KCUR
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

How Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's PTSD Became A Family Affair

It's not often that a candidate quitting a local mayor's race would get national media attention, but that's exactly what happened last October when Jason Kander announced he was dropping his bid to be Kansas City's chief executive.

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Feral hogs are causing major damage to the Mark Twain National Forest.

The animals dig up grasslands and crops, they eat eggs and baby wildlife, and scratching an itch on their backs can literally strip the bark off a tree.

Hunters want a chance to help out with this menace that can weigh over 200 pounds and produce 40 to 50 offspring a year. But the National Forest Service is considering outlawing feral hog hunts on public land in the Mark Twain.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA — One of the United States’ largest and oldest private prison companies will house up to 600 Kansas inmates in a facility in Eloy, Arizona.

CoreCivic, formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America, owns and operates 129 prisons, immigration detention centers and other facilities in more than 20 states, including the Leavenworth Detention Center. Its revenues total more than $1 billion a year.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The state of Kansas is canceling a contract that administered an elementary-school reading program because of what state officials call inappropriate spending on travel and salaries. 

The contractor disputes any mishandling of the money, which in recent years amounted to nearly $10 million routed from a program meant to serve needy families. 

Missouri’s two likely nominees for the 2020 governor’s race have similar stances on gun reform measures needed in the state, but are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to access to abortion. 

Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway and Republican Gov. Mike Parson both spoke with members of the press at the annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia on Thursday. 

Parson has not officially entered the race yet, but Galloway, who announced her candidacy Monday, was critical of the incumbent’s leadership. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

In 1996, Ricky Kidd was imprisoned for a double murder in Kansas City, Missouri, he didn't commit.

Now, after 23 years behind bars, Kidd is free.

He was released Thursday from the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri, one day after a DeKalb County judge determined his original trial was unfair, and further, that the evidence was "clear and convincing" Kidd was innocent.

Rylie Koester / KCUR 89.3

Learning to play an instrument as an adult can be difficult, especially when many beginner level classes are geared toward kids. 

However, a Kansas City class allows adults to learn how to play the violin with an added component made clear in its name.

Drunken Fiddles is a no-pressure and relaxed environment, says Laurel Parks, who started the class in 2015. Besides string instruments, it’s about socializing, making friends and drinking a little wine, too. 

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA ― The “Kidney Stone Belt” is a thing, and it’s coming for Kansas.

Climate change is expanding that swath of America, currently in the south and southeast, that suffers much higher rates of this sometimes-excruciating renal complication.

By 2050, the belt will include Kansas, according to a new review by the Kansas Health Institute.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s first charter school for girls only opens next week with a staff that reflects the diversity of its students and the community.

Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy is entering a crowded charter market, but school leaders are counting on a curriculum that highlights the contributions of women and people of color to attract and keep students.

Parent Monique Cannon decided to move her daughter, Dieerin Jamison, from another charter school so she could have more teachers of color.

Overland Park Police

Police say the body of a missing Overland Park, Kansas, woman was found in Arkansas, a day after her husband was killed in a shootout with officers Kansas City, Kansas.

Overland Park Police say Sylvia Ussery-Pearson’s body was found in Benton County, Arkansas, Tuesday evening, after a note detailing where to find her body was discovered in her estranged husband’s Lenexa home.

The Midwest Innocence Project

After Ricky Kidd spent decades in prison for a 1996 double murder in Kansas City, Missouri, he says he didn't commit, a DeKalb County judge has found Kidd innocent and ordered that he be freed from prison unless prosecutors pursue a new trial within 30 days.

The ruling comes a few months after Kidd was finally granted a hearing for a civil lawsuit against the state, which claimed that Kidd's custody is illegal because his conviction was illegally obtained.

His lawyers told KCUR in May this was Kidd's last chance at freedom.

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In Kansas City, August 16 Is Now Officially 816 Day

A grassroots effort to celebrate 816 Day has taken hold citywide. Hear the story, including a taste of an album set to drop at 8:16 on 816 Day.

For Kansas City Neighborhood Leaders, Guns Are A Daily Concern

"It's really crazy but we've gotten used to it," says Marquita Taylor, of the Santa Fe Area Council. Relations with police are good but more community investment and more jobs are needed, she says.