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A smiling person with shoulder-length red hair. Wearing a white shirt and positioned in front of a light neutral background.
Andrew Eccles

She's well known for her stints as assistant Erin on the television show "The Office," the naive friend in the movie "Bridesmaids" and the lead role on Netflix comedy "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." Now Missouri-native Ellie Kemper is branching out from the screen to the page with a newly-released collection of personal essays. We talked about why her the book devotes a chapter to squirrels and what it was like to make the jump from from the Midwest to Hollywood.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The state of KanCare.

Since it's creation in 2013, KanCare has received heavy criticism. The privatized Medicaid dispursement program started by former Gov. Sam Brownback has struggled with long processing wait times, bad data collection and lawsuits. Today, administrators of the program discuss the myriad issues they've dealt with already and the ones that remain to be solved.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

"A Blade So Black," a new young adult novel, is a modern twist on the children's classic, "Alice in Wonderland." This Alice faces the challenges of growing up a black teen in urban Atlanta while also fighting the nightmares in Wonderland. Author L. L. McKinney spoke with us about the novel and how she wrote the female protagonist so her niece could read books with characters that look like her. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Will redevelopment on a single block of Troost be the bellweather for how the city revitalizes other neighborhoods?

Grey keyboard with "Healthcare" printed on green return key.
BigStock

Segment 1: Kansas refusal to expand Medicaid has delayed access to medical care and left many poor residents uninsured.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Will Kansas City's new months-long arts festival draw a crowd and make a buck?

Man in dirty jeans, a t-shirt and ball cap walking along a concrete median holding a cardboard sign out to cars along the road.
Hanlly Sam / The Accent / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: A proposed ordinance would limit the amount of time pedestrians could spend in crosswalks and traffic islands.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local reactions to Pennsylvania grand jury report on seven decades of sexual abuse of children by clergy.

Courtney Bierman / KCUR 89.3

Vampires and transgender people are similar in a number of ways, says anthology editor Bogi Takács. Members of each group are often outcasts on the fringe of society, have atypical bodies, and attract the fascination of the mainstream.

Rachel Guthrie / Merryman4Jackson.com

Segment 1: Matthew Merryman wants to be the next Jackson County executive.

A former public defender and political newcomer from Kansas City is challenging incumbent Frank White for Jackson County executive. Today, he shared his reasons for running, and discussed his plans to address a crumbling county jail, keep guns out of schools and forge good relationships with county legislators.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

It's okay not to be okay. That's the essential message of a new book for young adult readers by Kansas City author Adib Khorram.

Darius The Great is Not Okay follows a boy with an Iranian mom and teutonic, white-guy dad through the cruelty and tenderness of adolescence. Darius lives in Portland. He struggles with depression. He's bullied at school, and he's unsure of his place at home. He doesn't speak Farsi, like his mom and sister, and he's convinced he's a disappointment to his dad. His only comforts come from hot tea and Star Trek

Bibliofiles: Suburbia

Jul 17, 2018

The 'dark side' of suburbia has been a running theme in American literature for at least a couple of decades. The theme has many forms: existential boringness, the soul-sucking blandness of conformity or as an evil secret lurking behind a too-pleasant veneer. On this episode, the Bibliofiles dive into a discussion about how suburban life is represented in literature and recommend new and noteworthy releases. 

Kaite Stover, Director of readers' Services, Kansas City Public Library

Mike Peyton

It's a stormy summer afternoon in Columbia, Missouri, when the writer Ibtisam Barakat arrives at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for a book group discussion. She's wearing boots, a colorful skirt, and large hoop ear rings, carrying a large tray of manakish, a Palestinian traditional flatbread.

Kansas Historical Society

Segment 1: Former Kansas Democratic governor on the approaching midterm elections.

In 1979 John Carlin began the first of two terms as Kansas governor. He went on to work as the Eighth Archivist of  the United States by appointment of President Bill Clinton. Today, as a Kansas State University professor and leading figure in local civic engagement, he's still heavily involved in state and the state of politics. We got his take on the race for his former office.

Judge Garry Helm seated before a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Missouri's 2015 reform bill means fewer defendants bother to appear in court for traffic violations.

In the wake of Ferguson, then-Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed a sweeping court reform bill to cut down on percieved predatory traffic stops that burdened the poor unduly. Today a judge and a criminal defense attorney questioned the bill's efficacy that has fewer Missourians showing up for their court dates and has created greater workloads for court clerks and support staff.

Portraits of George and Martha Washington as they appeared on a early 20th century postcard.
Boston Public Library

Segment 1: Kansas Supreme Court rules new school funding plan lacks sufficient money but gives legislature another year to eliminate shortfall.

In order to avoid school shutdowns, the Kansas Legislature recently added $522 million to the education budget over the next five years. Still, critics argue this will not be enough and more needs to be added for inflation. Today, we looked at this latest development in the longstanding Gannon case and its implications for the future of public education in the state.

Cskiran / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: The latest in state and Kansas City politics.

Jason Kander announced on Monday his candidacy for mayor of Kansas City, making him the ninth person to enter what's sure to be a closely-watched race. Today, our panel of pundits shared their take on the coming mayoral elections, the Kansas primaries, and the Missouri Senate race that is garnering national attention.

Google Earth

Segment 1: Some residents say big, new homes on small, old lots are changing the nature of the Kansas suburb.

Home teardowns are not a new problem in Prairie Village, but the issue is receiving a lot of new attention. Today, we asked city leadership how they would strike a balance between property owners' ability to build what they want on their own land, and preserving the look and feel of what's long been known as a modest, affordable community.

The Community - PopCulture Geek

Segment 1: Recent development projects will see some of downtown Kansas City's iconic buildings updated.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Democratic rising star Jason Kander on voting rights, Missouri politics and the 2020 presidential race.

While he may have lost his 2016 bid to unseat Missouri's Republican U.S. Senator, Roy Blunt, Democrat Jason Kander certainly hasn't disappeared from the political stage. Today, he tells us why he's turned his sights to expanding voting rights. Plus, Steve Kraske asks him why he's spending so much time in Iowa and New Hampshire lately.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Finding the best way to memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Kansas City.

Many in Kansas City agree there should be something here to memorialize the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The question is, what? Following suggestions The Paseo be renamed (or 39th Street or 63rd) Mayor Sly James appointed an advisory group to recommend how best to proceed. Today, we spoke with the co-chair of that panel, which recommended attaching Dr. King's name to a yet-to-be-built terminal at the airport.

Two people stand in front of a small white prop plane. The background is a blue sky.
James and Deborah Fallows

Segment 1: What Missouri lawmakers passed — and what they didn't — during last week's end-of-session chaos. 

There was certainly lots of news coming out of Jefferson City this year, but much of it didn't have a whole lot to do with legislation. Today, two regular faces around the Missouri Capitol tell us about the bills lawmakers pushed through, and what was lost or ignored this session in the wake of controversies swirling around Gov. Eric Greitens.

Segment 1: A ride-along with the police through homeless camps touched a nerve on social media.

Around the end of April, police officers and social service workers went searching for homeless camps in Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood. This "sweep out" of the camps elicited strong conflicting feelings. A journalist who went on a ride-along with the police on that day shares his perspective.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local 15-year-old creates a space for teens and young adults to embrace their love of books.

Book festivals for adults are a dime a dozen. Now, a teenager from Prairie Village is looking to give young readers a chance to geek out over their favorite past-time, too. We met the organizer, and spoke with two writers who are taking part this weekend in the first ever LitUp Festival.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

"Not enough teenagers are reading."

Fifteen-year-old Emery Uhlig says this was her motivation to organize a youth literary festival. As the driving force behind the LitUp Festival, the Prairie Village resident wanted to create space for teenagers to celebrate their love of books.

"In a world where we can have things instantly," she says, "people are moving away from books and toward digital media."

Author Clare Vanderpool agrees.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Segment 1: A merger with T-Mobile could change Sprint's long-standing relationship to the metro.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Students in Kansas City and across the country stage a school walkout, 19 years after a mass shooting at Columbine High School.

Katie Moore/The Topeka Capital-Journal

Annette Billings says poetry isn’t about precious kittens and pretty flowers. Rather, she says, the form often calls for much harder, more controversial subject matter.

“Sometimes I feel compelled to write about a murder,” she says, “or a woman who’s living in a domestic violence environment.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How do university students ensure their priorities have a voice in state government?

Students in Kansas and Missouri have concerns that go beyond their next exams and life after graduation. They point to soaring tuition rates, concealed weapons on campus, sexual harassment and assault, and state support for higher education. To communicate their concerns, student lobbyists work the hallways in both state Capitols. Today, we met the students who do this important work.

H.C. Palmer

H.C. Palmer had graduated from medical school but hadn't yet finished his residency when the Army drafted him in the mid-1960s.

President Lyndon Johnson's administration took 1,500 men from medical training programs across the country and sent them to Vietnam as surgeons.

By August 1965, Palmer found himself in a war zone as part of the First Infantry Division. All these years later, he says he’ll never completely find his way out — nor will others who’ve been similarly exposed to the “many horrific things that happen in war,” he told me in a recent interview.

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