Business and technology news from KCUR.


Kansas City, MO




Business and technology news from KCUR.






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Jobs At Topeka Diner, Like So Many Across Kansas, Might Not Survive COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kansas — Set apart from its fast-food neighbors by a vintage neon sign that speaks of another era, the Hanover Pancake House sits a few short blocks from the Kansas Statehouse. It’s been a Capital mainstay for more than 50 years. But today, like most dine-in restaurants across the state, it’s closed because of the coronavirus. Those closures have thrown tens of thousands of Kansans out of work and deprived hundreds of thousands more the comfort of friends in familiar places. When...


Kansas Sees A 1,000% Surge In Jobless Claims As COVID-19 Derails The Economy

TOPEKA, Kansas — Suddenly tossed from their jobs by the coronavirus shutdown, people from across the state continue to deluge the Kansas Department of Labor with a record flood of unemployment claims. All that instant joblessness is greeted by one small bit of good news: Kansas appears to have squirreled enough money away to cover the surge in unemployment claims for nearly a year.


Topeka Wants Employers To Kick In On $15,000 Signing Bonuses For New Residents

TOPEKA, Kansas — This state capital made national headlines in December when it announced it would pay anyone up to $15,000 to move here and work for local companies in Shawnee County. With a pilot program called “ Choose Topeka ,” the city joins a long line of places like Vermont and Tulsa, Oklahoma , that offer cash to new arrivals.


S2 Bonus Episode: Free college and a town's prospects

A town loses population one decade after the next. Then a wealthy native son makes a generous offer: I'll pay the college tuition of every kid who graduates from high school here. Beyond putting college in reach for more families, the donation hopes to draw people to Neodesha, Kansas. Except ... it might just encourage people already in the region to change addresses. And the town is short on housing.


Kansas City Gears Up To Handle More Freight, Even As Trucks And Trains Carry Less

Trucks and trains aren’t carrying as much as they did just a few months ago, and haulers are cutting back on orders for new trucks and rail cars. Despite this slump, Kansas City’s logistics industry is pushing ahead with an enormous expansion of warehouse space and other regional distribution hubs. Rail traffic is down substantially from last year. Carloads are down by about 7%. Coal is down more than 14%, and metallic ores and metals are down even more. “There's a warning here,” says...


Kansas Cattle Town Dodge City Bucks A Rural Trend With Growth Driven By Immigrants

Go here to subscribe to the My Fellow Kansans podcast. This season, we look at the prospects of rural places. DODGE CITY, Kansas — The history of this small city built on the cattle trade sets it apart from most towns in rural Kansas. The mere name of the place evokes recollections of the Wild West and the subsequent romancing of that age. Yet Dodge City also stands apart from the region that surrounds it. This place is growing .


S2 Episode 6: The Wild West, Cattle And Immigrants

While population numbers decay across so much of the Great Plains in Kansas, Dodge City, Liberal and Garden City stand out as growth stories. Their cattle trade draws immigrants, and those newcomers drive change. Dodge City likes to play up its gunslingin' Wild West reputation, formed in its earliest days in the cattle business. Now giant industrial meatpacking plants define the economy of a modern cowtown.


S2 Episode 5: Even Remade, A Town Struggles

Greensburg, Kansas, already found itself in a struggle for survival before getting leveled by a tornado in 2007. Then outside help and new hope emerged with the idea of rebuilding the town as a green, environmentally sustainable place. But the town's still lost more than a third of its population since the twister. It hopes for a rebirth, but powerful forces continue to drive depopulation even after its makeover.


What Rural Kansas Child Care And Cafes Say About Shrinking Smart, Rather Than Withering

Go here to subscribe to the My Fellow Kansans. This season, we look at the prospects of rural places. PHILLIPSBURG, Kansas — The opening of a child care center attracts little notice in a city or suburb. In rural Kansas, it’s cause for celebration. The focus on young families, and the hope that represents, is remarkably rare in small towns fighting for survival against forces largely beyond their control.


Six Barriers To Working Remotely In Kansas (And How Some Are Slowly Changing)



Kansas County Showing What Wind Farms Haven't Seen Much Before: Local Opposition



The Government Shutdown Has Put 'Life On Hold' For These Kansas City Families

New data from the Washington Post suggests the Kansas City area is missing out on $10 million a week from government contracts as the shutdown stretches on. That’s in addition to the thousands of federal workers not getting paid. Those missed paychecks for contractors and employees alike have placed a heavy burden on both budgets and families.


Rural Americans Are Now The Largest Slice Of Federal Food Aid Recipients



Kansas Couple’s Account Frozen After They Didn’t Answer Citizenship Question. Is That Legal?

When Josh Collins first got the letter from Bank of America more than two months ago, he thought it was a scam. The letter wasn’t on the glossy paper typical of what he’d seen during his two decades with the bank. And it asked him some unusual questions, like if he had international accounts.


To Drill Or Not? Kansas Oil Operators Make Tough Call On Future Of Industry



How One Kansas City Entrepreneur Helped The Trucking Industry Solve A Paper Problem

Growing up in Uzbekistan, everything Bek Abdullayev knew about the United States he'd learned from pop culture and Hollywood movies. "A lot of high rises, beautiful people," was what he imagined. "Michael Jordan, Madonna, whatever you see in the movies. You know, 'Home Alone,' so a big family home in a nice neighborhood." As a teenager, Abdullayev got to experience the U.S. first-hand after he earned a spot in a competitive program called the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), funded by the...


How The Kansas City Fed Works With Urban And Rural Communities To Grow Business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, part of the nation's central banking system, is perhaps best known as a key provider of agricultural economic data. Its president helps set national interest rates. It works with banks. But the bank also promotes economic growth in its seven-state region. Dell Gines, who heads up the Fed's small business work with rural communities and urban neighborhoods from its Omaha office, calls it the work of a "wholesaler." "For example, we work with small...


Keep It Local: Rural Foundations Encourage Designation Towns, Counties As Heirs To Stem Wealth Drain

It’s a common story: Ambitious kids move from small towns to larger cities, never to look back. When their parents die, the family wealth that’s been built over generations through farming, ranching or agriculture-related businesses often follows the kids, draining the economic lifeblood from those rural communities. The largest generational transfer of wealth in modern times is expected to happen in the next 10 years and rural foundations in states like Iowa and Nebraska are working hard to...


St. Louis, Kansas City Take Stock Of Minimum Wage Hikes Being Undone By GOP Lawmakers

When it became clear the Republican-controlled state legislature wouldn’t be raising the minimum wage above $7.70 an hour, leaders in St. Louis and Kansas City took matters into their own hands.


Inventor Goes From Taking Finals At William Jewell To Powering Cell Phones In Haiti

Three years ago, Conner Hazelrigg was a sophomore at William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri, when a friend came back from a trip to Haiti. The friend told Hazelrigg that everyone in the island nation—one of the world’s poorest countries—has a cell phone. They just don’t have any way to charge them. Electricity, she learned, was expensive and hard to find.