Published June 12th, 2023 at 9:46 AM6 minute read
Early voting is now underway ahead of the mayoral and City Council election in Kansas City.
Mayor Quinton Lucas is seeking a second term in office on June 20. The mayor is facing a challenge from maverick transit activist Clay Chastain, who Lucas defeated in the primary by capturing more than 80% of the vote.
Getting more attention are competitive City Council races. Term limits mean half of the seats at City Hall will change hands. Some of the council’s best-known names, such as Katheryn Shields to Theresa Loar, are being forced to relinquish their seats to newcomers.
It’s not a local story, but many Kansas Citians will be fixated on a Florida courtroom this week.
That’s where former president Donald Trump is scheduled to appear before a Miami judge on Tuesday afternoon.
He has been indicted on 37 federal charges of mishandling classified records, including storing them in his ballroom and bathroom at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump has called on his supporters to rally around the courthouse during his appearance.
Closer to home, local Republican leaders have been quick to defend Trump.
U.S. Rep. Mark Alford claimed the charges are part of an ongoing political “witch hunt” against the former president.
Kansas City’s new short-term rental rules go into effect this week.
That means starting Friday no new Airbnb rentals are allowed in residential neighborhoods unless it’s the owner’s primary residence.
Short term rental providers will also have to pay a new $200 annual license fee.
A group of 36 short-term rental operators are now taking Kansas City to court. They claim the new regulations violate their constitutional rights.
Many Kansas Citians are heading into a three-day weekend.
It’s Juneteenth, the nation’s newest federal holiday.
Banks and post offices will all be closed next Monday, along with many local governments, libraries and an increasing number of area businesses.
Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in America. While informally celebrated for more than 150 years, the annual observance increased in public awareness after the death of George Floyd.
President Joe Biden signed the legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021.
Kansas City will be celebrating early.
This Saturday, the 12th annual Juneteenth festival will take place in the Jazz District at 18th and Vine from noon to 10 p.m. There will be live entertainment from local artists, as well as food, vendors and child-friendly activities, from puppets to face painting.
You can also celebrate Juneteenth in the Dotte. A parade and festival are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas.
As we prepare for the Juneteenth holiday, Kansas City PBS is lifting the hood on a new push to award reparations to Black residents. A new mayoral commission has been tasked with finding ways to make amends for the city’s role in segregation policies.
Leaders and critics of the effort answer questions from the public during a “Kansas City Week in Review” town hall special, Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.
A longtime tax that funds the bus service in Kansas City is now at the center of a new political controversy.
The Kansas City Council is scheduled to vote this week on renewing the 3/8 of a cent sales tax that pays the Kansas City Area Transporation Authority (KCATA) to run and maintain the city’s buses.
But there’s a wrinkle.
The ballot language that Mayor Quinton Lucas has proposed makes no mention of buses or the KCATA.
Now there’s a worry the mayor wants to siphon off some of the bus funds to use on other projects.
Last month, Lucas suggested that some of the money could be used to construct a train line from the airport to downtown before World Cup Soccer crowds come to Kansas City in 2026.
The matter is expected to come to a head at Thursday’s City Council meeting where council members are being pushed to add the tax to this November’s ballot.
If you live in Jackson County, prepare for some sticker shock this week.
Your new property assessment is expected to arrive in your mailbox by Friday and the county is already warning that home values are up 30% on last year.
That’s the average increase.
Some homeowners are seeing 60% and 90% increases, with one resident claiming on social media they’ve been socked with a 300% hike in the value of their home.
Higher valuations are good news if you are trying to sell your house. But for others, it just means a sharp increase in property taxes you owe.
While homeowners across the metro are seeing big increases in their property values, Jackson County is seeing much larger jumps as it assesses property every two years. Kansas counties do valuations yearly.
Security in Westport is back on the agenda at City Hall this week.
Kansas City Councilman Brandon Ellington says he will introduce an ordinance abolishing civil rights monitors in the entertainment district.
It’s been a longstanding complaint of bar owners.
They say they have less money for security because they’re required to spend upwards of $200,000 a year on civil rights staffers to ensure no racial discrimination is taking place at Westport’s security checkpoints.
Longtime Westport leader Bill Nigro claims they are the only entertainment venue in Kansas City required to pay for civil rights monitors. He also contends Westport is the only place in the country that’s forced to hire civil rights monitors by government contract.
It’s a huge week in the two big professional sports that don’t have a Kansas City team.
It’s the climax of both the NBA and NHL finals.
The Denver Nuggets are one win away from lifting professional basketball’s biggest prize, the Larry O’Brien trophy. Denver has never won the NBA championship before. That could change tonight if they beat the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, in hockey the Las Vegas Golden Knights are just one game away from winning the Stanley Cup. The Knights can clinch their first championship if they beat the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
In other sports news, the U.S. Open golf tournament tees off on Thursday. It’s the first major since the PGA and LIV tours agreed to link up.
And closer to home, it’s Chiefs Day at The K.
Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid are all scheduled to appear as the Royals take on the Cincinnati Reds tonight at Kauffman Stadium.
If the Royals want a sellout, one commenter on social media suggested they ought to have Mahomes play shortstop.
The first 20,000 fans inside the ballpark will receive a free Royals-Chiefs rally towel.
While you won’t get a day off work, this Wednesday is Flag Day.
President Harry Truman established Flag Day as a national observance in 1949.
Kansas City will observe the holiday during a special ceremony featuring patriotic music at Washington Square Park, just north of Crown Center.
You can also bring your tired, tattered and faded flags to be officially retired.
Kansas City’s Flag Day observance starts Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
Kansas City “shakes” things up this week as The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival launches its 31st season.
It’s a free outdoor theater under the stars with professional actors performing. This year’s production is William Shakespeare’s tale of shipwreck, romance and magic, “The Tempest.”
It starts Tuesday night and runs through July 2 at Southmoreland Park, next to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Boulevard brewery’s big beer and music celebration returns this weekend.
For the second year, Boulevardia will be at Crown Center following its long run in the West Bottoms.
The two-day beer and music lovefest starts Friday at 4 p.m.
Boulevardia will be competing this weekend with another popular adult beverage: tequila. It’s the Tacos & Tequila Festival on Saturday at Legends Field next to the Kansas Speedway.
Big time rappers Flo Rida, Lil Jon and JA Rule are also expected to perform.
The festival promises visitors more than 100 local chef-inspired tacos, plus a Chihuahua beauty pageant and Lucha Libre wrestling.
If you’re traveling on Interstate 435 through Overland Park this week, you may encounter an odd sight: the world’s largest rubber duck.
The 61-foot-high rubber bird, which weighs 80,000 pounds, is a marketing ploy for the four-day Head Start convention getting underway at the Overland Park Convention Center.
The early childhood organization’s conference is titled, “Getting Your Ducks in a Row.”
More than 1,000 gardening pros are also coming to Overland Park.
The International Master Gardener Conference is one of the biggest gatherings of “green thumbs” ever held in the metro.
The five-day convention features internationally known speakers, including the top horticulturist at Kew Gardens in London.
The public is invited to attend the event’s free trade show featuring unique plants, the latest gardening products and nature inspired crafts.
The convention starts Sunday at the Overland Park Convention Center.
Don’t worry, you still have time to head to the shops to get a massive gift for dad!
Sunday is Father’s Day.
But according to the personal finance site, Empower.com, 33% of adult children expect to spend less on dad this year because of inflation and higher prices.
In fact, only 25% of fathers say they expect to get any gift from their children this Father’s Day.
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.