Kansas City Council | KCUR

Kansas City Council

Coy Dugger / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The Urban Youth Academy at 18th and Vine is up and running. How is it affecting nearby neighborhoods?

When the Urban Youth Academy was first announced some people were concerned it would be primarily used by suburban visitors rather than kids in the surrounding neighborhoods. We get an update on how people are feeling about the facility now that it is up and running.

Segment 1: The National School Walkout In North Kansas City.

A check-in with our reporter, who covered today's National School Walkout from Oak Park High School.

Segment 2, beginning at 5:41: A Portrait Session with Alvin Brooks.

File Photo / Luke X. Martin KCUR 89.3

Kansas City residents will now be able to see more of how the city spends their money.  

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council voted unanimously to scale back the city manager's power to award contracts for city projects.

Councilman Quinton Lucas, who sponsored the ordinance, said it wasn't prompted by any single contract awarded by the city manager but rather a general effort to promote transparency. 

Before Thursday's vote, City Manager Troy Schulte could award construction contracts valued at more than a $1.3 million without public notice or council approval. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Singing "freedom is coming soon," members of the Paseo Academy choir serenaded a small crowd at the Spirit of Freedom fountain Tuesday morning. 

"There’s two things for me that signify springtime. One is opening day for the Royals, and the other is turning on the fountains in Kansas City," said Kansas City Parks and Recreation board commissioner Allen Dillingham.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The timeline for a new single terminal at Kansas City International airport has been slightly delayed because airport officials have determined it needs more gates than originally planned. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A few conservative legislators in Jefferson City want to limit how much cities and counties can raise with locally imposed sales taxes.

Under a bill (HB 2168), which is moving slowly through the General Assembly, local governments could not impose a sales tax over 12 percent.

“It’s shortsighted and it’s non-productive," says Kansas City Mayor Sly James. "There is no good that comes out of weakening us.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A day after a consultants' report suggested that the American Jazz Museum is "in need of complete rethinking, akin to starting a new museum" and suggested a temporary closure, the museum's board of directors met at the Gem Theater to parse the critical assessment of the museum's finances, leadership and exhibits.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Consultants hired by the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to assess the wellbeing of the American Jazz Museum on Monday recommended closing the museum temporarily.

The museum, according to the consultants' report, is "in need of complete rethinking, akin to starting a new museum." The report called for a "complete rebirth, starting with its leadership, but continuing with a revamped financial model, visitor experience, and operational infrastructure."

americanjazzmuseum.com

The Kansas City council voted Thursday afternoon to allow more bars into the city's Historic 18th and Vine district. 

Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents the district, sponsored the proposal, which makes it easier to obtain a liquor license in the historic district.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, city leaders on Thursday celebrated what they called major improvements to the urban core: $8 million spent over two years on a program to sell abandoned or dangerous houses for $1 each.

The program, designed to not just clean up neighborhoods but to cut down on crime, showcased one of its first graduates.

Laurie Schwab bought a home on East 29th Terrace in 2016 during the Kansas City, Missouri, Land Bank's $1 sale and has poured $21,000 into it so she can operate it as a transitional living stop for homeless people.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Nearly 900 streets in the U.S. are named for Martin Luther King Jr. But there's not one in Kansas City.

Several prominent, local black political and religious leaders want to change that by renaming The Paseo to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but say they've been met with bureaucratic resistance. So, they want to take the fight to the ballot box.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

At Union Station Tuesday morning, city and community leaders unveiled the official logo for Kansas City's "Creative City of Music" designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Designed by Hallmark artist John Wagner, the logo features a trombone, with the letters 'KC' formed out of a drum and drumsticks. The image was inspired by James Weldon Johnson's poetry book 'God's Trombones,' which he wrote after being moved by a church sermon during a 1918 visit to Kansas City.

Pixabay - CC

The Kansas City Council has paved the way for a third new luxury apartment building downtown as well as more moderately priced units. But downtown shoppers, drinkers and diners will be paying an extra penny on the dollar.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a $1.66 billion dollar budget for the coming fiscal year. 

As it did last year, the city boosted funding for public safety, which includes the police and fire departments and the municipal court, and which takes up more than three-quarters of the city's general fund. Most other city department budgets will remain flat next year.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: In the face of uncertainty, fear is not your friend.

The leader of the largest United Methodist congregation in the country says Americans live in fear. Fear of crime and terrorism. Fear of losing our jobs or having enough money to retire. Fear of missing out on all the fun stuff everybody else seems to be doing on Facebook. We spoke to the minister about when fear reaches unhealthy proportions, and what to do about it.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

For decades, city officials say Kansas City police would write about 300,000 traffic tickets a year. The last few years that's dropped below 120,000, according to Kansas City Police Department records.

While that may be good for drivers, it’s bad for the city’s bottom line.

“So what we’re seeing is, not only a decline in the number of tickets but a decline in the corresponding revenue that are used to support city operations,” says Kansas City City Manager Troy Schulte.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department could be getting even more money next year than first thought.

While most city department budgets will remain flat next year, KCPD is looking at a $5.6 million, a 2.2 percent boost.

Much of the increase will be used to hire 15 more officers and eight more dispatchers.

The department's 84 dispatchers are all working mandatory 12 hour shifts, according to Deputy Chief Roger Lewis.

Cooper Carry

Kansas City's long quest to build a downtown convention hotel entered its final stretch on Thursday at a groundbreaking event next to the construction site at 17th and Baltimore.

Work actually began a month ago at the 3-acre site, which is across Wyandotte Street from the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom. A tower crane loomed above a white tent where more than 200 people celebrated what will be the Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, a $322.7 million project expected to be completed by late April 2020.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Kansas City playwright uses murders of Leon Jordan and James Townsend as inspiration to connect 1960s civil rights movements to today's.

In the long history of Kansas City's Green Duck Lounge, two of its owners, both considered icons in the community, were each was shot dead, one in 1970 and the other in 2015. The murders are the basis for a new work, which couples the civil rights activities of the 60s to those of today.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a memorandum of understanding with Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate to build a billion-dollar new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. 

"This is where we were supposed to be," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James following the 8-5 vote.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Almost a month and a half ago, Edgemoor was on the verge of being dropped as the developer to build a new terminal at Kansas City International airport.

Nine city council members rejected a memorandum of understanding with the Maryland-based developer. A measure had been introduced to drop them from the billion-dollar project altogether and proceed with competitor AECOM.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Almost lost in the discussion about the 150 homicides in Kansas City last year is this: Why did the number of women murdered jump 52 percent between 2016 and 2017?

In 2016, 21 women were murdered in Kansas City. Last year the number was 32.

The Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee tackled that issue on Wednesday.

You might think that most women died from domestic violence or during arguments (as KCUR documented in the series The Argument), but the motive for most of the murders is listed as "unknown." 

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.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Kansas City officials on Thursday weighed in on negotiations for an agreement with Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate to build an estimated $1 billion new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. 

A skeptical city council heard the latest changes to the Memorandum of Understanding — a development agreement that sets out terms, guidelines and landmarks for the project. A previous version of the MOU was rejected by the council late last year and Edgemoor was nearly booted from the project altogether.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Over 100 people gathered Tuesday afternoon for a community forum on labor for the construction of Kansas City's new single terminal airport. 

The event drew a diverse crowd, roughly half of which indicated by a show of hands that they were M/WBEs, or minority or woman owned business enterprises.

That's what Edgemoor — the Maryland-based developer the city selected to lead the $1 billion project — was hoping for when it called the meeting. 

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City branch of the NAACP on Friday voiced its opposition to the Kansas City Council's approval of a plan to privatize Westport sidewalks on weekends and vowed to fight the ordinance before it takes effect this spring.

The council's 8-5 decision earlier this month allowing privatization "amounts to failure to perform public duty," said Rodney Williams, president of the local NAACP and pastor at Swope Parkway United Christian Church.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Updated 7 p.m. Dec. 21 to include additional reaction to the decisions: The Kansas City Council ended the year with two major decisions Thursday, deciding to stick with a Maryland-based developer for the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport and to allow for gun screenings in the Westport entertainment district late on the weekends.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Though it's not the final say, Kansas City officials decided Wednesday they'd be OK with privatizing some sidewalks in Westport so business owners can screen for guns at the entrance of the entertainment district . The measure now goes to the full City Council. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It seems like news is constantly breaking about men accused of sexual misconduct, harassment or assault. There's a feeling of change in the air, but there is also confusion.

We explore how Kansas Citians are responding. We hear what women want in the workplace, and we talk to men who are rethinking their behavior and perspectives. Plus: your thoughts and questions.

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 2:30 p.m. to include response from Kansas City councilman Jermaine Reed. 

With the contract for a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport seemingly up for grabs, Los Angeles-based AECOM on Monday added local engineering firm Burns & McDonnell to its KCI Partnership team. 

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