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James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Shona Banda, a Garden City, Kansas, mother who drew national attention after losing custody of her son over her use of cannabis, has pleaded no contest to felony charges in exchange for probation.

Banda, who has Crohn’s disease, has been a vocal advocate of medical marijuana and self-published a book about her use of cannabis oil to treat her condition, an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause severe abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Courtesy photo / Le'Andrew Vaughn family

Sixteen-year-old Adarius Barber was set to be a junior at Washington High School, where he was to have his first football practice on Monday.

His 17-year-old cousin, Le’Andrew M. Vaughn, was a promising baseball player, a rising senior at F.L. Schlagle High School. 

Both boys were college-bound, according to a spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School District.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Many health care advocates breathed a sigh a relief after the Senate’s recent efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act failed in late July.

But local and national participants in a rally at Kansas City’s City Hall Wednesday afternoon had a message for those concerned about the fate of healthcare: Don’t let up.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

By a margin of fewer than 900 votes, residents of Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday acted to prohibit city officials from moving forward with any streetcar extension without first gaining citywide voter approval. 

University of Kansas Hospital

Two area hospitals earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list.

The University of Kansas Hospital was deemed to be the best hospital in Kansas and in metro Kansas City, while Saint Luke’s was ranked the second best hospital in Missouri, behind Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka was deemed the second best hospital in Kansas, the only other hospital in the state to earn top honors.   

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Ladarius Long is checking out the new eighth grade area at KIPP Endeavor Academy, the East Side charter school he has attended for the last two years.

“We’re looking real good today,” he says approvingly. “We’ve got more room. We’ve got tables, lockers – ” Ladarius points to the one he wants “ – but anyway, I just like the setup now.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Michelle Daytona served in the Army from 1997 to 2005 in Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea and Iraq.

She got a medical discharge when an IED blew up nearby, injuring her. 12 years later, she still has constant pain in her back and legs.

When Daytona got home, she began her transition — a process she’d fantasized about since she was 7 years old.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

A small group of Kansas City voters has approved the creation of a streetcar extension district.

Approximately 3,500 ballots were cast in the special mail-in election that was limited to people living within the boundaries of the proposed streetcar line, which would extend from downtown to UMKC. According to official election results, 2,458 voted for the creation of the district and 1,048 voted against it.

Google 2017

This story was updated with new information at 4:13 p.m.

About 10 employees at the IRS Center on 333 Pershing Road complained of sickness this morning after coming into contact with a suspicious envelope left in the building.

Susanna Marking, a spokeswoman for the Federal Protective Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the envelope smelled of ammonia. She said several people reported feeling ill with watery eyes and seven people were hospitalized. 

Andy Marso / KCUR 89.3

The director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center says it will continue to pursue “comprehensive” status after the National Cancer Institute denied it that coveted designation this week.

“We’re just going to be absolutely fearless in moving forward with this initiative,” says Dr. Roy Jensen, who has led the KU Cancer Center since 2004.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Missouri, Police department has too many people in management positions, and too many sworn officers in jobs that could be done by civilians. That’s according to a staffing study of the department presented to the Kansas City Council on Thursday.

Richard Brady, with Matrix Consulting Group, said KCPD needs to put more officers back on patrols and bulk up staffing in other areas.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

When you walk into the new Olathe West High School, it doesn't at all feel like a high school. It could be on a college campus — or even the campus of Microsoft or Google.

There's an atrium when you walk in, along with a large commons area — and even a part of the library where students and teachers can congregate.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

It's been a year since the Kansas City Council approved $7 million in funding for projects in the 18th and Vine district, such as stabilizing historic buildings and adding new streetscaping. On Wednesday, city officials provided a progress report. 

Chemical runoff from Midwest farm fields is contributing to the largest so-called ‘dead zone’ on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists have mapped the size of the oxygen-deprived region in the Gulf since 1985. This year’s is estimated at more than 8,700 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey.

The amount and timing of rainfall contribute to the washing of chemicals from farm fields throughout the watershed into the Mississippi River and down to the Gulf.

University of Kansas Hospital

The once-anonymous patient at the center of a whistleblower action filed against KU Hospital by one of its own pathologists is now suing the hospital herself for fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy.

Hickok Cole Architects

What do artists in the Kansas City metropolitan area want when it comes to space? What are the top creative space priorities? 

To find out, Artspace, a nonprofit real estate developer, conducted a regional arts market study from October 2016 to January 2017. A total of 515 artists and 101 arts organizations or creative businesses responded to the online survey. 

Corbis / Flickr — CC

A lawsuit alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections systematically denies medical treatment to prisoners with chronic hepatitis C has taken a big leap forward after a judge certified it as a class action.

KCPD

Major Rick Smith will be Kansas City’s new chief of police. The Board of Police Commissioners announced its decision Friday afternoon. Smith’s been on the Kansas City Police Department for 29 years. Brad Lemon, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police says the commissioners made a good call.

ROLANDOJONES / Flickr — CC

A former University of Kansas student who alleges she was raped in a college dorm can proceed with her lawsuit against the university, a federal judge has decided.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Thursday ruled that the dismissal of a separate class action lawsuit against KU over sexual assaults on campus did not preclude Daisy Tackett’s individual lawsuit against the university.

Riley County and Lawrence police departments

Riley County and Lawrence police issued a plea to the public for information on a serial rape suspect in 14 rapes or attempted rapes since 2000 near the Kansas State and University of Kansas campuses.

At a joint news conference Thursday in Manhattan, the home of K-State, they said they believed an attempted rape near the campus that took place two years ago was linked to the suspect.

All of the assaults occurred off-campus. The victims were all college students.

Hundreds of Midwest farmers are complaining of damage to their crops allegedly caused by the herbicide dicamba. The total number of damaged acres may come to more than 2.5 million acres, according to data compiled by a University of Missouri researcher.

Most of the damage has been found in the Midwest and South, with complaints of more than 850,000 damaged acres in Arkansas and more than 300,000 damaged acres in both Missouri and Illinois.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Missouri Department of Transportation engineers are warning policymakers that inadequate infrastructure funding could close bridges and snarl traffic in the Kansas City area.

“If a road degrades slightly, you can still drive on it. If a bridge is weight-posted, you can’t drive a heavy load on it,” says MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “That really disconnects communities all across the state.”

Plantlady233 / Wikimedia Commons

This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. to include the comments of the plaintiffs' attorney.  

A Leawood, Kansas, couple whose home was raided by a police tactical team in a bungled SWAT-like search for marijuana will get their day in court after all.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care, a safety net clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, will reopen its Quindaro facility after several years’ hiatus.

The satellite clinic will be located in a church building owned by Family Health Care. Initially, it will be open a couple of half-days per week and, depending on demand, may increase its hours of operation.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Star’s historic headquarters building at 1729 Grand Blvd. has been sold to a local developer who wants to redevelop the property as a first-class office project for up to 1,200 workers.

On Friday, The Star’s parent company, Sacramento-based McClatchy, announced it had sold the historic property and the 11-year-old Press Pavilion across McGee Street for a combined $42 million.

Kansas City, Missouri

Another apartment project in Westport moved forward Thursday after gaining approval from the Kansas City Council. 

The plan, which includes 215 apartment units, a 120 room hotel and retail and office space, sits on about 4 acres between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, north of Westport Road. 

The project would wrap around the existing Manor Square garage between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and Char Bar at 4050 Pennsylvania.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

KU Medical Center on Thursday officially opened its new health education building, an $82 million, 170,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the primary teaching venue for its medical, nursing and allied health profession schools.

The state-of-the-art building, at the northeast corner of Rainbow Boulevard and 39th Street, was funded with $26 million in state money, $21 million from the University of Kansas Medical Center, $25 million from the Hall Family Foundation and the rest in additional private money.

Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department & The City of Kansas City

Major Rick Smith of the Kansas City Police Department and Chief Keith Humphrey of the Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department are the two finalists for the police chief job in Kansas City.

Leland Shurin, president of the Board of Police Commissioners, said during a press conference Thursday that there were 42 candidates. Of those, ten were disqualified by state statute and the rest were interviewed by California-based consultants Ralph Anderson and Associates.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The American Jazz Museum still has about $150,000 in outstanding vendor bills. That’s despite catching up on payments to the musicians who played at the Kansas City Jazz and Heritage Festival over Memorial Day weekend.

Hafiz Issadeen / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Missouri is among a consortium of schools with tiger mascots that are ramping up efforts to address the dwindling global tiger population.

The University of Missouri (Truman the Tiger,) Louisiana State University (Mike the Tiger), Auburn University (Aubie the Tiger) and Clemson University (The Tiger and Tiger Cub) are committing to more and better research, education and awareness, across disciplines, related to tiger conservation efforts.

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