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Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Rosilyn Temple has been starting conversations about Kansas City's crime problem since 2014. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice is kicking in $75,000 to help her continue that mission for the next seven years.

"The community is angry," Temple said. "That's why we have so much violent crime today."

Segment 1: Missouri looks to start opening medical marijuana dispensaries in June.

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services has issued licenses for 192 medical marijuana dispensaries since a voter approved initiative for medical cannabis passed in 2018. Once patients are able to start purchasing, and in some cases growing, the product, the state could look to issue more dispensary licenses based on supply and demand.

Segment 1: A KU professor's book explores the sense of place created by our technology.

Where do you live? What is your neighborhood? Is it a physical place — or a digital one? "The Digital City: Media and the Social Production of Place" argues that smartphones are replacing cities. It also looks into how smart cities, like Kansas City, privilege people who already have a lot of resources.

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.

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.

Segment 1: A Waldo coffee shop looks back on 10 years.

As One More Cup approaches its announced closing date, one of the owners joins us to talk about what neighborhood hangouts mean to their communities.

  • Stacy Neff, One More Cup

Segment 2: Kansas City prepares for its first-ever Black Restaurant Week.

What's the idea behind Black Restaurant Week, and how does it fit into the big picture of race in restaurant culture, in Kansas City and beyond?

Segment 1: 'We tend to feel like we're captives in our own homes and neighborhoods,' says one neighborhood leader.

Last weekend Brian Bartlett became the youngest victim of gun violence this year in Kansas City, Missouri. Today, neighborhood leaders east of Troost revealed how prevalent shootings have become, how residents are taking more action to record and report activitites in their neighborhoods, and the frustration in trying to find a solution to the gun violence.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the deadline for Jackson County residents to file property tax appeals with the Board of Equalization approaches, neighborhood leaders worry the damage caused by such a contentious and confusing process will have lasting consequences for people in their communities.

Alan Young, who cofounded the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council with his wife, says folks in his part of town are going through a flood of emotions right now, primarily fear.

Segment 1: Jackson County reassessment disrupting more than property values

Though the Jackson County reassessment mess has been about market price, it is the people who own the homes and businesses who are most deeply affected. Three Jackson County residents discussed how their neighborhoods have reacted and the real-life implications for them and their neighbors should the new valuations stand. 

Segment 1: A New York Times reporter sees votes for Quinton Lucas as votes for neighborhoods.

The weekend before Kansas City's mayoral election, a story appeared in the New York Times suggesting that this election came down to a choice: continued emphasis on downtown, or a shift toward prioritizing neighborhoods struggling in downtown's shadow. The author joins us to reflect on the outcome.

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. 

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

Inasmuch as Detroit relied on automobiles, or Pittsburgh on steel, Kansas City once relied on a meatpacking industry that, in turn, depended on a multi-ethnic, low-wage, but organized labor force.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

No silver bullets. A political hot potato. A whack-a-mole approach. These are some of the ways the city’s affordable housing policies have been described at recent public hearings.

These hearings are part of a newly energized conversation about affordable housing in Kansas City, inspired by a comprehensive, five-year proposal presented to the council last fall.

Segment 1: An iconic KCK neighborhood teeters on the brink of change.

Strawberry Hill overlooks the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, I-70, the West Bottoms and downtown. It's maintained its identity as a Croatian neighborhood, despite several waves of new arrivals and teetering on the edge of gentrification for more than a decade. Could that accelerate? And what would that mean?

courtesy Peter Caster

The historic mansion that was once home to the Rockhill Tennis Club has new owners. Peter and Heather Caster of Kansas City, Missouri, have bought the house built in 1910 for the daughter of Kansas City Star founder William Rockhill Nelson.

"It's a beautiful home," says Peter Caster. "We're going to do everything in our power to do it the right way and bring it back to its former glory." 

Segment 1: McCoy's Public House and Brewery is closing.

Westport has a vibrant daytime scene, as well as a lively nightlife, and McCoy's has been a long-time staple for both. We talk about the changing nature of the neighborhood, alongside concerns of security, privitization, and old, historic buildings. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.8

Rising concerns about gentrification, eviction and long-overlooked disparities in the quality of housing in Kansas City, Missouri, have created soaring interest in addressing housing problems, particularly on the city's east side.

Missouri Valley Special Collections

Some Kansas Citians know the area between Cleaver II Boulevard and Stadium Drive as a back way to the Truman Sports Complex, one that allows them to avoid traffic on I-70. But for people who lived in the area, the Leeds neighborhood was more than a home — it was a haven.

“I had the best childhood in Leeds. Because I felt safe,” Earline Bentley told host Gina Kaufmann up on KCUR’s Central Standard.  “I didn’t know we were poor until we moved out of Leeds!”

Leeds

Oct 2, 2018

Leeds, an area of Kansas City that is known primarily as an industrial zone today, was once a self-contained African-American community. We visit with community members to find out what growing up in the Leeds neighborhood was like and what made that area of Kansas City unique. Plus, a look at the latest podcast episode from My Fellow Kansans.

Seg. 1: Unschooling. Seg. 2: Feral Cats

Sep 13, 2018

Segment 1: To school or unschool, that is the question.

Unschooling combines the ideals of Montessori schools with homeschooling; letting kids dictate their education. We talk about the pros and cons with a local homeschooler and an adolescent psychologist.

  • Jessica Mattingly, mother of six, local unschooler
  • Matthew Westra, psychology professor, Metropolitan Community College Longview

Segment 2, beginning at 35:49: How Kansas City is addressing an abundance of feral cats.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Segment 1: Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as newest U.S. Supreme Court justice could launch fresh challenges to women's reproductive rights on the state-level. 

For years, Kansas and Missouri legislatures have been chipping away at a person's ability to terminate a pregnancy. Today, KCUR reporters from both sides of the state line reviewed previous attempts by lawmakers to reduce abortion access and postulated on what a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court might mean for this issue going forward.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

 

Sam Shockley went to school with the black students who eventually desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. So he was more than familiar with the harshness of racism.

When he moved to Kansas City in the 1950s, he experienced a different brand of it.

“Here it was more covert,” Shockley says.

Segment 1: Swope Park is over twice the size of Central Park. Are we using it as well as we could?

Swope Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country. It's a massive 1,805 acres in size and Kansas City, Missouri Parks and recreation refers to it as the "crown jewel" of the parks system. We explore the role of Swope Park in our community and learn how a history of segregation continues to influence it to this day.

Warren K. Leffler / United States Library of Congress

Segment 1: Kansas City, Kansas, Public Safety and Neighborhood Infrastructure Sales Tax up for renewal.

A three-eighth-cent sales tax that passed with 70 percent of the vote in 2010 has collected more than $50 million devoted to public safety and neighborhood projects in Wyandotte County. This August, voters there get to decide if the sales tax has been worth the money. The levy is set to expire in 2020 unless it is approved for renewal. Today, we discussed the projects that the tax has benefitted and if it's still the best option for the Unified Government.

Google Earth

New guidelines will make it harder to build big homes on small lots in Prairie Village as the Johnson County suburb tries to get ahead of the “teardown” trend that’s pitted newcomers against residents who like the charm of older houses.

The city is trying to find the balance between encouraging development and maintaining its classic look, Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer told Up To Date’s Steve Kraske Wednesday. In the last five years, 126 older homes – mostly ranch and Cape Cod-style – have been torn down to make way for new construction.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

High poverty rates, aging infrastructure and vacant homes.

These are problems that commonly occur together and that discourage community revitilization.

The Marlborough Community Coalition in south Kansas City, five neighborhoods come together as one, is trying to do things differently.

City of Kansas City

Remember when Kansas City, Missouri, sold houses for $1 each?

City leaders recently celebrated the success of that program, touting major improvements to the urban core. The Land Bank of Kansas City is starting a new program to sell 25 houses to public employees for only $100.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Two men were arrested Wednesday  for allegedly running a cockfighting ring near 24th and Cypress in east Kansas City.

The city's Animal Health and Public Safety Division, backed up by Kansas City police, executed a search warrant on two adjoining houses on Cypress.

"We found a large number of fowl. And when I say foul we had roosters, we had hens, and we had baby chicks," according to Special Investigator James Donovan.

The actual cockfighting, city officials say, was done at a different location.

Segment 1: Meet the city's expert on illegal dumping.

Cleaning up other people's messes can be a thankless task. But KCMO's illegal dumping investigator is passionate about his job. Hear his story.

  • Alan Ashurst, KCMO Illegal Dumping Investigator

Segment 2, beginning at 16:03: Should music venues be held accountable for the political positions of the bands they book?

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

There is so much illegal trash dumping in Kansas City that the city has more than doubled the number of investigators assigned to help clean it up.

The dumps have everything from hazardous waste to limbs and brush.

Illegal dumping investigator Alan Ashurst starts his day like a lot of people, with a stop at a QuikTrip for coffee and doughnuts. "I like the old-fashion doughnut. It’s good."

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