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Nick’s Picks: J.C. Nichols Naming Debate Tops News for the Week Ahead Start Making Plans for Juneteenth and Father's Day

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

Starting today, Missouri drops all of its state-level social distancing requirements. There are no longer any limitations on how many people can be in a business or gather outdoors. Though you will see less of a change in the Kansas City area. Gov. Mike Parson says local governments can still impose their own restrictions. 

“At some point, government has to get out of the way and let people live their lives and regulate their own selves,” Parson said at a press briefing. “We are at that time in the state of Missouri.”

Museums Reopening

On Tuesday, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum will reopen. The 18th and Vine attractions have been closed since March 14. 

Both museums are reopening with shortened hours and visitors will have to reserve times online to avoid overcrowding.

J.C. Nichols Fountain 

Is the name J.C. Nichols about to be toppled from one of Kansas City’s best known landmarks? 

This Thursday, the Kansas City Parks Board will hold the first of two public hearings to discuss the renaming of the J.C. Nichols Fountain and J.C. Nichols Parkway, on the east edge of the Country Club Plaza. Nichols was a renowned developer who also pioneered restrictive deeds that blocked people of color from moving into his subdivisions.  

One proposal being discussed is to rename the J.C. Nichols Fountain the Dream Fountain. J.C. Nichols Parkway would be renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. 

How do you feel? 

You have a chance to weigh in this Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. A second meeting is scheduled for June 24 at 2 p.m. It will be a virtual meeting. Details have not yet been released.

You can also go online now and weigh in.

Protest Immunity 

This Thursday, the Kansas City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance that would shield hundreds of arrested protesters from criminal prosecution. If approved, it would bar city prosecutors from bringing charges against demonstrators, unless there’s evidence they damaged property or caused acts of violence.


Another word you will hear a lot this week is Juneteenth. Happening Friday, it is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  The term comes from a contraction of the words June and nineteenth.

While there’s been an annual Juneteenth Celebration in the 18th & Vine District since at least 1980, the holiday is gaining momentum amid nationwide protests over racial injustice.  Scores of big companies from Nike to Twitter are now giving their employees the day off. 

A growing list of Kansas City businesses are following their lead, including right here at Kansas City PBS, where President Kliff Kuehl has declared Juneteenth a paid holiday, encouraging staff “to take this time for listening, reflection, education, and civic engagement.”

By the way, COVID-19 has forced Kansas City’s Juneteenth celebration online. But you can find the details about workshops, performances and engagement opportunities at


Words you will hear this week: hot, windy, gusty, dry, heat wave, sweat factor, sunscreen, hydrate, A/C, fans, stay cool.  And don’t forget the summer solstice arrives Saturday marking the longest daylight of the year. 

USS Kansas City

We may be as far away from the ocean as you can be in America, but that is not stopping Kansas City from getting its own naval ship. After years of construction and months of field testing, the USS Kansas City officially joins the Navy on Saturday.  With no room on the Missouri River, Kansas City’s namesake warship will its home in San Diego. 

This is actually the second naval ship to carry the name USS Kansas City. The first was a replenishment oiler that served during the Vietnam War and was decommissioned in 1994.

The Tempest

This week, lovers of Shakespeare would have been gathering under the trees at a shaded park next to the Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art for the annual Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. This year’s play was appropriately called “The Tempest.” 

Well a viral tempest has put a stop to that.  Like so many other events it has been canceled. Also canceled, Kansas City’s annual celebration of beer. This year’s Boulevardia was set to get underway on Friday. More social casualties of coronavirus.

Father’s Day

Here’s an opportunity to raise a glass.  A gentle reminder, if one was even needed, that Sunday is Father’s Day. 

Don’t forget to make a call, a text, a TikTok video to honor your dad.  

Some people call it the forgotten holiday.  A recent survey claims we spend more than $100 on Mother’s Day, but less than $20 on Father’s Day. And even more painfully, 32% of dads say their kids have completely forgotten about Father’s Day at least once.

My youngest son tells me he gives me a Father’s Day gift every week. Since the pandemic hit, he’s using his nifty electric trimmers to cut my hair in the backyard. And all for free. Aren’t I lucky?

Nick Haines tracks the week’s local news Friday 7:30 p.m. on KCPT’s primetime public affairs program, “Kansas City Week in Review.”

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