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It's election day in Missouri, but it's OK if you didn't know that. Compared to previous elections, this one is fairly low-key.

In Kansas City, voters will decide whether to renew a 1 percent sales tax for infrastructure maintenance, in addition to several school board races. And residents of several towns near the metro area will decide new mayors, including in Tracy, population 226, where no one filed to run for the job, so it'll come down to write-in votes. 

Want to know if you need to head to the polls? Here's a list: 

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Republicans in the Kansas House couldn’t win enough votes Monday to increase school funding by hundreds of millions of dollars. Conservatives in their own party thought it was too much money, Democrats said it was too little.

House Majority Leader Don Hineman said legislative leaders would keep working toward a compromise and could come back with a fresh proposal on Tuesday.

“Hopefully we have a different outcome tomorrow,” he said late Monday, but added that the bill as written is “all we can afford at this point in time.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Last year was a busy one for elections in Kansas City, Missouri.

Between approving a new airport terminal, deciding the future of a streetcar extension, and agreeing to property tax hikes for a 20-year, $800 million infrastructure package, Kansas City voters made some big decisions about the city's future.

Next week's election is much more low-key. On Tuesday, voters will be asked to renew a one percent sales tax for 20 years to fund capital improvements across the city.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89.3

The firing of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin means uncertainty for the VA’s pending $10 billion contract with Cerner Corp. to modernize the sprawling agency’s electronic health records system.

Health Data Management, an industry publication, reports that Shulkin’s ouster came as the VA was finalizing negotiations with Cerner.

McCaskill
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Before a small but energetic crowd in Kansas City Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill walked a narrow path between opposition to President Trump’s views and caution not to offend his supporters — many of whose votes she will need to be re-elected this November.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Time is running out for about 30,000 Kansas City, Missouri, voters who are eligible to vote on a southern streetcar extension.

Registered voters who live within the area roughly between the Missouri River and 53rd Street, and State Line Road and Campbell, have until April 3 to apply for a mail-in ballot.

Ballots will be sent to approved voters in May and due back on June 12.

This is the final step in a complicated three-election process that must be completed before any work on an expansion to the University of Missouri-Kansas City can begin.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach committed ethical violations during the just-completed trial over the state’s voter registration law, a Kansas immigration lawyer alleges in a bar complaint.

Matthew Hoppock, who practices in Overland Park, said he was duty-bound to file the complaint as an officer of the court.

“I have to,” he told KCUR. “Any licensed attorney in Kansas who thinks another attorney has broken the rules is required to.”

Wikimedia - Creative Commons

Missouri has an unusually high number of hospitals with medical and employer practices that accommodate the needs of LGBTQ individuals, according to a new report from a national advocacy organization.

The Healthcare Equality Index, released Tuesday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, names 14 Missouri hospitals as “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders.” That puts Missouri 8th in the nation for the number of such hospitals.

file photo / Harvest Public Media

Lawmakers in the Kansas House rejected an effort Monday to allow medical marijuana in the state.

But they advanced a plan to allow the sale of some products made from cannabis — if the high-producing compounds have been removed.

The discussion over legalizing cannabis for medical purposes came as lawmakers considered regular updates to the state’s drug laws.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

(This story has been updated with additional information about the criminal charges.)

A Wyandotte County grand jury has indicted Schlitterbahn Waterpark and one of its former officials on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Verruckt water slide in August 2016.

The individual, Tyler Austin Miles, 29, is being held on a $50,000 bond at the Wyandotte County jail. Miles was Schlitterbahn's water park operations director before he left last year.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a $1.66 billion dollar budget for the coming fiscal year. 

As it did last year, the city boosted funding for public safety, which includes the police and fire departments and the municipal court, and which takes up more than three-quarters of the city's general fund. Most other city department budgets will remain flat next year.

Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Federal prosecutors told jurors Thursday that three men charged with plotting to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in western Kansas were motivated by their hate of Muslim immigrants.

“They wanted to send the message that Muslims are not welcome here — not in Garden City, not in Kansas, not in America,” prosecutor Risa Berkower said.

Her opening statement in the Wichita trial laid out a case that only the work of federal agents stopped, the trio from carrying out a bombing the day after the Nov. 8, 2016, presidential election.

File photo

This story was updated at 5:26 p.m. to include the comments of Planned Parenthood Great Plains' regional director of public policy. 

The state of Kansas wants the United States Supreme Court to review a decision preventing it from terminating its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood.

In a petition filed on Thursday, it argues that a federal appeals court was wrong when it decided that Medicaid patients have a right to challenge a state’s termination of their Medicaid provider.

Anne Boyer

Kansas City poet and essayist Anne Boyer, who teaches writing at the Kansas City Art Institute, is among this year's winners of the Whiting Award, a prestigious honor that comes with $50,000.

The awards, presented to emerging writers, "are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come," according to the Whiting Foundation. Boyer is one of ten winners announced Wednesday evening at a ceremony in New York City.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

On Wednesday morning, Dennis Vallejo, a police officer in Kansas City, Kansas, removed the tarp covering a statue of abolitionist John Brown to reveal stark black markings sprawled across the monument's otherwise pure white marble. 

The historic statue, at North 27th Street and Sewell Ave. near the Quindaro Townsite, was vandalized over the weekend. Among several markings, two were overtly racist and anti-Semitic: a swastika on the statue's head and the N-word on its feet.

file photo / KCUR 89.3 FM

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a tongue lashing Tuesday from the judge who will decide whether he violated federal law by blocking tens of thousands of voter applications.

Federal Chief District Judge Julie Robinson, a George W. Bush appointee, accused Kobach of engaging in “gamesmanship” and skirting her orders.

Updated March 21, 5:55 p.m. – Russell Bucklew's scheduled execution has been called off.

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay Tuesday evening, based on Bucklew's assertion that Missouri's lethal injection protocol would cause bleeding and suffocation due to a medical condition he suffers.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Kansas Lawmakers moved Tuesday to make a bill to release information about the deaths of children in state custody more transparent.

In response to several high-profile cases where a child had been brought to the attention of the Department for Children and Families and later died, the bill requires the agency to release information about kids who die as a result of abuse or neglect.

DCF

A bill before Kansas lawmakers says faith-based child agencies should not be required to place children in families if it conflicts with the religious values of the organization.

The private groups currently can choose not to serve some people, such as single parents or same-sex couples.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers are considering creating a watchdog based outside the state’s child welfare agency, but with access to inside information.

A bill to create a child advocate to review the Department for Children and Families comes after years of horror stories of abused children who ended up injured, missing or dead.

Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law

Syed Jamal, the Bangladeshi-born scientist whom the federal government is trying to deport, must be released from jail, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Now that Republican leaders have a report they commissioned on school funding, it’s not clear they’ll pursue its recommendations to spend more for better student performance.

Lawmakers continued digging into the numbers Monday and quizzed the study’s authors for the first time since the document was unveiled Friday.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Wonderscope Children's Museum is moving to south Kansas City.

Around 70 people gathered Monday morning for a groundbreaking in the Red Bridge Shopping Center. The new 35,000 square-foot facility will double the size of the museum's current location near Johnson Drive and Nieman Road in Shawnee, Kansas.

"We're creating a significant regional attraction, as well as a community resource for the neighborhood," says Roxane Hill, Wonderscope executive director.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas’ child welfare agency wants to hire a second full-time investigator to track down kids missing from the state’s foster system.

The move comes in the wake of reports last October, when the Department for Children and Families was run by Phyllis Gilmore, that the agency had lost track of three sisters who’d run away from a Tonganoxie foster home.

Jeff and Laura Jacobsen / Kansas Athletics

Coming out of the weekend, lots of fans in Lawrence and Manhattan were thrilled as their basketball teams advanced in the NCAA tournament.

But that also means some coaches are putting extra money in their pockets.

Most big time college coaches have lucrative bonuses in their contracts.

Kansas State University's Bruce Weber has already done very well.

He has earned an additional $344,000 dollars for making the Sweet 16, according to his contract.

Weber’s contract calls for a 16 percent bonus on top of his $2.15 million salary.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

(This story has been updated.)

Getting most Kansas schoolchildren doing well enough in math and reading to stay on track for college could cost an extra $2 billion a year — or roughly half what the state already spends on aid to local schools.

The figure comes from a report released Friday that lawmakers commissioned to help them judge the costs of getting better classroom results and to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court order.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Leaders in City Hall and Kansas City Public Schools are just beginning to piece together a connection between Kansas City’s high numbers of evictions and the academic performance of children affected by forced moves.

The data is preliminary, but Michael Reynolds, chief research and accountability officer for the school district, says a relationship is coming into focus.

“Without a question, students who get evicted have worse academic outcomes, according to the state and according to standard testing, than students who don’t,” Reynolds says.

Henry County Sheriff's Office

Tammy Widger, the 37-year-old Clinton, Missouri, woman who was in the house when police responded to a 911 call resulting in the shooting death of officer Christopher Ryan Morton on March 6, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields announced the new charge on Wednesday.

Last week, Widger was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and keeping a public nuisance, both felonies.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsible for extensive property damage caused as a result of recurring floods along the Missouri River. 

A group of 372 farmers, landowners and business owners in several Midwestern states filed suit against the Corps of Engineers in March 2014, alleging that the federal agency's actions contributed to five floods along the Missouri River since 2007. Senior Judge Nancy Firestone ruled on Tuesday that the Corps of Engineers was liable for damages caused by recurring floods.

Matt Kleinmann / Community Health Council of Wyandotte County

New county health rankings once again show Wyandotte County as one of the least healthy counties in Kansas. The good news: It’s no longer the worst.

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