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Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

For decades, except for an occasional festival along the banks of the Missouri River, few Kansas Citians had much reason to visit Berkley Riverfront Park. And even if people wanted to visit the park named for former Mayor Richard L. Berkley, it was hard to get there.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

A couple of days before the Missouri Republican primary race for U.S. Senate, frontrunner Josh Hawley had his sights set on November’s general election.

But outside of the attorney general’s campaign stop Saturday at the state Republican office in Blue Springs, one of his opponents spoke to voters as they left, trying to sway them away from Hawley.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Armour Boulevard in midtown Kansas City went from four lanes to two lanes Friday as the city opened its first parking-protected bike lane from Broadway Boulevard to The Paseo.

City officials said they hope the $700,000 project will result in safer roads for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists by slowing traffic.

“It’s certainly a much safer and easier way of getting around,” Kansas City Councilman Dan Fowler said. “And it’s a signal to the world that Kansas City is a multimodal transportation city.”

Christiaan Colen / Creative Commons-Flickr

Officials at a medical practice in Blue Springs say they are taking steps to strengthen privacy protections after a ransomware attack affected nearly 45,000 patients.

Blue Springs Family Care discovered in May that hackers had installed malware and ransomware encryption programs on its computer system, giving them full access to patient records.

Ransomware is a kind of malware that locks up a computer. The attackers typically demand a ransom, often in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, as a condition of unlocking the computer and allowing access to the system.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police blotter since Wednesday tells the story. Eight shooting incidents. Fourteen victims. Three dead.

“Not a lot of people are going home early from the police department,” KCPD Chief Rick Smith said Friday morning at a hastily called news conference outside of police headquarters downtown.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson arrived in Kansas City on Thursday for what he said was a commitment to working with the state's two biggest cities. He was joined by Democrats Kansas City Mayor Sly James and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on a multistop tour of the city.

Courtesy Photo / KCATA

Johnson County commissioners voted Thursday to expand paratransit bus service to all disabled and elderly Johnson County residents.

Previously, the service was limited to residents living within the boundaries of 47th and 159th Streets and K-7 Highway and State Line Road.

Johnson County spokesman Joshua Powers says Johnson County's rapid growth requires better service for everyone, but those dependent on public transit in particular.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The wait for immunizations at the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department most afternoons this summer has been two, sometimes three hours – and it’s likely to get worse as the first day of school nears.

“Morning times are probably the easiest to get in,” says Bill Snook, a spokesman for the health department. “Later times, you should expect a long wait.”

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority has begun demolition of a long-vacant, one-story building on the southeast corner of 27th and Prospect that residents consider a blight on the neighborhood.

It’s part of a larger economic stimulus for the area, including a $74 million police station across the street built a couple of years ago and a 1/8th-cent sales tax to spur economic development along the Prospect Avenue corridor.

Facebook / Friends of Harry Roberts

Rob Schaaf was, at times, a particularly divisive Republican in the Missouri Senate with his calls for ethics and campaign finance reforms. As he reaches his term limit, the GOP primary for his 34th District seat has been an expensive and sometimes negative campaign.

BigStock Images

The U.S. Justice Department has scuttled an agreement to address more than 100 cases in which inmates at a Leavenworth pretrial facility were videotaped while meeting with their attorneys.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Updated Aug. 1, 2018

The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission found lots of reasons to stall the expansion of a feedlot near Powell Gardens last week, among them that the corporation that won the permit to expand does not legally exist.

J.G. Park / Flickr--Creative Commons

Black students in Missouri continue to be suspended at a disproportionate rate compared to their white peers, according to an analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU updated a report it published last fall that found black children with disabilities received more than 40 percent of out-of-school suspensions despite making up only 16 percent of the student population receiving special education services.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 9:06 p.m. to include comments from some of the candidates.

A judge has canceled the Aug. 7 primary election for Jackson County sheriff, ruling it was not legally authorized in the wake of the April resignation of Sheriff Mike Sharp.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Almost two months after President Donald Trump placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, several major businesses in the Kansas City area are calling for the trade war to end, although many of them have yet to feel the full effect.

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.

courtesy Historic Kansas City

Historic Kansas City released on Tuesday its annual "Most Endangered" list of buildings and places that could be torn down, altered, or crumble "into obscurity." 

This year's list contains at-risk closed schools, historic churches, and apartment buildings as well as sites such as baseball legend Buck O’Neil’s home, the Epperson House on the UMKC campus, and the Aladdin Theater in the historic Northeast.  

Johnson County Poised To Expand Mental Health Services

Jul 31, 2018
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County’s proposed $1.1 billion budget for 2019 includes a $3 million increase in spending on mental health services.

The money would fund six additional workers at the Johnson County Mental Health Center, including three new case managers who would work with both children and adults.

At a hearing Monday night, the only public input consisted of two suggestions to further lower the tax rate. The board is already planning to lower the mill levy rate in 2019 because property values have increased.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. to include information that the Missouri attorney general's office has begun a criminal investigation into the accident.

Two separate civil lawsuits have been filed over the duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri, that led to deaths of 17 people on July 19.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

A youth-led organization is working to get more Muslims involved in politics.

In front of a crowd of about 40 people at the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City on Sunday, KC Muslim Civic Initiative organizer Deena Essa urged attendees at this nonpartisan town hall to vote on August 7.

Group's Goal Was A Weekend Without A Murder In Kansas City

Jul 29, 2018
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

The grassroots organization Operation Ceasefire KC had one goal: a weekend in Kansas City without any murders.

With the Kansas City Police Department reporting more than 60 homicides heading into the weekend, Operation Ceasefire KC scheduled a gospel concert on Friday, a field day on Saturday and free haircuts at local barbershops on Sunday.

Operation Ceasefire KC Facebook Page

Ronell Bailey got the idea to start a grassroots initiative to stop gun violence in Kansas City from a movie — Barbershop: The Next Cut.

In the third installment of the Barbershop series, salon owner Calvin Palmer Jr., played by Ice Cube, gives away free haircuts to the community during a weekend-long “ceasefire” to curb violence in the neighborhood.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The primary election for Jackson County sheriff, slated to take place Aug. 7, may not happen.

A lawsuit filed three weeks ago by the Jackson County Democratic Committee seeks to cancel the primary election as unlawful.

The committee’s argument: The clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, Mary Jo Spino, had no legal authority to reopen the filing period for candidates after the primary filing deadline of March 27.

Spino did just that for five days beginning May 7. The move, says the committee, was outside the scope of her authority.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Chappell Electric is the very definition of a small business: call, and owner Germaine Chappell picks up on the second ring.

“Our motto is to exceed above expectations,” Chappell says. “Every job we go on, we give 100 percent and go up and beyond what the general contractor or the client is asking for.”

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.

3D Development

A $95 million redevelopment plan for the former Kansas City Star property that includes renovating the historic structure and building a boutique grocery store and marketplace above a 500-space underground garage has cleared its first hurdles at City Hall.

The full Kansas City Council on Thursday approved an ambitious plan from developer Vincent Bryant, who told a council committee Wednesday morning that he wanted to make the former Star campus the economic center of the Crossroads area.

Jackson County has become the latest government body to sue drug companies and distributors for their alleged complicity in the opioid epidemic.

The suit, filed on Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, names dozens of businesses, including drug giants like Johnson & Johnson and pharmacies like CVS. It says at least 308 people in Jackson County died of opioid overdoses between 2013 and 2017.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Overland Park has dismissed 200 traffic tickets and refunded $4,000 in fines over an unusual traffic ticket scandal. As a result, three police officers resigned last week, according to Chief Frank Donchez.

What the officers did is a little hard to understand.

“They were writing seatbelt tickets instead of other tickets,” says Donchez.

So even if a driver was speeding or ran a red light, these three officers would just write a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.

Why?

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

There's good news for a Kansas City elementary school that wasn’t sure how it would continue a successful tutoring program that helps transient students catch up in English and math: a $75,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation will keep it alive.

Courtesy Shawnee Mission School District

The Shawnee Mission School District is still searching for someone to lead its beleaguered special education department.

The district came under fire last year after the Kansas Department of Education found some students with special needs weren’t getting all federally required services. Students who are gifted also qualify for special education in Kansas.

SMSD Superintendent Michael Fulton sent an email to parents earlier this week announcing Assistant Superintendent Christy Ziegler would be taking over the special education department on an interim basis.

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