Local

Up to Date
8:37 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Exploring The Literary World of George Saunders

George Saunders is the author of 'Tenth of December.'

A MacArthur genius, a Guggenheim fellow and now a finalist place for the National Book Award — author George Saunders is riding high on a wave of success.

In the second part of Tuesday's Up to Date, we speak with him about his latest collection of somber, yet hopeful, short stories.

Guest:

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Government
8:04 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Missouri Legislators Discuss Right-To-Work Bill

A bill that would turn Missouri into a right-to-work state was the subject of a hearing in Jefferson City Monday.

As written, the so-called “Freedom to Work Act” would bar workers from being required to engage or cease engaging in labor union activities as a condition for employment.

Greg Johns with the group Missourians for Right to Work cites Oklahoma as an example of where it has worked.

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Government
7:56 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Kansas Democrats Introduce Bill To Amend Voter Registration Law

The 2014 Kansas legislative session is underway, and on the first day, two lawmakers introduced bills that would reduce a backlog of voter registrations.

Nearly 20,000 registrations are on hold in Kansas because of a new law that took effect last year requiring people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to provide documents proving their U.S. citizenship.

The bills that have been introduced would allow people registering to instead sign an affidavit swearing they're a U.S. citizen. Lying on the form would be a felony.

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Health
7:39 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Kansas City Physicians Take The Accountable Care Approach

Clay Platte Family Medicine Clinic physician Scott Kuennen examines Medicare patient Alma Bradbury.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Changes to insurance have been getting all the headlines, but the Affordable Care Act aims to change the way doctors operate as well.

The federal law offers incentives for health providers to work together to keep Medicare patients healthy in hopes of saving money. Whether this approach can actually create savings is still unclear, and many doctors remain skeptical. But in Kansas City, a few doctors are teaming up.

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Education
1:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Consultants Propose ‘Non-Profit’ District For Kansas City Public Schools

A fifth grade classroom at James Elementary in Kansas City Public Schools. All schools would be turned over to non-profit management under CEE-Trust's proposal.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The education consulting group CEE-Trust (Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust) presented a proposal Monday afternoon to restructure Kansas City Public Schools. The consultants recommended a small, state-run district office which would set up and monitor a network of largely autonomous non-profit schools. 

These schools could be started and operated by current school administrators and teachers, local non-profits, or surrounding districts.

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Up to Date
10:34 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Former NAACP Chair On The Continuing Struggle Of Civil Rights

Julian Bond joins Steve Kraske to talk about civil rights, past and present.
Credit naacp.org

Former NAACP national chair Julian Bond was part of the original Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with him about his involvement in civil rights and how it’s still relevant in today’s climate. We also get his impressions of Obama’s presidency. 

Guest:

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Government
10:15 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Brownback To Push 'Targeted' Approach To Education In 2014 Session

The 2014 Kansas legislative session begins Monday.
Credit Wikimedia Commons - CC

The 2014 Kansas legislative session kicks off Monday, and Gov. Sam Brownback says education is at the top of his priorities, including his recently unveiled reading initiative and instituting statewide full-day kindergarten. 

"I think the public wants to see us produce high-quality products, here from government. And the core function of state government is education," Brownback said in an exclusive interview. "We put over half of our state general fund in K-12, but we need to see it produce and not just put money in. And, not ask for any results."

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Health
7:55 am
Mon January 13, 2014

H1N1 Among Flu Types Surging In Kansas City

The so-called swine flu is back. New numbers come out last week, but still early in the season, the virus has sent droves to the hospital and put an unlikely section of the population at risk.

Back in 2009, the H1N1 virus caused a pandemic, infecting nearly 60 million in the United States. This season, local reports of H1N1, along with other flu types, began to surge in early December 2013, according to the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department.

The Department’s Jeff Hershberger says it’s not just the elderly and children in danger.

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Education
7:47 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Consultant's Proposal For Kansas City Public Schools To Be Unveiled

Troost Elementary School is one of the KCPS schools that could be transformed by the new proposal.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas Citians will get a glimpse of what might be in store for Kansas City Public Schools Monday afternoon when a consultant’s recommendations for the unaccredited district will be presented to the Missouri State Board of Education.

State education commissioner Chris Nicastro has said she’s looking for a major transformation of the state’s chronically under-performing districts.  In August, the board hired consultant CEE-Trust to research the history and status of school reform in Kansas City, and effective practices from around the country.  

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Agriculture
7:45 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Beef Herd May Be Poised For Growth, And Cheaper Steak

Even if the beef herd begins expanding again in 2014 it could take two years for the effects to show up in consumer prices.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

  For the first time in nearly 10 years, the nation’s beef herd may be poised for growth, which could mean relief from rising meat prices. But with the fewest cattle in the beef supply since the 1960s, slow growth won’t cut prices anytime soon.

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Classical
5:23 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Kansas City Symphony's Noah Geller Steps Up For A Solo

Concertmaster Noah Geller and Music Director Michael Stern bring to the stage Beethoven’s Violin Concerto during an open rehearsal in Helzberg Hall at Kauffman Center.
Julie Denesha KCUR

This weekend, Kansas City Symphony concertmaster Noah Geller performs his first solo performance in the Symphony's classical series with a beloved work by Beethoven, his Violin Concerto.

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Government
4:56 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

No Ruling In Kansas School Finance Lawsuit

The Kansas Supreme Court generally issues rulings on Fridays, so many people in the Kansas Legislature were watching to see if the court would release its opinion in a controversial school finance case Friday.

The justices did not, so lawmakers are likely to start the legislative session on Monday without a decision in the case.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, says the case could prompt lawmakers to consider rewriting the state's school funding formula.

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Up to Date
4:52 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Local Listen: Sundiver

In December, Kansas City band Sundiver released their debut full-length effort, “The Pull.”

The group's sound combines space-rock arrangements with edgy, heavy guitar tones, and as our music coordinator Michael Byars will tell you, it sounds great in headphones.

In this week's “Local Listen,” we hear the opening track from “The Pull” titled “Lover’s Comfort.”

Learn more about the group on their Facebook page and on Bandcamp.

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Up to Date
12:32 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Repairing The Economy With City Policies

Bruce Katz is the co-author of 'The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy.'

The economy has been in trouble for a while — that's no secret. But a new idea about the "metropolitan revolutions" proposes investments in things like infrastructure and manufacturing on a city level.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the implications of this philosophy and where it could lead.

Guest:

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Up to Date
12:24 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

What's Showing In Independent, Foreign & Documentary Film, January 10

'August: Osage County' is on our critics' list this week.

The latest round of film releases coming to area theaters have heavy subjects to say the least.

On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics return with some praise and some scorn for the latest films to hit the silver screen.

From the story of a family that is ruined by cancer, prescription drug abuse, and divorce to the intimate tale of a man who falls in love with a computer personality, these powerful narratives are sure to raise a few tears and some divisive opinions.

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Community
8:49 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Lawrence Celebrates Beat Generation Icon William S. Burroughs At 100

Jon Blumb, Recording Session for a Music Video, September 25, 1992, gelatin silver print.
Courtesy of the Spencer Museum of Art

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of William S. Burroughs, who was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1914. A writer, painter, and spoken word artist, Burroughs is considered one of the seminal members of the Beat Generation. He spent his final years living in Lawrence, Kan.

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Film
8:42 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Film Review: A Family's Heirlooms Are Spite And Malice in 'August: Osage County'

Meryl Streep (bottom) plays Violet Weston, the matriarch of a screwed up family, comforted - sort of - by her daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts).
Credit Weinstein Company

If done well, movies about dysfunctional families are able to elegantly dance that fine line between humor and pain. Terms of Endearment succeeded at finding that balance, as does the film adaptation of Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, where an unplanned death reopens life-long yet still festering wounds. The Weston clan of Osage County, Okla., must have a family tree that looks like a weeping willow. It is headed up by Beverly (Sam Shepard), a college lecturer and occasional poet, and his poly-addicted wife, Violet (Meryl Streep), who personifies how pills came to be known as mother’s little helpers. Of their three grown daughters, only Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) has stuck close to home; Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) long ago picked up stakes for relationships by turn strained or serially monogamous.

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Health
8:28 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Moran Worries ACA Will Cut Care In Rural Kansas

Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran says his biggest worry about the Affordable Care Act is that it may ultimately lead to medical care being less available in rural communities.

Moran made the comment during a town hall meeting Thursday in Salina.

Moran was responding to a question about the requirement that women’s reproductive services, including contraceptives, be included in all health insurance plans sold on the exchanges.

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Government
8:17 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Gov. Nixon Defends State Board Appointment

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is defending his choice last month to fill a vacancy on the State Probation and Parole Board with State Rep. Dennis Fowler. Fowler then gave up his seat in the Missouri House for the appointment. He also happens to be one of the 15 House Republicans who voted against overriding Governor Nixon’s veto of a controversial tax cut bill last year.

Nixon told reporters Thursday that Fowler’s vote had nothing to do with his Parole Board appointment.

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Government
8:09 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Brownback Proposes More Services For Kansas Vets

Gov. Sam Brownback has a plan to beef up veterans' services in Kansas. The proposal would include improvements at two facilities and new workers aimed at helping veterans.

The plan would include a $1.4 million renovation of a veterans' home in southwest Kansas. It would also add 40 new beds for long-term care services to a veterans' facility in Winfield.

Gregg Burden, executive director of the Kansas Commission on Veterans' Affairs, says under the proposal they'll also be looking to hire four new staff members to help veterans access the benefits they've earned.

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Central Standard
12:33 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Examining The State Of The Death Penalty In Missouri

Before November 2013, the state of Missouri had executed two inmates over the past six years. Then, near the end of the year, two inmates were executed within three weeks of each other, and both executions used a controversial new drug protocol.

Critics question the way the state is carrying out executions, including the way the state obtains its lethal drugs. With courts still considering critical legal issues as another execution date nears, will the Department of Corrections keep pressing ahead?

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Up to Date
12:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

From the City To The Country: Cindy Hoedel's New Flint Hills Home

The slower pace of the Flint Hills is a far cry from the speed of the city.
Credit thisisfrommarty / CC-Flickr

Fresh steel-cut oats, dozens of Goldfinches swarming a bird feeder, and charmingly eccentric neighbors are just some of the rustic features of Kansas' Flint Hills.

In the second part of Thursday's Up to Date, we sit down with Kansas City Star writer and columnist Cindy Hoedel to check in on her transition from the big city to the Flint Hills. 

Guest:

  • Cindy Hoedel is a Kansas City Star writer and lifestyle columnist. 
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Up to Date
12:00 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, Jan. 10-12, 2014

Green Day's musical 'American Idiot' plays in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit Jeremy Daniel / americanidiotthemusical.com

Warm up this weekend with a few selections from Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for January 10-12, 2014.

“Green Day’s American Idiot” (Broadway musical based on rock concept album), 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $65 to $85 

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Maryville Rape Case
11:47 am
Thu January 9, 2014

No Sexual Assault Charges In Maryville Rape Case

Daisy Coleman, now 16, in front of her many awards and trophies for cheerleading, dance and beauty pageants. (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

A 19-year-0ld Maryville man pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, dodging a rape charge and offering an apology in a case that attracted small-town acrimony and international attention.

Matthew Barnett, who appeared at the Nodaway County Courthouse with his parents, got a four month suspended sentence, two years probation, and was ordered to make $1,800 in restitution to his victim, Daisy Coleman, now 16.

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Immigration
10:47 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Deferred Action Immigration Program Leaves Detained Kansas City Man In Limbo

Edher Palafox talks with KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross via video phone from the Missouri jail where he is being detained.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Update, 3:32 p.m.
Edher Palafox was released from ICE custody Thursday afternoon, his lawyer said in an email.

The original story appears below:

It’s been a year and a half since President Barack Obama announced an executive order that could potentially transform the lives of many undocumented immigrants.

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People
10:21 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Life And Work Of Kansas City Civil Rights Activist, Alvin Sykes

Alvin Sykes will speak at the Kansas City Public Library later this month about his life and work.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City native Alvin Sykes is a self-taught civil rights activist who has done instrumental work with the justice system, particularly with unsolved civil rights crimes, including the high-profile murder of Emmett Till, and the 1980 murder of Kansas City musician Steve Harvey.

This month he is giving a talk at the Kansas City Public library, where he was the 2013 scholar in residence. Sykes educated himself in law and civil rights using resources from the city's public library system.

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KCI Airport
7:58 am
Thu January 9, 2014

As KCI's Terminal A Closes Its Doors, Airport Future Still Uncertain

Terminal A at Kansas City International Airport.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Overnight Wednesday, movers hauled US Airways' remaining equipment out of KCI Terminal A to Terminal C, but the future of KCI remains undecided.

City officials say Terminal A won’t necessarily be demolished, but closing little-used Terminal A saves about $2.5 million a year, says Joe McBride with city aviation.

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Government
7:38 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Plan Could Increase City's Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

A proposal before the Kansas City Council Thursday would gather information to expand the employee benefits available for same-sex couples.

One factor prompting the plan is the increasing number of same-sex couples who have legally married in other states. Another is to remain competitive with other states.

Councilman Scott Taylor says the sponsors simply believe it is the right thing to do.

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Business & Tech
6:00 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Sprint Eyes Difficult Merger With T-Mobile

There have been rumors Kansas City-based Sprint Corp. may be interested in merging with wireless competitor, T-Mobile.
Credit Consumerist dot com / Flickr--Creative Commons

Sprint Corp., based in Overland Park, Kan., has been losing subscribers to bigger rivals for years. One way to reverse that trend would be to merge with another carrier, and Sprint is reportedly eyeing the fourth largest wireless provider, T-Mobile, for acquisition.  

When the Wall Street Journal published a report, citing unnamed sources, that Sprint was getting ready to try to buy T-Mobile, lots of industry analysts treated it as old news.  

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Maryville Rape Case
5:06 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Going Public in the Maryville Rape Case To Spur Action

Paige Parkhurst, 15, seen here at her Albany, Mo., home, went public as a rape victim because she hoped it would spur authorities to look more seriously at the Maryville case. (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

On a quiet Sunday morning last fall, Paige Parkhurst remembers being awakened by her mother, who was crying.

A newspaper story about the night two years ago that Paige was assaulted and her friend Daisy Coleman was allegedly raped was going viral. She and her mother, Robin Bourland, talked about how they had already been through so much. The minor boy who admitted to having sex with Parkhurst had been convicted and sentenced through the juvenile justice system.

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