Kansas City Missouri | KCUR

Kansas City Missouri

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. 

We Love Katya

Need a laugh?

Schedule your appointment with levity, courtesy of a slew of stand-up comics and other comedy attractions scheduled to thump funny bones in the coming weeks and months in Kansas City.

Unless maybe you don’t need a laugh. Ha – that’s a good one!

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City area is home to three agencies that work with the federal government to resettle people displaced from their home countries by war, conflict and persecution. Those agencies — Jewish Vocational Services, Della Lamb Community Services and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas — welcome enough people to make refugee families a presence in the metro.

While not all resettled refugees find their way to a college campus, educators say those who do are highly motivated.

HDR

A planned extension of Kansas City's streetcar line from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City failed to make it into the new federal budget proposal, a setback streetcar officials hope to overcome next year.

The Federal Transit Administration's budget recommendation for the 2020 fiscal year did not include $151.6 million being sought by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority to help fund approximately half the cost of the $316.6 million project.

Lucas for KC

On Thursday morning, a Lawrence judge dropped DUI charges against Kansas City Councilman Quinton Lucas due to “insufficient evidence.”

Lucas is running for mayor against councilwoman Jolie Justus.

In a statement, Lucas said he was proud that he “made  the responsible choice not to drive that night.”

Lucas was arrested early in the morning on October 19th on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City voters may be staring down another tax hike come November — this time to try to address the city's lack of affordable housing.

Last year, Kansas City officials established a $75 million trust fund with the aim of creating or preserving 5,000 affordable housing units but didn't specify how it would be funded. On Wednesday, they learned that the city can only come up with about $30 million — enough for just more than 2,900 units. That's according to estimates from the Department of Neighborhood and Housing Services. 

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR

Kansas City, Missouri, residents opposed to the city council's vote to rename Paseo Boulevard to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. have no plans to slow down.

A member of the Blue Hills Neighborhood Association, Cheryl Barnes is part of a petition drive to reverse the January decision.

“We think that they didn’t do it properly. We think they rushed it through,” Barnes says. “We think there was not enough citizen input. And we think it’s just not a good way to destroy a very significant part of Kansas City’s history.”

Tivoli Cinemas

After nearly 40 years in business in Westport, the Tivoli Cinemas will close on Friday, April 12, according to its owner, Jerry Harrington.

Harrington made the announcement in an email addressed to patrons on Sunday night, noting that he'd opened the original Tivoli on Westport Road in 1983.

"Over the past thirty-six years, as we expanded into the 3 screen theater in 1992, we have brought you thousands of films that I hope have been worth your time and enjoyment," Harrington wrote.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Eleven candidates in the primary for Kansas City mayor.

Two women.

Four black.

One openly LGBT candidate.

Five white men, with two of them named Scott.

No candidates who are Latino, Asian or Native American.

While the field of candidates isn’t representative of the city’s demographics, that still doesn’t ignore that demographics are an element in the decision-making.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James' term is rapidly coming to an end. 

At his final State of the City address Tuesday night, James reflected on his tenure, but spent most of the 40-minute speech campaigning for a sales tax to pay for universal pre-K.

"If we screw it up, we're the ones liable," James said. "You know what's far more regressive than a 3/8-cent sales tax? Poverty and crime. Winding up in jail and not being able to dig your way out because you don't have the skill set or money. It's time for a change."

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