Overland Park | KCUR

Overland Park

Lynn Horsley / KCUR 89.3

As Overland Park marks its 60th anniversary, Mayor Carl Gerlach gave a decidedly upbeat assessment Thursday, touting downtown’s renaissance and record construction investment in recent years as proof of the suburb’s success.

In his “State of the City” address to more than 500 people at the Overland Park Convention Center, Gerlach said creating one of the nation’s most livable communities hasn’t happened by accident but from shrewd, forward-thinking “intentional leadership.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

On Feb. 6, 2018, Travis Claussen had his right hip replaced at Blue Valley Hospital in Overland Park.

The 40-year-old resident of Lawson, Missouri, had been experiencing severe back pain for years. Before then, he’d been a physical fitness buff who was into off-road motorcycle racing.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Clearing one of the last hurdles in a nearly two-year merger marathon, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Overland Park-based Sprint may complete its $26 billion deal with rival T-Mobile.

Waddell and Reed

Kansas City, Missouri, has finally agreed to hold up its end of the so-called economic border war truce with Kansas.

The move on Thursday came more than five months after Missouri and Kansas agreed to stop poaching companies from one side of the state line to the other.

WICHITA, Kansas — This is a tale of two types of Kansas cities: those that had the foresight to own their own streetlights and those that do not.

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This week's closure of Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, caps a year of worse financial troubles than were previously known.

Over the last year, the hospital has been sued by vendors for nonpayment, by the Missouri Division of Employment Security for failing to pay into the state’s unemployment insurance program and, most recently, by employees for failing to pay their health insurance premiums.

“There’s considerably more to this story than what’s currently in the public domain,” said an attorney for the employees, North Kansas City lawyer Blake Green.

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Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Missouri, says it has voluntarily closed the facility, including its rural health clinic, outpatient clinic and emergency department.

In a terse “To whom it may concern” letter, Pinnacle CEO Joseph Conigliaro said the hospital had decided the “economic hardship” of complying with recent demands by Missouri health regulators was “too great to make the appropriate repairs necessary.”

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Missouri health regulators have told a Boonville, Missouri, hospital that specializes in bariatric surgery and is affiliated with a similar privately owned hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, to discontinue performing surgery.

The directive was issued last month, after the regulators conducted an inspection at Pinnacle Regional Hospital and cited it for sterile processing procedures.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

A Johnson County Community College trustee faces censure after an emailed letter detailing a lack of oversight at the school was shared with board members.

It details concerns about a myriad of financial policies and claims the school’s art collection is worth twice what the school has published. Some board members worry the letter itself adds to growing concerns about transparency.

“The purpose of this email is to ask for change,” the letter reads. “We can prevent boards from blocking information and controlling access of other board members.”

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

Ahead of a presidential impeachment vote in the U.S. House, and with a trial looming in the Senate, hundreds of protesters gathered Tuesday evening outside the Overland Park, Kansas, office of U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in an effort to convince him to break with his Republican colleagues.

The House vote is expected to fall largely along party lines.

Roberts, who plans to retire when his fourth term expires next year, has not publicly stated how he intends to vote.

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An Overland Park company that services Sprint credit cards is laying off 99 employees, according to a notification filed with the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Home Credit US, which is located on the Sprint campus in Overland Park, began in 2015 as a joint venture with Sprint. The company is part of Home Credit Group, a consumer finance and credit card servicing company that was founded in 1997 in the Czech Republic.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — More than two dozen cities and counties across Kansas have sued the opioid industry, from a small town with a population of 150 near the Colorado border to the state’s most populous county at its opposite end.

More may still file suits, legal experts say. And those that don’t could get a payout regardless if opioid makers, distributors and vendors opt for a global settlement. That would not only end the massive snarl of lawsuits brought by 2,600 parties nationwide but also prevent tens of thousands of other local governments from taking them to court, too.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The singer in a cover band was belting a hip-hop song about the party being underway on the lawn of the Sprint campus when CEO Michel Combes got on stage.

Combes told the Sprint employees gathered outside on a late June afternoon that they were celebrating the remodel of the company’s headquarters at 6200 Sprint Parkway. What he didn’t say was that the new building was missing one big thing: a Sprint logo.

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.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

In a 3-2 decision divided on party lines, the Federal Communications Commission has formally approved the merger between Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc.

Although the FCC has telegraphed its approval of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger, that doesn't mean there isn't dissent within the agency.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks was one of two Democrats to cast a dissenting vote Wednesday, according to Law360.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Following a trend across the Johnson County suburbs, the Overland Park City Council passed an ordinance Monday night banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Sprint Corp. was accused by the Federal Communications Commisison on Tuesday of falsely accepting millions of dollars in subsidies for low-income subscribers and failing to provide the service.  

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he has asked the agency’s enforcement bureau to investigate.

“It’s outrageous that a company would claim millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing,” Pai said in a statement. “This shows a careless disregard for program rules and American taxpayers.”

Segment 1: "All genocides ... begin with words," says one Emory professor concerned about a rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world, concerning scholars and Jewish communities. Money that could be spent in programming and outreach is being redirected to security measures for area Jewish Centers. "The fear in the community is palpable," says Gavriela Geller, executive director for Jewish Commuity Relations Bureau-American Jewish Committee.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

"I don't like sanitized spaces," says artist Harold Smith, whose house in Kansas City, Kansas, doubles as his studio.

It's about a mile from where he grew up. 

"I like diversity," Smith says. "So just regular working class people."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the homicide count in Kansas City continues to creep up and mass shootings happen regularly across the country, religious leaders from the suburbs to the city are finding it increasingly necessary to address the violence.

"We see a lot of memes, Facebook, and social media about 'thoughts and prayers are not going to take us much further' but, indeed, prayer is the foundation of the church," says the Rev. Laurie Anderson, minister of church life at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park.

Segment 1: What's up in northeast Johnson County?

As part of our continuing conversations with community newspaper editors, here's some inside perspective on the news in the Shawnee Mission Post. This episode's focus: contested municipal elections in Overland Park and Shawnee, and non-discrimination ordinances in several cities countywide.

Segment 2: The story of a new play inspired by the 30 Americans exhibit.

Segment 1: Continuing developments still don't seal the deal for a merger of Sprint and T-Mobile

Last month the Justice Department gave final approval to the $26-billion deal between the communications companies. This week the Federal Communications Commission chair recommended going ahead with it. In the way is a lawsuit brought by 16 attorneys general looking to derail the proposed union. Learn what the success or failure of the merger could mean for Sprint and T-Mobile, urban and rural consumers and company employees.

Overland Park Police

Police say the body of a missing Overland Park, Kansas, woman was found in Arkansas, a day after her husband was killed in a shootout with officers Kansas City, Kansas.

Overland Park Police say Sylvia Ussery-Pearson’s body was found in Benton County, Arkansas, Tuesday evening, after a note detailing where to find her body was discovered in her estranged husband’s Lenexa home.

Segment 1: Normally obscure ballots in Kansas county drawing greater attention

Without a high-profile race for governor or Congress, the Johnson County, Kansas, primary elections are usually on the sleepy side. Not so this time around as controversies have made even the community college's open seats on its Board of Trustee highly-contested.

Dave Kaup / Kansas City Business Journal

Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. has filed notice of its intent to lay off 158 employees.

On Tuesday, the Overland Park-based financial services company disclosed the planned cut in a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act filing.

Waddell & Reed signaled that cuts were coming on June 19, when it announced it would outsource processing of transactions to SS&C Asset Manager Solutions. SS&C's parent company acquired Kansas City-based DST Systems Inc., which had a long-term relationship with Waddell & Reed, in 2018.

Lynn Horsley / KCUR 89.3FM

While residents are in an uproar this summer over residential property assessments in Jackson County, Missouri, an equally important battle is underway in Johnson County, Kansas, where big box stores are successfully challenging major increases in their commercial property values.

The trend could significantly reduce future tax dollars for Johnson County schools, libraries and cities. Government leaders are worried and trying to plan for worst case situations.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City has long been a prime example of state tax incentives gone awry — the question now is if Kansas and Missouri can change the dynamic with a new agreement.

“Corporate welfare. It's a race to the bottom. It's wasteful spending. All of those really are true," says Angela Andreson Smart, vice president of the Hall Family Foundation in Kansas City.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 people converged on U.S. senators’ offices Tuesday in Overland Park and Kansas City, Missouri, as part of a nationwide demonstration to protest the treatment of immigrants being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

KCMO Public Works

A cold, snowy winter left Kansas City roadways riddled with potholes. Now, historic amounts of rain have delayed public works crews' ability to fix them.

Some city departments, such as those in Overland Park, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, are sending crews out on rainy days to try to patch them. Other municipalities don’t even bother.

“If it’s raining all day, crews aren’t going to be able to get out and patch potholes,” said Dave Reno, the Public Works community engagement officer for the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County.

Ten state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit to try to block the merger of telecom giants T-Mobile and Sprint.

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