Lawrence | KCUR


Alex Smith / KCUR

Once a month, a recording studio in the basement of the Lawrence, Kansas, public library opens for a jam session.

There are no guitars or drum sets, though.

The players make music with motion-detecting computers that allow anyone – regardless of physical or developmental ability – to become composers.

The jams are an opportunity for creativity and healing, organizers say.

Reggie and the Full Effect / Facebook

The clown prince of pop-punk and emo-rock, and the pride of Liberty, Missouri, James Dewees is the founder and primary artistic force in Reggie and the Full Effect.

Dewees began drumming for the seminal Kansas City punk band Coalesce in the 1990s; at the end of that decade, he joined the beloved Kansas City emo-rock band the Get Up Kids. He's also been hired as a ringer by prominent bands including My Chemical Romance.

Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law

Syed Jamal, the Bangladeshi-born scientist whom the federal government is trying to deport, must be released from jail, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Heartland Community Health Center

This story was updated at 3:22 p.m. on March 15 to include Jon Stewart's statement.   

The CEO of a safety net clinic in Lawrence, Kansas, has been suspended pending completion of a review of the organization's finances.

In a release Wednesday evening, the board of Heartland Community Health Center said it had suspended Jon Stewart and appointed the clinic’s chief operating officer as interim CEO.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Students across Kansas joined their peers elsewhere in the country by walking out of school Wednesday and into the national debate over guns.

The mid-morning walkouts took them to the streets, to the Kansas Statehouse and circling around their schools to mark the one-month anniversary of the nation’s latest mass school shooting.

Many of the protests centered on 17 minutes of silence, 60 seconds for each person killed during the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.


A lot has been going on in Kansas City's food scene over the last few months.

KCUR food critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara brought their seasonal roundup of the biggest local restaurant news to Friday’s Central Standard.

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

In her Twitter bio, Julia Good Fox says she’s “unapologetically tribalist.”

“I love tribalism, and that might be shocking,” she told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

People have been taught that it’s a negative word, she added, “which is very interesting, considering how many American Indian tribes we have here, and considering that this is an indigenous area.”

Segment 1: Meet a dean at Haskell Indian Nations University.

What does a dean do? We talk with Julia Good Fox about her work at Haskell — and what she tries to communicate about her school through her "Tweet-alongs."

Segment 2, beginning at 24:50: Looking back on the life of a Cuban artist.

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

Burgers are a classic KC menu item.

"As a steak town, Kansas City has always had a lot of good burgers, too," Charles Ferruzza told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Whether diners prefer a thin or thick patty — or something meatless — local menus have plenty of options.

Ferruzza, along with fellow Food Critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, searched out the best burgers in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

What a "Defend Our Flag" rally brought out about the identity and vulnerability of Lawrence.

On Saturday, February 3, a "Defend Our Flag" rally hit the streets of downtown Lawrence, with people marching down Mass Street with American flags, Confederate flags, Thin Blue Line flags and more. We'll talk about what happened that day, and why it affected Lawrence residents so profoundly.

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.

Katherine Lim / Flickr -- CC

Breakfast: is it the most important meal of the day or the most tasty meal of the day? Whatever your thoughts, the breakfast scene is changing in Kansas City, offering more interesting options.

"I think people are going out more for breakfast," said KCUR Food Critic Mary Bloch. "I think part of the reason it's changing is because coffee is such a big thing now. And you have to have something to eat with your coffee."

On Friday's Central Standard, Bloch, along with Food Critic Bonjwing Lee, searched out the best breakfast spots in and around Kansas City.

Lorie Shaull / Flickr -- CC

In the mid-1800s, a young woman and her husband moved to the Kansas Territory to help runaway slaves. The husband died during Quantrill's raid, leaving her alone. Hear Nell Johnson Doerr's story, as told through diary entries, letters and various documents found in the rafters of a Lawrence barn. But just one thing: this is a work of fiction. A chat with the author of this new novel.

Courtesy of the Syed Jamal family

Updated Thursday, 10:15 a.m.

The Kansas City law firm representing Syed Jamal posted on its Facebook page Thursday that Jamal had been granted a temporary stay in his deportation case. 

Sharma-Crawford Attorneys At Law wrote: "Temporary Stay Granted." A neighbor of the Jamal family in Lawrence, Susan Anderson, confirms that Jamal's lawyer also told her the stay was granted Thursday. 

Max Braun / Google Images -- CC

In 1907, Pablo Picasso stumbled into an art gallery in Paris. It was filled with masks and small sculptures from Africa and Oceania. Inspired, his own style began to change. That raises some interesting questions about who gets credit ... and where to draw the line between admiration, inspiration and theft.

Then: a KU researcher says that a lot of anti-abortion legislation is based on anecdotal evidence.



Updated Feb. 6 at 1 p.m.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says Raju Ahmed entered the U.S. legally in 2000 but his legal status was terminated in 2005 after two felony convictions, according to a statement from the agency.

He was ordered deported Aug. 22, 2006 but the U.S. could not secure travel documents for Ahmed from Bangladesh so he was allowed to stay "while the agency continued attempts to carry out his removal," ICE says.

He was arrested at his home on Jan. 24 and has no legal options and will be deported, according to the ICE statement.

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.  

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.

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.

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:

In our January arts show: we hear more about a new exhibition at The Nelson that features artifacts from the tombs of kings of ancient China — including a burial suit that's made from over 4000 pieces of jade.

E.G. Schempf

Cardboard has a smell.

You notice it as soon as you walk into the glass-encased Kansas Focus Gallery at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, where eight of May Tveit’s cardboard sculptures emerge from the walls like sentries, layers of flat, precision-cut cardboard stacked into pyramids arranged in various rectangles. You recognize the smell; you just weren't expecting it in an art gallery.

But why not? As Tveit's exhibition makes clear, cardboard is an evocative medium. 

Daniel Chow / Flickr -- CC

It’s the time of year when you may need to feed a crowd — perhaps for holiday gatherings or for college bowl game-watching. And what better way than with pizza?

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.

Courtesy The Floozies

The Floozies, a Lawrence based electro-funk duo, are one of the region’s most popular party bands. Their celebratory, dance-oriented concerts, accentuated with colorful lighting and video displays, have made the band a fixture on the summer festival circuit.

Brothers Mark (drums) and Matt (guitar) Hill have been honing their self-described “future funk” for more than a decade. In September they released their most fully realized album, the irreverently titled "Funk Jesus."

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.

Courtesy Lyn Elliot

Can you name one practical thing you learned from a former partner?

This question was the seed of "Lessons from Exes," a new short film featuring five vignettes by Kansas City filmmakers.

“I was making some popcorn in a pan on the stove,” Lyn Elliot remembers, “and the thought came into my mind that a particular ex-boyfriend had taught me how to do that.”

Courtesy Ami Ayars

In a town like Kansas City, no one has an excuse for sending anything but locally crafted, one-of-a-kind gifts to their relatives in less creative parts of the world.

The artisans who'll be selling their wares at the events below have created something for every person on your list, and buying from them will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling because you’re buying local.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

A former Haskell Indian Nations University student who says she was raped by two Haskell football players has settled her privacy claim against the school.

The settlement comes just days after two former KU varsity athletes settled their lawsuits alleging they were sexual assaulted by a KU football player.