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A visit to the town of Liberty, Missouri and its outlying areas to hear about a growing Mormon community, a legendary teacher in the city’s formerly segregated schools and William Jewell College’s evolving role in the town.

Guests: 

Master Sgt. Michael Crane / U.S. Air National Guard

The NFL season is only three weeks old, but the Kansas City Chiefs are the hottest team in the league, and the most hyped, thanks to the skyrocketing stardom of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Commentator Victor Wishna goes along for the ride, in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Government agencies suing pharmaceutical companies look to legal lessons learned from previous settlement against Big Tobacco.

A class-action lawsuit against tobacco companies in the late 1990s netted hundreds of billions of dollars, compensating states for costs associated with treating tobacco-related illness. Now, a comparable strategy could help defray the money cities, counties, and states are shelling out to deal with the opioid crisis. Today, an attorney involved in both cases explained the differences and similarities involved in each.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Chiefs' first home game of the season brought a packed stadium, loud fans — and the rollout of a new tailgaiting policy.  

The Chiefs announced last month the new rules, which require fans in the parking lots to either enter the stadium or leave at kickoff, not allowing for people to watch the game or keep partying. So far, the rules have not gone over well, and fan reactions on Sunday were no exception.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 5:45 p.m. with remarks from Chiefs president Mark Donovan.

The Kansas City Chiefs announced changes to their tailgating policy this week, and it's left some fans as hot as their grills.  

Fans won't be able to tailgate in the parking lot after kickoff — they'll have to enter the stadium or leave, according to the Chiefs website.

It isn't clear whether it'll take effect for Thursday's preseason game against Green Bay, or whether it'll be on the Sept. 23 home game. 

VICIS

The first preseason Chiefs game is in the books and September is just around the corner, which means it’s time to ask yourself: 'Are you ready for some football?' As commentator Victor Wishna admits in this edition of A Fan’s Notes, that isn’t the easiest question for everyone to answer.

As training gets underway at camps and campuses from coast to coast, football is back in the headlines — and most of them are bad:

Harpers470 / Creative Commons-Flickr

The NFL now has a rule that requires players to "show respect for the flag and anthem" during pre-game ceremonies. Players aren't required to be on the field for the anthem but if they are, no kneeling or sitting is permitted. They must stand.

The rule, announced last week after a meeting by team owners, sparked an immediate political firestorm. President Trump said he was pleased, but suggested if a player doesn't want to participate, "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

The University of Kansas fired its athletic director on Monday.

Sheahon Zenger has led KU’s athletic department since 2011. In a letter to the KU community, Chancellor Douglas Girod said KU athletics has failed to make progress in “key areas."

Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: What science does (and doesn't) know about medical marijuana.

Missouri and Kansas are edging closer to legalizing medical marijuana under limited circumstances, but what do we really know about its health effects? While state lawmakers debate possible harms or benefits of cannabis and its derivatives, we spoke with a scientist who helped write a major study about the good, bad and unknown health effects of marijuana.

AP Images / Courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters is a paradox. He’s a lightning rod for attention because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem and his in-game emotional outbursts. But Peters also seems to reject a lot of attention.

In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs met up on the tennis court to see whether women could cut it in sports. Inspired by Battle of the Sexes, we take a look at how their legendary match influenced feminism and women in sports today.

Plus: a teacher at Shawnee Mission East wrote a song that addresses sexual assault ... and invited his students to collaborate on it. Hear the story behind his song, "Fallen Roses."

 

Vicis

The Kansas City Chiefs are off to a championship-caliber start. But their prospects, and the future of football itself, may depend on whether the game can be made safer — for players to play, and for fans to watch with a clear conscience. Commentator Victor Wishna elaborates in the September edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Hey, don’t look now — and it’s only been two games — but the Chiefs are Super Bowl favorites.

Kansas State University

The starting left tackle for the Kansas State football team came out as gay Thursday during an interview on ESPN.

Sophomore Scott Frantz says he revealed his sexual orientation to his teammates last year after listening to a motivational speaker brought in by Head Coach Bill Snyder.

“I’ve never felt so loved and so accepted ever in my life than when I did that and ever since then it’s been great. I’ve grown so much closer to my teammates since then, so it’s been an amazing experience,” Frantz told ESPN's Holly Rowe.

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

After the Civil War, violence and crime continued in the Missouri Ozarks, highlighted by gun fights, murders and lynchings. Today, we learn about that region's "Wild West" years and the vigilantes who prowled the territory. Then, Ryan O'Callaghan grappled for years with suicidal thoughts and hiding his homosexuality.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Sports fans in Kansas City and beyond are generally a forward-thinking bunch — “There’s always next year,” goes the rallying cry. But what keeps fans coming back for more is a healthy sense of history and, as commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” an occasional blast from the past. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

When their spring adjournment ends, Kansas state lawmakers will look to resolve a $1 billion budget gap, adopt a school funding plan, modify taxes, and maybe even vote on Medicaid expansion — again.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

That '70s Show made way for rising stars like Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, but they were supported by a corps of veteran actors. Today, we speak with Debra Jo Rupp, who spent 17 years acting on stage before portraying the quirky mom on the long-running sitcom. After that, we try to help would-be gamblers avoid a super blow-out with a preview of the Super Bowl and an explainer on how point-spread betting could work for or against you.

Sony Pictures Classics

Plenty of people will be tuning in to a certain "big game" on Sunday but, for those looking for something off the beaten path, these recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics could be just the ticket. There may be fewer cheerleaders and a lot less Lady Gaga, but on the bright side, there are fewer cheerleaders and a lot less Lady Gaga.

David Jones / Flickr -- CC

Before you pack away your Chiefs gear: A look back at the history of the team and how they helped shape KC.

Plus, Question Quest discovers why people keep leaving little bird figurines around a statue in Brookside.

Guests:

  • Monroe Dodd, KCUR's resident historian
  • Joel Thorman, Editor, Arrowhead Pride

Colby Ellis / Flickr - CC

Football can be pretty violent. Today, two local physicians discuss whether school boards should continue to support contact sports for high-schoolers. Then, get tips on crafting an apology that will avoid making a bad situation worse.

Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg / U.S. Marine Corps

This Sunday, the NFL playoffs return to Kansas City for the first time since 2011, and the Chiefs have a chance to go further than they’ve gone in a generation. But as commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes,' that’s not all that’s on the line.

UMKC

If your body could talk to you about your health, what would it say? Today, we learn about the inner-workings of the human body. Then, we discover what yearbooks, newspapers and personal letters say about the world young women from the Kansas City area lived in, years before suffrage.

On display now in "Emperors, Scholars and Temples" at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are "rarely seen objects" from the museum's extensive collection of Chinese art. Turns out, the collection is actually world-renowned. How did this come to be for a museum in Kansas City?

Plus, we consider the long-term affects, good and bad, of the sports and repetitive activities of our youth. If you were a catcher for your softball team, your ankles and knees know what we're talking about. 

Ian Echlin

The Northwest Missouri State football team won its second straight NCAA Division II championship on Saturday, but the shine from that trophy wore off when the university announced just a few hours later that football coach Adam Dorrel was leaving. He accepted an offer to coach at Abilene Christian University in Texas.

Richard Wright, the newly-named coach, has hardly had time to think about the big shoes he’ll fill. In six years, Adam Dorrel took the Bearcats football team to a level the university had never seen before.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The City Council is considering an $800 million bond that may improve Kansas City, Missouri, infrastructure. Today, Mayor Sly James discusses that proposal, and the city's increasing murder rate. Then, we speak with Todd Graves, Governor-elect Eric Greitens' pick to lead Missouri's Republican Party.

Dale Grosbach

The Baker University football team will try to accomplish something no other athletics team at the school in Baldwin City, Kansas has pulled off—winning a national championship. The Wildcats (14-0) will play Saint Francis (12-1) of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the NAIA title Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In the highly competitive world of football recruiting, the approach at a small school like Baker is different.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3 file photo

In Kansas City, there are few events that cause the same fervor and competitive spirit as a Chiefs/Raiders faceoff. The last time the two rivals hit the gridiron, we even saw our own friendly mascot KC Wolf commit what could only be seen as an act of treason in the eyes of a Raiders fan on Facebook.

We doubt that video stung nearly as hard as the spanking Oakland took on the field though.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

First, a recollection of the Chief's overtime victory over the Broncos Sunday night. Then, a look at an agency that settled a case last month involving charges of illegal kickback payments, but is still doing business with the state of Kansas. Finally, Author Candice Millard recounts the adventures of a young Winston Churchill as detailed in her latest book.

Late October is a time for matchups, showdowns and playoffs of all sports. We continue our series on childhood development with some tips for keeping your kid-athletes in the game by avoiding repetitive motion stress and burn-out. Also, Bill Brownlee introduces Berwanger in this week's Local Listen.

Chiming Huang

Revelations about the grave dangers of concussions have led to numerous lawsuits brought by college and pro football players and have prompted many parents and health advocates to question whether children and teams should even be playing contact sports.

Not so fast, say a growing group of researchers, who hope to save football by building a better helmet.

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