Kansas City Missouri (KCMO) | KCUR

Kansas City Missouri (KCMO)

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 file photo

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.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas

Nov 11, 2019

With more than 100 days in office, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas reviews his progress and future challenges.

Policing gets a lot of attention, but Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says addressing violent crime requires a holistic approach. To help find solutions and opportunities for the region's youths, Lucas says he's working closely with many local school districts. On the subject of tax incentives for property developers, the mayor who campaigned on reducing them says he's not "torpedoing every project," but they can't all be on the backs of taxpayers.

Sura Eats/Facebook

The Kansas City food scene is more international than it used to be, and whatever else might be in those global dishes, the key to a lot of them is rice.

Segment 1: Two area schools discuss their approach to preventing on-campus shootings, and protecting students

Students across the country live in fear that the next mass shooting might happen on their campus. Today, we hear how two school jurisdictions think about the safety and security of their students, and what steps they can and can't take to keep the next tragedy from happening on their watch.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Singers often travel to Kansas City from places like San Francisco, New York and Moscow to perform at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. And they arrive with a question that might surprise people who have stereotypes about opera. 

"The number one question I probably get when they come in is: 'What's the best barbecue?'" said Sarah Zsohar, "which is probably the hardest question in Kansas City to answer."

As the Lyric's artist services manager, Zsohar's job is essentially to organize everything and everyone. 

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

When Quinton Lucas was elected mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, he said his success would be determined by three issues: crime, housing, and infrastructure.

With 100 days behind him as of Friday, Lucas says he’s feeling good about his progress.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Therapists who attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ minors through conversion therapy could be fined up to $500 and spend as much as six months in jail, if the Kansas City Council approves an ordinance passed by a committee Wednesday.

The proposed ban calls conversion therapy "ineffective" and "harmful." It’s also been debunked by the American Psychological Association.

But, opponents say outlawing it would infringe on the rights of people who want the therapy.

mattierhodes.org

Mattie Rhodes, a nonprofit that provides mental health and other services to Kansas City's immigrant communities, apologized earlier this month for inviting Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to a community meeting in August.

“After receiving feedback from both staff and the public, we know we made a mistake by asking an ICE spokesperson to be a part of the meeting of community organization leaders. At the very least we should have announced ICE would be there,” the organization said in a statement on Oct. 1.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's most prominent renters rights group was set to gather Wednesday on the south steps of City Hall to rally support for a newly drafted tenant bill of rights package.

The measure would reinforce and expand protections for low-income renters in Kansas City, Missouri, and would create a tenant advocate's office with authority to investigate suspect property owners and revoke landlord permits.

Segment 1: KC Tenants will introduce a set of guidelines and protections for tenant-landlord disputes.

Since February, a Kansas City tenants group has been pushing for safe, fair, affordable housing for all. Their latest efforts have been drafting and garnering support for a tenant bill of rights, which they will present to City Council on Thursday.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

Voters throughout Kansas City, Missouri, are being asked to decide whether to reverse a city council decision from earlier this year and change the name of what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard back to Paseo Boulevard.

Segment 1: Voters will next month determine the fate of the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard name.

Residents displeased with the process of renaming The Paseo petitioned to restore its original name, leaving a heated debate to be settled by voters on November 5. The Rev. Vernon Howard Jr., an advocate for renaming the boulevard after the civil rights leader, says "this issue is also about race," but the group that collected more than 2,000 signatures says they reflect people of all backgrounds who want their voices heard.

EJ Holtze Corp.

A $63 million luxury hotel proposed near the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will face a tougher road to a city incentive package after a big rejection on Thursday.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City, Missouri, city council committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure that would wipe out a municipal violation for anyone caught with 35g or less of marijuana after 180 days.

What started as an ordinance sponsored by Third District Councilman Brandon Ellington to decriminalize up to 100 grams of marijuana was changed considerably and passed without a second public hearing, angering dozens of supporters who showed up to speak.

Segment 1: Why and when high school athletes should be getting physicals

Instead of every year, high school athletes in Missouri are now required to get physical exams every other. It's a rule change that has some pediatricians worried, but may come as a relief for parents and student-athletes who are ultimately on the hook for paying for the exam.

Libby Hanssen / KCUR 89.3

This article originally appeared in KCUR's Arts Adventure newsletter. You can see the archive here. Or, you can subscribe here to receive it every Tuesday.

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, for a tour of nostalgia, charm, craftwork and childlike joy. The merry-go-rounds of Missouri and carousels of Kansas are the cheapest rides on some of the finest examples of Americana folk art.

How the Missouri education department measures student comprehension and school performance is complicated. The manual for determining a school’s performance is dozens of pages long. 

Making it even more complex, students have taken four different sets of tests in six years. Just when the test saw stability, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education overhauled the way it presents school performance (in short, it got more colorful and less numerical).

We had the headlines for what to make of this year’s Annual Performance Reports and Missouri Assessment Program tests. But now that there’s been time to digest the data, here are takeaways:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Dwight Frizzell was a teenager when he realized he could hear the Liberty Bend Bridge singing.

The bridge spans the Missouri River just north of Independence. It's part of Highway 291, which runs above Sugar Creek’s LaBenite Park.

“I heard the rhythm of the traffic — ka-kaw, kla-klock — but then I was also hearing resonances like singing, like harmonics, almost like voices singing in harmony,” says Frizzell, who’s been returning to the site for decades.

Don Christensen / American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

By the time he was 14, David Steinberg had been constructing crossword puzzles for two years. He thought they were pretty good, so he began sending them to New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz.

Attempts one through 16 received a hard no.

"Then the 17th one came back as a 'maybe,' instead of a 'no,'" Steinberg said. "It was a code-related puzzle, it had kind of a coded message, and he wanted the message to be related to code somehow. I had to rethink the theme a little bit."

Illustration by David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s school report cards are out, and they don’t look anything like they did last year.

The redesigned Annual Performance Report (APR) does away with the percentile score that the state uses to make accreditation decisions and replaces it with color-coded bar graphs meant to give parents a more detailed look at how their school district or charter school is doing. 

But educators aren’t sure how accessible all that information really is.

Segment 1: Trauma centers in Kansas City are hopeful their preparation for a mass shooting will never play out.

Mass casualties strike with no warning, inevitably creating chaos, but hospitals are training for that exact situation. "The regional preparation that occurs in Kansas City is outstanding," says trauma surgeon Dr. Robert Winfield. Learn how trauma centers are preparing for the possibilty of a mass shooting.

Rebecca Hange / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City officials are concerned by ongoing issues at the city's temporary jail, including six escapes, a death, an assault and now, an attempted suicide — but there seems to be some disagreement over who is at fault.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said he's been "incredibly underwhelmed" by Heartland Center for Behavioral Change, where the city moved municipal inmates in June after ending its contract to house inmates in the Jackson County jail.

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