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Since 2011, Gabe Fleisher has written a newsletter called “Wake Up To Politics.” Though newsletters are aplenty, what makes this one unique is that Fleisher — now a high school senior — started the newsletter when he was in third grade.

Fleisher first came to St. Louis Public Radio’s attention in 2013, when his newsletter had nearly 600 subscribers. Today, “Wake Up To Politics” boasts more than 48,000 subscribers. And in partnership with St. Louis Public Radio, Fleisher has now launched a political podcast of the same name. 

When Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville closed recently, it became the seventh rural hospital to shut its doors in Missouri since 2010.

In that same time frame, Illinois had two rural hospitals go out of business. The National Rural Hospital Association blames the difference on lack of Medicaid expansion. 

The association reports there are nine factors that can lead to a rural hospital shutting down, and being in a state, like Missouri, that hasn't expanded Medicaid is No. 1.

Climate Change In Kansas City

Jan 31, 2020

How Kansas City should be preparing for climate change.

Average temperatures in Kansas and Missouri are up a degree or two from a century ago. That may not seem like much, but only the Dust Bowl years were hotter than the last decade. KCUR's extensive reporting on this explains how climate change is already affecting us in the Kansas City metro area, as well as what we can do about it.

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Diversity and inclusion is a nebulous phrase that covers a lot of territory.

In Kansas City in 2019, KCUR covered issues of race, the LGBTQ community and how school districts addressed diversity issues.

On the newest edition of Politically Speaking, Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Rachel Lippmann talk about the latest in local, state and national politics.

Updated at 6 p.m., Feb. 4 with more information about the program

St. Louis County is expecting to provide tablets to approximately 900 inmates in its jail, but it won’t need to purchase them.

Kansas City may be keeping plans for a potential Super Bowl victory parade tightly under wraps, but that's not stopping downtown businesses from preparing for a historically large gathering downtown next week. 

Multiple businesses and organizations with offices downtown told KCUR they have been given word to prepare for a parade Wednesday, February 5, if the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.

Hundreds of students at Shawnee Mission East High School walked out of school Friday to show support for teachers after the school board imposed a three-year, unilateral contract on Thursday.

Teachers began the school year without a contract, and negotiations have been at an impasse for months. A five-hour bargaining session on Tuesday ended with a lawyer representing the school district walking away from the table.

A lawsuit stemming from the highly publicized expulsion of a Kansas City library patron from a public event nearly four years ago has drawn to an end after the judge ruled in favor of the lone remaining defendant.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips found for an off-duty police detective who arrested Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, a documentary filmmaker from Lawrence who sued the detective and 13 other defendants over the incident, which drew national headlines.

Segment 1: "Kansas City wants to end homelessness," said Josh Henges.

The Veterans Community Project gained national attention in 2018 by using tiny homes to help end veteran homelessness in Kansas City. Two years later and the initiative has expanded to several other states. 

Segment 2, beginning at 24:16: Can mushrooms save Earth?

Kansas lawmakers are nearing decisions on two big issues — Medicaid expansion and a constitutional amendment on abortion.

They’re also talking about how to raise more money without increasing taxes. One idea is to legalize wagering on sporting events.

Kansas City is known for its style of barbecue and its jazz icons, but it's also a hub for sports architecture.

Populous, HOK and HNTB have played an outsized role in the design of ballparks and stadiums around the country, including the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, just north of Miami, where the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers play Sunday in Super Bowl LIV.

The University of Missouri-Columbia is playing defense over its small expansion of an app that records students’ class attendance using their phones’ location.

Over the past week, national media attention has created a fervor of concerns about privacy and a move toward creating a “Big Brother” state on campus. But university officials and the app’s creator say the software does not constantly monitor a user's location or collect other data, but only knows if a student is in the assigned room or not.

The Kansas City Chiefs will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Miami, giving Kansas City a moment of relative unity in a divisive time for the country. But the good feelings are tempered for Native Americans, some of whom find the imagery surrounding the team racist and demeaning.

Union Station is festooned with banners and signs honoring the Chiefs. Cheery fans filled the historic train station over the weekend, trading phones to take pictures of each other’s families.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The new Medicaid expansion bill, the product of a compromise between Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and some Republican leaders, would change how state prisons and county jails fund health care for prisoners.

The new director of Kansas City's American Jazz Museum says she's ready to take the city's historic 18th and Vine District "back to the glory that we know it to be."

Rashida Phillips started in early January. A jazz vocalist who grew up in St. Louis, Phillips has spent the last 15 years working for arts and cultural organizations in Chicago.

Missouri Republicans will push ahead on a ballot item changing how state House and Senate districts are drawn — an effort that Senate Democrats stalled at least temporarily Thursday.

It’s a legislative battle in which the Republicans can still prevail because they have the numbers to break a filibuster. But it’s a whole other question whether voters will find favor with the proposal, especially because it does away with a state legislative redistricting plan Missourians overwhelmingly ratified in 2018.

What You Need To Know About The 2020 Census

Jan 30, 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau started collecting responses to the census in remote regions of Alaska in early January. But the census count is still weeks away for the rest of the country. 

The census happens every 10 years and is mandated by the Constitution. It counts the total number of people in the country and where they are living on April 1. 

A St. Louis County member of the Board of Freeholders has resigned as he considers another run for county executive. 

Mark Mantovani sent a letter to County Executive Sam Page on Thursday, saying he believed he could be more useful to the community in other ways. 

Metro East Residents In Alorton, Centreville Will Vote On Proposal To Merge

Jan 30, 2020

Citzens of two shrinking Metro East municipalities will be asked on the March 17 primary ballot if they should be merged.

The boards of both the city of Centreville and village of Alorton each approved a referendum that, if approved, would join the municipalities in an aldermanic style of government. The city, according to the referendum, would be called Alcentra.

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.

Established in 1920, Washington Park Cemetery in Berkeley served as a for-profit burial place for African Americans. Before it stopped operating in the 1980s, the graveyard was the largest African American cemetery in the region.

“It became the premier place for African Americans to be buried, and despite all the racism and prejudice, it thrived,” said art historian Chris Naffziger, author of the blog St. Louis Patina.

Updated on Jan. 31 with new information on negotions between SEIU Local 1 and contractors.

The janitorial bargaining team representing SEIU Local 1 has reached a tentative agreement with Clean-Tech, the contractor that employs the union's members to clean buildings around metro St. Louis, including St. Louis County government buildings. The union is not releasing details, but members will vote on whether to accept the tentative agreement in the coming days.

Original Story from Jan. 30:

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced Thursday a proposal to raise some county government employees’ hourly wages to $15 by 2022. 

Officials estimate that implementing the change will cost $2.9 million over a three-year period. The pay will be increased incrementally starting with $13 for 2020. Page said the change will take several months to take effect.

This year is full of political commemorations: the presidential election, the centennial of the 19th Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. The year also marks the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote after the Civil War.

Every year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History selects a theme for Black History Month. Because of those political milestones, this year’s theme is “African Americans and the Vote” — nationwide and here in St. Louis. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into a variety of Missouri Historical Society programming planned throughout the month at the Missouri History Museum and Soldiers Memorial.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is trying to resurrect a more stringent cap on the percentage of traffic fine revenue that St. Louis County municipalities can have in their budgets.

The impetus for the move is a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that shifted the landscape on the definition of an unconstitutional special law.

Firearm Deaths Hold Steady After Record-Setting 2017

Jan 30, 2020

A near-record number of Americans died by gunshot in 2018 according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a CDC spokesperson, nearly 40,000 people died by firearm in America, including suicide, homicide and accidents. The rate of firearm deaths dipped slightly between 2017 and 2018, going from 12 to 11.9 per 100,000 people.

Segment 1: The Media Critics discuss Pompeo, the Washington Post, impeachment and more.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's behavior towards NPR's Mary Louise Kelly was a hot topic in this discussion with the Media Critics. Plus, a journalist's suspension from the Washington Post raised a deeper question from one of our guests: Are journalists allowed to exist in spaces outside of the newsroom, including social media?

An ode to a witty and charming food critic that we'll dearly miss.

This week marked the next phase of the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Eventually, the senators will have to vote whether or not to remove the president from office. Senators are in the midst of a question-and-answer period before potentially calling on witnesses to testify. 

The lawmakers sit through hours and hours of information overload during these hearings, which began Jan. 16, and are only granted a brief 15-minute recess every two hours — with a 45-minute recess for dinner at 6 p.m. The break time is decided on by the majority leader, with approval from the minority leader. 

That can take a mental and physical toll — as noted by reporters covering the hearings and illustrated by senators taking cat naps or walking out during presentations. One senator is even providing fidget spinners to colleagues. 

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