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Nick’s Picks | Fall Classics Coming This Week in KC

Your Guide to the Week Ahead

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

Funeral services are this week for Blaize Madrid-Evans. He’s the 22-year-old Independence police officer shot and killed in the line of duty last week.

Evans had graduated from the police academy two months ago. He’d been on patrol for just 18 days.

Meanwhile, there are mounting questions about why the suspect in his killing wasn’t already behind bars. He had been arrested earlier this month for being a felon in possession of a firearm but had been released on his own recognizance.

Kansas City Mask Mandate

Kansas City’s mask mandate expires on Thursday. Should it be extended?

A City Council committee will consider the arguments in a public hearing Wednesday morning.

The panel is expected to meet at 9 a.m. at City Hall. 

A new law in the state of Missouri requires city councils to approve mask mandates every 30 days.

Concession Contract at KCI 

Also this week, the City Council will examine plans to offer a lucrative concession contract at the airport to a Canadian company. 

Vancouver-based Vantage Airport Group has won the bid to run food, drink and retail operations at the new terminal when it opens in 2023. 

But there have been concerns raised about the transparency of the process and why some of Kansas City’s best known restaurant chains have been denied a presence inside the new terminal.

Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s pretzels will be part of the retail mix. But not one Kansas City BBQ restaurant has been offered a permanent slot.

And while some familiar local names like Bo Lings and the Martin City Brewing Co. made the cut, several members of the City Council are upset that no “Northland” eateries or businesses have been included, even though the airport is located there.

Following this week’s hearing, city leaders can choose to accept, change or reject the proposal.

Rendering of new Kansas City International Airport.
Rendering of new Kansas City International Airport. (Courtesy | SOM and Edgemoor Architecture & Real Estate)

Booster Shots

This week has been on the calendar for some time as the date Americans finally get the chance to sign up for their third COVID-19 vaccination shot. 

Now those plans have been scratched by a Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel that has rejected President Joe Biden’s national vaccine booster campaign. The panel endorsed the extra vaccine only for those who are 65 and older or run a high risk of severe disease.

If that’s you, then you don’t have to wait. 

There are dozens of clinics and public health centers in the Kansas City area already offering the third dose. 

An appointment isn’t necessary at most places. And apparently you don’t have to prove you meet the criteria for a third jab. Like so many of the rules during this pandemic, it’s on the honor system.

That hasn’t prevented people from taking advantage.  

A Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention report obtained by ABC News claims more than 1 million Americans have already cheated to get unauthorized vaccine boosters. Some had friends in the health system. Some lied about their vaccination status and others used alternative or fake IDs.

Afghan Families in KC

More than a dozen displaced Afghan families will begin calling Kansas City home this week.

Mayor Quinton Lucas has confirmed that the first refugee family arrived in Kansas City on Thursday night.

In a message posted to Twitter, Lucas said the city can expect up to 550 refugees in all.

Missouri is slated to take in around 1,200 Afghans. According to the Associated Press, that’s the eighth highest of any state, and is larger than the number of refugees heading to New York and Florida.

Kansas is expected to receive 490 Afghans. While Gov. Laura Kelly has welcomed their arrival, the president of the Kansas Senate, Ty Masterson, said he was concerned about COVID infections and security risks. 

The Biden administration claims each evacuee will go through a Department of Homeland Security vetting process before being admitted to the country.

The federal government is providing a one-time $1,000 stipend to Afghan families to assist in their resettlement.

Abortion in the Spotlight

There’s been a lot of news coverage over the past few weeks about a Texas law that bans abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. 

Now attention turns to Missouri. 

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court will hear arguments on a Missouri law that restricts abortions at eight weeks.

The measure was passed in 2019, but it’s being blocked from going into effect by a lawsuit challenging the ban.

Northland Streetcar

Final bids are due today on a feasibility study that will decide whether the Kansas City streetcar should cross the Missouri River into North Kansas City.

One proposed route would extend the streetcar two miles beyond the Missouri River, passing over the Heart of America Bridge and on to 10th Street and Burlington Avenue. 

Kansas City is splitting the cost of the study with North Kansas City. 

Two streetcar line extensions have already been greenlighted.

Last summer, Kansas City was awarded more than $14 million in federal funds to extend the streetcar line to the Berkley Riverfront Park. A much larger extension is under way along Main Street. It would bring the streetcar to the Country Club Plaza and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. That new line is expected to open in 2025.

Pit Bull Ban

Johnson County’s largest city will decide this week whether to remove its longtime ban on pit bulls.

Overland Park residents have been prohibited from owning Staffordshire Terriers and Pit Bull Terriers since 2006.

They were banned amid a national scare over attacks and public perceptions that they are vicious.

But animal behaviorists have since said the science doesn’t back up those claims, and that a dog’s treatment has more bearing on its behavior than any particular breed type.

According to the Shawnee Mission Post, Overland Park is one of the last cities in the metro to still have a breed-specific dog ban in place. 

The Overland Park City Council will vote on the measure tonight.

Championship Game

Earlier this year the T-Bones changed their name to the Kansas City Monarchs. 

It appears that was a winning move. 

Tonight, the Monarchs are one game away from taking it all.

The Monarchs are in the American Association of Professional Baseball finals.

If they beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks tonight at Legends Field, they will be crowned champions.

Fall Classics

After being canceled due to COVID concerns last year, the Plaza Art Fair is making its comeback this weekend.

About 240 artists will converge on nine blocks of the historic shopping center. 

This year’s event also includes three live music stages and more than 20 food and drink vendors.

The 90th Annual Plaza Art Fair starts Friday and runs through Sunday.

Thousands of festival goers fill the Plaza's streets
The 90th Plaza Art Fair kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. (Contributed | Plaza Art Fair)

The Plaza Arts Fair isn’t the only game in town. The Liberty Fall Festival starts Friday. 

Also starting Friday, Lee’s Summit is getting a jump start on Oktoberfest

It’s three days of “stein hoisting,” home brew competitions, polka dancing, arts-and-crafts booths and a carnival. And when I say “stein hoisting,” I mean it. One of the competitions is to see who can hoist a full liter stein longer than anyone else.

According to the rules, competitors must use only one hand, no elbows can be bent, and extended arms must be kept parallel to the ground. And any spilling of beer is an automatic disqualification. 

You can tell that I’m more than a little curious about this. I just looked this up and these heavy German stein glasses weigh about three-and-a-half pounds.  When you add the couple of pints needed to fill the glass, the full weight rises to about five pounds. 

Apparently, the world “stein hoisting” record was set in Germany and stands at 20 minutes and 13 seconds. 

Do you think you can do better? 

I think I’m going to start training tonight.

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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