Historic Northeast | KCUR

Historic Northeast

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.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

A plan to build a strip mall on a vacant lot in Kansas City's Historic Northeast neighborhood is drawing the ire of some community groups. 

The lot, at the corner of Independence and Prospect avenues, is on the site where a fire destroyed a building in 2015. Two Kansas City firefighters died when the building collapsed.

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.

One More Cup / Facebook

Kansas City's coffee shop scene has really blossomed over the past few years.

In addition to coffee and tea drinks, a number of shops have also been serving great food: pastries made in-house, breakfast, light lunches and grab-and-go snacks.

From quiet spots to linger to more convivial spaces to meet up with friends, KCUR's food critics searched out the best coffee shops in and around Kansas City.

 

Here are their recommendations:

 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Law enforcement officers in Kansas City are engaged in an innovative approach to fighting violent crime.

In 2016, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kansas City Police Department won grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to use data and community involvement to attack the city’s violent crime rate. Funds are being matched locally.

It’s led by a Yale Law School graduate with roots in the Mennonite community of Newton, Kansas.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

At the end of President Donald Trump's first year in office, KCUR wanted to know how his agenda was affecting the Kansas City metro, and how residents thought the president had been doing. 

We did a series of stories and talk show discussions on the topic, and spent time at sites around the region gathering people's thoughts. We plan to do more of this in the future, but for this first round of conversations we went to Parkville, Missouri; Midtown and Northeast Kansas City, Missouri; and Orrick, Missouri. 

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

We start a new monthly series in which we take a close look at the news and events that are shaping the unique communities around the metro. First up: KC's Northeast neighborhood.

Then: It's been just over a year since President Trump's inauguration. Since then, there's been an expectation that women across the nation would run for office. We talk with women from Kansas and Missouri who are doing just that.

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, July 21, Maria Wakondo, a refugee from the Congo, was held up at knifepoint while walking home to her apartment. The robber took her whole purse, including $600 from her just-cashed paycheck. 

She wasn’t hurt, but the incident highlights some of the reasons new refugees can be vulnerable to crime.

Wakondo and her family recently moved to a new brick house in Kansas City's Historic Northeast.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Nothing could have prepared Susan Sommers and Larry Roeder for what they saw when they arrived at the scene of their Northeast Kansas City renovation project on September 19 of last year.

ArmourBlvd
Diane Krauthamer / KCUR 89.3

When Kansas Citian Eric Bunch puts his 5-year-old son on the back of his bike to take him to daycare every morning, he has to cross the fast-moving traffic on 39th Street, where there are no traffic signals.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

The long-running effort to recreate the Kansas City Museum as a major local history museum entered a new phase Monday with the announcement of $1 million in private commitments pledged toward a total of $15 million in private and public money city leaders say is needed to restore the property to "its former glory."

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

There were rumors on social media over the weekend that authorities would be waiting outside local churches in Kansas City to arrest undocumented worshippers.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Some started preparing their turn-of-the-century homes along stately Gladstone Boulevard on Sunday; others planned to start as early as 6 a.m. on Halloween morning.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill plastic skeletons or blow-up black cats.

Homeowners along the boulevard near the Kansas City Museum have worked for years with the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association to create Halloween blowouts featuring music, sound effects and displays with multiple moving pieces.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department recently made changes in how it approaches community policing. In a controversial decision, Chief Darryl Forte recently dissolved the position of community interaction officer, in favor of having all officers considered community cops.

Some people in high crime areas say they've seen a benefit from having the same officer show up at neighborhood meetings and deal with their specific needs. And this story of an officer and a homeless woman with a felony drug conviction points to the successes of the recently abandoned program.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A storefront on the corner of Brooklyn and Lexington, across the street from a Caribbean restaurant and a convenience store in Kansas City's Historic Northeast, might be an unexpected location for an art gallery. But The Source Fine Art owner Bill Heineken, who hosts his second art opening on Friday, says more artists are coming to the neighborhood.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

We've been hearing a lot about Kansas City's program to demolish or sell off dilapidated homes. Around 800 properties are on the "dangerous buildings" list and thousands more are vacant or abandoned.

The large amount of blighted homes in Kansas City has a lot to do with the housing crisis, and a lingering question is whether outside investors have been part of the problem or part of the solution.

A local contractor seeking local buyer

Cody Newill / KCUR

The city has announced plans to demolish the Royale Inn -- known to neighbors and leaders as a dangerous, crime-ridden place, not to mention a less-than-welcoming gateway to downtown when driving from the interstate onto Paseo. But while demolition may solve problems for the neighborhood, does it address underlying issues of poverty and crime, or just relocate them?

Guests:

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

For 115 years, a time capsule once stored in the cornerstone of the Thacher School in Kansas City's Historic Northeast laid dormant. But a team of historians with the Kansas City Museum opened the memento Saturday morning, finding a treasure trove of documents.

The historic school was named after Civil War major Louin Kennedy Thacher in May, 1900 and was closed by the Kansas City Public Schools in 2009. The school building was demolished last August.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When 50 kids play a concert at the Plaza Library this weekend, it'll be one of the first public performances of a new program that provides free music education to low-income kids in hopes of improving their long-term academic performance.

The lion's share of the Sunday's Kansas City Star was devoted to a report on the Oct. 12 fire that killed two firefighters and seriously injured two others.

The headline: "Firefighters killed in alley shouldn't have been there."

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The preliminary hearing for Thu Hong Nguyen, the woman accused of setting a fire that killed two firefighters earlier this year, has been pushed to next week.

Nguyen appeared briefly in court Thursday afternoon. Her attorney, William Shull, requested more time to prepare a request to reduce her bond of $2 million.  Jackson County Associate Circuit Judge Jalilah Otto agreed to give him more time.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The 18 employees of Snyder’s grocery store at 2620 Independence Avenue in Kansas City's Historic Northeast got paychecks this week, even though they haven’t been to work for over a month.

The family owned business just east of Paseo has been there for 48 years, and the James family has run it for the last 28.

The building sits directly east of where a deadly fire killed two firefighters on Oct. 12. The west walls of  Snyder's were totally blown out, and their entire inventory destroyed.

Aguilar Hernandez

On a sunny day, two workers had a big job ahead of them — removing the 7-foot bars that for years covered the front windows of El Paso del Norte, a bakery and taqueria on Independence Avenue in northeast Kansas City.

Mike Iniguez and his brothers run the restaurant. He says the neighborhood was “kind of sad” when his father opened the business in 1998.

It was a working class area, and many of the homes and businesses there were rundown. But low home prices drew Latinos and other immigrants to the historic neighborhood.

Esther Honig / KCUR

 

Standing on the corner of Armour Boulevard and Troost Avenue in Kansas City, 21 year-old Troy Robertson holds a sign that says: “My life Matters. Honk if your life matters.”

The DLC/Flickr -- CC

As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City, the Historic Northeast has been home to immigrants, the wealthy and the white collar and blue collar communities. A longtime resident, a newspaper publisher (and co-curator of an exhibit about the Historic Northeast) and an urban design expert discuss the history and legacy of this neighborhood — as well as some upcoming changes on Independence Avenue.

Guests:

Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

The notion of handguns and hookers so often linked to Independence Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. is fading. Replacing it is a lively, friendly neighborhood where a diverse population of residents and business owners are changing things altogether.

Guests:

Julia Szabo / KCUR

Name: Susana Ozaeta
Number of years teaching: 1
Grade: 6th
School: Gladstone Elementary, Kansas City Public Schools

"Their eyes lit up when they knew I was from the neighborhood." 

Susana Ozaeta grew up in Northeast Kansas City. As a child of immigrants she saw how uncomfortable her Spanish-speaking mother felt at her school.

Charvex / Wikimedia -- CC

Every Kansas Citian has a list of out-of-towner attractions — barbecue, the Nelson-Atkins, a stroll through the Plaza. But we have been wondering: what should Kansas Citians be putting on our own to-do list? What hidden gems are right next to us that we need to see (or do) at least once?

We asked you to give us your suggestions, and we got a ton of them!

Here we present the incomplete "Kansas Citian bucket list" — a list of things every person in Kansas City should do at least once. Feel free to add additional items in the comments.

Cara McClain / KCUR

Rebecca Koop stood by Saturday watching as workers carted away the boards painted with images of gigantic playing cards. The artwork had covered the windows and doors of an abandoned apartment building at 702 Indiana in Kansas City's Historic Northeast neighborhood.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

An updated computer lab at the Mattie Rhodes Center in the Historic Northeast will help Kansas City's Latino community access the technology they need for work and school.

The League of United Latin America Citizens, or LULAC, runs the Empower Hispanic America technology center housed at Mattie Rhodes, 148 N. Topping Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. AT&T donated $200,000 to LULAC to update seven of its community technology centers.

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