Death And Dying: Expanding Palliative Care

Jul 10, 2015
Mike Shields / KHI News Service

Editor’s note: On Wednesday, Medicare, announced that it would reimburse doctors for end-of-life counseling. It’s part of an emerging conversation about end-of-life issues and the policy changes needed to give people more control over what happens to them in their final days. This three-part series of stories by KHI News Service, and a video produced in partnership with Kansas City public television station KCPT, is about that conversation and the role that experts at two regional institutions are playing in it.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

Two men have been charged with the murder of 22-year-old Dionte Greene, a gay man who was allegedly targeted for a robbery but a death federal authorities were investigating as a hate crime.

Greene was found shot to death in a still-running car near the intersection of 69th and Bellefontaine in Kansas City last Halloween.

Courtesy photo / Johnson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office

Update, 11:16 a.m.:

After a weighty silence, a Johnson County District Court judge agreed to let accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. defend himself. 

His attorneys - Martin Warhurst, Mark Manna and Jeffrey Dazey - will stay on as "standby counsel" in what may be the first capital case in Kansas where the defendant represents himself. 

"Do you understand, sir, at trial, you're going to be held to the same standard as an attorney?" Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan asked Cross. 

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Bishop Finn had offered his resignation under a law that allows bishops to resign if they are ill or have another "grave" reason. The announcement did not include a reason for Bishop Finn's resignation.

In 2013, Finn plead guilty to charges that he failed to report suspected child abuse. It was the first case where a pope sanctioned bishops for covering up pedophilia.

In 2012, he was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge for failing to report suspected abuse.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Friday that a 20-year-old Topeka, Kansas man has been charged in a plot to detonate a suicide bomb at the U.S. Army base in Fort Riley.

Grissom said that John T. Booker, Jr., also known as Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, has been charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

He could face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison if convicted.

Spence Jackson, spokesman for the late Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead in his apartment Sunday, according to a press release from the Jefferson City Police Department. His death is being investigated as a suicide.

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KCUR.org transitioned Friday to a new design that will make listening to and viewing content easier across devices.

The new "responsive" design will automatically tailor to your viewing device, whether you are on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

The Texas County, Missouri, coroner says all seven people killed in an overnight house-to-house rampage were adults.

The victims were found at four homes in Tyrone, about 40 miles north of the Arkansas border. The gunman was discovered in a neighboring county. He was dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He has been identified as Joseph Jesse Aldridge, 36, of Tyrone. He is believed to be a cousin of the victims: ​

Police say a gunman is among nine people found dead in south-central Missouri, following a series of shootings in multiple locations Thursday night. The man was 36; police say he died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The attacks happened in Texas County, Mo., and the gunman's body was found in nearby Shannon County. Police say an elderly woman whose body was found in a residence seems to have died from natural causes. Seven other people died of gunshot wounds; one person who was wounded is in the hospital.

Royal Photography LLC

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. 

Ford Motor Co. officials say a person has died in an accident at a company plant in suburban Kansas City.

The company released a statement Tuesday confirming the death at the Claycomo Assembly Plant but few other details were released.

Emergency responders were called to the plant north of Kansas City about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The company said in its statement that the worker died in an "occupational incident." Ford promised a full investigation.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Seven people involved in a protest in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday were arrested as they attempted to block Interstate 70.

The protest was themed #BlackLivesMatter after the viral hashtag, which took off after the decisions not to indict the police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

United States Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder asked police across the nation to prepare appropriately Friday for demonstrations tied to Ferguson, Mo. 

The warning comes as the public expects a grand jury decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

In a video post by the Justice Department, Holder said that protests are most effective when they're nonviolent.

H is for Home / Flickr--CC

If you are a regular listener to Morning Edition and All Things Considered, you might note some small changes in the show next week.

NPR, in partnership with member stations like KCUR, is reformatting the broadcast clocks that are used as a template to track the timing of the stories, interviews and newscasts that air each day. The changes go into effect Monday.

Update at 11:44 on 10/31/14

The NTSB has begun its work to recover the victims of the crash. 

NPR audio update at 5:00pm:

Four people died this morning as the result of a fiery crash at Mid-Continent Airport. Aileen LeBlanc from member station KMUW reports.

KMUW audio update at 3:52pm:

St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon, KCUR will broadcast Beyond Ferguson: A Community Conversation moderated by NPR's Michele Martin. 

In late August, St. Louis Public Radio invited community leaders to participate in a conversation about race, law enforcement and more following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the National Guard to help restore order in Ferguson, Mo., as protests and sometimes violent confrontations continue.

KCUR's Frank Morris is reporting from Ferguson, and talked with us about his experience there.

Interview highlights:

On whether media coverage has accurately reflected the reality in Ferguson


KCUR-FM will add three new programs to the broadcast schedule and expand local news coverage through the weekend with newscasts and feature reporting during Weekend Edition

The decision was based on results from extensive research, including an audience survey commissioned by KCUR in early 2014. The changes will go into effect Aug. 9

Sound Opinions from public radio station WBEZ in Chicago will air Saturdays at 2 p.m., and public radio favorite Radiolab will air Saturdays at 3 p.m.

Chillicothe Man Won’t Face Third Murder Trial

Jul 16, 2014
Department of Corrections

A Chillicothe man twice convicted of the same murder will not stand trial for a third time.

Mark Woodworth was convicted in two trials of the 1990 murder of Cathy Robertson and injuring her husband as the two slept. Both convictions were eventually vacated by the state supreme court.

And on Tuesday, the 24-year-long legal saga appeared to come to an end a special prosecutor said Woodworth wouldn’t go before a jury again, and the charges against him have been dropped.

Woodworth’s attorney Robert Ramsey says it’s the vindication his client has long been looking for.

An arbitrator ordered the diocese to pay victims $1.1 million.

In a ruling just made public, arbitrator Hollis Hanover ordered that the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City -St. Joseph wasn’t doing everything it should have to protect children from sexual abuse. He also ordered the Archdiocese to pay the victims $1.1 million.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Communities in the Kansas City metropolitan area are in shocked mourning after multiple shootings left three people dead Sunday afternoon.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with a local man who was at the Jewish Community Center when two people were shot about what it was like to be in the lockdown there. We also check in with KCUR's Laura Ziegler to get the latest on the alleged shooter and talk with a local pastor about how the community is responding to the deaths.


File photo / Topeka Capital-Journal

Fred Phelps has been a lightning rod of controversy for decades. The late head of the Westboro Baptist Church, who famously picketed funerals of American soldiers and LGBT people, died Wednesday.

On Friday's Up to Date, we discuss the quandary media organizations have faced: How do you decide when events like this are truly newsworthy and when you’re just giving hate groups free publicity?


The Missouri River levels are critically low. If the problem is not resolved soon, area utilities, levees and bridges could be in serious crisis . Today we discuss the effects of dropping water levels and the multimillion dollar expenditure needed to remedy the issue.


Before November 2013, the state of Missouri had executed two inmates over the past six years. Then, near the end of the year, two inmates were executed within three weeks of each other, and both executions used a controversial new drug protocol.

Critics question the way the state is carrying out executions, including the way the state obtains its lethal drugs. With courts still considering critical legal issues as another execution date nears, will the Department of Corrections keep pressing ahead?

The number of Fatalities on Kansas roads has reached an all-time low. The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) says there were 344 fatalities on the state's roads last year.

The number of deaths on Kansas roads has fallen significantly in the last decade or so. There were more than 500 deaths in 2002.

"I really think that there's a lot of factors that are contributing," says Steven Buckley, safety engineer with KDOT.

In answer to the bitter cold, a Kansas City Salvation Army team that deals with the camp-living homeless will be out for the next three nights. The numbers served are small, but the services are life-saving.

On a Summer night, relief volunteers see about a hundred people in the makeshift camps. Numbers dwindle to 30 or 60 a night when the harshest winter hits.

Sean Tyson runs emergency and disaster aid for the Salvation Army, which brings clothing and warm food to people in woods along the Missouri River and its bridges and West Bottoms.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kansas City banker and philanthropist, R. Crosby Kemper Jr. has died at the age of 86.

Kemper was best known for leading Kansas City-based UMB Financial Corp. He died Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif.

His son R. Crosby Kemper III says he was there enjoying the great weather over the holidays.

Kemper Jr. was born in Kansas City on Feb. 22, 1927 to R. Crosby Kemper Sr. and Enid Jackson Kemper. He worked in banking for more than 50 years, starting at his father's City National Bank as a night transit clerk and eventually becoming president in 1959.

Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0

Happy New Year! Or is it? What will it take for the Kansas City metro area to have a joyful 2014?

On Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske asks members of KCPT's Ruckus to gaze into their crystal ball for the answers. From how well local leaders are doing, to the prospects for landing the GOP National Convention, to whether the Chiefs can go all the way, we examine how people, issues and events are shaping up for the year ahead.

Edwin Olson / Flickr--CC

The Maryville rape case story, originally reported by KCUR in July, topped our most-viewed web content list by a landslide this year. The case garnered national attention this fall after the Kansas City Star's story was picked up by the aggregator news site, Gawker. Also near the top was the merger between Chinese company, SoftBank Corp., and Kansas City's own Sprint Corp. 

Broken gas main triggers disastrous Plaza fire

Witnesses said the explosion shook their homes and businesses blocks away, and spawned flames more vicious than an ordinary fire. And as they feared, there were people inside JJ's Restaurant when it exploded. Fifteen were injured and one died in the blast and fire that resulted when an excavating contractor broke a gas line. In addition to lawsuits, the fire prompted an ongoing debate on how companies and cities should prepare for and respond to natural gas leaks.