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Nick’s Picks: Reopening Just in Time for a Summer Like No Other

Cracking the Doors During a Pandemic

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While every corner of the metro is now open in at least some form, the door cracks open a little wider this week. 

Starting today, if you live on the Kansas side of the state line you can finally get a haircut, get your nails done and visit a tattoo parlor or tanning salon. You can also go to the gym, though group classes are prohibited. Locker rooms remain closed by order of the governor.

If you live in Wyandotte County, you’re out of luck.  As the place hit hardest by the coronavirus in our metro, county health officials are keeping barber and beauty shops shuttered. It’s also the only place in our area where restaurants are still prohibited from opening to dine-in customers.

City Hall officially opens back up this week in Kansas City, Missouri. So does Jackson County government. But if you have business with either place expect to wait, wear a face mask and undergo a temperature check. 

Also be aware that not every office is opening back up at full capacity. For instance, if you want a marriage license it could take a while. Staff in the county office that takes care of those has been hit hard by the pandemic. About half of the employees are in populations vulnerable to having serious complications should they contract COVID-19.

Also starting today, the Kansas City Parks Department says it is reopening tennis courts, pickleball courts and dog parks.

Ticket Warning

More than a month ago, I mentioned that Kansas City police were no longer ticketing for parking violations. Let this be your warning that that policy has now changed. Starting this week, Kansas City police are resuming normal parking enforcement. So if you don’t feed the parking meter or you’ve been parking most of the day in a two-hour parking zone, don’t be surprised to see a ticket under your windshield wiper. 

Kelly Goes to Washington

Coming up on Wednesday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is heading to Washington to meet with President Trump. Over the last couple of weeks, the president has been meeting at the White House with small groups of governors to get updates on their reopening measures. 

Immediately before the meeting with Kelly, President Trump is hosting an event in support of the “Nation’s Farmers, Ranchers and Food Supply Chain.”  It’s a part of the economy that has been hit hard in Kansas by multiple COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants. 


Interactive COVID-19 Case Mapper


One Day Session

On Thursday, Kansas lawmakers return to Topeka for one single day before adjourning until next year. How much can they achieve in less than 24 hours? 

Being closely watched is an effort to curb governor Kelly’s emergency powers. GOP leaders are focusing on whether Kelly’s orders can be enforced with criminal penalties. 

Also expect a push to shield medical facilities, nursing homes and businesses from lawsuits during the pandemic. A similar measure was introduced in Missouri but failed.  

Missouri lawmakers wrapped up their business for the year in Jefferson City on Friday. Some important things did happen on the last day of the Missouri legislature that will affect you and your family. One is to relax the state’s election laws to make it easier to vote by mail. 

And with an escalating homicide rate in Kansas City, lawmakers enacted a sweeping crime bill that eliminates probation, suspended sentences and parole for repeat felony offenders. The measure also increases minimum sentences for crimes involving a gun.

Face Masks

Could Prairie Village become the first city in our metro to require its residents to wear face masks? Council members in the Johnson County suburb will debate a proposed ordinance tonight that would make it mandatory to wear a face covering before entering a place of business or indoor public space. You could be fined up to $25. 

Interestingly, the head of police in Prairie Village is no fan of the ordinance. Chief Tim Schwartzkopf told a Zoom meeting of the council that it will be hard to enforce, “and, quite frankly, we don’t have the capacity to respond.”

Memorial Day Celebration

This weekend would normally be an “all hands on deck” time at KCPT, as we get ready to broadcast the “Bank of America Celebration at the Station.” Regularly drawing crowds of about 50,000 people, it’s billed as the largest free Memorial Day concert in the Midwest.  

The Kansas City Symphony performing at the "Celebration at the Station."
The Kansas City Symphony performing at the “Celebration at the Station.” (Brad Austin | Flatland)

Not this year. 

There won’t be hordes of people sitting on blankets and lawn chairs on the hill overlooking Union Station, waiting to hear the Kansas City Symphony perform and to see fireworks explode overhead.

But all is not lost.

KCPT will be broadcasting the very best performances from past Celebration at the Station events, along with special messages from conductor Michael Stern and Mayor Quinton Lucas. Kansas City born opera star Joyce DiDonato also will make an appearance, as she performs a special tribute from her home in Spain.

This year’s show, entitled “Best of Bank of America Celebration at the Station by the Kansas City Symphony,” is a collaboration between the Bank of America and Kansas City PBS. 

It will air Sunday, May 24 at 7 p.m. and again on Monday, May 25 at 8:30 p.m. on KCPT, Channel 19. The show will also be available on YouTube TV through the PBS channel.

Summertime

Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of summer, though it’s going to be a lot different than the ones we’ve experienced in the past. 

For starters, there are barely any swimming pools open around our metro. And with the exception of the Kansas City Zoo, most of our big time attractions are still closed. Worlds of Fun is shuttered. And this was set to be opening weekend for Oceans of Fun and the launch of the Riptide Raceway, the longest mat racing water slide in the world.

Its a debut that will have to wait for another day, another week, another month… another season? 

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

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