Kansas City Missouri | KCUR

Kansas City Missouri

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s first charter school for girls only opens next week with a staff that reflects the diversity of its students and the community.

Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy is entering a crowded charter market, but school leaders are counting on a curriculum that highlights the contributions of women and people of color to attract and keep students.

Parent Monique Cannon decided to move her daughter, Dieerin Jamison, from another charter school so she could have more teachers of color.

Dan Loarie / Creative Commons

This year’s catastrophic flooding has created hard times for many people in Midwest, but it’s created a nirvana for mosquitoes.

Kansas City and the surrounding region could potentially become a hotbed for mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile virus in the coming years due to increasing temperatures and more frequent flooding, which are predicted by climate experts.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Missouri workers providing care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities make less than a Walmart or Target worker, even after a pay increase that went into effect last month. 

The low pay is the main reason about half of Missouri workers quit each year, according to Missouri Developmental Disabilities Division Director Val Huhn.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Astry Sosa has a good job at Prier Products, a manufacturer of plumbing products, but she’s the first to admit that she’s never been able to save money.

“I could just never seem to make it stay in a single place, you know?” she says with a laugh. “I’d always talk myself into ‘Oh well, what’s $20 on something?’’”

So when the 25-year-old Sosa took over payments on a pickup truck her parents owned, it was tough.

Jim Lightfoot

Missy Koonce has figured out that "weird ages well."

For 30 years, the actor, writer and director has entertained Kansas City with her character acting, parodies of old shows like "Bonanza," and for a while, as owner of Bar Natasha.

That local legacy will be capped this fall when Koonce moves to Indianapolis, Indiana, where her partner has been transferred for work.

"I think what I'm most excited about, about going someplace new, is nobody knows me there," she said.

Segment 1: Kansas City, Missouri's mayor reflects on his time in office. 

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James leaves office July 31. He discusses his eight-year legacy before he hands over the job to the next mayor.

  • Sly James, mayor, Kansas City, Missouri 

Segment 2, beginning at 37:13: The legacy of a Kansas City theater director, actor, and entertainer.

Jackson County Detention Center

David Jungerman, an 81-year-old Raytown man accused of killing a Kansas City lawyer in broad daylight, says he should be released from jail while he waits for his trial because he “has never killed anyone” and is not a flight risk.

In a rambling, hand-printed motion, Jungerman also appears to incriminate himself, admitting that it was his voice on a digital recorder police recovered, saying “it’s a shame I don’t have a .17 from a distance we could take ‘em out.”

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James doesn’t officially hand over the keys to his office until the end of July, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying a victory lap of sorts Sunday afternoon.

Speaking at an event dubbed “Sly’s Farewell Cookout,” the outgoing mayor told supporters that Kansas City “used to be the city that always wanted to be like Denver or St. Louis, or someplace else.” 

“Those cities now want to be like us,” James said. “Take it to the bank.”

KCMO Public Works

A cold, snowy winter left Kansas City roadways riddled with potholes. Now, historic amounts of rain have delayed public works crews' ability to fix them.

Some city departments, such as those in Overland Park, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, are sending crews out on rainy days to try to patch them. Other municipalities don’t even bother.

“If it’s raining all day, crews aren’t going to be able to get out and patch potholes,” said Dave Reno, the Public Works community engagement officer for the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

The summer months tend to be among the most violent, and Kansas City is on pace for more homicides than last year, so officials are offering something to help solve crime: more cash, with no questions asked.

The city’s Crime Stoppers program, which rewards anonymous tips that lead to an arrest, features a sliding reward scale based on the severity of the crime.

A typical gun crime, such as illegal possession of a firearm, might dole out $1,000.

David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

A state court judge in St. Louis on Friday ordered Missouri to restore Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in that city.

Judge David L. Dowd ruled that the legislature’s fiscal 2019 appropriations bill for the Medicaid program violated the state constitution by barring payments to abortion providers and their affiliates.

He found the bill ran afoul of the constitution’s requirement that appropriations bills can’t refer to other laws when fixing their amount.

Segment 1: Kansas City native reveals how her interest in politics developed.

Sarah McCammon discussed her coverage of abortion including what has occurred in her home state, how she started in public radio and what her Kansas City childhood was like. 

Segment 2, beginning at 25:43: Kansas City mayoral candidate conversations

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

After her mother died of cancer almost ten years ago, Bernadette Esperanza Torres says she experienced an awakening. Her mother was always working, always helping other people. She'd planned to take a vacation when she retired.

"When my mom was dying she was like, 'I guess I'll never retire,'" Torres remembers. "She would not even take a day off to go to the doctor to help herself."

BigStock Images

The Missouri Attorney General's 2018 report on traffic stops shows black drivers were even more likely to be stopped than white drivers compared to the year prior. Statewide in 2018, blacks were 91% more likely than whites to be stopped by law enforcement. That's based on the driving-age population of both groups in the 2010 census. For 2017, the figure was 85%.

In relation to the entire population of Missouri, blacks were stopped at a rate of 76% in 2018 compared to 72% in 2017.

Segment 1: Incumbent and challenger are campaigning to represent a district that runs from the Country Club Plaza to north of the Missouri River. 

A current Kansas City, Missouri, council member and a former businessman are vying to win the city's 4th District at-Large seat in the June 18 election. The candidates differed on government spending, develoment, climate change and crime.

Bob Wasabi Kitchen / Facebook

The transition from the cold winter to warm summer can bring about a shift in food tastes: Instead of soup, we look for fresh dishes. And in recent years, raw foods like poke and sushi have become more popular in landlocked Kansas City.

Segment 1: Mayoral candidate Jolie Justus shares her plans for Kansas City if elected.

Crime is one of the top concerns Jolie Justus hears when speaking with voters. The mayoral candidate explains why criminal justice reform is in her plans to address the city's crime rate. Justus also discussed her approach to using economic development incentives. 

Andrew Birgensmith / Kansas City Symphony

Whether money’s tight or you have more moolah than you need, why pay more for your go-and-do than you have to?

Corbis / Creative Commons-Flickr

The family of a woman who died in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center in 2017 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming workers ignored the woman's pleas for help and falsified her medical records.

ReGina Thurman died "a horrible and preventable death" about 14 hours after arriving at the jail on Jan. 20, 2017, according to the lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court by Thurman's family earlier this month. The Kansas City Star first reported the lawsuit on Monday. 

Segment 1: A preview of Making Movies' latest album

Making Movies, a Kansas City band, has a new album that's catching a lot of attention for reviving a Lou Reed song that never was. We listen to some tunes from it and visit with the band's frontman to hear about his project to teach teenagers the ins and outs of music production.

Segment 2, beginning at 27:40: Taliban Safari

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Setting children up for academic success is Annie Watson’s driving passion.

The Kansas City, Missouri, native is the director of early education and parent success at Turn the Page KC, a non-profit that aims to have all children reading at grade level by third grade.

Ray Weikal / Kansas City Public Schools

Both traditional public schools and charters in Kansas City are increasingly segregated, expensive to run and losing high school students, according to a new report from the Kansas City Public Schools.

KCPS is calling it a “system” analysis because it looks at charter schools as well. (Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of KCPS.) Think of it as a snapshot of 20 years of education choice in Kansas City.

Segment 1: Embankments necessary for flood managment can also have adverse affects.

Levees offer a sense of security but little regulation on their construction means they can actually make flooding worse for towns and farmland upriver.  Set-back levees found in Europe allow more room for rivers to run but their cost has slowed adoption of the system in the U.S. 

KSMU

In 2015, two members of the nonprofit organization Free the Nipple-Springfield Residents Promoting Equality went topless – although their nipples were covered – in Springfield’s town square to protest the city’s indecent exposure ordinance.

After the protest, the Springfield City Council enacted an even stricter ordinance, which Free the Nipple and the two members challenged in court.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Tony Ross lives in the small town of Peculiar, Missouri, now, but he was shopping at Leon’s Thriftway on East 39th Street days before the grocery business shut its doors for good.

Ross was shopping for his mother who lives in a nearby senior living facility.

“My mom is devastated. We all devastated,” Ross said. “There’s just a lot of history about this store."

After 51 years in business, Leon’s Thriftway closed over the weekend.

KC PrideFest

It’s time to lose that jacket and explore some of the cool outdoor activities that May has to offer.

The alfresco action ranges from art browsing to Maypole fun to a “Star Wars” lightsaber battle royal – and that’s only this weekend.

If May were any cooler, you might have to find that jacket!

2019 Brookside Art Annual

Segment 1: Kansas City mourns the death of second major philanthropist in a week. 

Morton Sosland, who rose to run the publishing company that bears his family's name, died on April 25, just two days after he lost his friend and fellow city patron Henry Bloch. Friends recalled Morton's personality, generosity and legacy.     

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Deniese Fahnbulleh was already taking honors classes at Winnetonka High School when she decided to challenge herself with three Advanced Placement courses.

“It was the next step,” said Fahnbulleh, a junior who participates in cheer, golf and student council. “My friend and I enrolled together because we thought it would be a great opportunity to get the feeling of college classes.”

Segment 1: An update on the Kansas Board of Regents' strategic 10-year plan for higher education which wraps next year.

Foresight 2020 has three goals for public universities in the Sunflower State but low unemployment and rising tuition have fewer Kansans seeking a college diploma. The president of the Board of Regents was asked about the plan's progress especially in meeting the state's workforce demand.

Segment 1: Race Project KC is educating high school students on structural racism in Kansas City.

Built off of Tanner Colby's book "Some of My Best Friends Are Black," Johnson County Library takes students on a bus tour to provide lessons on the ways that segregration is ingrained in the foundation of the city. Shawnee Mission East student Oliver Henry said the tour helped her better understand the lack of diversity at her school. 

Pages