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Seg. 1: The Plight Of Missouri Municipal Courts. Seg. 2: Book Critics' Summer Reading Picks.

Judge Garry Helm seated before a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Danie Alexander
KCUR 89.3
Presiding judge of Jackson County Municipal Court, Garry Helm, says the Missouri legislature has limited the means municipal courts have to compel defendants to appear for traffic violations which means unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road.

Segment 1: Missouri's 2015 reform bill means fewer defendants bother to appear in court for traffic violations.

In the wake of Ferguson, then-Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed a sweeping court reform bill to cut down on percieved predatory traffic stops that burdened the poor unduly. Today a judge and a criminal defense attorney questioned the bill's efficacy that has fewer Missourians showing up for their court dates and has created greater workloads for court clerks and support staff.

Segment 2, beginning at 24:51: New fiction, non-fiction, and classic literature recommendations.

A collection of contrarian essays critiquing the political establishment of both the right and the left, and a revisionist response to Jane Eyre are just two of the literary works reccomended by our book critics for contemporary and classic summer readings.

Here are the titles recommended on the program:

  • "Bird Box" by Josh Malerman 
  • "Dead Girls and Other Stories" by Emily Geminder
  • "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin
  • "Rendezvous With Oblivion" by Thomas Frank
  • "The Book Of Disquiet" by Fernando Pessoa
  • "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys
  • "Cherry" by Nico Walker
  • "Good Talk: Conversations I’m Still Confused About" by Mira Jacon
  • "What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky" by Leslie Nneka Arimah
  • "Black Jesus And Other Superheroes" by Venita Blackburn
  • "Whiskey" by Bruce Holbert


When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.