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Missouri Statehouse
7:53 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Missouri House Republicans Unveil Plan For New Fulton State Hospital

(foreground, l-r) Mo. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and State Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, prepare to talk about the House GOP's proposal for Fulton State Hospital.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:27 pm

Republicans in the Missouri House have unveiled their proposal for funding construction of a new state mental hospital in Fulton.

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KCI Airport
7:48 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Critics Express Concern Over Potential KCI Changes

FILE: Passengers walk past shops in Terminal B. Current businesses and potential tenants are included in decision-making for the future of KCI.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Mayoral investigators searching for best ways to improve Kansas City International Airport heard another barrage of public input Monday night.

Most of it was against radical change from multiple terminals. The most common sentiments were to update the existing structure.

Alan Norman said he finds the airport user-friendly but not perfect.

"There are some operating inefficiencies there and maintenance problems and security problems that are expensive," said Norman.

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Government
7:38 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Kansas City Regional Rail Outlook Brightens With Union Pacific Accord

Longest unused rail line runs through heart of Near-East Kansas City suburbs.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Prospects for a regional rail system east of Kansas City got brighter Monday. Jackson County now has an understanding with Union Pacific to buy three abandoned rail lines.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders has liked regional rail because it’s far cheaper than the light variety of rail transit. Tracks exist and rolling stock is plentiful.

The cost is $60 million.

“We’ve got an option agreement at no cost to taxpayers and no risk to the taxpayers, we have an option agreement to purchase these rail corridors should we decide to do it,” said Sanders.

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Up to Date
2:42 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Controversial Bills Loom Over Kansas Legislature

Controversial bills are on the talk of the town for the Kansas Legislature.
Credit Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas politics have been making national headlines over several controversial bills—and not in a good way. First, there was the one that appeared to make discrimination against same-sex couples legal. Then, there was the one trying to make it legal to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about those bills and how statehouse politics might affect this fall’s gubernatorial race.

Guests:

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Up to Date
11:46 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Examining The Real 'Mad Men'

George Lois is famous for his Esquire covers.

"Mad Men" might be a fictional television drama, but the kinds of ad men it portrays were real. 

Up to a point, according to George Lois.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with George Lois, perhaps best known for his work on Esquire covers from 1962 to 1972. We talk about his contentious campaigns and allegations of plagiarism.

Guest:

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Community
11:09 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Going To Kansas City: 6 Songs That Celebrate The City As A Destination

What brought you to Kansas City? Why have you stayed? Share your story with us at goingtokc@kcur.org.
Credit Photoguyinmo / Flickr-CC

We want to know what brought you to Kansas City, and what made you stay. Was it the relatively low cost of living? The arts scene? Was it the recession-proof economy? Or perhaps the barbeque? 

To collect these stories, KCUR is launching a new series called, Going To Kansas City

To kick off the series, I explore the idea of Kansas City as a “destination in song” with music historian Chuck Haddix. In the coming weeks we will profile Kansas Citians and share their stories about why they came here, and what made them stay.

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Kansas Statehouse
9:22 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Kansas House Speaker Calls For Focus On Economy

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick says he'll be working to focus the chamber on economic issues for the rest of the legislative session. Some controversial bills in the House have caught national attention and criticism in recent weeks.

Merrick, a Republican from Stillwell, Kan., says he can't stop members from filing bills, but he can try to get lawmakers back to what he calls the basics of making Kansas the “most business-friendly state in the country.”

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Government
8:17 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Nixon Questioned Again About Presidential Aspirations

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon, D, talking to reporters in 2013. During a visit to Washington DC today he was asked by Politico if he plans to run for president.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:07 pm

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is attending the National Governors Association's winter meetings in Washington DC this weekend, and once again he's been questioned about his political future.

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Harvest Public Media
8:02 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Young Farmers Wait For Their Opportunity

Eric Brockmann and his family moved back to his hometown of West Point, Neb., to pursue his passion for farming.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The average age of American farmers has been climbing for decades, and many say rural towns are at-risk without new blood. There are enough people who want to farm, but there’s trouble connecting beginning farmers and the communities that need them.

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Dance
12:54 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

'Dracula' Choreographer On The Beauty And Danger Of The Count

Logan Pachciarz, as Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, glides through his Transylvanian castle.
Julie Denesha KCUR

It's been nearly 120 years since the publication of Bram Stoker's gothic novel Dracula. But his tale of the Count, who stalks living creatures and survives on their blood, continues to this day to be interpreted and popularized in theater, television, film, and dance. This season, the Kansas City Ballet is staging choreographer Michael Pink's Dracula, based on Stoker's classic work.

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Health
12:15 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Truman Medical Centers CEO John Bluford To Retire In July

Truman Medical Centers CEO John Bluford announced his retirement Friday morning.
Credit Truman Medical Centers

Truman Medical Centers announced Friday that CEO John Bluford will retire this summer after 15 years in the position.

His retirement is effective July 18, according to a news release. Bluford turns 65 on May 1.

Bluford is working with a committee that includes TMC board members and appointees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine on details of his departure and transition efforts, according to the release.

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Up to Date
11:14 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Opening Up Extreme Sports To People With Disabilities

Sean O'Neill, who is a paraplegic, now leads climbs as part of Paradox Sports.
Credit Lourdes Irizarry / paradoxsports.tumblr.com

You wouldn’t think mountain climbing would be an activity a paraplegic person could still enjoy. But one group’s efforts to adapt activities like mountain climbing are coming to fruition.

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk about how they’re making sports more available to people with disabilities and what inspired them to get involved with this project.

Guests:

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Up To Date
11:09 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Parents Illustrate The Funny Side Of Autism In Kansas City Production

'An Evening With The Rents' runs 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at The Mission Theatre.

To call raising kids with with autism or autism spectrum disorder a challenge would probably be underselling it ... by quite a bit.

For many parents of kids with autism, maintaining a sense of humor is an essential component. Those experiences will be illustrated by some Kansas City area parents in An Evening with the Rents where they will deliver stand-up comedy routines centered around living with children on the spectrum.

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Sports
8:25 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Despite Improvements, Elite Figure Skating In Kansas City Still A Challenge

Kansas Citians with Olympic dreams often end up training in other states with better facilities.
Credit Rich Moffitt / Flickr--CC

Can Kansas Citians live the Olympic dream? Figure skater John Coughlin came close. The Kansas City native and his partner in ice pairs, Caydee Denney, just missed out on the selection for the Olympic team.

Competing at the elite level of figure skating while training in Kansas City has its challenges. But it’s improving. When the Independence Events Center opened four winters ago, not only the newly established Missouri Mavericks hockey team took off. So did the Heartland Figure Skating Club.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:18 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Wide-Ranging Student Transfer Bill Passed By Mo. Senate Committee

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:53 am

Nine bills that either directly addressed or were related to school transfers and accreditation were combined into one bill and passed Thursday by the Missouri Senate's Education Committee.

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Film
8:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Film Review: French Classic Of Family Betrayal Told 'In Secret'

Oscar Issac and Elizabeth Olsen carry on a torrid affair in "In Secret," based on Émile Zola's "Therese Raquin."
Credit Phil Bray / Roadside Attractions

Jessica Lange has been absent from the movie screens of late, focusing on chewing up the scenery on the small screen for three seasons of the FX series American Horror Story.

In the new film version of Émile Zola’s "Thérèse Raquin" called In Secret, Lange is the scheming matriarch in a single parent home in 19th century Paris who ill-advisedly locks her son and niece together in a passionless marriage. And as fans of the show know, Lange makes a very good schemer.

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Government
7:54 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Kansas City Council Involves Airlines, Voters In KCI Planning

KCI the way it is: will the three terminals be replaced by a single one?
Credit KC Aviation Department

Collaboration on the future of the KCI airport was the focus Thursday as the Kansas City council promised the airlines and the voters their voices will be heard.

The council approved a lease renewal agreement with eight airlines that also includes structure for airline input into whether the city will renovate or replace its aging airport terminals.

Transportation and infrastructure chair Russ Johnson told his colleagues the airlines' viewpoint is important to the process.

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Health
7:23 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Teen Tanning Bans Grow Across U.S., But Opposition Remains In Missouri

This map shows tanning regulations across the United States. Alaska and Hawaii are not pictures, but both have no regulations.
Credit Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

Every year about this time, teenagers everywhere hear the call of spring break. To get pale, winter skin ready for the beach, lots of spring breakers make a few visits to a local tanning salon. Recent studies show around 30 percent of white high school girls tan at salons.

Many new proposed state laws aim to reduce that number, but health advocates have found Missouri especially resistant to any legislation that gets between skin and UV bulbs.

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Arts and Culture
7:16 am
Fri February 21, 2014

U.S. Sen. Blunt Travels Missouri Touting Legacy Of Monuments Men

Nicole Myers, associate curator of European painting and sculpture, talks to U.S. Senator Roy Blunt about Nicolas de Largilliere's 1715 oil painting (at left) recovered by the Monuments Men.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

During World War II, nearly 350 men and women, known as the Monuments Men, worked to protect and restore millions of cultural artifacts. This group of art curators and historians recovered sculptures and paintings looted by the Nazis, from artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Leonardo da Vinci.

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Harvest Public Media
7:10 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Preliminary Data From Ag Census Shows Aging Farmers, Declining Farms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is beginning to release figures from its 2012 Census of Agriculture. An early standout in the data is the value of products being sold.

Greg Thessen, with the USDA’s agricultural statistics service, says sales figures come shining through in the preliminary data.

"The biggest thing it showed was the large increase in the market value of products that farmers sold in 2012," he said.

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Arts and Culture
2:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

All The Songs On The New Chuck Mead Album Are About Kansas

The cover of Chuck Mead's new album, Free State Serenade

Chuck Mead left Kansas more than two decades ago when he set out for Nashville and made a name for himself in country music. Now he’s circling back to Kansas, where his career began.

The first group he formed there, BR549, started out as the house band at Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway in Nashville, just across the alley from Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  BR549 quickly built a huge following playing regularly in the small bar.

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Up To Date
11:47 am
Thu February 20, 2014

After 5 Decades, Graham Nash Still Loves Rock And Roll

Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, sings a song after delivering the keynote address to a group of musicians assembled for the 2014 Folk Alliance International conference.
Julie Denesha KCUR

At 72, Graham Nash remains part of rock royalty, a musician who came to the U.S. as part of the British invasion with his band The Hollies and plays on today with his super-group Crosby, Stills & Nash.

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Lethal Injection
8:11 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Missouri Has A New Execution Drug Supplier

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:02 am

Although the state's previous drug supplier says it will not supply for the next execution, Missouri says it's found another willing pharmacy.

On Monday, the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma reached a settlement with an inmate who had sued the pharmacy. Although the terms were confidential, the pharmacy agreed to not sell to Missouri for its upcoming execution.

In a court filing Wednesday evening, the state said inmate Michael Taylor was trying to cut off the supply of the state's execution drug.

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Kansas Statehouse
8:10 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Bill Would Change Kansas State Worker Retirement Plan

A committee in the Kansas Legislature is considering a bill that would overhaul the state's retirement system.

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, covers thousands of state workers and local government employees like teachers. The proposal would switch KPERS to a 401(k)-style plan where employees manage their retirement benefits.

Currently, KPERS is a pension that pays benefits to a worker based on their salary and years of service. Right now, there's about a $10 billion long-term shortfall.

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Missouri Statehouse
8:07 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Missouri House Endorses Tax Cut Bills

Mo. House floor
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:25 pm

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to two separate but similar tax-cut bills.

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Up to Date
1:44 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Using Science To Stop Violence

Dr. Gary Slutkin is the founder of Cure Violence.
Credit cureviolence.org

An expert on the epidemic of gun violence that has gripped Kansas City and cities across the country for decades, says the issue has been "completely misunderstood."

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with him about his method of viewing violence as an epidemic, a condition that can be reversed using "science-based methods."

Guest:

  • Dr. Gary Slutkin, epidemiologist and founder/executive director of Cure Violence
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Up to Date
11:47 am
Wed February 19, 2014

JJ's Update: One Year After The Explosion

It's been a year since an explosion destroyed JJ's Restaurant on the Plaza.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

Last February, a gas explosion rocked the Plaza, destroying JJ’s restaurant. In the wake of the destruction, 15 people were injured, and one died.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll take a look at the issues surrounding the blast and its continued legacy, both on the Plaza and in the courtroom. We’ll also talk with one of the owners of JJ’s about what the future holds.

Guests:

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Tell KCUR
11:45 am
Wed February 19, 2014

What You Remember From The JJ’s Explosion

Where were you during the blast at JJ's Restaurant on Feb. 19, 2013? We asked our listeners to tweet us their answers with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

One year ago, many Kansas Citians knew about a natural gas explosion at JJ’s Restaurant before news outlets began to report the story.

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the blast that hundreds of Kansas Citians saw firsthand or felt on the Country Club Plaza.  

We wanted to know more about what you remembered from that evening.

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Community
7:52 am
Wed February 19, 2014

One Year Later, Still No Final Chapter In JJ's Blast

Lawsuits and appeals plague the aftermath of the deadly explosion of JJ's restaurant on Country Club Plaza in midtown Kansas City.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

One year has passed since the explosion and fire at JJ's restaurant killed waitress Megan Cramer and injured 15 on the edge of Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.

Investigators have found fault in the blast, but legal action continues. Ten lawsuits are on file by people legally claiming damage in the natural gas explosion. Suits are not expected to go to trial for more than a year.

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Education
7:34 am
Wed February 19, 2014

New Plan Eases Threat Of Kansas City Schools Takeover

Missouri is no longer threatening a quick take-over of the Kansas City school district.

The state's latest proposal instead centers around performance contracts, advice and financial help from the state and a five-tiered school performance ranking system. If an unaccredited district like Kansas City's fails to meet its goals, it would fall to the lowest, or “lapsed” category and likely be taken over by the state.

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