Wyandotte County

Remembering the life of gallery owner Tom Deatherage, who passed away yesterday.

How does an artist see water? Two local artists explore the Missouri River; their work appears in Tributary, an exhibit at La Esquina Gallery.

Then, a newly-minted college grad returns home to KCK to give back.

Guests:

County Health Rankings

The two counties at the bottom of Kansas’ health rankings this year share a great deal: high rates of poverty and smoking, and difficulty accessing providers.

But the latest rankings suggest the counties might be starting to diverge on one important factor: how likely their residents are to die prematurely.

Residents of Labette County in southeast Kansas took the unenviable title of Kansas’ least-healthy people from Wyandotte County in the 2017 County Health Rankings released Wednesday.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In many ways, Kansas City, Kansas, is a tale of two cities: growing wealth and optimism out west, dilapidation and empty houses in the east. But Mark Holland, city mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, holds out hope.

"We've never had more capital investment, we've never had more job growth, we've never been on a higher upswing in terms of morale in our community," he says.

At his State of the Government Address on Feb. 28, Holland laid out his plans to keep that momentum going.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland speaks with host Steve Kraske about the State of the Government Address he presented on February 28, noting the progress made in Wyandotte County, and what more needs to be done. Also, our Political Pundits examine President Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

"Growing up, I thought I lived in like a black city," says Nathan Louis Jackson, who spent his childhood and early adulthood in the Quindaro neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas. "I didn't understand the makeup of this city. And not just that, it wasn't just a racial makeup, it was also economic. All that, I didn't get. I was in a little bubble."

Megan Wingerter / Heartland Health Monitor

It isn’t far from the gleaming bank buildings and high-end hotels to the rent-to-own stores and corner shops that stock more chips than fruit.

A visitor getting off the highway in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, would pass by a Hilton Garden Inn and several high-rise buildings bearing the names of financial companies.

Listen to Jerry Jones, executive director of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, talk about the Kirwan report

Heartland Health Monitor file photo

Vicki Hiatt, who lost her bid to unseat Republican firebrand Mary Pilcher-Cook in the Kansas Senate by a mere 980 votes in the initial vote tally, has requested a recount.

Hiatt, a Democrat who ran for the District 10 seat, which includes parts of Johnson and Wyandotte counties, made the request in a letter today to Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker. The letter was prompted by election night tabulation problems in Johnson County that delayed the reporting of results until the next day.  

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The number of registered voters in Kansas has risen by more than 40,000 since the 2012 presidential election, according the Secretary of State’s office. But it’s a different story in Wyandotte County. Even though the population of the big county in the Kansas City metro is growing, voter registrations are down by around 4,000 from four years ago.

In the days before the Oct. 18 registration deadline, a few volunteers were working to change that. They had unfolded a table in front of a Dollar Tree store to register voters in Kansas City, Kansas.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

After more than 100 years in Kansas City, Missouri, the American Royal will have a new home in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The American Royal Association announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement with the state of Kansas and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County to relocate to KCK next to the Village West shopping district. 

"We are excited to welcome our patrons to a facility we design and build exclusively for them," says Angie Stanland, American Royal board chairwoman. 

Twitter

In an effort to take advantage of expanding local government data capabilities, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, has hired Alan Howze to fill a new position — chief knowledge officer. The role merges public service, government efficiency, and transparency, several things he is passionate about, Howze said in a Facebook post.

Brad Nading

After a series of hits to their budgets, community mental health centers in Kansas are adjusting through cutbacks, changes in services or a combination of the two.

In Topeka, Valeo Behavioral Health Care plans to limit sessions for uninsured patients. Valeo provided about $2 million in charitable care last year but can’t offer that much this year because of cuts to Medicaid and other revenue streams, CEO Bill Persinger says.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, Wyandotte County has seen the number of its uninsured fall from 26 percent to 18 percent, one of the biggest drops in the country.

But it’s one thing to boast of boosting the ranks of the insured, another to steer them through a complicated and, at times, bewildering health care system.

With a $1.9 million grant from the United Health Foundation, announced today by county officials at the offices of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, the county is now in a better position to do that.

Liz / Wikimedia Commons

Schools around Kansas are just a couple of weeks from opening for the new school year, but about three dozen districts say they need more state aid and have applied for extraordinary needs funding.

In all, 37 districts are asking for about $8.4 million from the state Board of Education. There is about $15 million in the pool. All districts contribute a small portion of their state aid to the pool.

Two of the biggest requests come from the two of the smaller districts in this area: Spring Hill in Johnson County and Basehor-Linwood in Leavenworth County. 

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

One of the area’s leading mental health service is cutting services for more than 800 adults and children.

Wyandot Inc., an umbrella organization for four nonprofit agencies in Kansas City, Kansas, said today that it would need to cut services due to revenue losses and Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision earlier this year to reduce Medicaid reimbursements by 4 percent.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Amazon is building another huge facility in the Kansas City area, this one in Kansas City, Kansas, and it will bring more than 1,000 new jobs to an underutilized part of Wyandotte County.

Those jobs will start above minimum wage, come with benefits, and steep community college tuition discounts. They’ll be at a new facility south of I-70 near the Turner Diagonal, which is good news to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

Unsplash / Pixabay

More Kansans are commuting to work than were in 2010.

That’s the latest from the Wichita State-based Center for Economic Development and Business Research, which on Thursday released an occasional report on Kansans’ commuting patterns.

“The choices about where we work are driven by the business cycle and what’s happening in that industry,” Pattie Bradley, senior research economist, says. “The choices we make about where to live are much more varied.”

Schools, crime, the cost and availability of housing, other amenities – all factor into the decisions people make.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

William Conway. Charles Luken. Frank Rohrback. Maurice Bedell. Wesley Walden. Thomas Medina. James Reynolds.

“Those are the men, the deputies, who are carved in this monument,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 40 President David Toland said Wednesday at the dedication ceremony for a memorial honoring fallen Wyandotte County sheriff deputies. “I hope these are the last.”

An emotional Rick Whitby, president emeritus of FOP Lodge 40, shared personal stories about two of the fallen deputies.

Whitby said he was the last to talk to Reynolds before he died in 1984.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, to remember KCK Detective Brad Lancaster, who was shot and killed as he pursued a suspect near the Kansas Speedway last Monday.

As she stood in line waiting to get inside the park, community member Carey Rosetti said she was sad to lose a member of her local police force.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is moving to the Kansas Speedway.

The annual barbecue contest was held last year at the Truman Sports Complex after it outgrew the West Bottoms, its home for 36 years.

Carolyn Wells with the Kansas City Barbecue Society says having enough space to accommodate everyone is the most important consideration.

“Accommodate them, and accommodate them well. Barbecue teams need electricity, they need water, and they need real estate,” Wells says.

She survived a person's worst nightmare. KCUR's investigative team brings us the story of how one woman’s vicious attacker was finally found after 17 years, and of the mistake that left the case open for so long.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Wyandotte County prosecutors filed charges Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of Kansas City, Kansas Det. Brad Lancaster.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman charged Curtis Ayers of Tonganoxie, Kansas with capital murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and burglary, two counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm.

At a press conference, Gorman said Ayers' bond was set at $10 million. He also said the case could be prolonged if Ayers fights extradition from Jackson County back to Wyandotte County.

Illustration by Jacob Joslyn

Juliette was startled awake on August 17, 1999, and faced a woman’s worst nightmare: a man was in her bedroom, brandishing a large knife.

“He said, ‘Be quiet and I won’t hurt you,’” says Juliette (a pseudonym). “I thought that meant he was going to rape me and leave.”

The Health Inequality Project

A new study drawing on a massive trove of data confirms long-held notions that when it comes to life expectancy, income matters: The richest American men live 15 years longer than the poorest men and the richest American women live 10 years longer than the poorest women.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerry Gorman wants first crack at prosecuting Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, the Mexican man accused of killing four people in Kansas City, Kansas, Monday night.

Kansas City, Kansas, police found Michael Capps, 41; Jeremy Waters, 36; Clint Harter, 27; and Austin Harter, 29, at a home on South 36th Street in what Gorman described as a “rural” location.

Fresh off his third State of the Government address, Mayor and CEO of Wyandotte County Mark Holland is thinking about health care, small businesses and the need for population growth.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Market rate apartments are being built in Kansas City, Kansas, for the first time in 30 years.

In Tuesday’s State of the County address, Mayor Mark Holland said while he’s celebrating the more than $150 million investment in the Legends, he’s also thinking about how to improve Wyandotte County’s existing housing stock.

“I want our housing to be affordable not because it’s deplorable, but because we care about the people who live in it,” Holland said.

It’s a common problem: people who find jobs and break the cycle of poverty end up leaving Wyandotte County.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Hit by recent cuts in state mental health programs, Wyandot Inc., an umbrella organization for four nonprofit agencies in Kansas City, Kansas, has eliminated 26 positions.

Six of the positions were vacant and won’t be filled and six other employees accepted transfers to other positions in the organization, leaving a total of 14 who lost their jobs.

Payday loans can be a way to help people out of a financial jam, but borrowers can wind up paying fees greater than the initial loan. We look at payday lender Scott Tucker and why the Federal Trade Commission is seeking $1.32 billion from him.

Guest:

  • Steve Vockrodt is a reporter at The Pitch.

Denise Cross / Flickr-cc

Wyandotte County, Kansas, is one of only two counties in the country where three different ethnic groups — Black, Hispanic and White — each make up more than 25 percent of the population.

How residents feel about that diversity though, is about as diverse as the county itself. 

For some, the medley of different ethnicities in the county has given them a unique perspective on life and opened their eyes to other cultures.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

At her home studio in Westwood, Kansas, yoga instructor Marilyn Pace leads a class of 5-to-8-year olds. With the help of songs, games and other kid-friendly teaching methods, she guides her small students through poses like the cobra, the triangle and the downward-facing dog.

Tatjana Alvegard takes her daughter, Kaya, to Pace’s classes regularly.

“I played sports when I was a kid, and I think it’s really important. It makes for a good, healthy adult if you learn discipline and you learn it’s good to take care of your body,” Alvegard says.

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