Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Former Democratic Gov. John Carlin and former Republican House Speaker Mike O’Neal have starkly different views on the condition of Kansas government. That divergence was plain as the two met in Topeka Thursday for a discussion about the size of government recorded for KCUR’s Statehouse Blend Kansas podcast.


O’Neal and Carlin agree on one thing -- that they don’t know exactly what the “right size” of state government is.


As part of a series on mental health care in Kansas by Heartland Health Monitor, we take a look at the history of Topeka's landmark mental health center: the Menninger Clinic.


  • Roy Menninger, former president, Menninger Clinic
 Julia Szabo
KCUR 89.3

The number of teachers leaving Kansas or simply quitting the profession has dramatically increased over the last four years.

The annual Licensed Personnel Report was released Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Education. While it was provided to the Board of Education meeting in Topeka Tuesday, the report was buried in board documents and not addressed by either staff or the board.

The report shows that 1,075 teachers left the profession last year, up from 669 four years ago. That's a 61 percent increase.

In researching Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, Arkansas State University sociologist Rebecca Barrett-Fox got an intimate view of the ministry's operations. Despite what most people think, Barrett-Fox found the congregation and its roots aren't that far off the beaten path.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A state Senate race in the Topeka area shows how complicated this election cycle can be for some candidates. Kansas Republicans are running at a time when polls are showing the state’s Republican governor – and the Legislature itself – with pretty low approval ratings.

Senator Vicki Schmidt, a moderate Republican from Topeka’s 20th District, is not shy about the fact that she often doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Gov. Sam Brownback.

Matt Hodapp / Heartland Health Monitor

A federal judge blocked Kansas’ effort to cut off two regional Planned Parenthood affiliates’ Medicaid funding, ruling the move likely violates federal law.

In a 54-page decision handed down late Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (now known as Planned Parenthood Great Plains) and by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons--CC

Four former governors have banded together to “Save Kansas” from Gov. Sam Brownback and his supporters.

In a letter circulated Friday, former Govs. Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Graves, Mike Hayden and John Carlin urged Kansas Democrats, Republicans and Independents to band together “to regain our fiscal health and stop the calculated destruction of our revenue stream and our educational, healthcare, and transportation systems.

flickr user Peter Musolino

Many teenagers seek out jobs, often for the first time, in the summer. Writer and novelist Thomas Fox Averill was 16 when he started his first job at Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas.

Averill, a writer-in-residence and professor of English at Washburn University, spent three summers as part of the grounds crew at Mount Hope. He told New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam that the experience shaped his life and his approach to writing.

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The stage is set for what many believe could be a pivotal 2016 election season in Kansas.

With campaigns for all 165 seats in the Legislature, the opportunity for change is reflected in the roster of candidates certified by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after Wednesday’s filing deadline.

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

Now that the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the Legislature failed to fix inequity, school districts must seriously plan for a possible shut down on June 30.

Here's some questions school officials and parents may be asking.

Are the schools really going to close on June 30?

Conservative Republican Sen. Forrest Knox faces voters in Gridley, Kansas.
Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The 2016 election could be a tough one for some Kansas lawmakers hoping to return to the Statehouse.

Polls, editorials and reader comments on news websites indicate that voters are paying attention to what’s happening in Topeka, and many don’t like what they’re seeing.

Dyche Hall, University of Kansas
Ajohnson360 / CC

The regular meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday already had a bit of a somber tone; all six universities came in with tuition hike requests between 3.3 percent and 5 percent. In a 109-page document the schools detailed increased expenses and an anticipated 3 percent cut from the state.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

Most school districts have moved to comply with stricter nutrition standards since the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed them almost four years ago. 

But many still lack kitchen equipment necessary to make the healthier school breakfasts and lunches appealing.

There's a lot to talk about in politics right now. The Kansas Legislative session is over, Missouri's session is in its final week, and the race for the presidential nomination is headed for the finish line. Up To Date's political pundits hash it all out. 


J. Schafer / Kansas Public Radio

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was processing a crime scene Sunday  at a Topeka hotel where three federal agents suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being shot while trying to make an arrest on Saturday night.

According to a statement by the FBI, members of the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force were executing a federal arrest warrant for Orlando J. Collins, 28, who was on the Kansas most-wanted list and was considered armed and dangerous. The warrant had been issued for Collins on April 20, charging him with two counts of robbery.

Maria Elena Cuevas calls her sound "roots music." In her case, roots have special significance. Her grandmother founded one of the first all-female mariachi bands in the country. That's where Cuevas and her sister/bandmate, Tess, got an early start. Hear songs from Maria the Mexican's new album, including a live in-studio performance.

  • Maria Elena Cuevas, frontwoman, Maria the Mexican, out with a new album called South of the Border Moonlight
Susie Fagan / Heartland Health Monitor

Residents of St. John, Kansas packed a room in late January for an emotional, standing-room-only town hall meeting.

A week later Topekans gathered for an eerily similar meeting .

It is still unknown what the impact of the landmark Gannon school finance case will be, since the Kansas Supreme Court won't ultimately decide on it until sometime next year. 

What is clearer now, though, is the state's stance on what role the Court should play in determining funding for Kansas public education. In short, the state thinks the Court has no role. Briefs filed in Gannon Monday by the state essentially tell the Court to stay out of its legislative business. 

The Topeka City Council will consider a proposal that would outlaw public nudity in the city. Currently, there's nothing on the books making it illegal for people in the Kansas capital to bare it all.

At a meeting this week, City Councilman Jeff Coen called the Shunga Trail a gem in Topeka.

“Every time I ride, there’s bunny rabbits running across there. We’ve seen turtles and snakes,” said Coen.

But there are some things he doesn’t want see.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor says he is filing a capital murder charge and will seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a Topeka Police officer. Taylor says Ross Preston Lane is charged with shooting Topeka Police Corporal Jason Harwood during a traffic stop Sunday. Taylor says under state law, the premeditated killing of a police officer is one of the scenarios justifying a capital murder charge.

Gina Yang1 / Flickr/CC

As of next month 60 years will have passed since Brown v. Board of Education took place in Topeka, Kan. The landmark case ruled that "separate but equal" was in fact unequal, and all public schools began the desegregation process.

On today's Central Standard, host Gina Kaufmann discusses the history of education in the state of Kansas and why Topeka was the ideal setting for this case.


Pioneers' Hardship In Eastern Kansas

Sep 5, 2013
R-Cleland / Flickr - CC

Traveling to a new land, a place one has never been before can be nerve-wracking. More so when that land is uninhabited, undiscovered, and there is no support system other than your family and those traveling with you. In the case of settlers moving west, sometimes the only place for them to express themselves--their thoughts, their emotions--was their journals.

Proudfood / WikiCommons

Topeka narrowly beat out Charleston, West Virginia to be named as the home for the 2015 World Horseshoe Pitching Championship. The event will be held in July 2015 at the Kansas Expocentre.

Jeffrey Alderman, with the organization Visit Topeka, says the event is a big economic opportunity. He says the competition could draw more than 1,500 participants, known as horseshoe pitchers.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. today announced the consolidation of its manufacturing operations in Kansas to two locations: Lawrence and Leavenworth.

Joan Marcus

This week's opening of the musical Everyday Rapture at the Unicorn Theatre marks the first time it has been staged anywhere outside New York City.