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Nick’s Picks: Staying at Home While Everything Changes

Your Weekly Coronavirus Checklist

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Here’s your outlook for the week to come in Kansas City.

Kansas Stay-at-Home Order

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to announce this week she is extending the statewide stay-at-home order. The current order expires on Sunday.  Can we expect more restrictions? Can we expect more pushback from Republican leaders in the state? 

Last week, the Kansas Legislative Leadership Council overturned Kelly’s decision to add places of worship to the stay-at home order.  In a rare Saturday ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court sided with the governor. But that didn’t stop some churches gathering anyway. Local law enforcement did not intervene when Easter Sunday services were held at the Calvary Baptist Church in Junction City or the Heritage Baptist Church in Lawrence.

Riding the Bus

Starting this week, some sizable changes are coming to bus service in Kansas City. With a decline in ridership and with more than 120 drivers a day now calling in absent, bus service is now running on a Saturday schedule.

Free Trash Pickup

With so many people staying at home, Kansas City, Missouri, is offering an extra no-tag week for trash collection this week. Starting on Tuesday, Kansas City residents can leave up to 12 bags at the curb. 

School Lunch Resumes

On Tuesday, Kansas City Public Schools will restore its free meal program for students. The food distribution program was halted last week after a worker got sick.

Starting this week, breakfast and lunch in a sack will be available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Northeast Middle School, 4904 Independence Ave.; East High School, 924 Van Brunt Blvd.; and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, 4848 Woodland Ave.

Random Testing

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the national infectious disease expert, says we simply can’t know how many Americans have COVID-19 until more of us are tested. On Wednesday, Johnson County Health Department officials will release the first results of their own random testing of residents. 

The county is working with a marketing firm to randomly select 2,000 residents, with and without symptoms, to better understand how the virus is spreading throughout the community. The Johnson County Commission earmarked $400,000 for the program.

Stimulus Checks

Those federal stimulus checks we’ve been hearing about are finally reaching Kansas Citians. If you are eligible, the money will be automatically deposited into the bank account you have on file with the IRS.  

Married couples earning less than $150,000 a year will receive $2,400. Eligible individuals earning less than $75,000 will see a $1,200 boost in their bank account. 

Help for Job Seekers

While Congress debates a second financial package to help cash-strapped Americans, what many people need is a job.

There are now more than 5,000 open positions listed at the KC Career Network, which is trying to be a central hub for area residents desperately needing employment. Available jobs range from a grocery store packer at $8 an hour to an operations manager position with a salary of $165,000 a year.  It’s a free resource for both job seekers and the companies doing the hiring. 

Big Truman Anniversary

Seventy-give years ago this week a relatively unknown man from Independence, Missouri, was sworn in as president of the United States after the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence is currently closed for a mammoth $30 million renovation. It will reopen later this year. But this week the museum is kicking off a series of online discussions and events to commemorate our only hometown president.

Last Call

With restrictions on funerals, only a small private burial service is planned this week for the publisher of the Kansas City Call newspaper. Donna Stewart died over the weekend at the age of 65. She had worked at the African American newspaper since 1977. The Call celebrated its 100th anniversary in September.  The Call’s senior writer Eric Wesson says he hopes a public memorial service can be held once the coronavirus crisis ends. 

Electrifying Response

Residents in Gardner, Kansas, have to be among the luckiest people in the metro this week. The city has told residents to rip up this month’s electricity bill because it’s picking up the entire tab for everyone. “We know we have residents who are financially struggling,” says Gardner Mayor Steve Schute. “We want to provide some relief.”

Week That Was Supposed to Be

Cher is coming here on Saturday and the Zac Brown Band will be at Sprint Center on Thursday. (Psych!)

This was supposed to be one of the hottest weeks for events in Kansas City before stay-at-home orders went into effect. But I still get these online notifications from an automated service that clearly hasn’t picked up on the fact we’re in a public health emergency. 

This Tuesday would have been the first Bark in the Park of the season where you get to take your dog to watch a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium. And this was also the time for you to get in your first rides on the MAMBA, Patriot and Prowler as Worlds of Fun reopens for the season. 

My, how life has changed…

Let’s celebrate anyway by creating our own thrills, such as allowing your kids to slide down the staircase at high speed to tossing a ball to your pooch in the backyard. Heck, you may even decide to add Cher and the Zac Brown Band to your playlist.

KCPT resource page

Watch Nick Haines, Friday nights at 7:30 pm on KCPT’s primetime public affairs program, “Kansas City Week in Review.”

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