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Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

Inasmuch as Detroit relied on automobiles, or Pittsburgh on steel, Kansas City once relied on a meatpacking industry that, in turn, depended on a multi-ethnic, low-wage, but organized labor force.

girlswhoeat / Facebook

It’s Kansas City’s claim to fame, sparking fierce debates among locals and attracting foodies from all around the country: Barbecue. Anthony Bourdain dedicated an episode of “No Reservations” to Kansas City BBQ, and even listed Joe’s KC as one of the places to eat before you die.

BigStock Images

Jurors who declined to find two police officers liable for tasing a teen with autism were willing to consider holding the city of Maryville, Missouri, liable – but the judge took that decision out of their hands.

One of the jurors who served on the seven-member federal jury told KCUR this week that the jury was never told why the city was removed from the case.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Updated 3:47 p.m. April 26 — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday that it's his understanding an investigation into how wide receiver Tyreek Hill's child was injured has been reopened.

But the Johnson County District Attorney's office had no comment and Hill's lawyers said "we cannot confirm that." Reid did not take any questions about his statement. 

U.S. Army

Negligence and lax government oversight led to a fatal explosion at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, according to a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit filed this month by the family of the worker killed in the blast.

Lawrence Bass Jr., 55, was killed, and four other workers were injured, when an explosive material called tetrazene exploded on April 11, 2017.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

(This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.)
 

Kansas women have a fundamental right to abortion, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Friday — a decision that has conservatives vowing to amend the state constitution.

Nick Schnebelen

Music runs in Nick Schnebelen's family, especially the blues. 

His parents, Lisa Swedlund and the late Robert Schnebelen, were musicians known for the band Little Eva and the Works. Music was always playing around the house, and when he was about 10, Schnebelen recalled, his dad started listening to a lot of blues.

"I started really getting into it around 12, 13," Schnebelen told Chuck Haddix, host of KCUR's Fish Fry. "And I just loved the way the blues guitar sounded, you know. I just fell in love with it."

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House and Senate have approved their versions of the $29 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. But there’s still work to be done ahead of the May 10 deadline to get it to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, namely by the conference committee that’ll figure out how to square everyone’s desires.

Logan Black

In an environment where a person can be considered an "individual augmentee" and a dog a piece of equipment — that is, a combat situation — the relationship between the two may be the only humanizing factor.

Kansas City actor and playwright Logan Black’s one-man play "Bond" explores the trauma of serving in an Iraqi combat zone alongside his best friend, a Labrador named Diego.

B. Jamie / Public domain

Almost half the people locked up in Kansas prisons admit they have a history of domestic violence — getting the cops called after an argument with a partner, having a restraining order against them or serving time for beating or threatening a family member or partner.

Some of those people end up in batterer intervention programs — sometimes while they’re behind bars, other times during probation or parole. The weekly workshops stretch over months, aiming to pinpoint what drives someone to violence, and searching for ways to break those cycles.

Facebook / KCUR 89.3

The catastrophic flooding in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas last month caused more than $12 billion in damage, by one estimate.  But much more is at stake as the flood waters recede.

Small, rural towns are damaged … and dying.

Even communities with a lot going for them have taken a beating. Lynch, Nebraska, for instance, a remote village near the South Dakota line, with only about 200 residents.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

When Kansas City Neighborhood Academy opened in 2016 with the district as its sponsor, it was supposed to start a new era of cooperation between the Kansas City Public Schools and charter schools.

Since 1999, they’d been in a fierce competition for students and resources. Now KCPS was sponsoring a charter. With support from the Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Neighborhood Academy would be a model for what urban education could be.

But the charter ended up a neighborhood school without a neighborhood.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L. Taylor / U.S. Army

This just in: The National Football League is hiring! But unless you’re about 20 years old and have been preparing for the NFL your entire life, you’re better off watching the draft live on TV with millions of other fans. Commentator Victor Wishna explains why in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

Don’t let the calendar fool you. Fans feel that distinct chill in the air, which can only mean one thing: Football season is here.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday requested a federal disaster declaration in 13 counties along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which will trigger assistance needed after devastating spring flooding.

In northwestern Missouri — where Interstate 29 is still closed, towns are submerged and hundreds of acres of farmland are underwater — many residents wondered why the declaration took a month longer than those in Nebraska and Iowa.

Mizzou Athletics

Former Lee’s Summit High School quarterback Drew Lock is expected to buck a trend in this year’s NFL Draft when it comes to players from the Kansas City area.

Since 2011, three first-round draft picks — Aldon Smith (Raytown), Shane Ray (Bishop Miege) and Charles Harris (Lincoln Prep) — anchored the defensive line at the University of Missouri. But Lock, whose Mizzou career ended at the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, is expected to be one of multiple quarterbacks taken early.

AdventHealth

AdventHealth will take over operation of Ransom Memorial Health, a 44-bed acute-care hospital in Ottawa, Kansas, the Florida-based health system announced on Wednesday.

Ransom Memorial will be renamed AdventHealth Ottawa. It joins other members of the AdventHealth network, including AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Merriam, Kansas, formerly known as Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Bruce Schuette

Vast amounts of prairie speckled with wildflowers once covered Missouri. But today, little remains of what was once 15 million acres. The loss has been devastating blow to the state's ecosystem.

"We have reaped the benefits of prairie soils, becoming an agricultural powerhouse," says Carol Davit, executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. But in doing so, she says, the state has also lost vital resources and part of its cultural history.

Joan Marcus / HAMILTON National Tour

As of today, Kansas Citians who’ve been eager to see the Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical, "Hamilton," can register for chance to buy tickets.

Since the show's opening in 2015, tickets have been hard to come by in any city where it plays, and the ever-growing fanbase is willing to pay just about anything for a seat.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Henry W. Bloch died Tuesday at the age of 96. A notable philanthropist, Bloch and his brother, Richard, co-founded the tax preparation business H&R Block Inc. more than six decades ago.

The University of Kansas Health System

Two Kansas City area hospitals joined 12 other transplant centers this week in a lawsuit over a new liver allocation policy that they say will result in “hundreds of liver transplant candidates needlessly dying.”

The University of Kansas Hospital and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, the private organization that contracts with the government to manage the nation’s organ transplant system.

U.S. Army

Two years after an explosion at a crucial Army factory that is the country’s largest producer of small-caliber ammunition, the underlying cause of Lawrence Bass Jr.’s death remains unclear.

Bass, a longtime employee, followed explosives-handling procedures later deemed to be poorly written. He worked for a defense contractor anxious to slash costs on a government contract it had underbid.

Kevin Collison

Downtown Kansas City lost one of its most enthusiastic champions when Jared Miller was struck and killed by a semi-truck late Saturday morning while crossing the North Loop freeway from the River Market.

The eastbound trucker didn’t see the pedestrian until it was too late to avoid striking him, according to Kansas City Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a Facebook post Sunday, his wife Julie Miller said her 34-year-old husband was trying to cross the road after his run when he was hit.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Twenty years ago, the stretch of Belton along U.S. Highway 71, now Interstate 49, looked a lot different than it does now. Only a few major retailers had set up shop in the city, with most bypassing Belton. That forced people who lived in the city to leave the county or even the state to shop at most big box or other stores.

Bigstock

After being asked to create a program to help the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph recognize signs of sexual abuse, Cathy Morrison found herself doing much more than teaching – she began listening.

A consultant specializing in leadership development, strategic planning and executive coaching, Morrison had already developed a program to help adults identify and report signs of suspected sexual abuse of minors. And as she presented her program to various organizations, survivors inundated her with stories of their own sexual assault.    

Bruce Stidham / Kaiser Health News

When Karolyn Schrage first heard about the “dominoes gang” in the health clinic she runs in Joplin, Mo., she assumed it had to do with pizza.

Turns out it was a group of men in their 60s and 70s who held a standing game night — which included sex with one another. They showed up at her clinic infected with syphilis.

David Kaup / For The Hechinger Report

EFFINGHAM, Kansas — In 2014, a cash-strapped school district in rural northeast Kansas turned to its residents with a plea: Pay a little more in taxes annually so we can renovate classrooms, update the wiring and give students better spaces to learn.

Courtesy of Chris Stewart

The skies across metropolitan Kansas City roared with the flight acrobatics of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels at the annual air shows at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base between Grandview and Belton, Missouri.

The sonic spectacles could draw more than a half a million people from around the region.

The base closed 25 years ago this year. But many of the enlistees and officers stayed in the Belton area, investing the town with an identity as a community of miltary retirees.

KCUR spoke to a group of the retirees at Belton's Carnegie Village Senior Living Community about their time on base.

Terry Evans / terryevansphotography.com

Kansas City native Terry Evans has seen things firsthand that most of us never will: a melting glacier crumbling into the waters of Greenland, the breakage of land at fracking sites in North Dakota

But Evans keeps returning to her pioneering work documenting the Kansas prairie, even though she never intended to become a landscape photographer at all.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is expected to make a federal disaster declaration this week, which can’t come too soon for farmers and others needing assistance after devastating floods.

A large area of northwestern Missouri near the state lines of Nebraska and Iowa is still underwater following the flooding caused by a “bomb cyclone” that hit in mid-March.

Cory Weaver

With her stoic beauty, her uni-brow and her dark hair braided with flowers, the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has an iconic face. Kahlo died in the 1950s, but she continues to fascinate people world-wide — including this spring in Kansas City. 

"She's unapologetic. She's angry and she's hurt and she's putting it in this portrait. I like that honesty and that rawness," says actor and writer Vanessa Severo, who stars in a play about Kahlo at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

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