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Segment 1: Public defenders are calling prisons during pandemic ticking time bombs

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 scare, individual correctional facilities in Kansas and Missouri have decided to release certain prisoners, but public defenders and advocates say a statewide approach is needed to avoid a crisis behind bars.

Matthew Ansley / Unsplash

Segment 1: Public defenders are calling prisons during pandemic ticking time bombs

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 scare, individual correctional facilities in Kansas and Missouri have decided to release certain prisoners, but public defenders and advocates say a statewide approach is needed to avoid a crisis behind bars.

Courtesy of Moriah Stonehocker

The spring semester is when most soon-to-be educators do their student teaching, but now they’re trying to figure out distance learning even as their own education has been interrupted.

Moriah Stonehocker is in her final semester at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a student teacher at J. A Rogers Elementary in Kansas City Public Schools.

“It's 2 p.m., so I should be at recess right now with my kids, but I'm here at home,” she said last week.

Courtesy Photo
University of Missouri Kansas City

University of Missouri-Kansas City students are reacting to Wednesday's news that the university will tear down mold-damaged student apartments once advertised as the best in college dorm life.

"Oak Place was one of the biggest student housing options on campus," said Justice Horn, UMKC student body president. "Hundreds of students have been forced to move off campus into higher-rent apartments. We can’t build an urban campus unless we have adequate student housing."

Maria Franco

Public universities in Missouri haven’t been able to offer in-state tuition to students living illegally in the U.S. since 2015. Some state lawmakers are now trying to make sure that doesn’t change anytime soon.

A bill currently making its way through the state Senate would ban publicly funded colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to undocumented students, making permanent budget langauge that currently must be approved each year.

Kansas City Chinese American Associatiaon

Alex Che, president of the Kansas City Chinese American Association, estimates there are between 10,000 and 20,000 Chinese and Chinese American residents in the area, although it’s hard to know for sure because they're spread out all over the metro. 

Many have friends and family in China, and as deaths from the new coronavirus — officially named COVID-19 on Tuesday by the World Health Organization — exceeded 1,000, concern grew among the community here as well.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

What if you accidentally cut off a piece of your finger, and two weeks later that piece grew into your clone? Tiny creatures with that ability are swimming in tanks at Kansas City's Stowers Institute for Medical Research, and they've inspired a new collaboration between scientists and artists.

Segment 1: Where do efforts towards improving pre-K access and quality in Kansas City stand?

In early 2019, a big controversy was Mayor Sly James' push for universal pre-K through a sales tax. Kansas City voters didn't go for the plan on the ballot, but a year later, many people still want something to fill in the gap.

Segment 1: Flooded fields and fallout from trade wars could mean another rocky year for farmers.

Climate change, flooding, and bankruptcies are just a few of farming's biggest issues — a list that spans a country mile. With voices from Kansas and Missouri, representing small farmers and Big Ag, we dug through the biggest obstacles facing farmers going into 2020.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Chris Costantini lay in a cold sweat, his shoulder dislocated after slipping on a porch in Kansas City, Kansas.

He’d been out alone, knocking on doors and rustling up voters for the upcoming midterms in October 2018. Now he waited for an ambulance, full of anxiety about how the injury could hinder his next performance at the Kansas City Ballet.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Rachel Shriver is set to graduate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City next year but she’s already thinking about how her two kids are going to pay for college a decade from now. 

She’s had a tough path to this point: She had her first kid when she was young and most of her family never made it to college. “I'm just hoping to have a better life with my kids … that’s the whole reason I’m in school,” Shriver said.

Segment 1: What the junior senator from Missouri can gain from the issues he chooses to tackle.

Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley has been vociferous in his opposition to Facebook's influence, has ripped Democrats for their impeachment inquiry and, after visiting the Hong Kong protests, suggested in a tweet the city's chief executive should resign. Hear analysis of Hawley's political moves and how much they matter to Missouri voters.

Photo courtesy of the Gay & Lesbian Archive of Mid-America / LaBudde Special Collections, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Recent news out of Johnson County, Kansas, has been about cities adopting non-discrimination ordinances with protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

Segment 1: Germany's prisons emphasize rehabilitation and resocialization for their inmates.

Germany is doing a lot of things differently than the U.S. when it comes to criminal justice, and they've got a lower inceration rate to show for it. In prisons there, staff are trained in things like psychology and communication, and they're paid just as much as police officers. This is all to promote a reintegration approach, which focuses on returning inmates back into their communities. 

Jamie Hobbs / KCUR 89.3

No one can accuse University of Missouri President Mun Choi of lacking bold aspirations or high expectations for the newly launched NextGen Precision Health Initiative.

“It is the most important and the largest project in the history of the UM system,” he said recently on KCUR’s Up to Date. “This is going to be a game-changer when it comes to developing life-saving treatments.”

Google Maps

The University of Missouri has settled two lawsuits brought by a UMKC professor who said he was the victim of retaliation after he reported alleged abuses by another professor, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

The legal publication said the university has agreed to pay $360,000 to Mridul Mukherji to resolve the lawsuits. The publication said it obtained the information through a public records request.  

Segment 1: Former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, can be remembered for more than brick-and-mortar accomplishments

With his successor officially sworn in as mayor, Sly James has ended his eight years  at City Hall. His legacy goes beyond a convention hotel, a single-terminal airport and the streetcar. A panel of non-profit representatives spotlighted James' fights for a higher minimum wage, women's equality and literacy in young children. 

Segment 1: A "dark store theory" update

The Kansas Board of Tax Appeals handed Johnson County a defeat last month when they ruled the county has overcharged some Walmart stores millions of dollars in property taxes. The decision is based on something called the "dark store theory," and it could put homeowners on the hook for making up the county's lost revenue.

Segment 1: American patriotism through the years

Some things never change, like the American need to blow things up on Independence Day. Not as predictable is our collective definition of patriotism. The concept has sustained the country's 243 years, but does it mean the same thing today as it did during the 1770s, 1870s or 1970s?

Segment 1: USDA research facilities will relocate to Kansas City area.

The headquarters of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture will soon move to Kansas City. We discussed the news with the Kansas City Area Development Council and heard from U.S. Reps. Sharice Davids and Emanuel Cleaver.

Segment 1: Candidates for the Kansas City's 3rd District debate for Councilman Jermaine Reed's seat.

We asked candidates Melissa Robinson and Joey Thomas their thoughts on affordable housing, development east of Troost and how to improve community policing.

Segment 1: Protest at the University of Missouri - Kansas City highlighted struggle universities and their students face over First Amendment right to free speech. 

The University of Missouri-Kansas City recently made headlines after an encounter between a protestor and guest speaker occurred on campus grounds. Two students present during the incident with opposite views shared a civil conversation about free speech, hate speech and where to draw the line.

Segment 1: Kansas City mourns the death of second major philanthropist in a week. 

Morton Sosland, who rose to run the publishing company that bears his family's name, died on April 25, just two days after he lost his friend and fellow city patron Henry Bloch. Friends recalled Morton's personality, generosity and legacy.     

Seg. 1: UMKC Enactus | Seg. 2: Dan Wayne & Big Fur

Apr 30, 2019

Segment 1: Hacking Hunger

A group of UMKC students is working to redirect food waste so it can feed hungry Kansas Citians. Their approach has earned them global recognition as entrepreneurs. 

  • Andrea Savage, Enactus member & project member of FeedKC
  • Ben Williams, business professor and faculty advisor

Segment 2, beginning at 19:03: Taxidermy On Film

Joe Robertson / Local Investment Commission

Having a criminal record can make it hard to find a job, and a place to live. Missouri allows some offenses to be erased from a person’s record, or expunged, years after an offender has finished serving his or her sentence, but it’s a tricky process.

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.

Segment 1: Concerns linger regarding Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

The largest manufacturing plant for smaller caliber rounds is in Independence, Missouri. It suffered an accidental explosion in 2017 causing the death of one person and injuring four more.  Chris Haxel explained what contributed to the fatal event and the operation's questionable safety record under the current contractor.

Segment 1: Kansas City mourns the death of philanthropist Henry Bloch.

Henry Bloch, co-founder of the tax preparation firm H&R Block and World War II veteran, has had an immense impact on Kansas City. His legacy will persist through the institutions he helped established and support. Today, a look at how his contributions were aimed to serve the community he loved. 

HDR

A planned extension of Kansas City's streetcar line from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City failed to make it into the new federal budget proposal, a setback streetcar officials hope to overcome next year.

The Federal Transit Administration's budget recommendation for the 2020 fiscal year did not include $151.6 million being sought by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority to help fund approximately half the cost of the $316.6 million project.

Montgomery City Division of Solid Waste Services / Flickr - CC

Kansas City recyclers take heart, for now.

Despite reports that some waste companies in the U.S. are burning recycled paper and plastic or sending it to landfills, processors in the metro are still finding ways to market recycled material.

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