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Missouri News

The University of Missouri-Kansas City will no longer sponsor charter schools after the 2018-19 school year.

The decision affects eight charter schools that together serve more than 5,000 students. Two of the schools, the Academy for Integrated Arts and University Academy, were quick to announce they were in talks with the Missouri Charter Public School Commission, an independent sponsor that gets its funding from the state.

Segment 1: A Kansas City state representative spotlights poor conditions at a Northwest Missouri correctional facility.

While Missouri may not be the first state that comes to mind as home to a thriving Hispanic/Latino population, data shows that the demographic is growing rapidly and in turn directly impacting the economics of the region.

Over a span of five years, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the region has increased by 42 percent, according to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis. Additionally, Missouri ranks sixth in the nation for its number of Hispanic residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the influence Hispanic business owners have on the region in light of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) with Gabriela Ramirez-Arellano, business counselor at the HCC and co-host of the bilingual business podcast DmeToo.

Editor's note: Until recently, Bram Sable-Smith was a health reporter at KCUR's sister station KBIA in Columbia, Missouri. His father, George P. Smith, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for developing a laboratory technique known as phage display, in which a virus that infects bacteria can be used to evolve new proteins.

Bram spoke with his father for KCUR.

Sable-Smith: When did it sink in that you had won the Nobel Prize?

Who hasn't enjoyed a comic strip in the newspaper or a comic book or a cartoon in the "New Yorker" at one time or other?

'Dark Money' Pours Into Missouri

Oct 5, 2018

The price of compliments

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts isn’t even running for re-election this year. And he’s from Kansas. Yet he’s become a talking point in one of the most pivotal contests in this mid-term election year.

It seems that Roberts once said the following: “If you want to pick somebody to work in a bipartisan manner and get something done … you ask Claire McCaskill because she does get the job done.”

McCaskill is a Democrat, running for re-election in Republican-dominated Missouri. So those words, from that guy, are campaign gold.

Lee’s Summit Superintendent Dennis Carpenter is urging residents of the district to “believe the data” that shows significant achievement gaps between students of color and their white peers.

Originally the district wanted to bring in a diversity consultant to speak to the school board at their Oct. 3 meeting, but the proposed training roiled Lee’s Summit parents participating in an online discussion group. Last week they asked the school board to back up the superintendent’s assertion that white students were outperforming students of color with data.

A federal judge has ruled that some provisions of a St. Louis ordinance banning discrimination based on reproductive health decisions violate the U.S. Constitution and Missouri law.

A lawsuit questioned the city's 2017 ordinance that bars employers from hiring or firing workers based on whether they have had an abortion, been pregnant outside marriage, or used contraceptives or artificial insemination. Landlords also can't refuse tenants based on those criteria.

MU fraternity Sigma Chi Suspended

Oct 5, 2018

The MU chapter of Sigma Chi has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, MU spokesman Christian Basi said Thursday.

“When an organization is suspended, they are not allowed to participate in any university activities,” Basi said in an email.

This would include Greek Life activities accompanied with Homecoming on Oct. 20.

The nature of the investigation could not be disclosed, Basi said. 

President Donald Trump is coming to Kansas this weekend, and some Republican candidates are hoping that will provide them a boost. That includes the Republican newcomer running for Congress in the 2nd District, who’s fending off more questions about his background, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Meanwhile, Kobach's Democratic opponent in the governor's race, state Sen. Laura Kelly, is trying to tie him to former Gov. Sam Brownback.  

Jim McLean, Stephen Koranda, and Madeline Fox of the Kansas News Service discuss whether any of it will sway voters.


Harley Race, the pro-wrestler from Missouri once considered among the toughest in the world, has come full circle.

Or as they might say in the pro wrestling biz, full squared circle.

'Handsome Harley,’ as he’s known, has spent the past few years back in his home state guiding the next generation of pro wrestlers. He’s shifted from world champion grappler to wizened coach by running a training academy about an hour west of St. Louis in Troy.

“When I was a child my father always told me that it would be great if my daughter would become a composer. It was his dream,” says Chen Yi.

Her father's dream came true. Chen is now well known as a composer, having received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. And as a professor for more than two decades at the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Conservatory of Music and Dance, she's taught composition to countless students.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 8, 2011 - As Republican consultant Chris LaCivita sees it, his hiring by Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin has little to do with LaCivita's notoriety as a key cog in the 2004 "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" campaign against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

The point, says LaCivita, is that he has been a major player in Republican congressional or gubernatorial campaigns in Missouri for at least a decade. They include Jim Talent's first 2002 bid for the U.S. Senate, Matt Blunt's 2004 contest for governor, Ed Martin's 2010 quest for Congress -- and Roy Blunt's 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate.

The workforce shortage in the construction industry is not going away.

A survey by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 80 percent of Midwest contractors report difficulty finding skilled workers. And, nearly half of the companies surveyed expect hiring is going to get harder over the next year.

Low-cost health care centers are lacking in parts of the St. Louis region with the greatest medical need, according to a report from the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

The growing need reflects the changing demographics of the region, Robert Fruend, the commission’s CEO said. North St. Louis was long considered the neediest part of the city. As a result, majority of the region’s low-cost health clinics are there.
 
But “over time, over the last 20 to 30 years, that node of this concentrated circle of poverty and need that we had in our region has migrated outwards,” Fruend said.

Famed Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim dismissed complaints that white actors should not be cast to portray people of color.

He made his remarks as a guest on Thursday’s episode of St. Louis on the Air.

The issue is freshly in the news with the cancellation last month of a student production of the 1957 musical “West Side Story” after Latino cast members complained that the director cast white actors to portray key Puerto Rican characters.

Updated Friday with a response from the attorney generals office A non-profit group set up to promote the agenda of then-Gov. Eric Greitens is asking a Cole County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks records of its activities.

St. Louis-based attorney Elad Gross filed suit in June against A New Missouri. He said he took action after the Missouri House committee that had been investigating the former governor halted its probe after Greitens’ resignation from office. The committee was also seeking records from A New Missouri, including its financing.

When St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies talked at length with Jason Kander earlier this year, the former Missouri secretary of state seemed upbeat about his next political move: running for mayor in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

“More so than some other statewide Democrats who lost in 2016, Kander has been the one who’s really tried to forge a new path for himself – and did so pretty quickly,” Mannies said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

So when the rising political star announced earlier this week that he was ending his mayoral campaign, citing a struggle with depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, it came as a surprise and “was shocking” to her.

Midterm elections are important. But Sandra Moore, managing director and chief impact officer at Advantage Capital, said what’s more important is “mobilizing folks to register and vote.”

“The vote is the most powerful individual thing we have to engage as citizens,” Moore explained. The former president of Urban Strategies joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday to talk about a voter education and registration drive that seeks to energize women in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County for the Nov. 6 election.

Tax preparers are advising Missouri residents to double check their income tax withholdings, because the state has what it calls a “longstanding inaccurate calculation.”

Essentially, some Missouri taxpayers may see a smaller refund or owe more on their 2018 tax bill than in previous years.

With a tip of the powdered wig to Thomas Jefferson: None of us are guaranteed happiness, but we are all entitled to pursue it.

Granted, that’s a risky proposition. Trying to be happy and failing is no picnic. Yet here comes an especially action-packed weekend of potentially happy things to do involving uplifting music, assorted festivals, football and the opportunity to get involved in a sport that most people haven’t tried but anyone can take a crack at.

Randy Auxier, the Green Party nominee in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Auxier is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Bost and Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly. Both Kelly and Bost recorded episodes of Politically Speaking previously.

Segment 1: The state of KanCare.

Since it's creation in 2013, KanCare has received heavy criticism. The privatized Medicaid dispursement program started by former Gov. Sam Brownback has struggled with long processing wait times, bad data collection and lawsuits. Today, administrators of the program discuss the myriad issues they've dealt with already and the ones that remain to be solved.

A visit to the town of Liberty, Missouri and its outlying areas to hear about a growing Mormon community, a legendary teacher in the city’s formerly segregated schools and William Jewell College’s evolving role in the town.

Guests: 

The ACLU of Missouri sued former Kansas City police officer Jordan Nelson Thursday for excessive use of force against Joshua Bills in 2013. 

On December 6, 2013, officers were dispatched to Kansas City's Key Coalition neighborhood on reports of a "suspicious person." Bills was walking in that area when two KCPD cars approached with their lights on.

Boondocks broadband

How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm if they can’t stream Netflix?

The Federal Communications Commission sent seven grants to Kansas totaling $4.7 million to expand  rural access to broadband internet.

Missouri Department of Transportation

Does Missouri have the worst roads in the Midwest?

Renee Hoagenson, Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District, thinks Missouri lags behind neighboring states in road quality.

In an Aug. 28 tweet, Hoagenson claimed that “#Missouri has the worst roads in the Midwest and nearly the worst roads in the country.”

A decent-sized group of Kansas Citians will gather on Friday to watch a 1981 Western movie in 3D called “Comin’ at Ya!” The film will include scenes like one in which a boy pours grapes into a basket, but because the movie was shot in 3D, the grapes will appear to be falling toward these viewers.

According to Matthew Lloyd, the grapes have no plot significance. The character pouring the grapes is similarly inconsequential.

Opening night at the symphony has a special buzz and a once-a-year chance for the orchestra's artistic leader to welcome back the musicians and the audience. If an orchestra happens to be between leaders, the occasion also offers a plum spot on the calendar to invite a guest-star conductor with a pedigree.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra took a different route this year. With the seat of music director technically unfilled — French conductor Stéphane Denève takes over that job next season — the orchestra’s leadership turned to the rising star in its ranks.

Gemma New, 31, led the orchestra’s annual kickoff concert in Forest Park and then held onto the baton for opening night at Powell Hall. She made history on two fronts: as the first woman to lead SLSO’s opening night concert, and as the first resident conductor to do so.

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