Jackson County

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A few years ago, Blue Springs police officers were fielding daily calls about disturbances at two apartment complexes near Interstate 70 and Woods Chapel Road.

Now disturbances are down at the complexes, which are  under new management. Both have been renovated recently .

Police Department Deputy Chief Bob Muenz credits the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, a national initiative to clean up apartment complexes.

Participating landlords attend training and attach a “crime-free” addendum to their lease.

Creative Commons-Wikimedia

Many Bates County, Missouri, residents are in favor of a move this week by Sheriff Chad Anderson. He has temporarily waived fees for new concealed carry permits and renewals through the end of June. 

"Our phones rang non stop yesterday," Sheriff Anderson's assistant Jami Page says. "We had to bring in another dispatcher to handle all the calls." 

The Bates County Sheriff's office made the announcement Monday on Facebook in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The gunman, who was killed by police, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker doesn’t think victims and first responders should lose their right to privacy just because they’re witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Baker filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday firing back at a St. Louis judge who in several cases has ordered the City Circuit Attorney there to disclose the home addresses of crime victims and law enforcement officers scheduled to testify in court.

“We're not trying to hide them,” Baker says. “But what we are trying to do is balance their privacy right against our system of justice.”

The Health Inequality Project

A new study drawing on a massive trove of data confirms long-held notions that when it comes to life expectancy, income matters: The richest American men live 15 years longer than the poorest men and the richest American women live 10 years longer than the poorest women.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

As second baseman for the Kansas City Royals, Frank White helped bring the team a big first: a World Series win.

On Friday, more than 30 years after the 1985 World Series, White celebrated two more firsts: his first State of the County address as the first African-American Jackson County Executive. 

"Today I feel like a rookie again," White said with a wide smile and to much applause. "I have never experienced a first quite like this."

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Newly sworn-in Jackson County Executive Frank White says he’ll consider running in November for a two-year term.

White, a former Royals player, was the legislature’s unanimous pick to replace Mike Sanders, who served nine years before stepping down earlier this month.

“When I ran for the legislature, I thought that was what I was going to be,” White said Monday after his swearing in at the historic Truman Courthouse in Independence. “It was my intention to be there because I really felt like that was a great place to help the people in the community.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Fred Arbanas became the temporary Jackson County Executive during a ceremony Tuesday at the golf course that bears his name.

Arbanas, a former Chiefs player who served 42 years in the county legislature, stepped into the role after Mike Sanders announced last month he would step down just one year into a four-year term.

“After working in the county for so many years, you really get attached to it,” says Arbanas. “I want to see Jackson County keep moving forward and have good, honest government.”

Courtesy photo / Mike Sanders

Outgoing Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says after Dec. 31, when he formally resigns from his post, he will be out of politics. At least for now. 

When asked Tuesday by KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up To Date whether he would consider ever running for political office again, Sanders closed the door, in a sense, but didn't bang it shut. 

"Not completely, but I don't want to say that door is open any time soon," he said. "I'm not dying, I'm not moving. I'll be around. I would say: in a decade, who knows?" 

Jackson County government

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders disclosed to The Kansas City Star in an interview Monday that he will resign Dec. 31 after nine years as the top elected official of the county. 

Sanders told the newspaper that he made the decision because he wants to spend more time with his family and has no plans to run for other public office at this time.  Rather, the article says, he would like to resume his private law practice. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

With a cacophony of banging gavels, county leaders and circuit court judges ushered in a new era for the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse.

Renovations on the 59-year-old courthouse were completed two weeks ahead of schedule, said County Executive Mike Sanders.

“This is another one of the major renovations that we’ve done in this county where we have not bonded,” Sanders said of the $7.3 million project. “We have not sacrificed the promise of tomorrow for the commitment of the day, but we are paying cash.”

Frank Morris / KCUR

The FBI is investigating repeated use of excessive force by guards at the county jail.  

The problem came to light last month, when a nurse told the county’s acting corrections director, Joe Piccinini, about an inmate hospitalized with serious injuries.

Piccinini says the county looked into the issue and discovered that a group of four corrections officers may have used excessive force on inmates on at least three other occasions between May and July of this year.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

An emotional Barbara Nelson thanked Jackson County officials and neighbors Wednesday for the home she now owns.

“I’m going to walk in that grass today without my shoes,” she declared through her tears after receiving a clear title to the house she and her daughters moved into six years ago.

Nelson, once homeless, was the first recipient of a completely renovated house through Jackson County’s Constructing Futures initiative. The program provides on-the-job training to people who were incarcerated as they work to fix up a vacant house.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says a deal is in place with the Union Pacific Railroad to extend the Katy Trail the 25 miles from its present terminus to the Truman Sports Complex.

That would not only make it possible to hike or bike to St. Louis, but, Sanders says, also is a major step toward an area light rail system.

theocean/Flickr-CC

Jackson County voters head to the polls on November 5 to vote on a 1/2 cent sales tax increase to fund a translational medicine institute. 

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, a proponent and opponent of the tax meet in our studios to debate the controversial proposal, including how county residents will actually benefit from the project.

Guests:

Children's Mercy Hospital

On Wednesday, the Hall Family Foundation announced that it was pledging $75 million to Children's Mercy Hospital for build a translational medicine research building on Children's Mercy's campus on Hospital Hill.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Jackson County voters will decide a proposed half cent sales tax to benefit development of medical innovations and research at select area hospitals and medical schools. 

The county legislature has voted by a large margin to put the measure on the November 5 ballot.

Some legislators wanted changes if they were going to back the proposal, and they got it.

The alteration, passed by a vote of 7-2, now requires the county legislature appoint a member to a board overseeing finances. 

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A first public hearing before the Jackson County Legislature on a proposed sales tax for medical research drew no outright opposition.  

Legislators do have a hefty array of questions about costs and benefits.


If sent to and approved by Jackson County voters, the half cent sales tax is estimated to generate about $40 million a year for what has been termed "Translational Medical Research."

Jackson County government

    

Breaking news update: Mike Sanders has announced he is stepping down as chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party. 

Jackson County is really hopping these days. Between fluctuating property assessments and the courthouse renovation, the county’s missteps and triumphs are keeping people talking. 

Iknowthegoods

Jackson County officials are acknowledging that new valuations on 18,000 residential properties may not be accurate and need additional review.

Jackson County government

A lot more people in the Kansas City area could be voting on a mass transit plan as soon as this August. 

Jackson County government

There's a new twist in the Kansas City transit debate, and that's not the only thing going on in Jackson County.

Photo by Anthonia Akitunde.

Most Jackson County legislators will return to their seats after last night's primaries, with the exception of the legislature's chair.

Newcomer Crystal Williams defeated incumbent Henry Rizzo 50 to 43 in the second district at-large. Williams said she thinks people were ready for a change.

"The discussions that I had with the people of Jackson County about openness and transparency in county government is something that really resonated with folks," Williams said.

Jackson County voters will decide whether to approve revisions to the county charter on Tuesday's primary ballot. The amended charter was developed by a task force chaired by former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes.

Primaries for the Jackson County Legislature don't usually draw enough much money or attention to even run ads. But no Republicans are running this year for the at-large seats, so those races will be decided by voters on Tuesday, August 3, and the races have become pretty contentious.

The candidates hear this question a lot: "So . . .what does the Jackson County Legislature do, exactly . . . besides collect property taxes?"

Charter Sales Job Begins

Jun 29, 2010
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Kansas City, MO – The head of the panel redrawing proposed changes in Jackson County, Missouri's charter sees new opportunities to fight discrimination at the courthouse.

Voters will decide worthiness of charter changes when they cast ballots in the August election. Changes range from ending no bid contracts, to eliminating automatic pay hikes for elected officials to limiting the county executive's power over the sheriff. And there is hiring staff to investigate discrimination and ethics breaches.