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Kansas

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.

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.

The trade war has come home to roost among U.S. farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods are targeted by tariffs from China, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Department of Agriculture did something about it Tuesday, announcing it'll spend up to $12 billion in aid, including direct payments to growers. 

Meet 7 Candidates For Kansas Governor

Jul 20, 2018

Kansas is electing a governor this year, a pick that'll go a long way in deciding what direction the state goes on school funding, health care, gun control, taxes and spending.  

The Republican primary field tilts to the right, with the contenders tussling over whose credentials and attitude would be the most effective in fulfilling a conservative agenda. Democrats voting on Aug. 7 have to wrangle with whether to go moderate or hold tight to a progressive platform.

Host Steve Kraske interviewed the leading candidates from both parties on KCUR’s Up To Date. 

Updated at 8:40 p.m. July 19 to correct numbers in 2nd paragraph —There are few places better to see the effects of an intensifying drought than a hulking, 200-plus-acre complex just off of Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri.

This is the Joplin Regional Stockyards, one of the biggest in the country, selling more than 430,000 head of cattle in 2017 alone. Usually, they’ll have 800 to 900 cows on the block at weekly Wednesday sales. On July 11, they had double that.

FILE PHOTO/KCUR 89.3

Six Democrats are lining up for a chance to unseat Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in the November general election. While the primary isn't until next month, the 3rd District race in Kansas has already attracted outside money, brought in national political figures and cost one state senator her leadership position.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Yoder Wednesday night.

Christie Spencer

There’s a long-forbidden crop on the verge of legalization, one that’s versatile and could open up new markets for farmers: hemp.

“I believe, honestly, that [hemp] is the only thing that’s really gonna bring agriculture out of the rut that it’s been in for the last 30 years,” hemp farmer Ryan Loflin said.

He lives in Colorado, one of at least 35 states that can grow hemp mainly through research pilot programs. That was a provision championed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 farm bill.

Kansas Department of Revenue

Kansas is set to roll out a modified license plate Aug. 1. It's not the look of the plates that will be changing, so much as the process by which they are produced, a move that state officials say will save money.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Bethany College track and cross country coach Aaron Yoder spends a lot of time on the treadmill in the Lindsborg, Kansas, school’s cardio room. It doesn’t seem unusual unless you see what he’s doing — running backward.

James Cavallini / Science Source

Kansas has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging the state’s Medicaid program sets too many barriers for hepatitis C patients to receive potentially life-saving but expensive medications.

Terms of the settlement have yet to be finalized, but the parties filed a notice with the court Tuesday afternoon that they had resolved the case after mediation. 

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

At one point in history, Atchison, Kansas was positioned to be one of the main connecting points for the railways between Missouri and Kansas. The town played an important role in the Civil War, and had many significant residents. But what's going on there today?

KCUR's Central Standard revisits a road trip to Atchison. Come along with us.

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