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Nick’s Picks | City Hall Hack, Campus Protests and Ballot Issues Don't Forget Mother's Day

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

It looks like Kansas City has become the latest victim of online hackers. 

If you’ve been struggling to get to the kcmo.gov website this morning, you’re not alone. Kansas City’s official government website has been unavailable all weekend. 

The issue is now affecting city operations ranging from the fire department to the municipal court. 

Hearings and court trials have been canceled today. And a municipal court spokesperson has confirmed that the court’s email system is also down.  

Last month, Jackson County was hit by a ransomware attack that shut down several critical county offices for nearly two weeks. 

KC Scout, the metro’s traffic alert system has also been hit by a cyberattack, taking out traffic cameras and electronic message boards designed to alert drivers of highway hazards. Remarkably, local transportation officials say it could take months for the system to be restored. 


Last Week, Reviewed


School Election in KCK 

Did you know this Tuesday is Election Day? But only if you live in Kansas City, Kansas.  

The Kansas City, Kansas, School District is asking voters to approve a property tax hike to fix up crumbing classrooms.  

In exchange for rebuilding two middle schools and upgrades across the district, the average Kansas City Kansas homeowner would see their property tax go up about $110 a year.  

Campus Protests 

It’s graduation week for our big universities on both sides of the state line. 

But will new protests over Gaza disrupt commencement ceremonies this weekend? 

You may have seen reports over the last few days of new encampments springing up at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Kansas and University of Missouri. Will they continue? It’s unclear how much staying power they’ll have with the school year wrapping up. This is also finals week for many area college students.  

Missouri Ballot Issues 

Starting today, Missouri election workers will begin the massive task of counting and verifying nearly 1 million signatures handed in by petition gatherers around the state. 

They are for three proposed ballot questions that advocates hope to place on the November ballot. 

One would reverse Missouri’s strict abortion ban. Another asks voters to legalize sports betting. 

Getting less attention is another effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Voters enacted a $12 minimum wage law in 2018. The proposed measure would also guarantee at least some paid sick leave to Missouri workers. 

Already making its way to the November ballot is Kansas City police funding. If you thought you had already decided that issue, you are not wrong. Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered a redo of the 2022 police funding vote after ruling that the ballot language was misleading. 

Iman Alsaden, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, speaks during a signature-gathering event for Missourians for Constitutional Freedom on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Kansas City.
Iman Alsaden, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, speaks during a signature-gathering event for Missourians for Constitutional Freedom on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Kansas City. (Anna Spoerre | Missouri Independent)

Statehouse News 

 In statehouse news: 

  • Missouri lawmakers are under a constitutional requirement to pass the state budget by this Friday. Anything can happen over the next few days in Jefferson City, including new efforts to punish Kansas City for tossing out the welcome mat to migrants. Missouri’s legislative session officially ends on May 17. 
  • Kansas lawmakers have now gone home for the year, but Gov. Laura Kelly may be calling them back to work this week. We’re expecting Kelly to announce the timing of a special session to approve a scaled-down tax package. If they’re called back, lawmakers could also vote on a bold plan to publicly finance new stadiums for the Chiefs and Royals. 

Weather News 

How much weather reporting do we need? 

In an interesting local media development, KCTV5 is launching the city’s first weather-only newscast this week. 

Yep, no news, sports, fires or crime, just local weather for 30-minutes straight. Would you watch? 

The “First Warn 5 Weather Show” debuts on KCTV5 at 6:30 p.m. tonight. 

Look for other stations to follow suit. Get ready for the Travis-Swift nightly newscast, reporting only the latest sightings, rumors and fashion choices of Kansas City’s biggest power couple! 

Truman’s Birthday 

If you haven’t been to the revamped Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum since its big makeover, then this would be a great week to go.  

This Wednesday it’s free. 

The museum in Independence is dropping admission fees to mark what would have been President Truman’s 140th birthday. 

A U.S. Army team will lay a wreath at Truman’s grave during a 9 a.m. ceremony Wednesday morning. 

Prairiefire Anniversary 

Ten years ago this week, the Museum at Prairefire opened in Johnson County. 

The Overland Park attraction was to be the home of big exhibits from New York’s iconic American Museum of Natural History. But that partnership quickly faded. Since then, there have been many news reports about the museum’s financial viability. It’s increasingly being used as a venue for business meetings, weddings and events.  

But change is on the way.  

Earlier this year, it was announced that the museum will become home to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s set to open in 2025. 

The Museum at Prairiefire has also announced an expansion. Currently under construction is a new annex to house “Kansas Revealed,” a permanent exhibit highlighting the area’s plants, ecosystems and animal life. It’s set to open late next year. 

Mother’s Day 

Just in case you needed a reminder, this Sunday is Mother’s Day!  

You now have a six-day warning to pick out the perfect gift. 

This also marks the most expensive week for Nick Haines’ wallet. 

In addition to Mother’s Day, it’s my wife’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. 

And it’s also the 40th anniversary of National Teacher Appreciation Week.  

Did I forget to say my wife’s a teacher? 

I’ll see you at the store! 

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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