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Courtesy Alcott Arts Center

If things had gone differently over the last two decades, the hulking old brick building near the 18th Street exit off of Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Kansas, might look more like the setting of a real-life horror story these days.

Instead, Chris Green expects the Alcott Arts Center's parking lot to be alive with a few hundred kids celebrating a family-friendly Halloween on Tuesday.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

State Medicaid officials on Friday formally started the process of renewing KanCare, the privatized Medicaid program launched by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in 2013.

The two state agencies that oversee the private contractors that manage the program released a draft of the plan they intend to submit for federal approval after a public comment period that runs through November.

Joy / Flickr -- CC

It’s a great time of year for pie.

Whether you’re celebrating the holidays with a traditional pumpkin pie, or warding off the chill with a hearty chicken pot pie, it’s amazing what can go under, over or between flaky, golden crusts.

On KCUR’s Central Standard, our Food Critics searched out the best pies — both sweet and savory — in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Photo courtesy of Pat O'Neill

It was 120 years ago this week that George Wigert was born in Axtell, a speck of a town in rural Nebraska. Wigert would grow up to attend military school, fight in World War I, then return home to start a family.

It was just three years ago that Wigert's grandson, author and publicist Pat O'Neill, came across hundreds of letters Wigert exchanged with his mother while preparing for and fighting in what was called "the war to end all wars."

agilemktg1 / Flickr — CC

There’s some good news and some bad news for Missourians purchasing marketplace healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act.

The good news: Those eligible for premium subsidies will see no increase in their premiums. In fact, a 40-year-old non-smoker earning $30,000 a year will see a 2.7 percent reduction of his or her premiums to $201 a month.

The bad news: Those not eligible for subsidies will see premium increases ranging from 12 percent to 50 percent for the benchmark silver plan.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Newly unsealed testimony given by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach suggests he knew that the federal motor voter law might have to be amended for states to require proof of citizenship for voter registration.

Pinar Temiz / Flickr — CC

With Halloween just around the door-creaking corner, plenty of purposely peculiar events will be going on this weekend. There will also be some things that just happen to be a little weird.

Into gore and zombies? Bizarre glitz? What about an uncanny glissando?

And you thought you knew weird!

1. ‘Chainsaw, the Musical’

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

A U.S. Senate committee has given the green light for the full chamber to proceed with a vote on Gov. Sam Brownback’s confirmation to an ambassador-at-large position.

Approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the position relating to international religious freedom was the first hurdle after President Donald Trump picked Brownback for the role in July.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A female former legislative staff member is charging that sexual harassment is widespread at the Kansas Statehouse.

Abbie Hodgson, who served as chief of staff to former House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs from 2014 to July of 2016, was one of several women quoted in an article about sexual harassment in Statehouses across the country published Wednesday by The Hill, a Washington, D.C., publication that covers government and politics. 

Joe Gratz / Flickr — CC

A Missouri court ruled for the first time Tuesday that Missouri law bars employment discrimination based on a failure to conform to gender stereotypes.

While Missouri doesn’t prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City found that stereotyping can be evidence of sex discrimination, which state law does prohibit.

Bigstock

The Federal Public Defender’s office is asking a judge to hold the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas in contempt after it stopped cooperating with an investigation of attorney-client tapings at a Leavenworth prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s decision was disclosed earlier this week in a report by the special master, Cleveland attorney David R. Cohen, who was appointed by the judge to look into the tapings.

Courtesy Freight Train Rabbit Killer

Freight Train Rabbit Killer, the duo of Kris Bruders and Mark Smeltzer, is a unique presence on Kansas City’s music scene, performing theatrical gothic American roots music while wearing suits and masks.

Bruders is also known for his work in the roots-rock band Cadillac Flambé, while Smeltzer is one of Kansas City’s most prominent folk/old-timey musicians.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A. Zahner Co., a world-renowned, architectural metal fabrication firm, is practicing its creativity on its $5 million expansion project at its downtown headquarters and manufacturing facility at Eighth and The Paseo.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89.3

A company that challenged the no-bid contract awarded to Cerner Corp. to update the electronic health records system of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is appealing the dismissal of its lawsuit.

CliniComp International Inc. of San Diego on Monday filed a notice of appeal after the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., last week threw out its lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds.

Because many of the documents in the case are sealed, including the court’s orders, the precise reasons for the case’s dismissal were not made public.

File photo

A Jackson County judge on Monday declined to block a Missouri law requiring abortion physicians to meet with their patients three days before the procedure.

In rejecting a challenge to the law by Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates, Jackson County Circuit Judge S. Margene Burnett found that the requirement did not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

Matthew Bowden / Wikimedia Commons

Muhammad Aadil left Pakistan at ten years old.

“I wasn’t very big on cricket,” he told KCUR's Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann. “My older brother and my cousins used to play it a lot. I would go over to their house and play it with them, but I’d never played it in an actual field, or played it competitively.”

Bigstock

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas has stopped cooperating with an investigation into the taping of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the pretrial detention facility in Leavenworth, according to the special master looking into the matter.

Courtesy Kansas Geological Survey

The governments of Douglas County and Lawrence are calling for changes to Kansas regulations amid an energy company’s proposal to pump wastewater into wells in rural Eudora.

Among their concerns, the local officials argue that the public deserves a 60-day protest period — twice as long as the current allowance — when companies seek to operate such wells in or near their communities.

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman said the goal is “good public process.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

He’s not angry.

He’s been eating everything he can.

And he’s noticed how distracted we all are thanks to our smartphones.

But mostly, Lamonte McIntyre says, he spent most of his time in his first week out of prison after 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit:

“Trying to force myself to believe it’s real,” he says. “That’s what I’ll spend my life doing.”

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

The four teenagers running to be the next governor of Kansas were tested Thursday at a forum organized by their peers at Lawrence Free State High School.

Standing at the center of the Free State gym, they fielded questions on gun control, race, drugs, abortion and a host of other divisive issues.

They answered forthrightly. Honestly. Not by pivoting to talking points like more practiced politicians.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Lawyers with the Public Defender’s Kansas City office showed up en masse at a court hearing Thursday to express their unhappiness over being appointed to take on new cases while laboring under crushing caseloads.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Council member Jermaine Reed introduced a proposal on Thursday to turn oversight of the American Jazz Museum over to the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, including assets managed by American Jazz Museum, Inc., such as the Blue Room and the Gem Theater.

Council members Quinton Lucas and Scott Wagner co-sponsored the ordinance. It now goes to the Council’s finance and governance committee. 

Mayor Sly James' Office

Along with dozens of other cities across North America, Kansas City officially delivered its proposal for Amazon HQ2 to the company's headquarters in Seattle, Washington, on Thursday. 

Last month, Amazon announced plans to plow more $5 billion into building another headquarters that will be an equal to the current one in Seattle. The internet retailer plans to employ some 50,000 people with average salaries topping $100,000 at what it is calling “HQ2.” 

Amy Leiton / Wikimedia Commons

Icons drive the mind – or at least the one in this skull trying to coax serviceable images out of a computer keyboard for your weekend preview pleasure.

Here’s some of what’s taking shape: Crazy female hairdos swaying to the beat of nostalgic new-wave rock, a socially-conscious pop empress shaking and baking while carrying on a family tradition and the return of Mr. October – no, not Reggie Jackson, but our fall friend, the jack-o-lantern … although picturing the venerable home-run hero taking a mighty swing with a pumpkin for a pate holds an odd appeal.

Gary White
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In a world where 884 million people don’t have access to water and 2.2 billion people don’t have sanitary toilet facilities, ending the global water crisis seems like a lofty goal.

But Gary White—whose nonprofit organizations have so far reached 7 million people—believes providing access to safe water and sanitation for all people can be achieved in his lifetime.

Kansas State University

Kansas State University is scaling back this year’s budget by millions of dollars after about 1,000 fewer students enrolled this fall compared to the previous year, creating a budget crunch.

File Photo / KCUR

A Jackson County judge on Wednesday took under advisement Planned Parenthood’s request to block a Missouri law requiring that abortion physicians meet with their patients three days before they undergo the procedure.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Fewer than 40 percent of Kansas students are on track to be academically prepared for college, community college or technical school as measured by their scores on the state’s standardized math and English tests.

Scores on English language arts tests went down for the second year in a row. About 38 percent of students scored proficient in that subject in spring 2017.

Courtesy Roman Numerals / Facebook

One of the region’s most notable indie-rock bands a decade ago, Roman Numerals were Ryan Shank on drums, Shawn Sherrill on keyboards and bass, Billy Smith on guitars and vocals, and Steve Tulipana on bass, guitars and vocals.

Tulipana and Sherrill went on to open the highly successful RecordBar in Westport. Their band's last recent performance was the penultimate show at the venue's original site on January 1, 2016. RecordBar has since re-opened at 1520 Grand Boulevard, which is where Roman Numerals reunite on Saturday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Two Topeka men are in custody in connection with the shootings Oct. 1 in downtown Lawrence that left three people dead and two injured.

Federal and local law enforcement officers arrested Ahmad Rayton and Dominique McMillon on Monday in Topeka.

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