Kansas City Kansas

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Today, Stuart Swetland is the president of Donnelly College, which U.S. News & World Report recently recognized as the most diverse college in the Midwest. But in 1985, when TWA Flight 847 was hijacked, he was a Navy officer who was called to participate in a rescue mission with grim chances for survival. Hear his story.

Guest:

  • Stuart Swetland, President, Donnelly College

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

In a rare move, a federal judge has thrown out a defendant’s conviction on drug charges after ruling that the prosecutor had interfered with his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

In a blistering decision handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found that the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, had “substantially interfered with a defense witness’s decision to testify” in the case.

Courtesy of Crystal Hays and Shanta Barnett

In late August last year, Shanta Barnett got a call from her 15-year-old daughter Brannae Browne. 

“Momma, did you hear about what happened?”

Natasha Hays, the mom of one of Brannae’s friends, had been killed in a drive-by shooting, she told her mom.

Barnett warned her daughter to be careful.

“She was like, ‘Momma, we didn't do nothing so why we gotta be worried about it?’” Barnett remembers. “Something in my heart told her just to watch out, to be safe.”

Beao / Wikimedia Commons

What does it mean to be a Midwesterner? It's a hard question to answer, but there's definitely something unique about this land between coasts. From our hardworking ethic to our passive-aggressive attitude, we discuss the characteristics, attitudes and habits (both good and bad) that define being Midwestern.

Guests:

YouTube

Son of the blues legend Johnnie Taylor, the Kansas City-based T.J. Hooker-Taylor performs at the annual Thanksgiving breakfast dance at the National Guard Armory in Kansas City, Kansas.

Organizers claim this year's party is the 68th annual Thanksgiving blues dance in Kansas City. Many of the revelers wear their holiday finest and sip on premium liquor (libations are B.Y.O.B.; a breakfast buffet is included with the price of admission).

A person sits by a microphone in the KCUR talk show studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Today, a look at how a new initiative is gearing up to combat youth violence in Kansas City, Kansas. Then, we get some insight into the Kansas City Municipal Domestic Violence Court. The U.S. Department of Justice's  STOP Violence Against Women initiative recently awarded the court "mentor" status — the first municipal court to earn such a distinction.

David Eulitt / Kansas City Star via AP

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor has asked for help in investigating a retired white police detective accused of preying on black women for sex over decades and pursuing the wrongful murder conviction of the son of one of the women.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

After a close race, newcomer David Alvey was elected mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, ousting incumbent Mark Holland in a big upset.

Around 100 people filled the room at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4 in Kansas City, Kansas Tuesday night, heralding a win for Alvey. 

Alex Smith / KCUR

Maita thinks he was seven years old when he and his family were forced out of their home in Bhutan.

Starting in the late 1980s, the Himalayan country began driving out people who were ethnically Nepali. They fled across the mountains to Nepal, where they were settled in impoverished refugee camps.

“I didn’t even know Nepal. I didn’t know anything about it,” Maita explains using sign language. “We didn’t have any food. We didn’t have any shelter. We needed help cause we were starving.”

Kelsey Borch / Flatland

Two recent cases involving prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kansas, point to a problem that some criminal defense lawyers say has been building for a long time:

For years, they say, a small group of federal prosecutors in KCK has run roughshod over the rights of criminal defendants.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the race for the Unified Government's top job draws to a close, the two candidates for mayor/CEO are drawing distinctions between themselves and their proposed policies.

Mark Holland was elected mayor in 2013 and says his re-election would maintain the momentum that his administration has built in Wyandotte County, especially when it comes to job increases, low unemployment and growing household incomes.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas volunteers are committed to preserving a national icon: the bald eagle. Today, we speak with the filmmakers of a documentary short about the year-round work to document and band the offspring of nesting eagles in the Sunflower State. Then, we meet the two candidates for this year's mayoral election in Kansas City, Kansas. Incumbent Mark Holland and challenger David Alvey discuss current issues in Wyandotte County and how their plans differ in terms of moving the Unified Government forward.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

A coalition of social justice groups is pushing for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County to become the first government in the Kansas City area to issue municipal identification cards to residents.

The coalition, which includes the ACLU of Kansas, says as many as one in five Wyandotte County residents belong to demographic groups that are likely to have trouble obtaining a government-issued photo ID. 

Courtesy Alcott Arts Center

If things had gone differently over the last two decades, the hulking old brick building near the 18th Street exit off of Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Kansas, might look more like the setting of a real-life horror story these days.

Instead, Chris Green expects the Alcott Arts Center's parking lot to be alive with a few hundred kids celebrating a family-friendly Halloween on Tuesday.

Tensions have been rising on college campuses over freedom of speech issues. From pressure to cancel controversial speakers to debates about safe spaces, what does free speech mean on campus?

Plus, a city planner shares the story of when his dad, a migrant farmworker, lost his job, and the KCK social worker who changed their lives.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

More than 3,000 students in the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools stand to improve their chances of graduating from high school and pursuing higher education, thanks to an $18 million federal grant that will allow tutoring, mentoring and other services for students from sixth grade through their first year of college.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Emily Dumler, a Shawnee, Kansas, resident who was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, successfully underwent immunotherapy more than two years ago.

Dumler was among the first people in the world to receive the treatment, which stimulates the immune system to fight cancer. But she had to travel to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, to receive it.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

He’s not angry.

He’s been eating everything he can.

And he’s noticed how distracted we all are thanks to our smartphones.

But mostly, Lamonte McIntyre says, he spent most of his time in his first week out of prison after 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit:

“Trying to force myself to believe it’s real,” he says. “That’s what I’ll spend my life doing.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

On a recent Saturday morning, Michael Wickerson was tending a hot fire in his backyard on a hillside near Wyandotte County Lake. At temperatures reaching as high as 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, the fire was hot enough to melt iron.

Wickerson, an associate professor of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute, said working with metal is a great joy for him.

“You catch it, you pour it, you can draw with it,” he said. “You can paint with it. You can sculpt with it. And you can certainly fill molds with it.”  

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas.

Editor's note: This story was produced in collaboration with UMKC students covering the people and issues in Wyandotte County.

Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor and CEO Mark Holland came out of the primary last month with promising numbers, securing 40 percent of the vote compared to challenger David Alvey’s 32 percent.

The signs popping up around residential streets in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, however, suggest Alvey is gaining ground in the low-income neighborhoods surrounding City Hall.

m01229 / Flickr -- CC

When it comes to food, everyone has a guilty pleasure.

According to KCUR Food Critic Jenny Vergara, it may be something that’s full of fat and calories. Or it could be a retro throwback (like spinach artichoke dip) or a childhood favorite.

It could also be something that you like but everyone else thinks is gross (who else mixed Hawaiian Punch and milk? Anyone?). Or maybe it's that one dish from a chain restaurant that you crave.

Donnelly College / Facebook

Faculty, staff and students at Donnelly College, a small, private Catholic college in Kansas City, Kansas, are celebrating their ranking this week by U.S. News and World Report as the most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest.

Last week, Amazon announced that it's looking for a new city for its second headquarters. Could KC be that city? And do we want to be the kind of city that Amazon would make us?

Then: wildfires out west, tropical storms and floods. We hear from people who have personal connections to climate devastation in Florida and Texas.

Guests:

Courtesy Ryan Heinlein

Individual jazz musicians regularly hit multiple spots in a single night, but it’s far less common for an entire band to play three venues in a 12-hour span. But that's what The Project H, led by trombonist Ryan Heinlein, is doing in different parts of town on Saturday.

Jack Hummel, Western Music Association

On a sunny summer afternoon, a group of cowboys took to the outdoor stage in front of the Raphael Hotel on the Plaza and started singing in four-part harmonies.

That band, 3 Trails West, is one of the only practitioners of cowboy music in Kansas City — and has been named the band of the year by the Academy of Western Artists and the Western Music Association.

But what exactly is cowboy music? It isn’t country music. Or country-western.

Neal Herbert / NPS

By this point, you've surely heard that there's going to be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Aug. 21. If not, here are some links to help you get up to speed.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Amid its ultramodern lecture halls, the University of Kansas Medical Center's new health education building is also a showcase for several Kansas City artists.

We take a look at the challenges of bringing quality healthcare to people in urban and rural communities, from a KCK clinic that serves the homeless to a program in a remote county that sends case workers to see patients.

Guests:

Charvex / Wikipedia Commons

Next week's primary elections will be the first under a new set of voter ID rules in the state of Missouri. While Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says the regulations will help thwart fraud, some civil rights groups worry about voter suppression and have sued the state in response.

Amy Jeffries / KCUR 89.3

UPDATED at 4:50 p.m. Monday, July 24.

Generators were buzzing in backyards across the Kansas City metro after severe thunderstorms knocked out power to tens of thousands Saturday night.

As of about 3 p.m. Monday, about 19,000 Kansas City Power & Light customers were still waiting for the lights to come back on.

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