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A federal judge ordered Missouri officials to provide voter registration information to residents seeking to update their addresses at motor vehicle offices by mail or online.

U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes found that their failure to do so violates the National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the federal motor voter law.

Wimes ordered the action to be taken ahead of this November’s election. His order came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

On Friday, a Jackson County judge sentenced the woman convicted of starting a deadly fire at her own nail salon to 74 years in prison.

Firefighters, law enforcement officials and family of the two firefighters killed in the fire — John Mesh and Larry Leggio — packed the courtroom and an overflow room. 

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Kansas could end up handing out fewer felonies — and more misdemeanors —  for certain property crimes.

That could mean sending fewer people to state prison, though some might end up in county jail instead.

MR King Images

Kansas City songwriter Amanda Fish has just proclaimed herself "Free." That's the title song on her newly released sophomore album, after 2015's "Down in the Dirt."

The record reflects Fish's literal and philosophical growth. The older sister of another Kansas City singer, Samantha Fish (who has a few more records to her credit), Amanda started playing music at 18 but set that aside to earn a living. By age 25, she was working as a security guard and unhappy, so she quit to go into music full time.

Another Republican broke ranks this week to endorse the Democrat in the Kansas governor’s race. And an attack from the 2014 governor’s race resurfaced, this time in the battle for a 2nd Congressional District seat. Jim McLean, Madeline Fox, and Stephen Koranda of the Kansas News Service catch up on the latest from the campaign trail. 


uscourts.gov

The U.S. Attorney in Kansas City is continuing to investigate potential federal crimes in Jackson County, according to Department of Justice lawyers at a sentencing hearing Thursday at the federal courthouse in downtown Kansas City.

It is "very much an active investigation," DOJ prosecutor Lauren Bell said.

Kansas City Police Department

Reporting a sexual assault to police is unquestionably traumatic. Victims undergo an invasive medical exam. Police ask sensitive questions. Then, when victims get home, sometimes they have no sheets.

That's because police take clothing and fabric from the scene of the crime for DNA analysis. And while a victim is likely to have multiple items of clothing, he or she may not have an extra set of bed sheets.

Jeff Schock / Billy Joel

Feel like singing along?

You’ve got plenty of opportunities this weekend with tuneful attractions galore, led by a batch of highly accomplished pop, rock and country artists whose memorable records began successfully spinning decades ago.

Risk the earworm!

1. Billy Joel

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill won’t vote for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the Democrat said in a news release Wednesday.

After weeks of deliberation, McCaskill said she opposes Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court because of so-called dark money — donations to nonprofits that keep the source secret.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

A committee of Kansas judges and attorneys says cities need to reduce the costs of appearing in municipal court.

The Kansas Supreme Court appointed the ad hoc committee last September to assess whether the state’s municipal courts impose an unreasonable financial burden on low-income people. 

A report released Wednesday lists more than a dozen suggestions to reduce or simplify fees, bail and monetary fines that come with being arrested and charged with a crime.

file photo / Kansas News Service

The alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl while she was waiting for a foster care placement in May has many asking about consequences for the contractor, responsible that day for both the girl and the 18-year-old accused of assaulting her.

On a Facebook Live session Wednesday, Department for Children and Families secretary Gina Meier-Hummel fielded a question about why the contractor hasn’t been dropped.

Celisa Calacal/KCUR 89.3

The city of Raytown, Missouri is considering transferring its Emergency Medical Services department to the Raytown Fire Protection District.

Discussions about this transfer began in May, and it is the third time in 20 years that Raytown has considered this transfer. If approved, the deal would go into effect Nov. 17.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Servcie

The ACLU of Kansas is now suing Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to gain access to lists of 900 voters who filed provisional ballots and about 150 voters whose advance ballots were not counted in the August primary. 

Courtesy UM System

It’s likely layoffs will be necessary to pay for what University of Missouri System President Mun Choi outlined as priorities in a speech last week.

That’s according to Board of Curators Chairman David Steelman.

“Some people are going to lose their jobs. There are going to be program cuts, but we’re going to get the money now for the investments this state needs,” Steelman said Wednesday on KCUR’s Up To Date.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The man who many Democrats thought could go all the way to the Missouri governor's mansion instead will be going to federal prison for more than two years.

Former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison for a wire fraud conviction in connection with a kickback scheme that netted Sanders at least $40,000.

Mike Strong

Partnering, in dance as in life, requires trust, collaboration and strength. Jokes are important, too.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

It’s late summer, and the drone of insects is a sound that Lonnie Kessler has come to dread. A similar chirping means he’s minutes away from another seizure.

“It sounds like a thousand crickets all at once in my head. And so that really alerts me this is going to happen right now,” Kessler said. “And then I lose consciousness.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, has made a few changes after receiving a letter from U.S. representatives from Missouri and Kansas that detailed veterans' concerns about the quality of care.

file photo / Kansas News Service

In the wake of rape charge filed in an attack on a 13-year-old girl in the office of a foster care contractor, Kansas lawmakers said Tuesday they’ll investigate what went wrong.

One legislator said state officials and the contractor responsible for watching over the alleged victim will face tough questions later this month.

So Min Kang

Mia Leonin says she felt raw while writing “Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child,” and she suspects readers will feel the same.

“Even though that’s uncomfortable, when we are raw it’s because we’re open. And when we are open, we can heal in new ways,” she says.

Preferred Family Healthcare

Top executives of a Missouri nonprofit bribed and organized fundraisers for  Missouri and Arkansas politicians as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to loot the company for their personal benefit, according to court documents filed last week.  

The nonprofit, Springfield-based Preferred Family Healthcare, directed an employee to organize fundraisers for “several candidates running for seats in the Missouri State Senate, Missouri House of Representatives and the Greene County Commission,” according to the documents.

KCPD

In an unexpected move on Monday, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners rescinded an award it had given to a pair of officers involved in the killing of Ryan Stokes as he was leaving the Power & Light District five years ago.

Stokes, 24, was shot by Officer William Thompson, a desk officer who was on special assignment that night in the busy entertainment district, which the KCPD flagged at the time as a "hot spot" with a high potential for crime. Thompson's partner, Officer Tamara Jones, also a desk officer, did not fire her weapon.

Brian Paulette

Those who loved Marilyn Strauss say her career and life were powered by what can only be described as a firey “chutzpah and moxie.”

Strauss, founder of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, died Saturday evening from pancreatic cancer. Her health began declining shortly after her 90th birthday celebration in 2017.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt acknowledges that a multi-state attack on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could wipe out some popular consumer protections.

But, Schmidt said, he believes Congress will step in to preserve certain parts of the law if he and 19 other Republican attorneys general succeed in striking down the individual mandate — that everybody buy coverage or face a fine on their tax return — as unconstitutional.

Thirty years after its hard turn to the right — driven largely by abortion politics and the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy protests — Kansas is on the cusp of what could be another course-changing event: the 2018 race for governor.

StoryCorps

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

Alex Martinez and Miguel Morales may be more than 20 years apart in age, but their experiences in the United States as Latinx children speak to the unique challenges they have faced here.

Lucas Richardz / Flickr CC

A vibrant restaurant scene brings comings and goings. Guest host Brian Ellison spoke Friday with Central Standard's local Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch, and Jenny Vergara — about what's new and what's out in the Kansas City area. 

Opening

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Sepsis hits nearly two million people in the U.S. a year and kills more than a quarter million. It’s a particular problem in nursing homes, where the aging, confused and immobile are especially susceptible.

In Kansas, scores of nursing homes have received federal citations since 2015 for practices that can put residents at a higher risk of sepsis.

Catapla / Facebook

If you've listened to any of our previous conversations with the Food Critics, you know that there isn't a shortage of top-notch food options in the Kansas City metro area.

Sometimes, though, you want a change of scenery during dinner.

"It has to have something special that makes you want to get in the car and go," said Food Critic Mary Bloch. 

K. Trimble / Wikimedia Commons

Updated Sept. 14, 2018, with court ruling — The wide-ranging initiative petition that would change how Missouri draws its legislative districts and effectively ban lobbyist gifts won't be on the Nov. 6 ballot, a judge ruled Friday.

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