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Nick’s Picks: A Peek at the Week in News

Missouri Primary, Big 12 Tournament Loom

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Above image credit: Nick Haines, host of KCPT's "Kansas City Week in Review," provides a news outlook for the coming week. (File | Flatland)

Here’s the outlook for this week’s local news agenda.

‘Show-me Showdown’

The presidential primary party bus is finally heading our way.  On Sunday, all of the leading Democratic candidates are expected to be at the Kansas City Convention Center for the “Show-me Showdown.” 

Do you want to take a selfie with Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren? How about a hug from Joe Biden? Or a high-five from Mike Bloomberg? 

It all gets underway at 2 p.m. Sunday. Notably, it’s not a free event. The candidates have been buying up big blocks of tickets to give away to their most ardent supporters. But if you just want to go as a regular member of the public, the tickets are $75, plus an $8.32 service fee.  Go to the Kansas City Convention website to confirm your seat. 

If you couldn’t care less about the Democratic candidates, it’s possible President Trump will also be in town to steal the candidates thunder. He’s been hosting shadow rallies everywhere the candidates go. Could Kansas City this weekend be one of them? 

95 Bullets in Westport

Expect an announcement this week from Mayor Quinton Lucas about new strategies the city is now employing to curb the escalating number of homicides in the city. That would come after a shooting spree in Westport over the weekend left one person dead and four people injured. Police found 95 bullet casings at the scene. 

March Madness

Could the Big 12 Tournament starting next week at Sprint Center be hurt by escalating fears about the coronavirus? Whether you think the threat is being overblown or understated, expect an announcement this week from organizers about how they plan to respond to those health concerns. Over the weekend, the National College Players Association, a nonprofit advocating for the rights and safety of collegiate athletes, called on the NCAA to consider holding games without fans.  While the idea may seem far-fetched, some changes are likely. In a public statement the group recommends tournament organizers cancel all auxiliary events that put players in contact with crowds, such as meet and greets and press events.

Swarms of people outside the Sprint Center for the Big 12 men's basketball games.
Swarms of college basketball fans pack the streets outside the Sprint Center for the Big 12 tournament. (Contributed | Visit KC)

Signs of Change on The Paseo

Four months after an emotional Kansas City street sign vote, this week public works employees are taking down the name Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and restoring The Paseo to street signs. That work started Sunday. 

New Streetcar Hue

Light blue, that is. If you’re heading downtown this week you might notice the Kansas City Streetcar has turned blue. For the first time ever, it’s been wrapped in Sporting KC colors. It’s to honor Sporting KC’s home opener at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

KC Losing ZIPCAR

The world’s largest car sharing company is closing shop in Kansas City.  After eight years, ZIPCAR is exiting the metro this week. The company, a subsidiary of Avis, allows people to use an app to book new model cars by the minute or hour for as little as $9. It’s unclear what the company’s departure says about Kansas City. But the company is reporting increased service in other communities from New York to Washington state. 

Medicaid Expansion Fight

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

Don’t expect much action from your Kansas lawmakers in Topeka this week. They’re on a short break and won’t return until Wednesday. But that isn’t stopping Gov. Laura Kelly and Senate Republican leader Jim Denning from launching a whirlwind tour this week to stump together for Medicaid expansion. Plans to provide additional health coverage to 130,000 Kansans are currently being blocked. Senate President Susan Wagle, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, is refusing to allow debate on the measure until lawmakers pass an amendment that asserts the state constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to an abortion. 

KC Budget Forum

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is now backtracking on some of the cuts he recently made in the city’s proposed budget. Responding to community feedback, he’s restoring money to the Kansas City Film Office and to Children’s Mercy Hospital. Who says your voice doesn’t matter?   

This Saturday is your last chance to let your voice be heard. The final budget public hearing is taking place at the RB Doolin Center, 2000 N. 46th St. That’s on the grounds of the North Kansas City School District headquarters. It starts Saturday at 9 a.m. 

JCCC President Search

There’s been a lot of concern of late over issues of transparency and accountability at Johnson County Community College. Enrollment is dipping and tuition is rising. Now as its leader prepares to depart, you can have a say in who should replace him. There are town halls this week to meet with the four finalists vying to succeed Joe Sopcich as JCCC president.

Springing Forward

 If Kansas or Missouri lawmakers don’t decide to abolish it sometime this week, on Sunday you will lose an hour. That’s because we will start Daylight Savings Time. Yes, that means setting your clock forward an hour. What will you remove from your weekend plans now that you’ve only got 47 hours to play with instead of 48?

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