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BNIM and HOK

The future of a proposed downtown office tower is now in the hands of a new city council torn between fulfilling a 15-year-old contract and protecting taxpayer money. 

The 25-story tower would be the first multi-tenant, premium office building built downtown since 1991. It would be built on a speculative basis — meaning it has no tenants lined up — on the southwest corner of 13th and Main, above current retailers like Yard House. 

On Wednesday, 1st District councilwoman Heather Hall summed up what several councilmembers were feeling. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 2:03 p.m. with a comment from the school district.

Another lawsuit has been filed against the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District alleging racial discrimination during the hiring of spokeswoman last year.

In the lawsuit, Danielle Nixon alleges she did not get the job because of her race. According to court documents, former Superintendent Dennis Carpenter “told the selection committee that he would never hire an African American female for that key role.”

Jen Harris

Kansas City poet Jen Harris has 2,200 followers on Facebook, and she's open with them about her sexuality and her relationships. So they didn't hesitate to let her know when they saw her fiancée with someone else.

"People were messaging me on Facebook saying, 'Do you know your partner is at this bar with this person? Look.' It was pretty brutal," Harris says.

Bigstock

A Johnson County, Kansas, resident has filed a class action lawsuit claiming the country’s leading electronic cigarette maker, Juul Labs, fraudulently concealed the addictive nature of its vaping products and misrepresented their safety.

Isaac Gant says he began vaping as a senior in high school four years ago and now is addicted to nicotine, suffers from respiratory problems, bouts of anxiety, coughing fits and the need to take frequent breaks at work to satisfy his nicotine cravings.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Mold. No heat in the winter. Leaking roofs.

The most common complaints Teresa Baker hears about rental housing in Kansas revolve around poor living conditions that violate state law.

Air Ambulances Woo Rural Kansans With Memberships That May Leave Them Hanging

Sep 16, 2019
Sarah Jane Tribble / Kaiser Health News

FORT SCOTT, Kansas — On a hot June day, as the Good Ol’ Days Festival was in full swing, 7-year-old Kaidence Anderson sat in the shade with her family waiting for a medevac helicopter to land.

A crowd had gathered to see the display pre-arranged by staff at the town’s historic fort.

“It’s going to show us how it’s going to help other people because we don’t have the hospital anymore,” the redheaded girl explained.

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Kevin McEvoy, who describes himself as "very conservative," wants to make sure his children grow up without prejudice against people of color. But he's admittedly unsure about how best to guide them.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Most Americans believe climate change is a serious problem, according to a CBS poll  released over the weekend. 

But few solutions seem to be coming from Washington, DC, or the statehouses in Topeka, Kansas, or Jefferson City, Missouri. So, local officials are trying to step up.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The results of global climate change are becoming readily apparent, and it’s affecting the younger generations inheriting a world of extreme weather.

City of Roeland Park

The Roeland Park City Council is considering an ordinance that would prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement from using city resources for immigration enforcement.

The proposal was presented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas as part of their “Safe and Welcoming” campaign at a city council meeting earlier this month.

“What we are suggesting is that cities can actually write policy that says they will not be coordinating with ICE,” Kansas ACLU Policy Director Letitia Harmon said.

Laura Norris

Whether you begin a meal with "buon appetite" or "tuck in," Central Standard's Food Critics can point you in the direction of a hearty dish personalized to your palette.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A month after a Missouri judge found Ricky Kidd innocent of a 1996 double murder and released him from prison after 23 years, Kidd's case has officially been dismissed.

Kevin Collison

Académie Lafayette is opening an International Baccalaureate high school in Midtown, accomplishing a goal the French-immersion charter school program established when it started 20 years ago.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream, our vision,” said M. Elimane Mbengue, head of the school, which currently has 1,146 students enrolled in grades K-8 at three campuses. “Every year, our parents had been challenged finding a quality high school.”

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Over the last five years, almost 15,000 workers disappeared from the Kansas workforce.

During the same timeframe, the state is growing economically, with a recent monthly report showing 14,000 jobs created in the last year and unemployment at 3.3%. That’s below the national rate. 

Despite the good news, Kansas officials see a long-term challenge: having enough employees to fill the state’s jobs, especially in high-demand careers like nursing and accounting.

thesextetjazz.com

"Music is always evolving," says Robert Castillo, a Kansas City jazz-band leader who is broadening his city's signature sound.

It's not as if he doesn't know the rules. As a bass player, he's in demand all around town as a sideman in other people's bands, proving that he knows how to play by jazz's strictest conventions. Yet as the leader of his own band, The Sextet, Castillo is dedicated to expanding the art form's possibilities.

Paul Brissman

Antoni Porowski, the food guy on the Netflix series "Queer Eye," is back in Kansas City for the release of his book “Antoni in the Kitchen.”

Similar to the food gospel Porowski espouses on the TV show — teaching guests to cook dishes that are both manageable and delicious — his cookbook may seem high-brow at first glance, but it's definitely geared to the average cook.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

One in five Americans deals with a mental health issue. However for people of color, being a person of color itself takes a toll on mental health.

Studies show that discrimination and microagressions can negatively effect the health of blacks, Hispanics, Indigenous people and Asians. 

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

In a scathing letter to Facebook this week, Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, along with three of his Republican colleagues, renewed his criticism of the social media giant, saying the company censors conservative voices.

It’s Hawley’s latest call for more government scrutiny and regulation of tech companies stemming from concerns like data privacy, internet addiction and censorship. 

Wikimedia

This story was updated at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2019, to reflect comments from the Bureau of Prisons.

The federal Bureau of Prisons will provide opioid addiction treatment for a prisoner at the Leavenworth penitentiary, according to a settlement reached Wednesday.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3 file photo

There's a serious teacher shortage in Kansas City and across the country, as fewer people pursue a career that often involves low pay, high stress and lack of community support.

Missouri’s teaching colleges are battling that trend, trying new strategies to attract students pursuing education degrees and to answer a vital need for quality instructors in every classroom.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Artists Coalition on Thursday opens its new location at the corner of Linwood Avenue and Gillham Road.

The Acme Building, boarded-up and vacant for nearly a decade, now incorporates office and gallery space on the first floor, as well as basement studios, for the Artists Coalition. The rest of the building includes 27 mostly one-bedroom apartments. 

"I'm really excited to be on that ground floor level where people can access the space just right from the sidewalk and not hidden away on an upper floor somewhere," said painter Laura Nugent, who was part of the search committee. 

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

It took years for advocates to get medical marijuana legalized in Missouri, but when it’s finally available in 2020, they may face an even tougher challenge: paying for it.

Ashley Markum of Rogersville, Missouri, the mother of a young son who takes CBD to control seizures, was heavily involved in the legalization push. This year, she helped start a charity called Ayden’s Alliance to help families like hers take on what’s likely to be the high costs of treatment. 

Lisa Dunn / WAMU

Following a series of high-profile shootings this summer, many have called on Congress to respond to mounting public pressure and enact new gun regulations after returning from the summer recess.

This week, the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee will take a first step. The committee is scheduled to mark up several new gun control bills that were introduced earlier this year.

The three bills

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When pioneers set off in covered wagons from Independence, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail for "The Great Migration of 1843," it was a 2,000-mile trek that would take an average of five months by covered wagon. Before the transcontinental railroad rendered the trail obsolete, at least 400,000 settlers are estimated to have used the Oregon Trail and its three offshoots — the California, Bozeman and Mormon Trails.

Now two professors at the Kansas City Art Institute, a printmaker and a musician, are using a historic map of the Oregon Trail as a jumping off point for their own work.

Todd Rosenberg / Kansas City Symphony

Kansas City Symphony music director Michael Stern is leaving but not until 2023. 

"It's the right decision at the right time," said Stern. "And the way that we're doing it I think is, in my opinion, a model of how such things should happen."

On Monday, the Symphony announced renewing Stern's contract through the 2022-2023 season. But then, he'll step down and take on a new role as music director laureate. 

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Ph.D. candidate Erica Stone doesn't talk about politics with her family much anymore. And when she does, it usually turns south fast.

ADWRITER / FLICKR-CC

When snow falls, the steep slope at 57th and Brookside, known for decades as Suicide Hill, is a favorite place for metro area kids to go sledding, but one neighborhood resident wants to change the name.

Alyvia Elliott lives at the bottom of that hill. She lost her husband to suicide in April. 

Virgin Hyperloop One

It sounds like science fiction hype, but supporters believe ultrafast Hyperloop transportation could become reality within a decade, propelling passengers from Kansas City to St. Louis in a 30-minute trip.

“We’ve already completed a feasibility study, and now we’re on to the next steps with this. It’s happening quicker than even I would have guessed,” said KC Tech Council President Ryan Weber, who is working with numerous other Missouri officials on a project that he predicted could be implemented in about seven years.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Updated 11:15 a.m., September 7, 2019.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts says he will not run for re-election in 2020, opening the door to a parade of candidates announcing a run or considering jumping into the race to replace him. Multiple Republicans are eyeing the seat, and it could be the first time Democrats have a competitive U.S. Senate primary since the 1990s.

Here’s the rundown of who’s seeking the seat in Washington: 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Mike Sims is a bit emotional. As he prepares to celebrate 40 years of working with an array of acclaimed artists, the master printer admits it's overwhelming.

"Huge memories, yeah," Sims says, shaking his head. "The biggest memories are the relationships with the artists, many of whom are dead and gone now.”

Since 1979, artists from around the United States have traveled to Lawrence, and then later to Kansas City, to work with Sims.

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