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Nick’s Picks | Election Day 2022, Lunar Eclipse and Veterans Day

Big Week Ahead

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

Tuesday is Election Day.

Voters on both sides of the state line will be deciding the U.S. Senate and House of Representative races that could shift the balance of power in Washington.

In Kansas, voters are deciding a tight gubernatorial race. In Missouri, a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana is on the ballot, alongside a statewide question related to Kansas City police funding.

Polling stations open on Tuesday at 6 a.m. in Missouri, an hour later in Kansas. They will remain open until 7 p.m. in both states. 

If you’re anxious for the results, prepare yourself for the possibility that some of these close races could take days to decide. 

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office just sent out a news release with a reminder that state law allows mail-in ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day. That means thousands of ballots won’t be counted until Friday. 

And let’s not forget how legal challenges could slow things down even more. Across the country, more than 100 lawsuits have already been filed targeting everything from the rules for early voting to the counting of mismarked absentee ballots. 

If you get the impression everyone is voting, you may be surprised by Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s latest projection on election turnout, based on current registration and early voting trends. 

His prediction? 53% of Kansans are heading to the polls. 

That’s a noticeable drop from the last off-year election in 2018, when more than 56% of voters cast ballots. And it’s way down from the more than 70% of Kansans who voted during the 2020 presidential election. 

By the way, on our Kansas City PBS program “Week in Review” we took our viewers on a whirlwind tour of all the issues and questions on the ballot.

 It could be helpful if you’re still puzzled about what you’re voting on. 

You can check it out at our On The Ballot web page

While there, you can also see debates between the candidates in almost all the major local races.


Catching Up


Lunar Eclipse

Skywatchers will be treated to a spectacular astronomical show on Election Day. 

It’s the last total lunar eclipse until 2025.

And you won’t need any special equipment to see it.

Known as a blood moon, the sky will appear a reddish-orange. The only catch is you’ll have to get up extra early on Election Day to see it.

The total lunar eclipse begins at 4:16 a.m. and is expected to last about 90 minutes. That means you can still catch the tail end of the light show if you’re up by 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

Veterans Day

Liberty Memorial
Liberty Memorial. (Courtesy | National World War I Museum and Memorial)

This will be a four-day week for many Kansas Citians.

This Friday is Veterans Day. That means most government offices will be closed and there will be no mail.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial is hosting a Veterans Day ceremony starting at 10 a.m. on Friday and the museum is free for all veterans and active duty military.  It’s half-price admission for everyone else all-weekend long.

If traveling downtown is a trip too far for you, Overland Park is getting a jumpstart on Veterans Day with a free family event at the former Sprint Campus. It’s this Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features military bands, an air force flyover, booths, swag and tours of an army helicopter and other combat equipment.  

College Hoops 

College basketball makes its long-awaited return this week.

KU, Mizzou and K-State all play their first regular season games tonight.

The Jayhawks will be playing without their head coach.

Bill Self has been suspended for four games by the University of Kansas. It’s being viewed as a self-imposed, pre-emptive punishment to avoid an even harsher penalty from NCAA officials. 

The college sports body is investigating KU for cheating. It’s alleged that Self and other members of the KU basketball program made illicit payments to players.

Respiratory Threats

Health officials are warning that this could be a rough week for our area hospitals. They’re battling a triple threat of infections, and it’s not just lingering COVID cases. It now includes other respiratory infections and a growing number of patients coming down with the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu hospitalization rates are currently at their highest since 2010.

Children’s Mercy Hospital is getting slammed.

Last week, the hospital was treating 250 children with the flu, up from 53 kids the week before. 

Emergency departments and urgent care centers around the metro are also reporting long wait times.

Thanksgiving Day Travel

Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away. And if you have travel plans, are they about to be disrupted?

Pilots at two of the biggest airlines are threatening to walk off the job. 

United and Delta pilots say they’re frustrated with pay and benefits as they work record overtime.

About 15,000 Delta pilots recently voted in favor of going on strike if a new contract agreement isn’t met.

There is some good news on the travel front. At a time when prices are rising everywhere, the TSA is lowering the cost for its precheck program ahead of the holiday travel season. 

Starting this week, you can avoid long security lines at the airport for $78. That’s a $7 savings.

Cerner Move

This week, we’ll be watching to see if there are any takers for Cerner Corp.’s long-time world headquarters facility. 

The company just announced its abandoning its corporate home in North Kansas City and other facilities, just weeks after being bought by tech giant Oracle. Cerner will shoehorn its remaining staff into its south Kansas City campus, on the site of the former Bannister Mall. 

Given that Cerner is Kansas City’s largest private employer, I was expecting this was going to be an explosive announcement with lots of horror-filled words and sobbing. But I’ve been surprised that the news has been met, largely, with a collective shrug. 

Even the mayor of North Kansas City, who only found out about the announcement on social media, said he’s not shocked by the news and is optimistic they would find someone else to make use of Cerner’s old facility.

Most Cerner employees are still working from home, more than two years after the start of the COVID pandemic.

The former Cerner Corp. headquarters in North Kansas City.
The former Cerner Corp. headquarters in North Kansas City. (File Photo: Elana Gordon | KCUR)

Rockhurst History

This week, Rockhurst University will be making news as it officially inaugurates its first ever lay person and first female leader in its history.

The more than 100-year-old school has been led by Catholic priests since its opening in 1910.

The new president is Sandra Cassady, a vice president and dean at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. 

She succeeds Father Tom Curran, who has led Rockhurst since 2006.

Biggest Jackpot Ever 

Bought a Powerball ticket yet?

The jackpot for tonight’s drawing is a record $1.9 billion.

The Powerball prize hasn’t been won in more than three months.

While the unfathomably large pot of money is encouraging more people to buy tickets, please remember that your odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. In other words, you’re more likely to be killed by a vending machine.

Paying for Twitter

If you want to keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, you’re going to have to part with some cash starting this week. 

Twitter is expected to roll out its $8 a month subscription plan on Wednesday.

It’s the latest change from Elon Musk, who now owns the social media company.

Musk has already moved forward with plans to cut 50% of the company’s workforce to save money. 

Thousands of employees were informed they were being let go, via email.

Meanwhile, Facebook is also expected to announce big layoffs this week. There are reports in the business press of thousands of employees losing their positions in what would amount to the company’s most significant job cuts since it was founded in 2004.

Jason Sudeikis Returns

He’s a big deal in Hollywood, but he’s an even bigger deal around here.

“Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis returns home to Kansas City this week to host the 2022 edition of Thundergong!. The annual benefit event is this Saturday night at the Uptown Theater. Proceeds go to the Steps of Faith Foundation, which provides free prosthetic limbs for amputees.

Sudeikis will be joined by several other “Ted Lasso” cast members including Will Forte and Brendan Hunt. 

Comedian Fred Armisen and country music star Wynonna will also make appearances.

They’re not the only big stars in town this week.

George Winston is at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night.

Crystal Gayle is at the Ameristar Casino on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Rufus Wainwright plays alongside the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center.

And Carrie Underwood takes the stage at T-Mobile Center on Sunday.

Jason Sudeikis speaks into a microphone aboard the KC streetcar.
Jason Sudeikis live on-air for the 2019 THUNDERGONG! 90.9 The Bridge takeover aboard the KC Streetcar. (Clarence Dennis)

Christmas Season

We may be starting the second week of November, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.

The ice rink outside of Crown Center just opened for its 50th season. And just a few yards away, the mayor’s Christmas tree has just been lifted into place, though it won’t be formally lit until the week of Thanksgiving.

And this week, you can also drive through more than a mile of holiday lights, as part of the Kansas City Parks Department’s “Winter Magic” fundraiser. After several seasons in Swope Park, this year’s light show moves to Cliff Drive in Kessler Park. It’s open 6 p.m. every night through Jan. 1.

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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