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Laura Spencer / KCUR

Kelly Cannon fell in love with writing in third grade, after she won a poetry competition. This poem, "Chiaroscuro," was inspired by a painting of a man sitting on a bed looking out a window. It reminded her of taking naps when she was a child.

Kansas Legislature

Republican Kansas Rep. John Rubin from Shawnee, provides an insider perspective on the historic 2015 legislative session underway in Topeka. 

Guests:

Paul Andrews

Eric Wesson of The Kansas City Call says that Kansas City's black community is like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

"I am a man of substance," wrote Ellison's invisible narrator, "of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- I may even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

Wesson read those words for the first time in sixth grade, but didn't relate to them until he was in his 20s, at which point, he said to himself, 'Oh, I get it. We're here, but nobody sees us or pays attention to us.'"

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Health authorities say another nine people have tested positive for tuberculosis after 218 individuals were tested for the infection at Olathe Northwest High School on May 5.

All 218 had been tested previously but were retested due to their potential exposure during the second semester, the authorities said. No additional rounds of testing are planned.

A student came down with the disease in March. More than 300 people were tested shortly afterward and 27 tested positive. Another four tested positive in April.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas City-area business leaders and health executives are kicking off an effort to make mental health a priority in the workplace.

On Friday, the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care (MACHC) introduced the Right Direction Initiative, a free, ready-to-use communication campaign for businesses that want to improve the mental health of their employees.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A medical marijuana advocacy group is collecting stories from Kansans who say they have been “persecuted” by the state’s child welfare agency for using cannabis.

Lisa Sublett, the founder of Bleeding Kansas, said the effort began after Shona Banda, a Garden City woman who uses cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease, lost custody of her son after the boy spoke up at a school anti-drug presentation.

A proposal to allow prior authorizations for Medicaid reimbursements on mental health drugs passed its final legislative hurdle Friday.

The measure, which was requested by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration as part of a budget proposal and projected to save $8 million, passed the House 82-31 as part of a small health conference committee package. It passed the Senate 31-6 earlier in the week and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Lightning has been striking all over the metro this week, and Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few recommendations to light up your weekend--without the rain.

Cynthia Haines:

Wrecking Crew, PG 

  • Documentary about legendary studio musicians

Ex Machina, R

  • A computer programmer is hired to test a new form of artificial intelligence.

Seymour: An Introduction, PG

On April , The Village Square’s Kansas City group hosted a panel discussion on "American Justice: The Impact of Incarceration." An expert panel examined imprisonment as the most effective form of achieving public safety, the racial disparities that exist in our prison system, and the alternatives to solving these issues. Former U.S. Ambassador Alan Katz moderated the conversation. 

Panelists: 

ArtsKC

Asserting that there's a “vital missing ingredient” in Kansas City's current arts renaissance, ArtsKC on Friday rolled out a five-county, two-state plan its leaders hope will fill that gap by providing “a shared vision for coordinated cultural development of the region.”

The sixty-page OneArtsKC Regional Cultural Plan comes after 18 months of town hall meetings, surveys, and other fact-finding efforts to assess arts needs in communities throughout the metro. ArtsKC leaders say more than 1,800 people participated, including private citizens as well as representatives from arts and cultural organizations and local governments.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle / IFC Films

Based on its trailer and the reputation of its rowdy star, one might expect the new Jack Black comedy The D Train to be thick with predictable shenanigans involving the pot-bellied man-child at its center. But the writing and directing team of Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul give Black unexpected layers of complex emotion to make a profound statement about contemporary male sexuality.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

For centuries, scientists have looked to artists to help visualize the complexities of the human body. The techniques have changed — from wood engravings and copper plate prints to microscopic photos and digital animation — but the focus on storytelling is the same. It’s a profession known as medical illustration and there’s an effort to cultivate more of it in Kansas City. 

Mixing art with science 

The illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute is tucked into a former grocery store at 43rd and Oak. At two long tables near the entrance, a handful of students quietly surf the Internet or eat a snack just before the start of a biomedical visualization class.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

 

Accountability. It means taking responsibility for an action or result.

Lately, it’s taken on a new connotation in the field of health care. The Affordable Care Act provides a way for health care networks to get bonus payments by providing better care, and keeping Medicare patients healthier.

These Accountable Care Organizations are about to have a larger presence in Kansas.

Kansas has been slow to adopt Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs. Fewer than 4 percent of the population is enrolled in some form of alternative payment model, like ACOs.

The Kansas House gave first-round approval by a 67-49 vote Thursday to a measure legalizing the use of low-THC marijuana oil for people with persistent seizure disorders.

Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, championed the oil legalization on behalf of Ryan and Kathy Reed, who moved to Colorado to access it for their young son, Otis.

Wilson successfully brought together House colleagues from across the political spectrum on the measure Thursday by emphasizing how much narrower it was than prior medical marijuana bills that never cleared the committee process.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

While this case has been hanging over the state for the past five years much of the hearing Thursday before a three judge panel in Shawnee County District Court was spent on what has happened in just the past few months.

The four school districts suing the state, including Kansas City, Kansas, have asked the panel to halt further implementation of block grant funding, a school finance plan just passed this year by the legislature.

Block grants would essentially freeze funding for schools across the state while a new formula is written by lawmakers.

Courtesy of Iris Appelquist

my dearest and most sweet

Earthworm / Flickr--CC

As a nation we have been talking about race a lot lately. And with Mother's Day just ahead we thought we would pair two unlikely subjects.

"How did your mother talk with you about race?" we asked.

What you told us ran the gamut from “my mother didn’t talk to me about race,” to “she let us know her feelings, but indirectly,” to “she told us exactly what she thought and what she wanted us to know.”

KU News Service/University of Kansas

From the hydrozoan Ectopleura larynx physically fusing to its offspring, to the fish Geophagus altifrons protecting mobile juveniles in their mouths, mothering styles vary from species to species. We invited two professors from KU's Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the director of living collections at the Kansas City Zoo to discuss the maternal instinct — or lack thereof — in the animal world.

Guests:

Cody Newill / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stopped by the recently closed Missouri River bridge on Highway 291 in Sugar Creek, Missouri Thursday to call on state lawmakers to pass a fuel tax hike for transportation funding.

The northbound bridge was closed Wedensday when a Missouri Department of Transportation inspection found a rusted hole through a support strut. 

Nixon said the bridge is indicative of a larger problem with state transportation funding.

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

Driving past the building at 9th and Paseo in Kansas City without slowing down to look is hard. The facade of wavy, undulating metal soars upward and ends with an angled, round-ish top. 

But it's the mystery that really makes it hard to look away from — the building has no sign, and you have to turn onto 9th Street to find a door. This is the headquarters of A. Zahner Company, an award -winning engineering and architectural company that's been around for 118 years. 

From her upbringing in the segregated south side of Chicago to her life in White House, Michelle Obama’s is a noteworthy journey. On this edition of Up To Date, we explore the First Lady's experiences with Peter Slevin, author of her latest unauthorized biography, Michelle Obama: A Life.

Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt traveled around the country on state business more than her husband? Or that Dolly Madison liked to break the Washington gridlock by throwing fantastic parties? First ladies are closer than anyone to the presidency, and they have the stories to prove it. 

Guest:

Connecting for Good

Connecting for Good, a Kansas City-area non-profit that’s working to provide digital literacy and computer access across the metro, established a computer lab last year across from the Juniper Gardens Housing Project in Kansas City, Kansas. The organization recently added 25 computers, because the lab became so popular.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Discussions about the dangers of the human papillomavirus (HPV) tend to focus on the risks it poses for cervical cancer.

But as physicians and one local survivor emphasized in a discussion after the screening of a documentary shown Wednesday in Kansas City, HPV is not only a danger to women.

“It is under-recognized as a disease of males,” said Dr. Terance Tsue, a head and neck surgeon and physician-in-chief at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Kansas Rep. Nancy Lusk from Overland Park, provides an insider perspective on the historic 2015 legislative session underway in Topeka. 

You can listen to the full podcast here.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County officials thanked each other Thursday for the successful completion of a project to house Kansas City Police Department detainees on the ground floor of the county detention center.

County Executive Mike Sanders estimates the city will save up to $1 million annually using the Jackson County Detention Center rather than police headquarters to house detainees. The old detention center was in need of costly renovations to comply with American with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.

Wikimedia -- CC

Did you know that every day is Mother’s Day? If you’re fortunate enough to have your mother in your life, just ask her. She’ll tell you.

Even so, extra-special attention is formally awarded to Mom once a year. When that happens this weekend, grateful progeny will honor the woman who brought them into this world and did her best to set them on the right path. Cards, flowers and brunches will ensue.

What else might you do with Mom to show your appreciation? Naturally, I have suggestions. Or just ask her. She’ll tell you. That’s Mom.

WATCH: Johnson County Seniors Drum To A Beat To 'Stay Alive'

May 7, 2015
Bridgit Bowden / KCPT

For senior citizens, a good way to get exercise is through group fitness classes like Drums Alive at the Matt Ross Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

Debbie Shearer teaches the class. She says introducing exercise into senior citizens’ routines is “part of staying alive.”

“If you don’t use it, you are going to lose the ability, and you are going to become deconditioned,” Shearer says. “And when you become deconditioned, then you start falling, you start having accidents, then you lose your independence.”

Just 80 years ago, the word racism barely existed. How did it — along the word racist — become such loaded terms? We invite a New York Times reporter, the president of the Urban League and a professor of linguistics and sociocultural anthropology to discuss how we talk about racism today — and the power of those two words.

Guests:

The idea of a unified metro-wide emergency dispatch system for area law enforcement got a first hearing in a Kansas City council committee Wednesday. 

Assistant City Manager Mike Schumacher told the public safety committee that with existing separate dispatch systems, a crime can occur within a block of a police car, but those officers don't get a call because the need is in a different municipality. And the dispatcher for that municipality doesn't even know the officers are close.

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