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courtesy Historic Kansas City

Historic Kansas City released on Tuesday its annual "Most Endangered" list of buildings and places that could be torn down, altered, or crumble "into obscurity." 

This year's list contains at-risk closed schools, historic churches, and apartment buildings as well as sites such as baseball legend Buck O’Neil’s home, the Epperson House on the UMKC campus, and the Aladdin Theater in the historic Northeast.  

Johnson County Poised To Expand Mental Health Services

Jul 31, 2018
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County’s proposed $1.1 billion budget for 2019 includes a $3 million increase in spending on mental health services.

The money would fund six additional workers at the Johnson County Mental Health Center, including three new case managers who would work with both children and adults.

At a hearing Monday night, the only public input consisted of two suggestions to further lower the tax rate. The board is already planning to lower the mill levy rate in 2019 because property values have increased.

Courtesy photo / Bruce Matthews

Elmwood Cemetery covers 43 acres shaded by centuries-old trees at the corner of Van Brunt Boulevard and Truman Road in Kansas City's Historic Northeast neighborhood. Anywhere from 35,000 to 38,000 people are buried there, including mayors, local pioneers and scions of Kansas City's business and civic communites.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. to include information that the Missouri attorney general's office has begun a criminal investigation into the accident.

Two separate civil lawsuits have been filed over the duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri, that led to deaths of 17 people on July 19.

Melanie Rodriguez

The 2018 KC Fringe Festival's final performance lineup included a Greek myth, Cirque du Soleil homage, and a "Rugrats"-inspired story of loss of innocence — all of which were created by local artists.  

The 14th annual, 10-day celebration of visual and performing arts ended on Sunday with repeat performances of the best-selling shows at each of the festival's 14 venues.

UpdateSince this recording aired on November 22, 2010, Susan Wilson has become the Vice-chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion at UMKC. She also shares that she reached out to her Italian side of her family that had disowned her mother. She received an email back saying: “Susan, this is your cousin John. I have been looking for you for over 25 years.” Susan Wilson and Sharmelle Winsett attended their first Italian family reunion in 2015.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

A youth-led organization is working to get more Muslims involved in politics.

In front of a crowd of about 40 people at the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City on Sunday, KC Muslim Civic Initiative organizer Deena Essa urged attendees at this nonpartisan town hall to vote on August 7.

Scott Beachler / NET News

Ruth June has planted 120 black walnut trees on her farm in Lancaster County, Nebraska, and delights in the birds she’s seen migrating through.

“This is a nice quite neighborhood. Nice people. Everybody gets along,” she said.

It’s a tranquil scene she worries may soon be disturbed due to a different type of bird: Chickens, nearly 200,000 of them, that could be housed in four 600 foot-long barns half a mile from her house.

Group's Goal Was A Weekend Without A Murder In Kansas City

Jul 29, 2018
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

The grassroots organization Operation Ceasefire KC had one goal: a weekend in Kansas City without any murders.

With the Kansas City Police Department reporting more than 60 homicides heading into the weekend, Operation Ceasefire KC scheduled a gospel concert on Friday, a field day on Saturday and free haircuts at local barbershops on Sunday.

The Best Frozen Treats In Kansas City In 2018

Jul 28, 2018
The display case at an ice cream shop. It shows various brightly colored tubs of ice cream
Jpellgen / Flickr

Was the Choco Taco, a concoctation that nestles vanilla ice cream and fudgey swirls into a sugar cone-turned-shell, a part of your childhood summers? It was for Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann.

Turns out the treat isn't something that can only be found in the halls of one's memory! You can recreate those summertime vibes of youth (or, at least, Gina can) by picking them up in boxes of four at the Roeland Park Price Chopper.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

A Republican state senator who endorsed a Democrat for Congress and criticized Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer’s health policies is paying a hefty political price for speaking her mind.

Senate President Susan Wagle announced last week that she had stripped Sen. Barbara Bollier, a moderate from Mission Hills, of her leadership position on the Senate health committee.

Operation Ceasefire KC Facebook Page

Ronell Bailey got the idea to start a grassroots initiative to stop gun violence in Kansas City from a movie — Barbershop: The Next Cut.

In the third installment of the Barbershop series, salon owner Calvin Palmer Jr., played by Ice Cube, gives away free haircuts to the community during a weekend-long “ceasefire” to curb violence in the neighborhood.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The primary election for Jackson County sheriff, slated to take place Aug. 7, may not happen.

A lawsuit filed three weeks ago by the Jackson County Democratic Committee seeks to cancel the primary election as unlawful.

The committee’s argument: The clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, Mary Jo Spino, had no legal authority to reopen the filing period for candidates after the primary filing deadline of March 27.

Spino did just that for five days beginning May 7. The move, says the committee, was outside the scope of her authority.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ decision not to seek re-election drew seven fellow Republicans eager to take over the seat from the Kansas 2nd Congressional District.

That’s left them elbowing for ways to stand out in the crowded field — and face a politically formidable Democrat in one of the few dozen districts across the country where oddsmakers see at least a plausible chance of a seat flipping from red to blue in the mid-term election.

AL.com

Of course, things change. But to truly transform typically takes a plan.

Leave it to the weekend to deliver a convenient blueprint for transformational occasions rooted in music, comedy, fantasy and the natural realm. All you have to do is show up.

Am I making this sound too easy? Gosh, I hope so. Otherwise, you might miss your makeover!

1. Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

The number of children in foster care in Kansas went down in May and June, the first such two-month drop in more than a year.

J Aeionic / Flickr

Folk singer and songwriter Danny Cox has been a fixture of the Kansas City music scene since he moved here from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1967. Cox played at classic venues like the Vanguard Coffee House in the 1960s, and the Cowtown Ballroom in the '70s. 

And he's still performing. When Cox recently turned 75, KCUR's Fish Fry host Chuck Haddix spoke with Cox about his life and career, starting with his song "Kansas City":

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Chappell Electric is the very definition of a small business: call, and owner Germaine Chappell picks up on the second ring.

“Our motto is to exceed above expectations,” Chappell says. “Every job we go on, we give 100 percent and go up and beyond what the general contractor or the client is asking for.”

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Several members of a task force formed by Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer to address the opioid crisis claim his refusal to consider Medicaid expansion undermines their work.

KCUR

If a blue wave sweeps across America and ousts Republicans from control of the U.S. House, Democrats probably must first win the 3rd Congressional District that sits mostly in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.

In the six-way Democratic primary, one question stands out: Who can beat a possibly vulnerable U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in November?

“Any Republican in a district that Hillary Clinton won in this environment needs to be watching their back,” said University of Kansas political science professor Patrick Miller.

Experts: Missouri’s Widespread Drought Expected to Get Worse

Jul 26, 2018
U.S. Drought Monitor

Missouri officials considered ways to step up drought response Thursday, the same day the U.S. Drought Monitor said more than 2.5 million people are being affected by the conditions.

3D Development

A $95 million redevelopment plan for the former Kansas City Star property that includes renovating the historic structure and building a boutique grocery store and marketplace above a 500-space underground garage has cleared its first hurdles at City Hall.

The full Kansas City Council on Thursday approved an ambitious plan from developer Vincent Bryant, who told a council committee Wednesday morning that he wanted to make the former Star campus the economic center of the Crossroads area.

Forbes Ranks Kansas City's Hallmark As No. 3 Employer For Women

Jul 26, 2018
Andrew Grumke / Kansas City Business Journal

Forbes has named Hallmark Cards Inc. one of the top places to work for women, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

With help from market research company Statista, Forbes compiled its first list of "America's Best Employers for Women."

The rankings were determined by a survey of 40,000 Americans, including 25,000 women, who work for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.

The Harbinger / YouTube

When Christopher Justice got a text message from a friend earlier this summer, he didn't know what it meant: "You're Twitter famous."

Justice had just graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School, and he was spending an uneventful few months working at a pizza place before heading off to college at Wichita State University. He didn't even have a Twitter account.

Jackson County has become the latest government body to sue drug companies and distributors for their alleged complicity in the opioid epidemic.

The suit, filed on Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, names dozens of businesses, including drug giants like Johnson & Johnson and pharmacies like CVS. It says at least 308 people in Jackson County died of opioid overdoses between 2013 and 2017.

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

The Jackson County Republican ice cream social drew only a couple dozen Republican voters on July 15. But all of them wore yellow “Claire... you’re fired!” stickers.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte says there may have been a crime committed when two former civilian employees didn’t come to work.

In a story first reported Monday by the Kansas City Star, Forte said he recently discovered that two part-time workers hired by former sheriff Mike Sharp were being paid for little or no work.

A sheriff's office source tells KCUR the pair reported directly to Sharp, so no one knew what they were doing.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Overland Park has dismissed 200 traffic tickets and refunded $4,000 in fines over an unusual traffic ticket scandal. As a result, three police officers resigned last week, according to Chief Frank Donchez.

What the officers did is a little hard to understand.

“They were writing seatbelt tickets instead of other tickets,” says Donchez.

So even if a driver was speeding or ran a red light, these three officers would just write a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.

Why?

Pedersen Development

A Colorado developer is planning a $37 million Hyatt House Hotel on a vacant lot at Ninth and Broadway, and in a major departure, the project would be built without parking.

Scott Pedersen of Boulder-based Pedersen Development said guests staying at the proposed 13-story, 153-room hotel would be served with valet parking.

The reason?

“Kansas City parking garage utilization runs at 56 percent occupancy at noon and drops to 26 percent at 5 p.m. Overnight, it’s 13 percent,” Pedersen said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

There's good news for a Kansas City elementary school that wasn’t sure how it would continue a successful tutoring program that helps transient students catch up in English and math: a $75,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation will keep it alive.

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