Club KC branches out to reach more kids on summer nights

Over the past two summers, Kansas City’s government-sponsored Club KC has proved a popular weekend hangout for youths. Basketball and soccer programs have also been a big draw. This summer, the city will offer new locations and programs geared toward the arts, culture and other recreation.

Animal escapes rarely happen, but they can give zoos some wild rides

When animal escapes happen — and they do — zookeepers know the reasons, which can be human error or the more naturalistic designs of modern zoos. In the escape of seven chimps, Kansas City Zoo director Randy Wisthoff and other experts acknowledged that the peripatetic primates certainly had the tools they needed: big brains and a scalable tree branch.

Seven chimpanzees use ingenuity to escape their enclosure at the Kansas City Zoo

One of them found or broke off a 5- or 6-foot log or branch, leaned it against a wall and clambered to the top. Then that chimp persuaded six friends to join him. Visitors moved into protected areas, but zoo director Randy Wisthoff said the public was never in danger. The animals were lured back by fruits, veggies and finally malted milk balls.

Maximum streetcar price is set, with rails now bound for Kansas City

Kansas City public works officials have negotiated a maximum streetcar construction price of $61.7 million, and 800 tons of rail will be trucked to Kansas City over the next two weeks. City officials said the construction price was negotiated down from earlier estimates and is within the established total project budget of about $102 million.

KCK police to study chase policy after fatal crash

Jasmine Rodriguez, a second-grader at Welborn Elementary School, died Wednesday night after a vehicle ran a red light at the intersection of North 63rd Street and Leavenworth Road and slammed into the van carrying her. Kansas City, Kan., police will pursue only people suspected of serious felonies while the department studies its pursuit policy.

As a Kansas City detective is honored in the Shawn Ratigan case, diocese is castigated

Detective Maggie McGuire received the Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award, which recognizes the outstanding work of an individual or organization in protecting children from exploitation. In presenting the award, Deputy U.S. Attorney Gene Porter made a series of blistering remarks about Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese’s handling of the case.

KC police add new cases to probe of highway shootings

About seven new cases have been added to a possible pattern of 13 shootings since March 8 that police analysts identified over the weekend. Investigators also said they were looking into another incident, the shooting of a Leawood house, as possibly being part of the pattern.

Extra taxing authority won’t offset cutbacks for Johnson County schools

The Kansas Legislature’s response to a court order on school funding at first seemed like a backdoor victory for Johnson County’s relatively wealthy schools. Districts in richer areas are promised new powers to raise their property taxes. Yet early analysis of the legislation awaiting Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature or veto — and not still fully understood in state education circles — suggests any funding boon may be fleeting.

Dry conditions and high winds put the area at risk for grass fires

The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a red flag warning, expecting a “critical fire danger” across northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas. Through all of 2013, the Kansas City Fire Department responded to 296 wildland, brush or grass fires. Through just the first three months of 2014, the department responded to 177 such fires.

KCK health care worker is accused of bilking Medicaid

Federal authorities on Wednesday accused a 54-year-old Kansas City, Kan., woman of bilking the government of more than $587,000 in fraudulent Medicaid payments. Authorities allege that personal care attendant Doris Betts documented more than 750 workdays that exceeded 24 hours. The longest was 39.5 hours, prosecutors said.