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Missouri charter schools will now be able to give preference to poor or struggling students in its lottery admissions system.

That change was part of an omnibus education bill signed into law last week by Gov. Mike Parson. Some charter schools in St. Louis have struggled to maintain their mission as they increased in popularity and surrounding neighborhoods gentrified.

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Platte County taxpayers are on the hook for at least $70,000 in legal fees incurred by Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd in connection with an ethics complaint filed against him in May 2016.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Family members of Ryan Stokes, a 24-year-old black man killed by a Kansas City police officer nearly five years ago, told the Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday that their patience for justice has “worn thin.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

UMKC's new chancellor won't start the search for a new athletics director until he sees a "working blueprint for the future," he said Tuesday.

C. Mauli Agrawal issued a statement about the athletics department, which is in transition after athletics director Carla Wilson was reassigned last week to the chancellor's office, where she'll be the senior director of student support services. 

Luke X. Martin/KCUR 89.3 and Sen. Claire McCaskill/Flickr - CC

Minutes after President Donald Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh was his pick to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy's place on the U.S. Supreme Court, Missouri Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley began needling Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Wells Fargo is investing $5.7 million in the Kansas City area to provide down payment assistance to eligible residents.

Residents in Cass, Clay and Jackson county will be able to apply for the $15,000 down payment assistance if they meet certain income eligibility requirements.

The program is a partnership with Westside Housing Organization and is part of the NeighborhoodLIFT program. This was created in 2012 to help provide financial assistance to low-income homeowners.

Bill Ingalls / Wikimedia Commons

Janelle Monáe will headline “The Weekend” performance in Swope Park on Oct. 13, according to an announcement today by Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

“The Weekend” is part of Open Spaces KC, a two month effort to attract visitors to Kansas City and host art events.

Monáe released her latest album, Dirty Computer, in April along with an accompanying short film. She’s created two other albums. Her hit songs include Yoga, Make Me Feel and Q.U.E.E.N. The Kansas City, Kansas native also starred in Moonlight and Hidden Figures.

photo of David Epstein
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City distillery Tom’s Town is concerned about a 25 percent tariff China is expected to set on American bourbon on Friday.

While Tom’s Town owner David Epstein said his company doesn’t sell overseas, he’s worried larger distilleries will move product intended for the overseas market to America because of the tariffs. That would drive down prices and make it harder for small distilleries to compete.

The Arch grounds reopening is happening again after photos of the initial ribbon-cutting on Tuesday showed a lack of racial diversity.

As the common saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The photos showing city officials and guests cutting the ribbon at the ceremony organized by Gateway Arch Park Foundation were worth three: “Arch So White,” or #ArchSoWhite on social media.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office / KCUR

The Kansas City, Missouri, man accused of fatally shooting a coworker and injuring another outside of an Overland Park elementary school made his first appearance in court on Thursday.

Suspect Anthony David Grable, 32, was charged with one count of premeditated murder, one count of attempted premeditated murder, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of burglary in Johnson County District Court.

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Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James rolled out the beginning of his “Pre-K for KC” campaign that could help make high quality early childhood education more affordable for local children.

The initiative calls for funding the program with a three-eighths cent sales tax increase for Kansas City, Missouri. On Tuesday, James announced the beginning of a petition process to collect signatures to get the proposed tax on the November ballot.

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In a rare reprieve for an undocumented immigrant, Kansas City resident Maria Garcia-Mata no longer faces deportation to Mexico after a federal appeals court reversed a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Garcia-Mata, a married mother of three who has lived in the area since she was eight years old, has been in a Kingston, Missouri, jail since she was detained by immigration authorities in 2015.

The ruling is unusual, said Garci-Mata’s attorney, Matthew Hoppock.

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Army veteran Cody Bolkenstyn remembers when his vehicle exploded in Iraq. And for him, hearing the sound of fireworks on the Fourth of July can put him back into that moment.

“It’s hard to control my breath,” he said. “In that instant I feel like I just got blown up or shot and then I kind of come back to reality really quick.”

Donald and Laurie Draughon

After finding the Veterans Health Administration liable earlier this year for the suicide of an Iraq war veteran, a federal judge has awarded more than $480,000 to his father and two children.

In what was thought to be one of the few verdicts of its kind, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled in February that the negligence of the VA directly contributed to the death of Cpl. William Draughon of Kansas City.

Kansas water use is declining, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological survey.

In 2015, Kansas used on average more than 4 billion gallons of water each day. That’s down nearly 25 percent from 1990. Of that, 2.6 billion gallons per day are used for irrigation — a decrease of 36 percent from 1990.

“What we’re doing is great, it’s just not enough of it,” said Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

The Canadian consul general to the Midwest is urging Missouri farmers to voice their support for renegotiating the North American Free-Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

file photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says he will continue to push for a Medicaid work requirement despite a recent court order blocking a similar policy in Kentucky.

Last week, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee in the District of Columbia, questioned whether the Trump administration had adequately considered the consequences of Kentucky’s work requirement before reversing longstanding federal policy to approve it.

Courtesy Kansas Department of Corrections

Several inmates at El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas initiated an uprising Sunday that lasted throughout the early afternoon that resulted in extensive damage to the prison complex.

file photo / Flickr-CC

Kansas tax collections in June beat estimates — projections that already factored in tax hikes — by $144 million. That capped off a fiscal year where the state topped projections every month, which is a sharp departure from some recent years.

Lawmakers use the projections when they craft the budget, so the boost in revenue means the state’s bank account ends the fiscal year with $318 million more than state officials anticipated.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Of the 38,000 people in Missouri who wound up in immigration court since 2002, 55 percent did not have lawyers. Kansas saw less than half that number of people in immigration court, but similarly, just over half of those immigrants went without lawyers.

First Liberty Institute

Mary Anne Sause was listening to Michael Savage, the conservative radio show host, when Louisburg, Kansas, police showed up at her apartment door. They’d fielded a complaint that her radio was playing too loud.

The retired nurse didn’t open the door at first. She said she was wary after she’d been raped years earlier. She called a friend, who came over just before the police returned and banged on the door. She opened it but left the screen door locked.

“They wouldn’t tell me what they were there for,” she said. “I was told if I didn’t let them in I would get a ticket.”

Federal prosecutors have revived an effort to target violent crime in Kansas, this time with a focus on Wichita and Garden City, U.S. Attorney for Kansas Stephen McAllister announced Thursday.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative prioritizes federal prosecutions of repeat violent offenders and convicted criminals who carry firearms.

This story has been updated.

More than 2,000 residents in Eureka, Kansas, continued to be without power Wednesday night, a day after an EF-3 tornado hit, damaging more than 25 homes and businesses and injuring eight people.

The tornado struck the town, located about 60 miles east of Wichita, at about 7 p.m. Tuesday. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service estimate winds reached between 136 and 165 mph.

NICOLAS TELEP / KCUR 89.3

With heat index values predicted to rise as high as 107 on Thursday, staff and volunteers from Kansas City Power and Light and the Salvation Army were handing out fans to help people stay cool.

KCPL spokesperson Jeremy McNeive said this is the sixth year the two organizations have partnered for the Extreme Heat Relief Program.

"We always want the hottest day of the year and, luckily, we got it," McNeive said.

McNeive said people who show ID and fill out a form can pick up a box fan, and the crews were handing out bottled water and heat rags as well.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The state Public Defender’s Office in Kansas City, the largest in Missouri, will have another chance to argue that its caseloads have become unmanageable.

On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the presiding judge of Jackson County wrongly refused to hold a formal hearing on the issue. It sent the matter back to the judge and directed him to create a record that can be reviewed on appeal.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

(This story has been updated with comments from the children's attorney.)

Immigrant children taken to Kansas after being separated from their families are on their way to being reunited with loved ones.

A federal judge in San Diego on Tuesday night ordered that kids separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy must be reunited with those adults within 30 days. That’s already happened for more than half of the separated kids staying at a shelter in Topeka.

Union County Public Schools

The Kansas City, Kansas school board chose Charles Foust as the district’s next superintendent in a  meeting Tuesday night.

The 5-2 vote to select Foust elicited gasps and a loud boo from an audience of around 100 people.

On Monday, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling that effectively said the state’s public schools could open in the fall. Yet the same decision left local district officials on Tuesday and beyond with continued, long-term uncertainty.

The high court’s decision could lead to continued fighting over school funding and the topic will likely serve as political fodder in state elections.

agilemktg1 / Creative Commons-Flickr

Insurance customers in Kansas City will have an additional option on the Affordable Care Act marketplace starting in 2019.

Medica, an insurance company based in Minneapolis, announced Monday it will sell individual plans on the exchange to customers in Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. It began selling insurance plans on the exchange last year to Kansas customers in Johnson and Wyandotte counties. 

The insurer's coverage is mainly limited to providers in the Saint Luke's Health System.

Eric Greitens’ resignation as Missouri governor earlier this month has now officially brought to an end the mission of the House committee that’s been investigating him, but the chairman still plans on filing an ethics complaint.

In a letter sent Monday to members of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said that the House does not have “inherent authority to investigate anything it wants.”

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