Frank Morris

Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.

Morris grew up in rural Kansas listening to KHCC, spun records at KJHK throughout college at the University of Kansas, and cut his teeth in journalism as an intern for Kansas Public Radio, in the Kansas statehouse.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Something weird happened on the primitive mountain bike trails outside of Kansas City last spring. Coleen Voeks says she went from seeing a person or two stretched out along miles of trail there, to seeing a mass of humanity.

"As soon as the pandemic hit everybody went outside," says Voeks, a trail running coach. "So the trails became so crowded with people, new people, families, you know, people who'd never been to the trails before."

During the Trump administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers published and funded objective analyses of issues such as climate change, the efficiency of food assistance programs, and tax cuts that mostly benefit the richest farmers. It wasn't received well.

The virus infecting thousands of Americans a day is also attacking the country's social fabric. The coronavirus has exposed a weakness in many rural communities, where divisive pandemic politics are alienating some of their most critical residents — health care workers.

A wave of departing medical professionals would leave gaping holes in the rural health care system, and small-town economies, triggering a death spiral in some of these areas that may be hard to stop.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2020 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, is bucolic. There’s an abbey on campus, a prayer grotto, and statues of the Virgin Mary. In August, student body president Liliana Pokropski was relieved to be back on campus from her home in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Unfortunately, I was a part of the outbreak,” Pokropski chuckles through a mask decorated with the school tartan. “I was quarantined along with a huge portion of the students, and it was very shocking.”

Copyright 2020 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

NOEL KING, HOST:

There’s a lot riding on a Kickoff set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

The Sterling College Warriors are scheduled to take on the McPherson College Bulldogs at home. If that familiar thud of shoe against football and cheer from the stands doesn’t happen, the college that keeps the central Kansas town’s economy humming, that gives it cultural vitality, and that separates Sterling from the hollowing out that defines so many other small Midwestern towns, might not survive.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

The state of Missouri is suing China for that country's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. It's the first such lawsuit brought by a state, and it relies on an unusual interpretation of federal law.

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