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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has nominated one of his most vocal Republican critics to a powerful state board, just ahead of the start to the 2018 legislative session. 

On Tuesday, Greitens tapped Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican representing Kansas City's Northland, to serve on the state Public Service Commission. The body regulates utilities in the state. Among other duties, the panel sets utility rates. 

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

As long as Sam Brownback waits for Congress to approve his at-large ambassadorship for religious freedom for the Trump administration, he’ll continue to meet his responsibilities as governor.

That, his office said Tuesday, includes giving the annual State of the State address next week and submitting a budget to lawmakers.

The Pitch / The Pitch

The fulfillment of a "long-term dream." That's how the new owners of The Pitch describe their acquisition of the Kansas City alternative magazine, which was announced Tuesday.

Carey Media, LLC, says it closed a deal to buy The Pitch from Tennessee-based SouthComm on the final day of 2017. SouthComm bought the magazine in 2011. 

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

As the the winter holiday season comes to a close and friends and family fly back home, there may be a three-letter detail that you can't seem to reconcile while checking in for flights at Kansas City International Airport: KCI.

If the name of the airport is Kansas City International, shouldn't the code — which is actually MCI — reflect that? 

Brian McTavish / KCUR 89.3

 

Did you get everything fun done that you wanted to this year? Are you sure?

Because it’s now or never to take part in disappearing expressions of the holidays and other going-going-gone doings before they’re as kaput as 2017.

From a legendary pizza joint’s brilliant finale to luminary rock ’n’ rap antics on New Year’s Eve, this is your last chance to do fun stuff – until next year, anyway. And then we can start all over again. Feel free to check back often.

1. Fun House Pizza

File Photo / Kansas News Service

When Kansans on Medicaid are incarcerated or treated at residential mental health facilities, their Medicaid benefits are terminated. Mental health advocates hope to change that during the upcoming legislative session by pushing for a bill that would instead suspend those benefits.

After patients or inmates are dropped from Medicaid, it can take weeks or months to reinstate health coverage — a risk for people who need continuous care for mental health conditions.

Stephen Koranda-File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

After pushing for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Donald Trump earlier this year kicked off negotiations among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Any major changes to the agreement could have a big impact on Kansas.

Kansas Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran have said they’re open to updates but emphasize that the agreement needs to preserve or expand export opportunities.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Dec. 27, the Kansas Department of Revenue announced it would not be launching its new drivers license records system as planned on Jan. 2. To "ensure a successful rollout," the agency anticipated a short delay of days or weeks. 

Kansas auditors remain worried about the quality of a major state information technology project involving about 2 million drivers’ records — with little time left until the project’s go-live date.

Daniel Chow / Flickr -- CC

It’s the time of year when you may need to feed a crowd — perhaps for holiday gatherings or for college bowl game-watching. And what better way than with pizza?

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback has more hurdles to clear before potentially leaving Kansas to head the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department.

The governor’s name wasn’t among dozens of nominees approved in the Senate this week, nor was it on a list of nominees to hold over until its next session.

File Photo / KCUR

The former legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas thinks a practice among some school boards of restricting patron complaints at public meetings eventually will end up in court.

Doug Bonney, legal director emeritus for ACLU Kansas, said if barring complaints about school board members, the superintendent or employees is common, that doesn’t make it right.

Senior Airman Carlin Leslie / U.S. Air Force

History may not actually repeat, but it absolutely echoes.

Catch some worthwhile reverberations this weekend at happenings focused on five millennia of Chinese history, the Russian source of a 19th century ballet classic, a 1970s punk rock icon, the past importance of playing marbles, the splendid tradition of being an entertaining married couple and, perhaps most important of all, our historical victory-seeking Kansas City Chiefs.

Be part of history – or at least the nifty ripples!

 

Andrea Tudhope / file/KCUR 89.3

Missouri's attorney general said Wednesday that he will look into whether Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff are breaking the state's open records laws by using a secretive app that deletes messages after they're read.

Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate against Claire McCaskill, announced the decision in a letter to the St. Louis-area Democratic state senator who requested the investigation. 

Courtesy The Floozies

The Floozies, a Lawrence based electro-funk duo, are one of the region’s most popular party bands. Their celebratory, dance-oriented concerts, accentuated with colorful lighting and video displays, have made the band a fixture on the summer festival circuit.

Brothers Mark (drums) and Matt (guitar) Hill have been honing their self-described “future funk” for more than a decade. In September they released their most fully realized album, the irreverently titled "Funk Jesus."

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Tuesday suggested the Legislature let the public have a say on the state’s constitutional duty to pay for public education, but he steered clear of criticizing the Kansas Supreme Court’s rulings on the topic.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Osawatomie State Hospital is again eligible for millions of dollars in federal Medicare payments after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recertified its acute care center.

The state psychiatric hospital lost its certification in December 2015 after the reported rape of an employee exposed security concerns and staffing shortages. A subsequent inspection in May 2017 revealed problems with sanitation, infection control and fire safety.

Courtesy Exact Partners

The 11-story former Netherlands Hotel is slated to be redeveloped into 110 apartments, part of a Main Street development surge linked to the planned streetcar extension.

The decrepit Netherlands at 3835 Main and its neighbor, the former Monarch Storage building at 3829 Main, are part of a more than $30 million redevelopment plan being pursued by Exact Partners.

Aleksey Kaznadey / kevinmahogany.com

Kevin Mahogany, the versatile and velvet-voiced vocalist who became one of the Kansas City jazz scene's more well-known exports, died Sunday. He was 59.

Mahogany had been living in Miami, but moved back to Kansas City in August after the sudden death of his wife, Allene Matthews Mahogany, over the summer, says Mahogany's sister, Carmen Julious.

The two had been married for 25 years, and Julious says Mahogany's grief had aggravated longer-term health issues.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers are facing an even tighter deadline to pass a new school finance law this session, after an attorney for the state encouraged them to finish their work on the topic less than two months into the coming 2018 legislative session.

Asked Monday by lawmakers what legal staff need to help make the state’s case, Arthur Chalmers urged them to aim for the start of March for handing off a new school finance bill rather than sometime closer to the date the Kansas Supreme Court set for filing the state’s arguments.

Charlie Riedel-Archive Photo / Associated Press

In the summer of 2005, the Legislature butted heads with the Kansas Supreme Court over a ruling that ordered an influx of money to public education.

The result? Kansas came closer than ever to a constitutional crisis.

Charvex / Google Images -- CC

If you voted in Kansas City, Missouri, in November, you may remember being asked whether the city should remove two pieces of land from the park system.

Those two parcels of land were “no longer necessary or appropriate for park, parkway or boulevard use.”

What does that mean? And who determines what park properties should be removed?

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Honorary consuls are essentially volunteer diplomats.

 

“You’re representing the country and promoting the country when possible,” Lebert Shultz told KCUR’s Central Standard guest-host Brian Ellison.

 

Shultz is the honorary consul of South Africa to Kansas and Missouri. Born in New York, he moved to the Midwest in 1960. After graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1967, he practiced law in Kansas City for 12 years. Beginning in 1979, he worked in Wichita as a corporate attorney for two decades. It was during this time that he found himself in South Africa during the late 1980’s on business.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A University of Kansas study supports the suspicions of lawmakers and advocates who believe there’s a link between additional restrictions on welfare benefits and an increase in foster care cases.

birgl / Pixabay - CC

Here we are, 10 days ‘til Christmas, halfway through Hanukkah, and maybe you’re still looking for that perfect gift for your favorite sports fan. Don’t worry. 'A Fan’s Notes' commentator Victor Wishna is back to tell you what you he really, really wants.

Well, ‘tis the season, as they say. The most wonderful time of the year, when so many of us look forward to getting what we say we’ve wanted, and I’m not just talking about the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl — go ‘Cats!

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A crowded field of candidates running for governor in Kansas gained its first woman Friday with the entry of state Sen. Laura Kelly.

Andrea Ramsey / Andrea Ramsey For Congress

Retired lawyer and former community health nonprofit executive Andrea Ramsey announced Friday that she is dropping out of the race for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District.

Ramsey is one of several Democrats challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder. 

With the task of going through a state Senate confirmation process approaching, Gov. Eric Greitens’ picks to the Missouri State Board of Education successfully sped up the process of finding an education commissioner over the objections of the board’s president.

The governor’s five nominees outflanked three other board members during a teleconference Thursday to open and close the application process for a new education commissioner before an early January meeting. The board fired Commissioner Margie Vandeven Dec. 1 over objections of lawmakers from both sides as well as leaders and supporters of traditional school districts.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union questions the security of a multistate voter registration database championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The ACLU this week added concerns about personal privacy and data security to its list of complaints against President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. The national organization also claims that the commission violated sunshine laws on public meetings and public documents.

Bob Brents / Flickr — CC

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which employs about 350 people in Overland Park, announced Thursday that it plans to slash its global workforce by 14,000 positions as part of a massive restructuring plan aimed at reducing $3 billion in costs by the end of 2019.

A spokeswoman for the company said it plans to consolidate its seven U.S. offices into one yet-to-be-determined location.

Kevin Stanchfield / Flickr — CC

Not to turn the weekend into a self-improvement test, but its eventual success has more than a little to do with you.

So here are some quality components to consider for your aspirational free-time action plan: Exposure to an ancient Chinese leader’s “forever” suit, dog owners determined to exercise everyone’s smiling muscles, plucky troubadours who don’t take no for an answer, celebrity fetishized satire of the highest order and fiercely executed championship volleyball.

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