Local

Education
1:45 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Missouri State Board Not Ready To Grant KCPS Accreditation Request

The Missouri State Board of Education says there's not enough data to approve Kansas City Public Schools' request for provisional accreditation.

The district says its test scores should be good enough to qualify for provisional accreditation next month when its annual performance review is released. But the district asked the State Board to act early, before the school year starts, so it won't lose more students to other districts.

As long as the district remains unaccredited, state law permits students to transfer to neighboring schools.

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Government
12:34 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Obama Plans Trip To Kansas City

Obama in a 2008 appearance in Terre Haute, Ind.
Credit (flickr-BeckyF)

President Obama appears to be planning a visit to Kansas City next week.

KCUR’s Steve Kraske tweeted the news Tuesday that Obama will be here next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The White House said Obama will be speaking about the economy and will spend the night here before returning to Washington, D.C. Neither a time and location, nor any other details, have been announced.

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Central Standard
10:13 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Wyandotte County Fair Connects Kids With Agricultural Roots

Allyson Billings relaxes with her pet rabbit.
Christina Lieffring KCUR

People usually associate state and county fairs with Ferris wheels and food on a stick. But in areas that have seen their demographics shift from rural to urban populations, these fairs are now serving a new role of connecting city folk to their country roots.

One way the Wyandotte County Fair, which runs July 22 to 26, does this is through its competitions in arts and crafts, food, agriculture and livestock, run by the local 4-H club.

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Community
9:32 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Black Churches In Kansas City Seek New Responses To Violence

St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Mo., is one of an increasing number of black churches bringing on professional counselors.
Credit St. James United Methodist Church

At a recent meeting of the Ad Hoc Group Against Violent Crime, founder Alvin Brooks had a panel of teenagers describe their experiences after a sibling had been murdered.

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Health
9:22 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Hub Key To Sustaining Local Food Movement In Northeast Kansas

Scott Thellman shares information about produce from Juniper Hill Farms during a visit to the Community Mercantile in Lawrence. Thellman and his staff grow organic vegetables and and hay, alfalfa and other grains at the farm north of Lawrence.
Credit Juniper Hill Farms

The now well-established local food movement in and around the university community of Lawrence is in danger of stalling unless a concerted effort is made to expand its reach beyond an already committed group of consumers and build more demand for locally grown or produced fruits, vegetables and meats.

RELATED: Local Food Movement Thriving On The High Plains Of Kansas 

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Health
8:54 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Local Food Movement Thriving On The High Plains Of Kansas

From left, Leon Atwell, Chris Schmidt, Chris Sramek and Jolene and Angela Singhateh of the High Plains Food Coop plan a delivery route from Becky’s Bierocks in St. Francis to a distribution site in Denver. The coop, which began taking orders in spring 2008, has seen a steady increase in sales and customers and the number of farmers in western Kansas and eastern Colorado who are members.
Credit High Plains Food Coop

 

Thanks to early interest shown by chefs and small-scale area farmers, Douglas County, home of the University of Kansas, developed into one of the pioneer locations for the U.S. local food movement, which has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past 15 to 20 years.

Interest in local food is now so entrenched there that a recent consultant’s report concluded that the movement was at risk of stalling as it has become “relatively mature” with “well-established demand across a fairly broad spectrum of markets.”

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Government
8:25 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Roeland Park City Council Votes Down Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

The Roeland Park City Council on Monday voted down an ordinance  that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

The anti-discrimination ordinance had been a hotly debated issue in the Johnson County suburb and drew a crowd last night of about 150 people. Some members of the crowd wore blue shirts to show their support for the ordinance.

After hearing nearly 50 public comments, the council voted 4-3 against adding the ordinance. One council member was absent.

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Economy
8:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

What Would A Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Mean For Kansas City?

Speculation has been building over recent weeks about a possible deal between Sprint parent company SoftBank and T-Mobile to merge the two wireless carriers.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Talk of the proposed $32 billion merger of Sprint and T-Mobile continues to bubble, raising serious questions about the future health of the Kansas City regional economy. 

The deal is still just rumored – and it's unknown if federal regulators will approve it, how it will be structured and even whether Sprint or T-Mobile would be the lead company in the deal.

What is clear is that Sprint is a vital company to the Kansas City area, and that the proposed merger comes at a delicate time for the regional economy.

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Health
7:08 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

KU Docs Say Proposed Cure For Transplant Waits Would Make Local Patients Sicker

Dr. Timothy Schmitt, left, and Dr. Sean Kumer perform a liver transplant at KU Hospital.
Credit University of Kansas Hospital

When Steve Jobs needed a liver transplant in 2009, the Apple CEO left California and went to Memphis, Tenn. While his home state has some of the longest waiting lists in the country for donated livers, Tennessee has some of the shortest.

Many health advocates point to Jobs’ story as an example of the harsh disparities faced by those who need new livers in different parts of the country.

Plans are in the works to fix those disparities, but some Kansas City doctors worry about what a shake-up would mean for local hospitals and patients.

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Health
3:35 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Firing Up Urban Teens About Med School

Cito Vickers, a junior at East High School in Kansas City, Mo., practiced his bedside manner with a patient simulator during KCUMB's Med Student for a Day program.
Credit Todd Feeback / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

Shannon North can preach her heart out that her students' aspirations are achievable and that advanced education is attainable.

And she does just that, as the college and career facilitator at Hogan Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Mo. The charter school, at 1221 E. Meyer Blvd., has a student population where virtually all the attendees come from families with incomes low enough to qualify them for a free or reduced-price lunch.

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Education
2:23 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Here's What You Need To Know About KCPS-Academie Lafayette Plan

The old Southwest High School building is the proposed site of a new foreign language-centric high school. Kansas City Public Schools would partner with Academie Lafayette to open the school.
Credit Kansas City Public Schools

Kansas City Public Schools wants to close Southwest Early College Campus and transform the site into a new high school in partnership with French-immersion charter Academie Lafayette.

The district has been holding parent and community meetings this month to get feedback on the plan, which would require most current Southwest students transfer to other district schools. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Paseo Academy, 4747 Flora Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

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Health
9:28 am
Mon July 21, 2014

White House Study: Kansas Losing Money, Jobs Without Medicaid Expansion

This map from the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows which states have expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Council of Economic Advisors / Executive Office of the President of the United States

A study released earlier this month by the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the decision not to expand Medicaid is costing Kansas millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

According to the study, Kansas is passing up $820 million over the next three years by choosing not to expand Medicaid eligibility. The federal government would pay for nearly all of the cost of the expansion, which would add as many as 100,000 Kansans to the state’s Medicaid rolls.

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Harvest Public Media
8:25 am
Mon July 21, 2014

On Front Lines, Farmers Struggle Against Chemical-Resistant Weeds

The arrangement of the leaves helped Hargrafen distinguish Palmer amaranth from other pigweeds.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

A fast spreading, crop destroying weed may be coming to the farms near you.

Palmer amaranth, which has plagued southern farms for decades, has been marching across the Midwest. It can decimate a crop. It can withstand many common herbicides. And it can cost farmers millions.

Roger Hargrafen, a farmer in Muscatine County, Iowa, is on the front lines in the battle against Palmer amaranth. His is one of four Iowa farms confirmed as having it.

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Sports
8:16 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Sporting KC Signs Besler, Zusi For Four More Years

Long term commitment or not? That’s the question with a few of the biggest sports stars in Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex reports to training camp this week without a contract beyond this season. On the other hand, Sporting Kansas City locked up their two biggest stars for the long haul.

Before Sporting Kansas City took the field in their Saturday match at Livestrong Park against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the announcement came out that Matt Besler and Graham Zusi agreed to four-year extensions with the team.

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Education
8:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Efficiency Group Considering Kansas School Spending

A commission will be working over the coming months to look for possible ways Kansas schools could more efficiently use tax dollars.

The group is made up of former lawmakers, education officials and members of advocacy groups like the Kansas Policy Institute. Those factions don't always see eye-to-eye on education issues.

The group elected former advertising executive and Wichita Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Williams to head the commission. He says he'll be working to get everyone on the same page.

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Infant Mortality
4:34 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Infant Mortality In Black Community Down But Still High

Dr. O'Conner of the UMKC school of nursing and Dr. Cai of the Kansas City Health Department answer questions about infant mortality rates in Kansas City.
Credit Anne Biswell / Mother & Child Health Coalition

Although the fetal and infant mortality rate in the Kansas City metropolitan area's black community is about double that of the white population, it has dropped dramatically since 2008.

That was the news delivered on Friday at a community forum on infant deaths in Kansas City hosted by the Mother & Child Health Coalition. The forum, at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, was attended by dozens of nurses, doctors and public health workers.

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Government
4:10 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Nixon Says Legislature-Approved Tax Breaks Decimate Local Control

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon tells the Eastern Jackson County Betterment Council tax cuts he vetoed could have a detrimental impact on local revenues.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Blue Springs Friday asking local elected officials to oppose the tax breaks state lawmakers approved in the session's eleventh hour.

Nixon vetoed the cuts, which would have created sales tax exemptions for restaurants, dry cleaners and power companies, earlier this week. He says they weren't accounted for in the budget legislators sent him and would make it difficult for municipalities to raise the money they need through levy increases.

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Central Standard
3:47 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Food Critics: Where To Find The Best Slice Of Pizza In Kansas City

There's no limit to the toppings that could make a pizza great. Our food critics have suggestions for a variety of styles all over the metro.
Credit Premshree Pillai / Flickr--CC

On a beautiful summer night, stopping by a neighborhood pizzeria for a quick slice (or five) can really hit the spot.

With a handful of exciting new pizza places opening up, Charles Ferruzza and the food critics put out a call for the best pizza in the Kansas City area. 

KCUR's food critics recommend:

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Education
3:44 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Kansas School Efficiency Group Convenes For First Time

A Kansas school efficiency commission created by the Legislature met for the first time Friday. It was formed to find ways for schools to more efficiently use taxpayer money while improving the quality of education.

The group chose retired advertising executive and former Wichita Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Williams to head the commission.

"I think my opportunity is to help us get to the position where the entire state of Kansas can be comfortable with the recommendations we're going to make," says Williams.

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Arts & Culture
2:59 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

WATCH: In This Scene ... Three Kansas City Highlights At The Fringe

Mary Sue (Kenna Hall) and her mother (Ellen Kirk) rehearse a scene from '(Virgin.)'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

It can be daunting to wade through the schedule for the KC Fringe Festival.

Founded in 2004, Fringe presents about 130 events this year, including theater, dance, comedy, film, poetry, as well as visual art exhibitions.

There are artists from around the world — St. Louis, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, the U.K. — and the Kansas City area.

Here are a few homegrown highlights:

"Poor Lear"

Warning: This content may be unsuitable for children. It contains brief sexual references.

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Arts & Culture
11:13 am
Fri July 18, 2014

KC Fringe Encourages Writers To Present New Work

In '(Virgin.),' Ellen Kirk plays an overprotective mother. Here, she holds a chastity belt as Matt Leonard, who plays the father, and Kenna Hall, as Mary Sue, look on.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The KC Fringe Festival, an annual event featuring actors, dancers, poets, storytellers, filmmakers, and visual artists, turns 10 this year. The festival offers about 50 theater performances, from R-rated to puppet shows for kids. And, KC Fringe often provides an opportunity for performers to try out new material.

It seems appropriate that Jesse Ray Metcalf, the writer of a new production called "(Virgin.)," would say: "This is my first time doing Fringe."

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Sports
7:59 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Royals' Butler Is Prime Example Of Fleeting Fame In Sports

Younger Royals players Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas may be tapped as future All-Stars.
Credit Kieth Allison / Flickr--CC

Over the past week, there was much ado about the marquis players in sports; Lebron James signed a contract with Cleveland and baseball showcased its stars in the All-Star game.

Heading into Friday night’s game at Boston, the Kansas City Royals are in transition as to who their biggest stars are. 

Just two years ago at the All-Star game in Kansas City, Billy Butler was in the midst of his most productive year with 29 homers and 107 runs driven in as the Royals designated hitter. He was the toast of the town as the Royals All-Star — this year Butler has only three homers.

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Tell KCUR
4:31 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

What It Means To Be A Midwesterner In The Words Of Kansas Citians

When we asked you to describe what it's like to be a Midwesterner, responses ranged from "Finding beauty in simple things," to "Living in literal hell." Tweet your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Pam Morris / Flickr--CC

Midwesterners are hard-working, friendly and polite.

Those were the recurring adjectives that came up when we asked Kansas Citians for their take on the heartland.

When we took to social media and asked, “What does it mean to be a Midwesterner in five words or less?”  you also shot back these common themes:

• Underappreciated

• Family-oriented and pragmatic

• We feel we know what’s really important (priorities)

• Compassionate

• Considerate

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Arts & Culture
2:57 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Where To Fringe - From Traditional To Unexpected Kansas City Venues

The Fishtank, 1715 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Mo.
Cara McClain KCUR

For its 10th season, the KC Fringe Festival will take over spaces in Kansas City, Mo., for theater, music, comedy, spoken word, burlesque and more.

KC Fringe is an 11-day festival that provides a platform for often lesser-known performing and visual artists. 

This year's Fringe will have 19 different venues. Most are scattered around the Crossroads Arts District, but some spread out into Westport and the Country Club Plaza.

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Arts & Culture
1:25 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Film Review: 'Venus in Fur' Tests The Limits Of Dominance And Submission

Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner in 'Venus in Fur.'
Credit Guy Ferrandis / IFC Films

Despite director Roman Polanski's checkered personal history, his film resume is nearly blot-free.

From Rosemary's Baby to Chinatown to The Pianist, Polanski films examine our capacity to strive and dream in the face of brutal outside influences.

While his adaptation of David Ives' Tony Award-winning play Venus in Fur isn't at the level of those movies, it has a familiar and intoxicatingly dark tone and pulse.

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Government
12:40 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

What's Next For Kemper Arena? City Council Begins Discussion

Kemper Arena, which opened in 1974, mostly serves as the American Royal venue each fall. City officials say they struggle to attract other acts and events to the West Bottoms.
Credit wikimedia commons

Of all the possible plans for Kemper Arena, the one that changes the building the least is also the least viable for the city.

"Doing nothing doesn't seem to work for anybody," Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford told members of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee Thursday morning, kicking off a series of meetings to discuss Kemper's future.

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Community
10:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Why 33 Years Later, We Still Don't Have A Memorial For The Skywalk Disaster

Thirty-three years after the deadly collapse of a skywalk at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near downtown Kansas City, Mo., the foundation trying to build a memorial for the victims says it has raised 70 percent of their goal.

The Skywalk Memorial Foundation has $382,824 in cash donations, leaving them with around $163,000 to raise to reach the amount necessary to begin construction. The proposed memorial will be at Hospital Hill Park at 22nd Street and Gillham Road.

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Harvest Public Media
7:45 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Acres Of Genetically Modified Corn Nearly Doubled In A Decade

More than 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

From Page To Park: Parting With Sweet Sorrow

Bruce Roach as Leontes.
Brian Collins Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

The cast and crew of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s The Winter’s Tale have shared three weeks of rehearsals and 17 and a half performances since they gathered for their first read through at the end of May.

There was one complete rain out and one at intermission — but all in all, healthy crowds, nearly 23,000 people, for one of Shakespeare's lesser known titles. The final installment of the series From Page to Park explores what it means for a company to close a show.

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Elections
2:10 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Koster, Transportation Tax Backers Lead Campaign Money-Raising

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 3:29 pm

The group backing the proposed transportation sales tax is the biggest money-raising operation in the state – but it has yet to air a single TV ad.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign committee for the sales tax known as Amendment 7, appears to be entering the final weeks of the campaign with more than $2.5 million to spend.

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