KCUR-FM: 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.

Environment
4:27 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Federal Plan To Save Prairie Chickens Ruffles State Feathers

A male lesser prairie chicken in the Texas Panhandle. The bird's entire habitat includes parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Jon McRoberts AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:29 pm

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days. This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

But after they were recently listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government, complaints of federal overreach and lawsuits have followed.

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Around the Nation
4:02 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

Injured Veteran Keeps Up His Fight, Deciding To Live

Tomas Young was paralyzed from the chest down during his deployment to Iraq. He had decided to refuse care and end his life, but since changed his mind.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:54 pm

A spinal injury left Iraq War veteran Tomas Young paralyzed below the waist in 2004. Further medical complications a few years later made him quadriplegic.

Although Young had enlisted two days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he became an outspoken anti-war activist.

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The Salt
2:32 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Twinkies' Return Is Mostly Sweet News For Kansas Town

Hostess Twinkies are offered for sale in Chicago, part of the last shipment of Hostess products the company made in 2012.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 4:17 am

The news of Hostess' return to Emporia, Kan., sparked an ecstatic response in this beleaguered town — even though there will be only half as many jobs.

The new company, formed when investors bought Hostess' snack cake business, has hired longtime snack cake production veterans Pat Chambers and her husband, Bob, to help get the bakery here running again. Pat lost her job at the Hostess plant when it closed last November. Now, she sits beaming on her front porch, wearing a dirty Hostess work shirt.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Cities Turn Sewage Into 'Black Gold' For Local Farms

Thick jets of processed sewage arc out 30 to 40 feet from giant moving spreaders at Birmingham Farm in Kansas City, Mo.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:07 am

On a normal day, Kansas City, Mo., processes more than 70 million gallons of raw sewage. This sewage used to be a nuisance, but Kansas City, and a lot of municipalities around the country, are now turning it into a resource for city farmers hard up for fertilizer.

After the sewage has been processed at a treatment plant, it's piped out to Birmingham Farm on the north side of the Missouri River.

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U.S.
4:42 pm
Sun April 7, 2013

After Years Of Struggle, Veteran Chooses To End His Life

Tomas Young was paralyzed from the chest down during his deployment to Iraq. Since then, his health has only deteriorated. He has decided to refuse care and end his life, and his wife, Claudia Cuellar, says she respects his wishes.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:19 am

After a dozen years at war, an estimated 2 million active-duty service members will have returned home by the end of 2013. Some reintegrate without much struggle, but for others it's not so easy. The psychological wounds of war can sometimes prove to be just as fatal as the physical ones.

For injured veterans such as Tomas Young, life is a daily struggle. But this Iraq War veteran, who says his physical and emotional pain is unbearable, has decided to end his life.

At War

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Around the Nation
3:40 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Drought-Stricken Plains Farmers 'Giddy' Over Heavy Snow

Kirk Sours says heavy snow creates extra work on his ranch, but he's thrilled that the pending melt will bring his otherwise dry pastures much-needed moisture.
Frank Morris/KCUR

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:34 pm

Two rapid-fire snowstorms belted Kansas with more than 2 feet of snow this week. They caused thousands of accidents and all kinds of hardships — but they also produced very broad smiles from some quarters.

That's because in a place as dry as Kansas has been lately, a blizzard can be a blessing for farmers and ranchers.

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Around the Nation
5:09 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Major Storm Blankets Plains States

Copyright 2014 KCUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kcur.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:26 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Despite Record Drought, Farmers Expect Banner Year

With far less than half of their normal corn yield, the Ulrich brothers are relying in part on government-subsidized crop insurance to keep their farm afloat.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:39 am

After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.

In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Election 2012
3:45 pm
Sun September 2, 2012

Some In Mo. Still Back Rep. Akin Despite Comments

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., confirms plans in Chesterfield, Mo., on Aug. 24 to stay in the U.S. Senate race.
Sid Hastings AP

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 5:57 pm

Many people in Missouri are still backing GOP Rep. Todd Akin — some more strongly than before — after his controversial remarks about rape and pregnancy.

Akin was polling ahead of the incumbent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, but his support fractured into several distinct camps after his comment that women's bodies can block pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." (He has since apologized.)

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Presidential Race
5:21 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Confusion Wins In Missouri's 'Chaotic' Caucus Process

Women count votes at the GOP presidential caucus in Barry County, Mo., on Tuesday. At this and other caucuses held in the state Saturday, voters selected delegates to go to the district and state conventions.
Frank Morris For NPR

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Cassville, Mo., is a little town on the edge of the Ozark Mountains. During the Civil War, the Confederate state Legislature convened here. Tuesday, the Republican presidential caucus was the big draw. Most of the rest of the state holds its caucuses today.

Confusion On Caucus Night

The first caucus was a messy process. More than 250 people showed up, most planning to vote directly for the candidates. That was not to be.

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Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength
11:01 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Record-High Food Prices Boost Farmers' Bottom Lines

An Illinois farmer checks the blades on his combine while harvesting corn last October. The value of the 2011 U.S. corn crop was more than $76 billion.
Seth Perlman AP

Part of a series

Thanks to high commodity prices and surging productivity, U.S. farmers earned a net income of nearly $98 billion last year — a record, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

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The Salt
3:38 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Antitrust Official Gets Stampeded By Big Beef

At sale barns, like this one in Kingsville, Mo., cattlemen still bid openly for breeding stock. Meatpackers once bought on the open market, too.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 9:34 am

Dudley Butler is quitting his job tomorrow. Never heard of him? He's President Obama's appointee to run the division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that governs antitrust issues in the meat industry. He was part of a cadre of high-level bureaucrats charged to expose and fight agribusiness monopolies. In fact, he was the last of that group.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

What's Holding Back One 'Job Creator'? Not Taxes

"We've got the space, we have equipment, we've got the cash, we've got the customers, we have the product," says Tim O'Keeffe, owner of G.L. Huyett. "We have everything we need — except the people."
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 8:53 am

There aren't many people on the broad Kansas prairie, but there is industry.

At G.L. Huyett, boxy machines jammed into a big metal building grind steel into heavy transmission parts.

"We're a supplier of last resort," says Tim O'Keeffe, who owns the company. If you have disruptions in the supply chain and someone can't meet a shipping time, he says, G.L. Huyett can step in.

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