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Disability, Mental Health Providers Deal with Reduced State Funds June 24, 2010

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Psychologists, in-home care providers for the disabled, and drug abuse counselors in Missouri are facing a two percent payment reduction from the state.KCUR’s Elana Gordon has this report.

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Simulating Poverty June 22, 2010

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If you grew up in Kansas City anytime since 1980, you probably took a school field trip to Exchange City. At this learning center, grade school students take on the roles of various members of an adult community, like the mayor, banker and radio reporter, to learn how the economy of the “real world” really works.

The United Service Community Action Agency in Kansas City offers adults a chance to play make believe and learn about a different kind of “real world”: the reality of poverty. In a poverty simulation, participants are invited to take on the role of a person struggling to make ends meet.

KCUR’s Alex Smith went to a poverty simulation to find out more.

Here’s the story.

UMKC Professors Take Heterodox View on Economy June 14, 2010

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UMKC Associate Professor of Economics and Law Bill Black

If you’ve been paying careful attention to the financial crisis in the past few years, or the more recent news of financial reform proposals, you’ve probably come across the unconventional views of economist and law professor Bill Black. He’s recently testified before Congress four time, and he’s appeared on Bill Moyer’s Journal, and in Michael Moore’s film Capitalism: A Love Story. He’s also been heard as an expert commentator on NPR news and This American Life.

Black represents an economic point of view that’s rarely heard in main stream public discourse: heterodox economics. But at the UMKC department of economics where he teaches, Bill Black is just one of many voices that challenge the dominant orthodox view of the economy.

KCUR’s Alex Smith recently spoke to several UMKC professors to find out how this unique field developed.

Here’s their conversation.

Start-up Company Hopes to Build Legacy with Electric Vehicles April 23, 2010

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Truck cabs sit just outside the assembly area at Smith Electric. (Photo by: Bill Anderson, KCUR)

Kansas City has a long and storied auto manufacturing footprint. Now, a start-up company is hoping to make its mark with battery-powered electric vehicles. KCUR’s Bill Anderson recently spoke with Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles, and asked, “Why short-haul delivery trucks? Why not cars?”

This topic was explored as part of “Shifting Gears: Retooling the U.S. Auto Industry,” a documentary that aired on KCUR. The program included this report.

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Missouri Lawmakers Look at Casino Standards February 25, 2010

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From KCUR, Maria Carter brings us this story. Missouri lawmakers conducted a hearing on legislation that would bar the State Gaming Commission from revoking the license of a casino for underperforming financially.

The bill was filed in reaction to the Gaming Commission’s decision to revoke the license of the President Casino in downtown St. Louis.

Read more about it on KCUR’s Web site.

Buses, Blight, Bridges: Fed Stimulus Millions Enroute February 23, 2010

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood and Kansas City Councilman Terry Riley. (Photo by Dan Verbeck, KCUR.)

$50 million is destined for the Kansas City area for federal stimulus transportation work. The announcement came as part of the Obama Administration’s national promotional blitz on the first anniversary of the economic recovery act.

Listen to the story from KCUR’s Dan Verbeck.

Church Coalition Asks Moore to Back Healthcare Bill February 3, 2010

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Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore, a Democrat, got a direct appeal to lobby House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others to press the House version of the health care bill.

KCUR’s Steve Bell has this report.

New Competition for Panhandlers on KC’s Downtown Street Corners December 3, 2009

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There are a few street corners in Kansas City where you almost always see someone with a sign asking passers-by for money or food. But if you’ve driven by any of those typical spots in downtown during the past few months, you may have noticed that, instead of panhandlers, the corner is occupied by a cheery worker in a yellow windbreaker waving a sign that reads “Have a Great Day.”

It’s the latest strategy of the Downtown Community Improvement District to deal with panhandling in a hands-off, non-confrontational way.

KCUR’s Alex Smith has spent some time downtown in the past few weeks talking to the workers and the panhandlers affected by the campaign.

Click here to see information distributed by Downtown Community Improvement District security employees about panhandlers.

Ford Workers at Claycomo Plant Vote Down Contract Changes November 5, 2009

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Union workers at the Ford Claycomo Assembly Plant rejected contract change concessions.

Union workers at the Ford Claycomo Assembly Plant have soundly rejected contract change concessions and the Sunday vote has national implications.

KCUR’s Dan Verbeck has this report.

UPDATE: UMKC Professor Featured in Michael Moore’s Latest Film October 30, 2009

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UMKC Associate Professor of Economics and Law Bill Black

UMKC Associate Professor of Economics and Law Bill Black

A few months ago, we posted an interview from KCUR’s Frank Morris with UMKC professor Bill Black. Black has recently been featured in Michael Moore’s newest film, Capitalism: A Love Story. He is visiting Columbia this week to speak about his role in the film. Look for an interview from that later. In the meantime, here’s our original post.

Bill Black’s Conversation with Frank Morris

It seems logical that banks caught stuck with billions of dollars in worthless assets got into that mess by mistake. But, that’s not how UMKC law and economics professor Bill Black sees it. In Kansas City, Frank Morris spoke with Black who says an administration hostile to regulation allowed mortgage bankers to write “liars loans,” which they knew were based on bad information and allowed rating agencies and investment bankers to cash in on the charade. Now, Black says the Obama administration is helping to obscure the enormous mess, one riddled on all levels by a single element – fraud.

Click here for more on the story from Bill Moyers at PBS.