerous.
photo courtesy MODOT

Kansas City, Mo. – In midst of two weeks of snow and bitter cold, even worse is coming. Those are warnings extending from weather forecasters to highway departments to companies that provide electricity.

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KCUR News
10:00 am
Mon January 4, 2010

KCK Lawyer has Royal Lineage

Kansas City, MO – What if you had a chance at being royalty, would you leave life as you know it behind?

That's the decision Kansas City Kansas lawyer Adebayo Ogunmeno is contemplating. The Washburn University graduate came to the United States to study 26 years ago. But because he is a prince in his homeland in Southwest Nigeria, he's potentially in line to become the next king.

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KCUR News
9:59 am
Mon January 4, 2010

Taking the What Out Of WWW Crime

Graphics lead visitor to crime statistics web page.
photo courtesy kcmo pd web.

Kansas City, Mo. – If Kansas City police have their way, the public will be able to venture into a website that is useful rather than merely a clutter of information bits. The site is new as the new year.

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KCUR News
4:13 pm
Wed December 30, 2009

Law Aims To Snuff Fire Death Rate

Kansas City, Mo. – Some smokers will be lighting (and relighting) a new kind of cigarette as fresh fire safety laws go on the books Friday in Missouri and 11 other states.

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KCUR News
10:13 am
Wed December 30, 2009

Nixon Calls for More Regulation at Lake of the Ozarks

E. coli bacteria

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon wants increased regulatory authority as a means of protecting water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks. And that proposal comes on the same day the latest test results are released.

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KCUR News
3:33 pm
Mon December 28, 2009

Malayalam Community Celebrates Christmas

Overland Park, KS – This holiday season, some Kansas Citians got an early start on Christmas. The city's Malayalam community, which consists of about 400 families from the Indian state of Kerala, held their annual Christmas party last Saturday at Blue Valley Northwest high school. KCUR's Alex Smith stopped by to find out more about the holiday traditions of one of the world's oldest Christian cultures.

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KCUR News
1:38 pm
Mon December 28, 2009

Too Early To Claim Jail Demise

kcur photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – It's been more than half a year since the Kansas City Police Department started serious consideration of closing its short-term jail on the 8th floor of headquarters downtown. By year's end 2009, it hadn't gotten past the bare planning stage.

This is about the all-business, no-frills lockup on the 8th floor of the main police building east of city hall. It's where people who are arrested in Kansas City go to wait for questioning or charges or release. Forty thousand go through it every year.

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