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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.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

At first glance, the Alabama Senate race doesn’t appear to offer many clues about what the 2018 election has in store.

There isn’t likely to be another campaign in which a marginal candidate attempts to hold serve for a sharply divided party while fighting unprecedented allegations of sexual misconduct under a national spotlight.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Descriptions of an underfunded, under-resourced foster care system short on child placement options sounded familiar to Kansas lawmakers and child welfare advocates at a task force meeting this week.

But the events described Tuesday actually played out 30 years earlier, when a 1989 class-action lawsuit — alleging that the state’s foster care system violated the rights of Kansas children — raised issues that eventually led to the current privatized system.

Courtesy Kansas City Jazz Orchestra

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra is the region’s most prominent big band, dedicated to preserving and advancing the tradition of iconic Kansas City jazz ensembles led by William “Count” Basie, Andy Kirk and Bennie Moten. Guest vocalist Marilyn Maye, after all, performed at the band's debut concert in 2003.

Plantlady233 / Wikimedia-CC

A Leawood family whose home was raided more than five years ago by Johnson County sheriff’s deputies in a fruitless search for a marijuana growing operation lost its lawsuit alleging the deputies violated their Fourth Amendment rights.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The hulking, richly ornate Vaile Mansion, designed by famed architect Asa Beebe Cross, sits alone on a postage stamp of its former grounds in a mostly working-class residential neighborhood in Independence, Missouri. It looks more like a rip in time and space than a wonderland of Victorian Christmas cheer.

Courtesy Photo

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer continues to shape top levels of Kansas government amid anticipation that the U.S. Senate may soon confirm Gov. Sam Brownback for an ambassadorship at the State Department.

Although Colyer made the selection, Brownback — who may have just weeks left as governor — issued a news release Tuesday announcing that former Kansas education commissioner Diane DeBacker will serve as education liaison and adviser to the Governor’s Office. 

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The new secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families has come in promising a thorough review of the agency, staffing changes and more accountability following allegations and outrage about problems in the state’s foster care system.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A discrimination complaint filed earlier this year by a Tennessee woman who claims a former Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services official sexually harassed her is still pending before the Kansas Human Rights Commission.

Platte County

This story was updated at 5:14 to include Eric Zahnd's reaction to the decision.   

A disciplinary panel has found Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd guilty of professional misconduct and recommended that he be publicly reprimanded.

The matter now goes to the Missouri Supreme Court, which will decide whether to accept or reject the panel's findings and recommendation.

The three-person panel – two lawyers and a layperson – issued its decision after listening in November to two days of testimony, including from Zahnd himself.

Courtesy Loaded Goat / Facebook

When The Matchsellers’ Julie Bates sent out the word that she was organizing Cover Me, Kansas City Folk, an evening of local roots and acoustic songwriters covering each other’s songs, nearly every songwriter leapt at the chance.

“People were really excited about it,” she says. “If they could make it, they signed up right away.”

A pre-filed bill in the Missouri House would eliminate a state law requiring the attorney general to live in Jefferson City.

Current law requires the attorney general to live “at the seat of government,” which is in Jefferson City. The measure sponsored by Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal, would simply strike those words from state law.

The holiday season brings a surge of many of things: shopping, twinkling lights in public places, men in white beards roaming around malls. But the seasonal spirit can spur something else, too — volunteering.

 

While many nonprofits are searching for help, the gift of time can sometimes be a bit overwhelming this time of year.

 

Jules / Flickr -- CC

What's not to like about cheese? First of all, it's probably the one food item for which "ooey-gooey" was invented. (And if not, let's just say it was).

Whether you like it melted in a sandwich or by itself with a glass of wine or beer, cheese is having quite a moment in KC.

Updated Dec.12 — On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the life and legacy of noted author and Washington University professor William Gass.

Joining him for the discussion were Lorin Cuoco, co-founder and former associate director of the International Writers Center at Washington University, Stephen Schenkenberg, creator and curator of the website Reading William Gass and author and publisher of "The Ears Mouth Must Move: Essential Interviews of William H. Gass" and William Danforth, chancellor emeritus and member of the Board of Trustees at Washington University.

Gass died on Dec. 6 at his home in St. Louis. He was 93. The former Washington University professor was known for his contributions to fiction, criticism and philosophy. 

courtesy: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art's third location, Kemper at the Crossroads, has closed. 

"An exhibition on display there was scheduled to close on Saturday, December 2," says Breeze Richardson, director of marketing and communications. "It felt like the most appropriate way to frame the closing, not installing a subsequent exhibition."

A sale of the property has been negotiated but not finalized, she adds.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Squinting? This weekend’s brilliant entertainment possibilities are arguably blinding.

There’s a vivid touring production of one of the most popular Broadway musicals in history, two differently dazzling takes on a Christmastime dance classic, gifted singer/songwriters with names as glittery as their talents and a family friendly rock band consisting of guys with exceptional gleams in their eyes.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Political forecasters attempting to gauge the chances for a power shift in Congress are watching several key 2018 races across the country, including two in Kansas.

In the 3rd District, several Democrats are competing for the right to challenge four-term Republican Kevin Yoder, and in the 2nd District, a former Democratic candidate for governor hopes to claim an open seat.

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

In a rare move, a federal judge has thrown out a defendant’s conviction on drug charges after ruling that the prosecutor had interfered with his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

In a blistering decision handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found that the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, had “substantially interfered with a defense witness’s decision to testify” in the case.

Courtesy Andrew Schwartz / Veritography

A Thanksgiving feast in a Scottish castle was the cherry on top when Kansas City’s Fountain City Brass Band toured the United Kingdom last month as America’s highest-ranked brass band.

Fountain City is one of Kansas City’s strongest musical ambassadors, with a second-place finish at the prestigious Brass in Concert competition at Gateshead, England (placing ahead of top-ranked Cory) and a third at the Scottish Open in Perth. On their own turf, our homegrown ensemble held its own against bands with traditions dating deep into the 1800s.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Sunayana Dumala says February 22, 2017 is a day she doesn't want to remember.  It was that evening police came to her door in Olathe, Kansas, to tell her her husband had been murdered.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla had decided to go for a drink at Austin's Bar and Grill in Olathe with his friend and colleague from Garmin, where they were both engineers. An angry patron had shouted hate rhetoric at the men, both Indian-born, and returned with a firearm. Kuchibhotla was fatally shot.

File Photo / KCUR

Olathe businessman Greg Orman launched an independent campaign for governor Wednesday, ending months of speculation about his political plans.

Orman’s entry sets up a three-way contest that some say neither he nor the Democratic nominee can win.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers studying economic development policies say the Legislature should consider changes to a major incentives program next year.

During a meeting Wednesday at the Statehouse, a special committee recommended more study of the STAR bonds program, and members of both parties said they want more oversight.

Sen. Julia Lynn, an Olathe Republican, said there hasn’t been enough accountability in the program. She wants the state to use formulas that determine whether proposed projects will create enough economic development to outweigh their costs.

Spirit Plans To Add 1,000 New Jobs In Wichita

Dec 6, 2017

Spirit AeroSystems announced a plan Wednesday to add 1,000 new jobs and invest $1 billion in its Wichita facility over the next five years.

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