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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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:37 am
Mon March 17, 2014

States Fight California's Chicken Cage Law. But It's Really About Bacon

Free-range chickens lay eggs for Sauder's Quality Eggs in Pennsylvania.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:55 am

By most measures, David Kesten's hens are living the good life.

"They can act like chickens, they can run around," says Kesten, who's raising hens in an old wooden shed in the open countryside near Concordia, Mo. "They can go out and catch bugs, they can dig in the ground."

But most U.S. hens live crammed into very close quarters, according to Joe Maxwell, with the Humane Society of the U.S. And he says that's just wrong.

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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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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

My Farm Roots: Tough guys in the saddle

Nate Pike has worked the land outside Dodge City, Kan., for most of his 80 years.
Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

 

This is the tenth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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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
4:42 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Major Storm Blankets Plains States

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:09 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

A lot of kids have the day off from school today, thanks to a huge winter storm in the Midwest. A foot of snow fell on Kansas City, one of the worst storms in the city's history. That city declared a state of emergency, as did several others in the region. Frank Morris, of member station KCUR, reports.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Beef checkoff feud exposes divide within cattle industry

Sale barns like the Green City Livestock Market in central Missouri are where some cow-calf operators sell their stock up the industry foodchain.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

People who raise cattle are, as a rule, independent and far flung geographically. But, almost all the beef they raise comes to market through just four enormous packing companies. In the conclusion to Harvest Public Media’s series America’s Big Beef, Frank Morris explores how the cattle industry’s deep divide has come to a head over something called the Beef Checkoff.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Judging a cow by more than its cover

Maddee Moore, a “cow-fitter,” helps competing heifers look their best at the American Royal livestock show.
Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

The beef in the cooler at your grocery store is the product of thousands of years of selective breeding. For nearly all of that time, ranchers have made cattle-mating decisions based on the outward appearance of animals. That’s changed, in a big way, and as Frank Morris reports in Part 2 of Harvest Public Media's America's Big Beef series, an emerging understanding of cattle genetics promises to accelerate that change exponentially. 

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Around the Nation
4:24 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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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:22 am
Wed September 12, 2012

My Farm Roots:Rose Alderson

Rose Alderson and her husband Loren have farmed outside of Nickerson, Kan., for decades.
Frank Morris Harvest Public Media

This is the tenth installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connections to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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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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Crop Insurance
7:33 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Crop Insurance to the Rescue

Drought-stressed corn

Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.

Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.

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Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Drought Brings Misery To Arkansas River Basin

A deer carcass lies on the dried riverbed of the Arkansas River in Lakin, Kan.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:19 pm

Drought has set in early and hard across the Midwest, parching the Arkansas River basin. The river trickling out of the mountains is dry before it reaches some of the major agricultural uses downstream. And the drought is torching crops, sapping tourism and threatening supplies of drinking water.

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