Mid-America Regional Council

KCUR 89.3

Think we would all get along better if we lived under one flag – from Olathe to Leavenworth, Liberty to Grandview?

Some young Kansas City-metro entrepreneurs do.

Thirty-three year old Graham Ripple and some of his buddies have started a website – OneFlag.co — to raise funds and solicit designs for a banner that every municipality in the metro could fly — one flag that would represent all 14 counties in the Kansas City Region.

Americasroof / Wikimedia--CC

The Mid-America Regional Council, or MARC, releases a Skycast each day with a forecast of ozone air quality. The third orange ozone alert in 2016 for the Kansas City area was issued for Thursday. It recommended "limiting prolonged outdoor exertion" by children and adults, especially those with respiratory issues, such as asthma. 

In recent years, ozone alerts haven't been issued until July, says Amanda Graor, MARC's air quality program manager.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

No photos, no emojis, no group messages – the just-launched text-to-911 system can’t handle them.

But it can connect to emergency services when it isn’t safe to call 911.

“Maybe they’re locked in a closet, maybe there’s a situation where there are intruders in the home,” said Platte County, Missouri, Sheriff Mark Owen.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Demographic shifts in the Kansas City metropolitan area tell us the suburbs are becoming more diverse, while downtown has seen an influx of white people. But it doesn't necessarily feel more integrated.

Shambresha Roland, a native Texan who has lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, has found being an African American woman in those majority white communities awkward.

forbes.com/IRS

Moving to a new place can be hard and exciting. It can be a good decision — or the worst of your life.

Kansas City residents may love the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, restaurants, the Royals, four distinct seasons and summer thunderstorms. But they may also resent the allergies, car culture, crime and the absence of mountains and a coast.

So what makes our city a place people want to live — or leave?

Kansas City is beginning to catch up with the nation when it comes to employment growth, according to the director of research at the Mid-America Regional Council.

“The new data says that over the last year we actually grew at the same rate as the rest of the U.S., instead of lagging as we had for the last several years,” Frank Lenk told Up To Date host Steve Kraske on Monday.

Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT

During the past eight years, the philanthropic community has spent about $8 million on a wide-ranging program aimed at improving health services for low-income individuals in the Kansas City area.

The REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) have provided nearly three quarters of the total funding. But now, the collaboration and the various efforts it has spawned are taking on a more targeted approach heading into 2015.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

About 2 million people live in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The region is almost equally divided by the Kansas-Missouri state line geographically (land that is considered the metro) and by population. But that line doesn’t keep us from moving around a bit.

dphiffer / Flickr - CC

Communities around the Kansas City metro are taking part in programs to install LED street lights.

Participating cities saw significant energy savings after switching to the high-efficiency lights, and felt they got more light for less cost. The initiative was funded by the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation grant program.

Photo Credit Purdue University

The Kansas City labor market deviates from the federal jobs picture in significant ways. That’s according to local and national reports released on August 2.     

Unemployment locally stayed stuck at 6.6 percent, where it’s been for some months, according to the Workforce Report by the Mid-America Regional Council.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported a slight drop in unemployment in July, but analysts were quick to point out most of the new jobs were either low paying or part-time.

Voidxor / Wikimedia--CC

The REACH Healthcare Foundation recently released the Kansas City Regional Health Assessment, that analyzes health data from the area from 2000 to 2011, and offers a forecast of what’s in the future for health in Kansas City.

"The poverty rate has been increasing in the metropolitan area, and generally it's been especially increasing in suburban areas," says author and Government Innovations Forum Director for the Mid America Regional Council, Dean Katnerdahl. "So there's sort of a suburbanization of poverty."

ZTW1 / flickr

The Kansas City region has been recovering from the recession at a slightly faster clip than many other places across the country.