Local

Economy
6:42 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

KCPL Plans City-Wide Electric Vehicle Charging Network

KCP&L announced plans Monday for an electric vehicle charging network.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The Kansas City area may soon be home to a network of 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations capable of serving 10,000 electric cars and trucks.

Kansas City Power and Light Co. announced Monday plans to create the Clean Charge Network in partnership with Nissan and ChargePoint, a charging station manufacturer.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:55 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Health Care Foundation To Fund Computer Links for Safety Net Clinics

Money from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City will enable Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center to share patient data electronically with health care providers.
Credit Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center

 

The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City will help three Kansas City safety net clinics share patient data electronically with providers throughout Missouri.

The foundation said in a news release Monday that it’s paying $375,000 to hook up Swope Health System, Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center and KC CARE Clinic to Missouri Health Connection (MHC).

The funding will also help another Kansas City nonprofit, Artists Helping the Homeless, make referrals to hospitals and clinics via encrypted emails.

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Arts & Culture
3:49 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Number 2 Conductor At Kansas City Symphony Vies For Top Spot In Knoxville

Aram Demirjian, associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, started with KCS in 2012 as assistant conductor.
Credit courtesy: Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony's associate conductor, Aram Demirjian, just off the heels of conducting his first classical series concert in Kansas City, is one of six finalists for music director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO). 

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Beyond Our Borders
10:05 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Kansas Woman Refuses To Sell Home As KU Hospital Expands Around Her

Linda Mawby looks back at the KU Hospital expansion construction site from her yard.
Laura Ziegler KCUR

People who live near the University of Kansas Hospital — particularly those across the state line in the Kansas City, Mo., Volker neighborhood  — talk about the medical center as the "behemoth" in the neighborhood.

Linda Mawby isn't one of them. And she's arguably the person most affected — at least at this point — by the hospital's growth.

The 67-year-old former truck driver lives with a her cats and dog in a brown house at the top of a hill  just north of the hospital, right where plans are underway for the institution to build two new towers and additional parking.

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Harvest Public Media
8:50 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Poultry Industry Warily Watches Bird Flu Outbreak

The turkeys in this barn on Noel Thompson's farm in central Iowa are tested routinely for disease, including avian influenza. No bird flu has been found in the commercial poultry industry in this country.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Update: Avian influenza was found in a Foster Farms turkey flock in Stanislaus County, Calif., the company announced Monday. The outbreak is thought to be the first infection of this type of bird flu in a commercial flock in the U.S.

The original story begins here:

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Sports
7:57 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Remembering Monarch Baseball Great Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks, one of baseball’s all-time greats as a player and as a person off the diamond, died Friday. He was 83.

His sunny disposition and skills on the field took off when his professional baseball career began with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. Cool Papa Bell, another former Negro Leagues player and a Baseball Hall of Famer, tipped off Kansas City Monarchs manager Buck O’Neil on the raw abilities of Ernie Banks.

At the time O’Neil, who died in 2006, had not seen Banks play.

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Education
10:36 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Kansas City Students Put Hand-Crafted Robots To The Test At FIRST Tech Challenge

Student built robots attempt to capture wiffle balls and put them in tall bins at the FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier.
Cody Newill KCUR

Nearly 500 students from the Kansas City metro area competed in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, Tech Challenge qualifier Saturday. 

Thirty-seven teams of middle and high school students filled UMKC's Swinney Recreation Center. Each team brought a small remote-controlled robot to roll around small arenas. The students guided their robots to try to collect Wiffle balls and place them in tall bins.

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Community
10:31 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Second Section Of The Fairfax Bridge Demolished

The Fairfax Bridge is being demolished so a new bridge can be built in its place.
Credit MoDOT Photos / Flickr-CC

Kansas and Missouri's transportation departments demolished another section of the Fairfax Bridge Saturday. 

The section was the second to be taken down with explosives this year. Both KDOT and MoDOT say the bridge, which crosses the state line, can no longer bear the weight of cars and trucks passing over it daily.

Several dozen people parked off of the 7th Street Trafficway in Kansas City, Kan., to get a view of the explosion. David Dumler brought his son to watch as a familiar bridge from his childhood was taken down.

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Arts & Culture
5:30 am
Sun January 25, 2015

LISTEN: Natasha Ria El-Scari On Black Poets Speaking Out

Natasha Ria El-Scari.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Spoken word artist Natasha Ria El-Scari is a self-described feminist, educator, and a mother of two.

"I've always written out of the expression of love," says El-Scari. "Not out of the expression of pain." But she says she was "urged to do so" by the movement Black Poets Speak Out, which started in response to the events in Ferguson, Mo.

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Central Standard
4:07 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Food Critics: The Best Burgers In Kansas City

Open-faced sandwich with a gourmet patty, and chutney instead of ketchup: Is it really a burger? Our critics weigh in.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Is there a smell, in all the land, like sizzling ground meat charring on the grill?

Burgers are a staple of classic Americana, as we confirmed on Central Standard.

They're a national comfort food, according to Feast Magazine's Jenny Vergara, and she says that if you're going to make cuisine in America, you're going to have to conquer the burger.

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Education
3:17 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Missouri Governor Wants More Math And Science Classes In Elementary Schools

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon meets with students at Upper Mill Creek Elementary in Belton, where students are learning about robotics.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

How do you get fifth and sixth graders to see a connection between what they're doing in school and their future careers?

Talk to them about Walt Disney.

"As a sixth grader, he was sketching mice and ducks in his art class," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told students during an assembly at Mill Creek Upper Elementary in Belton Friday.

The school is one of 34 across Missouri that's teaching elementary school students about math and science through Project Lead the Way, which Nixon hopes will inspire them to pursue those fields as adults. 

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Arts & Culture
5:45 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Director's Cuts: Natalie Liccardello On 'Eurydice'

Orpheus (Brian Huther) confronts Hades (Cam Burns) in 'Eurydice.'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

  The Greek myth about the short-lived marriage of Orpheus and Eurydice is traditionally relayed from his point of view. Playwright Sarah Ruhl's version turns that around in her play Eurydice, opening next week at The Living Room.

Directing the show is Natalie Liccardello, who talked about the production as part of our monthly series, Director's Cuts

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Economy
6:42 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

New KCI Terminal Design Going Well, Consultant Says

People working to develop a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport say the project is going so well that it could become a national model. 

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:14 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Missouri Medicaid Expansion For Veterans Gets Mixed Reviews

Republican Missouri State Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City announced Tuesday a plan that would expand Medicaid for veterans and their families.

At a press event at the Capitol, Silvey introduced the Veteran’s Family Healthcare Act, which would provide Medicaid coverage for veterans, their spouses and dependent children with incomes between 19 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

“If we can’t solve the whole problem, let’s solve a piece of it,” Silvey said.

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Government
1:28 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

President Obama Takes State Of The Union Themes To KU

President Obama appeared confident and jovial during his speech at KU.
Bill Anderson KCUR

President Obama focused on child care reforms, his free community college proposal and reaching across the aisle in a speech at the University of Kansas Thursday.

He is the first sitting president to visit the Lawrence, Kan., school in more than 100 years.

Before he launched into the issues at hand, the president made sure to please the crowd with some Kansas love, saying how excited he was to visit Allen Fieldhouse before his speech.

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McTavish Weekend Extra
10:42 am
Thu January 22, 2015

7 Gutsy Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Take a dare this weekend and go see Mississippi garage-rock outfit Bass Drum of Death.
Credit Bekah Cope / Flickr--CC

It takes guts to get through this life. And this weekend? Well, perhaps that, too.

From gutsy theater and sports to daring feats of musical fortitude, the next few days will deliver ample opportunities for others to show what they’re made of.

Yes, others. I’ll bet you thought I was going to put you on the spot. No way. That would have taken guts. And, besides, I know which side my bread is buttered on. Read on!

1. Missouri Mavericks Hockey

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:21 am
Thu January 22, 2015

ACA Enrollment Up In Kansas And Missouri, Though Pace Slow

Thousands of Kansans and Missourians signed up for insurance on the federal exchange last week, though the pace has slowed since the first several robust weeks of the second Affordable Care Act open enrollment period.

New figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services show that during the week ending Jan. 16, 11,797 new or renewing enrollees in Missouri brought the state total to 209,336.

The total in Kansas reached 80,064 with the addition of 4,228 signing up.

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Missouri
8:15 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Nixon Focuses On Legacy From Ferguson As He Outlines Priorities

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon shakes hands with legislators as he exits the House of Represenatives after delivering the annual State of the State address at the state capitol.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 10:51 pm

A former basketball player himself, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon used the sport Wednesday to illustrate ways that the state can advance racial healing as it seeks to get beyond the months of protests prompted by last summer’s police shooting in Ferguson.

In Wednesday’s State of the State address, the governor recounted how Highway Patrol officers assigned to keep order pooled some of their own money to pay for a basketball net and new basketball. That generosity, Nixon said, later led to a pickup basketball game.

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Government
8:09 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Kansas City Streetcar Expansion Hopes Still Alive

The Kansas City, Mo., city council votes Thursday afternoon on on ordinance that would keep a reserve fund for streetcar system expansion planning. 

It is part of plans for spending more than $8 million left over from the $10 million it borrowed to jump-start a streetcar system expansion that voters rejected.

The ordinance would devote most of the unspent bond money to already planned projects including a community center tornado shelter and Bartle Hall roof repairs.

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Community
6:43 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Kansas City Looks For Answers After Drive-By Shootings Claim Lives of Kids

The office of civic leader Alvin Brooks is plastered with flyers like these, pleading with information about unsolved youth homicides in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo., ended 2014 with fewer homicides than the city had seen in nearly 50 years.

But that good news doesn’t lessen the tragedy of a death such as Angel Hooper’s. The 6-year-old was gunned down in the parking lot of a gas station at 107th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard in October, the first of four child victims of drive-by shootings in the metro in recent months.

Emotions run high when kids become innocent victims of violent crime, but the number of drive-by shootings in the metro has not risen.

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St. Joseph School District
10:04 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

St. Joseph School Superintendent, COO Placed On Administrative Leave

St. Joseph School District Superintendent Dr. Fred Czerwonka has been placed on administrative leave.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

Update: Jan. 22, 2:25 pm

The St. Joseph School District has confirmed that Superintendent Fred Czerwonka and Chief Operating Officer Rick Hartigan are now on administrative leave.

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Heartland Health Monitor
5:42 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Debate On Licensing Mid-Level Dental Providers in Kansas Resumes

Advocates for allowing dental hygienists with advanced training to perform a broader range of procedures in Kansas gathered Wednesday at the Statehouse.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Advocates for allowing dental hygienists with advanced training to perform a broader range of procedures are now in their fifth year of trying to convince legislators to approve the necessary changes in state law.

Wearing bright yellow and black scarves, they rallied Wednesday morning and then headed for meetings with legislators to press their case for expanding access to services in a state where 95 of 105 counties have a shortage of dental providers .

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Beyond Our Borders
4:32 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

4 Small (But Kinda Big) Differences Between Kansas And Missouri

Liquor laws between the Kansas and Missouri are just one of the little differences between the two states.
Credit Greyerbaby / Pixabay / CC

The Kansas-Missouri state line is one of the easiest state borders to cross. In fact, it's one of the only state dividers that has an actual road lying on most of it

But as Kansans and Missourians know, there are plenty of differences between the states.

Here are a few of the technicalities when it comes to state laws governing everyday life:

Alcohol

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Education
3:52 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Cuts To K-12 Education In Kansas Revised Upwards

Cuts to K-12 education in Kansas could be $127 million next fiscal year.
Credit alamosbasement / Flickr--CC

Funding cuts to public schools in Kansas may be more severe than education observers first thought.

Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed that the legislature rewrite the state's school funding formula. While that happens, he has proposed funding K-12 education in fiscal 2016 with block grants.

But a new analysis just released Wednesday by the Kansas Department of Education says money from the state for classroom instruction will be reduced by $127 million next year.

Initially, the department’s analysis had pegged the loss at $107 million.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:41 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

New Kansas Insurance Commissioner Strives For A 'Robust' Market

After taking office as Kansas insurance commissioner, Ken Selzer said he'd like to bring more insurance companies to the state.
Credit Ashley Booker / KHI News Service

After taking his new role as Kansas insurance commissioner, Ken Selzer stressed that he will work toward providing Kansas consumers with a more robust insurance market.

Selzer said recruiting insurance companies to move to the state will give consumers more options.

“We are always going to find other ways to help the industry be more vibrant, more aggressive, more productive on behalf of consumers,” Selzer said last week while speaking to the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. “The end game is to always take care of the consumers.” 

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Up To Date
11:31 am
Wed January 21, 2015

What It's Like To Be A Server During Restaurant Week In Kansas City

Le Fou Frog is one of more than 150 restaurants participating in Restaurant Week. Owner Barbara Rafael spoke with 'Up To Date' Tuesday about the challenges it presents to her small staff of servers.
Credit Courtesy Photo / Le Fou Frog

Kansas City’s sixth annual restaurant week is in full swing, and diners are able to sample menus at restaurants across the city at a great price. 

This is really exciting for a lot of people.

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Religion
7:51 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Kansas City Catholics Divided Over Vatican Investigation Of Bishop

Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese was convicted of shielding a sexually abusive priest in 2012. He is now the subject of a Vatican investigation.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

A Catholic bishop normally governs pretty much unchecked in his diocese — only the pope can dislodge a bishop. And each time Catholics celebrate Mass in Kansas City, Mo., they pray for Bishop Robert Finn, right after they pray for Pope Francis.

But some Catholics here, like David Biersmith, a Eucharistic minister, refuse to go along.

"When the priest says that, you know, you're supposed say it with him, but I just leave that out," Biersmith says. "I just don't say it. Because he's not my bishop, as far as I'm concerned."

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Education
7:41 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

St. Joseph School Board Meets In Tense, Day-Long Session

The St. Joseph School Board meets in executive session to discuss a scathing audit and personnel issues.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

The St. Joseph School Board spent a tense eight hours behind closed doors Tuesday.

Board members spent more than five hours with investigators from the Missouri State Auditors office, going through the 49-page draft report page-by-page.

Those who’ve seen the report won’t discuss specific recommendations but describe it as "scathing."

After the meeting, board president Brad Haggard refused to discuss the audit's findings or recommendations. The district will write a response that will become part of the report.

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Health
6:18 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Rating of Kansas Nursing Homes Comes Up With 12 High Performers

Credit BigStock image

Twelve of the 345 nursing homes in Kansas meet Kansas Advocates for Better Care criteria for high-performing facilities, according to the organization’s annual evaluation. Another 66 were deemed low-performing.

“The nursing home industry is fond of saying that quality-of-care standards are too high and that they can’t be met,” said Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care. “But here are 12 facilities that clearly have done just that."

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Harvest Public Media
11:35 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Ranchers Rebel Over Beef Checkoff

Ranchers nationwide are required to pay one dollar to the beef checkoff.
Courtesy Jill Toyoshiba The Kansas City Star

NEMAHA COUNTY, Kan. – From their small farms set in the rolling hills of northeast Kansas, two ranchers are raising a few cattle, and a lot of Cain.

David Pfrang and Jim Dobbins turned themselves into activists, launched a shadow corporation, got hauled into federal court and had to hire a lawyer.

All over $1.

That buck, though, divides the beef industry. And may influence what you decide to have for dinner.

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