south Kansas City

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Italian food. Those two words may bring up images of a pasta dish with red sauce, or perhaps a thick square of lasagna. Throw in a glass of wine, and you're set for a cold winter night.

Some local chefs are also putting a creative spin on the cuisine. From old-school favorites to some new takes, our food critics on KCUR’s Central Standard searched out the best Italian food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Rob Bertholf / Flickr -- CC

It's one of the best times of the year to be outside. It's officially fall on the calendar, and after a hot September, it has finally cooled down.

In that spirit, KCUR’s Food Critics searched out the best outdoor dining spots on Friday's Central Standard. From a see-and-be-seen sidewalk café to something that's more secluded and romantic, they found a plethora of spots in and around KC to enjoy the outdoors with food and drink in hand.

Here are their recommendations:

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

While many eyes remain on recovery and damage assessment in Texas and Louisiana in the literal wake of Hurricane Harvey, some residents of the Kansas  City metro — who've seen unusual amounts of rainfall and dangerous flooding this summer — are growing more concerned about the possibility of unprecedented floods.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two councilmembers who represent constituents along Indian Creek say Kansas City needs a regional approach to flood control.

Scott Taylor and Kevin McManus, both of whom live in south Kansas City, Missouri, held a news conference Tuesday urging city leaders to work with other municipalities to keep Indian Creek from flooding again, as it has twice this summer. They plan to introduce a resolution at Thursday’s city council meeting.

Zota / Flickr

The story of how one Kansas City man's DIY fireworks display got completely out of hand.

Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

Music: Gentle Marimba by Alastair Cameron, The Stars And Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa

Caitlin Troutman / KCUR 89.3

Students at Archbishop O’Hara, a Catholic high school in South Kansas City, are taking their final exams this week. After 50 years in operation, Friday will be the last last day of school. The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese will open St. Michaels The Archangel Catholic High School in Lee's Summit in the fall. 

"I'm sad for the kids who don't get to experience O'Hara," says Sydney White, a 2013 graduate. "I've had some of the best experiences in these halls."

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

On March 20, 1978, William Least Heat-Moon left Columbia, Missouri in a Ford van. The van, which he named Ghost Dancing, would be his home for the next three months.

He was 38 years old. His marriage was falling apart. He'd lost his teaching job due to staffing cutbacks. His decision to get behind the wheel in search of America's stories was part dream, part desperation.

Now that the van is a literary artifact, he has to visit it in a museum. And he's careful not to get behind the wheel. Sitting back in that driver's seat makes him misty eyed.

Courtesy Wonderscope Children's Museum

Leaders of the Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, which is currently located near Johnson Drive and Nieman Road in Shawnee, Kansas, announced Tuesday that they plan to raise $12 million for a new building in the Red Bridge Shopping Center at 112th and Holmes in south Kansas City.

Plans are to share the building with the Red Bridge location of the Mid-Continent Public Library.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Hickman Mills Supt. Dennis Carpenter wants to make something very clear: he won’t welcome charter schools in his district.

At a community meeting Wednesday night, Carpenter told Robbyn Wahby, executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission, she was being disingenuous.

Wahby was in Kansas City to give a presentation to the Southern Communities Coalition.

The Rieger / Facebook

When it’s cold out, a big, hearty bowl of pasta really hits the spot.

Whether it’s a creamy mac and cheese or something a little more sophisticated (squid-ink noodles, anyone?), KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best pasta dishes in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

She's an acclaimed singer-songwriter who has been compared to Nina Simone and Roberta Flack. Rufus Wainwright has called her "one of the greatest living singers at the moment." From her home base in Paris, she tours the world . . . yet one of her favorite spots is still the Midtown porch of her 8th grade teacher.

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, meet Kansas City native Krystle Warren.

Guest:

Star Athena / Flickr -- CC

Some people have strict rules when it comes to cookies.

"Can we agree ... any cookie that does not have butter as an ingredient should never be made?" Charles Ferruzza asked host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Ferruzza, with our other Food Critics, searched out the best cookies in and around Kansas City — with and without butter.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Residents of South Kansas City heard updates on a variety of commercial projects at an economic development summit sponsored by the neighborhood alliance Saturday.

“It’s easy access,” said Ron Coker, a senior vice president at Burns & McDonnell, which just completed an expansion at 9450 Ward Parkway that will house 1,400 engineers, architects and construction specialists.

“If your business requires mobility, it’s a great, central location," Coker added, noting that much of the Burns & McDonnell workforce is spread across the city.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Too often, says Kansas City Mayor Sly James, adults tell teenagers where they can’t go without telling them where they can.

That’s why Jackson County COMBAT on Monday opened what it’s calling the “Hope Hangout” in south Kansas City.

“We know we have problems in the city with violence,” says James. “We don’t need to add to it. We need to subtract from it. That means we always have to be on point, giving our kids something they can do.”

The center has long been a dream of Marva Moses with the Hickman Mills Prevention Coalition.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

With about a week to go before the kickoff of the 12th Annual Kansas City Fringe Festival, local actors and performers are rehearsing intensely for the 11­-day festival that includes theater, dance, cabaret, and spoken word.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Krystle Warren's "To the Middle" is a song that sounds a little like a carnival ride, but it's actually her love song to Kansas City. Written when she lived in New York, the lyrics express a deep longing for the mainstays of her hometown: toothy smiles, tree-lined avenues and Gates barbecue. In the chorus, the chanteuse demands to know, over and over, Why you wanna go away, Why you wanna go away, again?

"I missed my hometown and it felt like Kansas City was kind of scolding me for leaving."

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

In Kansas City, hundreds of military veterans live without a house, apartment or even a permanent shelter to call home. Many have mental scars that make living in normal society difficult.

But three entrepreneurial veterans are trying to build a solution on a sloping field of grass and trees just east of 89th and Troost in Kansas City.

“We’re looking at four wonderful acres,” says Kevin Jamison, squinting into the sun. “Because it’s not the land, it’s what’s going to be done with the land.”

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A quiet meeting with a few people on Saturday turned into a fervent discussion  between almost 20 area  residents and members of the mayor's Citizens Task Force on Violence.

“Unfortunately we’ve had more than our share of deadly violence in this area,” said former city councilman John Sharp, who thanked the task force for holding its second listening session with the community. This one was at the Hillcrest Community Center in south Kansas City.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's Planning & Zoning Committee held its first community listening session Saturday to connect city officials with residents who had questions and concerns about issues in their neighborhoods.

Around a dozen residents from the area, mostly from the Marlborough neighborhood, showed up at the Trailside Center in South Kansas City to speak with council members and city employees from a variety of departments.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Engineering firm Burns & McDonnell has received Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly drones for commercial use.

The Kansas City-based company celebrated the new certification with a test flight Wednesday over the new campus being built in south Kansas City.

Steve Santovasi says using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to complete inspections presents a significant time savings over having to obtain permits to bring in heavy equipment.

The South Kansas City Alliance will hold its second annual Economic Development Summit Saturday at Avila University. 

Alliance leaders say the aim of the conference is to encourage hopeful entrepreneurs while building relationships between area residents and businesses. 

Lane4 Properties

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority has agreed to a 19-year tax abatement for the Red Bridge Shopping Center in south Kansas City.

Lane4 Properties Vice President Brandon Buckley says the hope is more Mom and Pop retailers will be willing to locate in old retail space if a developer makes needed infrastructure repairs first.

“By putting in the money it takes to get the spaces ready to go, we think it’ll have a positive impact in terms of encouraging retailers to really invest in the market,” Buckley says.