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Digital Post

Brandon Reid remembers watching Barack Obama win the presidential election from his living room couch in 2008. 

Most of his friends had gone to the polls that day to vote in what became a historic election. But Reid, who was in and out of prison because of drugs, couldn’t vote. He was on criminal supervision at the time. He missed the 2012 presidential election for the same reason. 

“If you don’t have the right to vote, of course, you are going to know about it, right? You see it on the news. It’s voting day. You want to be a part of it,” Reid said. 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In February 1920, the owners of eight independently owned black baseball teams met in Kansas City at the Paseo YMCA and the Negro National League was born. It was not the first all-black baseball league, but it's the one that modernized the negro leagues and it was the last before integration.

The Negro Leagues Baseball centennial is being celebrated this year all over the country. But if it weren't for a Kansas City man who grew up in the same neighborhood as a handful of former players for the Kansas City Monarchs, we might not even know this history.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With less than four months remaining in the school year, a teary-eyed Amanda Coffman explained why she would no longer be in the hallways to greet students at the morning bell.

The Indian Woods Middle School teacher stood before the Shawnee Mission School Board and announced her resignation – effective immediately.

Coffman expected to receive feedback from her community and her parents in Michigan, but said she didn’t expect the video of the event to go farther than her parents' house.

Listen to this episode of A People's History Of Kansas City, a new podcast from KCUR 89.3. For more stories like this one, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play.

Gordon Parks / Gordon Parks Foundation

Before Cassius Clay took the name Muhammad Ali, he was a 22-year-old who’d been rechristened “the champ,” the greatest boxer in the world.

Long-time Life magazine photojournalist and renaissance man Gordon Parks was assigned to cover the young man twice, once in 1966 and again in 1970. What Parks found after many meetings was a 24-year-old with bruised fists looking for approval — a side of the superstar the public hadn't seen.

MoDOT

If your weekend travel plans typically include I-70 in Independence, you'll want to find an alternate route this weekend. 

That's because the Missouri Department of Transporation is shutting down a seven-mile stretch of one of the metro's busiest roadways to make way for a major construction project where I-70 meets I-435 near the Truman Sports Complex. 

Here's what you need to know: 

WHERE: MoDOT plans to shut down westbound I-70 between where Route 291 meets I-470 in Independence to the I-435/I-70 interchange near the stadiums. 

WICHITA, Kansas — On Aug. 16, the second day of the school year, students in the Burrton district felt the shake of a 4.2 magnitude earthquake. They knew exactly what to do: hide under their desks until it stopped.

As the Missouri General Assembly is poised to give voters another chance to decide how to draw state House and Senate maps, one of the lesser-discussed parts of the debate is how judges will gain expansive power if voters scrap the Clean Missouri system.

Under a ballot measure that recently passed the Senate and will likely be approved in the House, bipartisan commissions will have first crack at redistricting instead of a demographer. But the truth is the commissions have been historically irrelevant because they tend to deadlock along party lines and then turn over authority to appellate judges. 

There’s been little insight into how the judges actually came up with House and Senate districts — until now.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

A crossing guard employed by the city of Kansas City, Kansas, died Tuesday after he pushed two schoolchildren out of the way of an oncoming car. 

The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. along the 5400 block of Leavenworth Road outside the Christ the King Catholic School. Kansas City, Kansas, Police have identified the victim as 88-year-old Bob Nill. 

Julie Denesha

A federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, who was publicly reprimanded last year for workplace misconduct is resigning after more than 20 years on the bench.

U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia tendered his resignation effective April 1, 2020, in a letter to President Trump that was released by the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon.  

leyla.a / Flickr - CC

If you placed a Super Bowl wager in Missouri or Kansas this year, chances are good it was probably illegal.

But in Missouri, the smart money is increasingly on legal sports betting. That might become a reality by the end of the year, thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court case that gave states the right to organize sports betting.

Courtesy Dee Jackson

Former KSHB-TV Channel 41 sports anchor Demetrice “Dee” Jackson has settled his race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the station.

Jackson’s attorneys said the matter had been “resolved,” but declined further comment.

Jackson, who is no longer employed at the station, confirmed that the case was over and that he was “pleased with the end result.”

“I’m happy it’s been resolved,” Jackson said. “That’s pretty much all I can say off the top of my head without saying too much.”

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Two top Clay County officials who make more than $100,000 a year live rent-free at county-managed properties, according to leases obtained by KCUR through a records request. 

Gary Scott

Desperate for a better connection with his kids, writer and editor Dan Kois uprooted his family from their busy lives. Kois documents this journey in his book, "How To Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together.”

Before hitting the road, Kois said, his family was in "crisis." Though they lived under the same roof in Arlington, Virginia, everyone seemed to be living apart from one another.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

By some measures, the United States' economy is in great shape. President Donald Trump touts record low unemployment as evidence that things have never been better. His argument is bolstered by historic stock market increases over the last year.

And if Esther George has one word to describe her 2020 economic outlook, it would be "positive."

Coronavirus Tests Public Health Infrastructure In The Heartland

Feb 16, 2020
DigitalVision/Vectors / Getty Images

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Every weekday at noon since Jan. 27, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams gathers his outbreak response team for a meeting on coronavirus.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas legislative session began with what seemed like a done deal for expanding Medicaid. Gov. Laura Kelly and a top Republican senator had forged a compromise to offer health coverage for up to 130,000 low-income Kansans.

About a month later, the deal has ground to a halt — and even the state budget could be held up — because of abortion politics. 

Ca Va/Facebook

If you appreciate your own company but dining solo in a restaurant intimidates you, you're not alone. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try.

"I love dining alone. I'm almost evangelical about it," Liz Cook said on KCUR's Central Standard. "One of the reasons I love it is that I'm alone so seldom in my daily life.... This is a time to completely carve out for yourself."

J.E. Miller / Courtesy of Missouri Valley Room, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.

Listen to this episode of A People's History Of Kansas City, a new podcast from KCUR 89.3. For more stories like this one, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's relatively new problem of affordable housing is also squeezing artists out of studios.

That's especially noticeable in the Crossroads Arts District, which was a mostly abandoned area south of downtown when artists began to establish galleries and studios there in the mid-1980s. Their arrival signaled the beginning of the neighborhood's revival, but now the Crossroads' days as the center of the city’s arts community may be coming to an end.

The Missouri House of Representatives is set to vote Monday on legislation that would create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program

The House gave preliminary approval to the measure 95-56 on Wednesday. 

Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a statewide PDMP, which is designed to help catch misuse and abuse of prescription opioids. 

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with Greitens' comments on Facebook

After almost 20 months and nearly two dozen subpoenas, the Missouri Ethics Commission closed an investigation into former Gov. Eric Greitens’ campaign by fining him $178,000 — which could be significantly reduced with a prompt payment.

Soon after the ethics commission handed down its decision, Greitens took to Facebook for the first time since May 2018 to react to the news — and hint at a political comeback.

While Greitens signed a consent order about failing to disclose in-kind donations, the ethics commission dismissed a slew of other allegations against the former governor. That included running an illegal shadow campaign operation to avoid the state’s campaign-donation laws.

Courtesy Overland Park Historical Society

The Kansas City Star’s front page on December 7, 1997, made a big splash about the $500 million construction just starting in the southern metro area.  

“Sprint makes history with its headquarters,” the headline read, adding that it was “so big it will have its own ZIP code and power substation."

This week, two more headlines showed that the respective heydays for Sprint and the Star are now history, as Sprint lurches closer to a merger with a competitor and the Star announced the bankruptcy of its parent company.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

On Feb. 6, 2018, Travis Claussen had his right hip replaced at Blue Valley Hospital in Overland Park.

The 40-year-old resident of Lawson, Missouri, had been experiencing severe back pain for years. Before then, he’d been a physical fitness buff who was into off-road motorcycle racing.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City Police officer was using “reasonable” deadly force when he shot and killed 24-year-old Ryan Stokes, despite the fact that Stokes was unarmed and obeying another officer’s commands, a federal judge has ruled.

Kansas City Chinese American Associatiaon

Alex Che, president of the Kansas City Chinese American Association, estimates there are between 10,000 and 20,000 Chinese and Chinese American residents in the area, although it’s hard to know for sure because they're spread out all over the metro. 

Many have friends and family in China, and as deaths from the new coronavirus — officially named COVID-19 on Tuesday by the World Health Organization — exceeded 1,000, concern grew among the community here as well.

Courtesy of Loevy & Loevy law firm

TOPEKA, Kansas — Wendy Couser, a former juvenile intake officer at the Newton Police Department, has always believed in the importance of consequences. 

But Couser feels that she’s yet to see consequences for the law enforcement officials who beat, shot and killed her son, William “Matthew” Holmes, during an arrest in August 2017. That’s because, she said, police only conducted one investigation, the full details of which were not made public. 

“I couldn’t have gotten information on my own if I didn’t have attorneys,” Couser said. “I’m sure nobody would have told me anything.” 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Clearing one of the last hurdles in a nearly two-year merger marathon, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Overland Park-based Sprint may complete its $26 billion deal with rival T-Mobile.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Caitlin Morton used to dread Valentine's Day.

That was before she met Sudiebelle Hare, a Kansas City artist who regularly paints colorful circles on canvas at events and music festivals and, until recently, sold her artwork on First Fridays from a regular spot on the sidewalk across from Grinder’s in the Crossroads.

Bigstock

Americans are divided on lots of issues. But a new national survey finds that people across the political spectrum agree on at least one thing: Our health care system needs fixing.

The “Hidden Common Ground” survey from Public Agenda, USA Today and Ipsos found that 92 percent of Americans say changes are needed.

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