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This fall, the city of Prairie Village, Kan., will remove 100 ash trees from city property due to Emerald Ash Borer infestation.

The Emerald Ash Borer is considered the most destructive forest pest in North America. Its larva bore into ash trees, cuts off nutrients and kills the tree.

Before 2002, the dime-size iridescent beetle had never been detected in North America. It’s predicted that the species arrived in ashwood used for stabilizing cargo.

A Kansas City council committee responded favorably Thursday to a proposal to convert Kemper Arena into a youth sports complex, but it's too early to declare the aging arena safe from the wrecking ball.

Developer Steve Foutch told the council committee: there's no need to tear down Kemper to make way for a new, smaller American Royal complex, there's plenty of room for two separate arenas to coexist.

HDR, City of Kansas City

Not long after Kansas City's proposal to add street car lines along Independence Avenue and Linwood Boulevard went down to defeat in Tuesday’s election, Kansas City Mayor Sly James was in front of microphones expressing his disappointment.

The mayor reiterated those concerns the morning after the election. “Things are not going to get better unless we do something different,” he said in an interview with KCUR.

After months of debate and a second vote, the Roeland Park, Kan., city council approved an anti-discrimination ban, granting equal protection regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In July, council member Beck Fast missed the vote, saying she was in a car accident. The ordinance lost by a 4-3 vote. Fast was present for the vote Monday evening and tied the vote at 4-4. Roeland Park Mayor Joel Marquardt broke the tie and passed the ordinance.

The Kansas City, Mo., city council voted Thursday to ban open carry of firearms. 

Delivering the pitch that sealed the ban's passage, Mayor Sly James told the council that openly carrying exposed guns is intimidating, invites accidental shootings and killings out of rage, and is particularly undesirable because unlike concealed carry it requires no permit or training.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

President Barack Obama will talk about the economy in Kansas City today, focusing on his executive orders that are aimed at helping middle-class families.

Obama touched down in Air Force One shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kansas City International Airport Wednesday, where an invitation-only crowd of well-wishers greeted President Barack Obama.

The public safety committee of the Kansas City city council unanimously endorsed Mayor Sly James's proposal to ban the open carry of firearms Wednesday.

Citing a recent move by the town of Lake Ozark, Mo., to ban open carry because of its negative effect on tourism, the mayor said that if a Missouri city makes its gun ordinances exactly mirror state law, there is no reason open carry can not be outlawed by a local community.

(flickr-BeckyF)

President Obama appears to be planning a visit to Kansas City next week.

KCUR’s Steve Kraske tweeted the news Tuesday that Obama will be here next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The White House said Obama will be speaking about the economy and will spend the night here before returning to Washington, D.C. Neither a time and location, nor any other details, have been announced.

The Roeland Park City Council on Monday voted down an ordinance  that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

The anti-discrimination ordinance had been a hotly debated issue in the Johnson County suburb and drew a crowd last night of about 150 people. Some members of the crowd wore blue shirts to show their support for the ordinance.

After hearing nearly 50 public comments, the council voted 4-3 against adding the ordinance. One council member was absent.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Blue Springs Friday asking local elected officials to oppose the tax breaks state lawmakers approved in the session's eleventh hour.

Nixon vetoed the cuts, which would have created sales tax exemptions for restaurants, dry cleaners and power companies, earlier this week. He says they weren't accounted for in the budget legislators sent him and would make it difficult for municipalities to raise the money they need through levy increases.

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In the 1920s and '30s, Kansas City was defined by the corruption of the political machine run by “Boss” Tom Pendergast. But the machine finally was brought down, in no small part through the efforts of reform-minded women.

Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes tells the story of these “civic housekeepers” whose fight came to a dramatic conclusion with the ballot-box victories of 1940, Pendergast’s imprisonment in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, and the smashing of machine-mob rule.

Guest:

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Of all the possible plans for Kemper Arena, the one that changes the building the least is also the least viable for the city.

"Doing nothing doesn't seem to work for anybody," Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford told members of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee Thursday morning, kicking off a series of meetings to discuss Kemper's future.

City of Roeland Park

After being postponed four times in as many months, a vote has finally been scheduled for the proposed anti-discrimination policy in Roeland Park, Kan. The city council will vote on the measure July 21.

The council has been considering since March a policy that would extend legal protection beyond state and federal baselines, to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status. Its passage would make the community of less than 7,000 residents the second city in Kansas – after Lawrence – with such an ordinance.

Hearne Christopher Jr. / Kcconfidential

In May of 2013, investigative reporter Karen Dillon wrote a story in the Kansas City Star that shed light on Kansas' restrictive police records access laws. According to Columbia Journalism Review, her work was instrumental in changing those laws. This year, Gov.

Recently, Harvest Public Media took a look at the new Farm Bill, and what they found might surprise you.

On Monday's Up to Date, we discuss how little influence farmers and agricultural groups had in shaping the bill and look at who the major players actually were.

Guests:

The Show-Me State is designating the jumping jack as its official exercise in honor of the U.S. Army's second highest-ranked general.

Gen. John Pershing, who was from Laclede, Missouri, is credited with inventing the exercise while training cadets at West Point before WWI.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 669 bill Thursday, which was sponsored by State Rep. Pat Conway of St. Joseph.

Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

The recommendation to replace the three terminals at the Kansas City International Airport with one new building is still controversial among the general public.

But according to its final report, the mayor's airport advisory commission didn't find it was controversial at all.

Commission co-chairman Dave Fowler said Thursday that the panel began its study of the airport as a group divided in opinion, but finished in nearly complete agreement.

Cle0patra / Flickr-CC

The Douglas County clerk says his office will offer financial assistance to residents who need an out-of-state birth certificate to prove their citizenship and comply with Kansas' voter identification law.

County Clerk Jamie Shew says the current law creates two classes of Kansans: Those who were born in-state and can get a free birth certificate, and those who were born out-of-state and must pay to get a birth certificate.

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 Updated 6:11 p.m.:

The Kansas City City Council has postponed the vote on the Power and Light building so city officials can conduct another hearing on the proposal's financial implications.

The original post begins here:

The Kansas City City Council votes Thursday afternoon on declaring the historic Power and Light Building and several blocks surrounding it a blighted area.

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Last week we saw the closing of another Supreme Court session with landmark rulings about religious freedom, cell phone privacy, and recess appointments. But there was another decision: a 5-4 ruling that may have an impact on unions and how they operate, including right in the Kansas City area. On Tuesday's Up To Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks with the AFL-CIO's Craig Becker on the highest court in the land's ruling on union agency fees.

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Last month, the city of Kansas City, Mo., opened what they’re calling a 'Dead Letter Office,' which is actually a website where the residents and business owners can petition to repeal out-of-date city regulations.

Assistant City Manager Rick Usher focuses on small businesses and entrepreneurship. He says due to Kansas City’s long history, some of the old rules are still in the books.

“Kansas City you know we’re over 150 years old. The city has weathered every economic, political, social, environmental crisis that has occurred through those times,” Usher said.

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The Overland Park City Council will vote Monday night on a pair of plans to bring Google Fiber to the Kansas suburb, months after striking a preliminary deal.

Google Fiber walked away from that discussion after several council members asked about liability for city-owned utilities such as light poles, even though they ultimately wanted to approve the plan. 

That shouldn't be a problem moving forward, says Councilman Paul Lyons.

Missouri state Rep. Dave Hinson has seen first-hand what a lifesaver a heroin antidote can be.

Hinson, R-St. Clair, is a paramedic based in north St. Louis County. Just recently, he said, he used the antidote to save the life of a homeless man at a Metrolink stop who had apparently overdosed on heroin.

“It’s pretty simple to identify a heroin overdose, with the pinpoint pupils,” said Hinson. If the antidote is given soon enough – before the user has stopped breathing for several minutes – the effects of the heroin can be swiftly reversed.

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Michael Swoyer from the Kansas City Health Department receives a lot of calls from residents with bedbugs.

Unfortunately, he says there's not much the city can do to help them — exterminating bedbugs is a time-consuming and expensive business.

So, Swoyer and the Kansas City Health Department are organizing classes for the general public on how to prevent rats, mice and bedbugs from colonizing in homes – and what people should do if they’re already there.

Visitors with a concealed carry permit can now bring handguns into the Kansas Statehouse.

The change took effect this week, and Statehouse security officers have a process in place to determine who's carrying in the Capitol. Visitors with a firearm will need to provide their concealed carry permit and a photo ID.

Kansas Capitol Police Officer Stephen Crumpler says staff will screen the person for other weapons and use a system to double-check that the concealed carry permit is valid.

www.nationalpartnership.org

It's scary being a new parent, and many state regulations make the adjustment period very difficult for new moms and dads who have jobs. A recent study gives both Kansas and Missouri a failing grade in this area.

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have tripled the state’s waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, saying it reflected  “a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

The governor noted in Wednesday’s veto message that the bill, HB 1307, had no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said Wednesday.

Missourians will vote Aug. 5 on a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation projects. The proposal — commonly known as the transportation tax — would generate billions of dollars over the next decade to fix roads, repair bridges and improve mass transit. 

The stakes are high. Supporters say Missouri needs more money for its aging transportation infrastructure. With gas tax revenue dwindling and federal funding uncertain, some policymakers see the sales tax as a guaranteed way to fund transportation needs.

(flickr)

Jackson County will not fight a challenge to Missouri’s gay marriage ban because it discriminates against same-sex couples, the county’s top executive said Monday.

Last week the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of two Kansas City, Mo., couples who were denied marriage licenses.

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What happens if things go sour for a married gay couple? Many Kansas counties would dismiss any divorce cases without hearing them, but not Douglas County.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, we examine how its policy is different and take a look at other new developments affecting the local LGBT community.

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