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Danny Wood / for KCUR

Rail hobbyist, Jeff Van Leuvan is on the pedestrian bridge at Kansas City’s Union Station watching the trains.

“This is a Union Pacific train. It is a coal train and it is probably going toward the St. Louis area,” he comments as another train passes by. Van Leuvan says you can watch up to 120 freight trains pass by this bridge daily.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Lynda Callon, longtime director of the Community Action Center in Kansas City's Westside died Sunday after a very short illness.

Callon was a fierce advocate for Latino day workers and others in the community. She pushed to create a haven where day workers could get food and clothing as they gathered under the I-35 bridge waiting for work.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that opened up the question of gay-marriage in many more states reverberated in Kansas last week.

In Johnson County, a judge allowed clerks to accept applications for marriage licenses. But couples were soon disappointed when the Kansas Supreme Court put a temporary halt to those licenses Friday.

Call it a public radio-baseball throwdown.

Last week our reporter Cody Newill wrote a piece comparing our city to Baltimore, in an attempt to playfully compare the two cities with teams playing for the ALCS Championship.

Well, before long the staff at Baltimore's public radio station WYPR got wind of the article and responded with their own comparison. But they didn't stop there.

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

Kansas City barbecue — we know you've heard of it.

The president eats it when he visits, and Anthony Bourdain said Kansas City barbecue is the best in the world.

But how did it all get started? And who made Kansas City barbecue famous?

Mindmatrix / Wikimedia-CC

Nuts — they are in so many dishes, but they are hardly ever the star of the show. Without them so many of our favorite dishes would fall flat, but when we talk about food they rarely get their due recognition.

This week, Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch give nuts their moment in the spotlight and pick out the 'nuttiest' dishes available in and around the Kansas City area.

Here are the Critics' favorite 'nutty' dishes:

Sasha Victorine

  “Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Sasha Victorine was playing Major League Soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy when he got traded to what was the Kansas City Wizards nine years ago. Victorine is originally from the Southern California area. He says moving far away from his family was at first tough for him and his wife, but they grew to love Kansas City.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

A candlelight vigil for an 18-year-old shooting victim turned into a protest march through the Shaw neighborhood in south St. Louis late Thursday.

The protesters were mostly peaceful as they marched up and down residential streets in the neighborhood. But things turned uneasy as the evening wore on. A group of about 40 people blocked traffic at major intersections along South Grand Blvd. Later, some of the protesters broke windows of police cars.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

As the crisis in Syria and the Middle East persists, local grocer Ahmad Alhabashi works to make his store a place where the local Arab community can feel closer to home, despite being thousands of miles away.

Upon entering the Al-Habashi Mart in the River Market in Kansas City, Mo., guests are greeted with Arabic music playing over the radio, sharp smells of curry and cayenne waft through the air as they weave through rows and rows of the vibrant spices. Brightly colored products line the walls, many of the labels in Arabic.

Allen Brewer / Flickr-CC

Since winning the American League wild-card game against the Oakland A's and sweeping the Los Angeles Angels in the Division Series, the Kansas City Royals have brought a big shot of hope back into the metro area.

Vladimir Agafonkin / Flickr--CC

There’s something funny going on around here – make that some things.

From stand-up comedy and a phantasmagoric (now there’s a funny word) stage spectacle to droll drawings and the outdoor antics of more than a few family dogs, the Kansas City area is chock full of variously amusing stuff to experience this weekend.

So exactly which witty to sidesplitting activities await the intrepid go-and-doer? Funny you should ask.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 4:40 p.m. CST: Merriam, Kan., residents Margo Lauer and Sheila Hafner held a commitment ceremony at Unity Church of Overland Park 11 years ago.

They took the first step toward making their union legal in Kansas Thursday morning, applying for a marriage license at the Johnson County Courthouse.

A Kansas City police offer fatally shot a man late Wednesday after the man allegedly threatened the officer with a sword-like object. He died at the scene.

KCPD responded to an outside disturbance shortly before midnight on the 4200 block of 57th Terrace in Kansas City, North.

The Kansas City Star reports the man did not respond to officer's commands and became confrontational.

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

The chief judge of the 10th Judicial District in Johnson County, Kan., has ordered clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court left in place appeals court decisions that overturned same sex marriage bans in five states. Some people believe that means all the states in those legal jurisdictions should now start allowing same sex marriages, including Kansas.

But, state officials aren't giving up on the same sex marriage ban. At some local courthouses in Kansas, workers have blocked same sex couples from applying for a marriage license. Some other courthouses have let couples apply, but those applications haven't yet been approved.

A federal judge in St. Louis has ruled that police in Ferguson cannot enforce what became known as the "five-second rule."  

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Two years ago, metro-area entrepreneurs started buying houses in the first Kansas City, Kan., neighborhood to get Google Fiber.

They wanted to take advantage of the ultra-fast Internet as they launched new ventures in what quickly became known as the Kansas City Startup Village.

The plan was to create a community of entrepreneurs on either side of State Line Road. But because the two states have different economic incentives for new businesses, many entrepreneurs gravitated toward the Kansas side of the Startup Village.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

As KCUR looks at how the Kansas-Missouri border divides the Kansas City metropolitan area, we wanted to talk to locals about their daily experiences with State Line Road.

We spent some time on both sides this month, asking people: What are you doing on this side of the state line?

From shopping to jobs to restaurants, here’s what we heard back:

Kansascity.com

A Canadian archbishop visited the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese last week on behalf of the Vatican to investigate the leadership of Bishop Robert Finn, the first Catholic prelate to be found criminally guilty of shielding a priest in the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

The fall semester of Communiversity is getting underway at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. This all-volunteer adult education program allows Kansas Citians to take and teach a collection of esoteric classes that you may not find anywhere else. 

Central Standard's Gina Kaufmann talked to a few of the instructors, everyday folks with unusual skills to teach.

Let Horses Help You With Your Life Transition

Allen Brewer / Flickr-CC

Kansas City is the most up-and-coming city in the country, according to a new ranking list.

The Huffington Post ranked Kansas City as the most exciting, "it" city in the United States. The food, Midwestern hospitality and music were all highlighted as reasons to visit the metro area.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Our research into State Line Road as part of our ongoing exploration for Beyond Our Borders turned up some interesting things about the dividing line between the two very different states in our metro.

We are pretty evenly divided as a population by the state line, and our political differences pre-date the Civil War.  

Photo courtesy of the JO

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will take over management of the JO in early 2015, the Johnson County Commissioners agreed Thursday.

Dick Jarrold, vice president of regional planning for KCATA, says the consolidation shouldn't impact riders because routes and schedules won't change.

"Johnson County will still be making all policy and budget decisions, so for the customer, they won't see an immediate change," says Jarrold.

Kansas City cuisine may be best known for the smoky taste of barbecue, but the earthy goodness of smoke isn't limited to pulled pork and brisket. 

From rich, smoked Gouda, to smoke-infused cocktails, adding smoke to a dish can add another layer of complexity to its taste. 

Central Standard food critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris and callers gave us their picks for the best smoked foods and drinks in Kansas City:

During a tense Thursday night, demonstrators returned to the area outside the Ferguson police department  and held a quick march or two. Even though the verbal exchanges were intense, control was maintained – until the police chief tried to improve the situation. 

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Police forcibly dispersed dozens of protestors in Ferguson early Wednesday morning after hours of confrontation and the smashing of a window at the Beauty Town shop. Tensions had been running high since Tuesday morning when a memorial for Michael Brown burned down close to where he was killed.

A recent report finds climate change is threatening dozens of birds that call Missouri home.

The National Audubon Society says more than half of the 588 North American bird species studied over the course of seven years are at risk. About 50 species common to Missouri are identified in the report as being threatened.

Ben Palosaari

The beginning of the new Armourdale Hike and Bike – Island View Loop trail doesn’t look much like the gateway to urban nature oasis.

It’s adjacent to an industrial park and underneath the 18th Street Expressway Bridge, next to unused railroad tracks. There’s a fair amount of broken glass and other debris littering the ground around the trail.

But on Saturday morning, jubilant city officials in workout clothes opened the trail to the public, and the talk was largely of turkeys, deer and bald eagles that live near the trail.

Courtesy of Kirsty Morgan

Most people have spent time at a local soup kitchen or sorted cans for food banks, but others take an entirely different approach to donating their time. 

But an extreme volunteer commitment can mean you’re giving weeks, or even years, of your life to help others. And sometimes you'll get into some pretty hairy situations as a result.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Concerns about the way the University of Kansas handles sexual assault cases have been boiling over in recent weeks.

Reports of alleged sexual assaults garnering minor punishments have prompted protests and even a video produced by students telling others not to attend KU. Thursday night, university officials held a panel discussion where they answered questions, took suggestions and explained university policies surrounding sexual assault.

More than 100 people gathered for the discussion. Those who spoke expressed concerns about the process and suggested improvements.

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