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Nick’s Picks | First Lady Jill Biden, Simone Biles Among KC Visitors in Coming Days

Your Guide to the Week Ahead

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

First Lady Jill Biden will be in town this week. She is scheduled to arrive at the downtown airport just after noon on Tuesday.

Biden will then visit El Centro Academy, a dual-language Spanish/English preschool in Kansas City, Kansas.

The first lady will be joined by U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas and the U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.

Biden’s visit is part of a national series of conversations with Latino communities during Hispanic Heritage Month.

While she’s here, it’s likely the first lady will also attend some private candidate fundraising events that are not on her official schedule.

This is Biden’s second visit to the Kansas City area since her husband was inaugurated in January.

The first lady visited a student vaccine clinic at Penn Valley Community College back in May

Simone Biles in KC

The “first lady” of gymnastics will also be in Kansas City this week. 

Simone Biles will be back flipping, hand springing and somersaulting across the floor of T-Mobile Center Tuesday night.

Biles is appearing with other U.S. gymnasts as part of what is called the “Gold Over America” tour.

It’s going to be a busy week at T-Mobile Center. World-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli arrives this weekend. He performs on Saturday night.

Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?

Don’t try to head to the post office today or to your bank. They’ll both be closed. This is Columbus Day.

While for decades, the federal holiday has honored Christopher Columbus, momentum has been building to reinvent the day to honor the contributions of Native Americans.

President Joe Biden has just issued the first-ever presidential proclamation declaring today Indigenous Peoples Day, recognizing that “Native people were the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has also signed a proclamation declaring today, Indigenous People’s Day.

‘Illegal Search’ of Mayor Lucas

Quinton Lucas
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Will charges be filed this week against a Kansas City police officer that conducted an “illegal” database search of Mayor Quinton Lucas?

The Jackson County prosecutor’s office has not named the officer, but confirms that an effort was made to find criminal background information on the mayor and his family.

The incident happened while the city and the police department were engaged in a legal dispute over funding.

The mayor says he’s been subject to a series of threats and recently spent a night standing outside his home with his new wife and baby while firefighters checked out an explosion threat.

$100 for Vaccination

If you haven’t got a COVID-19 shot by now, it’s unlikely throwing money at you is going to change your mind.

But that’s not stopping health officials in Clay County this week from offering residents $100 if they agree to get the jab.

The money will come in two $50 gift cards and residents must receive the vaccine at the Clay County Public Health Center. 

Only 41% of Clay County residents have had even one shot. That’s well below the state rate of 54%.

Voter Deadline in Kansas

If you live in Kansas, this Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming November election.

This may not be a big national election year, but there are some critical issues and races on the ballot.

Voters in Wyandotte County will pick a new leader. Do they want to give David Alvey another term as mayor? A former top leader in the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department is running a robust campaign to unseat Alvey. If elected, Tyrone Garner would be the county’s first African American mayor.

There’s also a seismic shift in power taking place in Johnson County. After 16 years, Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach is calling it quits. 

City Councilman Curt Skoog and former AMC movie theater executive Mike Czinege are campaigning to replace him.

KC Ballet Returns

The pandemic wiped out its entire performance schedule. Now for the first time in 20 months, the Kansas City Ballet is back.

The Ballet opens its season at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night with a production called “Celts,” a show the dance company had to cancel last year.

It’s described as a fusion of Irish folk dance and ballet, with music from The Chieftains. 

Remember, the Kauffman Center has the strictest COVID policy of any venue in the metro. You’ll need to show proof of vaccination to get in. You’ll also have to wear a mask during the entire performance.

Dancers with the Kansas City Ballet perform "Look Here, Love" as part of "KC Performs."
Dancers with the Kansas City Ballet perform “Look Here, Love” as part of “KC Performs.” (Brad Austin | Flatland)

KC Marathon Street Closures

If you’re trying to move around Kansas City on Saturday morning, prepare for lots of street closures and disruption. 

Why?

A sea of runners will be taking to the streets for the Kansas City Marathon. This year’s course pretty much envelopes every tourist attraction in the city. 

The 26-mile race moves from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art down to the Country Club Plaza, up to the World War I Museum, close to the River Market and then winds its way to the Power & Light District and T-Mobile Center, before moving eastwards to the 18th and Vine Jazz District.

By the way, if you’re out and about on Saturday morning look for the adorable and supremely fit redhead wearing a “Kansas City PBS” shirt. That will be me. My son and I have been in training for the last couple of months.

Captain Kirk

Captain Kirk rockets into space this week, and for real this time. 

William Shatner, the actor who commanded the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original “Star Trek” series will blast off on Wednesday from West Texas.

And at age 90, Shatner will be the oldest person to ever go to space.

Jeff Bezos’s space travel company, Blue Origin, invited the “Star Trek” actor to fly as a guest.

Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is a huge “Star Trek” fan.

Shatner will join two paying customers aboard a Blue Origin capsule. 

His flight is expected to last about 10 minutes and reach no higher than 66 miles. But Shatner and his fellow passengers will get to experience four minutes of weightlessness and witness the curvature of the planet before heading back to Earth.

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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