Kansas City Missouri (KCMO) | KCUR

Kansas City Missouri (KCMO)

Segment 1: Why Iowa holds the first caucuses in the country, and what their results mean for each political party.

Advertising guidelines and an agriculture convention landed Iowa in the No. 1 spot in the country's presidential primary process. One political science professor said, for Republicans the caucuses show who will not be president, and, since 2000, the Democrat who won Iowa has gone on to be the presidential nominee.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

The Prospect Avenue MAX bus line that begins running on Monday will charge no fares for the first three months. The $56 million system built with federal grants and local matching funds features faster, more comfortable buses with wifi, and heated concrete benches at the stops.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said making the service available at no charge is a step toward zero fare transit city-wide.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Actress and singer Debra Bluford, known for her work in comedies and musicals, died on Thursday of pancreatic cancer. She had been diagnosed three weeks ago, according to a friend.

A regular on many Kansas City stages, Bluford performed in nearly 20 shows at the American Heartland Theatre before it closed in 2013. She had also acted with Kansas City Actors Theatre, Musical Theatre Heritage, New Theatre & Restaurant and Quality Hill Playhouse.

On this very special edition of KCUR's Up To Date, one of Kansas City's most renowned chocolatiers discussed responsible sourcing of cacao beans, his approach to the combining of other flavors with his favorite ingredient, and how non-experts can stear clear of junk when shopping for something to satisfy a chocolate craving.

Logan Action

Artist Hugh Merrill, who is white, had troubling memories from what he saw growing up in the Jim Crow South of the 1950s and '60s. And when he started looking into his family history, he was shocked by what he found out.

"It's a little bit like finding out that not only, if you were German, that your ancestors, that your uncles, were guards at Auschwitz — it's like finding out they ran Auschwitz," he says. "I had to make a decision about what to do with this. And it was absolutely clear what had to be done. I had to tell the truth."

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is poised to become the largest city in the country to eliminate bus fares.

The Kansas City Council on Thursday enthusiastically endorsed the idea, voting unanimously to direct the city manager to identify up to $8 million from the city budget to fund free bus service.

Fourth District Councilman Eric Bunch, who co-sponsored the measure along with Mayor Quinton Lucas, acknowledged the importance of the change.

Adam Vogel / Copyright Kansas City Business Journal

Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. has selected 1400 Baltimore Ave. as the location for its new $140 million headquarters in downtown Kansas City.

Segment 1: Why attracting artists is a goal for a new affordable-housing complex.

Pendleton Arts Block is a new project unfolding in the historic Northeast, providing affordable housing with an eye toward attracting artists. Because of competitive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the effort to transform this block is happening on a national stage. This is a discussion about what affordable housing means for artists, and for the ecosystem of a city.

Kevin Collison

An unvarnished account of the Vietnam War — from the Cold War domino theory that hooked the U.S. in the 1950s to a baby sweater left by a grieving mother at the Vietnam Memorial in 1990 — at the National World War I Museum doesn’t flinch from the brutality of the war and how it tore apart American society.

“This exhibit should help people think about what happened,” said Matt Naylor, CEO and president of the museum.

“It’s not a myopic view, but a balanced view that will examine the conflict from a variety of angles and will stimulate conversations around that.”

Kansas City Fire Department

Donna Maize, who has recently been promoted to serve as the first female fire chief in Kansas City's 150-year history, says the role of the fire department has changed since she joined the force in 1992.

Recently, she said, their service has been morphing into the areas of social service and emergency healthcare.

"In Kansas City, unfortunately, we do have a certain amount of homeless population and kind of those transient people who really don’t have other resources or there's a lot of people that live without healthcare," Maize said.

Segment 1: Teachers highlight current events and human impact to help students learn about climate change.

Teachers are seeing less resistance to teaching climate change in Missouri schools. The state has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, and one Raytown High School teacher said, "I've also changed my approach some, in the sense that I really don't indulge argument on the topic at this point."

Google

Kyle Mead got more than he bargained for after he agreed to a one-year contract to temporarily house Kansas City inmates.

Mead is the president and CEO of Heartland Center for Behavioral Change. After ending its contract with the Jackson County jail in June, Kansas City offered Mead a $3.2 million contract to provide 110 bed spaces for what he said he thought would be inmates detained for low level offenses.

Kansas City Royals

If the Kansas City Royals' new ownership group is seriously considering moving the franchise's stadium to Downtown, they aren't showing their cards just yet.

During an introductory press conference Tuesday, new Royals chairman, CEO and controlling owner John Sherman was asked about whether the new owners were considering the move. He responded that the ownership group will be evaluating the potential to move in the coming years, but that there's a general idea that baseball stadiums can have a mutually beneficial relationship with economic development in denser areas.

Segment 1: Environmentalism and the outdoors have long been seen as safe spaces for white people.

The concerns of climate change action organizations are wide-ranging and well-founded, but membership is largely white and adult. Learn the benefits and challenges of adding young people of color to these groups, apart from just making them more reflective of the communities they serve. The founder of an Atlanta group and the head of a Kansas City organization explained how they are bringing diversity and youth to the environmental ranks.

Segment 1: Heartland Center for Behavioral Change was not equipped to accept the full array of inmates brought in by the Kansas City Police Department.

Accepting prisoners from the Kansas City Municipal Court system was initially seen as a chance for the nonprofit organization to link inmates with resources that could help them reintegrate into the community. In retrospect, Heartland Center's CEO said serving as a temporary jail "is outside of our scope" of ability.

Frank Morris / NPR and KCUR

Trucks and trains aren’t carrying as much as they did just a few months ago, and haulers are cutting back on orders for new trucks and rail cars. Despite this slump, Kansas City’s logistics industry is pushing ahead with an enormous expansion of warehouse space and other regional distribution hubs.

Rail traffic is down substantially from last year. Carloads are down by about 7%. Coal is down more than 14%, and metallic ores and metals are down even more.  

Freshwater/Facebook

Yes, Kansas City is known for its chicken — whether it's fried, barbecued or one ingredient of many.

What about the other birds out there, though? On the Friday before Thanksgiving, KCUR's food critics took a moment to consider not just turkey but also grouse, quail, pheasant and duck. Especially duck.

"Pheasant, quail and squab should all be on this list," said Mary Bloch. "But duck seems to be more favored."

"I like to refer to ducks as beef that fly," said wild game expert James Worley. "Duck breast is very similar to a steak."

Pirate's Bone Burgers on Facebook

As evidenced by recent openings, closings and bankruptcies, the Kansas City restaurant scene is extremely competitive right now.

"Lots of players are competing for the same dollars, employees and customers," said KCUR Food Critic Jenny Vergara. "Only the strongest operators will survive."

Friday on KCUR's Central Standard, Vergara, Liz Cook and Mary Bloch shared the most important food stories in Kansas City from the past few months.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

On one busy corner of Kansas City's St. John Avenue, a community is coming together to create a piece of art that reflects the whole world.

Home to culturally and ethnically diverse businesses and many artists, the city's Historic Northeast neighborhood is already a colorful place.

Kansas City Royals

John Sherman has been a familiar face to Major League Baseball owners. To Kansas City Royals fans, he will become one after the other MLB owners officially approved his ownership of the team at their meeting in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday.

After the meeting ended. Sherman opened his brief statement by acknowledging his partnership with the Cleveland Indians as a 30% owner.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Seven Kansas City Public School district employees falsified student attendance records for three years from 2013 to 2016, according to a summary of an external investigation made public by the district.

The issue was most prominent in the 2015-2016 school year, boosting attendance data which resulted in additional state funding.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

In a move that caught police officers and supporters of the Kansas City Police Mounted Unit off guard, the department Tuesday disbanded the unit.

Chief Rick Smith told the Board of Police Commissioners that a recent consultant's report suggested the homicide unit needs eight more detectives. To get to the recommended number, KCPD is moving the mounted officers back to regular patrol, so eight investigators can eventually move to the homicide unit.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

It’s been one of the wettest years on record in Kansas City. With climate change, the likelihood of heavy rainfall is expected to increase, as are flash floods. And cities are starting to realize their infrastructure is not up to snuff. 

Kansas City faced that reality about 10 years ago, when the Environmental Protection Agency mandated the city replace its 100-year-old sewer system after multiple violations of the Clean Water Act.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's Municipal Court has a perception problem. Courts are not generally a place where good things happen to people, and few would go by choice. 

"Municipal court is where most people are going to encounter the judicial system," said court spokesperson Benita Jones. "Almost everyone will get a traffic ticket and some people have other minor brushes with the law."

Severo Secreto

At the corner of St. John and Askew in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is a nondescript red brick and stone building that almost blends with the surrounding neighborhood. The exterior stands in contrast to  lively Spanish language movies being screened inside. 

Yosmel Serrano opened the movie theater, La Selva De Los Relojes (or the Jungle of Clocks), to help a Latino community embrace its cultural voice and heritage.

"I know English, but I love Spanish, and I don't want to lose my Spanish and I don't want to lose my art," he says. "So the first thing to be proud of yourself and to be able to integrate into another community is to learn more about yourself."

BNIM and HOK

A scaled-back incentives request for the proposed $133 million Strata project has been approved by the Kansas City Council despite becoming a lightning rod for how the newly elected officials will approach economic incentives for major developments.

The 7-4 vote came after tense and heated debate Thursday on whether to grant incentives to the high-end office tower that has been languishing in City Hall for much of the last year. The project was first announced in late 2018.

Segment 1: Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Court is working to improve the judicial experience.

Kansas City's Municipal Court is participating in a pilot project to improve trust between courts and the communities they serve. Through dialogue sessions, it hopes to tackle problems like its high failure-to-appear rate. Because citizens often face confusion and intimidation within the judicial system, personnel "want to demystify the courts," Benita Jones, the court's public information officer  said. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Two years ago, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority gave veterans free bus passes. The next year, students became the beneficiaries of the zero fare policy. According to KCATA, 23% of riders over the past several years have not paid a dime to ride the bus.  

Transit officials argue the policy gives individuals and families more money to pump back into the local economy and that it improves the safety and efficiency of the system.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The 2019 calendar for the U.S. women’s national soccer team is over, but for new coach Vlatko Andonovski, who has strong ties to Kansas City, the work is just beginning.

Andonovski’s coronation by U.S. Soccer as the new coach of the women’s team was held, Oct. 28, in New York. He won his first two matches with the team, beating Sweden 3-2 and Costa Rica 6-0. The international friendlies are helping prepare the team ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

Segment 1: Families live in downtown Kansas City, but it wasn't necessarily built with them in mind.

The accepted wisdom in Kansas City has long been that families want houses in the suburbs and that the market for downtown is young professionals and empty nesters, but families have lived downtown for generations.

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