Kansas City Kansas (KCK) | KCUR

Kansas City Kansas (KCK)

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Once again, Kansas City, Missouri,  finds itself in the midst of a climb in homicides.

Segment 1: Test scores for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools improved last year.

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools saw last year's test scores jump at least four percentage points from the 2017-18 school year. Today, the superintendent explains his strategies for continued success, and details the work still left to do.

Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office

The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office amended charges Wednesday against the two men suspected in October's fatal shootings at a bar in Kansas City, Kansas.

Hugo Villanueva-Morales and Javier Alatorre now also face capital murder charges in the shootings at Tequila KC that killed four people and injured five. Under Kansas law, capital murder charges carry a sentence of either life in prison without chance of parole or the death penalty. 

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Federal rules signed into law in November promised strict bans on animal cruelty. They made it illegal to burn, crush, impale, drown or otherwise inflict “serious bodily harm” on an animal.

The new law didn’t deal with neglect or cover every act of abuse, but it drew accolades from a range of animal welfare groups.

But the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT, applies only on federal land or to animals transported from abroad or across state lines. 

Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department

Updated at 6 a.m. Dec. 15 with suspect in Wyandotte County jail — Two months after a fatal shooting left four dead at a Kansas City, Kansas, bar, the second suspect has been arrested. 

Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, was taken into custody Wednesday by Michoacan State Police in Mexico, about 1,700 miles from Tequila KC. He and Javier Alatorre, 23, allegedly opened fire in the bar around 1:30 a.m. on October 6, killing Martin Rodriguez-Gonzalez, Alfredo Calderon, Ebar Meza-Aguirre and Francisco Anaya-Garcia.

JE Dunn and Gould Evans

The American Royal has secured the 115 acres in Kansas City, Kansas, where it plans to build its new $250 million home, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

The news comes more than three years after the agriculture education and competition organization announced that it planned to relocate from its longtime home in the West Bottoms to the area northwest of Kansas Speedway near Legends Outlets Kansas City.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City, Kansas, police officer is suing the Unified Government of Wyandotte County for race and gender discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation. 

The federal lawsuit says race and gender discrimination have been "rampant" throughout the course of Z'Iontae Womack's 12 years with the department. According to the suit, she's one of approximately four African-American women officers at the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department, and 80% of the department's 300 officers are white. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Residents who lived around the historic Quindaro ruins in Kansas City, Kansas, were driving to the corner of 29th and Sewell on Nov. 19, getting out of their cars and inspecting what appeared to be another act of vandalism to the John Brown statue: Part of his hand and a scroll he'd been holding were missing.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Two employees of the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Department have been charged in connection with an altercation involving an inmate at the county jail in September. 

David Toland, 47, was charged with felony aggravated battery for physical contact with an inmate that could have caused "great bodily harm, disfigurement or death."

Segment 1: The Unified Government's chief executive discusses violent crime, economic development and local elections.

Courtesy of the family

Boston Daniels was chief of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department for only one year.

But he is remembered not only as the city’s first black police chief, but for distinguishing himself as a cop who worked his way up through the ranks over 25 years.

“It is safe to say there has never been another police chief quite like Boston Daniels,” the Kansas City Kansan wrote in an editorial on May 17, 1971, marking Daniels' retirement.

Segment 1: New paintings by a Kansas City artist examine the 'brash volume' of public discourse.

Rodeo clowns, talkshow hosts, preachers. To Michael Schliefke, they're symbols for what public discourse has become. 

Segment 2: A Kansas-born author creates literary buzz with 'halal fiction.'

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Growing up in Northeast Kansas City, Kansas, LaNya Meade, 14, remembers her mom saying she didn’t want LaNya to get stuck here.

“And so I always thought like, okay, I need to work my hardest and be the best so that I could make it out,” she says.

It’s a familiar refrain for many teens in the area around Quindaro Boulevard. But it’s a refrain many residents, young and old, are hoping to change.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The community around Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, is mostly black.

But Our Lady And St. Rose Catholic Church, at 5th and Quindaro, attracts a diverse mix congregants, often thought of as a rarity at Sunday morning services around the country.

“It’s been what our mission statement says, it’s been a faith-filled, diverse, family community,” says Sister Therese Bangert.

A journey along Quindaro Boulevard in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, takes us through history, demographic shifts, religion, and plans for economic development. Visit a black-owned bookstore in the 1960s, an integrated church and hear about one of the country's first black police chiefs. Plus, teens grapple with whether they have to leave the area to succeed.

This show is a culmination of months of reporting along Quindaro Boulevard as part of KCUR's Here to Listen initiative

Courtesy of the McFields

On the northeast corner of 5th and Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, sits a vacant and weathered building where 45 years ago, a black-owned bookstore became a clearinghouse for black literature, history and music as well as a vibrant gathering place to discuss the culture and politics of the day.

University of Kansas Hospital

A patient who sued the University of Kansas Hospital for fraud and negligence, alleging she was misdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the hospital covered it up, quietly settled her case last year on confidential terms.

Although the settlement was sealed, KCUR has learned that the Kansas agency that provides excess insurance coverage for medical providers — insurance over and above the providers’ primary coverage — agreed to pay out $1.8 million on behalf of the hospital and the doctor who made the misdiagnosis.

Brandon Parigo / KCUR 89.3

Bernard Crawford grew up on Quindaro during the 1970s. He remembers thriving businesses: bakeries, grocery stores and theaters. He left for school but has come back to be what he calls a "light” on Quindaro, to help it be a safe and welcoming place. A sign on the wall says, "No swearing allowed."

He’s got fruit snacks and lollipops for the kids.

BigStock Images

Voters in Wyandotte County will decide on Nov. 5 whether they want to see a change of hands on the Unified Government Board of Commissioners. 

In this election, voters will select commissioners, representatives for the Board of Public Utilities and board members of USD 500 Kansas City, Kansas, public schools. Early voting starts Saturday.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Three days after padlocking Village West Stadium and evicting the Kansas City T-Bones, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County has agreed to enter a new relationship with an organization called Max Fun Entertainment LLC, which plans to buy the team.

Commissioners voted 9-1 on Thursday night to transfer the team’s ownership to Max Fun from the John Ehlert family, which owes the UG $700,000 in back rent and unpaid utility bills.

Anonymous

A former high-ranking official of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Wednesday for misdemeanor battery against a female employee. 

Former General Services Director Tib Laughlin faces 12 months of probation, and must attend anger management classes and continued mental health counseling.

Barbara Shelly

A growing coalition of groups and citizens wants Wyandotte County to become the first place in Kansas to issue local identification to residents.

Advocates estimate a municipal ID program could potentially benefit about 30,000 persons by making it easier for them to open bank accounts, enroll children in school and access health care.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A family-oriented community where “everyone knows everyone.” That’s how people describe the area around 10th Street and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, where four men were gunned down and five more injured at a modest, neighborhood bar early Sunday morning.

“It’ll never be the same. It’ll never be the same in there,” said an employee of Tequila KC, who only identified herself as Jody. She said most of the people in the bar Saturday night were regulars.

Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department

Updated 7:25 p.m. Oct. 7 — One suspect remained at large Monday evening, while another was in custody, in the killing of four people and the wounding of five others in a shooting at a Kansas City, Kansas, bar over the weekend.

Police have identified the four men who were killed at Tequila KC as Martin Rodriguez-Gonzales, 58; Alfredo Calderon, 29; Ebar Meza-Aguirre, 29, and Francisco Anaya-Garcia, 34.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 7:00 a.m. Oct. 7 — Celeste Trevino was dancing with a "friend of a friend" early Sunday morning at Tequila KC. It was about a half-hour before closing time when two men came into the close-knit neighborhood bar in Kansas City, Kansas. One of the men walked toward the pair.

“We were talking and dancing,” she said through tears at a Sunday night vigil, “and the next thing I knew, he wasn’t there anymore.”

Her dance partner, whom she called Ever, was killed, along with three other Latino men ranging in age from their mid 20 to late 50s. Five others were wounded. Police said they don’t believe the shooting was racially motivated — but said it wasn’t random, either.

KansasMemory.org, Kansas Historical Society

Many people are well aware of the history of segregation of African American students in the Kansas City, Missouri, public schools, but there’s a compelling and mostly forgotten history of segregation of Mexican American children in the Kansas City, Kansas, public schools.

Immigrants came to the Kansas City area to pursue the American dream in railyards and meatpacking plants. They faced inequalities even as they fought for educational opportunities for their children from the 1920s to 1951.

Segment 1: Jackson County legislators answer questions of current budget, property tax and working with county executive Frank White.

Jackson County lawmakers say recent budgeting and property tax issues have caused county residents to distrust their local government. Legislator Jalen Anderson attributed the root of the problem to a lack of transparency and communication between the legislative and executive branches. "The time for talking is done. There needs to be change now," Anderson said. 

KCK Organic Teaching Gardens

A program that brings gardening into classrooms in Kansas City, Kansas, suffered another setback after the program’s van was stolen and crashed earlier this month.

KCK Organic Teaching Gardens has been around for twenty years, planting gardens at elementary and middle schools in Kansas City, Kansas to teach students about science, nutrition and history. Earlier this year it lost 90% of its funding, and now, the van, which held the group’s tools, is out of commission, too.

Google Maps

In a ripple effect of the General Motors strike, now in its second week, 66 maintenance workers have been laid off from their jobs at the Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., a commercial real estate firm that provides maintenance services at the plant, said in a letter to the United Auto Workers that the workers were “not deemed critical to operations during this period of labor unrest.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

At a stop in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sunday, former Vice President Joe Biden stood on the bed of a black Chevy Z71 pickup and told several hundred striking United Auto Workers he was one of them.

“I’m Joe Biden and I am UAW,” he said to cheers and applause outside the General Motors' Fairfax plant. “My dad sold those vehicles. That’s how I got through school."

Pages