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Nick’s Picks | Farewell to a Former Mayor, Halloween and the Midterm Election A Look at the Week Ahead, Before it Happens

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

Funeral services are this week for former Kansas City Mayor Charles B. Wheeler.

Former Kansas City Mayor Charles B. Wheeler.
Former Kansas City Mayor Charles B. Wheeler.

Wheeler led Kansas City during a period of explosive growth in the 1970s.

Kansas City International Airport, Crown Center, the Truman Sports Complex, Kemper Arena, Bartle Hall and Worlds of Fun all opened during his two terms in office that ended in 1979.

Current Mayor Quinton Lucas will eulogize Wheeler at his funeral on Saturday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 40th and Main streets.

Mayor Wheeler was 96 years old and had been living in a nursing home in Overland Park,

Cancel the Parade

I’m sure more than a few Kansas Citians were hoping for a big downtown parade this week to celebrate Kansas City’s newest professional sports champion. 

Alas, it was not meant to be.

The KC Current came up short over the weekend in their quest to win the biggest prize in women’s soccer. The Current lost 2-0 against the Portland Thorns in the final of the National Women’s Soccer League Championship. 

But the Current’s strong showing in front of a nationally televised audience should help boost season ticket sales at its new stadium now going up on the Kansas City riverfront. 

It will be the first American stadium built exclusively for women’s soccer. 

It opens in 2024.

New Royals Manager

The Kansas City Royals have a new manager.

A Thursday morning news conference has been scheduled at Kauffman Stadium to formally welcome Tampa Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro to Kansas City.

Quatraro replaces Mike Matheny, who was fired after the Royals went 65-97 this season and finished in last place in the American League Central division. 

The Royals have not made the playoffs since their 2015 World Series championship.

Trick or Treat?

Halloween has finally arrived. But will you be handing out candy tonight? 

It seems like a lot of Kansas Citians are skipping a trip to the candy aisle. 

The economic squeeze is having an impact. The National Retail Federation says one in three Americans have no plans to give out treats this year. 

And has answering the door on Halloween become akin to watching a televised TV awards show? You barely recognize any of the characters.

According to surveys, some of the most popular costumes for kids this year are characters from the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things” and the new crop of movie super heroes, including Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

But traditionalists should be relieved to know that, according to Google search data, the most popular costume for kids in Kansas this year is a fairy. In Missouri, it’s a witch.

Prepping for Election Day

Forget about Halloween, with just a week to go before the midterms, we’re prepping for Election Day around here.

After hosting nearly a dozen candidate debates on both sides of the state line, we now turn our sights to the eye-popping number of issues on the ballot

This Friday night on Kansas City PBS, we present your “Handy Dandy Guide to Election Day.”

We dissect all the questions on the Kansas and Missouri ballots, look at the races we’ve missed and the trends we need to pay attention to on Election Day. Will you join me?

It’s our Kansas City Week in Review “Pre-Election Edition” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on KCPBS.

On the Ballot

New Round of Sickness

You may notice a few more absences around the workplace this week. Not because of Halloween but because of the flu.

Influenza is hitting the United States both early and extra hard this year, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 

Health experts estimate this year’s flu season will be the worst they’ve seen since 2009, when swine flu hit. 

Last week, an Olathe elementary school closed for several days after nearly 150 students and staff got sick.

Clearwater Creek Elementary is scheduled to reopen today.

Slavery Reparations

At City Hall this week, the Kansas City Council is expected to take up the issue of providing cash payments to Black residents to make up for the historic wrongs of slavery and segregation.

On the agenda tomorrow is a resolution sponsored by Councilmember Melissa Robinson that calls for establishing a new “Mayor’s Commission on Reparations” within 90 days.

Last summer, Mayor Quinton Lucas joined with a group of 11 U.S. mayors pledging to support a pilot reparations program aimed at reducing the racial wealth gap in the country’s biggest cities.

In National News…

Affirmative Action: Four months after overturning the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of affirmative action this week. 

Today the court will consider whether universities can use race in their admission decisions.

Harvard and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are at the center of the case. Lawsuits were filed against both schools for giving preference to minority students. It’s argued that practice violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing equal protection under the law.

The court’s ruling could have widespread implications for colleges and universities across Kansas and Missouri.

Interest Rate Hike: The Federal Reserve is signaling another interest rate hike this week. That decision is expected on Wednesday afternoon after a meeting of the Fed’s Open Market Committee.

Skyrocketing interest rates are already having a huge impact on borrowers in Kansas City.

Mortgage rates have more than doubled this year. 

Here’s a stat that drives that home:  Today, a $300,000 mortgage will cost you $710 more a month than if you’d secured that loan in January.

World Series: Major League Baseball this week will crown its World Series champion. 

The Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros are currently tied one game apiece. 

The seven game series could be decided as early as Wednesday night. 

Plaza Hole Still Unfilled

It’s been six months since Nordstrom announced it was ditching plans to move to Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza.  But there’s still no word on what will happen to the gaping hole the department store left behind on the Plaza’s west edge.

For months now there’s been speculation that Target or Dillard’s would move into the spot. But Plaza management have yet to confirm that.

Now Nordstrom is announcing expansion plans elsewhere in the metro.

The upscale retailer says it will open a second Nordstrom Rack store at 119th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.

It’s scheduled to open in the fall of next year.

There has been no activity at the proposed Nordstrom site at the Plaza since demolition was completed in 2019. Industry sources say a Fall 2023 completion is unrealistic.
There has been no activity at the proposed Nordstrom site at the Plaza since demolition was completed in 2019. (Kevin Collison | CityScene)

New Water Park

Blue Springs is making a splash.

This Thursday the city breaks ground on a $36 million water park, featuring a surf simulator, wave ball pool, lazy river, a Ninja water course and a slide tower. 

It opens in May 2024. 

Funding comes from a parks tax that was renewed in 2021. 

Immersive Art Exhibit

Why go to a museum or art gallery when you can get better selfies and Instagram pics in a virtual art exhibit?

That may be the appeal to the hordes of people now frequenting these tech-centric, projection-based exhibits now flooding Kansas City.

The latest digital projection show is “Monet & Friends Alive,” and it’s coming to Starlight Theatre tomorrow.

You can be surrounded by the best known works of Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and other impressionist painters.

I think this may be the last time I mention the opening of one of these immersive “multi-sensory” shows, especially now that they’re popping up faster than new Whataburger stores.

But you can see “Monet & Friends Alive” through Dec. 31 at Starlight.

Whiskey Festival

Almost every weekend during the warm weather months there’s a festival going on somewhere around Kansas City.

But at this time of the year, the festival calendar has pretty much dried up.

With one exception.

This weekend whiskey lovers unite at the Weston Whiskey Festival. 

The historic town north of Kansas City is giving you a chance to sample whiskeys from all around the world with hundreds of whiskey nerds from around the metro.

Weston is also home to the McCormick Distilling Co., the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi River. It opened in 1856. You can sample the local spirit during a 90-minute tour.

The Weston Whiskey Festival is this Saturday.

Whiskey History

Netflix Changes

As nearly two out of every three Americans pay for Netflix, we wanted to let you know about a big change to the subscription service coming this week.

This Thursday, the TV and movie streaming service is launching a $6.99 plan the company hopes will halt the growing exodus of customers balking at paying its more than $15 monthly charge.

But there is a catch. For the first time you’ll have to sit through lots of ads, just like watching regular commercial TV. There will be four to five minutes of commercials every hour. 

Would that be worth it to you to save nearly $10 a month? Or will you instead just beg a friend or family member for their password so you can log on for free? That’s just one of the other pesky problems Netflix is now trying to solve.

Clock Change

It’s about to get dark really early. 

Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. 

That means you should turn your clocks back an hour before you head to bed on Saturday night.

While we’ll get an extra hour of sleep, it also means you’ll be watching the sunset from your office window and commuting home in the dark.

But did you know it’s possible this is one of the last times clocks fall back.

Back in March, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill to make Daylight Saving Time a year-round thing.

To become law, the bill would next have to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives and then get President Joe Biden’s signature.

If it does become law, the bill would not take effect until November 2023. 

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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