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Nick’s Picks | Watching College Campus COVID Closures, Marking Labor Day

Black Lives Matter Street Painting This Weekend

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

Lots of attention will be focused this week on college campuses and whether a growing number of COVID-19 cases will prompt administrators to halt in-person classes.

With more than 300 students at the University of Missouri testing positive for the coronavirus, bars are now prohibited from serving alcohol after 9 p.m. But can we expect more restrictions this week?

The governor of Iowa has just ordered all bars closed around the University of Iowa and Iowa State. Can you picture bars in Lawrence, Manhattan and Columbia closing down entirely?

Problem businesses

Expect new debate in Kansas City this week over what it takes to shut down problem businesses. It comes after four people were shot over the weekend at the 9ne Ultra Lounge just off Noland Road. 

It’s the same nightclub that was the scene of a mass shooting earlier this year. In January, two people died and 15 were injured after a shooter fired into a line of people waiting to get in. Earlier this month, the city sent a notice to the club’s owner revoking his liquor license. But it remained open.

Schlitterbahn

It’s been shuttered for two years. But will we learn this week what the future may look like for the beleaguered Schlitterbahn Water Park? 

The former CEO of Sporting KC will go before the Unified Government of Wyandotte County this week to propose turning the closed attraction into a mecca for team and water sports.

Rob Heineman, who’s still a part owner in Sporting KC, wants to bring paddle boarding, dragon boat racing and kayaking to the place that once housed the world’s tallest waterslide. 

The $330 million redevelopment plan would also include scores of football, soccer, lacrosse and baseball fields. He’s asking for substantial tax breaks to make it happen.

Last year, the owners of World of Fun considered buying the park. But after extensive “due diligence” they decided against it. The park became attached to negative headlines back in 2006 when a 10-year-old boy died on its signature attraction, the Verruckt.

Helmet law

Starting this week you will no longer need a helmet to ride a motorcycle in Missouri. 

Gov. Mike Parson signed the legislation back in July but it’s only now going into effect. It gives motorcyclists 26 and older the option of riding without a helmet as long as they have health insurance.

The measure was opposed by several highway safety organizations and medical groups that argued allowing motorcyclists to ride without headgear was inviting more death and expensive-to-treat head injuries.

Mugshots

It may not be something you think about, but if you read The Kansas City Star check if you notice a new policy that goes into effect this week. No more mugshots.

Critics have long viewed the practice of publishing police intake photos as unfair to those arrested because of the presumption of innocence. Many also say it disproportionately targets minorities and compounds racial stereotyping. 

The Star claims they will still run mugshot photos in cases where there is an “urgent threat” to the community or where the person arrested is a public official. Those decisions would require editorial approval.

Painting streets

This weekend streets across Kansas City will be painted with Black Lives Matter murals. The Kansas City Council greenlighted six artists to begin working on the displays outside the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and on road surfaces at 31st and Troost, 63rd and Troost, Briarcliff and North Mulberry, 63rd and Brookside and 10th and Baltimore.

If you’d like to see what they’re doing, you can watch the whole painting project in person starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. 

The city has fielded several inquiries about why there are no murals being created to support law enforcement. So far there are no plans to do so.

Labor Day

You’re going to have to find somewhere else this Labor Day Weekend to get your ginormous grilled turkey leg or cheesecake on a stick. The Renaissance Festival has decided to cancel due to concerns over the coronavirus.  

Traditionally, Labor Day weekend here in Kansas City sees more big outdoor events than any other time of year. Consider this weekend alone we would be experiencing RenFest, Irish Fest, SantaCaligon Days in Independence and the Kansas City Air Show. None are happening now.

So what will you be doing this holiday weekend when social gatherings and travel is also highly discouraged?

Some say it’s a great time to reflect on what the holiday was supposed to be about in the first place. And that’s not BBQ and drinking but an acknowledgment of the contributions that American workers have made to our country.

Several groups are pushing Kansas Citians to use this Labor Day to show appreciation for essential workers who’ve continued to labor during this pandemic. And that’s not just those involved in healthcare and emergency services, but grocery store and restaurant workers, delivery drivers, janitors and teachers. 

Nick Haines tracks the week’s local news on the primetime public affairs program, “Kansas City Week in Review.” Watch Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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