Kansas City Kansas | KCUR

Kansas City Kansas

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane attributes her three decade career in education to a frog.

Lane went to college to be a clinical psychologist but a required biology class asked her to insert a needle into a frog’s brain.

“It was a live animal that we were going to do an experiment on to see reactions,” Lane says. “I could not do that. So I left class, went down the hall and said, ‘I need to change my major.’”

Wikimedia Commons

As much as it goes against my desire for neverending spontaneity, even a party needs a plan.

So here’s your blueprint for a festive weekend offering special exposure to everything from celebrities to meatballs – yes, there’s a difference. Usually.

Regardless, whether you're brushing up against a famous personality or a food item, it couldn't hurt to keep a napkin or two handy. 

1. Big Slick Celebrity Weekend

File photo

Two more individuals face criminal charges in connection with the 2016 death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Schlitterbahn water slide, bringing to five the number of people charged.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday in Wyandotte County District Court accuses two maintenance workers at the Kansas City, Kansas, waterpark of obstructing law enforcement by giving false information to investigators.

Lubos Houska / Pixabay - CC

Segment 1: Implicit bias, white allyship and the Starbucks arrests.

Jake Johnson

On day 20 of her stay in the cardiac intensive care unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kari Alejandre posted on her Facebook page, “I’m getting a new heart today. It will be my third.”

She had been receiving family and other well-wishers in her pajamas for nearly three weeks.

“Please tell people my mom picked out these jammies,” she said at one point, looking down at the pink flamingos on a field of black.

Tony Vinh

Life in the Midwest might not seem to be particularly rich material for a comedian based in Los Angeles.

But for Tony Vinh, it’s his niche.

Segment 1: The cultural and personal history of T-shirts.

T-shirts are our personal billboards; they can make a statement about what we care about or where we've been. Inspired by "My Tee & Me," a new exhibit at the Kansas City Museum, we take a look at why T-shirts are so interwoven with our cultural history as a country ... and our own personal histories as well.

Karen Almond / KC Rep/Facebook

In his new play, Nathan Louis Jackson draws on his own life to tackle the issue of gun violence.

Brother Toad” tells the story of two men who are related but going down different paths.

“Each path ends with the decision of ‘how do I protect myself and the ones I love?’” Jackson told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Amazon celebrated the grand opening of its third "fulfillment center" in Kansas on Tuesday.

The new 850,000 square-foot Kansas City, Kansas, began operations on August 6, 2017; other facilities were already operating in Lenexa and Edgerton. The centers serve as the conduit between an online order on Amazon to the shipment to the customer. 

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

This month has brought renewed attention to the historic Underground Railroad site known as the Quindaro Ruins in Kansas City, Kansas.

After a gathering of community members, historians and scholars sought to raise awareness about the importance of the site last week, Congressman Kevin Yoder has announced that he would introduce legislation to designate Quindaro a National Historic Landmark.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How Jackson County leaders are handling political and personal controversies, and rising crime rates.

The Old Quindaro Township in Kansas City, Kansas, finally may be getting the recognition it deserves.

Between 1857 and 1862, Quindaro was a busy commercial port on the Missouri River. It was a mecca for abolitionists and settlers and considered a melting pot of Indians, European-Americans and freed slaves.  New England progressives came in the hopes of making Kansas an anti-slave state. It's best known as an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

One More Cup / Facebook

Kansas City's coffee shop scene has really blossomed over the past few years.

In addition to coffee and tea drinks, a number of shops have also been serving great food: pastries made in-house, breakfast, light lunches and grab-and-go snacks.

From quiet spots to linger to more convivial spaces to meet up with friends, KCUR's food critics searched out the best coffee shops in and around Kansas City.

 

Here are their recommendations:

 

Segment 1: A new art exhibit encourages people to write down their wishes.

A group of local artists has created a public altar at the Kansas City Public Library, where visitors are invited to write down their wishes and leave objects of personal significance. One of the artists behind this project shares his vision for it.

Joe Carson

Segment 1: Local stories of Martin Luther King Jr.'s visit to Kansas in 1968.

Martin Luther King Jr. stopped by Kansas in January of 1968 to speak with a number of leaders from throughout Wyandotte County. Today, we hear from a couple of leaders about what that day was like and how meeting the civil rights activist influenced their lives.

  • Robert Hughes
  • Chester Owens Jr.

Segment 2, beginning at 34:49: Why we behave the way we do.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New mayor and CEO of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, says he's tapped into family's "longstanding commitment to the community." 

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The next U.S. census will happen in 2020, and it promises to reveal shifting demographics and changing communities. One neighborhood to watch is Strawberry Hill, a vibrant Kansas City, Kansas community that has long been home to immigrants from around the globe. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Criminal charges in Schlitterbahn death come amid push for tighter regulations on Kansas amusement parks.

Last week, three Schlitterbahn employees were indicted on criminal charges related to a boy's death in 2016 at the Kansas City, Kansas, water park. Today, we discussed the merits of cases, and found out how state law is evolving in response to the incident.

Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation Kansas City

For most families in the United States, planning for a future without your parents is not something often talked about — at least, not until adulthood.

But for thousands of families with mixed immigration status in the metro, the sudden disappearance of a mother or father — or both — feels like a real possibility. An estimated 20,000 children of unauthorized immigrants live in the Kansas City area, according to 2014 census data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

On Wednesday morning, Dennis Vallejo, a police officer in Kansas City, Kansas, removed the tarp covering a statue of abolitionist John Brown to reveal stark black markings sprawled across the monument's otherwise pure white marble. 

The historic statue, at North 27th Street and Sewell Ave. near the Quindaro Townsite, was vandalized over the weekend. Among several markings, two were overtly racist and anti-Semitic: a swastika on the statue's head and the N-word on its feet.

Raymond Clarke / Flickr - CC

Procter & Gamble has announced that it will close its manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Employees heard the news Wednesday morning. The plant primarily produces dish soap such as Dawn and Ivory; all of its production will transfer to a new site in Tabler Station, West Virginia by 2020, effectively putting 280 full-time employees out of work.

The Procter & Gamble news comes just a week after the Kansas City Harley-Davidson plant announced its closing.

public domain / Flickr -- Google Images

Chinese food in the United States has become as American as apple pie. Or crab Rangoon (which was probably invented here).

Since its earliest days in the U.S., when it arrived with immigrants who came for the Gold Rush, Chinese food has been maligned ... but ultimately embraced and changed into the quintessential Americanized version that's popular on menus all over the country.

Foodista / Google Images -- CC

It's definitely soup and stew season. And there are plenty of both on local menus.

Whether you're in the mood for a hearty bowl of burnt end chili or a brothy pho, you can find something lovely and warm to ward off the frigid temps.

Of course, don't forget the bread (or savory doughnut) for soppin' and dippin'.

On Friday's Central Standard, KCUR's Food Critics searched out the best soups and stews in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Rugby Simon / KCUR 89.3

Today, the University of Kansas announced a $25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund the KU Medical Center's program, Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute (KU CTSI).

Frontiers began five years ago. It's a clinical science institute dedicated to connecting scientists at the KU Med Center to resources and innovative research tools. It's one of just 57 institutes of its kind in the country.

The university has become known for this program, along with its cancer center, and Alzheimer's disease center.

Jake William Heckey / Pixabay-CC

Looking back, this year was slammed with national news: tropical storms, wildfires, protests and even Twitter wars. But plenty happened here in Kansas City, too! So before entering a new year, we check in with community newspapers to learn about the important local stories of 2017.

Guests:

Courtesy of USA Shooting

USA Shooting athletes and the organization itself face a complicated situation every time a mass shooting happens. The governing body’s name alone is problematic.

“Guess what happens with our Google search terms or any time that comes up when a USA shooting happens?” USA Shooting communications director Kevin Neuendorf asked rhetorically.  “We’re automatically linked in with that tragedy.”

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.”

Days later, on a Friday after school, Barnett dropped her daughter off at a cousin’s house in Northeast Kansas City, Kansas. About an hour later, Brannae was sitting on the porch when shots rang out from the street. With a bullet to the back, Brannae was soon dead.

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:

Pages