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KCUR News
6:37 pm
Fri October 23, 2009

Hunt Ends: Child Found Dead

Elizabeth Olten, in life.

Jefferson City, Mo. – A little girl from St. Martins, Mo., missing nearly two days has been found dead in a deep stand of woods. And an older boy has been arrested.

Elizabeth Olten told parents on a cell phone she was walking home from neighbors Wednesday late afternoon. She vanished. Electronics technicians were able to detect 'pings' from her phone for a time but they faded. The search had been joined by F.B.I. agents, Missouri Highway Patrol troopers and volunteers.

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KCUR News
10:53 am
Fri October 23, 2009

Former Record Store Owner, Anne Winter, Dies At 45

Anne Winter in a early morning Mardi Gras march, February 2009.
photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

Kansas City, MO – Local activist and former music store owner, Anne Winter, 45, died Thursday in her home. For over two decades, Winter's name has been linked to the music and cultural scene in Kansas City.

For 18 years, Winter and her business partner/husband Kurt Von Schlemmer owned and operated Recycled Sounds, a midtown Kansas City record store on Main Street. Recycled Sounds hosted in-store performances by local or touring bands, promoted CDs by local bands, and hired local musicians as part-time staffers. The store closed in April 2006.

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KCUR News
3:31 am
Thu October 22, 2009

Mayor, Police Chief Endorse COMBAT Anti-Drug Tax

Chief Jim Corwin and Mayor Mark Funkhouser in a press conference at the Jackson County Courthouse. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and police chief Jim Corwin both endorsed the passage of Jackson County's anti-drug sales tax today. The 20-year-old tax is up for renewal in an election November 3, 2009.

Jackson County's quarter-cent anti-drug tax, known as COMBAT, collects about $20 million a year to fund drug-related law enforcement and prevention programs If approved this year, the tax would also fund efforts to fight violent crime. Mayor Mark Funkhouser says that since 1989 when the tax was enacted, Combat has funded many important community programs .

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KCUR News
5:24 pm
Wed October 21, 2009

Death By Neglect Threatens Missouri Children

Kansas City, Mo. – A disturbing report from a national child-abuse-watchdog group ranks Missouri with an alarmingly high rate for deaths from neglect.

Data indicates five children die every day in the United States from neglect or abuse. Missouri was fifth highest in the nation in those types of deaths in 2007. That's the most recent year the study was compiled.

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KCUR News
8:16 am
Wed October 21, 2009

Kansas Mountain Lion Sighting Confirmed

Mountain lion
(USDA National Wildlife Research Center media archives)

WaKeeney, KS – The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks says its staff have verified that a big cat photographed by the hunter northwest of WaKeeney was a mountain lion. The agency says it's the first documentation of a live, wild mountain lion in the state.

In a statement Tuesday, the department said the hunter was in a tree stand when the mountain lion appeared near a pile of corn. The hunter took multiple photos as the lion approached within 10 feet of the stand and looked up before moving out of sight.

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KCUR News
8:12 am
Wed October 21, 2009

DNA Backlog Hurts Kansas Crime Efforts

Topeka, KS – Kansas Attorney General Steve Six worries that some crimes in the state may stay unsolved longer because of budget problems facing the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Six's office said Tuesday that the KBI lab that processes DNA samples is understaffed, leading to a backlog in testing and including test results in the state's database.

Spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said the backlog affects samples collected from people who are arrested for felonies, not from current investigations.

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KCUR News
7:46 am
Wed October 21, 2009

Calls For Renewed Effort To Prevent Child Abuse

Kansas City, MO –
A new report says more than ten-thousand American children died between 2001 and 2007 due to child abuse and neglect and the actual number may be thousands higher. The report calls for an expanded federal role to plan, coordinate, and fund solutions to this scourge.

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KCUR News
7:43 am
Wed October 21, 2009

KCK Teen Found Guilty Of Murder

Kansas City, MO – After a week long trial in Wyandotte County District Court, an 18 year old Kansas City Kansan has been found guilty of murdering a younger teenage boy.

A jury found Patricio Briseno guilty of first degree murder in the February shooting southwest of Kansas City Kansas' downtown district.

Bullets killed 13 year old Central Middle School student Ricardo Zamora and wounded another teenager. Investigators thought the shooting was a result of violent gang interplay and rivalries.

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KCUR News
4:42 pm
Tue October 20, 2009

Reward Increased In Hereford House Blaze

The picture at the top, released this week, seems to show a man who is larger or at least stockier-built than the man fairly clearly pictured in photos released in February. Both appear to be wearing very similar baseball caps.
Photos from video security cameras.Click to enlarge.

Kansas City, MO – Authorities have doubled the reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the million-dollar fire at the Hereford House restaurant downtown last year.

They're now offering $10,000 - and have posted a previously unreleased security video photo that shows what appears to be a second suspect in the dimly lit restaurant shortly before the 1 AM fire.

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KCUR News
12:59 pm
Tue October 20, 2009

Brothel Breakup Judged To Conclusion

Kansas City, Mo. – Western Union wire services carried more than a third of a million dollars from Kansas City to China in 2005 and 2006. Wire transfers are common transactions, but these came from an uncommon source: massage parlors.

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KCUR News
7:44 am
Tue October 20, 2009

K-State Frat Suspended Over Hazing

Manhattan, KS – A judicial board at Kansas State University has suspended the Phi Delta Theta fraternity for a hazing incident that left a student hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.

The 18-year-old freshman was found unresponsive at the off-campus fraternity house in late September. He recovered and is still a member of the chapter.

The Interfraternity Council imposed the sanctions on Phi Delta Theta. The fraternity will be on probation until September 2011, will have to pay fines and won't be allowed to have any event involving alcohol until February 2011.

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KCUR News
7:36 am
Tue October 20, 2009

Zebra Mussels Start Crowding In On Lawrence

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), introduced from Russia via shipping canals to non-native areas in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries and later to North America.

Kansas City, MO – A water treatment plant on the Kaw in Lawrence reports finding zebra mussels starting to clog an intake pipe. And plant officials are pondering how often they may have to clean the molluscs out. Tim Banek of the Missouri Department of Conservation explains how prolific the Eurasian species is. He tells of a test conducted by putting plastic signs under water in a Missouri lake.

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KCUR News
7:23 am
Tue October 20, 2009

Woman Charged On Assualt For Dropping Toddler From Balcony

Kansas City, MO – A 23-year-old Kansas City, North woman has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault after allegedly dropping her toddler from an apartment balcony.

Bond is set at a hundred thousand dollars for Callie Smith who was arrested late last week in the September 22nd fray.

Police accounts contend Smith had been damaging cars around the Northeast 79th Street apartments and running naked through a parking lot.

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KCUR News
7:20 am
Tue October 20, 2009

Murder Conviction In South Kansas City Nightclub Slaying

Kansas City, MO – A Jackson County Circuit Court jury has convicted a man of first degree murder in a wild shooting spree inside a South Kansas City nightclub close to Highway 71.

27-year-old Sylvester Sisco II of Raytown faces a life prison term on his conviction in the murder of Jacon Briggs inside the Filling Station club.

It happened after closing time at the dance club only a few blocks from the South Patrol Police Station.

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KCUR News
7:11 am
Tue October 20, 2009

E. Coli Closes Lake Of The Ozarks Beach

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – A public beach at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is closed because of high levels of E. coli.

The Department of Natural Resources says it closed the beach after tests Friday showed high levels of bacteria in the lake's main channel. The agency blames runoff from last week's rains for the contamination.

It's the same beach that was not closed in May despite two tests showing high E. coli. An internal investigation found several other examples of beaches that were not properly closed.

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KCUR News
7:08 am
Tue October 20, 2009

Missouri Prison Population Peaks

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri's prison population has reached an all-time high.

The Department of Corrections says its number of inmates has risen over the past year, after declining or holding steady for the previous few years.

At the end of September, the department had 30,720 inmates. That topped the previous high mark of 30,654 set in October 2005.

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KCUR News
9:05 am
Mon October 19, 2009

Asian Massage Parlor Scheme Revealed

Kansas City, MO – Western Union wire services carried more than a third of a million dollars between metro Kansas City and China in 2005 and 2006.

They were common transactions from an uncommon source. The proceeds came from massage parlors. Within the last week, the entire operation has been laid-bare and settled in court. KCUR's Dan Verbeck has a deeper look at the story.

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KCUR News
8:41 am
Fri October 16, 2009

DNR Director Still Out As Investigation Continues

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – Mark Templeton is still on leave from his job as Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director, even though it's now been two weeks since his two-week suspension was handed down by Governor Jay Nixon.

Templeton was suspended without pay after the governor learned E-coli-contaminated beaches at the Lake of the Ozarks remained open during Memorial Day weekend, despite being told after the fact that they were closed.

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KCUR News
7:08 am
Thu October 15, 2009

Prostitution Ring Leader Sentenced

Kansas City, MO – A woman avoids what could have been a forty year prison term for her guilty plea to operating a lucrative massage parlor prostitution ring in Johnson County Kansas. The sentencing judge disagreed with the prosecution's characterization of the crime.

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KCUR News
6:29 am
Thu October 15, 2009

Lager Claims Cover Up Over E. Coli Report

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri State Senator leading an inquiry into the delayed release of the Lake of the Ozarks E-coli report says there appears to be an organized cover up in progress.

Republican Brad Lager chairs the senate committee that oversees environmental issues. He says there's been a clear effort by Department of Natural Resources staff to mislead senate investigators:

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KCUR News
6:17 am
Thu October 15, 2009

Veterans Seek Clean Energy

Jefferson City, MO – A group of military veterans is taking a cross-country bus tour to tout climate change as a national security issue. They met with reporters Wdnesday in Jefferson City, across the street from the State Capitol Building. Matt Victoriano ( served in the Marine Corps in Iraq. He says clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are better alternatives than both domestic and foreign oil production.

Victoriano: "Oil is still an unclean energy source, and directly contributes to climate devastation, so that wouldn't solve our problems."

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KCUR News
9:26 am
Wed October 14, 2009

More Sentences To Come In Johnson County Prostitution Ring

Kansas city, MO – A Kansas City Federal District Court judge is scheduled to sentence a woman who is described in court records as chief operator of a sizeable prostitution ring, using dozens of women recruited from China.

Investigators say women forced to work in the Olathe and Overland Park massage parlors were under constant surveillance video cams.

They performed from 9 in the morning to 11 at night seven days a week. Many had their identities stolen to prevent their escape. 46 year old Ling Xu will be sentenced Wednesay.

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KCUR News
4:51 pm
Tue October 13, 2009

Two Sentenced In Asia-Connected Slave Labor Ring

Kansas City, Mo. – Two Chinese citizens have each been sentenced to five years in U.S. prison for their role in a large prostitution operation in Johnson County Kansas.

According to court documents, dozens of women were recruited from China to work under what are described as slave labor conditions at massage parlors in Overland Park and Olathe. Thirty seven year old Zhong Yan Liu and 23 year old Cheng Tang were ordered to prison.

The men apologized in Kansas City Missouri Federal District Court.

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KCUR News
8:18 am
Tue October 13, 2009

Missouri Governor Wants Tougher DWI Law

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has called for reforming the state's DWI laws in response to news accounts exposing deals that allow drunken drivers to avoid conviction.

Nixon said he will ask legislative leaders this week to change the state's laws on DWI by spring, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday.

He and others called for reforms in response to a story Sunday in the Post-Dispatch that revealed a culture of deal-cutting in St. Louis-area courts handling DWI cases.

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KCUR News
2:56 pm
Mon October 12, 2009

Local Voices On Being Latino

Kansas City, MO – This week, KC Currents' Sylvia Maria Gross was part of a panel at the Kansas City Public Library called "Being Latino in America: Our Past and Our Future." For that conversation, she compiled a montage of voices from the many people around Kansas City she's interviewed for KC Currents over the years, and how they've spoke to this idea of "being Latino."

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KCUR News
8:46 am
Mon October 12, 2009

New Director Of The Heart Of America Indian Center

Kansas City, MO – The Heart of America Indian Center in Kansas City was founded in 1971, making it one of the oldest urban Indian centers in the country. It was founded at a time that many Native Americans were moving off reservations and into cities. The center wanted to provide them with social, cultural and health services. Cheyanne Ingram took over as executive director of the center in August, and is hoping to expand its operations.

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KCUR News
1:08 pm
Thu October 8, 2009

Best Shot: Late Kansas Soldier's Career Path Set Early

Bob Juden in field where his son honed shooting skills.
kcur photo by dan verbeck

Arkansas City, Kansas – Tyler Juden carried a b.b. gun like a little cowboy before he was old enough to go to school. He latched onto firearms at the age of five. His precision and reflexes eventually won him four top marksmanship awards in his home state of Kansas -- and a career as an army sniper.

Twenty-three year old Sergeant Tyler Juden died in Afghanistan last month.

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KCUR News
1:19 pm
Wed October 7, 2009

Officials Quiet About Timing Of Deer Harvest

Shawnee Mission, Kansas – County law enforcement officers will be trained by an outside agency in order to carry out the harvest as safely and humanely as possible, according to spokesman Randy Knight. The park will be closed at the time of the shooting, and officers will operate in small, remote sections of the park where officials have spread bait to attract the animals.

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KCUR News
8:01 am
Wed October 7, 2009

Kansas Could Be Major Player In Wind Power

Wind turbines in Kansas.

Topeka, KS –
With demand for so-called "green energy" likely to increase in the future, Kansas could become a major player in renewable energy. That's because Kansas is one of the windiest states. This week in Topeka the annual Wind and Renewable Energy Conference is exploring how Kansas can become a bigger part of the wind power industry.

Click on the link to liste to Stephen Koranda's story.

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KCUR News
7:31 am
Wed October 7, 2009

DNR Director Says Delayed Report Did Not Cause Health Risk

E. coli bacteria

Jefferson City, MO – A transcript released Tuesday (October 6, 2009) quotes Missouri's Natural Resources chief as saying there was no health risk over the delay in releasing an E-coli report from the Lake of the Ozarks earlier this year.

According to the transcript, DNR Director Mark Templeton said that delaying the release of the report for a month did not pose a public health risk because bacteria die in lake water after about four days. Templeton added that he didn't learn about the results until eight days after the E-coli samples were taken.

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