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Olathe

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

For Willie Vader, the Johnson County Courthouse can't be demolished soon enough. 

"That is the single biggest thing that could help downtown Olathe, what goes in there after that building comes down," Vader said. 

He owns Vader's Bar and Deli on Cherry Street, just east of the courthouse. The courthouse is nearly 70 years old and will be replaced by a bigger, more up-to-date one that's currently being built a block north. The new courthouse is expected to open in early 2021, and the plan is to tear the old one down shortly after. 

futureatlas.com / Flickr--CC

Though affordable housing has become a problem in Kansas City, Missouri, people who want to buy houses have more options if they're willing to look in areas outside the city's official limits.

Project 1020

You’d never pick him out as someone who’d been camping in the Johnson County woods for the last year.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated to add the comments of Olathe Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim McKee.

A global customer service company is closing an Olathe call center that employs 179 people — although they will be given the chance to work from home.

Concentrix, a Greenville, South Carolina-based subsidiary of publicly owned SYNNEX Corp., told employees on Monday that the facility will close on May 31.

Overland Park Planning Commission

A proposal to build an Islamic community center in Overland Park received preliminary approval Monday despite apparent opposition from hundreds of Overland Park residents.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The Olathe City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution to promote diversity and equality in the city. However, many community members attending the meeting said it did not go far enough.

“A proclamation is nothing but lip service,” Olathe resident Chad Palmer told the city council, expressing that they needed to go further in making a stand against discrimination.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Back when she was in eighth grade at California Trail in the Olathe Public Schools, Lilly Beckwith loved making amateur videos with Windows Movie Maker and posting them to her YouTube channel.

So Beckwith was excited when it came time to enroll for high school and she learned she could hone her filmmaking skills in the e-Communication program, she was excited. But there was a catch. Beckwith, who was supposed to go to Olathe East, would have to transfer to Olathe Northwest.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Municipal leaders discuss the local issues their communities are grappling with, and the current events in Kansas City they're keeping an eye on.

In metro regions like Kansas City, suburban communities often find themselves dealing with the same issues at the same time as their neighbors. Today, we'll get perspectives on how two area municipalities are approaching issues like tax abatements and land use, and why they are monitoring airport and crime developments in Kansas City, Missouri.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Eleven Johnson County voters are challenging the eligibility of newly elected Adam T. Thomas, an Olathe Republican, to take his seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.

The voters, 10 residents of Olathe and one resident of Spring Hill, allege that Thomas, who won the 26th District seat, was not a resident of the district when he declared his candidacy or ran for the seat. If true, that would violate the Kansas Constitution.

Bigstock

This story was updated at 5:02 pm to include comments from a representative of Hooper Holmes.

Hooper Holmes Inc., an Olathe, Kansas, provider of health and wellness services, is laying off 99 employees in that city. The publicly traded company earlier this year sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sold its assets to Quest Diagnostics.

Americans with disabilities is a community anyone can join at any time. It’s a community that demands infrastructural and political changes that ultimately benefit everyone, yet it’s a community that is often ignored, sidelined or patronized.

“For years, there were ugly laws that were in place that kept cripples from being out in public. We were locked away in institutions, we were left at home, we were sight unseen. There was a stigma associated with it,” says artist Kathryne Husk.

African American Chris Harris seated in front of a KCUR microphone wearing headphones during his interview.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A rise in teen suicide has led to a Johnson County, Kansas, school district to make a change. 

The Signs of Suicide initiative, a nation-wide program that school systems can opt into, has been implemented in some Olathe schools this year. It administers a mental health survey to students as a preventive measure against suicide. So far, five high schools have completed training and administrators say the program has already saved lives.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Money, money, money

People, apparently, still give money to the campaigns of congressional candidates. But the real action these days comes from different directions.

Consider, for instance, Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District. Sure, Democrat Paul Davis pulled in about $1.3 million over the last three months. And that’s more than four times Republican Steve Watkins collected from donors.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

We hardly knew ye

Well, we do know Steve Watkins is a veteran.

But much of the rest of the biography he’s touted in his race for Congress has come under question.

Last week, The Kansas City Star tore down his claims of building a tiny business into something massive.

Portrait Session: Olathe-Native Artist Angela Dufresne

Sep 21, 2018

This Artist Is Not In Kansas Anymore: Angela Dufresne's Journey From Olathe To New York City

As school winds down, one question always comes to most people's minds: what did you do this summer? On today's show, we speak with students and teachers who spent their summer doing surprising things like helping clean water efforts in South Africa or creating a campaign strategy. Oh, and winning "Jeopardy!"

  • Luciana De Anda, student, Olathe East High School
  • John Kevern, professor, UMKC School of Computing and Engineering
  • Larry Martin, teacher, Belinder Elementary

Food Critics: The Best Tacos In Kansas City In 2018

Jul 17, 2018
A pile of soft corn tortilla tacos on a bright blue plate.
Ricos Tacos "Lupe" / Facebook

A decade ago, when Guadalupe Marcela Banuelos moved her taco operation to Southwest Boulevard, her grandmother was worried that the authentic, soft shell street tacos Banuelos planned to serve at Rico's Tacos "Lupe" would be too different from the  hard shell tacos many people in the region were used to eating. 

Her response?

"You know grandma, they're going to have to get used to it."

And, they did. These days, Banuelos has a loyal following, especially from those who crowd into her restaurant on Tuesdays for the $1 taco special. 

Go Fund Me

Updated 3:50 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The remains of University of Missouri-Kansas City student Sharath Koppu are back in India and being prepared for traditional Hindu last rites.

PoolSafely / Flickr — CC

Summer’s here and the time is right for … fun.

Bet you saw that coming. Yet here we are in the midst of the summer solstice, and I wonder: Have you truly gotten your summer on? If so, good for you and don’t forget the sunscreen. If not, it’s handy I’m here to give a nudge toward weekend music, theater and recreation embodying the season.

Summer-fun things won’t wait. Get ’em while they’re hot!

1. Lucinda Williams, Steve Earl and Dwight Yoakam

Aixois Bistro/Facebook

Kansas City might be known as a meat-and-potatoes town, but fried chicken has long been popular here.

“Fried chicken is popular because it’s inexpensive, usually, and it tastes good,” Charles Ferruzza told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Besides that, Ferruzza said, “It travels well — it’s just as good cold as it is hot.”

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

An Independence man pleaded guilty today in Johnson County District Court to raping a 22-year-old sheriff's deputy in Olathe, Kansas.

Brady Newman-Caddell, 22, admitted to two counts of rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated criminal sodomy.

In October 2016, Newman-Caddell and 25-year-old William Luth of Blue Springs, Missouri, forced the Johnson County deputy into a car, covered her face and drove off before taking turns sexually assaulting her. 

Johnson County Sheriff's Office

 Editor's note: Offensive language is used in this story.

The Olathe resident who shot and killed an Indian national and wounded two other men last year at an Olathe bar pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to two hate crime offenses and one firearm offense.

Adam W. Purinton’s plea agreement with the government calls for him to serve consecutive life sentences on the three pleas as well as to the life sentences he was given in state court earlier this month.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

As Johnson County District Court Judge Charles Droege told 52-year-old Adam Purinton on Friday that he likely "won't leave prison alive," the convicted murderer briefly lowered his head.

Purinton was sentenced to life in prison for the February 2017 murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla at an Olathe, Kansas, bar. He received an additional 28-year sentence for the attempted murders of Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot.

He still faces federal hate crime charges that could mean the death penalty. A hearing in that case is set for later this month.

One More Cup / Facebook

Kansas City's coffee shop scene has really blossomed over the past few years.

In addition to coffee and tea drinks, a number of shops have also been serving great food: pastries made in-house, breakfast, light lunches and grab-and-go snacks.

From quiet spots to linger to more convivial spaces to meet up with friends, KCUR's food critics searched out the best coffee shops in and around Kansas City.

 

Here are their recommendations:

 

Scott's Kitchen and Catering / Facebook

Burritos and wraps are glorious things.

Just about anything can go in a tortilla. And voila, a complete meal that's portable and ready to go.

But what's the difference between a wrap and a burrito?

"A burrito is typically warm or hot, and a wrap is generally cold, in my experience," food critic Carlton Logan told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Logan, along with fellow food critics Jenny Vergara and Charles Ferruzza, searched out the best burritos and wraps in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

A little over a year ago, Sunayana Dumala’s husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was shot and killed at an Olathe bar by a man who questioned whether he was in the country legally.

Back then, Dumala wondered whether she should stay in the United States. In a Facebook post, she wrote: “To answer the question that is in every immigrant’s mind, DO WE BELONG HERE? Is this the same country we dreamed of and is it still secure to raise our families and children here?”

Sunayana Dumala

Mar 16, 2018
Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

How a local woman is emerging from tragedy to spread a message of love.

A little over a year ago, Sunayana Dumala's husband, Srinivas Kutchibhotla, was shot and killed in an Olathe bar. Back then, she questioned why she should stay in the United States.

As it turns out, she has stayed. Meet Sunayana; hear her story.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Adam Purinton has pleaded guilty to the February 2017 murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and the attempted murder of Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot. 

In November 2017, Purinton waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty.

In Johnson County District Court on Tuesday, Purinton, 52, reversed that plea and agreed to the maximum sentence for each of three counts: one count of premeditated first degree murder, and two counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

Frank Morris / NPR and KCUR

One year ago Thursday, the national news media turned its attention to Olathe, Kansas, where Adam Purinton allegedly screamed racist taunts before shooting two Indian tech workers and another man who tried to defend them at Austin’s Bar and Grill.

One of the Indian men was killed, and the United States Department of Justice labeled it a hate crime.

Courtesy of St. Luke's Health System

We know we need a good night's sleep. It’s good for our health, our cognition and productivity and our relationships.

It's so important that now, some Kansas City companies want to help their employees sleep better at night. The KC Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on sleep for the business community on Thursday morning. (Alas, it starts at 7:30 a.m.)

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