Ozarks

Exiting a narrow, spiral staircase into Caleb Kraft’s basement, the first thing I notice is a pegboard lined with octopodes hanging above a cluttered workbench.

Plural of the sea creature is “octopodes or just octopuses, believe it or not,” Kraft tells me. ”I’ve actually got a whole pile of them somewhere else.”  

The downstairs is equipped with multiple 3D printers. For one device in particular, its test item is what’s called a Rocktopus – an octopus holding up a rock-n-roll hand sign. 

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

After the Civil War, violence and crime continued in the Missouri Ozarks, highlighted by gun fights, murders and lynchings. Today, we learn about that region's "Wild West" years and the vigilantes who prowled the territory. Then, Ryan O'Callaghan grappled for years with suicidal thoughts and hiding his homosexuality.

Jason Gonulsen

For a few years, it was an autumn tradition: Wrap up the turkey and pumpkin pie, wash up the dishes, then head down to the Record Bar for a Ha Ha Tonka show.

But it’s been awhile since Ha Ha Tonka came to town — long enough that a whole new RecordBar awaits their return. The band, with Springfield, Missouri, origins and a name borrowed from a state park at the Lake of the Ozarks, has gone through a few changes.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Along with another day of rain in the Kansas City area, water levels continue to rise across Missouri, causing flooding and dozens of road closures. While southern and eastern Missouri continue to experience serious flooding the Kansas City area has not seen much impact. 

The closest flooding to Kansas City has occurred on the Missouri River at Napoleon about thirty miles east.

Aerial Ozarks

Heavy rains flooded much of Missouri over the weekend, covering roads and knocking out power. The floods reached historic levels in several places, including Tecumseh, Missouri.

The town sits just a few miles north of the Arkansas border. Fast-rising flood waters stranded Autumn Shirley and her family on the roof of their house for more than nine hours this weekend.

The folk-rock duo Brewer & Shipley, an act with deep ties to Kansas City, is still together more than 40 years after achieving a few international hits. They perform with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils at Crossroads KC on Saturday, July 2.

Three reasons we’re listening to Brewer & Shipley this week:

1. Brewer & Shipley’s relaxed, folk-rock sound is back in style. You can hear echoes of it in the music of young musicians such as Dawes and the Avett Brothers.

Courtesy Wes Wilson

Wes Wilson anticipates a renaissance is coming, and this shift in societal values will be led in part by members of the arts community. You could say that’s how the longtime poster artist known for his psychedelic promotions, which use fluid forms made from letters and flowing letters to create shapes, got his start.

It was 50 years ago this year his controversial image of an American Flag with a swastika started appearing in protests throughout the streets of Oakland, California. The piece, titled “Are We Next?,” was inspired by anger.

From the Not My Ozarks Facebook page

Rachel Luster wasn’t happy when news started showing up in her social media feeds that the Ku Klux Klan wanted to train “the first recruits… in a mighty army” in her part of the Ozarks.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

As the school year begins we're hearing a lot about accreditation, Common Core and teacher tenure. All important, but the issue that may worry educators the most is security. School officials spend a lot of time thinking about it and a huge amount of money trying to improve it.

Right now, about a third of all states allow teachers or staff with a conceal and carry permit to pack a gun in school as long as they have permission from the school board. Nowhere in America right now is the issue of armed teachers more complicated than in Missouri.

Frank Morris/KCUR

In many ways, the Ozarks are trying to catch up to modern American culture while still retaining old values. The "code of the hills" still keeps the region mostly white, and it has long been a haven for supremacists.

M Hedin / flickr

The term “Blueways” has some Ozarks residents seeing red. At least, that was the case at a Congressional field hearing Monday in West Plains over the “National Blueways Program.” That’s a designation the US Department of Interior bestowed upon the White River Watershed earlier this year with little or no say from local and state leaders.