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Nick’s Picks | Country Club Plaza Sale, Presidential Debate Hot Week Ahead

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

Amid growing concerns over crime and store vacancies, the Country Club Plaza gets new owners this week. 

Mired in debt, the financially struggling shopping district is being sold to a Texas company.  

The sale is finally set to close on Friday, after nearly nine months of behind-the-scenes negotiations. 

HP Village Partners operate an upscale outdoor shopping center in the Dallas area and has a strong relationship with multiple luxury retailers.  

On Friday, look for the new owners to reveal that several of those high-end brands are now coming to the Country Club Plaza. They’re also expected to announce plans for more offices and housing in the 15-block shopping district. 

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas traveled to Dallas to help recruit the company. What’s not known yet is how much public assistance was offered to secure this latest deal.  

Last Week, Reviewed

Big Debate 

Are you going to watch the big debate? 

On Thursday night, President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump face off in what will be the earliest presidential debate in the nation’s history. 

The two candidates haven’t been in the same room together since before the last election, in October 2020.  

It will not be a traditional affair.  

Biden and Trump have chosen to bypass the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has hosted the debates since 1988. Instead, both candidates opted to negotiate the format and rules directly with CNN. The 90-minute exchange will take place in CNN’s Atlanta studios, with no live audience.  

Some other changes you’ll notice: 

  • No opening statements. 
  • The candidates’ microphones will be muted when it’s not their turn to speak. 
  • And there’ll be extended commercial breaks, a first for a presidential debate. 

Most of the nation’s networks will carry the CNN debate, including PBS. Kansas City PBS will carry the debate live Thursday at 8 p.m.  

So Hot 

If you already thought it was unbearably hot, it’s about to get a whole lot hotter. 

The National Weather Service has issued a dangerous heat warning through Tuesday.  

Kansas City is flirting with 100-degree temperatures today.  

It will feel even warmer, with the heat index rising to near 108 degrees. 

The weather office is encouraging Kansas Citians to limit outdoor activities. 

World Cup Trial Run 

Kansas City gets a World Cup trial run this week as it co-hosts the 16-nation Copa America tournament.  

It’s considered a mini-World Cup and features the best soccer teams in North America and South America, from Canada to Chile. 

On Tuesday night, Children’s Mercy Park hosts a group stage match between Peru and Canada.  

Then next Monday, the United States team will be in Kansas City to play Uruguay. The game will take place at Arrowhead Stadium.  

The two matches will get lots of international TV coverage. In South America, perhaps the planet’s most soccer-crazed continent, it’s a massive deal. But will Kansas City care?  

There are reports of boatloads of seats still available for the U.S. vs. Uruguay game at Arrowhead. High ticket prices may be putting casual fans off. Currently, it will cost you $110 just to get in the door and sit in a nosebleed seat. Plus, $50 to park your car. 

With the World Cup less than two years away, the last thing Kansas City leaders want to see is a half-empty stadium when the world’s cameras are rolling. 

Country Club Plaza Saga

Other Sports News 

  • The NHL Finals will be decided tonight.  

The Edmonton Oilers are seeking to become the first Canadian team in more than 30 years to lift the Stanley Cup. The Florida Panthers are trying to avoid an epic-scale humiliation after blowing a three-game lead. 

       • The Tour de France begins Saturday 

Toll Booths Come Down 

What’s that noise? 

It’s the sound of toll booths coming down in Kansas. 

At the stroke of midnight on Sunday, you will no longer have to fumble for loose change when you travel on Interstate 70 through the Sunflower State.  

The Kansas Turnpike is going cashless. 

What does that mean? 

You’ll no longer have to stop and pick up a ticket at a tollbooth. Instead, an electronic license plate reader will track your travel and automatically send you a bill through the mail. 

Now you know why Kansas was so keen to roll out updated license plates earlier this year. 

Supreme Court 

The Supreme Court is set for an enormous week. 

Just ahead of their summer recess, the justices are set to release decisions in more than a dozen consequential cases, including a ruling on whether U.S. presidents have immunity from criminal prosecution. It could lead to the dropping of multiple criminal charges against Donald Trump. 

The Supreme Court also could potentially toss out the criminal charges used to convict hundreds of Capitol rioters.  

And look for a resolution in a local case centered on whether the government can censor social media. The Missouri attorney general sued the Biden administration claiming it coerced social media companies to silence conservative voices challenging COVID lockdowns and the coronavirus vaccine. 

The Supreme Court is expected to release its rulings on Wednesday.  

Notably, today is the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Jackson County Property Tax Assessment Trial  

Last month, a judge hit the pause button on the court trial into the Jackson County property assessment mess. Now, it’s back on. 

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has sued the county claiming officials violated state law by failing to perform physical inspections, not providing prompt and proper notice of assessments, and, in some cases, coercing homeowners to drop their appeals.  

The trial begins on Thursday at the Jackson County Courthouse. 

Pop Culture News 

This week we say happy 50th anniversary to the barcode! 

Can you imagine shopping without them?  

The first barcode was scanned 50 years ago on Wednesday, when a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum went through the check-out at a grocery store in Troy, Ohio.  

Also, this week is happy half Christmas! 

Apparently, there is such a thing.  

I’m not sure there’s a Hallmark greeting card to celebrate the occasion, but Tuesday is the six-month (or halfway point) marker before Christmas. 

Is it too early to crank up the holiday music on the radio?  

Celebrity Sightings 

Remember New Kids on the Block?  

They’re in town this week.  

NKOTB was one of the hottest bands of the mid-1980s and 1990s, even headlining the Super Bowl halftime show in 1991, a first for a pop music group. 

Now the boy band is decidedly middle-aged. Donny Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight are now in their mid-50s. But you can still recapture the spirit of your youth at Starlight Theater on Tuesday night.  

Performing with the New Kids on the Block are Grammy Award-winning singer and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. 

Lyle Lovett is also in Kansas City this week. He performs at the Uptown Theater on Friday night. And you can win some free tickets, courtesy of our sister radio station, The Bridge

And it’s a big weekend for country music. The three-day outdoor Country Stampede Festival begins Thursday at the Azura Amphitheater in Bonner Springs. 

We don’t have free tickets available for that event. But my youngest son lives in an apartment right next to the Azura Amphitheater. And they hear in full volume every single band that plays there, whether they want to or not. I’ll hook you up with his address, and you can listen along for free!

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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