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Katie Sowers’ childhood passion for football has carried her from Hesston, Kansas, to Miami — and the Super Bowl, where she’ll be the first woman to ever coach in the title game.

Sowers is an assistant coach on offense for the rival San Francisco 49ers, and will be in the skybox with the other coaches strategizing against the Kansas City Chiefs, and the city she loves so much the skyline is tattooed on her left forearm. She’s also the first openly LGBTQ coach in the NFL and, thus, Super Bowl LIV.

In their last Super Bowl appearance half a century ago, the Kansas City Chiefs achieved an upset in more ways than one.

Not only did they defeat the favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7, the game marked the first big break in law enforcement’s longstanding efforts to bring down the Kansas City mob.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

GRANITE CITY — A 27-year-old man called 911 to send an ambulance to his home when his girlfriend passed out.

He didn’t know what was wrong but told the dispatcher it could be an overdose.

About a month later, he received a letter saying the city wanted his landlord to evict him.

In Granite City, renters can be kicked out after calling for help for someone overdosing on drugs because of the city’s crime-free housing ordinance. Even if no one is arrested or charged with a crime, the drug use breaks Granite City’s rules for renters.

Missouri voters will almost certainly have another say this year on how state Senate and House districts are drawn.

They’ll choose between keeping a system they voted for in 2018, in which a demographer holds much of the power to draw maps, and a modified version of the old system.

It’s a debate that’s elicited national attention from redistricting enthusiasts and political parties, especially since the complex and wonky subject of mapmaking has an immense impact on how citizens are represented in government. 

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt remains opposed to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, as the Senate trial continues into its second week.

The U.S. House has “clearly failed” to make a case that Trump should be removed from office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rival and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son’s activities, the Republican said in an interview Tuesday.

Missouri’s senior senator said the fact that the Democrats are pushing to call witnesses during the Senate trial implies that they don’t think their case is strong enough without more information being introduced into the process. 

Roughly 100 of Missouri’s 7,019 untested rape kits have been sent out of state to a private forensic lab for testing.

The state completed a full inventory of those untested kits last fall. Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office is now moving forward with testing the kits to help prosecute rape cases and provide justice for victims. 

This is part of a $2.8 million grant former Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office received from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. Schmitt said there's enough money to test roughly 1,250 of the kits, but more will be sought to clear the entire backlog. 

Right before he was sworn in as a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, Edward “Chip” Robertson met with the speaker of Puerto Rico's House, who told him his chamber was about to impeach the governor. 

When Robertson asked what the governor did wrong, he said the speaker replied: “Nothing, I have the votes.”

That anecdote helped illustrate to Robertson why Missouri’s method of impeaching a governor is preferable to the federal model. While 100 senators are mulling whether to keep President Donald Trump in office, the Missouri Constitution gives decision-making authority to seven judges the Senate confirms.

A tribute to the Kansas City tax attorney who spent 40 years hosting a music show devoted to rock and roll.

Bill Shapiro recently died at the age of 82. To remember him, we rebroadcasted his final episode of Cyprus Avenue, the "smart" rock and roll show he hosted on KCUR on Saturday nights. His abridged final broadcast includes snippets of some of his favorite tunes and reflections on his personal relationship with music.

Segment 1: Analyzing impeachment from a historical perspective

Amidst the trial in Washington, it can be enlightening to look at how impeachment has evolved from since its beginnings in 13th-century England. We also discussed where this historical process fits into modern government.

Kansas City journalist and bon vivant Charles Ferruzza, known to newspaper and radio audiences for his restaurant reviews that were infused with a deep knowledge of the city’s history and idiosyncrasies of its high- and low-society denizens, died early Tuesday. He was 62.

A frequent guest on KCUR’s Central Standard food critics panel, Ferruzza’s role as a radio personality dated back to the days of The Walt Bodine Show.

"I clicked with Kansas City right away," Ferruzza told KCUR's Gina Kaufmann.

Starting Saturday, a portion of Interstate 255 will be shut down in both directions for five months, kicking off a 10-month project to renovate what the state considers one of its worst roads.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s first phase of repairs to a crumbling section of I-255, one of many projects under the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, begins by closing down all lanes of a roughly 4-mile stretch between I-55/70 at Exit 25 in Collinsville and Exit 20 at I-64 west of Fairview Heights.

Not even Gary Bettman knew the name of the first black hockey player in the National Hockey League when he became league commissioner in 1993.

Bettman has since hired Willie O'Ree, who broke the NHL's color barrier when he skated for the Boston Bruins in 1958, as a league ambassador, part of what the league is doing to make its game more diverse.

Kaldi’s Coffee is a St. Louis company. It roasts its beans here and ships them from here. Most of its 17 cafes are in the region as well. Other than a few outlets in the Atlanta area, Kaldi’s lacks a physical presence outside Missouri.

But in the past year, Kaldi’s co-owner Tricia Zimmer Ferguson has been spending time far from the Midwest — in Rwanda. It’s not just because the company sources many of its beans there (although that’s certainly a big part of it). Ferguson is also working with the nation’s only women’s college, Akilah Institute. A group from Kaldi’s is committed to teaching its students about the coffee and tea industries, opening career opportunities for them.   

Not that he has a thing about his hometown football team and its quarterback, but don’t even think about asking Josh Weinstock to open his box of Mahomes Magic Crunch.

“I intend to keep that sealed ‘til the day I die,” Weinstock said. “If my grandchildren wanna open it one day, may they be cursed.”

A third shipment of the cereal was sent to Kansas City-area stores this week ahead of Super Bowl LIV. The new boxes were scheduled to be placed in stores Tuesday, said Tina Potthoff, Hy-Vee’s senior vice-president of communications.

A federal judge has refused to sign off on a deal that would cap the number of cases Missouri’s public defenders are allowed to handle.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey on Monday found that the proposed consent judgment between the ACLU of Missouri and the state’s public defender system was essentially unworkable.

The agreement, reached in May, set maximum caseloads for the state’s public defenders, limiting their hours to no more than 173.3 per month.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

GRANITE CITY — An 83-year-old man was in the hospital with lung cancer when he learned he could be kicked out of his apartment.

It was early 2017, a few days after Laurence Madden’s 19-year-old grandson was arrested for disorderly conduct at Madden’s Granite City apartment. He received a letter from the police officer who enforces the crime-free housing policy, the city’s rules for renters.

The message said the apartment complex’s owner had to evict Madden over his grandson’s criminal charge or else the city could revoke the business license the owner needed to rent out apartments in the future.

In 2019, 67 guns were seized at security checkpoints at Kansas City International Airport. That is just one shy of the record set in 2017.

But seven years ago that number was just 14. Last year, according to the federal Transportation Security Administration, 48 firearms were discovered by screeners.

On a recent afternoon at the Ready Room, a rock club in the Grove, a small team was at work rehearsing an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” 

There’s a brief delay as a crew member solves a problem with the digital turntable. She gets the hip-hop beats flowing again, and the action continues.

Dress the Part," which opens at the Ready Room Wednesday, is not so much an adaptation of Shakespeare’s original as a mutation. Written by Chicago-based duo Q Brothers, it transports Shakespeare’s story into a modern-day American high school — and all the dialogue is rapped. 

A state senator from southwest Missouri wrote to his constituents on Monday saying the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in 1973 was worse than slavery. 

“What a horrible mark that is upon the history of our nation, surpassing the barbarism even of slavery,” Republican state Sen. Ed Emery wrote in a newsletter to the people living in his district around Nevada, Mo.

CAPE GIRARDEAU — A substitute teacher, a homemaker and a truck driver are among the eight jurors selected Monday to hear the first dicamba-related lawsuit to go to trial.

In Missouri’s Bootheel, where farming is a major industry, it took several hours for U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. to dismiss those with connections to herbicides, Monsanto or Bader Farms.

The trial centers around a lawsuit filed by the Dunklin County-based peach orchard, which is Missouri’s largest producer of the fruit. The lawsuit alleges dicamba-based weed killers repeatedly drifted from neighboring cotton and soybean fields, damaging more than 30,000 trees.

Democrats in the Missouri House say they’re confident voters will approve Medicaid expansion, and they want to strengthen other health care measures in 2020. 

In a press conference Monday, House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said the need for Missouri to expand Medicaid is vital, despite Republican efforts to kill the idea. 

“Since 2014, no fewer than seven rural hospitals have closed,” Quade said, “in no small part because the governor and Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid.” 

Poverty and racism should not be discussed separately in St. Louis, author Wes Moore said.

“You can't look at a region like this, and you can’t look at places like my hometown of Baltimore and think that the reason that we have the racial wealth gap is just simply because one group isn't working as hard as the other,” Moore said.

Moore is CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty organization, and the author of several young adult novels, as well as his bestselling biography, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.” 

The director of the St. Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine, Dr. Sharon Deem, wants people to understand just how much human health is dependent on the health of other animals and the environment.

She often shares the fact that since 2006, about 7 million bats in the U.S. have died from a disease called white-nose syndrome. The often-fatal disease derives from a fungus that arrived in the U.S. from Europe in 2006. While many people think of bats as pests, they are productive pollinators and eat a lot of mosquitoes. One bat eats roughly 6,000 mosquitoes in 24 hours. 

The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center announced Monday that it will build an $18 million expansion to house more exhibits. 

When finished in 2021, the museum will triple in size to 35,000 square feet and have more room for permanent and temporary attractions. The project also will add a second level to the museum and two classrooms.

Segment 1: A winning NFL franchise puts money in the pockets of its host economy.

Kansas Citians have more to celebrate than just an exciting season for the Chiefs. One study shows when an NFL team is successful, fans in the home city are happier and more productive. That increased productivity creates an economic impact of up to $100 per capita but don't be calling the Chiefs to collect! 

In the popular imagination, Cahokia seems to represent a cautionary tale. What today remains only as a series of mounds outside Collinsville, Illinois, used to be a thriving city — bigger than London in the mid-13th century. There may have been as many as 40,000 people living there. Yet in the years that followed, the population faced rapid decline. By 1400, what was a city had become a wasteland. 

A new paper suggests that narrative is at best incomplete, and at worst inaccurate. Published Monday in American Antiquity, the study uses fecal deposits to show that the exodus from the site was short-lived. A fresh wave of native people settled in Cahokia and repopulated the area from 1500 to 1700. It was only after European settlers made their way to the area that Cahokia’s ultimate abandonment began.  

Segment 1: If you haven't been paying attention to football lately, here's what you need to know.

This is why Kansas City is SO excited for Super Bowl LIV.

Segment 2, beginning at 21:34: What does this year's Super Bowl mean to generations of Chiefs fans?

The Kansas City Chiefs are preparing to play in the franchise's first Super Bowl since Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Hank Stram led the team to a title in Super Bowl IV 50 years ago.

Stram's sons — Dale, now 64; Stu, 62; and Gary, 58 — were three of the six children raised by Phyllis and Hank Stram in Prairie Village in the 1960s and 1970s.

Host Steve Kraske sat down last week with sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards, whose work with athletes stretches back decades. The interview yielded more than we could fit into a normal broadcast, but it is all worth listening to.

In this audio extra, Edwards shared memories of civil rights pioneers from years past, and thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, who he said, "should have been a head coach."

The rest of Steve's conversation with Harry Edwards will air on Up To Date on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

EDWARDSVILLE — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker released the first 10% of $105 million in funding for a new health sciences building on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus Thursday.

The initial $10.5 million pays for the planning and design of the new building, which will house nursing, pharmacy, public health, social work and the many other health science programs at the university. 

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