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Nick’s Picks | A Holy, Taxing Week Ahead in Kansas City

Your look at the news, before it happens

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

This is your last chance to weigh in on the search for Kansas City’s next top cop.

The final public hearing is this Thursday at Union Station. The two-hour session is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce boardroom space on the first floor.

Rick Smith officially retires as police chief next week.

Bumpy Weather

Keep an eye on the weather this week.

First, the good news. It’s going to top 80 degrees on Tuesday.

Now, the bad news. Some violent storms are in the forecast. The National Weather Service warns of damaging wind, hail and the potential for tornadoes this Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Holy Week

Can we call this the holiest week of the year?

As Muslim families in Kansas City continue to mark Ramadan, the Jewish community is getting ready to celebrate Passover.  The holiday commemorating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt starts Friday night. 

You can also expect to see a lot of absences around the workplace as local Christians mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ with Good Friday and Easter Sunday observances.


Catching Up


Tax Day

This Friday normally marks Tax Day. But because it’s a public holiday in Washington D.C., you now have a few extra days to complete your return. This year’s official deadline is midnight on Monday.

If you’ve got a refund coming don’t expect the government to cut you a check quickly.

The head of the Internal Revenue Service says the agency is confronting a critical worker shortage. According to news reports, the IRS has yet to process more than 2 million tax returns from last year.

Student Walkouts

Are we heading to a new season of street protests?

Last week, students at Van Horn High School in Independence walked out over racial issues.

Now students in dozens of local school districts are being encouraged to walkout on Wednesday over a series of transgender bills in the Missouri General Assembly targeting youth.

One measure would restrict trans athletes from competing in girls sports. A second bill would block anyone under the age of 18 from receiving gender reassignment surgery.

Gender Neutral Passports

Starting today, Americans will be able to choose an “X” as a third gender option on their passport.

The U.S. State Department is the first federal agency to offer the “X” gender marker on an identity document. 

The White House says the option will become available on other forms of government documentation next year.

Waiting on Kelly 

We’re still waiting to see what Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly will do this week.

Several contentious bills are awaiting her signature.

One will block transgender athletes from competing in girls sports. A second outlaws so called “sanctuary cities.” And a third measure, called the “Parents Bill of Rights,” requires schools to disclose more information about what they’re teaching students in areas ranging from race to sexual orientation.

Greitens Photo

Is this a crucial week for former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens?

His ex-wife says she’s ready to release photos that show how Greitens abused her and their kids.

Sheena Greitens is currently locked in a protracted custody battle for the children. 

Eric Greitens is now a leading candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. 

He has dismissed his ex-wife’s accusations, calling her “a deranged individual” with a “documented history of mental illness.”

Eric Greitens is directed to a press conference with the media after filing to run in the Missouri Senate primary on Feb. 22, 2022, at the James C Kirkpatrick State Information Center in Jefferson City.
Eric Greitens is directed to a press conference with the media after filing to run in the Missouri Senate primary on Feb. 22, 2022, at the James C Kirkpatrick State Information Center in Jefferson City. (Photo | Madeline Carter)

Kansas Congressional Map Trial

The trial over a newly drawn Kansas congressional map is scheduled to end today.

A group of voters is challenging the new boundaries, claiming they are racially and politically gerrymandered, violating the state constitution. The trial in Wyandotte County District Court is not expected to deliver a ruling that finally settles the case.

The decision is guaranteed to be appealed, setting the stage for a final reckoning with the Kansas Supreme Court. But that could still be months away.

The new Kansas congressional map cuts Wyandotte County in half, jeopardizing the reelection chances of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids. The map also transfers Lawrence into the same overwhelmingly rural district as western Kansas.

Meanwhile, there’s still no new congressional map in Missouri. For the 15th straight week, lawmakers in Jefferson County will attempt to find compromise on the drawing of its eight congressional districts. Members of the “Conservative Caucus” are still trying to carve out another Republican seat by redrawing the district currently held by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City. 

Charter Schools

Charter Schools will be back in the spotlight this week.

In Kansas City, charters now enroll more students than the Kansas City Public Schools.

But they get less money to educate each child. Lawmakers want to change that.

Opponents say charter schools don’t have the same state oversight as public schools and should receive less.

If the measure passes, Kansas City Public Schools will see its budget cut by around $10 million a year.

Earth Day Show

Earth Day is coming early to Kansas City this year.

Famed opera star Joyce DiDonato premieres a climate crisis themed show at the Folly Theater on Tuesday night.

The program called “Eden” is part of the Harriman-Jewell series.

At the concert, every audience member is given a packet of native seeds to plant or share. 

DiDonato grew up in Prairie Village.

Royals

I really, really, really wanted to end this blog with a call for Kansas Citians to go out and see the “undefeated” Royals this week. 

But as you know by now, that uplifting storyline was upended by Cleveland’s 17-3 drubbing on Sunday.

Yes, the Royals gave up 17 runs. That’s not a typo. 

It didn’t help that Kauffman Stadium was barely half full on Sunday. Clearly, many local sports fans opted to join the KU Jayhawks’ victory parade in Lawrence rather than see their local boys in blue.

With no more college hoops distractions, you can see the Royals back in action this afternoon at The K. 

The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m.

Nick Haines, tracks the week’s most impactful local news stories on “Kansas City Week in Review,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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