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Nick’ Picks | The Week’s Hot News Items Include the Weather and Chiefs

Record-Setting Warmth Expected Wednesday

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)

Will Kansas City be shattering a record this week for the warmest December day in history? 

Temperatures are expected to climb to 73 degrees on Wednesday.

The average high for that day is 42. 

The hottest it has ever been on Dec. 15 in Kansas City was 68 degrees. That record was set in 2002.

Are we about to break it?

Tyrone Garner Sworn in a Mayor

There are no local presidential visits to report on this week, but there is an inauguration.

In Wyandotte County, history is about to be made.  Tyrone Garner will be sworn in today as the first Black Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas. Garner’s inauguration ceremony is set for 5 p.m. at Memorial Hall, across the street from the Unified Government’s headquarters building.

Garner is a former deputy police chief in KCK. He defeated Mayor David Alvey in local elections last month. There’s no word yet on what Alvey plans to do next.

Dole to be Buried at Arlington

After a week of tributes and memorial services, Bob Dole will be laid to rest this week. 

The former Kansas senator and presidential candidate will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of former presidents John F. Kennedy and William Taft. 

Dole died last week at age 98.

Jungerman Trial Begins

It was one of the most shocking local stories of 2017. A young attorney was gunned down outside his Brookside home, just minutes after walking his kids to school. Four years later, David Jungerman is scheduled to go on trial this week for his murder.

Prosecutors argue the 83-year-old businessman from Raytown killed Tom Pickert out of revenge. Pickert had just won a $5 million civil lawsuit against him. 

The criminal trial starts today.

Return to Masks?

Many parts of Europe are reimposing COVID lockdowns. In the United Kingdom, the British government has gone back to telling workers to stay home. 

With 15 COVID deaths reported in metro Kansas City on Friday alone and hospitalizations on the rise, can we expect another wave of COVID restrictions where we live?

Jackson County Executive Frank White wants to reimpose the county’s mask mandate.

It’s on the agenda for discussion as the Jackson County legislature meets today.

Ahead of the meeting, elected officials in Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs have signaled they would resist any new COVID restrictions. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has also threatened a lawsuit against the county if it moves forward with a new mask mandate.

Return to Office Plans

If you’re still working from home, has your company announced when they’re planning to bring you back to work?  

Is it in January? Do they keep changing the date? Have they never given you one?

While you wait for an answer, a number of our nation’s biggest companies are now rethinking their plans, some for the third and fourth time. 

Facebook has canceled its January return-to-the-office date. The social media giant is now allowing workers to delay their return until June. 

Some businesses are being even more cautious. Ridesharing company Lyft says it won’t require workers to come back to its offices until 2023.

Missouri Marijuana Law in Court

Three years after Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana, the law is now heading to court.

The Missouri Supreme Court is not going to overturn the law. But on Tuesday the justices will hear oral arguments on a “confidentiality clause” that has allowed the state to avoid disclosing its criteria for awarding dispensary licenses. 

Losing applicants have claimed the state gave away the lucrative sales licenses to friends and political cronies. 

There have been more than 100 lawsuits challenging the state health department’s scoring process as uneven or arbitrary.

The court has not set a timeline for making a decision in the case.

School Closings Town Hall

For the first time, there are now more students enrolled in Kansas City charter schools than there are in Kansas City Public Schools. 

With around 14,000 students, the district’s enrollment is less than half of what it was in 2000.

This week Kansas Citians get a chance to weigh in on what should happen next.

This Tuesday night is the last scheduled town hall before district leaders put pencil to paper on what is expected to be a new round of school closings and consolidation.

The district says 26 of its 32 schools do not meet school size standards

If you’d like to attend Tuesday’s town hall, it’s taking place at Southeast High School, 3500 E. Meyer Blvd.  Child care is available. It starts at 5:30 p.m.

Boulevardia is Back

Boulevardia has been canceled for two years in a row.

The pandemic hasn’t been too kind to the summer festival put on by Boulevard Brewing Co. 

Now it’s coming back as a holiday pop-up event this week. 

On Tuesday night, you can head over to the Boulevard Brewing Co.’s beer H

hall at 25th and Madison for free live music, drink specials, giveaways and what organizers claim will be a series of “surprises.”

They’re calling it the Boulevardia Winter Pop-Up. The party starts at 5 p.m. 

Chiefs Playoff Tickets

Kansas City Chiefs postseason ticket sales start today.

Season ticket holders get first dibs for the three potential home playoff games. Jackson County residents are next in line. They get priority access as their taxes help foot the bill for the upkeep of the stadium.

The rest of the metro has to fight over what’s leftover. 

But who would’ve thought after such a rough start that we’d even be talking about playoff games at Arrowhead Stadium this year?

Just as a reminder, the team wants you to know there are no walk-up sales this year. All tickets have to be purchased online.

Arrowhead Stadium.
Arrowhead Stadium. (Clarence Dennis | Flatland)

Future of Police Chief

The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners meets Tuesday. This will be the first scheduled meeting of the board since Police Chief Rick Smith confirmed his retirement. 

It’s still uncertain when Smith plans to leave. There have been reports of March, April or later. This week’s meeting should clear up those questions along with the direction the police board plans to take on finding Smith’s successor.  

You can also expect some discussion about a rash of recent killings. 

While homicides are down compared to last year, there have been 11 murders since the start of December. Three of those homicides took place within a 10-hour stretch.

Nick Haines dissects the week’s most impactful local news stories, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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