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Nick’s Picks | Pandemic Scrambles Chiefs Game, Election Season

Kansas City PBS airs 'Justice on the Ballot' Wednesday Evening

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

This week’s Nick’s Picks is brought to you by the letters E, T, and U. 

That stands for Expect The Unexpected.

Who could have predicted that in a 48-hour time span the president of the United States would test positive for COVID-19 and the pandemic would halt the Chiefs from playing at Arrowhead?

Chiefs Game

In a rollercoaster weekend of news, the Kansas City Chiefs were forced to postpone their game Sunday against the New England Patriots after players on both teams tested positive for the coronavirus. 

That matchup will now take place tonight. Kick-off is at 6:05 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium.  That means the Chiefs will be playing two games in the same week. They’ll be back at Arrowhead on Sunday when they take on the Las Vegas Raiders at noon.

That’s the current plan at least. As we know by now, anything can happen. 

Voter Registration Deadline

If you live in Missouri, this Wednesday is your last chance to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. 

You can register in person at local election offices, most libraries and motor vehicle license locations through the close of business Wednesday.

You can also register online through the Missouri Secretary of State’s website until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.  

Or you can mail an application to your local election authority but it must have a Wednesday postmark.

If you live on the other side of state line, you have a little more time. The voter registration deadline for Kansans is Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Parson Recovery

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is heading back to work this week. In a news release, Parson officially declares that he and his wife have now recovered from the coronavirus. He also says he feels well enough to reschedule the debate he missed with his Democratic opponent Nicole Galloway.  

That’s now taking place Friday at 2 p.m. in Columbia. The 90-minute forum will also feature the Libertarian and Green Party candidates.  It will not be broadcast on television in Kansas City but will be available online.

Seven-Month ‘Snow Day’

Starting this week, thousands of area middle and high school students will return to the classroom for the first time in seven months.  Among them are students in the Blue Valley School District in Johnson County who have not been permitted to set foot inside school buildings since March.

Meanwhile, some area districts that have already opened up are now on the brink of shutting down again. In the Baldwin City School District, just south of Lawrence, administrators say they no longer have enough substitutes to fill in for teachers who are in quarantine.

Public Gatherings

How large a crowd can safely gather at an outdoor event? 

That question will be decided in court this week as a Jackson County judge hears arguments in a case brought by the Blue Springs School District. 

The district wants to strike down a local health order that blocks more than 100 people from attending high school football games. The Blue Springs superintendent says it doesn’t make sense when they’re allowed to have 500 people in the district’s indoor theater. 

While the case gets underway, Jackson County has quietly amended its rules. Starting this Thursday, health officials are removing the 100-person cap on outdoor events, just as long as all attendees wear masks, socially distance and notify the county at least 72 hours in advance of the planned gathering. 

Evictions

Another legal case being closely watched this week is a new lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to block evictions in Jackson County. The Trump administration recently issues a moratorium preventing landlords from evicting tenants until the end of the year. But the renters group KC Tenants claims 284 evictions have been filed in the county since that federal moratorium went into effect. 

Violent Crime Fixes

Just days after Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a new plan to fix violent crime in Kansas City, he now wants to hear from you.  The first of a series of town halls on violence is scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., though I cannot find any details on where that is taking place. The Mayor’s new crime plan website https://www.reformprojectkc.org/   simply says, location details forthcoming.

Police Protests

If you’re heading to downtown Kansas City and passing City Hall this week, you will notice an unfamiliar sight. Dozens of pitched tents on the lawn just outside. They are part of what is now a round-the-clock protest against police use of force and it’s stepped up after videos on social media show a Kansas City police officer kneeling on a pregnant woman during an arrest. Police say the 25-year-old woman, who is nine-months pregnant, interfered with the apprehension of a suspect.

Justice on the Ballot

Concern over police accountability, increasing crime and complaints of an unfair justice system are sparking protests here and across the country.  While the focus is on police, there’s new scrutiny on the role prosecutors play in determining who gets charged, for what, why and for how long. 

Join me Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Kansas City PBS for two back-to-back debates from both sides of our state line. 

We’re calling it Justice on the Ballot. 

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker takes on her challenger, Blue Springs City Prosecutor Tracey Chappell.  And later in the hour, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe squares off against former Johnson County Public Defender Zach Thomas.

By the way, this is the first time either of the incumbents have had a general election opponent since they were elected.  

Debate Extra: Thanks to our partners at the Johnson County Bar Association you can see the candidates for Johnson County D.A. answer more questions than our broadcast time allows. And you can see them debate before anyone else. Watch as it is taped live in our studio this Tuesday at 10 a.m. on the Kansas City PBS Facebook page

Vice Presidential Debate

The first and only vice presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m.

You can see Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris square off from Salt Lake City at 8 p.m. Wednesday live on Kansas City PBS. 

The Commission on Presidential Debates has not made any changes to the format, but both campaigns agreed to increase the space between the candidates on the debate stage from 7 feet to 12 feet due to the pandemic.

Imagine

In the category of how time flies, we should let you know that Friday would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday.  

Perhaps more remarkably we will soon be marking 40 years since the former Beatle was murdered outside his residence in New York City.  That anniversary is this December. 

The last and only time The Beatles played Kansas City was in 1964 when Lennon would have been just 23 years old.

The venue was Municipal Stadium, Kansas City’s old ballpark. 

I was just pouring through the archives at the Kansas City Public Library and I was surprised to uncover that the concert did not sell out, even with ticket prices as low as $2. 

Newspaper articles of the time reveal a generational divide as older residents worried that the “youngsters” attending the concert would cause a riot or damage their hearing. Some adults who went to see The Beatles during their Kansas City stop complained the music was just “noise” or that they couldn’t understand the lyrics. Other newspaper articles questioned whether the Beatles had received haircuts since they left London.

Do Something Nice Day

I’m sure you’ve already noticed that every day now seems to be a “National Day” for something. Over the weekend, we were celebrating National Taco Day. Next week, it’s Nacho Day. Well today is National Do Something Nice Day. 

Not that we should need any extra motivation to be kind, but this may be the day you finally decide to give up your place in line to the person with only three items, tip your service staff an extra dollar or two or pay it forward at the coffee shop.

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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