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Services for Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson have been scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The funeral will be at 1:00 p.m. at St. James United Methodist Church, 5540 Wayne Ave., Kansas City.

A giant of Kansas City's civil rights movement and an outspoken — often controversial — crusader against racism and discrimination has died.  

The Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson passed away early Sunday. He was 70 years old. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

For nearly 20 years, poet Stanley Banks has taught creative writing classes at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. An assistant professor of English, Banks is also an artist in residence. 

For our new series WORD, Banks reads the poem "Racial Profiling on A Visit to Emporia." 

All of our WORD readings, including bonus tracks by some poets, are archived on SoundCloud.

The co-owner of a Shawnee gun shop died Friday after being shot during a botched robbery attempt, according to police.

Three of the four suspects in the attempted robbery were also injured by gunfire.

Shawnee police Maj. Dan Tennis told the Associated Press four people tried to rob the She's A Pistol gun shop Friday afternoon. Three were shot and two of them were critically injured. Another had less-serious wounds and was arrested with the fourth suspect in a residential area nearby.

Ultimately, police arrested all four suspects.

File photo

A key lawmaker said he’ll encourage his legislative colleagues to support additional funding for Osawatomie State Hospital.

“There’s a huge amount of duress out there,” said House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey, a Louisburg Republican, referring to the 206-bed facility for adults with serious mental illness who’ve been deemed a danger to themselves or others.

“As soon as we go back into session,” Vickrey said, “several of us, I’m sure, will be meeting with the governor’s staff to find out what we need to do to get people the treatment they need.”

Michael Cannon / Flickr -- Creative Commons

 

A Kansas City-based nonprofit organization says a recent poll shows widespread support for exempting some foods from the Kansas sales tax.

Ashley Jones-Wisner, state policy manager for KC Healthy Kids, says the survey conducted for the Kansas Health Foundation showed that 86.6 percent of Kansans supported exempting fruits and vegetables from the state sales tax.

The Wichita-based foundation helps to fund KC Healthy Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing obesity among children.

Daniel Wildi / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Emergency room doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital say there are a few practical ways NOT to be one of the weather-related patients they’ve been seeing during this cold snap.

But doctors advise those who go outside to remember:

file photo / Harvest Public Media

Here at KCUR we grew a lot in 2014, not only in numbers but also in the way we go about reporting the news. Our Community Engagement team launched a long-term project and mobilized our staff to get out and meet you and to listen more to our community.

Neil Rickards / Flickr--CC

Ireland will be the first European Union country allowed to send beef to U.S. dinner tables, more than 15 years after a deadly outbreak of mad cow disease in Europe led U.S. regulators to ban European beef imports.

The ban on EU beef imports was lifted in March and Ireland’s beef production systems passed a U.S. inspection, according to the Irish Agriculture Department.

Trailnet / Flickr-CC

Brrr! Can you dig it?

Either way, there’s wintry stuff to do this weekend, whether laughing in the face of freezing is your thing or doing whatever you possibly can to escape the chill is more your style.

One thing’s for sure: It’s nippy. And it’s important to keep moving. Here’s a mitten-full of ideas to embrace or deny the cold reality.

1. Winter Storm – The Pipes and Drums Concert

Donna Vestal

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

No doubt, many people in Kansas City first came here as children, the result of a parent's job transfer. A family move, but with unique circumstances for each individual. Such was the case for Donna Steele Vestal, KCUR’s content director.

Starting this month primary care physicians in much of the country, including Kansas and Missouri, will be paid less for seeing Medicaid patients.

The expiration of a federal incentive program in the Affordable Care Act is responsible for the reduction.

Nationally, the average fee reduction is expected to be nearly 43 percent, according to a recent report from the Health Policy Center of the Urban Institute.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

Few people heard about the murder of Dionte Greene. The gay, black man was found shot to death in his car on Oct. 31, 2014, and Greene's friends are convinced that it was a hate crime.

Those who knew him were shocked by his murder. They've called this moment a tipping point, one requiring a conversation about race in Kansas City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community, according to reports filed by KCUR's Elle Moxley.

Wiley Rein LLP

Former Kansas congressman Jim Slattery believes that a nuclear deal with Iran is possible after speaking with officials during a visit to Tehran December.

He says he was told by Iranians that it was the first time a current or former United States elected official has been invited to speak in the country since 1979.

Slattery had the opportunity to speak with Iranian officials during the International Conference on World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) in December. It was his first trip to the country.

Eric Durban / Harvest Public Media

Water levels within the Ogallala Aquifer, a wide source of groundwater in western Kansas, have been declining to dangerously low levels for the past few years. 

Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

A Maryland company that has reaped millions of dollars in federal health-reform grants for work around the country is drawing fire for its performance in the Kansas City area.

Critics say that Advanced Patient Advocacy (APA), a privately held company, has been slow off the mark in its role as a “navigator” organization, charged with helping consumers find coverage through the health insurance marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act.

Updated: 5:38 a.m.

Hey kids, it's cold out there. There isn't much snow, but many schools are closed and some are delayed. Woot!

Here are the schools in the Kansas City metro that are closed or delayed on Jan. 7:

espie (on and off) / Flickr--CC

The United Way of Greater Kansas City is making a list of so-called "warming centers" available to those looking for respite from this week’s bitterly cold weather.

Courtesy / Lacey Schwartz, Truth Aid Media

“White people will think anything,” says a guy named Matt in Lacey Schwartz’s documentary, Little White Lie.

A spokeswoman for Kansas City's largest hospital system defended its record on patient safety following a report last month that more than half its facilities are among those that will be penalized by the federal government for hospital-acquired ailments.

Former Rainbow Mental Health Facility Sold

Jan 2, 2015
File photo

 

State officials have sold the former Rainbow Mental Health Facility building in Kansas City, Kan., to the University of Kansas Endowment Association.

The 11-acre property at 2205 W. 36th Ave. is a short distance from KU Medical Center.

“The transaction has occurred,” said Natalie Lutz, director of communications at the medical center. “The KU Endowment Association has purchased the building and will be meeting with the university to determine what the actual purpose of the property is going to be.”

Pizzabella / Facebook

From happy hour treats to sumptuous desserts, Central Standard's Food Critics covered a wide swath of Kansas City cuisine in 2014. And what better way to test their culinary knowledge than with a "Best-of" list?

Here are the Food Critics' choices for the best dishes of 2014 in Kansas City:

Mary Bloch:

Dan Margolies / KCUR

 

A local skin-care products company may have lost a bit of its luster.

Kansas City-based DERMAdoctor Inc. and its owner on Monday settled a complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission over allegedly deceptive claims made by the company.

The FTC charged that DERMAdoctor Inc. and its principal, dermatologist Audrey Kunin, made misleading claims about DERMAdoctor’s anti-aging and body-slimming products.

Courtesy / Sonya Aplough

About a decade ago, Kansas City musician Billy Smith was combing thrift stores for records when he stumbled upon quite a find for an experimental sound guy: an old-school Magnavox, reel-to-reel tape recorder with a pile of tapes for less than $5. 

He brought it home, dusted it off, cleaned the tape heads and popped in some new batteries. He was about to hit record to start messing around with his new toy when curiosity took hold.

Before hitting record, he decided to check out what was on the tape inside the machine.

courtesy of the family

Three notable arts figures died in Kansas City in recent weeks: Ann K. Brown, Brenda Nelson, and Tommy Ruskin.

Drummer Tommy Ruskin, 72, died the morning of Jan. 1, after a long illness.

A native of Kansas City, Ruskin’s career spanned nearly half a century. He began performing as a teenager with singers such as Marilyn Maye, and went on to play with other jazz greats like Al Cohn, Scott Hamilton, Gene Harris, Zoot Sims, and Bill Watrous.

Scrapper / Flickr--CC

At the end of every year, we all say it: Things will be better next year.

Even if you had a super 2014 – and I hope you did – there’s something in human nature that encourages us to look ahead with bright eyes. And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s some pretty wonderful stuff coming up that could help make 2015 a year to remember in the shiniest of ways.

Jeremy Brooks / Flickr--CC

 As controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ name shines a light on Kansas City’s professional football team, many Kansas Citians are sticking by the Chiefs.

The Tomahawk Chop, a popular fan ritual at games, is another matter, however.

When the Redskins lost their trademark because of American Indian claims that the name disparages them, the debate tied to the appropriateness of the Chiefs came back to life.  

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