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Nick’s Picks | Bitter Cold and Bitter Politics in the Forecast

Holiday Festivities Abound

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

Here are the cold, hard facts about this week … or should I say the “bone-chilling” facts. 

The weather is going to be one of the biggest local storylines over the next few days. 

Snow is in the forecast for today, Wednesday and Thursday.  

The National Weather Service says we could get as much as 3 inches of the white stuff by Wednesday night. But it’s going to be the teeth-chattering temperatures that have local officials worried.  

Temperatures will drop to -8 degrees on Thursday night, with wind chills making it feel like -40.  

Meanwhile, Friday’s high is expected to be 3 degrees. And I didn’t forget to add the last digit! 

The bitter cold is expected to last all the way through the start of next week, making it the coldest lead up to Christmas in Kansas City in more than 30 years. 

Festive Week Ahead 

While it may be too cold to go anywhere, there’s a lot to celebrate this week.  

The eight-day Jewish “Festival of Lights” known as Hanukkah continues this week. There seems to be more public acknowledgement of the holiday this year. 

A 12-foot-tall menorah has been erected outside of City Hall in Kansas City. And Monday at 5 p.m. it will be lit by a combination of Jewish and city leaders. 

A giant menorah has also been erected outside of Leawood City Hall. This evening at 5:30 p.m., Mayor Peggy Dunn will host a ceremonial lighting and there’ll be free Hanukkah treats. 

Also this week… 

Wednesday is the first official day of winter. Do you really need the reminder? 

Friday is Festivus, the winter holiday alternative invented by Frank Costanza on “Seinfeld.” Many folks celebrate the made-up holiday, which includes such rituals as a ceremonial aluminum pole and the “Airing of Grievances.” 

And we finally get to Christmas on Sunday. The holiday has pushed the Chiefs out of their regular timeslot. 

The team will be playing a rare Saturday game. The Chiefs host the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium at noon on Christmas Eve. 


Catching Up


January 6 Report 

The January 6 Committee meets for the last time Monday, concluding nearly two years of investigations into the 2020 attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

The panel is expected to release its final report on Wednesday. 

While there may be recommendations for more criminal prosecutions, the committee’s conclusion comes too late to translate into congressional action.  

Republicans retake control of the House in January and there’s little sign they plan to follow any recommendations from a panel they’ve criticized as illegitimate. 

New Law on Duck Boats 

This week, President Joe Biden will sign into law new safety rules for duck boats.  

It comes four years after 17 people died when a duck boat overturned on Table Rock Lake near Branson. 

For the first time, passengers will now be required to wear life jackets on the sightseeing vessels. It also forces operators to remove the boat’s canopies or alter their design, so they don’t block passengers from escaping during an emergency. 

The new rules for tourism boats were tucked inside the $858 billion defense spending bill, which also repeals COVID-19 vaccine requirements for members of the military. 

Free COVID Tests  

The Biden administration will begin shipping out another round of free COVID tests to every American household this week. 

It comes as the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations rise sharply nationwide. 

If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late. You can still get four free tests delivered to your home when you provide your name, address and email at covidtests.org. 

The tests will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. 

Less Holiday Pay, More Vacation 

We all have our favorite holiday movies. But for me, it’s “Christmas Vacation.” 

In fact, Christmas isn’t complete until I’ve seen Clark Griswold melt down when he opens his holiday bonus check only to find that it’s just a one-year subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club. 

A lot of us may be feeling that sensation this year as a growing number of companies decide to forego holiday bonuses and reward weary workers with extra days off instead. 

According to a national survey, one in four companies said they won’t offer cash bonuses this year. The study’s authors say end-of-year bonus checks are complicated by economic jitters and a new round of corporate layoffs.  

‘Titanic’ Turns 25 

Unbelievably, this week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of “Titanic.”  

The James Cameron directed film hit theaters on Dec. 19, 1997.  

Twenty-five years later, it is still counted among the greatest films of all time. 

Titanic is the third highest grossing movie in history, tied with Ben Hur (1959) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) for most Oscar awards. It won 11.  

This past April marked the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. 

World Cup 

If you’re still on a soccer high after watching Argentina defeat France in one of the greatest World Cup finals ever, there is some good news. The tournament’s next stop is Kansas City. 

Mark your calendar: Monday, June 8, 2026.  

Kansas City leaders say we can expect to see about a half dozen games played here as the tournament expands to 48 teams for the first time. 

Kansas City is the smallest market among the 16 cities set to play host in 2026. It’s also the only city in the Midwest to be picked. 

Let’s Go Bowling 

Now that the World Cup is over, it’s time to go bowling. 

It’s a rare year when all our major university football teams make it to post-season play. 

On Friday, the University of Missouri heads to Tampa for the Gasparilla Bowl. Yes, there is such a thing. Mizzou takes on Wake Forest on national television Friday night. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. 

You’ll have to wait another week to see the University of Kansas and Kansas State University in action. 

The Jayhawks play Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28. 

The Wildcats take on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Eve. 

Year in Review 

Time Magazine just named Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy it’s “Person of the Year.” 

 If you were in charge of picking Kansas City’s “Person of the Year,” who would you choose? 

Send me a note at nhaines@kansascitypbs.org. We’ll include the best answers on our “Year in Review” program this week. 

Kansas City’s top journalists and media personalities will recount the most memorable moments and newsmakers of 2022. 

The show will range from the most under-reported stories of the year to the news items we’d most like to forget. And we’ll gaze into the crystal ball to predict what you can expect in 2023 in our metro. 

It’s the Kansas City Week in Review “Year in Review” special. Watch this Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS. 

Gingerbread Village 

What has 900 eggs, 180 pounds of flour and sugar and more than 700 pounds of icing on top? 

It’s probably the largest gingerbread house you’ve ever seen in Kansas City. 

If you’re looking for a distraction this week, go to the National Museum of Toys in Kansas City.  

Bigger than just a house, it’s a giant gingerbread village with 400 different homes, businesses and attractions, including gingerbread versions of local landmarks like Crown Center’s ice rink and a Russell Stover chocolate shop.  

You can see the edible display now through Jan. 15. 

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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