Spot

Julie Denesha / KCUR

When it comes to the Buck O’Neil Bridge (formerly known as the Broadway Bridge,) Kansas City is in a tough spot.

More than 50,000 people drive across the bridge each day, according to The Mid-America Regional Council, whose Beyond The Loop project is studying the bridge and its surrounding area.  

Courtesy of the Lee's Summit R-7 School District

Changing bell times could save the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District more than $600,000 next year.

Three late-start elementary schools – Cedar Creek, Lee’s Summit and Trailridge – will start and end 40 minutes earlier next year.

For the first time, the district’s three high schools will all be on the same schedule.

Deputy Supt. Brent Blevins says current bus routes were set when the district was much smaller.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he has secured his first conviction of a non-citizen for voting illegally.

In a news release, Kobach says that Victor David Garcia Bebek, a native of Peru, pleaded guilty last week in Sedgwick County District Court to three misdemeanor charges of voting illegally.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

The federal Chemical Safety Board has released preliminary findings critical of safety procedures at MGP Ingredients after a toxic chemical release at the Atchison based distiller.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Sunday afternoon, refugees, volunteers and community members gathered at the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Ahmad al-Abboud and his family's arrival in Kansas City. They were the first Syrian family to be resettled in the United States as part of the 2016 refugee "surge" under the Obama administration.

Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners

A total of about 60,000 Kansas Citians voted in yesterday’s municipal elections, according to turnout figures from election boards. Kansas City voters in Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties approved $800 million in general obligation bonds, a one-eighth cent sales tax for development on the city’s east side and lessened penalties for marijuana possession.

Shawn Kieffer from the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners says he’s disappointed with the 18 percent turnout from Jackson County.

KC Pet Project

Kansas City residents handed city officials a big victory Tuesday night when they approved an $800 million bond package and property tax increase to address the city's infrastructure needs. 

City officials are eager to get to work. City Manager Troy Schulte says his team has already been developing a first-year implementation plan for the first tranche, or portion, of the money. He says he plans to deliver a final version of that plan to the city council by May 1. 

A federal judge says he plans to block Missouri’s abortion clinic restrictions in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last June.

In a “Memorandum to Counsel” on Monday, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs said he would grant the preliminary injunction requested by Planned Parenthood, but would give the state additional time to avoid “unintended damage” to standard medical regulations.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend a centennial commemoration of the United States’ entry into World War I in Kansas City on Thursday.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri voters approved all five questions that appeared on Tuesday's special election ballot.

The first three all dealt with a massive $800 million infrastructure bond package, which includes annual property tax increases. The city plans to issue the bonds over 20 years to chip away at looming infrastructure needs. Each question required a 57.1 percent super majority. 

Kim Fritchie / Jacqueline Clark / Dennis Smith

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School Board has three new members: Jacqueline Clark, Kim Fritchie and Dennis Smith.

Reached by phone, Smith said he was thrilled that voters had prioritized the experience of educators.

“I think the decision making is very similar to what I did as a teacher and a principal. It’s a team effort,” Smith, the former principal of Campbell Middle School, said.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Independence police officer Thomas Wagstaff, who was shot in the head during a robbery Wednesday, may have been hit accidentally by another police officer. 

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker lays blame for Wednesday’s shooting squarely on the men charged with the robbery. Ronar Santiago-Torres and Joseph Wyatt and their alleged accomplices Donald Nussbaum and James McChan face charges in the the robbery at 36th and Delaware in Independence.

“I hold them hold them accountable in every possible way for his injuries, and I will continue to do so,” says Peters Baker.

A group enforcement by the Kansas City No Violence Alliance over the last several months led to nine felony charges, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday.

It also netted 18 handguns, 400 rounds of ammunition, 38.6 grams of crack cocaine and more than $2,000 cash from associates of William M. Enloe, 20, who prosecutors charged earlier this month with second degree murder.

Enloe allegedly shot Antonio Williams Jr., 22, to death at the Phillips 66 at Bannister Road and Drury Avenue on Nov. 15, 2016.

Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor nominated by President Donald Trump, is one step closer to becoming U.S. Secretary of Agriculture after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved his nomination Thursday.

Yet Perdue remains one step shy of the post; the full Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on his nomination. Perdue, however, is widely expected to be approved.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Supt. Mark Bedell says community feedback should shape Kansas City Public Schools’ strategic plan.

“We need your voice. We need your assistance. And we need you to have buy-in to this plan,” says Bedell, who is in his first year with the district.

KCPS already has a master plan. Approved last year, it changed some boundaries and targeted student achievement at underperforming schools.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Don Maxwell doesn’t mince words when he describes the old shopping center at Linwood and Prospect on Kansas City’s East Side.

“It’s a ghetto,” says Maxwell, who used to own the property and still manages it on behalf of the city. “We’re getting ready to turn it into a gold mine.”

When the city bought the property last year for $950,000 with plans to put in a Sun Fresh Market, there wasn’t a playbook for a city-backed grocery store.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Hate speech directed at the Islamic community should not be ignored, FBI and other federal officials told about 50 members of the Islamic Center of  Johnson County at a forum Saturday.

Danny Wood/KCUR 89.3

The University of Kansas basketball players were not the only stellar squad from KU competing for national honors in late March.

Three KU teams are on center stage for the four-day-long National Debate Tournament, which is being held at the university’s Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

About 500 students and coaches, encompassing 78 top university debating teams, are engaged in dozens of simultaneous debates. Debaters from UMKC and Missouri State are among the metro and Missouri colleges represented.

courtesy KCATA

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) describes the Metro Area Express, or MAX, as "light rail on rubber tires." The city's bus rapid transit launched in 2005, and serves residential and commercial corridors along Main Street and Troost Avenue.

Pixabay — Creative Commons

Prisoners from Jackson County have been removed from the Johnson County Jail in Missouri following an outbreak of violence in the facility on Thursday evening.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The owner of The Kansas City Star has a tentative agreement to sell the newspaper’s headquarters at 1729 Grand Blvd., since 1911 a downtown landmark where a young Ernest Hemingway once reported.

Mid-America Regional Council

In the Kansas City metro area, the economy added about 25,000 jobs over the past year and is now growing at a rate of about two and a half percent per year.

Frank Lenk, who specializes in economic and demographic forecasts for the Mid-America Regional Council, says this is above historical norms of about two percent.

He says the figures for the Kansas City economy show two sectors creating the most jobs.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday: Local and federal officials have determined the cause of a massive fire that destroyed an unfinished four-story apartment complex Monday and damaged many nearby homes to be accidental. 

"Based on an examination of the scene, interviews of witnesses and other information obtained during the investigation, investigators are confident the fire was caused by the accidental ignition of wooden building material ignited by a welder conducting hot work on the site," said Overland Park Fire Marshall Mark Sweany.

Bigstock

A former general manager of the Hillcrest Country Club in Kansas City has lost his quixotic lawsuit against Time Inc. seeking $12 million in damages for defamation and emotional distress.

A federal judge last week granted summary judgment to Time, ruling that statements made about Terry J. Clark in an article on Time’s GOLF.com website were neither false nor defamatory. U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree also found that Clark had failed to show he had sustained an injury because of the article.

Courtesy of Mid-America Arts Alliance

With President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mid-America Arts Alliance will widen its advocacy efforts in hopes of preserving funding for the agencies, says Todd Stein, M-AAA's interim chief executive officer.

The Missouri Department of Transport (MoDOT)

Kansas City’s newest bridge officially opens Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The U.S. 69 Missouri River Bridge connects Platte and Wyandotte Counties. The crossing opened to traffic in December but the finishing touches to a ramp and a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists were just completed.

Missouri is busy upgrading or replacing historic bridges build from the 1930s to the 1950s. A new bridge was recently finished upstream in Atchison and engineers are currently looking at downtown’s 60-year-old Buck O’Neil Bridge.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

The long-running effort to recreate the Kansas City Museum as a major local history museum entered a new phase Monday with the announcement of $1 million in private commitments pledged toward a total of $15 million in private and public money city leaders say is needed to restore the property to "its former glory."

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The president of the Kansas Senate says a new school funding formula needs to focus on the quarter of students who are at-risk and not meeting state standards. And simply adding money to a funding formula won’t solve the problem, she says.

Sen. Susan Wagle, a Republican from Wichita, says the federal Head Start program is a good model on how to help at-risk children.

Missouri Community College Association (MCCA)

Missouri’s 12 community colleges have created a new workforce training network.

Until now, community colleges could only work with businesses located in their geographical service area. Under this new agreement, called the Missouri Community College Workforce Development Network, Mark James, Chancellor of Kansas City's Metropolitan Community College, says the state’s colleges can share resources, expertise and even personnel. 

“We are essentially pledging to collaborate and assist each other if and when needed to meet any businesses’ workforce or training needs.”

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Mayor Sly James initially said the ordinance had failed, but after a moment of confusion he announced that the Kansas City Council has enacted a $8.50 an hour minimum wage, effective Sept. 18, 2017.

The ordinance calls for an eventual $13 minimum wage in 2023.

But it might not stand. The Council voted just hours after the Missouri House fast-tracked a bill to prevent cities from adopting a higher wage than the state minimum, which is $7.70 an hour and the current rate in Kansas City.

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