Lawrence | KCUR

Lawrence

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Kansas City, Missouri — Time was, a fledgling tech company called CivicPlus had to explain to prospective customers why it was based in Kansas — and not some tech-heavy coastal city.

“We said, ‘Hey, you get Midwest values, but with Silicon Valley quality,’” recalled Ward Morgan, owner of the government software maker based in the college town of Manhattan. “It did throw people off to think that there was a tech company in Kansas.”

Today CivicPlus, founded in the 1990s, serves 3,500 cities and counties on two continents.

Segment 1: An exhibit at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art explores the theme of British colonialism.

The artist behind the exhibit grew up in Guyana and experienced reverberations of British colonialism in his life firsthand. Today he lives in London and wrestles with Britain's history and the version of itself that it exports through his art.

Segment 1: Morgan Orozco is a sixteen-year old who's playing an active part in local government. 

Sick of waiting for adults to do something about climate change, this high schooler is taking matters into her own hands.

  • Morgan Orozco, Sustainability Advisory Board member, City of Lawrence; vice chair, Kansas High School Democrats

Segment 2, beginning at 23:16: A tale of mice, friendship and what's really important.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Local, independent bookstores in the Kansas City area are making a comeback. 

Buoyed by growing consumer unease with online retail giant Amazon, "indies" here and around the country are trying to capitalize on customer sentiment that favors brick-and-mortar intimacy and community spirit. 

The Criterion Collection

The first time Rich Acciavatti saw “Carnival of Souls,” he was stuck in bed with the chicken pox. He couldn’t have been more than 8 years old the afternoon it came on TV in the early 1960s. He says he couldn’t sleep for a week.

“I was always talking about ‘Carnival of Souls,’ like through school, through high school, grammar school,” says Acciavatti, a New York-based musician who runs the film’s fan page on Facebook.

“I said, 'This is the scariest movie ever. I hope it comes back one of these days.’”

Signet Classics

People still have things to say about "Moby-Dick," Herman Melville's 1851 novel about Captain Ahab's obsessive and dangerous hunt for a great white whale.

"I was expecting, like, a tedious and masculine slog through this sea-faring adventure, but there’s so much more going on in 'Moby-Dick' about gender and language and humor and American identity," said poet Danny Caine, who owns The Raven Book Store in downtown Lawrence.

Segment 1: A new documentary explores the life of abstract expressionist painter Albert Bloch.

Albert Bloch lived the final decades of his life in Lawrence, Kansas. But at the height of his career, he was a member of a band of artists that helped create modernism in Europe.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Mold. No heat in the winter. Leaking roofs.

The most common complaints Teresa Baker hears about rental housing in Kansas revolve around poor living conditions that violate state law.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Mike Sims is a bit emotional. As he prepares to celebrate 40 years of working with an array of acclaimed artists, the master printer admits it's overwhelming.

"Huge memories, yeah," Sims says, shaking his head. "The biggest memories are the relationships with the artists, many of whom are dead and gone now.”

Since 1979, artists from around the United States have traveled to Lawrence, and then later to Kansas City, to work with Sims.

Marc Havener / Resonate Pictures

It's tempting to say that for nearly 40 years, Lawrence bankruptcy attorney John Hooge has led a bit of a double life. He built a successful law career and raised a family, but there was also the art and the writing — and the trees.

This month, Hooge (pronounced "hoagie") releases the first in a self-published, four-part series of illustrated novels called Leafensong, broken down into Leafensong: Tellings one through four.

The books were 35 years in the making.

Todd Feeback

A knight in shining armor with autism is the hero of Lawrence novelist Bryn Greenwood's new book, "The Reckless Oath We Made." A voice tells him to "champion" a waitress he meets in a Wichita physical therapy session, and the two careen off on a dangerous mission.

Greenwood says she didn't know whether the knight character, Gentry, would work. He's not only fascinated by Medieval literature and ancient martial arts, but his primary way of communicating is in Middle English.

File photo

In a major ruling with implications for employers of undocumented immigrants, a federal judge in Kansas said a law making it a crime to "encourage" or "induce" such immigrants to live in the United States is unconstitutional.

Seg. 1: Llamas | Seg. 2: Food Train | Seg. 3: Crossroads Shooting

Aug 5, 2019

Segment 1: A llama show gains popularity.

What is it about llamas? They're everywhere. And that includes the Douglas County Fair. 

  • Mason Kelso, interim llama superintendent, Douglas County Fair
  • Amber Fraley, freelance writer, Lawrence Magazine

Segment 2: An Austin-based chef travels the country tasting regional cuisine.

Karen Pendleton / Pendleton's Country Market

A direct hit from last Tuesday's EF4 tornado didn't stop Pendleton's Kaw Valley Country Market from making its usual weekend appearance at the Lawrence Farmers' Market. The bounty was smaller than usual, but it included asparagus, flowers and lots of tomatoes.

Seg. 1: Tornado Coverage | Seg. 2: Trains In Kansas

May 30, 2019

Segment 1: Tornado Aftermath

On Tuesday night, a large tornado hit parts of Lawrence and Johnson County, causing several injuries and property damage across neighborhoods. With many communities in recovery mode after the storm, we speak with reporters who were on the ground in the tornado's aftermath and hear from folks who witnessed it firsthand.

Segment 1: Busking Law 101

If you're headed to a major city, you'll likely come across someone performing on a sidewalk with a hat, jar or guitar case set out for tips. But while that experience is common, the regulations governing it are not. We find out what buskers are allowed to do in Kansas City and how that differs from other places across the country.

Seg. 1: The North Loop | Seg. 2: Molly Murphy

May 20, 2019

Segment 1: The North Loop

The creation of the North Loop redefined downtown Kansas City in the mid 1900's. How has this region of the highway system impacted our city's past, present and future?

Seg. 1: Jayhawks' Adidas Contract | Seg. 2: KCPD 911 Dispatcher

May 8, 2019

Segment 1: Implications behind Jayhawks signing the $196 million deal. 

The University of Kansas renewed its contract with Adidas, even after the company entangled the school's athletic department in an FBI investigation of illegal payments to recruits' families. A look at why KU stayed with Adidas and "the business of college basketball."

Jason Domingues

Patients who are fed up with the bureaucracy of the health insurance industry are ditching the copays and high deductibles for a different way to get primary care.

One such patient is self-employed attorney Dan Hobart, who struggled to find insurance because of his pre-existing conditions. Even after Affordable Care Act went into effect, doctor visits were still too costly for him to get the care he needed.

Meg Kumin

When Kansas-born actress and dancer Louise Brooks wanted to travel to New York City in 1922 at the age of 15, she could not go alone. She needed a chaperone.

Brooks' five-week trip is the basis of Lawrence novelist Laura Moriarty's 2012 book "The Chaperone," which has now been made into a movie of the same name. Moriarty was at the New York City premiere on March 25 and says it was exhilarating.

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.

Cities in Kansas have been adopting a new approach for dealing with feral cats: neutering and vaccinating them, and then allowing the felines to roam free.

That has birdwatchers worried.

Segment 1: Monarch Glass Studio becomes a community hub in Kansas City.

The glass scene in Kansas City is on the rise. The owner of Monarch Glass Studio lets us in on the allure of glass, as an artistic material, and tells the story of opening a Kansas City studio to foster a glass community here. 

Segment 2, beginning at 21:30: David Dastmalchian comes back to KC.

Sky Smeed

When Lawrence songwriter Sky Smeed starts his new album lamenting that he’s leaving yet again, he sounds sad, like we're about to hear a story of one more time when things just didn’t work out.

In reality, it's just the opposite.

"I'm the happiest I've ever been right now in my life, which is pretty amazing for me," Smeed says. "I got married in May of last year, and everything's just really clicking."

Jason Dailey

Danny Caine is in an awkward position. On the one hand, as owner of The Raven Bookstore, he really loves all the independent shops that define downtown Lawrence. On the other hand, those big box stores and chains that threaten local businesses like his feel an awful lot like home.

So, he wrote some poems to try to sort it all out. That became "Continental Breakfast," his first collection.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Segment 1: Test scores are in and public school supporters are ecstatic with the results.

Segment 1: Missouri Governor Mike Parson wants $22 million to help "skill up" current workforce for better paying jobs. 

Last week Governor Mike Parson used his State of the State address to announce his approach for workforce development and state infrastructure.  Today, the governor explained his proposal to borrow $350 million to repair bridges and another $50 million for a cost-sharing program to assist cities and counties with their projects. He emphasized a priority for making sure that the people who need help are getting it. 

Mick Cottin

No one knows what happened in Limetown, Tennessee, where all 327 citizens vanished in February 2004. The town and its people are a work of fiction, but it's still maddening not to know the cause of the disappearance, especially when initial reports don't mention much more than a massive bonfire in the town square. Well, initial "reports."

That mystery is one reason the "Limetown" podcast is so popular. Created by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, "Limetown" shot to  No. 1 on iTunes shortly after it first aired in 2015.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

It’s a family thing

An order issued by Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer now offers paid parental leave to about 17,000 state workers to cover their time off with a newborn or newly adopted child.

Colyer, a lame duck Republican, said in a statement issued on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday that he made the change to recognize the importance of children and families in the state.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

This time, it was in public

Triveece Penelton has endured any number of racist remarks in her 16 years as a city planner. It was the one delivered in a public meeting — a white man making a crack about the “master race” — that tossed her into the spotlight.

On Tuesday, that Leavenworth County commissioner, Louis Klemp, resigned amid growing criticism.

Penelton talked to KCUR’s Andrea Tudhope about the incident and the discomfort of being part of an ugly news story that drew national attention.

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