KCUR
Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Holiday Sales Falter But Specialty Shops Thrive In Johnson County, Kansas

Sales tax collections for the early part of this year’s holiday season are down across Kansas, and that includes Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas counties. But some local shops are having a great year, by selling experience as well as stuff.

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Central Standard

Children's Author Mo Willems Taps Into "A Deep Well of Existential Dread"

As an interactive exhibit of his characters hits Topeka, we chat with the kid-lit celeb about life, comedy and authenticity.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps' MobileBooth came to Kansas City to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

When Deany and Corbin Goode got a chance to sit down at the StoryCorps Mobile Tour in Kansas City, Corbin got down to business with his questions — and some of them were tough.

"What were your parents like?" the 10-year-old asked.

Deany doesn't know much about her father, but she remembers going to punk rock shows with her mother.

www.mied.uscourts.gov

A pediatric rheumatologist who once worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor.

In his guilty plea agreement in September, Mark Franklin Hoeltzel admitted that he created a fake Facebook persona under the name “Ryan Gardner” to contact minor girls, including an 8th grader from whom he requested sexually explicit photographs.

BNIM and HOK

A 25-story tower that would be the first multi-tenant, premium office building built downtown since 1991 is being proposed for the block southwest of 13th and Main in the Power & Light District.

The $132 million project, called Strata, would be located on what’s called Block 124 and would be built above an existing retail structure, which includes The Yard House restaurant and Joseph A. Bank clothing store.

Roy Inman

As everyone should know, it’s better to give than to receive. But what if it’s free? Then is receiving just as cool?

Wow, that got deep in a hurry. Suffice it to say that whichever end you may be on this holiday season – bestowing or getting – this weekend’s sampling of free holiday activities is a win-win during the most wonderful time of the year.

Imagine a world where everyone gives and receives free stuff in kind. Imagine no more!

1. KC Streetcar Holiday Jam

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Kansas City officials got another look on Thursday at what a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport might look like, although the design is still in the early phase. 

Although the two-story fountain featured in the original conceptual design is still absent, the architect from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) assured city councilmembers that they’re working on one, possibly in the retail area.

The first thing that Kansas City residents will see approaching the airport is… the parking garage.

A Washington, D.C. based think-tank has released a report showing just how hard Saudi Arabia is trying to influence the American government using lobbyists and PR campaigns. One senator from Missouri made the top 10 list of politicians taking campaign contributions from firms representing the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Auto theft is up 20 percent in the last year in Kansas City. It’s the only property crime on the rise nationwide.

So what can you do?

In a few states, they charge you a little more for your auto insurance to pay for more cops and prosecutors.

Michigan is one of those states. For years, it was the stolen car capital of America.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly insists the state budget she’s preparing can fully fund the state’s schools, expand Medicaid coverage to another 150,000 people and begin to repair a troubled child welfare system — without a tax hike.

The Democrat said Wednesday night she’ll lean on experience and relationships built over 14 years in the Kansas Senate to carve out compromises with lawmakers on those priorities.

Yet she described her job as daunting and state government as broken in several key areas.

Bigstock

Nearly 5,000 women in Missouri were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, the last year for which figures are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about 130 cases per 100,000 women, making breast cancer the leading type of cancer for Missouri women by far – nearly two-and-a-half times the diagnosis rate for lung cancer.

The incidence of breast cancer in Kansas isn’t much lower – about 124 cases per 100,000 women.

Public domain

Everything about Walt Disney is legendary, especially in his hometown of Kansas City where a mythology has grown up around the young ad man who created the world’s most-beloved character.

But, what does anyone really know about that mouse?

"How can the most popular fictional character in the world be someone that no one knows anything about?" author Jeff Ryan asked Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann.

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A Hands-On Look At Gene-Editing Technique CRISPR, Which Could Be A Game-Changer For Ag

In a lab at George Washington University, painted lady butterflies flutter in mesh houses. This is where assistant professor Arnault Martin and his research group use the new gene-editing technique CRISPR to unlock secrets about the colors and spots on the butterflies’ wings. CRISPR has allowed them to isolate a precise gene that controls wing appearance, and they can shut it off at will.

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Up To Date

The Search For Solutions To Kansas City's Affordable Housing Problem

Could repairing and refurbishing some of the 18,000 off-market, vacant units in Kansas City, Missouri, help alleviate the city's dearth of affordable housing options?