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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.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A western Kansas man accused of voting in two states has agreed to a plea bargain, saying he “simply made a mistake.”

Lincoln Wilson, a 65-year-old Republican from Sherman County, will plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts of voting without being qualified and two misdemeanor counts of false swearing to an affidavit, according to his lawyer, Jerry Fairbanks.

The lone African-American charged in Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s voter fraud crusade, Wilson faced the most charges, including three felonies and six misdemeanors.

BigStock Images

This story was updated at 1:26 p.m. Thursday to include the comments of Michael Barrett, head of the Missouri public defender system.

Last July, Shondel Church was arrested in Kansas City for allegedly stealing a generator and tool box from his stepmother.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

The Big 12 basketball tournament starts today at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. The multi-day event generates an estimated $13.6 million for the local economy.

At the same time, the Missouri legislature is looking at three bills that would require people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. If passed, such a measure could prevent Kansas City from keeping or getting other big events.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he's closely monitoring the bills’ progress.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

After the EF-3 tornado that destroyed homes in Oak Grove, Missouri, residents of the damaged neighborhoods were mostly in good spirits Tuesday afternoon – happy to be alive and grateful for neighbors who were helping clean up.

Jennifer Swartz’s home on South Clinton Street was gone. She and her husband were having dinner in Lee’s Summit when the storm hit on Monday night. When they tried to return home, they hit a blockade and drove to Independence, where they spent the night with her husband's parents.

A Colorado farm field
File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The agriculture sector needs to ramp up its response to climate change, especially in the Midwest, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Researchers at the University of Maryland used climate projections and historical trends in agricultural productivity to predict how changes in temperature and rainfall will impact food production.

Stand Up KC

Councilman Quinton Lucas says Kansas City needs to act to raise the minimum wage — now. 

In the past few weeks, the debate over raising the minimum wage is Kansas City has been revived. Here's a quick overview of what's happened so far:

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

New trash trucks decked out with the downtown skyline or sports team logos, will soon be roaming the streets of Kansas City, Missouri.

The four trash trucks are wrapped in four different themes — Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, and a view of downtown Kansas City landmarks.

Elana Gordon / KCUR 89.3

A lawsuit alleging Cerner Corp. improperly failed to pay hundreds of employees overtime wages has been certified as a class action.

Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell issued the ruling Tuesday, finding that common issues predominated over individual ones and there were enough would-be class members to warrant class certification.  

The suit was filed in 2015 by Laura Scott and alleges that Cerner exempted so-called delivery consultants and system analysts from overtime pay.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that St. Louis can raise their minimum wage to $11 by 2018. 

This reverses a lower court's decision in 2015, which struck down the increase because it would conflict with a state law that prohibits municipalities from enacting a minimum wage higher than the state's. 

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

The Olathe bar shooting survivor being hailed as a hero on Tuesday joined the chorus of people calling on President Trump to denounce the targeting of two men because of their race.

Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to stop a gunman when he opened fire at Austins Bar & Grill last Wednesday, says he believes the shooter singled out the two Indian victims because of their ethnicity and hopes President Trump will address the incident.

Then-administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy visits a Missouri farm in 2014 to highlight the Clean Water Rule.
file: Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency to revise a controversial environmental rule opposed by many Midwest farm groups.

Trump ordered new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to formally revise the Obama Administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. Rule, which was meant to explain which rivers, streams and creeks are subject to regulation by the EPA.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A major data breach is being investigated in the Independence School District.

The school district employees were alerted to the scam in an email sent last Thursday.

In it, the business office says “the names, social security numbers, addresses and earnings” of every employee was stolen in a phishing scam, where the crooks use fake emails or websites to steal personal information.

The information was used to file fraudulent income tax returns, according to the email.

A fraud investigation is underway by the FBI and the Independence Police Department.

Johnson County sheriff's office

The suspect accused of shooting and killing a man in an Olathe, Kansas, bar last week and wounding two others made his initial appearance in Johnson County District Court Monday via closed circuit television.

Judge Timothy McCarthy appointed a public defender to represent Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, who is charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

During his brief appearance, Purinton stared straight ahead as McCarthy asked him his name, whether he had a copy of the criminal complaint and whether he had counsel.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

In deep-red Kansas, state Democrats threw their most energized annual meeting in years in Topeka on Saturday, largely thanks to the featured speaker: Vermont senator and former presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

At Field Hearing, Kansas Farmers Talk Farm Bill

Feb 24, 2017
Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts speak to the crowd at a field hearing on the Farm Bill in Manhattan, Kan.
Bryan Thompson / KCUR 89.3

At a stressful time for U.S. farmers, the government’s efforts at calming the agricultural waters took center stage Thursday, when the heads of the U.S. Senate’s Agriculture Committee left Washington for the Midwest to solicit opinions on priorities for the next Farm Bill.

U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, heard from Midwest farmers at their first field hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

Taber Andrew Bain / Creative Commons-Flickr

A federal judge today threatened to jail Johnson County businessman Joel Tucker after he failed to comply with orders requiring him to disclose details of a payday lending scheme.

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Tucker of selling bogus debt to collection agencies, which used them to get consumers to pay debts they didn’t owe.

Tucker is the brother of Leawood businessman and race car driver Scott Tucker, who pleaded not guilty a year ago to criminal charges of running a $2 billion payday lending scheme.

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.

Not my Presidents Day.

Though they carried different signs, that’s the message of protesters across the country who rallied Monday to oppose the policies of President Donald Trump.

In Kansas City, hundreds of people gathered at the J.C. Nichols fountain just off the Plaza.

“The sign that I have says, ‘El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido,’” says Regina Sanchez of Kansas City, Missouri. “‘The people united shall never be defeated.’ My grandparents used to march in Chile with the same sign.”

David Slusky and Donna Ginther

The Affordable Care Act has been credited – and blamed – for lots of things, but lowering the divorce rate generally hasn’t been one of them.

Not until now, anyway. A paper co-authored by two KU economists suggests that states that expanded Medicaid saw fewer so-called medical divorces than states, like Kansas and Missouri, that didn’t expand Medicaid.

How so?

Used to be Medicaid had an asset limit. The program’s income eligibility requirements limited the maximum amount of assets and income individuals could possess.

Kansas City Zoo

For the first time, the Kansas City Zoo’s baby chimpanzee has enjoyed being on public display with her twelve companion chimps. Baby Ruw was born at the zoo in April last year but rejected by her mother.

The 10-month-old spent Sunday morning touring her open habitat, clinging to the backs of older chimps. The zoo's senior director of zoological operations, Sean Putney, says Ruw’s reintroduction is going well.

Bill Tice

Gladstone residents are carrying out a citizen led strategic plan that will decide which city projects take priority for the next ten years.

The “Gladstone: Shaping Our Future” strategic planning process is unique in the metro area: it’s entirely led by the residents themselves.  

More than 100 volunteers met for over a year to brainstorm the sort of projects they’d like to see carried out in their community. Thursday night, a ten member committee started choosing which ones will make the cut.

Among the volunteers, Tina Spallo co-chairs the planning process.

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.

A worker tends to the cows at a dairy farm outside Wellington, Colorado.
File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

After hundreds of arrests of undocumented immigrants by immigration police, the Trump administration’s increased focus on immigration enforcement has some of the country’s largest farm groups worried.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

It’ll be August before Kansas Citians can vote on a minimum wage increase.

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday that the city should get more time to review a proposed ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021.

Petitioners had hoped Judge Margene Burnett would force the city to place the measure on the April 4 ballot.

The city initially declined to put the question on the ballot in November 2015 because Missouri law forbids cities from enacting a minimum wage higher than the state minimum of $7.70 an hour.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

There were rumors on social media over the weekend that authorities would be waiting outside local churches in Kansas City to arrest undocumented worshippers.

File photo

Facing a rise in police excessive force cases often gone viral on social media, a national group of prosecutors issued a “guidance document” Friday designed to help law enforcement work in a more public and proactive manner.

Led by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, the report by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys urges local and regional agencies to be more transparent, quickly respond to a scene and create written internal protocols.

Esther Honig

Public Safety will get the biggest increases in Kansas City's budget next year — while the rest of the city tightens its belt.

On Thursday,  Kansas City Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte submitted the fiscal year 2017- 2018 budget with the primary focus on firefighters and police.  

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