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Common Grounds | Kansans Discuss Election and Education Crisis

A New Video Series Heads to Wyandotte County

People around a table
Kansans gather together at a coffee shop to discuss elections and the school funding crisis as part of KCPT's new series, "Common Grounds." From left, Jessica Zieg, Diosselyn Tot, and Nicky Tomasic. A fourth roundtable member, John Altevogt, is not pictured. (Mason Potter | KCPT)
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Located a stone’s throw away from the seat of government in Wyandotte County is a small coffee shop.

A Cup on the Hill, 730 Minnesota Ave., opened two years ago with the help of Community Housing of Wyandotte County and remains one of the few coffee shops in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

Its rarity and location made it a perfect starting point for the new KCPT video series “Common Grounds.” This project allows community members to chew on a variety of issues over a cup of joe.

For this first segment, the “Common Grounds” crew corralled four diverse Kansans for a discussion about the presidential election and one of the state’s hottest political issues: school funding.

The four community members Diosselyn Tot, Jessica Zieg, Nicky Tomasic, and John Altevogt met last week.

The staff at A Cup on the Hill graciously allowed KCPT to rearrange furniture to create what you see on screen.

That wasn’t the only bit of “movie magic” involved in the production of the first episode. There may or may not have been some hot water used to create the effect of a steaming coffee cup.

“Common Grounds” is the creation of Nick Haines, host of “Week in Review.”

“This election year has shown us that large numbers of citizens are feeling disenfranchised, ignored and taken for granted,” Haines said.

KCPT’s partner on the series is Consensus, a local nonprofit with a long history of community engagement.

The segments will run as part of “Week in Review,” which airs on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sundays at 11 a.m. Flatland is also publishing the segments.

If you’d like the Common Grounds team to head to your coffee shop or listen in to your group, contact us at commongrounds@kcpt.org.

— Brett Baker is the Scripps Howard Foundation Fellow at the Hale Center for Journalism. He is also the coordinator for “Common Grounds.” To reach Baker, email intern_hale1@kcpt.org.

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