Johnson County

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Former relief pitcher Jeff Montgomery saved more games for the Royals than any other player to step on the mound. Today, we talk with the slinger-turned-broadcaster about his experiences with the boys in blue.

A photographer discusses her new book about homelessness in Johnson County, and a comics artist shares his thoughts on the trials and tribulations of the creative process.

Plus: an encore presentation our award-winning piece about a man who learns how to hear again after years of deafness.

Guests:

SFS Architecture

The doors of the old King Louie West Lanes bowling alley and ice skating rink have been closed to the public since 2009. On Saturday, the iconic building will reopen, this time as the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

Steve Kraske / KCUR 89.3

The former King Louie West Lanes facility in Overland Park, Kansas, has seen a dramatic change. The building is now the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.  

With space for theater, dance and the visual arts — as well as being the new home for the Johnson County Museum — the Center is a multipurpose destination for the community.  

Today, we talk with county officials about the years-long project and what visitors can expect — just in time for the grand opening on Saturday.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

There are two college tuition stories in Kansas right now.

The first is a good news story. Johnson County Community College says it will hold the line on tuition. The JCCC Board of Trustees voted last month to maintain the current cost for students. A credit hour is $93 for Johnson County residents and $110 for all other Kansas residents.

“JCCC is a place where every student has the opportunity for success.  By not raising tuition, that opportunity for success is now more achievable for more students,” president Joe Sopcich said in a statement.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The Shawnee Mission School District Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday night to name Dr. Kenny Southwick as interim superintendent for Shawnee Mission schools.

Jim Hinson, who has headed the district for the past four years, unexpectedly announced his retirement last week. His last day is June 30.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Just because Kansas had an election a few months ago doesn’t mean people aren’t already thinking about 2018 legislative campaigns.

Grassroots organizations in Johnson County are multiplying and starting to plot how they will elect more moderate Republicans and Democrats to the Kansas Legislature.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

It’s been 30 years since metropolitan Kansas City’s beltway, Interstate 435, was completed, and its important role as a route for economic development has been a tale of two states.

In southern Johnson County, where the first leg of I-435 opened between I-35 and Metcalf Avenue in 1965, smart planning by local and state leaders has made the I-435 corridor that area’s bustling main street.

County Health Rankings

The two counties at the bottom of Kansas’ health rankings this year share a great deal: high rates of poverty and smoking, and difficulty accessing providers.

But the latest rankings suggest the counties might be starting to diverge on one important factor: how likely their residents are to die prematurely.

Residents of Labette County in southeast Kansas took the unenviable title of Kansas’ least-healthy people from Wyandotte County in the 2017 County Health Rankings released Wednesday.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

If you're looking for a public-service job in law enforcement, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office wants to talk to you.

That's according to Sheriff Calvin Hayden, who says his department is a long way from where they need to be staffed — 50 uniformed deputies short, to be exact.

"That's our huge issue right now," he says. "Recruiting is our No. 1 priority for this year."

Hayden, who took office in January, attributed the deficiency to the increased criticism law enforcers are receiving.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The saying "let's get the hell out of Dodge" exists for a reason. Back in its day, Dodge City, Kansas, was the roughest, toughest town people dared to stop in. Author Tom Clavin, used his obsession with the Wild West to write a book on how the city got its infamous reputation. Also, we speak with the new sheriff of Johnson County, Calvin Hayden, about how he's balancing the safety of his deputies with increasing staffing shortfalls and overtime pay.

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Forget the sad desk lunch. The lunch break is a time to get out and explore new restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for something fast and affordable or luxurious — or something to grab and take to a nearby park (hi, spring!) — KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best lunch spots in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Bonjwing Lee, The Ulterior Epicure:

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

When people started to file into the Kansas Senate chamber on Thursday morning, it was clear the legislation that leadership was pushing was dead.

New, moderate Republican legislators elected in November seemed to take a firm stand: The budget bills on the calendar for debate didn’t raise taxes enough and cut too much from public education.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Co-working is a growing trend for freelancers, small businesses, and startups. It provides a place to work, interact with others and share expenses. But artists, and makers of all kinds, often have specialized needs, when it comes to light, space, or tools. 

Sly James
Alyssa Dinberg / American Public Square

Local officials and law enforcement agencies responded to President Trump’s executive order on immigration this week with a blend of disappointment and commitment to narrowly defined compliance.

Travis Wise / Flickr - CC

Attracting and hanging on to new residents can be a challenge for cities. Today, a November 2016 town hall with urban studies theorist Richard Florida and "suburbanist" Joel Kotkin, on the best of both worlds in the greater KC area.

Courtesy - Johnson County

Thursday's vote by the Johnson County Commission authorizes the spending of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved last November.

The money will be used to demolish the old courthouse in downtown Olathe and replace it with a new nine story building across the street.  It will also subsidize a $20 million coroner's facility at 119th and Ridgeview for autopsies and toxicology exams.

The project is not to exceed $245 million.

Chief Counsel Don Jarrett says construction won't start until the existing courthouse is completely torn down.

scott1346 / Flickr -- CC

Is the family farm changing? As the farming industry's wealth is consolidated into the hands of just a few multinational companies, three family farmers discuss the challenges they face and how they're adapting.

Guests:

Heartland Health Monitor file photo

Vicki Hiatt, who lost her bid to unseat Republican firebrand Mary Pilcher-Cook in the Kansas Senate by a mere 980 votes in the initial vote tally, has requested a recount.

Hiatt, a Democrat who ran for the District 10 seat, which includes parts of Johnson and Wyandotte counties, made the request in a letter today to Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker. The letter was prompted by election night tabulation problems in Johnson County that delayed the reporting of results until the next day.  

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The latest Kansas revenue numbers could make it hard for freshman lawmakers from Johnson County to keep all their campaign promises.

On Thursday, state officials lowered the forecast for future tax collection once again. It’s expected Kansas will come up $350 million short this fiscal year, and $600 million next.

And instead of acting now to balance the budget, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is passing the buck to state lawmakers.

Laura Ziegler 89-3

An anti-establishment wave that rippled across the country Tuesday night didn't seem to put a damper on support for a host of tax increases in Kansas and Missouri. Voters in a number of counties supported sales and property taxes to fund public services in a number of municipalities.

Here's a look at them:

The Combat Tax

First, with more than 5,000 "honor killings" occurring around the world every year, violence against women is a widespread problem with no single solution. Then, we hear both sides of upcoming ballot initiatives that propose a new public safety tax in Johnson County, and a new levy in Kansas City, Missouri, that would fund a light rail network. Finally, the most recent installment of A Fan's Notes.

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Updated, 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17:

The Johnson County courthouse is old, outdated and doesn’t meet accessibility standards – now it’s up to voters to decide if it should be replaced.

A proposed 1/4-cent sales tax would pay for a new, $182 million courthouse to be built just across Santa Fe Street from the existing courthouse in Olathe.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Authorities believe that the two men accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Johnson County Sheriff's deputy had other victims. 

William Luth, 24, of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Brady Newman-Caddell, 21, of Independence, Missouri, were arrested Monday night in Jackson County after surveillance video of the car used in the kidnapping was released. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the sexual assault of a female deputy abducted from a parking lot near the central booking facility Friday night.

Captain Brian Hill says it doesn't appear the woman was targeted because she was law enforcement.

"At our current point in our investigation, we don't have any evidence that she specifically was targeted," Hill said at a news conference Monday. "But again, we're two days into this. Some more information may become available that indicates otherwise."

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

This story first appeared on KCUR's Question Quest. You can find the episode here or wherever you download podcasts.

Lots of people have stores they remember going to when they were a kid— for you maybe it was the video store, the arcade, a comic shop, an ice cream stand or corner store.

In this episode, co-host Suzanne Hogan goes on her first quest to find out what happened to a zany skate and surf shop in Kansas that many remember fondly today. 

Andrea Tudhope / File photo

One person is dead and eight others were injured in two separate shooting incidents in the Kansas City metro this weekend.

Around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, a gunman fired into a crowd of people walking in Kansas City's Westport district, injuring six people, one critically. The Westport gunman used a semi-automatic weapon, Kansas City police chief Darryl Forte said in a Tweet.

Courtesy Sharon Rodriguez

As election season cranks into post-Labor Day fury, the Johnson County Library wants to provoke conversations about democracy and activism.

It's doing so with events titled Bear Witness, kicking off on Thursday with an art opening intended to “bear witness to the events and issues of the past and present, and to postulate those in the future.”

One literal witness is photographer Sharon Rodriguez, who has spent the past year interviewing and taking photographs of homeless people in Johnson County.

Sergio Jordá Gregori / Flickr -- CC

Whether it’s served as a side or as the base of a dish — or even sweetened for breakfast or dessert — rice is part of many beloved dishes around the world.

“From a Midwestern perspective, a lot of it is used as a filler,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

“I think what makes a hero rice dish stand out is something that absolutely makes rice the centerpiece,” she added.

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