Johnson County | KCUR

Johnson County

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Non-profit connects underserved Kansas City neighborhoods to fresh produce.

Food deserts are a big problem for many communities in the metro, but the remedy isn't always to build big grocery stores. Today, we talked with the founder of Kanbe's Markets to learn about his unique approach to connecting communities with fresh, healthy food.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Missouri call for convention of states to amend U.S. Constitution for term limits working its way through legislature.

While Missouri state lawmakers can't be re-elected indefinitely, those elected to serve at the national level don't have such limits, and sometimes hold a seat for decades. Today, we talked about what it would take to get this changed in Washington.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

While other big counties in Kansas have already bought new voting machines that create a paper trail, Johnson County has yet to upgrade their machines despite having the money to do so.

In 2016, the Johnson County Commission approved $13 million to replace the county’s 15-year-old voting machines.

Matt Kleinmann / Community Health Council of Wyandotte County

New county health rankings once again show Wyandotte County as one of the least healthy counties in Kansas. The good news: It’s no longer the worst.

Segment 1: A local dance troupe performs an original piece based on people's experience with cancer.

The Owen/Cox Dance Group has collaborated with Gilda's Club Kansas City and will perform a piece about how people's lives are impacted by cancer. We talk to the choreographer, and we hear from patients, survivors and caregivers.

Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission Board of Education hired Michael Fulton to be the district's next superintendent for $250,000 a year, but the other details of his contract have been finalized.

Fulton will receive $1,000 a month car allowance "for the purpose of offsetting all necessary operating expenses for travel required to perform duties" in the Kansas City area. In addition, the district will also provide a yearly $24,000 tax-sheltered annuity.

Fulton will get 31 vacation days a year in addition to all days off students and staff get.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County Commissioners on Thursday morning committed $300,000 to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for expanded bus service to south Johnson County.

The additional routes will cater to the fast-growing labor market at Logistics Park KC, a massive transportation and distribution hub in Edgerton, Kansas, and to the New Century Air Center in Olathe.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

In recognition of Kansas Day, today's show is all about the Sunflower State. We start things out with a poem about the town of El Dorado (and the way we pronounce it.) Then, learn about the person Johnson County was named after, Reverend Thomas Johnson.

Also, the story of Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee prophet who dreamed of uniting the Native American tribes into a single government.


Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

We know that the flu outbreak around Kansas City is bad, and it's keeping doctors, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics hopping.

But local firefighters and paramedics are also carrying more of the load.

“I could say it’s probably increasing our call volume by 25 to 30 calls a day,” says Kansas City Fire Department Deputy Chief Tom Collins.

Anna Weber worked on the set of the Steven Spielberg's movie, The Post. She shares how recreating the newsroom made her think about history and the role of journalism ... and about her dad, a longtime editor at The Kansas City Star.

Then: a look at the ongoing challenges for families who are trying to find a great school for their kids with special needs.


Shelby L. Bell / Google Images -- CC

It's the time of year when KC expats come home for the holidays. We take a look at the restaurant meals that they have to have during their visit, and a chat with a KC native whose New York barbeque restaurant has become a hangout for homesick Kansas Citians.

Plus: we say goodbye to Fun House Pizza in Raytown, which is closing after 53 years, and our Food Critics search out the best pizza in and around town.

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. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

As always during this season, Kansas City musicians are booked for holiday gatherings.

"Christmas is the busiest time of year. We all have a million gigs," says Johnny Hamil, an area bass player and teacher (among his efforts to promote his instrument, Hamil lures esteemed bass players from around the world to town for his annual Kansas City Bass Workshop).

TheNaska / Flickr -- CC

Meet a soon-to-be-NASA engineer from Missouri who raps about math.

Plus: what are the smells of KC, both past and present? We explore the rich tapestry of Kansas City scents, good and bad, and how they affect our experience of a place.


Johnson County, Kansas

The longtime manager of the biggest county in Kansas was ousted Thursday by a 4-3 vote of the Johnson County Commission. Hannes Zacharias has been county manager since 2009 and had been in county management since 2001.

“As I stated prior to and following the vote, I do not agree with the decision and believe it is not the correct action for our county commission to take," Commission Chair Ed Eilert said in a statement. "This vote does not reflect in any negative way on the moral, ethical or professional character of Mr. Zacharias, as I and others stated as the vote was taken."

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City International Airport is broadening its horizons, hosting a community design meeting for the new terminal in Johnson County after all and stepping up efforts to attract international air service.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County Community College just received the biggest financial gift in its history and plans to use the money to expand its technical education.

JCCC says it received a $10 million donation from the Overland Park-based Sunderland Foundation. It's part of a $102 million project that will add two buildings to campus.

City of Overland Park

Carl Gerlach was facing his first opponent in eight years for re-election as Overland Park, Kansas, mayor. In the end, he easily brushed aside challenger Charlotte O'Hara. 

Gerlach grabbed 63 percent of the vote. O'Hara got 37 percent.

The incumbent ran on the economic success of Overland Park during his time in office, including the revitalization of downtown and adding 23,000 jobs.

O'Hara tried to paint Gerlach and the city as too cozy with developers by granting millions of dollars in tax incentives.

courtesy of the artist

The Johnson County, Kansas, Board of County Commissioners this week voted to reduce funding for proposed public art projects and for the county's public art program itself. 

In addition to public art programs in six cities, Johnson County has a One Percent for Art Program, established in 2006 to include art in major building projects.

Arts advocates, including Kansas Representative Jerry Stogsdill of Prairie Village, asked the commission to continue support for the program. 

Patrick Doheny / Flickr -- CC

At many metro parks, you'll see players from around the world playing cricket. We take a closer look at the growing culture of the sport in Kansas City.

Then: a recent article in Time Magazine stated that kids' sports is a $15 billion dollar industry. With the rise of club teams, is the way that kids play sports good for them? Or is it a sacrifice — not only for them, but for the whole family?


Orlin Wagner / Associated Press

Last week the state lost again at the Kansas Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled that Kansas is underfunding its public schools, with repercussions for academically struggling children across the state — and especially for students and taxpayers who live in resource-poor school districts. 

In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs met up on the tennis court to see whether women could cut it in sports. Inspired by Battle of the Sexes, we take a look at how their legendary match influenced feminism and women in sports today.

Plus: a teacher at Shawnee Mission East wrote a song that addresses sexual assault ... and invited his students to collaborate on it. Hear the story behind his song, "Fallen Roses."


Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Less than two months since its opening, Lenexa’s City Center development is already transforming the way that city’s residents interact with their government, and changing how the metro thinks about the Kansas suburb.

The project, just one in a set of sprawling properties centered around 87th Street and Renner Boulevard, is the culmination of 20 years of work to make real a long-standing community vision for a new downtown.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In a live broadcast from the Public Market in Lenexa's new City Center, we talk with officials about the 20-year odyssey to make real their community's vision for a new town square. Also, the vendors behind Frannie Franks Coffee Cakes and Red Kitchen Tamales share their start-up stories and explain why they've set up shop in the new development.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

While many eyes remain on recovery and damage assessment in Texas and Louisiana in the literal wake of Hurricane Harvey, some residents of the Kansas  City metro — who've seen unusual amounts of rainfall and dangerous flooding this summer — are growing more concerned about the possibility of unprecedented floods.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

While communities across the country deal with dramatic increases in illegal opioid use, statistics in Johnson County suggest rates of death and addiction closer to home are relatively more stable.

Court filings involving opioid offenses have remained relatively flat in recent years, and illegal use has decreased for hydrocodone and oxycodone, two of the most popular opiates, according to a report from public health and crime experts presented to the Johnson County Commission in June. Heroin use remains steady.

Despite those encouraging numbers, local officials are wary.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

Just because court filings suggest illegal opioid use is down in Kansas' wealthiest county doesn't mean its residents are unaffected by rising usage nationwide. Today, we'll find out what opiate use looks like in Johnson County. Then, we learn what exactly makes sports fandom such a big deal in Kansas City, whether it's for the Chiefs, the Royals or Sporting KC.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

When you walk into the new Olathe West High School, it doesn't at all feel like a high school. It could be on a college campus — or even the campus of Microsoft or Google.

There's an atrium when you walk in, along with a large commons area — and even a part of the library where students and teachers can congregate.

Kansas Local Primary Election August 2017 Results

Aug 2, 2017
Keith Ivey / Flickr-CC

Below are the unofficial results from Tuesday's municipal elections on the Kansas side of the metro area. 



Heather Ousley
Votes: 7,510
Percent: 42%

Mandi Serrone Hunter
Votes: 3,666
Percent: 21%

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Update Aug. 4 5:38 p.m.

Mandi Hunter's lead over at-large incumbent Cindy Neighbor more than doubled Friday afternoon, from seven votes to 18 votes. 

The Johnson County Election updated the primary night vote totals after counting additional mail in ballots post marked by 7:00 Tuesday night and received in the office Friday.

The votes, including provisional ballots, will be canvassed Monday morning.

If Hunter's lead holds she will face Heather Ousley in the general election.

Original story starts here.