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Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

 


A task force formed to fix Kansas’ troubled foster care system relied largely on the ideas of a lone member to meet a deadline for preliminary suggestions, reflecting the daunting nature of its job and some troubles within the panel.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

A Kansas Supreme Court ruling saying the state must spend more on schools could require lawmakers to find hundreds of millions of dollars. With some lawmakers saying a tax hike for education remains off the table, that financial hunt won’t be easy.

 

Legislators rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature income tax cuts just last year. It was a monumental task, which ultimately required lawmakers to override a veto from the governor. The fight stretched the session to a tie with the longest in state history.

 

Icelandair

For the first time ever, Kansas City will have a regularly scheduled flight across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Starting May 26, Kansas City International airport will offer direct flights to Reykjavik, Iceland on Icelandair.

Deputy aviation director Justin Meyer says the new flight will bring down European fares, and allow for easy connections to other parts of Europe. 

The flight will be offered seasonally, from May to September three days a week. 

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

 

Kansas’ troubled child welfare agency asked lawmakers Monday for money to solve mounting problems -- foster kids sleeping in offices, children lost in the system, and a skyrocketing caseload.

Legislators and advocates expressed outrage earlier at news that children slept in foster care contractors’ offices because foster homes had no room. Department for Children and Families secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said some of the requested money would go toward holding beds open for hard-to-place kids.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Update: On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Alford gave up his chairmanship on a Kansas House committee and stepped aside from a child welfare task force.

 

After a western Kansas lawmaker suggested black people respond to the use of marijuana differently than others, the Republican leader of his own party condemned the remarks.

On Saturday in Garden City, Rep. Steve Alford of Ulysses said the drug was made illegal because of the way he contended it affects African-American users.

KCUR

Lawmakers arrived in Topeka Monday with monumental money problems facing the state and an executive branch stuck in a confusing transition.

It’s the start of a roughly 90-day session in which they, once again, must juggle the state’s checkbook to meet multiple pressing needs. That includes an ultimatum from the Kansas Supreme Court to find more tax dollars for schools.

It’s a tough job made that much harder by unusual political circumstances.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The White House may have scrapped the controversial national election integrity commission that he was helping to lead, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is still rooting out alleged voter fraud in his home state.

Armed with powers not usually assigned to a secretary of state, Kobach filed a pair of criminal complaints Thursday against two people he said voted when, and more, than they had the right to.

Wikipedia

A deal to farm out the next new prison in Kansas to a private firm -- one that would replace the outdated facility in Lansing and lease it to the state -- hit a delay Thursday.

The State Finance Council, which would have to sign off lease-to-buy contract, said it needs two weeks to further study the details of a plan to pay CoreCivic Inc. $362 million over 20 years.

Several members of the council said they didn’t want to approve the deal until the state and the company finalized their contract negotiations.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland issued a statement Thursday morning saying that he had been the victim of a threat by a KCK firefighter and had notified the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Holland, mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, said the firefighter, Chris Wing, had threatened him on Facebook with a post stating, “You might need a security detail when you start witch hunts like so …”

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's effort to dramatically tighten voting rules goes to trial in March.
File Photo / Kansas News Service

The fight over whether Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violated the constitution in his quest to demand proof of citizenship from voters goes to trial, with a ruling Wednesday that could complicate his case, in March.

KDHE

A lawyer who spearheaded Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s efforts to block Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood will take charge of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment next week. 

Darian Dernovish will become interim head of the agency on Jan. 8, Brownback’s office said Wednesday. He will replace Susan Mosier, who has held the job since December 2014. 

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City branch of the NAACP on Friday voiced its opposition to the Kansas City Council's approval of a plan to privatize Westport sidewalks on weekends and vowed to fight the ordinance before it takes effect this spring.

The council's 8-5 decision earlier this month allowing privatization "amounts to failure to perform public duty," said Rodney Williams, president of the local NAACP and pastor at Swope Parkway United Christian Church.

Adam Barhan / Flickr--CC

Developers who are trying to attract millennials with tanning beds and bocce ball courts might want to rethink that approach, according to a new study by a Kansas City real estate marketing firm.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Updated 7 p.m. Dec. 21 to include additional reaction to the decisions: The Kansas City Council ended the year with two major decisions Thursday, deciding to stick with a Maryland-based developer for the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport and to allow for gun screenings in the Westport entertainment district late on the weekends.

KU School of Law

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday evening unanimously voted to confirm KU School of Law professor Stephen McAllister as the top federal prosecutor in Kansas.

McAllister was nominated in September by President Donald Trump and succeeds Tom Beall, a career prosecutor who served as interim U.S. Attorney.

McAllister, 55, teaches at KU Law and was its dean from 2000 to 2005. 

He has also served as solicitor general of Kansas, defending the state in key cases such as Gannon, the school financing case, death penalty cases, and cases challenging Kansas’ abortion laws.  

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Though it's not the final say, Kansas City officials decided Wednesday they'd be OK with privatizing some sidewalks in Westport so business owners can screen for guns at the entrance of the entertainment district . The measure now goes to the full City Council. 

Aleksey Kaznadey / kevinmahogany.com

Kevin Mahogany, the versatile and velvet-voiced vocalist who became one of the Kansas City jazz scene's more well-known exports, died Sunday. He was 59.

Mahogany had been living in Miami, but moved back to Kansas City in August after the sudden death of his wife, Allene Matthews Mahogany, over the summer, says Mahogany's sister, Carmen Julious.

The two had been married for 25 years, and Julious says Mahogany's grief had aggravated longer-term health issues.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 2:30 p.m. to include response from Kansas City councilman Jermaine Reed. 

With the contract for a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport seemingly up for grabs, Los Angeles-based AECOM on Monday added local engineering firm Burns & McDonnell to its KCI Partnership team. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is getting a high-tech $32 million facility to help students compete in a global economy.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved construction of the computer science building, which will be adjacent to Flarsheim Hall, earlier this month. It will be built with a combination of state funds and private donations, including a $6 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation.

Bob Brents / Flickr — CC

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which employs about 350 people in Overland Park, announced Thursday that it plans to slash its global workforce by 14,000 positions as part of a massive restructuring plan aimed at reducing $3 billion in costs by the end of 2019.

A spokeswoman for the company said it plans to consolidate its seven U.S. offices into one yet-to-be-determined location.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City council members got more information about violent crimes as they consider a proposal to privatize the sidewalks in Kansas City's historical Westport entertainment district.

"I feel it is very important to broaden this discussion, not about whether we privatize the sidewalk, or whether we support businesses," says Councilwoman Alissia Canady. "This is a public safety issue."

Plantlady233 / Wikimedia-CC

A Leawood family whose home was raided more than five years ago by Johnson County sheriff’s deputies in a fruitless search for a marijuana growing operation lost its lawsuit alleging the deputies violated their Fourth Amendment rights.

Platte County

This story was updated at 5:14 to include Eric Zahnd's reaction to the decision.   

A disciplinary panel has found Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd guilty of professional misconduct and recommended that he be publicly reprimanded.

The matter now goes to the Missouri Supreme Court, which will decide whether to accept or reject the panel's findings and recommendation.

The three-person panel – two lawyers and a layperson – issued its decision after listening in November to two days of testimony, including from Zahnd himself.

Joe Gratz / Creative Commons-Flickr

In a rare move, a federal judge has thrown out a defendant’s conviction on drug charges after ruling that the prosecutor had interfered with his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

In a blistering decision handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found that the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, had “substantially interfered with a defense witness’s decision to testify” in the case.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

The state auditor for Missouri is backing a bill to reinstate legal protections for whistleblowers in state government. The governor and General Assembly stripped those protections earlier this year.

Mariordo59 / Creative Commons-Flickr

This story was updated at 1:56 p.m. to include the comments of a Tesla spokeswoman.  

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has scored a big win after an appeals court ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging its right to sell automobiles directly to Missouri consumers.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Several Jackson County legislators called for new leadership at the troubled downtown jail on Tuesday. It only took until Friday to get their wish.

Jackson County Corrections Director Joe Piccinini resigned, County Executive Frank White said at a news conference Friday. And pressure from the county legislature was not a factor, White said. 

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Bigger restrooms. Convenient parking. More Outlets. Better food options. 

Residents in Kansas City's Northland weighed in on what they'd like to see included in the design for a new, single terminal at Kansas City International airport. 

More than 100 people attended Thursday night's community design workshop, presented by Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, the team selected to design, build and finance a new terminal. 

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

A former Haskell Indian Nations University student who says she was raped by two Haskell football players has settled her privacy claim against the school.

The settlement comes just days after two former KU varsity athletes settled their lawsuits alleging they were sexual assaulted by a KU football player.

courtesy: Reference Recordings

The nominees for the 60th annual Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday, and the Kansas City Symphony performs on a record nominated in two categories.

The recording is Adam Schoenberg: American Symphony; Finding Rothko; Picture Studies, and it features the Kansas City Symphony conducted by music director Michael Stern

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