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Gustavo Castillo / Wikimedia Commons

A change in state statute is unlikely to make more schoolyard fights felonies.

When Missouri lawmakers made third degree assault a Class E felony, up from a misdemeanor, two school districts in the St. Louis area issued dire warnings that the criminal code revisions could have a dramatic impact on school discipline.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal investigation has been launched into the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million by an employee of an obscure state board that promotes the beef industry, money created by a mandatory government program funded by farmers and ranchers.

Josh Grenier / Flickr — CC

Like to be a kid again? Ha! Who wouldn’t want to take another crack at their tender years, if only for a day or two?

The next best thing to finding the Fountain of Youth this weekend: Doing concentrated kid stuff with the little ones in your life and getting a residual whiff of bona fide childhood wonder.

If the kiddos you’re hanging with also happen to be successfully avoiding bath time, the whiff can be even stronger. Lucky you!

1. Jurassic Quest: Out of Extinction

Back To The Beginning

7 hours ago
commons.wikimedia.org

On this week's Cyprus Avenue we’re taking you back to the early days of rock & roll…a time when most of the great songs you heard were less than three minutes long…and you listened on your transistor radio.

Track List:

Richie Valens - "Come On Let’s Go”

Johnnie Taylor - “Who’s Makin’ Love”

The Turtles - “It Ain’t Me Babe”

Big Bopper - “Chantilly Lace”

Mickey & Sylvia - “Opportunity To Cry”

Dion - “Wanderer”

Beach Boys – “Surfin’ Safari”

Frankie Ford – “Sea Cruise”

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

As the 2017 Kansas Legislature gavels in, Statehouse Blend Kansas is preparing for another year of political coverage.

Next week, we'll be hosting a live taping directly after the Governors' State of the State address on Jan. 10th in Topeka. Please, join us for that event at the Kansas Heath Institute Conference Center located at 212 SW 8th Ave #300, Topeka, KS 66603.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

The Kansas Federal Public Defender says federal prosecutors have failed to turn over all attorney-client phone calls that were recorded at the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth to a special master looking into their legality.

In a court filing Wednesday, the public defender identified recorded calls to at least two attorneys that were not disclosed by prosecutors.

Joseph Keppler / Puck / Public Domain

President-elect Trump's one-off deal making with the likes of Carrier, Ford, and SoftBank have raised concerns about crony capitalism. The Ethics Professors tackle that issue, and discuss whether U.S.

Flickr/Mark Warner

If someone you loved had a psychiatric emergency, would you know what to do?

Because many people wouldn’t, Kansas mental health advocates are pushing for the state to recognize psychiatric advance directives to guide care for patients in crisis who are unable to communicate. 

Adam_Procter400 / Flickr - CC

A state program that gives Missouri colleges and universities additional funding for meeting performance goals needs a lot of work, according to state auditor Nicole Galloway.

The program awards institutions a portion of state funding — up to 5 percent of each school's core higher education funding —based on measures such as graduation rates and learning quality. 

The level of success is determined by how well each college compares to its peers. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., a big group gathers for "T'ai Chi for the Heart" at Turning Point, a healing center in Leawood, Kansas.

"We typically start with meditation, then we do our warm-ups and start T'ai Chi movements," says Al Hussar, who's been coming to the class for more than five years.

Hussar has diabetes, and he's supporting a wife with multiple sclerosis. Others in the room also suffer from chronic illnesses, or are supporting chronically ill loved ones.

Eva Wilson / Leawood Baptist Church

Kansas City recently hit a milestone: 2016 saw the highest number of homicides in the past 10 years. What's going on in the metro? A look at what each death means for KC and its children.

Guests:

Elana Gordon / KCUR

A storm moved across the Kansas City area late Wednesday and early Thursday bringing light to moderate snowfall.

Due to the weather, many schools have canceled or delayed classes. Including, Academie Lafayette, Benjamin Banneker Elementary, Hickman Mills Schools, Independence Public Schools, Kansas City Public Schools and Center School District.

Check kmbc.com for a full list of closings.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was passed over for cabinet level posts as head of the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, but reports  now suggest the Trump administration may be creating a special post just for him – that of “immigration czar.”

Maria Carter / KCUR 89.3

Another metro school district is at a contract impasse with its teachers.

Teachers and the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools are heading into non-binding fact finding after failing to reach a deal.

The two sides held talks with a mediator twice last month but that also failed to result in a contract.

Teachers and the district say the dispute is not over how much of a pay hike to give but rather how to distribute the two percent raise.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

When the Kansas City Actors Theatre opens Israel Horovitz’s My Old Lady next week, the production will star three actors that might, in one of the profession's euphemisms, be described as "well-known" actors.

But KCAT isn't bothering with euphemisms.

The show "provides three great acting roles, especially two for middle-aged and older women,” director Darren Sextro said in the show's news release, adding that this particular group of artists "deserves more opportunities than they’re offered."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Thirty years. That's how much experience the trio of actors starring in a new Kansas City Actors Theatre production have ... each. They tell us about the challenges of sustaining an acting career in the Midwest.

Chris Lee

The Kansas City Symphony has been quietly fundraising over the last four years with the goal of adding $55 million to its endowment. On Wednesday, in front of more than 100 donors and arts officials on the stage of Helzberg Hall, the Symphony announced that they'd raised nearly $52 million.

Now, they're seeking public support for the "Masterpiece Campaign."

WATCH: Down Times Have Farmers Looking To Cut Costs

Jan 4, 2017
Thousands of farmers attend the Nebraska Power Farming Show in Lincoln to price out new equipment.
Jack Williams / Harvest Public Media

The federal government expected net farm income and farm profits to fall in 2016, the third-straight year of declines. That means farmers and ranchers are taking a closer look at their finances, and many aren’t very optimistic about their prospects for 2017.

Courtesy Isaac Cates

Isaac Cates is a Kansas City native who studied at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Since he co-founded Ordained in 2004, it's become one of the most prominent gospel groups in Kansas City.

3 reasons we're listening to Isaac Cates & Ordained this week:

1. They've shared stages with gospel greats like Marvin Sapp and Shirley Caesar.

http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/hidden-figures

John F. Kennedy had a dream of sending a white man, a black man and an Asian to the moon. Ed Dwight, a KCK native, came close to being the black man on that mission.

Inspired by the upcoming film, Hidden Figures, we hear his story. Plus, a chat with a molecular biologist and our film critics.

Guests:

@NWSKansasCity / National Weater Service Kansas City

People across the south Kansas City area felt a blast Tuesday evening after an explosion at a lawn care business in Grandview.

Firefighters were called to JW Lawn Service near 140th and I-49 after receiving calls about an explosion and fire shortly after 7 p.m. 

Firefighters took a defensive position, waiting to go into the burning building because of reports of ammunition inside. They reported at least a dozen more explosions while on the scene.

Getty Images/NBA

Kansas City may be known more as a college basketball town these days, but two NBA head coaches with Kansas City ties, Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue and Phoenix’s Earl Watson, will make history when their teams face each other on Sunday.

Last June, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship and set off a celebration in that city. At the same time, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, a graduate of Raytown High School, couldn’t pry himself from the bench. He sat with his face buried in his hands.

Sobbing.

Greitens workout
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Laying out a central theme of his first-year agenda, Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens told a group of law enforcement officers, recruits and their families Tuesday that he would have their back when he takes office next week.

Christophe Testi

This story was updated with comments from ArtsKC. 

Bruce W. Davis has resigned as the president and chief executive officer of ArtsKC —Regional Arts Council after less than a year on the job. 

In a news release on Tuesday, ArtsKC board chair Brad Douglas announced that Davis's last day was Monday, January 2. 

Douglas told KCUR that Davis notified the board in December about his departure.

www.haysmed.com

Extending its growing reach in Kansas, The University of Kansas Hospital has finalized its agreement to partner with Hays Medical Center in the northwest part of the state.

In September, the two institutions signed a letter of intent to join forces, with HaysMed maintaining its name and separate ownership structure.

A portrait isn't just about capturing someone's literal likeness. It's about capturing the inner essence. So how is it done? And how is it done well? We host a roundtable discussion with Kansas City artists – from painter to doll-maker – to explore the ins and outs of portraiture in various mediums.

Guests: 

Kansas City, Kansas, Police

The man who killed Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective Brad Lancaster in May 2016 pleaded guilty Tuesday.

In addition to capital murder, Curtis Ayers pleaded guilty to nine other counts in a crime spree that began when he shot 39-year-old Lancaster outside the Hollywood Casino May 9.

Ayers still faces charges in Leavenworth County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, where he was apprehended after a long chase.

Courtesy Jill Wagner

Jill Wagner’s life changed the day her then-10-month-old son, Dean, was hospitalized after a series of seizures.

Tests revealed that Dean had a rare genetic condition that put him at risk for a host of medical issues. By the time he was discharged, little Dean already had a handful of diagnoses, including one for autism. Doctors weren’t sure if he would ever walk, talk or read.

For the next eight months, Wagner, a businesswoman and former professor who lives in Salina, Kansas, tried to navigate the complex world of health insurance for applied behavior analysis, or ABA.

Crazy Fred ET / Wikipedia Commons and Jim Bowen / Flickr - CC

As the 115th U.S. Congress meets in Washington for the first time, new state legislatures will soon take the reins in Jefferson City and Topeka. Today, we look forward to possible political developments and legislation likely to arise in the Missouri and Kansas capitals.

CC--Wikipedia w/modification

KCUR comes to you with good news this morning. We’re proud to announce that the KHI News Service, a pioneering not-for-profit journalism startup, is now part of our organization. And it is the cornerstone of a new reporting collaboration called the Kansas News Service.

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