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Nick’s Picks | KC Awakens to a Brutal Chiefs Hangover

Second Half Collapse Ends Season With No Super Bowl

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

Will there be a higher number of Kansas Citians calling in sick today?

Not with COVID, but with “Chiefs fever?”

The Chiefs heartbreaking overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals put an end to Kansas City’s Super Bowl hopes for another year. 

But in this time of great divides, can you think of anything that has been more unifying in Kansas City than the Chiefs over these last few months?

During their last game, 90% of the local television market was tuned to the Chiefs. 

How often does that happen?

Chiefs flag waves in Arrowhead Stadium.
The Kansas City Cheifs host the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. (Courtesy | Kansas City Chiefs)

Winter Olympics

If you’re looking for a new distraction, might you find it in the Olympics?

The Winter Games begin this week in Beijing.

Opening ceremonies are this Friday. Given the time difference between China and Kansas City, you’ll have to get up at 7:30 a.m. to watch them live.  But you can watch the highlights Friday evening on NBC. 

Beijing is the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympic games. But there won’t be many spectators in the stands. No public tickets have been made available for sale and outside of the athletes and their coaches, no international visitors are permitted to attend.

Heavy Weather

It could top 60 degrees in Kansas City today. But keep your eye on the sky, a large winter storm is making its way to the metro. 

While local TV forecasters are already preparing Kansas Citians for more than 6 inches of snow, the National Weather Service says it’s too early to be talking accumulation totals.

What we do know is that some significant snow, sleet and freezing rain is possible, starting Tuesday night through Thursday. 

This is your heads up that it could disrupt your commute and other plans. The latest forecast calls for the first flakes to start falling tomorrow night around 8 p.m.

`Slicing and Dicing Congressional Maps

All eyes will be on Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly this week to see if she vetoes new congressional maps that move Lawrence into the same district as western Kansas and cuts Wyandotte County in half, making it tougher for U.S. Rep Sharice Davids to win reelection. 

Even if Kelly does wield her veto pen, Republicans believe they have the votes to override her.

But they have virtually no margin for error, and there’s still a threat the new maps will end up in court. One lawsuit has already been drawn up on the grounds that the maps dilute minority voters in Wyandotte County.

Meanwhile, redistricting is still not settled in Missouri. 

This week, a group of hardline conservatives are expected to make a last ditch effort to reconfigure Kansas City U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s district. But several statehouse watchers say the votes simply aren’t there to make that happen.

Kansas Courts ‘Mystery’ Company

In the last couple of years, there’s been substantial pushback against local and state governments offering massive tax incentives to wealthy companies to relocate their businesses.

So should Kansas now be offering the granddaddy of all tax incentives to a company they refuse to name and to a place they refuse to reveal?

Welcome to the big Kansas mystery!

Despite the lack of details, the Kansas Senate has already greenlighted the tax incentive package to an undisclosed major company that is promising to build the largest building in Kansas. 

This week, the Kansas House will weigh in on what would be the largest incentive program in state history. 

Should they chase what Kansas economic development officials are calling a $4 billion advanced factory that would create 4,000 permanent jobs? 

Kansas is shortlisted as one of two sites for the “mystery” company.

State officials have signed non-disclosure agreements, which means they can’t say what the company is. But they have confirmed that it’s not Boeing and that the other state in the running is not Missouri. 

Experts tell The Kansas City Star that the numbers point to a new electric vehicle, battery or microchip plant.


Catching Up


Tax Breaks for Filmmakers 

Missouri lawmakers are also considering tax incentives this week, but for a different reason.

A Missouri Senate panel will consider restoring tax incentives for filmmakers.

The last statewide film incentive ended in 2013. 

That was also the last time a major studio filmed a movie in the state. By the way, that was “Gone Girl,” which was set near Cape Girardeau.

This latest bill would provide filmmakers a tax credit of up to 20% of the expenses associated with their project. The incentive would also be extended to TV and streaming service producers willing to stage their episodic “binge-watching” series in the state.

Compensating Prison Exonerees

The Missouri House takes up two separate bills this week to expand compensation for wrongfully incarcerated prisoners.

The legislative action follows the recent release of Kevin Strickland, who spent more than 40 years in a Missouri prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Strickland received no state compensation for the years he lost behind bars. Right now, Missouri law only allows payments to ex-prisoners exonerated through DNA evidence. 

These latest measures would expand eligibility to those exonerated through other means.

If the law was in effect when Strickland was released, he would have been entitled to more than $1.5 million from the state. It’s unclear if it will apply retroactively to those already released.

Dole Burial at Arlington

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole will finally be laid to rest this week during a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Dole will be buried with military honors on Wednesday with about 100 family members and former colleagues expected to attend.

Vaccine Mandate for Health Workers

The Supreme Court may have blocked vaccine mandates for companies that employ more than 100 workers, but a vaccine mandate for health workers kicks in this week.

While the requirement is welcomed by some, others fear it will worsen already serious staffing shortages in metro area hospitals and nursing homes.

 Currently, Missouri has the lowest vaccination rate for nursing home staff in the country. 

Facing an exodus of staff, one Missouri elder care facility has already announced it will close.

Cedarcrest Manor in the eastern Missouri city of Washington was already struggling to maintain staffing levels at the 177-bed facility.

Jackie Robinson Marker Coming to KC

A vandalized historic marker that stood outside the childhood home of baseball legend Jackie Robinson is now headed to Kansas City.

It had been erected outside of the small home in southern Georgia back in 2001. 

But rather than celebrating Robinson’s role as a pioneer in the integration of Major League Baseball, the marker was the repeated target of vandals.

The bullet damaged sign will now be installed inside the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

The museum said the marker will serve as a reminder of the racial issues that America still faces today.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. (Courtesy | Kerry Rounds)

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year begins tonight. 

The Year of the Tiger will be celebrated around the world with fireworks, lantern displays and parades.

In Chinese culture, people born in tiger years are thought to possess some of the qualities of the animal itself, including being courageous and assertive, daring and generous.

If you happen to be in China, you would be getting seven days off work. It’s a weeklong public holiday.

In addition to those celebrations you’ll also see lots of festivities in London this week as Queen Elizabeth II marks 70 years on the throne.

At 95, Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Part of the celebration is a Platinum Party — a live concert from Buckingham Palace, featuring some of the world’s biggest entertainers on Sunday night.

Will COVID Cancel Elton John?

Will COVID sideline the Rocket Man’s visit to KC this week? 

Elton John is scheduled to play T-Mobile Center Tuesday night. But he’s been canceling shows after testing positive for the virus.

Also in town this week is Gabriel Iglesias, the popular stand-up comedian known more affectionately as “Fluffy.” He plays Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence on Thursday night.

And Sherlock Holmes is making a rare trip to Kansas City this week. The Kansas City’s Repertory Theatre’s latest take on the famous British sleuth is worth noting, because in this production Holmes is a woman. 

“Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson” begins a three-week run at The Rep’s Copaken Stage starting Tuesday evening.

Nick Haines dissects the week’s most impactful local news stories, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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