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Kansas

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. 

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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.

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.

Never2Late Productions

“It’s so silly. Who’s not getting a day older?”

That’s more than a rhetorical question from Joicie Appell, the actress who plays an elderly Kansas woman in a new movie called “The Tree.”

“You have this chance in life to be uniquely you. Nobody else has that chance. Be as good as you can, make the best of it, do what’s right and you forget about aging,” Appell told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard, in a conversation about “The Tree.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Leavenworth Detention Center sits about 35 miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri, just off the town’s main drag – a nondescript stretch of fast-food shops, strip shopping malls and mom-and-pop businesses.

The prison is a sprawling complex of squat white buildings ringed by chain-link fencing topped by razor wire. People charged with federal crimes who can’t make bail are held here.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

After two hours of deliberations, public testimonies and a presentation of proposed home building guidelines, the Prairie Village City Council voted 11 to 2 to advance the guidelines.

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A licensed nurse in Johnson County is one of 10 nurses and aides accused of Medicaid fraud and other criminal charges in a statewide crackdown on Kansas health care facilities that get Medicaid funding.

In a complaint filed in Johnson County District Court, Catherine M. Santaniello is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, two counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult, and battery.

The complaint contains few details and the person she allegedly mistreated is not identified. 

Santaniello could not be reached for comment.

www.HealthCare.gov

Kansans seeking health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federally run exchange will have the choice of three insurers in 2019.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said in a statement that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Medica Insurance Co. and Ambetter from Sunflower Health Plan will offer 23 separate plans for individuals through HealthCare.gov, the federal government exchange.

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

Attorneys alleging their meetings and phone calls with clients at the Leavenworth Detention Center were unlawfully recorded can move forward with a class-action lawsuit, a federal judge ruled last week.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough found that a class action was the best way to proceed because “(i)t would be judicially uneconomical for the Court to entertain hundreds if not thousands of individualized claims” over the same issue.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

In the new young adult novel “A Blade So Black,” the main character, Alice, doesn't have long blonde hair, and the other side of the looking glass isn't a place full of innocently quirky tea parties.

Latrice "Elle" McKinney, a Kansas resident who writes under the name L. L. McKinney, has created a  fantasy world full of adventure and imagination but infused with real-world issues and black girl magic.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Servcie

The ACLU of Kansas is now suing Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to gain access to lists of 900 voters who filed provisional ballots and about 150 voters whose advance ballots were not counted in the August primary. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Proposed home building regulations in Prairie Village, Kansas, are one step closer to taking effect, after being approved unanimously by the Planning Commission at a public hearing Tuesday night. 

The new rules were proposed earlier this year in response to many residents' concerns that a growing number of old houses in the area have been torn down and replaced with much larger houses.

A computer illustration with a green and blue background and black and grey markers.
Crysta Henthorne / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Is a demanding, wide-ranging criminal registry system making the state of Kansas any safer?

A Kansas News Service investigation has found that no other state has a public offender registry as expansive as the one in Kansas. Today, we talked with the Kansas News Service journalist and a law professor about the report's findings and its legal implications. 

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Friday defended the state's decision to weigh in on a case that could limit transgender rights.

Asked by reporters about Kansas’ decision to join 15 other states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that it’s legal to fire people for being transgender, Schmidt noted that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Kansas, has taken that position.

Kansas Attorney General's Office

Kansas has joined 15 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that it’s legal to fire people for being transgender.

Last week, the 16 states filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to overturn a federal appeals court's decision that it was illegal for a Michigan funeral home to terminate an employee who was transitioning from male to female. The appeals court ruled that Aimee Stephens’ firing violated Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

A voting equipment vendor says a coding error is behind the delay in this year's primary election results in Johnson County, which left some statewide races undecided until the following morning earlier this month.

Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software (ES&S) issued an apology Monday, taking responsibility for the delay. Gary Weber, vice president of software development for ES&S, said it came down to a "non-performing" piece of software, which caused slow processing of the 192 encrypted master thumb drives that held the votes.

Sharon Rodriguez

“I thought it was a Boy Scout weekend.”

That was photographer Sharon Rodriguez’s initial reaction when she encountered a homeless camp near her Olathe residence in 2014.

Once she realized that homeless individuals were living under the tarps, Rodriguez had a lot of questions.

“Who are they, and why are they homeless?” she remembers thinking. “That started the journey of me finding out more.”

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media file photo

Updated Aug. 22, 2018 — Two research arms of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be moving out of Washington, D.C. Three of Missouri’s U.S. representatives and one from Kansas said Kansas City is the perfect place for those agencies.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Like many people who can’t afford medical care, Larissa Shively-Vitt of Shawnee, Kansas, has been spending a lot of time online lately, trying to tell her story and raise money through crowdfunding.

Medical expenses are the category most often used on GoFundMe, which is the largest crowdfunding platform. And in recent years, campaigns have snowballed for one particular kind of medical care: gender confirmation surgery.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Sculptor Jacob Burmood stood on a high ladder beneath a large elm tree. The sound of his buffing tool mingled with the late-afternoon chorus of cicadas at his rural, open-air studio in Ottawa, Kansas.

“This tree is really my studio,” Burmood said. “It’s really peaceful and I love the cicadas. That’s my music.”

Harvest season isn’t far away for corn and soybean farmers, whose crops are worth less now than when they planted in the spring due to the United States’ trade war.

“We don't know what to think from one day to the next. It's hard to plan,” said Duane Hund, a farmer in Kansas’ Flint Hills.

Forty percent of farmers polled this summer by Farm Futures said President Donald Trump’s trade policy is permanently damaging U.S. agriculture. The scrambling of global markets is just beginning, Hund said, and pointed to the 1980 Russian grain embargo as an example.

 

From its bloody free-state beginnings to present-day, red-state conservatism, we ask: How did Kansas get here?

My Fellow Kansans explores one of the most pivotal chapters in the state’s history — its hard turn to the right over the past three decades. A turn driven by abortion and other culture-war wedge issues, and by politicians skilled in exploiting them.

Join us every week from Sept. 17 through the election. If you’re already subscribed to Statehouse Blend Kansas, stick around – we think you’ll enjoy My Fellow Kansans from the Kansas News Service.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City attorney and abuse victims are calling on the attorneys general of Kansas and Missouri to launch investigations into clergy sexual abuse, similar to the grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania.

Attorney Rebecca Randles said she has hundreds of clients who allege they’ve been abused by a member of the Catholic Church.

Erin Johnson

The Berlin Wall was six years from falling when “The Day After” premiered on television in 1983. The film, shot in Lawrence, follows three Kansans as they fight to survive the immediate aftermath of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. 

Erin Johnson, a sound and video artist and a visiting assistant professor of art at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, revisited the film and its legacy for her video installation, “The Way Things Can Happen,” at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people in T-shirts reading "Art is the voice of freedom" fanned out along either side of Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, Kansas, Saturday in anticipation of a so-called Defend the Flag demonstration. 

Clay Mead, owner of Hog Holler Saloon in Ozawkie, Kansas, organized the Defend the Flag event, which he told KCUR, was not a demonstration or a protest.

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.

Nicholas Telep / KCUR 89.3

The line to enter Johnson County’s newest public library stretched out the door and around the building Sunday, shortly after the official ribbon-cutting.

The Monticello branch of the Johnson County Public Library in western Shawnee, Kansas, cost $18.1 million and is home to more than 100,000 books and other materials as well as study rooms, computers and public art installations. It’s the library's first new branch in two decades, and it’s been in the works for almost that long.

Theater League / Warner Brothers Theatricals

People all over the world are obsessed with “The Wizard of Oz." But there is no place in the world where it has as much cultural value as in Kansas, where "Somewhere over the Rainbow" can be considered as much the state song as "Home on the Range."

“It's become synonymous with ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” says Mark Edelman, head of Theater League, which produced this latest version of the iconic story that opened Wednesday at Providence Amphitheater (formerly known as Sandstone) in Bonner Springs, Kansas.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

One thousand new jobs with an average salary of $56,000 could be coming to Overland Park, Kansas, over the next five years.

Shamrock Trading Company promised the paychecks Tuesday with the expansion of its national headquarters at 95th Street across Metcalf Avenue.

But specifics in state and local tax incentives remain to be settled. To help lure the project, officials have offered tax breaks they didn't make public at a press conference about the expansion.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday lashed out at the Koch brothers, tweeting that the billionaire industrialists are a "total joke in real Republican circles" and that he is "a puppet for no one."

It's the latest salvo between the president and Charles and David Koch, who did not endorse Trump in his 2016 presidential bid and have criticized Trump's spending plans and trade policies.

Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Wichita's Koch Industries. David Koch stepped down last month from his business and political activitites because of health concerns.

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