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.

Around the Nation
5:35 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

One Family Revitalizes A Small Town With, Yes, Quilts

Alan Doan likes the fact that Missouri Star Quilt Co. is following in the footsteps of fellow Hamilton native J.C. Penney, but Doan's never been into an actual J.C. Penney store.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 8:21 pm

Just a few years ago, downtown Hamilton, Mo., looked a lot like a thousand other forgotten, rural towns. Abandoned, forlorn buildings marred the main drag.

But in recent years, an explosively fast-growing startup business in rural north western Missouri has shaken up a staid industry, producing a YouTube star and revitalizing a town with a proud retail history.

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It's All Politics
3:32 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Suicides By Missouri Politicians Raise Questions About State Ethics

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich committed suicide following political attacks during his campaign for governor. His press secretary, Spence Jackson, committed suicide just one month later.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 2:53 pm

In Missouri, two political suicides have stunned the Republican Party. In February, state Auditor Tom Schweich, a leading candidate for the party's nomination for governor, shot himself. Then just last month, his press secretary, Spence Jackson, took his own life. The tragedies have sparked fresh scrutiny of Missouri's increasingly bruising political system.

Schweich launched his campaign for governor with a scathing broadside against the state's Republican Party establishment.

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All Tech Considered
3:57 am
Mon March 9, 2015

In Kansas City, Superfast Internet And A Digital Divide

Since Google Fiber rolled out gigabit broadband in Kansas City four years ago, residents have enjoyed fast Internet connections, including what locals call "the world's fastest Starbucks."
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 1:35 pm

Kansas City has some of the Internet's best service anywhere. Providers there jostle for customers who can now expect broadband that's about 100 times faster than the national average.

But, four years after Google Fiber landed in Kansas City, people are still trying to figure out just what to do with all that speed.

Kansas City's a modest, Midwestern place. Residents are proud of their barbecue and baseball team. But Aaron Deacon says that now there's something else: inexpensive, world-class Internet.

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Business
3:50 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Analysts Fear A Prolonged Drop In Oil Prices Will Hurt Oklahoma's Banks

Drilling rigs dot the landscape near Calumet, Okla., in April 2013. Oklahoma's economy blossomed during the domestic fracking boom, but as the price of crude oil drops, that could change.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 2:39 pm

In Oklahoma, a state that largely rode out the recession on a gusher of new-found oil, things may be about to change.

Now it costs more to produce most of Oklahoma's oil than it's worth on the world market. That's triggering a sharp economic reversal, one that some say has the makings of a prolonged downturn.

"Over the last five years, the stars really aligned," says Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. "The community's investment in itself just blossomed, the energy industry blossomed."

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Energy
4:51 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

With Quakes Spiking, Oil Industry Is Under The Microscope In Oklahoma

A functioning oil rig sits in front of the capital building in Oklahoma City, Okla. The oil industry is an important employer in the state, but officials are concerned a technique used to dispose of wastewater from oil extraction is behind a surge in earthquakes here.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 12:24 pm

Out on Oklahoma's flat prairie, Medford, population about 900, is the kind of place where people give directions from the four-way stop in the middle of town.

It seems pretty sedate, but it's not. "We are shaking all the time," says Dea Mandevill, the city manager. "All the time."

The afternoon I stopped by, Mandevill says two quakes had already rumbled through Medford.

"Light day," she laughs. But, she adds, "the day's not over yet; we still have several more hours."

Mandevill may be laughing it off, but Austin Holland, the state seismologist, isn't.

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All Tech Considered
9:43 am
Sat January 17, 2015

As Cities Push For Their Own Broadband, Cable Firms Say Not So Fast

Provo, Utah, is one of three cities in which Google is rolling out its Google Fiber gigabit Internet and television service.
George Frey Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:19 pm

Americans increasingly see decently fast Internet as more like a functioning sewer line than a luxury.

And a number of cities are trying to get into the Internet provider business, but laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama announced this week that he wants to lift those restrictions, and supporters of what is known as municipal broadband can't wait.

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Religion
6:45 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Kansas City Catholics Divided Over Vatican Investigation Of Bishop

Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese was convicted of shielding a sexually abusive priest in 2012. He is now the subject of a Vatican investigation.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 5:33 pm

A Catholic bishop normally governs pretty much unchecked in his diocese — only the pope can dislodge a bishop. And each time Catholics celebrate Mass in Kansas City, Mo., they pray for Bishop Robert Finn, right after they pray for Pope Francis.

But some Catholics here, like David Biersmith, a Eucharistic minister, refuse to go along.

"When the priest says that, you know, you're supposed say it with him, but I just leave that out," Biersmith says. "I just don't say it. Because he's not my bishop, as far as I'm concerned."

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Environment
5:27 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 5:29 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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