Audio Feature | KCUR

Audio Feature

Fernando Salazar / Special to the Capital-Journal

At first, they wanted to save her.

Then, after she fled the Kansas foster care system at age 16 and fell victim to the commercial sex trade, social workers told her she was going to prison forever.

"When I went into foster care and they wanted to take me away from my family, I ran," she said. "I ran away, and that's how I really started to get into all of this trouble. After I ran away, that's when they started treating me like, 'Oh, you're a suspect and you're not innocent.'

Signet Classics

People still have things to say about "Moby-Dick," Herman Melville's 1851 novel about Captain Ahab's obsessive and dangerous hunt for a great white whale.

"I was expecting, like, a tedious and masculine slog through this sea-faring adventure, but there’s so much more going on in 'Moby-Dick' about gender and language and humor and American identity," said poet Danny Caine, who owns The Raven Book Store in downtown Lawrence.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

When children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin are usually the first line of treatment.

Doctors recently issued new guidelines that mostly uphold the role of those medications, but many experts argue that other effective behavioral treatment methods are being ignored.

There have been more than 1,000 illnesses and multiple deaths linked to e-cigarettes. Now some research from Butler University finds the health problems of vaping go even further. 

Fort Leonard Wood is home to more than 6,000 soldiers and at least three endangered species.

Those animals and two more that are threatened are protected and cared for despite living among shelling and other military training.

And scientists flock to the installation, saying it’s a boon to their research and gives them an opportunity to help these animals.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

If someone were to hike deep into the places he paints, says Kansas City artist Jason Needham, "it would be rough going, for sure."

As the sun rose one recent morning, he was concentrating on a tangle of overgrown vines surrounding a stand of cottonwood trees at Kessler Park in the the city's Historic Northeast neighborhood.

John Cheng

A Grain Valley teen is one of five athletes picked to compete at the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart, Germany for the United States women’s team.

Kara Eaker, 16, is competing for the U.S. on the senior level for her second straight year. She made the balance beam final at last year’s world championships in Doha, Qatar. 

Eaker looks back at the experience as a useful tool for this year’s competition, especially “being able to get used to going for that long (trip) away from home (and) also training with the gymnasts there in Doha.”

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.

Northeast News publisher Michael Bushnell has to wrestle with politics in his work all the time. 

"I write an opinion column every week, and 9 times out of 10 it falls on the conservative side," Bushnell says. "But it's more common sense than it is anything else, I think."

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Sitting at the edge of the gently undulating landscape of the Flint Hills in east-central Kansas, the town of Hillsboro boasts a small hospital that has survived a remarkable roller coaster ride even as other rural hospitals stagger and fail.  

Nine months ago, everything seemed to be coming apart at the 15-bed facility, Hillsboro Community Hospital, which traces its roots back more than a century.

Why Rural Hospitals Keep Closing Maternity Wards

Sep 30, 2019

Jessica Sheridan’s plan was to have her first daughter at the local hospital, five minutes from her house in Iowa Falls.

But when she was seven months pregnant, that plan suddenly changed.

Immersion Program Seeks Next Generation Of Rural Doctors

Sep 30, 2019

On a sunny afternoon in Sedalia, Mo., a town between St. Louis and Kansas City, Jennifer and Matt Boatright escorted some unusual visitors into a pasture on their farm. They opened the heavy gate and called their sheep over to meet a half-dozen medical students from the University of Missouri system. 

The farm tour was part of a week-long program designed to introduce future doctors, pharmacists and nurses to rural life.  The goal: Get the students interested in working in rural areas.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When Katie Currid and her husband Tyler Jackson returned from four years in Vicenza, Italy, they came with two new babies in tow — one, their son Fox, and the other, though not a real baby per se, the bones of a new business venture.

A Prosecco truck. Like a food truck for bubbles. A way to deliver the bubs any time of day, in true European fashion.

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.

Kristin Chow and Kurt Wheeler met for the first time as part of StoryCorps' One Small Step. To get a better sense of where Wheeler's ideology stands, Chow asked a big question.

"When you think about the future what are you most scared of?" Chow asked.

"I'm most scared of us losing sight of our core values as a country," Wheeler said. "I'm scared of people feeling entitled to things that are not a right."

Holly Bickmeyer is worried about what a large livestock operation would do if it moves in next door. 

She points to the small lake in front of her house on the 20-head cattle farm she operates in Maries County.

“Sinkholes open up all the time,” Bickmeyer said. “You see the lake that’s in my front yard here? If somebody builds a hog operation at the end of my driveway, I would be concerned about that waste getting into the groundwater and I walk out one day and all my bass are dead.”

Bickmeyer said that’s why she wants her local county commissioners to decide if concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs, can locate nearby. 

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.

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.

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. 

This June the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plan to move two of its research agencies out of Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City area. Most of the people working at the agencies have since quit, leaving gaping holes in critical divisions. Researchers warn that the agency upheaval will starve farmers, policymakers and ultimately consumers out of the best possible information about food and the business of growing it.

As Wind Energy Thrives, So Does Its Waste Problem

Sep 10, 2019

Over the last two years, Rob Van Vleet has been slowly scrapping the last vestiges of Kimball, Nebraska’s first wind farm. The wind turbines are made to be sturdy, he said, but they don’t last forever — about 20 years.

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.

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.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

With college costs rising every year, Missouri’s A+ Scholarship Program is a bargain – 50 hours of tutoring in exchange for two free years of community college.

College access advocates, however, argue that the money isn’t going to the students who need it most.

“We know there are people who utilize A+ who come from families that make $100,000 or $200,000 a year,” said Karissa Anderson, the advocacy director for the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.

WICHITA, Kansas — Large industrial operations — think electrical power plants, oil refineries, ethanol facilities —cough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by the ton. That, in turn, warms the planet.

But now some researchers think Kansas could be a good place to pump the gas underground rather than up in the air.

On Aug. 9, Holly Uchtman and her 7-year-old son Zyler headed to their weekly appointment at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Zyler has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare, terminal disease that causes muscles to weaken and eventually stop working. For two years, Zyler had been receiving eteplirsen, gene therapy that helped his muscles keep their shape.

But that day, there was a surprise on the other side of their journey. The state had removed Zyler from Medicaid, which pays for his nearly $40,000-a-week treatment. They were turned away, and he missed his appointment.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

"I don't like sanitized spaces," says artist Harold Smith, whose house in Kansas City, Kansas, doubles as his studio.

It's about a mile from where he grew up. 

"I like diversity," Smith says. "So just regular working class people."

As Jean Peters Baker spoke to a packed room at the Missouri Democratic Party’s Truman Dinner last weekend, she acknowledged the obvious: The past few years have been bruising for a party that used to dominate state politics.

Republicans up and down the ballot generally prevailed in the past three election cycles — leaving Democrats on the outside looking in when it comes to policy and leadership. But Baker, chairwoman of the Missouri Democratic Party, said this isn’t a time to sulk. Instead, Democrats should use the 2020 election cycle as a prime opportunity for a comeback.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Eight-year-old Brian Bartlett was asleep in his home earlier this month when someone sprayed dozens of bullets into his bedroom. 

While his death was shocking, Kansas City is now four years into a wave of increased killings and officials are grasping for solutions.

Police quietly shifted their anti-violence strategy months ago. But it might not be the solution officials hope for.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Even though the Midwest is tops in field corn production and grows row after row of it, these states don’t stand out when it comes to national production of sweet corn. 

But for many in the region, nothing says summer quite like a fresh hot ear of sweet corn — plain, buttered or salted.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / Side Effects Public Media

It’s the middle of summer but Harrisburg Middle School is a hive of activity. Between summer school classes and renovations, it’s a little chaotic for counselor Brett Rawlings, who just wrapped up his first year at the school.

Harrisburg is a town of fewer than 300 people, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City. But the school also serves the surrounding area, which is primarily farmland. As the K-8 counselor, Rawlings is responsible for some 400 students, and he deals with a range of issues.

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