Kansas City, MO – Illegal sex is a problem in Kansas prisons, but it's not as widespread as inmates and staff suggest, the state's top prisons official.
Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz responded to an investigation by the Topeka Capital-Journal, which reviewed hundreds of documents on the Topeka Correctional Facility and interviewed inmates and prison employees. The investigation concluded as many as a third of the prison's 250 staff members have been involved in an illegal black market, including exchanging sex with female inmates for drugs.
Kansas City, MO – High bacteria levels may have been fairly common at the Lake of the Ozarks this summer. Newly released Missouri water records show a spike this year in bacteria levels at two state beaches.
Results from E. coli tests at the popular central Missouri tourist attraction were high enough in 2009 that the state's two beaches should have been closed 11 times since May. That's more than twice the number of times those beaches were to be closed from 2003 until 2008. It's also more than this year's closings at every other Missouri waterway.
Lenexa, KS – Laura Owen is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Lenexa-based company ICOP Digital, which makes digital surveillance equipment. She's also the first woman to seal a major business deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Kansas City, MO – How do you rehabilitate young people who break the law? More and more, juvenile justice experts believe that just locking up young people is not the answer. Instead, they believe it's important to teach kids ways to manage the emotions that get them in trouble, especially anger. But traditional methods, like talk therapy, sometimes don't reach youth with emotions locked deep inside.
Lawrence, KS – Coal has long been used as a cheap and plentiful energy source. But there is growing pressure to reconsider the environmental and health effects of burning coal, as opponents say that cheap energy from coal turns out to be no bargain. Health Reporter Bryan Thompson has more.
Topeka, KS – A group that advocates for legislation on behalf of Kansas seniors met recently in Topeka to decide what issues they'll push for in the 2010 session. The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature is made of 125 Kansans over the age of 60.
Jim Snyder is speaker of the Silver Haired Legislature. He says one of the things they're considering is legislation that could help provide transportation to seniors in rural areas.
Snyder says the group has a history of success. Last session they lobbied for a Silver Alert law, which helps get the word out if a senior goes missing.
Topeka, KS – A Kansas commission is looking at ways to improve the state's drunk driving laws. The DUI Commission heard how a specialized court could more efficiently deal with offenders.
DUI courts offer supervision and treatment for offenders- instead of jail time for offenders. David Wallace is director of the National Center for DWI Courts, and he says keeping offenders out of jail can save cash, and the courts can help reduce the number of costly trials.
St. Louis, MO – Missouri governor Jay Nixon has put the director of the Department of Natural Resources on two weeks unpaid leave. The action came after the governor learned an E.coli-contaminated beach at the Lake of the Ozarks was open during Memorial Day weekend. Governor Nixon says the department told him last week that the beach in question had been closed, but Nixon says he learned otherwise from a newspaper report:
Kansas City, KS – The foreclosure crisis has brought a particular set of issues to Latino immigrants in the Kansas City area. Because of language barriers and the lack of a credit history, many immigrants are vulnerable to predatory lenders. They haven't faced more foreclosures than other groups. But when they do have housing problems, there are a few places where they can turn for help.
Carmen and Luis Amiel came to Kansas City about three years ago to buy a house.
Kansas City, MO – Nearly three decades ago, Joyce Ann Brown's life changed suddenly. She was accused of murdering the owner of a Texas fur store. There was no physical evidence that linked her to the crime, but the store owner's wife mistakenly identified her.
Brown was convicted after an inmate, whom she didn't know, gave false testimony in exchange for release from prison. She was sentenced to life.
Fairway, Kansas – Don Sifers can recall everything about the first time he encountered a latrine. He says it was on a hot summer day at camp: "Camp Cobble outside Benedict, Kansas. In June. It was 95 degrees. It was the worst smell I ever smelled. It was awful."
Standing in his garage, in a button-down, pin-stripe shirt and tie, Sifers goes over a small-scale model of what he's calling The Mountain Air Processor.
Kansas City, MO – Mario Canedo is a radio host on the Spanish-language station La Super X, or 1250-AM. His show A La Cama con Canedo, or "to bed with Canedo" is on every weeknight between 9PM and midnight. Listeners might at first tune in for the racy conversation, but Canedo is trying to do much more than that.
Kansas City, MO – In the 1940's, Corinthian Nutter worked with the NAACP to improve education for black children in Merriam, Kansas. Nutter was outraged by the deplorable conditions at the two-room schoolhouse where she taught, Walker Elementary School. Nutter ended up testifying in a lawsuit and five years before the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students' rights to attend an all-white, modern school.
Kansas City, MO – The Ozark aquifer, a primary source of water in southwest Missouri, could go dry in places if demand increases by as little as 1 percent a year over the next 50 years.
The aquifer is also used in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
A study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that pumping from the Ozark aquifer might not be sustainable at Carthage and Noel if a 1 percent annual increase in water-withdrawal rates occurs each year from 2007 to 2057.
Kansas City, MO – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in last weekend, and on Wednesday, August 12, President Barack Obama hosted a reception for her in the East Room of the White House. As the head of the country' largest Latino civil rights organization, National Council of La RazaPresident Janet Murguia was there. Murguia is from Kansas City Kansas, originally, and used to be Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas.
Lawrence, KS – Remember the recent Presidential Campaign when people were identifying Barack Obama as a Muslim, possibly because he lived in Indonesia as a boy? And there are still people trying to prove that Obama was born in Kenya and not the United States. This confusion might stem from the fact that Obama is a third culture kid--that's someone who has spent a significant part of their developmental years outside their parents' native country.
Kansas City , Mo. – More than a hundred people in the Kansas City area will be fasting today in protest to the genocide and repression in Darfur. They will also study the situation there, and write their elected officials.
Manhattan, KS – One of the most common issues that couples fight over is money. And sometimes a financial planner can't help, because there's underlying emotional factors that don't show up on a spreadsheet. But there's a few people in the industry who are trying out a new method they're tentatively calling "financial therapy" - which merges techniques of marriage counseling with financial planning. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross recently paid a visit to a new clinic that's researching this new strategy in Manhattan, Kansas.
Kansas City, Missouri – In some cities, drivers refer to them as "bicycle terrorists" for interrupting the busiest drive time of the week. But in Kansas City, participants of the local bicycle ride known as "Critical Mass" are focused on promoting a positive message: they want Kansas City to be more bike-friendly. KCUR's Bill Gallo reports...
It is 6 o'clock on the last Friday of the month in Kansas City. That means an eclectic group of bikers begin to gather on the west end of the parking lot of Sun Fresh Supermarket in Westport.
Leavenworth, KS – Leavenworth city leaders say they were shocked at a wire service report putting their community very close to getting Guantanamo detainees. Local tactics are about to change. KCUR's Dan Verbeck was in Leavenworth and filed a report.
Kansas City, MO – As the first major wave of troops return from Iraq, the job market is likely to see a new batch of motivated, young job-seekers. KCUR's Alex Smith recently went to a veteran's job fair and spoke with new veterans. But he found the job market is already flooded with a previous generation of vets with plenty of experience and just as eager to find work.
Kansas City, MO – Republican lawmakers are criticizing an Obama administration plan to move suspects held at Guantanamo Bay to a combination prison and court house facility. Administration officials are reportedly looking closely at two sites, one in Michigan, the other in Kansas. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.
Kansas City, Mo. – A Justice Department grant brings relief to the Kansas City Police Department where budget cuts had left a bleak outlook. The department applied for $8.3 million in economic stimulus money with no assurances it would get it. The grant was heartily received at the police academy. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports.