Lee's Summit, MO – Historians disagree whether Lee's Summit was named after Civil War General Robert E. Lee or early civic leader Pleasant Lee. But we can probably all agree that today, to steal a line from Walt Bodine, "Lee's Summit is a sudden burst of everything."
From the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to Private Voluntary Organizations, to faith based charities like Catholic Relief Services - officials are meeting in Kansas City this week to address record deficits in commodities available for food aid.
About a hundred Midwesterners are milling around in the ballroom of the Intrigue Park Place hotel off Riverfront Drive. Some are delegates to next month's Libertarian national convention in Denver. Others are candidates for office. Still others are just here to support the only party they believe represents their views.
Sean O'Toole, from Kansas City, summed up the Libertarian philosophy.
KANSAS CITY, MO – This week, Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver announced that he's getting ready to step down as pastor of St. James United Methodist Church. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross talked to Cleaver about his decision and his role as a superdelegate in the upcoming presidential election.
Kansas City, MO – After more than six months of negotiations, the Kansas City Council Thursday approved an agreement for the forty-seven million dollar parking garage for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Some of the sticking points included a funding mechanism and control of the one thousand space garage just south of the center. City Manager Wayne Cauthen says the agreement calls for the city to own and operate the garage and gambling revenues will pay the debt service.
Kansas City – Guggenheim Fellows are selected based on achievements and their promise for continued accomplishments. 190 fellowships totaling more than $8 million were awarded this year to scientists, scholars and artists.
KANSAS CITY, MO – Crews will start preliminary work on the Paseo Bridge replacement project a week from Monday. The I-29/35 corridor will be widened to three lanes from near Armour to the downtown loop, and all major interchanges and on-ramps will be rebuilt.
Spokesperson Joy Wasendorf told reporters yesterday that though there will be two lanes open during rush hours all through the project, those lanes will only handle about half the present traffic.
Kansas City, MO – Votes for the only really contested race in Kansas City's school board elections will be counted today - it's between write-in candidates in Subdistrict One. For the at-large seat, computer programmer Airick Leonard West defeated incumbent Bill Eddy, who had dropped out the race, though his name was still on the ballot.
KANSAS CITY, MO – Kansas City voters approved a ballot measure that puts a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants at all times. Bill Nigro is President of the Kansas City Business Rights Coalition and says he's disappointed the measure passed because it will disproportionately affect some restaurants and bars.
"Particularly for the businesses on the perimeters of the city that have competition right on the edge, I think it's going to be a hard go for them," Nigro said.
KANSAS CITY, MO – Sen. John McCain says Democrats who offer a quick withdrawal from Iraq aren't being honest about the consequences of defeat there. McCain spoke to a group of veterans at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City today.
KANSAS CITY, MO – Kansas City voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether or not to impose a smoking ban. It's a petition-driven initiative that proposes banning smoking in public places, like restaurants and bars, while excluding casino gaming floors and the concourses of the Truman Sports Complex. But what about people who perform in bars, like musicians? KCUR's Laura Spencer reports. (5 min)
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – If Brandon Rush, a 6-foot-6-inch junior at the University of Kansas, didn't injure his knee a year ago in a pick-up basketball game, he might be playing in the NBA today. Instead of returning to KU, Rush was planning to turn professonal. But the knee injury delayed those plans. Now he's hoping to help the Kansas Jayhawks win the national championship game on Monday night. KCUR's Greg Echlin reports from San Antonio. (35 sec)
KANSAS CITY, MO – Penmanship may play an important role in shaping the next Kansas City, Missouri school board. Not the candidates' handwriting skills - but the voters'.
Although many see the future of the school district as key to the city's development, the only truly contested races are between write-in candidates. And even the winners of unopposed races might be thrown out if the entire system's subdistricts are redrawn. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross explains the situation.
KANSAS CITY, MO – Medical doctors and supporters of a proposed smoking ban called attention to the harms of second-hand smoke at a news conference today. Question Number 3 is a citizen's petition proposal to ban smoking in all enclosed public places and workspaces, including restaurants and bars. The city's current laws allow smoking in bars and restaurants with liquor licenses after 9 p.m.
KANSAS CITY, MO – In late December, the school board notified the Kansas City Election Board that the subdistrict lines had to be redrawn. Consultants were hired to begin the process. Election Board Director Shelley McThomas says each subdistrict school board member needs to represent roughly the same number of voting residents.
"The districts have to be equal and they are not equal at this point," McThomas says.
KANSAS CITY, MO – The Transportation and Infrastructure committee unanimously approved an amendment to Kansas City's nondiscrimination ordinance today. The measure would add that it's illegal to discriminate based on gender identity.
Donna Ross is a frequent lecturer on transgender issues and testified at the committee meeting. She says those who have transitioned or have non traditional gender appearances are currently denied basic protections under city law.
KANSAS CITY, MO – Some area civil rights groups are saying the tactics employed by petitioners for the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative are misleading. The petition calls for a constitutional amendment to eliminate race and gender-based affirmative action in state-funded scholarships, hiring and contracting. Urban League president Gwen Grant says that could have unintended consequences.
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Council must vote on a final budget package by Thursday. The city's budget came under question when Mayor Mark Funkhouser criticized it as imbalanced and called for slashing tens of millions of dollars.
The current proposal doesn't go that far but does make some major changes, and Funkhouser told reporters Wednesday morning that the budget, though not ideal in his opinion, is headed in the right direction.
Kansas City, MO – Action was swift in the Missouri General Assembly during discussions of a $375 million passenger jet assembly plant being considered for Kansas City by Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace. Part of the deal would be state tax credits on up to 80 percent of payroll for the first three years, tapering off over 22 years.
Kansas City, MO – A long-discussed concept for a regional jail in Jackson County took a step closer to becoming an official plan Wednesday. Kansas City and Jackson County officials announced their intention to move forward with a merger during last minute negotiations on the city's budget - which is due Thursday.
Kansas City, MO – The Missouri Department of Transportation wants the legislature to spend $10.6 million to add sidings along the tracks it leases for Amtrak. MoDOT Railroad Administrator Rod Massman explained the problem.
According to Massman, "In Missouri in a given day, on that corridor, there's between 50 and 60 freight trains in addition to Amtrak trains all running on there at the same time."
KANSAS CITY, MO – The Kansas City Missouri City Council has until Thursday to hammer out the coming year's budget. With the slowdown in the national economy, and a recent downgrading of the city's financial status, city council members are preparing to make decisions that will upset people.