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Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

What Kansas City Can Learn From Dakar, Amsterdam And Memphis About Naming Streets For MLK

Kansas City, Missouri, is internationally recognized as one of the cradles of jazz and nationally known for its barbecue and its sports teams. But late last year, it earned national headlines as the city that waited until 2019 to name a street after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., only to have voters reverse that decision ten months later. Commentators — many of them ignorant of complicating factors such as location, history, government process, and, yes, race to some extent — concluded...

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Jenna Rae and Martin Farrell both grew up in cities. But when the two got serious about playing music together as the folk duo Jenna & Martin, they ended up living the life they were singing about.

Rae is from Merriam, Kansas, and Farrell is from Minnetonka, Minnesota. The two met four years ago on the sprawling campgrounds of the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas. They soon started performing together, and onstage, they’re young and carefree with a chemistry that’s easy to see and hear.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

While we’re glued to the news gushing daily out of Washington — impeachment, immigration, health care — the truth is we should be paying just as close attention to what local governments are up to.

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This week's closure of Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, caps a year of worse financial troubles than were previously known.

Over the last year, the hospital has been sued by vendors for nonpayment, by the Missouri Division of Employment Security for failing to pay into the state’s unemployment insurance program and, most recently, by employees for failing to pay their health insurance premiums.

“There’s considerably more to this story than what’s currently in the public domain,” said an attorney for the employees, North Kansas City lawyer Blake Green.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s budget wish list is long: boosting spending on higher education, public safety and human services. She'd aim to cut some taxes, but look to add new ones for streaming video and music services.

Not surprisingly, the $7.8 billion plan is getting a mixed response from the Republicans who control the Legislature.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

With all the hullabaloo surrounding the Chiefs playing Sunday in the AFC Championship game, it is easy to forget there is another huge sporting event looming on the horizon.

Will Kansas City host some matches in the 2026 World Cup? Efforts to start answering that question are picking up steam.

Last Friday, Mayor Quinton Lucas and the Kansas City Sports Commission got a letter from U.S. Soccer saying the 2026 site selection process will resume next month.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The average length of a NFL game? A little over three hours.

The AFC Championship game on Sunday would lock in a Superbowl spot for either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Tennessee Titans. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium.

Some arts organizations in the metro are betting that visitors can do both: attend a play and catch the second half of the game; stop by a museum for an exhibition and see the kickoff; or listen to a Symphony concert and still witness a few final touchdowns. 

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

The debate over immigration has been dominated by the Trump administration’s hardline policies. Meanwhile, there are immigrant communities in the Kansas City area whose stories often go unheard amid the surrounding noise.

Daniel Caudill / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — The 2020 Kansas Legislature is underway. And while Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly laid out some of her top priorities during the State of the State address on Wednesday, Republican leaders of the House and Senate (and Kelly's fellow Democrats) have some different goals. 

Here are five issues that will be top of mind for the governor and lawmakers as the session heats up.

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Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, says it has voluntarily closed the facility, including its rural health clinic, outpatient clinic and emergency department.

In a terse “To whom it may concern” letter, Pinnacle CEO Joseph Conigliaro said the hospital had decided the “economic hardship” of complying with recent demands by Missouri health regulators was “too great to make the appropriate repairs necessary.”

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas City, Missouri — Time was, a fledgling tech company called CivicPlus had to explain to prospective customers why it was based in Kansas — and not some tech-heavy coastal city.

“We said, ‘Hey, you get Midwest values, but with Silicon Valley quality,’” recalled Ward Morgan, owner of the government software maker based in the college town of Manhattan. “It did throw people off to think that there was a tech company in Kansas.”

Today CivicPlus, founded in the 1990s, serves 3,500 cities and counties on two continents.

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Kansas Citians With Ties To Iran Tell Their Stories

Everyone's eyes are on headlines about mounting tensions between the US and Iran, but for these Kansas Citians, something deeply personal is at stake.

Meet The Kansas City Councilman With A Plan To Eliminate Traffic Deaths By 2030

Versions of the Vision Zero plan have had mixed success in other large cities.