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Spelling Bee Sisters, Streetcar Update, Blues Singer Cassie Taylor

Credit Mark Bowen / Scripps National Spelling Bee

Council Funds Phase II Streetcar Study

The Kansas City city council approved funds to study seven potential extensions to a downtown streetcar service.  Of course, that 2-mile downtown starter line doesn’t exist yet. Council members were hoping ground would be broken this summer.  We check in on the status of the project with Lynn Horsley, the City Hall reporter for The Kansas City Star.

Olathe 11-Year-Old Continues Family’s Spelling Dynasty In Washington, D.C.

The 86th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee came to close Thursday evening. It was televised live on ESPN, and Olathe’s very own Vanya Shivashankar tied for fifth place in the nation. Although she’s only 11, this was Vanya’s third time competing at the national level.  And she’s been attending bees since she was four; in 2009 her older sister, Kavya was the national champion.'

Blues Musician Cassie Taylor Settles Down In Kansas City

For the past decade, blues singer and bassist Cassie Taylor has made her home on the road. At age 16, she started touring with her father, bluesman Otis Taylor. She started her own solo career a few years after that. While Taylor has no plans to slow down, the 26-year-old veteran is settling down a bit. She recently got married and moved to Kansas City. Hear Taylor talk about some of the true-life stories of the blues life, and love lost and found, the subjects of her new CD, Out of My Mind.

Refugees Find Home On The Farm
Midwestern cities have a long history of resettling refugees. Cities typically have the resources to help families adjust, including English classes and public transportation. But the fertile land here calls to those refugees who farmed in their home countries. Across the region, several training farms have developed to help these new Americans grow food and businesses.
Art Enthusiasts Catch Sneak Peak Of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera Exhibit

The Nelson-Atkins Museum opened an exhibit highlighting the work of prolific Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. They were each famous in their own right, but their tumultuous marriage and ties to Communism spilled over into their art. Their work is just a part of the art collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman. They were an Eastern European immigrant couple who became Mexican citizens.  It’s the first time their collection has made its way to our region for the first time. Listen to a handful of visitors who took in an early viewing of the Mexican art exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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