Jackson County | KCUR

Jackson County

file photo / KCUR 89.3

Missouri residents packed the driver's license office near the intersection of Cleaver and Troost Wednesday afternoon to beat the state's voter registration deadline for the November election.

Kyle Duyck moved to Missouri from Oregon two years ago. As someone who has regularly voted in previous years, Duyck said he does not want to miss this year’s midterm elections.

“I think there needs to be checks and balances,” Duyck said. “Keeping a Senate seat so we actually can get more moderate elections and get more moderate bills passed would be very important for me.”

Missouri Auditor's Office

Missouri law enforcement agencies have lost track of 1,259 registered sex offenders, according to a report from State Auditor Nicole Galloway. That includes 439 in Jackson County, the highest number in the state.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The fight over how or even whether to change the Jackson County Charter won't end after the November election. Instead, the debate will stretch into next year.

County Executive Frank White confirms that he will appoint a charter change commission that will most likely start work in January.

uscourts.gov

The U.S. Attorney in Kansas City is continuing to investigate potential federal crimes in Jackson County, according to Department of Justice lawyers at a sentencing hearing Thursday at the federal courthouse in downtown Kansas City.

It is "very much an active investigation," DOJ prosecutor Lauren Bell said.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The man who many Democrats thought could go all the way to the Missouri governor's mansion instead will be going to federal prison for more than two years.

Former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison for a wire fraud conviction in connection with a kickback scheme that netted Sanders at least $40,000.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders has asked a federal judge to spare him prison time because of his past history of public service and time in the military.

But the Department of Justice is having none of it. In the first paragraph of its sentencing memo filed Wednesday, the DOJ said Sanders, as county executive and prosecuting attorney, had a "duty to uphold and execute the laws of the county."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County property owners should brace for a property tax hike when they get their December bill.

County legislators Wednesday voted 9-0 to roll back a property tax cut from several years ago.

The "intent of the Legislature" resolution had been kicked down the road twice in the past month as lawmakers and Jackson County Executive Frank White decided how to spend the additional $19 million a year.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A Jackson County judge ruled Friday night that control of the violence prevention group COMBAT will fall to the county prosecutor -- a ruling that makes official what the county legislature first attempted to do last year.

In a statement, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she was pleased with the ruling, which she hopes will mark the end of a "lack of certainty in recent months" that has "been difficult for COMBAT administration, grantees and the public."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County legislators Monday overrode a veto by County Executive Frank White of sweeping changes proposed for  the county charter.

It was a six-to-three vote with the same old discussion and the same old division on the nine-member legislature.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Updated 10:01 p.m. Tuesday:

The brief race for the Democratic nomination for Jackson County Sheriff wasn’t close Tuesday night. The county Democratic Committee overwhelmingly went for interim Sheriff Darryl Forte, who received more votes than his two challengers combined did.  

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

One of the biggest names in Jackson County politics will be sentenced in federal court in a month for a kickback scheme.

Mike Sanders was Jackson County Prosecutor, county executive and former Missouri Democratic Party chairman.

He’ll find out how long he will spend in prison, how big a fine he might pay and how much of his ill-gotten gains will be forfeited on September 19.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Public Library will ask voters in November to increase the property tax that helps fund its operations.

Library officials announced Wednesday morning that they would seek an 8 cent increase to the 47 cents the library system now receives for every $100 of assessed valuation.

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

A new property tax to help seniors stay in their homes seemed like such a good idea in April that the entire Jackson County Legislature co-sponsored the ordinance to put it on the November ballot.

Now it is likely that legislators will repeal the ordinance at its Monday meeting, killing the program before it gets off the ground.

Scott Burnett, chairman of the Jackson County Legislature, says there was little chance voters would approve it.

“It polls so poorly,” he says, “that you couldn’t go to funders” for money to mount a campaign.

Segment 1: First time voters share their thoughts on voting in the primary.

We visit with first time voters to find out what their experience voting in the primary elections was like and if the physical experience of voting met their expectations.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday is Missouri voters’ first chance to weigh in on statewide primary races — including choosing which Republican will take on U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in November — as well as a crucial union-related ballot measure.

What follows is not an exhaustive list of races and issues on ballots around Missouri, but highlights the major statewide issues, as well as a few local races.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Jackson County Executive pits incumbent Frank White against two challengers: Matthew Merryman and Jeremy Raines, both of Kansas City.

The next county executive will inherit a slew of issues that have roiled White’s tenure, which started when he was appointed in 2016. The main issue has been the overcrowded, aging Jackson County Detention Center.

Rachel Guthrie / Merryman4Jackson.com

Segment 1: Matthew Merryman wants to be the next Jackson County executive.

A former public defender and political newcomer from Kansas City is challenging incumbent Frank White for Jackson County executive. Today, he shared his reasons for running, and discussed his plans to address a crumbling county jail, keep guns out of schools and forge good relationships with county legislators.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 9:06 p.m. to include comments from some of the candidates.

A judge has canceled the Aug. 7 primary election for Jackson County sheriff, ruling it was not legally authorized in the wake of the April resignation of Sheriff Mike Sharp.

Jackson County Executive Frank White stands at a podium with the Jackson County seal on the wall behind him and to the right and an unidentified woman to the left.
KCUR 89.3 file photo

Segment 1: Frank White's way of doing business may be greatest obstacle to winning primary.

The race to be the next Jackson County executive is garnering attention as incumbent Frank White continues to refuse invitations to public forums and interviews before the August 7 primary election. We reviewed the issues surrounding Mr. White, including building a new county jail and and the investigation of his finances by the Missouri attorney general.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The primary election for Jackson County sheriff, slated to take place Aug. 7, may not happen.

A lawsuit filed three weeks ago by the Jackson County Democratic Committee seeks to cancel the primary election as unlawful.

The committee’s argument: The clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, Mary Jo Spino, had no legal authority to reopen the filing period for candidates after the primary filing deadline of March 27.

Spino did just that for five days beginning May 7. The move, says the committee, was outside the scope of her authority.

Jackson County has become the latest government body to sue drug companies and distributors for their alleged complicity in the opioid epidemic.

The suit, filed on Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, names dozens of businesses, including drug giants like Johnson & Johnson and pharmacies like CVS. It says at least 308 people in Jackson County died of opioid overdoses between 2013 and 2017.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte says there may have been a crime committed when two former civilian employees didn’t come to work.

In a story first reported Monday by the Kansas City Star, Forte said he recently discovered that two part-time workers hired by former sheriff Mike Sharp were being paid for little or no work.

A sheriff's office source tells KCUR the pair reported directly to Sharp, so no one knew what they were doing.

Judge Garry Helm seated before a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

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.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Wells Fargo is investing $5.7 million in the Kansas City area to provide down payment assistance to eligible residents.

Residents in Cass, Clay and Jackson county will be able to apply for the $15,000 down payment assistance if they meet certain income eligibility requirements.

The program is a partnership with Westside Housing Organization and is part of the NeighborhoodLIFT program. This was created in 2012 to help provide financial assistance to low-income homeowners.

Missouri Auditor's Office

Clay County residents who want a complete state audit of county finances and operations took a step closer to that Friday.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway's office confirmed about 9,100 signatures were delivered by a group called Citizens For A Better Clay County.

If 5,590 are valid, then state law mandates that Galloway conduct the audit.

The audit would be both of finances and operations, according to the auditor's office.

The group has three main concerns, according to Jason Withington, the driving force behind the petitions.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County has hired one of the biggest providers of jail healthcare in the country to provide service at the downtown jail. However, the company has a history of being sued for poor care.

Over the past ten years, Advanced Correctional Healthcare (ACH) has been sued 108 times in 16 states, according to Justia.com which tracks federal cases online. Several of those lawsuits are in Missouri and Kansas.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Fewer than 20 people showed up to the first of two public meetings inviting community input on the embattled Jackson County jail, which has seen alleged sexual assault, inmate deaths, and bribery schemes.

Jann Coulson — a prison ministry volunteer who works with inmates at the jail — said that's because the public is frustrated to see elected officials trying to fix the jail "stomping over each other's feet."

Harpers470 / Creative Commons-Flickr

The NFL now has a rule that requires players to "show respect for the flag and anthem" during pre-game ceremonies. Players aren't required to be on the field for the anthem but if they are, no kneeling or sitting is permitted. They must stand.

The rule, announced last week after a meeting by team owners, sparked an immediate political firestorm. President Trump said he was pleased, but suggested if a player doesn't want to participate, "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. May 12, 2018, with a felony charge against Jackson County corrections officer.

A grand jury tasked with reviewing the Jackson County Detention Center says the jail's management and the county's administration is responsible for the "systemic failure to address its well-documented problems."

The findings were released Friday in a highly critical, 72-page report detailing chronic issues at the jail of overcrowding, understaffing and poor management of funds. It also recommends measures to better track progress of changes.

Independence Police Department

A former crime analyst with the Independence, Missouri, Police Department is suing Chief Brad Halsey and the city for sexual harassment and assault.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges six years of unwanted, "sexually charged" incidents carried out against her by multiple co-workers beginning in 2007.

The accuser is named in the lawsuit, but she has requested KCUR not use her name. It is KCUR's policy not to identify victims in cases of sexual harassment or violence.

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