Local

Up to Date
11:12 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Examining 100 Years Of The Panama Canal

It's been 100 years since the Panama Canal was completed.
Credit Lyn Gateley / Flickr-CC

You’ve heard of the man, his plan and that canal: Panama. Well, it’s been 100 years since its construction, and the waterway is getting a facelift.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about a new local exhibit that explores that century of innovation.

Guest:

  • Alberto Aleman Zubieta, former CEO of the Panama Canal Authority
  • Lisa Browar, president of the Linda Hall Library
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Government
8:54 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Tour Of Port Of Kansas City Shows Infrastructure Needs

The Port of Kansas City, at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, has been closed since 2007.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Rusted and weedy rail tracks; boarded up red-brick buildings, with broken windows, from the 1930s; and run-down gray buildings from the '60s and '70s were part of the tour on Friday afternoon of the Port of Kansas City.

The port has essentially been closed since 2007 due to dwindling processing of freight, only about 600,000 tons a year. The city’s Port Authority is leading a charge to re-open it and revive the barge industry.

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Sports
8:24 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Central Missouri Takes Home NCAA Division II Title

Confetti covered the floor in Evansville, Ind., after Central Missouri one the title in the last second of the championship game.
Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR

On Saturday, the 30th anniversary of its only other men’s basketball championship, Central Missouri captured the NCAA Division II title.

The Mules defeated West Liberty of West Virginia, 84-77.

For veteran coach Kim Anderson, the thrill of winning his first national title came when the final piece fell into place. This was it. One last chance for Daylen Robinson to go out with a bang.

He did it years ago with an exclamation point at Northeast High School in Kansas City — 57 points in his final game there.

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Harvest Public Media
7:49 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Hog Farmers Differ On Packer-Owned Pigs

A proposal in the Nebraska Legislature would allow meatpacking companies operating in the state to own hogs from birth to slaughter, a change that some say would take market share from farmers.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

  Nebraska hog farmers aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a proposal that would allow meatpacking companies more control over the state’s hog industry. And farmers all over the country are watching.

Currently, a 1998 state law bans meatpacking companies from owning and raising the hogs the process. But lawmakers have proposed an end to the ban, which would allow for more vertical integration of the hog industry.

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Kansas Statehouse
7:40 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Kansas House Committee To Consider Education Bill

The Kansas House Appropriations Committee will start hearings Monday on a budget bill to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling over education funding. But it looks like the issues in the bill will stretch beyond just school spending.

The budget bill before the committee includes other policy items like rewriting teacher licensure rules. Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, told committee members last week about the broad scope of the discussion.

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Beyond Our Borders
7:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Life East Of Troost Through The Eyes Of 5 Kansas Citians

Mary Williams Neal
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

As KCUR begins its in-depth look at how Troost Avenue divides Kansas City, we wanted to talk to people about their perceptions of the area east of the thoroughfare.  

We spent some time east of Troost this month, asking about the realities and misconceptions of life near one of Kansas City’s most prominent racial and economic dividing lines.

Here are some of the highlights of what we heard back:

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Performance
3:18 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Exploring Silence In Dance At KCB Choreographer Showcase

Kansas City Ballet dancers Nadia Iozzo and Josh Spell rehearse ‘Bounded Regions,' part of a showcase of emerging choreographers. The work opened without music to the gentle soundscape of ballet movement.
Julie Denesha KCUR

A blowing March wind on Thursday roared outside the windows of a rehearsal and performance space in the Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. Ilya Kozadayev, a former soloist with Houston Ballet, watched intently from the audience as a group of six dancers from the Kansas City Ballet moved without music. For long stretches of time, only the sound of occasional claps and feet upon the floor could be heard as they went through the motions of a final tech rehearsal.

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Education
1:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Making 'Tinkering' An Art

Karen Wilkinson is the co-author of The Art of Tinkering.

"Tinkering" might conjure up images of a garage workshop or someone just puttering around, but a new book is putting a different spin on the term.

On Friday's Up to Date, author Karen Wilkinson joins us to discuss what she calls "the art of tinkering" and some of the creative ways anyone can become a tinkerer.

Guest:

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Up to Date
10:44 am
Fri March 28, 2014

One Company's 'Quirky' Spin On Getting Inventions Produced

Quirky works with inventors and entrepreneurs to make the connections they need to produce their products.

People have ideas for inventions all the time, but getting those ideas made into consumer products can be a difficult journey.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with a representative of Quirky.com, a website that connects the entrepreneurs with the means to produce their ideas.

Guest:

  • Nathaniel Padgett, Quirky.com
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Up to Date
10:43 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Getting Inventive In Kansas City

When you think of inventors, the image is often of a mad scientist shouting, 'Eureka!'
Credit Giles Moss / Flickr-CC

When you tell people you're an inventor, it conjures up images of a mad scientist slaving away in a lab. But what's it really like to be an inventor in Kansas City?

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with local inventor Rich Melton about where he finds his inspiration, the roadblocks he's encountered and how he got started.

Guest:

  • Rich Melton, inventor
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Government
7:51 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Council Approves Streetcar Phase II With No Brookside Extension

Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri

Phase two of Kansas City's streetcar system moved ahead again Thursday, but it won't be rolling through Brookside.

The city council approved a streetcar system expansion of about 8 miles – a south extension along main to the UMKC area, east on Independence Avenue to Benton and east on Linwood to Prospect. A proposal for the southward extension to run to Brookside or Waldo was set aside because it was too expensive for projected revenue.

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Arts & Culture
7:48 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Kansas City Symphony Tests Out Google Glass

Kansas City Symphony's Elizabeth Gray, trying on Google Glass for the first time.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Google Glass has been in the news lately as more people are trying it out. This wearable technology is still in the beta version, but about 10,000 people are now testing it, including a Kansas City-based mobile development firm. And in January, they partnered with the Kansas City Symphony – to provide four  different views on stage.

Living with devices since the beginning of mobile

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Community
7:47 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Children’s Mercy Hospital Recognized By LGBT Organization

Credit guidestar.org

                                                                                          

 The nation’s largest education and advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has recognized Children’s Mercy Hospital for its progressive policies toward LGBT patients, employees, and families.

The Human Rights Campaign will honor Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Mo., with the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Award.

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Up to Date
4:26 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

School Boards: Helping Or Hurting Local Districts?

A new survey examines whether school boards are helping or hurting classroom learning.
Credit Brad Wilson / Flickr-CC

When you think about schools, you picture classrooms, teachers and students. But where do school boards fit in?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the elected representatives of school districts, who can be a critical part of educational planning and the new survey that's questioning whether these leaders are helping or hurting the cause.

Guests:

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Up to Date
11:59 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, March 28-30, 2014

'Run or Dye' is a version of the popular 'Color Run.'
Credit Neeroc1 / Flickr-CC

Ready to confront the weird weather with a bit of fun? Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 28-30, 2014 has you covered.

Keiko Matsui (New age music), 8 p.m. Friday at the Jazz Museum's Gem Theater, 1615 E. 18th, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $47 

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Beyond Our Borders
9:26 am
Thu March 27, 2014

How Troost Became A Major Divide In Kansas City

Mansions, like this one belonging to Flavel Tiffany, established Millionaire's Row on Troost between 26th and 32nd streets.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

Eds note: This look at the Troost corridor is  part of KCUR's months-long examination of how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City. KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism. 

We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what’s being done to bridge or dissolve them. 

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Health
7:57 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Wyandotte County At Bottom, Johnson At Top In New Health Rankings

The fifth annual County Health Rankings are out, and the parts of Kansas that have struggled in prior years are still at the bottom of the list.

The rankings provide a clear picture of just how much health depends on social factors like poverty and education.

Johnson County tops the list again this year as the healthiest county in Kansas. Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, of the Kansas Health Institute, says it’s more than just coincidence that the Kansas City suburb is also the state’s wealthiest county.

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Government
7:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Missouri Group Says Gay Couple's Tax Filings Unconstitutional

A conservative Missouri group on Wednesday attempted to put a quick stop to same-sex couples’ right to file joint tax returns, saying it violates the state’s ban on gay marriage.

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Health
6:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Sandy Praeger

Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, in her office in Topeka, Kan.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The Affordable Care Act has put Sandy Praeger at odds with most of her fellow Republicans in Topeka, Kan.

The Kansas Commissioner of Insurance shared the frustration many had over the health exchange website problems, and she’s voiced concern over how shifting rules and delays impact the insurance industry.

But Praeger has remained a supporter of federal health reform, a proponent of Medicaid expansion, and a critic of Gov. Sam Brownback’s approach to health policy.

She answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup:

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Up to Date
10:43 am
Wed March 26, 2014

The Common Objects Among Different Religions

Objects such as incense are sacred in a variety of religions but for different reasons.
Credit Anne Roberts / Flickr-CC

It’s no secret that people of different religions often clash over their differences. But when you look closer, the similarities jump out, especially when it comes to significant objects. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, our Religion Roundtable takes a look at why objects such as stones, crosses, bread, drums and incense have places of prominence in spiritual observance and how their function differs in each religion.

Guests:

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Kansas Statehouse
7:53 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Kansas Senate Votes To Repeal Renewable Energy Standards

The wind energy industry in Kansas has benefited from the RPS.
Credit Joesph Novak / Flickr--CC

The Kansas Senate has voted 25-15 to repeal the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which require 20 percent of Kansas power generation to be from renewable sources by 2020.

The requirements were passed in 2009 and have been credited with helping promote wind power development. The vote came after more than an hour of debate.

Opponents of the standards say they pick winners and losers, and wind power growth has outpaced the renewable requirements. They argue that the standards have led to rate increases with more in the future.

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Death Penalty
7:49 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Missouri Executes Inmate, Third This Year

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 11:33 am

At 12:01 Wednesday morning, Missouri executed inmate Jeffrey Ferguson, marking the state's fifth execution in as many months.

Ferguson was put to death for the brutal murder and rape of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. The crime occurred in 1989, and the victim’s father, Jim Hall, said the punishment was long overdue.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:48 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Missouri House Approves Budget For FY2015

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year’s state budget.

House members spent most of the day bringing up amendments they hoped to add on to the budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid. Both failed, and both were sponsored by Democrat Jill Schupp of St. Louis County

“Ladies and gentlemen, when rural hospitals close, actions here today will be remembered," said Schupp. "I have a list of over 100 organizations from communities all over the state – these are all the groups that say, ‘it’s time to expand Medicaid.’”

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Government
5:06 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Committee Recommends Excluding Brookside From Proposed Streetcar Line

A rendering of the streetcar in Kansas City.
Credit HDR, City of Kansas City

Kansas City’s Streetcar Advisory Committee is recommending that a proposed southern expansion of the new system end at UMKC. 

The committee is backing three extensions off the two-mile starter line, which will run from Union Station to the Rivermarket.  Phase two would stretch east from Main, running about two miles along Independence Avenue, and Linwood Boulevard. The third would extend south from Union Station about three and a half miles, and stop around 51st street.  

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Health
5:01 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas City Groups Pursuing Mental Health Crisis Center

Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Judge Joseph Locascio is leading an initiative to establish a mental health crisis stabilization center in the city.
Credit Mike Sherry / The Hale Center For Journalism

Kansas City, Mo., would be home to a regional facility aimed largely at diverting substance abusers from jail and hospital emergency rooms under a plan that has garnered support from law enforcement officials, political leaders and health care providers.

The vision actually represents dual efforts that began independently, but which might coalesce as a collaboration between area hospitals and a coalition formed by Joseph Locascio, the presiding judge of Kansas City Municipal Court. He also oversees the city’s specialty court aimed at substance abusers.

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Up to Date
10:05 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Where Comics And Reality Intersect

Real life often inspired storylines in the comics.
Credit Ammon Beckstrom / Erjk Prunczyk / Flickr-CC

  He flies through the air and leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Of course, we're talking about Superman. But there’s more reality in comic book superhero tales than you might think.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk about how the comics have reflected contemporary life and historical events. Take a look at World War II-era comics, and you’ll see a caped crusader shilling for the war effort.

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Harvest Public Media
8:06 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Food Hubs Could Provide Crucial Link For Amish Farmers

Mervin Graber of checks on his small herd of grass-fed cows in his pasture near Sullivan, Ill.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Lacking the infrastructure of traditional suppliers, many local farms that want to connect to restaurants, schools and other big buyers are using the Internet to reach customers.

Groups of farms are banding together to form regional food hubs, leveraging online ordering, tracking and marketing tools to cut down on costs and to try to keep local food systems viable for growers and affordable for consumers.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:56 am
Tue March 25, 2014

A Look At What's In Store For The Second Half Of The Missouri Legislative Session

Missouri Legislators are back at the Statehouse this week to start work on the second half of the 2014 session.
Credit jimmywayne / Flickr

The second half of Missouri's 2014 regular session is underway.  Leaders in both chambers and from both parties remain focused on crafting a state budget and on easing the burden of the state's student transfer law – but they remain divided on expanding Medicaid.  St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at what we can expect to see during the final eight weeks of session.

Medicaid Expansion a 'nonstarter'

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Kansas Statehouse
7:47 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas House Passes Bill To Join Effort To Take Control Of ACA Money

The Kansas House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow Kansas to join several other states in an effort to wrest control of health care programs from the federal government.

The Interstate Health Care Compact is in large part a reaction to the Affordable Care Act. The main sponsor of the legislation in the House is Republican Rep. Brett Hildabrand.

“Many of our constituents are looking for any way possible to get out from under the Affordable Care Act, and this is one method for doing that," said Hildabrand.

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Kansas Statehouse
7:39 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kansas Lawmakers Delay Work On Education Funding

Work on education funding bills continues in the Kansas Statehouse. The legislation is being considered in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that said there are unconstitutional funding disparities between school districts.

Lawmakers are expected to start work this week on a solution, but committee work Monday was delayed.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson from Andover  says they're not yet in a position to begin work on a proposal.

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