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Nick’s Picks | Supreme Court Hearings to Dominate Headlines

Kemper Museum, Kansas Speedway and T-Shotz Among Openings

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

Confirmation hearings for the new Supreme Court justice nominee will dominate the headlines this week. Amy Coney Barrett is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill today.  Those hearings will continue through Thursday. And Kansas City PBS will take you inside the hearing room with live coverage all four days on our second channel KCPBS 19.2. 

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is expected to play a significant role in the hearings as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He will question the nominee and has said he will vigorously object to any questioning that challenges her religious views.

Hawley graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City and is the nation’s youngest senator.

Chiefs Versus Debate

You no longer have to choose between watching the Chiefs game or the presidential debate on Thursday night. Neither of them are now happening.

A slew of positive COVID-19 cases among NFL players has led to a string of postponed games. And that includes the Chiefs matchup against the Bills on Thursday night. That game has now been moved to Monday. 

Meanwhile, President Trump has pulled out of Thursday’s second debate with Joe Biden. Trump is unhappy that organizers changed the format from an in-person town hall to a virtual event.  That means next week’s debate may be the last time the two major party candidates appear together before Election Day. 

Deadline Day

If you live in Kansas, time is running out if you want to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. The last day to file the paperwork is Tuesday.  If you live in Missouri, you are already too late. That deadline passed last week. 

By the way, if you are a Kansas voter and requested a mail-in ballot, look for those to start arriving in your mailbox later this week. 

Crime Town Hall

You have a second chance this week to weigh in on crime in Kansas City. Mayor Quinton Lucas is hosting a second town hall on ways to prevent and reduce violence in the city. It’s taking place today at 5:30 p.m. at the Southeast Community Center, 4201 E 63rd St., Kansas City, Missouri. 

Masks are required.

Meanwhile, there are still dozens of tents pitched on the grass right outside of City Hall in downtown Kansas City. It is part of a protest against police use of force. Last week, Lucas said there were no immediate plans to have the protesters removed. We’ll be watching to see if that position changes this week. 

Lingering Tragedy

Twenty-years ago this week, Missouri lost its governor. Mel Carnahan was locked in a tight race for the United States Senate when a small plane carrying him to a campaign event crashed during a storm. The accident would also kill his oldest son and a longtime campaign aide. 

It’s a night I still vividly remember. Just hours before, I had shared a stage with Carnahan in Kansas City as I  hosted the only televised debate between him and his opponent John Ashcroft in front of a packed audience at the Gem Theater.

Carnahan’s death would test election laws. What happens when a candidate dies so close to Election Day and there’s no time to remove their name from the ballot?   

It would become all the more complicated when he did win, three weeks later. It was the first time a dead man had been elected to the U.S. Senate. Within days of the crash, Carnahan’s widow Jean agreed to take his place in Washington.  

She would serve only two years before being defeated by Republican Jim Talent in a special election. By the way, Jean Carnahan is still with us. She’s now 86 and writes a food blog in St. Louis called Good Food St. Louis.

Her latest post from this weekend is about learning to love collard greens.

Reinventing the Mall

How can you reinvent a 40-year-old shopping mall? Six years after the Metro North Shopping Center shuttered its doors, the former retail mecca that was bulldozed to the ground is now springing back to life.

On Tuesday it becomes the site for one of the Northland’s biggest entertainment venues. 

T-Shotz opens Tuesday. Think “Top Golf,” only north of the river.  It’s a three-story driving range with bar and kitchen, where even non-golfers can try their hand at hitting a small dimpled ball into a mammoth field of electronic targets. T-Shotz will also allow you to play virtual replicas of famous golf courses around the world.

While the concept is similar to Top Golf, which has a location in Overland Park, T-Shotz bristles at the comparison. They say this is not a national chain. There’s only one T-Shotz, and its here in Kansas City.

Kemper Reopens

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art reopens to the public this week. It’s been closed since the middle of March.

The art space just off of 45th and Main streets will limit visitors by requiring timed passes. 

This first week is being reserved for the museum’s members before allowing free entry to everyone starting next Wednesday. 

While the Kemper is one of the last museums in the metro to reopen, there are some that still remain shuttered. The Nerman Museum at Johnson County Community College remains closed indefinitely. 

Fans in Stands

This weekend, the Kansas Speedway is bringing back fans for the first time since shut down orders began back in March. 

About 10,000 spectators will be in the stands to watch the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400. That race gets underway Sunday. Masks are required. 

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway
Kansas Speedway will welcome fans back to the track this weekend for the Hollywood Casino 400 race. (Credit: ©2014, Phillip Abbott LAT Photo USA)

It will also mark the first local test of how well NASCAR is enforcing its new no confederate flag policy that went into effect in June. Will Kansas Speedway officials be patrolling the parking lots seizing flags? Will any fans be turned away if they show up with a confederate flag emblazoned on their ballcap or t-shirt?

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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