St. Joseph | KCUR

St. Joseph

Luetkemeyer and Rucker
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The race to replace Missouri Sen. Rob Schaaf has come down to two millennials who knew each other while attending Mizzou.

One is Republican Tony Luetkemeyer, a soft-spoken attorney who’s seeking his first elective office and has deep political connections — he’s close to party leaders and his wife, Lucinda Luetkemeyer, was general counsel in the office of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other is Democrat Martin T. Rucker II, a former Kansas City Chiefs and Mizzou football player who co-founded a Democratic-leaning political club in the Northland and ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat in 2016.

Aixois Bistro/Facebook

Kansas City might be known as a meat-and-potatoes town, but fried chicken has long been popular here.

“Fried chicken is popular because it’s inexpensive, usually, and it tastes good,” Charles Ferruzza told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Besides that, Ferruzza said, “It travels well — it’s just as good cold as it is hot.”

Tanner Martine

In 2016, Simon Fink and his band, Under the Big Oak Tree, performed a holiday concert in their hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri.

One of the songs they played was “The Little Drummer Boy,” which was composed by Katherine K. Davis. As it turned out, she was born and raised in St. Joseph.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsible for extensive property damage caused as a result of recurring floods along the Missouri River. 

A group of 372 farmers, landowners and business owners in several Midwestern states filed suit against the Corps of Engineers in March 2014, alleging that the federal agency's actions contributed to five floods along the Missouri River since 2007. Senior Judge Nancy Firestone ruled on Tuesday that the Corps of Engineers was liable for damages caused by recurring floods.

Nodaway County Historical Society

On January 21, 2017, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, millions of people around the world gathered to promote women’s rights in one of the largest international displays of solidarity for a sisterhood still battling for equality and equity.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

OK, so we're not Hershey, Pennsylvania.

But Kansas City has a respectable history of candy-making. We all know about Russell Stover, but several other vintage candies are, or have been, made in the area, and there's no better time than Valentine's Day for making note of that legacy. 

Love them or hate them, these are confectionary standards that your great-grandparents might have bought (for a nickel).

Segment 1: Can our employers help us get more sleep?

We've heard that getting a good night's sleep makes everything better; it's good for our health, our cognition and our relationships. Sounds simple, right? But falling asleep (and staying asleep) can be hard. Tomorrow, the KC Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on sleep for the business community. We hear from people who are trying to make their work culture more compatible with good sleep habits.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

In an election that was all about trust, it's clear the St. Joseph School District does not have it with voters.

A proposed 38 percent property tax hike, which the district says it needs to stop eating into its reserve funds went down big--72 percent voted no, 28 percent voted yes.

The proposal would have raised an additional $11.5 million a year and cost the owner of an $80,000 house an extra $220 a year.

The levy increase was backed by some of the biggest businesses in St. Joseph, the local NEA chapter and the Chamber of Commerce.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

St. Joseph residents will decide Nov. 7 whether to raise their property taxes by 38 percent to provide more money for schools.

But you’re mistaken if you think the election is really about that. It’s more like a referendum on the school district’s past transgressions, which are almost legendary in the world of Missouri public education.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A former superintendent and school board president for the St. Joseph School District is out of prison and in an area halfway house.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

You could be forgiven for not realizing there's an organization based in Kansas City that's helping people around the world gain access to sanitation and clean water. Today, we meet the CEO and co-founder of Water.org. Then, astrophysicist Angela Speck returns to discuss what the scientific community learned from the eclipse on August 21. We also find out what it was like for folks living in St. Joseph, Missouri, to play host to more than 80,000 total eclipse tourists.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda, a clergy person at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, likes to be amazed at the natural world, what she calls "God's creation." So, she is expecting Monday's much-anticipated total solar eclipse to be an emotional event. 

"I'm going to have to have a box of tissues. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry because I'm the person who cries at a rainbow or at tremendous lightning," she says. 

Archives of American Art / Smithsonian Institution

Joe Jones doesn’t sound like the name of a great artist – it sounds like the name of a house painter, which is what Jones was during his early days in St. Louis. But an exhibition at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph argues that Jones' name deserves to be as well known as his regionalist contemporaries: Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and "American Gothic" painter Grant Wood.

Neal Herbert / NPS

By this point, you've surely heard that there's going to be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Aug. 21. If not, here are some links to help you get up to speed.

John Tretbar / St. Joseph Post

St. Joseph Police and investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sifted through wreckage Wednesday, trying to determine the cause of an explosion that leveled a house and injured three people. 

According to Jon Ham, public information officer for the ATF's Kansas City division, investigators expect to know the cause later Wednesday. 

"What we'll have to do is use heavy equipment to move some of the pieces of the house so that we can begin to piece together what happened,"  Ham said. 

St. Joseph School District

The St. Joseph School Board member at the center of a stipend scandal, which rocked the district and eventually led to a former superintendent going to federal prison, has resigned. 

"It was an agonizing decision to make," Chris Danford says. "I don't want to be a quitter, but it's better to split ways (with the district).

Courtesy John Goolsby

John Goolsby
The Midwest

For the past few years, John Goolsby’s performances at places like Knuckleheads' Gospel Lounge have generally been solo — a singer-songwriter with country leanings, carrying shows with his pure-but-burly voice, a guitar, and a growing stack of songs with heartfelt, honest stories behind them.

cdbaby.com

It's tradition that every year Up To Date brings you, the best music from the Kansas City area and around the world. But unlike holiday sweaters and fruitcake, our music experts have something everyone can enjoy.

This year's panelists are:

Charlie Szymanski, Christine Chan, Matt Weber / Reuters

This story was updated at 2:39 with comments from a spokeswoman for the St. Joseph Health Department.

More than 15 percent of children tested in seven census tracts in St. Joseph, Missouri, had elevated lead levels, according to an investigation by Reuters.

That was more than triple Missouri’s average of 5 percent, Reuters reported.

courtesy twitter user Colt Snapp ‏@Colt_Snapp

A massive fire was reported Monday morning at the Pioneer Building in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. Shortly after 10 a.m, large plumes of smoke and flames were sighted outside the historic building at 510 Francis Street. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Everyone knew what the judge was going to do Thursday in an 8th floor federal courtroom in downtown Kansas City when former St. Joseph School District superintendent Dan Colgan appeared for sentencing.

Still, there were a couple of surprises.

Courtesy Glore Psychiatric Museum

When Missouri’s second mental hospital opened in the late 19th century, State Lunatic Asylum No. 2 in St. Joseph was designed to provide lots of natural light and fresh air.

Yet as war and economic calamity frayed the nation’s psyche, over-crowding swamped the hospital’s lofty goals. The census of the St. Joseph facility peaked at around 3,000 patients in the 1950s — more than 10 times its intended capacity.

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

The St. Joseph School District, smarting from the federal wire fraud conviction of a former superintendent, has asked the federal court to hike the fine to cover the district's financial loss.

sashapo / Flickr - CC

Try to find a hotel room in St. Joseph, Missouri a year from now, and you might be disappointed. On August 21, 2017, tens of thousands of visitors will have descended on the city to watch a remarkably rare event: a total solar eclipse.

St. Joseph falls in the small band in which the entirety of the sun will be blocked by the moon, causing the sky to go dark.

Under the Big Oak Tree

Under the Big Oak Tree
Local Honey (MudStomp Records)

Some albums take a while to tell their secrets.

Local Honey was released by a St. Joseph-based band called Under the Big Oak Tree back in February. Kristin Hamilton and multi-instrumentalist Simon Fink alternate songs, blending brittle, delicate harmonies, all of which are confidently anchored by Doug Ward’s bass.

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

The man who spent 14 years in the top job in the St. Joseph School District pleaded guilty Monday morning in federal court to one count of wire fraud. Under a deal with the U.S. Attorney, Dan Colgan will spend a year and a day in federal prison.

Colgan will also have to repay $660,000 in a lump sum to the Missouri Public School Retirement System (PSRS). Colgan improperly padded the last three years of his salary using stipends, car allowances and other means. The school board knew about some of the payments but often they did not.

After two years of investigation, a former St. Joseph School District superintendent and school board president will be charged with a federal crime.

Dan Colgan who, associates say grew up as a brawler on St. Joseph's north side, has two court dates Monday morning in federal court in Kansas City.

According to the district court, Colgan will appear before a magistrate and then before a district court judge. While we don't know exactly what he'll be charged with, these hearings indicate a plea deal is in the works.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two more former high-ranking members of the St. Joseph School District have repaid tens of thousands of dollars to the Missouri state retirement system after it was discovered they inflated their incomes.

The Public School Retirement System (PSRS) has confirmed that Mark Hargens has repaid $90,000 and former superintendent Melody Smith has repaid $23,000.

St. Joseph School District

Update: April 26 at 10:15 am

The Missouri Public Schools Retirement System said in a letter to the St. Joseph District that Dan Colgan's retirement date was moved from July 1, 2005 to January 1, 2006. That means he improperly received pensions benefits for six months.

In what is the largest settlement in the history of the teacher’s pension system in Missouri, the former superintendent and school board president in the St. Joseph School District will pay back $660,000 in retirement benefits he did not earn.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

It's been relatively quiet recently in the scandal plagued St. Joseph School District. But that changed Thursday when the district got word from the state that many of its federal grants will be audited.

The district says it received the notice from the Department of Elementary and Secondary (DESE).

"Your district has been identified due to possible fiscal compliance issues with federal grants," according to the letter from DESE sent to Superintendent Robert Newhart.

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