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Kansas

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

OK, so we're not Hershey, Pennsylvania.

But Kansas City has a respectable history of candy-making. We all know about Russell Stover, but several other vintage candies are, or have been, made in the area, and there's no better time than Valentine's Day for making note of that legacy. 

Love them or hate them, these are confectionary standards that your great-grandparents might have bought (for a nickel).

Courtesy of Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law

Update Feb. 14, 12:55 p.m.: Jamal's attorneys say Immigration and Customs Enforcement is returning Jamal to Kansas City and he will arrive this afternoon.  

Syed Jamal family

This story was updated at 6:27 p.m. with new information about the case and comments from Jamal's attorneys.

In a wild day that saw immigration authorities put him on a plane headed for Hawaii, an immigration appeals board halted the deportation of Lawrence resident Syed Jamal, whose case has become an international cause celebre.

The move came after an immigration judge on Monday cleared the way for Jamal’s deportation after denying motions to reopen Jamal’s case and dissolving a stay that he granted last week.

File/Harvest Public Media

Partisan politics may meet its match in the 2018 farm bill.

The massive legislation, versions of which will be introduced this spring in the U.S. House and Senate, is shaping up to be less about political affiliations and more about finding common ground.

Peggy Clark / Washburn University

Nell Johnson Doerr’s husband rolled her up in a carpet so she’d survive Quantrill’s 1863 raid on Lawrence. Lying alongside the limestone foundation of her house, she hears her husband’s murder but is powerless to help him.

Kansas writer Thomas Fox Averill’s entirely fictitious book, “Found Documents from the Life of Nell Johnson Doerr,” is rooted in the abolitionist movement, but the character of Nell begins to live and breathe while trapped in the carpet.Readers familiar with Averill’s work might recall that the protagonists of his novel “rode,” found a baby in a raided house near her dead parents. Nell Johnson Doerr is that baby.

Courtesy of the Kansas City Public Library

Henry Fortunato, a charismatic shaper of Kansas City's intellectual and history communities, died on Monday. He was 62.

Fortunato's most high-profile role was as public affairs director at the Kansas City Public Library from 2006 to 2015. During his nine-year career, the library said in a statement, Fortunato "revolutionized library programming" and, working with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, helped the library earn local, regional, and national attention.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

In winter, farmers across the U.S. visit their banks to learn whether they have credit for the next growing season, relying on that borrowed money to buy seed, fertilizer and chemicals.

But prices for corn, soybeans and wheat are low enough that some producers have had a hard time turning a profit, and financial analysts expect some farmers will hear bad news: Their credit has run out.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

This story has been updated with information on the legal proceedings in the deportation case pending against Syed Jamal.   

Syed Jamal, the Bangladeshi chemistry teacher whom ICE is trying to deport, has a new lawyer and she’s challenging the legality of his removal order.

The lawyer, Rekah Sharma-Crawford, argues that his arrest two weeks ago in the yard of his Lawrence home was unlawful. She says there’s no record that the immigration court advised Jamal on his immigration status as required before he was detained.  

Meg Kumin

Over the past several months, Kansas novelist Laura Moriarty has found herself in a firestorm.

Her fifth novel, "American Heart," is scheduled to be released on January 30. But readers who received advance copies, and those who only read a synopsis, have already expressed fury over the fictional world this white, non-Muslim writer imagined; her status as a white non-Muslim was one point of contention.

Via Christi Health

A whistleblower suit unsealed Thursday in federal court alleges Wichita-based Via Christi Health engaged in an illegal scheme to maximize Medicare reimbursements.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2016 but only unsealed after the government declined to intervene. It was brought by Mazen Shaheen, a cardiologist who formerly practiced in the Wichita area.

The suit, which seeks triple damages under the federal False Claims Act,  alleges Via Christi defrauded Medicare by performing  unnecessary cardiac tests and procedures, often on the same patient.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott made national headlines last fall for wearing a bullet-proof vest in protest of a new state law allowing concealed weapons on campuses. He said he’d wear the vest until the law changed.

And with start of the spring semester this week, Willmott is keeping that promise.

As doctors repeatedly warn, it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

That’s especially so in Kansas City, which, according to the maker of a “smart thermometer” app, has one of the highest rates of flu in the country.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

A federal appeals court has stayed a potentially explosive hearing – at least for the time being – aimed at determining whether federal prosecutors impermissibly obtained and used recordings of attorney-client phone calls.

The hearing was set to begin today in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas filed an emergency motion to block it, arguing the court was poking into the internal affairs of a separate branch of government.

Dry cleaning can leave a really big mess behind.

One of the largest plumes of toxic dry cleaning waste ever discovered in Kansas is just south of Wichita, and state environmental officials are working to make sure people in the plume’s path have clean drinking water.

Alex Smith / Harvest Public Media

A few years ago, Kansas City restaurateur Anton Kotar surveyed the local and national restaurant scenes and concluded his town’s reputation as a steakhouse paradise had slipped.

The problem, he says, is the way conventional beef is raised – bulked up with grain on feedlots, making it cheap and plentiful and changing what Americans expect to taste.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Advanced biofuels have been touted as the next step beyond the corn-based ethanol that’s the bulk of the country’s renewable fuel for cars and trucks. These next-generation options were supposed to bring jobs to rural communities and provide farmers with fresh revenue sources, in addition to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles.

Nearly a decade of federal incentives encouraged companies to invest in cellulosic technology, which produces ethanol from crop waste such as stalks, cobs and leaves left on fields after harvest, and at least three plants were built in the Midwest since 2014.

But cellulosic ethanol is harder to make than grain ethanol because it uses the inedible and irregular parts of the plants, meaning it was tough for machines to chew up the wet, heavy material. And companies faced other challenges, such as a steady supply, fluctuating markets and stalled policy decisions.

KU School of Law

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday evening unanimously voted to confirm KU School of Law professor Stephen McAllister as the top federal prosecutor in Kansas.

McAllister was nominated in September by President Donald Trump and succeeds Tom Beall, a career prosecutor who served as interim U.S. Attorney.

McAllister, 55, teaches at KU Law and was its dean from 2000 to 2005. 

He has also served as solicitor general of Kansas, defending the state in key cases such as Gannon, the school financing case, death penalty cases, and cases challenging Kansas’ abortion laws.  

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Honorary consuls are essentially volunteer diplomats.

 

“You’re representing the country and promoting the country when possible,” Lebert Shultz told KCUR’s Central Standard guest-host Brian Ellison.

 

Shultz is the honorary consul of South Africa to Kansas and Missouri. Born in New York, he moved to the Midwest in 1960. After graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1967, he practiced law in Kansas City for 12 years. Beginning in 1979, he worked in Wichita as a corporate attorney for two decades. It was during this time that he found himself in South Africa during the late 1980’s on business.

Bob Brents / Flickr — CC

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which employs about 350 people in Overland Park, announced Thursday that it plans to slash its global workforce by 14,000 positions as part of a massive restructuring plan aimed at reducing $3 billion in costs by the end of 2019.

A spokeswoman for the company said it plans to consolidate its seven U.S. offices into one yet-to-be-determined location.

Courtesy Elizabeth Schultz

Few people in their 80s are inclined, or able, to feed time and energy into a second career. Elizabeth Schultz is such an anomaly.

As an English professor at the University of Kansas, Schultz was an acclaimed scholar on Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” However, just before her retirement in 2001, she felt a pull toward a more creative use of language.

STATE OF KANSAS OFFICIAL PORTRAIT

This story was updated at 5:12 p.m. to include the comments of Kline's attorney.   

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s bid to restore his law license appears to have come to the end of its long and winding road.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear his challenge to the Kansas Supreme Court’s indefinite suspension of his license four years ago.

Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress / On Deposit at the Amon Carter Museum

The worn-slick saddle encased in Plexiglas is not a standard fixture of the Kansas City Public Library’s grand, marbled entry hall. But it's not out of place, either, considering that the stately former First National Bank building, which opened in 1886, is a monument to how cosmopolitan the cattle industry once made our town.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Plant breeder Jessica Barb is on a mission to improve how sunflowers self-pollinate, a trait that'll be increasingly important to farmers are wild bee populations diminish. Her research tool of choice: a paper towel. 

Courtesy Randy Michael Signor

In Randy Michael Signor’s new novel “Osawatomie,” homesteaders settle near the titular Kansas town just before the Civil War. This turns out to be problematic in ways that reverberate for generations (it might as well be a metaphor for America).

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Shawnee Mission Health has become the 17th member nationwide of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, joining forces with one of the top cancer centers in the United States.

The affiliation follows a year-long certification process by MD Anderson and is a big leap forward for Shawnee Mission Health’s cancer center, which opened not quite four years ago.

www.franchiseopportunities.com / Flickr — CC

The American Civil Liberties Union wants to know why a student athlete at Garden City Community College was kicked off the basketball team after he continued shooting baskets during the playing of the national anthem.

Rasool Samir, a Muslim, was sent home to Philadelphia two days later and has not returned to the school since.  

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

On a feedlot in far southwest Kansas, two cowboys on horseback move cattle on the high dusty plains, spread out like dozens of football fields stitched together with miles of fences. Their “Buenos dias! Buenos dias!” greetings mix with moos on a hot summer morning.

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. 

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Few things capture the respect that nature commands than a massive, looming tree. But the trees found on this list are special. They’re “champion trees” — the largest recorded living trees of their kinds.

 

Courtesy Kansas International Film Festival

Kansas Citians who know Bev Chapman from her days as a reporter at KMBC TV are likely to be impressed with her 14-minute documentary film "Soaring Back: Message to the Future." With spectacular footage, it chronicles Kansans’ successful efforts to revitalize the area’s population of bald eagles.

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