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Digital Post

Mid-Continent Public Library’s $113 Million Upgrade Underway

Jun 13, 2018
Blue Springs South branch
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The Mid-Continent Public Library system was designed at a time when a gallon of gas cost less than 90 cents, the Beatles disbanded and the Vietnam War ended.

MCPL Director Steve Potter described the 1970s conceptualization of a library as a “warehouse full of books.” So the current buildings don’t have enough electrical outlets, meeting rooms and programming space, he said.

Brian Collins

Kansas City's annual summer ritual, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, is upon us. This year's production is the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” 

This also means it's time for another annual ritual at KCUR: tracking down Geraldo U. Sousa, a professor of English at the University of Kansas, who has written several books on Shakespeare.

Southwest Kansas has a new accent due to the rapidly growing Latino population in the area.

New research from Kansas State University and its Kansas Speaks Project, which documents language shifts in Kansas, shows younger people in the region have started to take on the characteristics of Spanish speakers, even if they don’t speak Spanish themselves.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A federal judge has declined to block a Missouri regulation governing medication abortions, although she found that the restriction “has virtually no benefit.”

Ruling in a case brought by the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Kansas City and St. Louis, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips said the plaintiffs had not shown that the regulation “is a substantial burden to a large fraction of women seeking a medication abortion.”

Tristan Bowersox / Creative Commons-Flickr

The University of Kansas last year reached a $200,000 settlement with a former student who alleged he was sexually assaulted by a theater professor. 

The details of the settlement came to light after The Lawrence Journal-World made an open-records request from KU. Records released by the university show the student agreed to drop a federal lawsuit as part of the settlement. 

file photo / KMUW

A state panel ruled Monday that Ron Estes, the Wichita area congressman, will appear as “Rep. Ron Estes” on the primary ballot where he faces a challenger also named Ron Estes.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office had previously decided to add the title, but a Democrat also running for the 4th Congressional District seat objected. Laura Lombard said state law bars including titles on the ballot.

“You really should not be able to use your title on the ballot,” Lombard said. “It’s an unfair advantage for the incumbent.”

2017 KANSAS AND MISSOURI CONSUMER HEALTH ACCESS SURVEY

A quarter of Kansas working-age adults and a third of the state’s children live in households dealing with medical debt.

That’s one of the takeaways from a new report commissioned by five Kansas and Missouri health foundations, believed to be the largest survey to date of health consumers in the two states.

In Kansas, about 2,600 adults and minors were included. The survey answers point to problems with access to dental and mental health care, among other services.

Fidencio Fifield-Perez

As a second grader growing up in North Carolina, Fidencio Fifield-Perez was the school cartoonist. He won a few awards and certificates, and a local newspaper wrote an article about him. He’d newly immigrated to the United States from Mexico.

Years later, when he needed proof that he’d grown up in the United States in order to gain DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status, his early art skills came in handy because those awards and the newspaper story provided documentation of his childhood.

Amanda Meltzer / StoryCorps

Every Friday during Morning Edition on KCUR 89.3, listeners get to hear intimate conversations between everyday people through StoryCorps — and soon Kansas Citians will get a chance to tell their own stories when the StoryCorps MobileBooth Airstream comes into town this summer.

At KCUR's RadioActive Friday, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay formally announced the MobileBooth tour stop.

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Blue Valley Hospital, an Overland Park facility specializing in bariatric surgery, has lost its bid to retain its Medicare certification, throwing its future in doubt.

A federal judge last week ruled she did not have jurisdiction to hear the hospital’s legal challenge and dismissed Blue Valley’s lawsuit.

The hospital promptly appealed her decision to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which it hopes will take up the case on an expedited basis.

“We’re still hoping for some rather quick relief,” said Curtis Tideman, an attorney for the hospital.

A new Missouri law orders the state to create guidelines for testing, processing and storing rape kits, which collect DNA evidence from victims of sexual violence.

The three top Democratic candidates for governor debated in Wichita on Friday evening.

Laura Kelly, Carl Brewer and Josh Svaty participated at the event held in The Lux apartment building and venue space in downtown Wichita.

The candidates spent much of the debate agreeing on issues, from expanding Medicaid to supporting legalizing marijuana in Kansas.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane attributes her three decade career in education to a frog.

Lane went to college to be a clinical psychologist but a required biology class asked her to insert a needle into a frog’s brain.

“It was a live animal that we were going to do an experiment on to see reactions,” Lane says. “I could not do that. So I left class, went down the hall and said, ‘I need to change my major.’”

Pirate's Bone / Facebook

Vegetarian options pop up on a lot of Kansas City menus, from high-end restaurants to brand-new coffee shops … and yes, even at barbecue joints.

“Now, it’s just part of everybody’s diet. You don’t have to ask for something vegetarian. It’s just a dish without meat or fish or whatever,” KCUR food critic Mary Bloch told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

Updated on June 15

Why did Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, approve adding a hotly contested citizenship question to 2020 census forms?

Wikipedia / CC

It's official: There are not enough workers for all of the new jobs in the United States. The number of job openings exceeds the number of job seekers for the first time on record, the U.S. Labor department said this week.

In Missouri, employers struggle not with the quantity of workers but how qualified they are, says Jeff Pinkerton, senior researcher with the Mid-America Regional Council.

Kansas is on its way to becoming a majority-minority state, with white residents expected to make up less than half of the population by 2066.

A new report from the Kansas Health Institute shows that the state is quickly becoming older, more urban and more diverse.

file photo / KCUR 89.3 FM

The Kansas Court of Appeals said Friday that a grand jury investigation of Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office should go forward. The request was brought by a Lawrence man running for the Kansas House, Steven Davis.

He followed a rarely used Kansas law that allows citizens to call grand juries by collecting signatures.

Davis wants to know whether Kobach’s office mishandled voter registrations and whether any crimes were committed.

The University of Kansas Health System

It’s been a busy few months for The University of Kansas Health System, formerly known as The University of Kansas Hospital.

Its new $100 million hospital at 107th Street and Nall Avenue in Overland Park opens Monday following two years of construction.

That comes on the heels of its acquisition of the Environmental Protection Agency building in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

And that came shortly after it purchased St. Francis Health in Topeka as part of a joint venture with Ardent Health Services.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its Kansas affiliate have filed suit against the Montgomery County Attorney, alleging he failed to follow state law in the use of diversion programs.

The suit was filed Friday with the Kansas Supreme Court, according to a news release from the ACLU. It requests that Montgomery County Attorney Larry Markle be required to create written diversion policies and guidelines; provide written notice of diversion programs to defendants charged in Montgomery County, and hold diversion conferences for defendants offered diversion.

courtesy: Susan Emshwiller

Is Robert Altman’s 1996 film “Kansas City” responsible for the preservation of the 18th & Vine jazz district?

Jazz historian and KCUR Fish Fry host Chuck Haddix says the answer is yes.

Leola Montgomery is the widow of the Rev. Oliver Brown, the lead plaintiff in the 1954 landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Montgomery, who is scheduled to be in Wichita on Saturday to receive a special award, doesn’t look one bit of 97. Nor does she act like it.

Juuso Haarala / The Air Guitar World Championships

History is important. Just ask – it’ll tell you.

This weekend’s lesson is chatty indeed with historic entertainments recounting a remarkable range of art and culture – from ethnic festivities steeped in ancient ways to an iconic progressive rock band celebrating its half-century mark to totally pretend guitarists vying to become a part of real history.

Got that? Remember, history is watching – and ready to dish!

1. Cinema KC Legacy Series: ‘Kansas City’

Nicolas Telep / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Department of Transportation is getting set to temporarily close all lanes of I-70 in both directions for about seven miles through Kansas City and Independence.

The highway will be shut down between I-435 and I-470/MO-291 from 10 p.m. Friday until about 5 a.m. Monday. The closure runs approximately from the Truman Sports Complex to Independence Center. All on-ramps between the two points will be closed as well.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

After the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia denied his appeal on May 3, Crecensio Mendez Ramirez was deported to his native Mexico. Mendez, who had lived with his partner and four children in the Kansas City area for more than a decade, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February during his yearly check-in.

Wikimedia Commons

Hulu is casting the pilot for a TV show called "Kansas City," which will be filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The concept for the show is dystopian. According to KMBC, it will be set in Kansas City, in a future in which the city is deeply divided between liberals and conservatives with a wall between the two sides.

Cynthia Levin / Unicorn Theatre

A particular role in the Unicorn Theatre's newest production is perfect for Kansas City actor Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles.

“I've always wanted to play someone like me on stage,” Jurkiewicz-Miles told host Gina Kaufmann on Tuesday's episode of KCUR's Central Standard. “The fact that I get to do that now makes it so exciting to go into work every day.”

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More than 1,300 phone calls between public defenders and inmates awaiting trial at the Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded over a two-year period, according to newly disclosed information in a civil lawsuit.

MAC Properties

A “transformational” plan that would add hundreds of apartments and new businesses to the rundown intersection of Troost and Armour was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the Kansas City Plan Commission.

Chicago-based MAC Properties, which has developed more than 1,500 apartments along Armour Boulevard over the last decade, wants to invest $78 million in its biggest project to date. It would add 450 apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail to the area.

It received a warm welcome from the Plan Commission.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

A team of paleontologists from the University of Kansas is resuming its work in Montana, excavating what appears to be a very rare dinosaur fossil: a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex. 

KU paleontologist David Burnham said the excavation began in 2016, but the team is returning to the site this summer hoping to find more pieces of the T-rex. 

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