KCUR

Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday she’ll dispatch her lieutenant governor to a dozen small cities across the state in hopes of crafting a plan to aid rural areas.

Kelly created the Office of Rural Prosperity and named Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers to head it in January soon after taking office.

Rogers will travel to 12 rural communities this summer to “listen to Kansans” and develop “long-term, sustainable solutions” to problems that have spurred decades of population decline in all but a handful of the state’s 105 counties.

Nine nursing homes in Kansas and 14 in Missouri are among nearly 400 nationwide with a “persistent record of poor care” whose names had been withheld from the public, according to a U.S. Senate report released Monday.

The facilities are not included on a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny because of health, safety or sanitary problems.

Jackson County, Missouri, officials urged an evacuation of the town of Levasy on Saturday after a levee broke leaving parts of the town under water.

The town of 80 people is about 25 miles east of Kansas City, along the Missouri River.

Exactly 10 years ago, on May 31, 2009, an anti-abortion zealot gunned down ob/gyn and reproductive rights advocate George Tiller as he was distributing literature in the foyer of his Wichita church.

His murder marked the culmination of 18 years of militant anti-abortion protests that began with massive demonstrations in Wichita in June 1991. Protestors blockaded abortion clinics for weeks during the “Summer of Mercy,” police made more than 2,600 arrests and a judge ordered U.S. marshals to keep the gates of Tiller’s clinic open.

Shelley Staib held the "best job ever" for 30 years. In 1975, the Shawnee writer was one of the first women to become a lineman for Bell Systems. The position gave her a great deal of independence, allowed her to work outside, and every day was different.

Updated at 9:49 p.m. with tornado warnings canceled — A large tornado caused damage south of Lawrence and in the small town of Linwood, Kansas, on Tuesday night, but looked to miss the majority of the Kansas City metro area.

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) 

With trees shredded into tinder and homes ripped asunder, scores of families in and around Lawrence and Linwood, Kansas, surveyed lives that forever will be marked by the time before and after Tuesday’s tornado.

Lynn Rolf III owns a lot of guns, but only one makes him stop and think whenever he sees it.

“I’ve had conversations with one of my pistols numerous times about how easy it would be to put it in the mouth,” he said. “Pretty one-sided.”

Updated, 10:30 a.m. Thursday: The meeting this week ended with a commitment to resist the plan approved in February at the General Conference; the church leaders present are not yet calling for a split. Some churches will continue to marry and ordain LGBTQ members.

The original post continues below.

The United Methodist Church is in crisis.

In February, the General Conference of the church held a special session in St. Louis, Missouri, to decide whether to allow marriage and ordination for its LGBTQ members.

A day after Kansas notified Planned Parenthood in May 2016 that it would cut off its participation in Medicaid, the nonprofit group sued to block the move.

So Kansas hired three high-powered East Coast law firms to defend it in a case that would slog on for nearly three years before Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration agreed to drop the termination effort in April.

If in recent years it seems that school shootings are happening more frequently, occupying public discourse and media coverage, it’s because they are. Although school shootings are still very rare compared to daily gun violence, the data show they are happening more often.

Kansas is one of just a handful of states that doesn’t allow a person injured by a drunk driver to sue the retailer who furnished the alcohol.

On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld that 34-year-old rule, saying it was up to the Legislature to change it.

On March 10, 2015, Jeff Kudlacik was driving down 135th  Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park around 11 p.m. when a Ford Fusion going 70 miles an hour ran a red light and slammed into his Mitsubishi 3000 sedan, slicing it in half.

All Kansas lawmakers really had to do to end the 2019 legislative session was pass a budget. They did that, with gusto. But also without passing Medicaid expansion. On Statehouse Blend Kansas, host Jim McLean talks with freshman Rep. Brandon Woodard about some of the other things left on his to-do list for next year.

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend Kansas wherever you listen to podcasts.


Sometimes Kansas' new poet laureate feels isolated and in transition. Huascar Medina's mother is Panamanian and his father is Puerto Rican, but Medina was born at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Texas, and is an American.

"I'm no longer from Puerto Rico or Panama, but sometimes I don't feel I'm American enough either, you know? My Spanish isn't the best, and sometimes I struggle with my English, so I live in the in between," says Medina, who has lived in Topeka for almost two decades.

In search of gold, the first Spanish conquistadors arrived in Kansas in 1541. Though they were disappointed, the age of discovery is still alive and well for a Kansas State University scholar named Patrick Dittamo, who has recovered a treasure of the Renaissance.

It’s a piece of music that Kansas City audiences will be the first to hear in nearly 500 years, and the first to hear outside the Sistine Chapel.

Legalizing sports gambling in Kansas seemed like a safe bet earlier this year. It’s a new source of tax dollars and enjoys bipartisan support.

Without fanfare, Kansas junior colleges have reinstated a cap on how many out-of-state scholarships they can offer in football.

Removing the cap was denounced by high school coaches and athletic directors around the state when the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) voted unanimously in 2015 to allow football and basketball programs to have as many out-of-state scholarship athletes as they wanted.

(This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.)

 

Kansas women have a fundamental right to abortion, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Friday — a decision that has conservatives vowing to amend the state constitution.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

The Kansas Constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The landmark ruling now stands as the law of the land in Kansas with no path for an appeal. Because it turns on the state's Constitution, abortion would remain legal in Kansas even if the Roe v. Wade case that established a national right to abortion is ever reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The catastrophic flooding in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas last month caused more than $12 billion in damage, by one estimate.  But much more is at stake as the flood waters recede.

Small, rural towns are damaged … and dying.

Even communities with a lot going for them have taken a beating. Lynch, Nebraska, for instance, a remote village near the South Dakota line, with only about 200 residents.

Updated 3:47 p.m. April 26 — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday that it's his understanding an investigation into how wide receiver Tyreek Hill's child was injured has been reopened.

But the Johnson County District Attorney's office had no comment and Hill's lawyers said "we cannot confirm that." Reid did not take any questions about his statement. 

Two Kansas City area hospitals joined 12 other transplant centers this week in a lawsuit over a new liver allocation policy that they say will result in “hundreds of liver transplant candidates needlessly dying.”

The University of Kansas Hospital and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, the private organization that contracts with the government to manage the nation’s organ transplant system.

Two years after an explosion at a crucial Army factory that is the country’s largest producer of small-caliber ammunition, the underlying cause of Lawrence Bass Jr.’s death remains unclear.

Bass, a longtime employee, followed explosives-handling procedures later deemed to be poorly written. He worked for a defense contractor anxious to slash costs on a government contract it had underbid.

EFFINGHAM, Kansas — In 2014, a cash-strapped school district in rural northeast Kansas turned to its residents with a plea: Pay a little more in taxes annually so we can renovate classrooms, update the wiring and give students better spaces to learn.

Patients who are fed up with the bureaucracy of the health insurance industry are ditching the copays and high deductibles for a different way to get primary care.

One such patient is self-employed attorney Dan Hobart, who struggled to find insurance because of his pre-existing conditions. Even after Affordable Care Act went into effect, doctor visits were still too costly for him to get the care he needed.

The families of several people who were killed or wounded in a 2016 mass shooting near Wichita, Kansas, have reached a multimillion-dollar settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the pawn store that sold some of the guns used in the attack.

The lawsuit alleged that local retailer A Pawn Shop sold the guns to a woman as part of a straw purchase, which is when one person buys a gun on behalf of someone else, circumventing background checks and federal law.

Many Kansas families may not be following safe sleep practices meant to cut down the risk that infants could die in their sleep.

The first survey of its kind in the state found four in five new mothers said their babies sleep primarily on their backs.

Rachel Sisson, the director of the Bureau of Family Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, wants to make it five out of five.

Kansas has dropped its effort to terminate Planned Parenthood’s participation in Medicaid, ending a three-year-long court battle that the state lost at every turn.

The change in policy wasn’t announced publicly but rather came in the form of a joint stipulation to dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit challenging the state’s move.

It has been eight months since 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth collapsed and died after a football workout at Garden City Community College (GCCC).

Since then, the college has said little about the teen's death from exertional heat stroke after a grueling practice.

But that wall of silence may be breaking. "Kansas, can you hear me now?" the family's lawyer Jill Greene asked during a town hall meeting Thursday night at Friendship Baptist Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey. "Maybe we have a bad connection. We need to fix that."

THE BRADFORTH FAMILY

A New Jersey congressman says Garden City Community College officials have agreed to meet about the death of 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth, who died of exertional heat stroke after a grueling work out last August. 

Republican Congressman Chris Smith says GCCC President Ryan Ruda has said he will meet with Bradforth’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram.

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