Josh Merchant

Josh Merchant

Josh Merchant is a freelance reporter for The Beacon. They were a Fall 2021 intern, and have written stories on a range of topics, from how to help refugees in Kansas City to how employers are deciding whether or not to mandate vaccines for workers.

Kansas City is trying to reduce energy use, but building owners won’t comply

By: - June 13, 2023

Every year, Kansas City residents spend nearly 5% of their income on electricity, ranking the city among the most energy-cost-burdened in the nation. And the cost doesn’t only affect the wallet — energy consumption within buildings and homes causes nearly two-thirds of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. For years, Kansas City has focused on reducing energy […]

State control of Kansas City’s police has roots in the Civil War

By: - January 10, 2023

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.  Kansas City is the only major city that lacks control over its own police department. The oft-stated rationale for state control is to prevent local partisan politics from interfering with the workings of the department. Champions of the unusual setup often cite the political corruption under […]

After decades of Democratic dominance, GOP optimistic in Jackson County executive race

By: - October 28, 2022

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.  Over the past seven years, Jackson County has seen three different county executives. After then-County Executive Mike Sanders resigned at the end of 2015 — and went to prison in 2018 for corruption — Fred Arbanas served for one week as interim executive until Frank White  Jr. was […]

Goodwill for Ukrainian refugees is abundant in KC. But what about other refugees?

By: - March 25, 2022

This story was originally published by The Beacon.  It wasn’t long after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, sending more than a million civilians scrambling for safety, that resettlement organizations around the Kansas City area began receiving offers of refugee support. The messages were almost universally well-meaning. People offered financial donations and even volunteered to […]

Formerly incarcerated Missourians struggle for decades to find stable housing

By: - March 21, 2022

This story was originally published by The Kansas City Beacon. After serving time in prison, Christine McDonald found herself living on the streets of Kansas City and in a pay-by-the-week motel. Robert Richardson, who also has a felony record, settled for a bug-infested apartment with an open hole in the front. They are far from […]

People hold up signs that read "Protect safe, legal abortion."

Nearly half of abortions in Kansas are for Missourians. A vote next year could change that

By: - November 22, 2021

This story was originally published by The Kansas City Beacon. Patients who arrive at an abortion clinic in Overland Park, Kansas, have often traveled long distances. Many began their journeys in Missouri, sometimes driving hours to their appointment. “We’ve heard these stories from Missourians and other people in our region for years,” said Emily Wales, […]

For many Kansas City refugees, job options depend on spotty public transportation

By: - October 19, 2021

This story was originally published by The Kansas City Beacon. As a young man in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Solomon Kasongo attended university and had plans to launch a meaningful career, possibly in business. War disrupted those hopes. Kasongo fled his home country and spent more than a decade in a refugee camp in […]