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Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Updated at 7:20 p.m. Dec. 10 with a response to the investigation from the Office of the Attorney General.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. Dec. 10 with secretary of state's office requesting the auditor's help in the investigation— Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is under investigation for possibly using "public funds" in his bid for U.S. Senate, the Secretary of State's Office announced Thursday.

KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri saw its highest turnout for the November midterm election in 20 years, and is one of only 12 in the U.S. that doesn’t have a form of no-excuse absentee voting.

Kansas City Democratic Sen. Lauren Arthur is looking to change that in the next legislative session. Her measure is one of several bills that were prefiled ahead of the 2019 legislative session to deal with the state’s election and initiative petition processes.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 local officials from both Kansas and Missouri gathered Saturday morning to discuss ways to combat climate change on the local and regional level. 

'This is by far the largest collection of elected officials that are addressing climate change, climate disruption and global warming that I've seen in my time here," said Brian Alferman, sustainability manager of Johnson County, Kansas. "So I want it to be a part of it and hope that it drives some of the work that I do."

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

President Donald Trump visited Kansas City, Missouri, Friday to speak at a national conference for Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Justice Department initiative that aims to partner local and federal officials in order to reduce violent crime.

At the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, a crowd of hundreds of law enforcement officials and prosecutors from around the country greeted the president with warm applause, dozens of cell phones popping up in the air to capture his entrance.

Jacob Blickenstaff

The Recording Academy on Friday announced the nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards, and Kansas City-based blues artist Danielle Nicole is up for her first Grammy.

Her second solo album, "Cry No More," was tapped for Contemporary Blues Album.

Santa Rampage KC

Funny is where you find it.

But to save time scouting out the stuff that will more than likely put a smile on your face, here’s a batch of comedians, musicians and Santas that could keep you ho-ho-ho-ing all weekend.

That’s right, Santas, as in more than one. Tell the tykes at your own risk!

 

1. Lewis Black: The Joke’s on US Tour

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

It's Nutcracker season, and ballet dancers everywhere are preparing for the biggest performances of the year. But their productions also rely on colorful backgrounds onstage, which is where Kenmark Scenic Backdrops of downtown Overland Park comes in.

Cory Weaver

Some of the basic lessons of “A Christmas Carol” have rubbed off on Nicole Marie Green and Logan Black, the actors who play Mrs. and Mr. Cratchit this year at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

They’re playing Charles Dickens’ 175-year-old characters for the first time, and are grateful.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

People who have been convicted of certain felonies will soon have a chance to get a job serving alcohol in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Council approved changes to the liquor card program on Thursday, just a week after voting the proposal down.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City leaders got some good news from the federal government today.

Missouri Congressman Sam Graves announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant to replace the Buck O’Neil Bridge.

The bridge carries 40,000 vehicles daily between downtown Kansas City and the Northland. At more than 60 years old, it’s nearing the end of its useful life.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

The Buck O’Neil Bridge just north of downtown is one of more hectic traffic spots in Kansas City, Missouri, and for Shari H, a car accident here in 2012 turned out to be life-changing.

She didn’t have any major injuries, but after days and weeks passed, she realized that her post-accident soreness wasn’t going away.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A day after candidates could officially file for the chance to be the next mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, nine contenders made their cases at a forum organized by students at East High School on Van Brunt Boulevard. 

Unlike other debates and forums over the past few months, most of the questions Wednesday night came from people who won’t be old enough to cast a vote for mayor.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Missouri’s comprehensive revamp of ethics laws goes into effect this week, as does a new redistricting process that is unique among all U.S. states.

Despite passing with 62 percent of the vote in November, Amendment 1 (or Clean Missouri) still rankles opponents, who are pushing to bring the topic back to the ballot box.

John Chase

Robert Mnookin grew up in the 1950s as a member of B’nai Jehudah, one of the biggest and oldest Jewish temples in Kansas City. But asked to describe himself, the Harvard law professor doesn’t immediately say, “I’m Jewish.”

“We all have many strands to our identity: I’m a father, a grandfather, a husband, a law professor, I’m a Harvard graduate, and I’m from Kansas City. And, I’m Jewish,” Mnookin told Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann.

Jeff Fudge / Flickr - CC

Citing its urban revival and Midwestern charm,  National Geographic Traveler named Kansas City as one of the best trips to take in 2019.

“We love a city that loves itself and can figure out ways to represent stakeholders in the city in the best way possible and invite and welcome outsiders,” said George Stone, editor in chief of National Geographic Travel. “And then show off what the city has to offer.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A software glitch in the Kansas City Public Schools online application made it hard for some families to enroll Tuesday.

Because the district fills seats at its signature schools in the order applications are received, some parents were online at 6 a.m. when the application opened to ensure their child would get into a preferred school next year. Juanita, whose last name KCUR is not using because she is undocumented, was one of those parents.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Thirty years ago, I attended the Nov. 30, 1988, news conference where then-Kansas State athletic director Steve Miller introduced Bill Snyder. At the time, no one envisioned a football coaching career that would ultimately place Snyder in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps there’d be modest success that Vince Gibson and Jim Dickey enjoyed during their respective tenures with the Wildcats? Sure, that couldn’t be ruled out. But no coach dating back to the first year of the program in 1896 could sustain any degree of consistent success, and Snyder’s first season was difficult, a 1-10 record. That — and K-State football — changed.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

The Kansas Legislature showed its tendency to be both more conservative and more liberal on Monday.

The selection of House leaders took the Republican and Democratic factions a bit more to the right and left, respectively, while creating a more polarized Legislature facing Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly.

Missouri News Horizon / Creative Commons-Flickr

Former Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey received more than $170,000 in contributions over a four-year period from the executives of a nonprofit that is the focus of a long-running federal investigation, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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.

John Mendoza graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, in 1967, excited to take on a job at NASA as an aerospace engineer. 

"I always wanted to be a figher pilot because of movies and space programs, outer space movies," John told his daughter, Valerie M. Mendoza.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

An aviator falls to earth and is marooned with his downed biplane in the Sahara. In the desert, he meets a mysterious prince who’s traveled to earth from a distant asteroid.

Show Me KC Schools

Starting Monday, families living within Kansas City Public Schools boundaries can apply to 16 charter schools with a common application.

“Parents don’t have to go to four different schools and fill out four separate applications,” Latresse Yarbough, the chief operating officer for Kansas City Neighborhood Academy, said. “We really want to show the unity between charter schools and the ease of the application.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

With just one month of the year left, there have been zero homicides in Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood in 2018, down from 11 last year, according to Kansas City police data. On top of that, aggravated assaults are down 15 percent and robberies 20 percent from 2017.

Finley Facebook Page

Updated, 4:56 p.m. Monday

On a six-three vote Monday the Jackson County Legislature approved the pension change.

Lawmakers in favor said it was unfair to deny someone money they had already earned.

The county Pension Board asked the Legislature to not change the rules citing potential problems with the IRS and the fact that the ordinance appears to benefit only income legislator Ron Finley.

Jackson County Executive Frank White could veto the ordinance. His office said he will examine the legislation before making a decision.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

On Saturday morning, Monique Campbell bustled up and down the stairs inside the Goppert Theatre at Avila University, attending breakout sessions at an economic development summit.

"There's something for everyone, whether you're a community member, whether you own a small business, or if you're a large business owner," said Campbell, who works for Bellewether, a small business operations consulting company.

Succotash / Facebook

Kansas City chef Beth Barden just finished a job she never anticipated having: food-stylist for the new coffee table book "Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life."

Like the "Queer Eye" television show, which recently wrapped filming its third season in Kansas City, the book is full of lifestyle advice, with pearls of widsom ranging from how to select the right cut of denim to what your go-to meal says about you.  

Kansas City, Kansas, Police

The killer of Kansas City, Kansas, police Capt. Robert David Melton was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

Jamaal R. Lewis, 22, had previously pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, and charges of aggravated assault and shooting into an unoccupied dwelling.

Wyandotte County District Judge Wesley Griffin handed down the maximum sentences on the lesser charges, 13 months and nine months respectively, and ordered them to run consecutively after the life sentence.

Lewis will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

File photo by Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

A petition asking Kansas City voters to limit property tax abatements has been certified by the City Clerk’s office and had a first read before the City Council on Thursday, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

The clerk's office certified 2,321 valid signatures on a petition sponsored by the Coalition for Kansas City Economic Development Reform. That well exceeds the 1,708 signatures required to force a vote.

Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

Electric bikes will arrive on Kansas City’s streets in early December, joining the current fleet of electric scooters and ride sharing options available to residents.

UMKC Marketing & Communications / Flickr--CC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, as well as the other three campuses in the UM System, will extend buyout offers to tenured faculty nearing retirement age, it was announced Friday.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can to alleviate any financial pressure,” MU spokesman Christian Basi said, though he was “not ready to speculate” on whether more layoffs would be coming if too few employees took buyouts.

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