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Nick’s Picks: Reopening the Economy, Getting Tested, Pandemic Primary

Pandemic Questions Dominate the Agenda

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

Here’s your guide to the week ahead in Kansas City.

Reopening 

That’s our watchword for this upcoming week. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly are both promising this week to release plans for reopening their states. 

What do you think should open first? 

In Missouri, Governor Parson says gyms, barber shops, beauty parlors and houses of worship will be first in line when the state’s stay-at-home order expires Sunday night.  Kansas Governor Laura Kelly plans on releasing a multi-phase plan but hasn’t given any details. 

Kansas City, Missouri, Jackson County and Platte County will have to wait longer for an easing of restrictions. They are all under an extended stay-at-home order until May 15. 

Want to Get Tested?

Now through Wednesday, the Kansas City Health Department is setting up four COVID-19 testing sites. It’s totally free. But you do have to register in advance online. Here’s the link.

You don’t need to have symptoms in order to get tested. Here’s the four locations: 

  • Antioch Crossing parking garage (behind the former Sears store) at 5415 N.E. Antioch Road. Monday only, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sun Fresh grocery store’s parking lot at 3110 Prospect Ave. Monday, 1 – 6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • The KIPP Endeavor Academy Charter School at 2700 E. 18th St.. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Independence Boulevard Christian Church at 606 Gladstone Blvd. Wednesday only, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Interactive COVID-19 Case Mapper


More Cancellations

While the push is on to reopen in Kansas and Missouri, the tally of events that have been pushed back or cancelled continues to grow.

The Kansas City Symphony has canceled the rest of its season. Even some July events like the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival have now been removed from the calendar. 

Now some cities are deciding to close down their swimming pools. The city of Independence is telling residents, “We’ll see you in 2021.” And if this sounds hard to believe, questions are now being asked about whether there will be school this fall. The head of the Kansas Association of School Boards is candid, saying, “We don’t know.” 

Evictions

This Friday an executive order in Kansas halting all foreclosures and evictions will expire. Housing advocates worry thousands of residents will now be pushed out of their homes and apartments.

There have been local protests from tenants begging for rent forgiveness. No level of government has been willing to offer that so far. And landlords say they’re struggling too.

The United Way is fielding calls from Kansas Citians who feel they’re out of options. Simply dial 2-1-1. You will be connected to resources on both sides of the state line. You can also get help online here.

Lawmakers Return

The coronavirus has left the 2020 legislative sessions in Kansas and Missouri in limbo. The Kansas legislature has been postponed indefinitely. But Missouri side lawmakers will return to Jefferson City this week, and it may not be pretty. They’re expected to cut a minimum of $700 million from the budget, mostly from higher education. 

Flyover

Don’t get alarmed if you see some of the military’s most powerful aircraft flying low over Kansas City on Tuesday. Whiteman Air Force Base is performing a flyover to honor health care workers and others on the front lines. Look for America’s B-2 stealth bomber flying over our major regional medical centers on both sides of the state line. It’s scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.  

Ramadan

Muslim families in the area are marking Ramadan this week in the most unusual of ways. Like the rest of us they’re being forced to take their worship services and family gatherings online.

The Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City says they would normally see more than a thousand people at a nightly prayer service. They’re now turning to digital spaces to mark the most sacred time of the year in Islamic culture. It ends on May 22nd. 

Presidential Primary

It’s finally time for Kansas voters to weigh in. But will anyone care? This Saturday is the Kansas presidential primary. Yes, if you live in Kansas you’re one of the very last people who will get to decide who you want to take on President Trump in the November election. 

There will be no in-person voting. Kansas Democrats scrapped those plans as the pandemic hit. The party is using only mail-in ballots.

KCPT is committed to serving you with high-quality information and entertainment through this challenging time. Visit kept.org/coronavirus.

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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