Local

News from the local region for a station

Ben Kuebrich / Kansas News Service/Harvest Public Media

A new, widely debated federal mandate requires truckers to electronically track the number of hours they’re on the road — a rule that’s meant to make highways safer. But there’s a big difference between hauling a load of TVs and a load of cattle destined for meatpacking plants.

Livestock haulers, who have a soon-to-end temporary exemption from the rule, argue enforcing it will upend their industry and put animals at risk. There’s also a good chance, experts say, that the prices of meat at the grocery store will go up.

bigstock.com

A proposed telemedicine bill has Kansas medical providers pushing for a new chance to make their services eligible for reimbursement.

Under the House bill, introduced last month, licensed mental health care professionals and physicians can tend to faraway patients over phone or video calls. Insurers would have to cover their services as if they had seen patients in person.

Groups representing chiropractors, occupational therapists, nurses and other health professionals made their case for inclusion before the House Health and Human Services Committee on Monday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer used his first executive order Monday to tighten sexual harassment rules for thousands of state workers.

Accusations of sexual misconduct have surfaced around the Kansas Legislature in recent months, much like the #MeToo movement that’s swept the country.

Colyer’s order requires that executive branch employees under his control undergo annual sexual harassment training.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Work hard and you’ll be successful, is how the old adage of the American Dream goes.

But the members of one Kansas City organization are adding their voices to a national movement arguing that’s not really the case, and they're emerging from some of America's lowest-paying industries to do it.

KBI

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents reportedly have picked up a second Bangladeshi man in Lawrence.

A Change.org petition asks for help in keeping Raju Ahmed, 40, from being deported.

The petition was created by Shaju Ahmed, who says he is Raju Ahmed’s brother. The petition says that Raju Ahmed is a University of Kansas graduate and a local business owner with three employees.

"My brother, Raju Ahmed, has been a beloved and respected member of the community that he lives in for a long time," the petition states.

file photo / Kansas Public Radio

Last November, nearly two dozen mail-in ballots cast by disabled voters got tossed away in Sedgwick County.

Some state officials say local election authorities misread a technicality in state law, and the votes could have been counted.

Now Kansas lawmakers are pushing through bills aimed at wiping out any confusion — and making sure that people who have trouble filling out their own ballots can still vote by mail.

One bill aiming to clarify the law has passed the Senate. Another measure drew no opposition in a hearing in the House on Monday.

Kinsa

Area hospitals are continuing to see high numbers of influenza patients, suggesting that the flu season has yet to peak.

At the University of Kansas Health System, 913 patients have tested positive for the flu so far, 162 of them in the last week alone, according to spokeswoman Jill Chadwick. Seventeen patients currently remain hospitalized.

“This is going down as one of the more aggressive flu seasons in recent memory for us as well as the rest of the nation,” she says.

Dan Margolies / File/KCUR 89.3

The attorney for the man whose ex-wife had an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says his client has been subpoenaed by a grand jury.

Attorney Al Watkins said in a news release that the ex-husband who secretly recorded his wife's admission of the 2015 affair with Greitens had been asked Monday to testify. The release did not say when that testimony would happen.

CBS Television / Paramount Pictures

You'd be forgiven for thinking a jazz club with a throwback feel would end up being a flop. You'd also be wrong. Today, we meet a local entrepreneur whose pair of nightclubs is helping the Kansas City jazz scene live on. Then, we listen to some of your favorite TV theme songs from the 1950s to today, and try to discover why the best of them stick so easily in your head. Sorry in advance for the earworms!

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Sit-ins and other protests over poverty and racial equality could be coming to the Kansas Statehouse, clergy and civil rights activists said Monday.

They promised to bring the same level of attention to the issues that the causes garnered when Martin Luther King Jr. championed them a half-century ago in his Poor People’s Campaign.

The effort is an updated version of King’s campaign by the same name. It emphasizes higher minimum wages, lower barriers to voting and an end to disproportionate incarceration of minorities.

How important is the tone a Governor sets in state politics? Can a tenor of optimism or the opposite affect policy? As Kansas transitions from former Governor Sam Brownback to new Governor Jeff Colyer, we discuss what practical difference this change in leadership might make in the statehouse.

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

Perfectionism, bullying, depression and social media are a few of the stressors teens constantly face in today's society. As the number of teen suicides in Kansas City reach record levels, we speak with school councilors and health experts to learn why rates are climbing in the metro and how to help prevent suicides.

But first, a discussion on undeveloped land in suburban areas. What happens when the desire to turn unused land into roads and schools collides with the desire to keep things natural?

Guests:

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

Hundreds of people in Lawrence, Kansas, have mobilized around an effort to stop the deportation of Syed Jamal, a beloved father, chemistry professor and community volunteer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents abruptly detained and jailed Jamal on January 22. His pending deportation, after three decades in the community, comes amid a Trump Administration crackdown on immigrants with ambiguous immigration status. 

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Troubles in the Kansas foster care system might stem in large part from a shortage of places that can help children in psychiatric crisis, say some lawmakers and child advocate groups.

Since 2013, the number of psychiatric residential treatment facilities in Kansas has dropped from 11 to eight, with 222 fewer available beds.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

After promising for months to change the tone when he took charge, new Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer spent his first days in office trying to deliver on that pledge.

He was sworn in late Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday morning, he met with Democratic leaders that his predecessor, Sam Brownback, rarely consulted.

“We’re going to keep that dialogue open,” he said. “We’re going to keep working with people.”

That afternoon, he summoned Statehouse reporters to an already refurbished office for a chat.

Brandon Parigo / UMKC/KCUR 89.3

KCUR welcomed NPR National Correspondent Wade Goodwyn for his first visit to Kansas City earlier this week. He spoke at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party, a Leadership Circle breakfast for major donors, and a cocktail party for KCUR underwriters and prospects. He also spent time with members of the KCUR newsroom.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Where do you go job-wise when your previous position was press secretary to the president of the United States? Today, we ask someone who knows, Kansas City native and former Obama staffer Josh Earnest. Then, activist organizations pushing to improve conditions for low-wage workers face a unique challenge: Getting folks who can ill-afford time off to show up for a protest. We'll find out how groups like Stand Up KC are overcoming that hurdle.

Focus Features

Nobody should experience the anxiety associated with broken relationships, secret romance, or a life thrown into turbulence, but it does make great film fodder. Cinemas this weekend are full of characters who must face down their fears or perish, and Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics think more than a couple are worth seeing. Given their recommendations, movie-goers who like watching others suffer should strongly consider a trip to the theater.

Cynthia Haines

On our First Friday arts show: a local artist has been keeping a dream journal for over 40 years. In his new exhibit, he's brought recurring objects from his dreams to life through sculpture. Then, we talk to the star of a one-woman show about fashion icon Diana Vreeland, and a band conductor on how his group keeps the Kansas City sound alive ... and how they're taking a step to address the gender imbalance in jazz.

Guests:

file photo / Kansas News Service

Lowering the Kansas sales tax on food is as popular as it is difficult in a state scrounging for every nickel to balance its budget.

On Thursday, supporters of a plan to cut taxes on groceries sounded off at the Kansas Statehouse with a plea to a Senate committee to advance a constitutional amendment that would reduce the rate.

J. Robert Schraeder / Courtesy of The Coterie Theatre

Playwright Laurie Brooks has tackled challenging subjects for young adults — from the Salem witch trials to bullying. Her latest play, The Secret of Courage, explores a teenager facing a health crisis ... with a little help from a magical world.

file photo / Kansas Public Radio

Last fall’s dramatic public backlash against plans for a massive poultry operation in northeast Kansas could lead to a change in law.

Two lawmakers whose districts include Tonganoxie — a small, rural commuter town between Lawrence and Kansas City — want to give local residents a say on whether they’ll be neighbors to a chicken plant.

Voters in the county of any proposed large-scale facility for caging or slaughtering poultry would be able to force a public vote on the matter by gathering enough signatures on a petition.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

At the end of President Donald Trump's first year in office, KCUR wanted to know how his agenda was affecting the Kansas City metro, and how residents thought the president had been doing. 

We did a series of stories and talk show discussions on the topic, and spent time at sites around the region gathering people's thoughts. We plan to do more of this in the future, but for this first round of conversations we went to Parkville, Missouri; Midtown and Northeast Kansas City, Missouri; and Orrick, Missouri. 

File photo / Kansas News Service

A telemedicine bill aimed at improving health care access for Kansans, particularly in rural areas, may get bogged down in abortion politics.

The legislation would mean insurance companies can’t refuse to pay for services provided long-distance that they would cover at an in-person office visit.

More controversially, the bill would not allow drug-induced abortion or other abortion procedures through telemedicine.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

The regional office of Planned Parenthood has selected a new president and CEO.

Brandon Hill, formerly executive director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Chicago, assumed the role on Thursday.

Hill says he's eager to move from reproductive research to advocacy.

“I think we’re in a particularly critical time in this political landscape to where I couldn’t just stay in my lab," Hill says.

Ben Keubrich / Kansas News Service

A humanitarian group that helps refugees settle in western Kansas among plentiful slaughterhouse jobs is shutting down its office in the region amid changing rules that welcome fewer newcomers to the country and the state.

The International Rescue Committee, or IRC, says a falling number of refugees prompted the agency’s plans to shutter its Garden City office at the end of September.

Kansas took in 580 refugees in the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30, compared to 914 the year before. IRC officials said they expect the drop-off to look even more dramatic this year.

Phillip Taylor / Flickr -- CC

A Kansas Citian just returned from his first trip back to Puerto Rico since it was devastated by two hurricanes. We hear how recovery is going from his on-the-ground perspective.

Then: when you think of Antarctica, you may picture a vast land covered with snow. But did you know that plants used to grow there? A scientist is back from an Arctic expedition with plant fossils that she collected — fossils that may tell us something about how life withstands climate change.

Courtesy Jennifer Karady and Amparo Hoffman

Comedian George Burns had this to say about sincerity: “If you can fake that, you've got it made.”

Ah, but was he being sincere? No doubt, in his own amusing way.

However one approaches it, the act of being heartfelt can be observed and shared this weekend in a variety of ways, from the honest allures of traditional country music to the direct detection of the (pardon the expression) ideal female. I kid you not … well, not too much!

 

1. The Randy Rogers Band

Pages