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Kansas

Courtesy Elizabeth Schultz

Few people in their 80s are inclined, or able, to feed time and energy into a second career. Elizabeth Schultz is such an anomaly.

As an English professor at the University of Kansas, Schultz was an acclaimed scholar on Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” However, just before her retirement in 2001, she felt a pull toward a more creative use of language.

STATE OF KANSAS OFFICIAL PORTRAIT

This story was updated at 5:12 p.m. to include the comments of Kline's attorney.   

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s bid to restore his law license appears to have come to the end of its long and winding road.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear his challenge to the Kansas Supreme Court’s indefinite suspension of his license four years ago.

Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress / On Deposit at the Amon Carter Museum

The worn-slick saddle encased in Plexiglas is not a standard fixture of the Kansas City Public Library’s grand, marbled entry hall. But it's not out of place, either, considering that the stately former First National Bank building, which opened in 1886, is a monument to how cosmopolitan the cattle industry once made our town.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Plant breeder Jessica Barb is on a mission to improve how sunflowers self-pollinate, a trait that'll be increasingly important to farmers are wild bee populations diminish. Her research tool of choice: a paper towel. 

Courtesy Randy Michael Signor

In Randy Michael Signor’s new novel “Osawatomie,” homesteaders settle near the titular Kansas town just before the Civil War. This turns out to be problematic in ways that reverberate for generations (it might as well be a metaphor for America).

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Shawnee Mission Health has become the 17th member nationwide of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, joining forces with one of the top cancer centers in the United States.

The affiliation follows a year-long certification process by MD Anderson and is a big leap forward for Shawnee Mission Health’s cancer center, which opened not quite four years ago.

www.franchiseopportunities.com / Flickr — CC

The American Civil Liberties Union wants to know why a student athlete at Garden City Community College was kicked off the basketball team after he continued shooting baskets during the playing of the national anthem.

Rasool Samir, a Muslim, was sent home to Philadelphia two days later and has not returned to the school since.  

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

On a feedlot in far southwest Kansas, two cowboys on horseback move cattle on the high dusty plains, spread out like dozens of football fields stitched together with miles of fences. Their “Buenos dias! Buenos dias!” greetings mix with moos on a hot summer morning.

courtesy of the artist

The Johnson County, Kansas, Board of County Commissioners this week voted to reduce funding for proposed public art projects and for the county's public art program itself. 

In addition to public art programs in six cities, Johnson County has a One Percent for Art Program, established in 2006 to include art in major building projects.

Arts advocates, including Kansas Representative Jerry Stogsdill of Prairie Village, asked the commission to continue support for the program. 

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

Few things capture the respect that nature commands than a massive, looming tree. But the trees found on this list are special. They’re “champion trees” — the largest recorded living trees of their kinds.

 

Courtesy Kansas International Film Festival

Kansas Citians who know Bev Chapman from her days as a reporter at KMBC TV are likely to be impressed with her 14-minute documentary film "Soaring Back: Message to the Future." With spectacular footage, it chronicles Kansans’ successful efforts to revitalize the area’s population of bald eagles.

Bigstock

The Federal Public Defender’s office is asking a judge to hold the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas in contempt after it stopped cooperating with an investigation of attorney-client tapings at a Leavenworth prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s decision was disclosed earlier this week in a report by the special master, Cleveland attorney David R. Cohen, who was appointed by the judge to look into the tapings.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

More than 3,000 students in the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools stand to improve their chances of graduating from high school and pursuing higher education, thanks to an $18 million federal grant that will allow tutoring, mentoring and other services for students from sixth grade through their first year of college.

Bigstock

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas has stopped cooperating with an investigation into the taping of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the pretrial detention facility in Leavenworth, according to the special master looking into the matter.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Officials with the UnitedHealth Group on Tuesday announced they would bring 500 jobs to Kansas.

Around 150 of the positions will be at OptumRx's Overland Park facility at 6860 West 115th Street, where renovations have opened up a floor full of cubicles waiting to be filled.

"We're very, very deeply committed to Kansas," said John Mahrt, OptumRx's chief operating officer. "Kansas is a fantastic place for our people to live and work."

headshot of Rep Kevin Yoder
yoder.house.gov

National Democrats are targeting four-term Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder as vulnerable in their attempt to retake Congress in 2018.

Six Democrats are competing for the right to challenge Yoder next November.

If third quarter campaign finance reports are any indication, the Republican incumbent's campaign is mounting a serious defense. By the filing deadline Sunday, the campaign says Yoder out-raised all six of the potential Democratic challengers with a war chest of roughly $1.4 million. The Center for Responsive Politics shows that contributions to the 3rd District race are significantly higher than those in the other three Kansas districts at this point.

C.J. Janovy

As a kid, Andrew McKenzie had an unusual affinity for languages.

He took French in high school (because everyone else was taking Spanish). But that wasn't enough.

"I started to teach myself different languages, like Latin and Greek and Basque and Turkish," he remembers. "I would drive into the city to a bookstore, and they’d have a section with language books. I'd say, 'I'm just going to learn this language because the book has the prettiest font.'"

Courtesy Brad Norman

Lawrence once had a legendary punk club where bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Fugazi played. But it was no CBGB or Whiskey a Go Go. It was east of downtown, tucked between a pumpkin patch and seemingly endless fields of crops, in a windowless, low-slung concrete building that sat back a bit from the road.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Geneva Wilson has struggled her entire life with health problems, including a blood disorder, depression and a painful misalignment of the hip joint called hip dysplasia. But she’s found peace living in a small cabin in the woods of western Missouri.

Wilson keeps chickens, raises rabbits and has a garden. She says her long-term goal is to live off her land by selling what she raises at farmers’ markets.

A "Love Kansas City" mural on Southwest Boulevard was recently vandalized. What the artist did to repair the damage, and address the possible reasons for the vandalism. 

Plus, one woman has collected over a century of Kansas recipes. She joins us ahead of her speaking event on October 4 in Shawnee, Kansas.

Morgan Dameron / Different Flowers

What does it mean for a film to be “a love letter to the Heartland”?  

That's how "Different Flowers" is being pitched. Director Morgan Dameron grew up spending summers at her grandparents’ farm in Moberly, Missouri, and last summer the Kansas City native spent 18 days shooting her first feature film here.  

The American Humanist Association on Wednesday sued Kansas prison officials, alleging the Topeka Correctional Facility promotes Christianity in violation of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, claims the prison displays prayers and messages on prison bulletin boards, has erected an eight-foot cross in one of its multi-purpose rooms and often broadcasts movies with Christian themes on inmates’ televisions.

Stephen Koranda

Over the last year, more than 100 Kansas kids placed in the foster care system had to spend the night in offices instead of homes. Kids slept on couches or makeshift beds in the offices of the private organizations that handle foster care placement. It happened because there weren't other facilities available to immediately take them.

Lawmakers and child advocates heard about the issue during a meeting of a foster care task force in Topeka. Republican Rep. Linda Gallagher is one of the group’s members.

Joe Brusky / Flickr — CC

Many organizations and schools in Missouri and Kansas that serve Latino families blasted the announcement Tuesday from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months if Congress fails to act.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Take me out to the ball game . . . or not? Salina, Kansas is home to one of the worst professional baseball teams in the country. Why the Salina Stockade team is still proud. 

Plus, the Buck O'Neil Bridge is reaching the end of its projected lifespan. What does the future hold?

Guests:

Courtesy Zachary Stevenson

Outside a Small Circle of Friends,” by Phil Ochs, is not a typical protest song.

The song tells the biting, sardonic tale of all-too-normal people walking away from tragedies without helping — because, after all, “outside a small circle of friends,” who would care? The message is simple: just help.

"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) / MGM

When you start a show called "Midwesternish," at some point there'll be an episode about The Wizard of Oz. If this film defines Kansas for the entire world, what exactly does it say and do we believe it? 

Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Shona Banda, a Garden City, Kansas, mother who drew national attention after losing custody of her son over her use of cannabis, has pleaded no contest to felony charges in exchange for probation.

Banda, who has Crohn’s disease, has been a vocal advocate of medical marijuana and self-published a book about her use of cannabis oil to treat her condition, an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause severe abdominal pain and other symptoms.

University of Kansas Hospital

Two area hospitals earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list.

The University of Kansas Hospital was deemed to be the best hospital in Kansas and in metro Kansas City, while Saint Luke’s was ranked the second best hospital in Missouri, behind Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka was deemed the second best hospital in Kansas, the only other hospital in the state to earn top honors.   

Courtesy CLIC Abroad Foundation

Fewer than 750,000 elephants are left in the world, according to conservationists’ estimates. And the average American drinks more than 1,100 cups of coffee very year, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study.

These statistics might seem unrelated, but D.K. Bhaskar, a Lenexa photographer, author and now filmmaker, shows they are crucially connected.

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