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White plate with baba ganoush on it.
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When he was in college, Kansas City author Adib Khorram taught himself to make Persian food.

Khorram, who grew up in Gladstone with an Iranian-born father, hadn't always felt comfortable embracing that part of his background when he was kid. The struggle to find cultural belonging would later be mirrored in his semi-autobiographical young adult novel. Another thing that found its way into his book, "Darius The Great Is Not Okay"? Iranian cuisine.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A former federal prosecutor listened to multiple recorded calls between an inmate at Leavenworth Detention Center and her attorneys, documents disclosed at an evidentiary hearing on Thursday showed.

The explosive revelations prompted the Federal Public Defender to file a motion on Friday asking for court permission to disclose the evidence “to the appropriate disciplinary authorities.”

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Trumpeter Hermon Mehari, 31, is a Missouri native, who’s now based in Paris.

In 2010, Mehari graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance where, as a student, he earned early acclaim as one of the founders of Diverse. The jazz group released two CDs, and toured the U.S. and Europe. 

Mehari released his own debut album, "Bleu," in 2017. He spoke with Fish Fry host Chuck Haddix about his career and his ties to Kansas City: 

Courtesy of Open Spaces

Pop star and actress Janelle Monae is returning to her hometown this weekend to headline the October 13 concert of the Open Spaces Festival. Monae, a graduate of Schlagle High School, talks about how being from Wyandotte County influences her music and her personal and professional aesthetic.

David Hawley

Hundreds of steamboats are buried underground along the banks of the Missouri River. We just don’t know where they are. One of them, however, was recently discovered under a cornfield near Malta Bend, Missouri, about 80 miles east of Kansas City.

That's where Nellie Backes Mertensmeyer grew up on the Backes farm. When he was a child, Steve Mertensmeyer's mother told him about a steamboat residing somewhere on that land. It was part of the local folklore.

"The story was that's why Malta Bend is named Malta Bend: because the Malta sank in the bend," said Mertensmeyer.

Missouri Senate, Samuel King

Updated at 12:05 p.m. to clarify fundraising totals — Missouri Democrats are hoping to cut into the Republicans’ supermajority in the General Assembly, and the 8th District is a main target.

It’s a rematch for the eastern Jackson County seat that stayed with Republicans in November 2017’s special election, when then-House Majority Leader Mike Cierpiot managed a narrow victory (50 percent) over Democrat Hillary Shields (42.6 percent) and independent Jacob Turk (7 percent).

The Secret To Kansas City's Most Popular Pita Bread

11 hours ago
Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

Located just a few hundred feet away from The Olive Cafe restaurant in south Kansas City is an unassuming, medium-sized warehouse — the Olive Cafe’s bakery. Filled with a number of strange machines, the bakery serves a singular purpose: making pita bread.

Salah Mansi is the owner of the Olive Cafe and has been overseeing the daily operations of the bakery since its opening in 2003.

“I do this for 15 years,” Mansi said. “It’s hard work, it’s not easy work.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

For students who speak a language other than English at home, it can take years to learn English well enough to pass tests at school.

For refugee students – many of whom never went to school – it can take even longer.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.8

In a week when the first concrete is being poured to extend Kansas City's MAX bus line from downtown to Prospect Avenue, the Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) met with residents to let them know when buildings might be blocked and where protected walkways will be.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Take a look at the Kansas budget and one item looms large, eating up more state spending than anything else.

Schools swallow about $4.5 billion. That spending rose after an infusion of cash by lawmakers earlier this year in response to a court ruling in a long-running fight over whether state government does enough to support public education.

Jolie Justus

Kansas City councilwoman Jolie Justus has re-entered the race for Kansas City mayor in 2019.

The announcement comes one week after Jason Kander withdrew from the race citing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

In a video announcing the news, Justus first thanked Kander.

Luetkemeyer and Rucker
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The race to replace Missouri Sen. Rob Schaaf has come down to two millennials who knew each other while attending Mizzou.

One is Republican Tony Luetkemeyer, a soft-spoken attorney who’s seeking his first elective office and has deep political connections — he’s close to party leaders and his wife, Lucinda Luetkemeyer, was general counsel in the office of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other is Democrat Martin T. Rucker II, a former Kansas City Chiefs and Mizzou football player who co-founded a Democratic-leaning political club in the Northland and ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat in 2016.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Residents of the poorest parts of Kansas City are tired of city leaders making promises about investing in the city's east side.

file photo / KCUR 89.3

Missouri residents packed the driver's license office near the intersection of Cleaver and Troost Wednesday afternoon to beat the state's voter registration deadline for the November election.

Kyle Duyck moved to Missouri from Oregon two years ago. As someone who has regularly voted in previous years, Duyck said he does not want to miss this year’s midterm elections.

“I think there needs to be checks and balances,” Duyck said. “Keeping a Senate seat so we actually can get more moderate elections and get more moderate bills passed would be very important for me.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A local Kansas GOP official has resigned after making disparaging remarks about Kansas congressional candidate Sharice Davids, writing "Your radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation."

On Sunday night, Michael Kalny, former GOP precinct committeeman of Shawnee, Kansas, made the remarks in a private Facebook message to Anne Pritchett, a chapter president of the Johnson County Democratic Women.

Pritchett said she was surprised at first. 

Zenoir/Creative Commons

The tussle between community groups and bar owners in Kansas City over background checks for servers will continue for at least another week.

The city council's Neighborhood and Public Safety Committee has been struggling over various proposals that range from doing away with liquor cards to easing restrictions on who can sell alcohol to not changing a thing.

Bigstock

Kansas City and St. Louis have some of the worst-rated nursing homes in the country, while Topeka, Overland Park and Wichita have some of the best.

That’s according to rankings published by FamilyAssets, a New York-based company that offers assessments and planning for people seeking home health care services.

bigstock.com

Updated at 10:23 a.m. Oct. 10 with state's response — A Cole County judge has rejected a sworn statement that Missouri voters who wanted to use non-photo forms of identification had to sign in order to vote.

But Richard Callahan’s ruling, issued Tuesday, says most of the identification requirement the Missouri Legislature created in 2016 “is within its constitutional prerogative under the Missouri Constitution."

Kenny Johnson

A new ballet with an original score isn’t quite as rare an event as a house falling on a witch, but it is an exciting chance to shape a fresh telling of the beloved story.

L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” set in Kansas, sparked 13 sequels, story spin-offs, and multiple adaptations on stage and film.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Terry Chester was 15 when he got his first job at the I-70 Drive-In, making $2.90 per hour. That was minimum wage at the time.

Decades later, after the recession, he found himself working for minimum wage again as a sacker at Sun Fresh. Chester, 53, has been there five years and now makes $9.85 an hour. He said he lives paycheck to paycheck.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

As the rain fell steadily outside Tuesday morning, a maintenance worker was trying to dry out the carpet in the children’s corner of the Waldo branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

“Water seeping through here is a regular occurrence,” said deputy library director Joel Jones.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

As Missouri school districts await state test scores they should have received months ago, some administrators said they're getting frustrated with the delay.

“I don’t have the data right now for math and reading to even make a determination as to whether the things we invested in last year are making a difference,” Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell said.

Yoder and Davids campaigns

In the final month before the November elections, Republicans and some Democrats are asking: where is Sharice Davids?

Davids, a Democratic newcomer, seems to be leading the race against Republican incumbent Congressman Kevin Yoder in the 3rd District of Kansas.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Recent discussions about protecting LGBTQ residents from discrimination in Prairie Village and Mission, Kansas, recall a similar, highly controversial effort a few years ago in Roeland Park — and a quiet development in Wyandotte County earlier this year.

Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

Although hard numbers aren't available, anecdotal evidence and recent news accounts suggest that since Lime and Bird scooters arrived in Kansas City this summer, emergency rooms are seeing an increase in scooter-related injuries.

Kansas City joins other cities reporting an uptick in scooter-related injuries following the arrival of companies like Lime and Bird and their products' rising popularity.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Before he was governor, Sam Brownback had been state agriculture secretary, congressman, and U.S. senator. But when he captured the state’s top office in 2010 he had even bigger plans: to transform Kansas into a red-state model for the nation.

That’s not the way things panned out.

Kansas Historical Society

The federal government recently tore up Debbie and Tony Morrison’s front yard in the small southeast Kansas town of Caney.

And the two are happy about it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came in, scraped away contaminated dirt, replaced it with clean soil and spread sod on top.

“It actually looks very good,” Morrison said. “After they put the new grass in, they came down and they faithfully watered and cared for it continually until they felt like it had taken hold.”

StoryCorps

StoryCorps' MobileBooth came to Kansas City to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

For muralists Phil Shafer, aka Sike Style, and JT Daniels, making bold, colorful murals throughout Kansas City is more than just painting outdoors.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Fresh off a victory that cemented his latest, controversial, pick for the nation’s high court, President Donald Trump came to Kansas Saturday night hoping to transfer his popularity in the state to two fellow Republicans.

Trump arrived just hours after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — the most controversial appointment to the court in generations. He was in regular rally form, playing to an adoring crowd of some 10,000 thrilled supporters at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

With seven months to go before the 2019 primary election, the eight candidates running to replace Kansas City Mayor Sly James participated in the second debate of the race Saturday afternoon at UMKC

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