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Nick’s Picks | Local Elections, ‘Nichols’ Folly’ and Veterans Day The Week Ahead in Kansas City

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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

Kansas City can get back to business now that the Chiefs have wrapped up their big game in Germany. Most of the city’s top political, civic and sports leaders have been in Frankfurt for the better part of a week.  

Mayor Quinton Lucas and about three dozen other Kansas City officials are expected to arrive back in town later today.  

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also joined the trip, which was labeled a “trade mission” to Germany. 

Lucas insists taxpayers didn’t pick up the travel bill. He says it was bankrolled by Bayer, the German-based drug maker that has a plant in Kansas City making agricultural chemicals.  

A press release from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce says the delegation met with German business executives while in Frankfurt. They also attended several receptions with German officials, toured a 14th-century castle and took a river cruise. 

Veterans Day Closures 

It’s going to be a four-day week for many Kansas Citians as America observes Veterans Day on Friday. 

State and federal buildings will be closed, as will banks and post offices. There will be no mail delivery. 

Most local government offices will also be closed on Friday, including City Hall in Kansas City and county offices in Johnson County.  

Election Day on Tuesday 

While national and global issues get more attention, unresolved local concerns will be front and center as Kansas Citians head to the polls this week. 

Election Day is Tuesday. 

In Kansas, scores of local school board and council seats are up for grabs. 

Leawood, Lenexa and Shawnee are picking new mayors.  

From Blue Valley to Leavenworth the teaching of race and gender in the classroom is dividing candidates in contentious school board races. 

Sharp divides over affordable housing and zoning laws are heating up council races in Prairie Village.  

In Missouri, Kansas City voters will be deciding whether to renew a sales tax that funds the bus service. Improving 9-1-1 response is on the ballot in Clay County and Jackson County voters are being asked to approve an online sales tax to help fund homeless programs and infrastructure projects. 

We track what’s at stake on this pre-election edition of Week in Review. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Presidential Debate 

The third Republican presidential debate is Wednesday night in Miami. 

Former President Donald Trump is expected to be a no-show again. He did not attend the first two debates, saying he saw no point given his large polling lead. 

This week’s debate stage will be slimmed down even further with the departure of former Vice President Mike Pence, who quit the race last week. 

A lackluster debate performance on Wednesday night will put pressure on other low-polling candidates to drop out of the race. 

Nichols' Folly logo

Country Club Plaza Documentary 

A new documentary on the Country Club Plaza premieres this week on Kansas City PBS. 

The historic shopping district is marking its 100th birthday this year amid ongoing uncertainty about its future.  

The film called “Nichols’ Folly” tracks the early origins of the Plaza, along with more contemporary squabbles over high-rise development, retail vacancies and racial protests. 

The documentary airs on Kansas City PBS this Thursday at 7 p.m. 

If you can’t wait until then, you can join us at a pre-screening tonight at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It starts at 6 p.m. and includes a discussion with several experts featured in the film. 

UAW Strike 

Voting continues this week at dozens of car plants around the country, as United Auto Workers decide whether to accept new labor agreements with the Big 3 Detroit automakers. 

While many plants have ended their strike, a final deal has yet to be ratified.  

The tentative agreement offers a 25% pay bump for workers. It also spells out billions of dollars in new investment at car plants, including in Kansas City. 

If the final deal is approved, GM is committing $391 million to retool its Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas, so it can assemble the company’s latest line of electric vehicles. 

Ford is promising a $1 billion investment at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo. 

Voting by Ford’s 57,000 union members will continue through Nov. 17. 

Six Flags Over KC 

We expect to hear more this week about what changes we can expect at Worlds of Fun, now that Kansas City’s largest amusement park is about to be taken over by Six Flags. 

Cedar Fair, which owns Worlds of Fun, announced the theme park mega-merger late last week. 

The deal won’t be finalized until the first half of next year, so guests won’t see any immediate changes. 

A Cedar Fair spokesperson insists no name change is planned. 

KCI Under New Management 

Kansas City International airport is now under new management. Melissa Cooper begins work today as the city’s new Aviation Director. She is the first woman to lead the department.  

Cooper started at KCI more than 25 years ago as a customer service representative. She would later run Wheeler Downtown Airport, before being promoted to deputy aviation director two years ago. 

She succeeds Pat Klein, who retired in May after overseeing the design and construction of Kansas City’s new $1.5 billion airport terminal. 

Babs Book 

Are you a Barbra Streisand fan?  

She’s been out of the spotlight for years, but this week the reclusive superstar roars back into the headlines as she releases her first memoir.  

“My Name is Barbra” has been a long time coming. Streisand’s new tell-all will be released on Tuesday with a press run of 1 million copies. Now aged 81, she’s got a lot to talk about. The book weighs in at over 1,000 pages and is priced at an eye-popping $47. 

Before Taylor Swift came along, the Los Angeles Times hailed Streisand as the “most influential female vocalist” of all time.  

Monty Python Star in KC 

Some view him as a living comedy legend. And now he’s in Kansas City. 

Former “Monty Python” and “Fawlty Towers” star John Cleese takes the stage Thursday night at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  

Kauffman’s website describes Cleese as a one of the “world’s funniest entertainers” and “comedy royalty,” but if you’re easily offended, you may want to look for another place to amuse yourself.  

Over the last couple of years, Cleese has been an outspoken critic of cancel culture and has blasted “woke” politics for destroying comedy. 

Cleese isn’t the only comedian in town this week. Actor and stand-up comic Chris Tucker performs at the Music Hall on Wednesday night.  

Comic actor and “Ted Lasso” star Jason Sudeikis hosts the 7th annual THUNDERGONG! charity show at the Uptown Theater on Saturday night. Will Forte will join the show along with Ted Lasso cast members Brendan Hunt, Sam Richardson and Hannah Waddingham. 

THUNDERGONG! helps the Steps of Faith Foundation, a nonprofit that provides prosthetic limbs for amputees.  

Sports News 

We’ve just freed up some time for you this weekend. 

After Sunday’s win against the Dolphins in Germany, you and the Chiefs now get to take a big break. 

This is a bye week.  

The Chiefs won’t play again until Nov. 20, when they host the Philadelphia Eagles in a Super Bowl rematch on “Monday Night Football.” 

Meanwhile, Sporting KC’s improbable playoff run continues. 

This week, they’re one step closer to raising the MLS Cup after defeating St. Louis over the weekend.  

Up next for Sporting: The Western Conference Semi-Finals against either the Houston Dynamo or Real Salt Lake at the end of the month. 

And college basketball is finally back. 

Our big three local teams tip off the season tonight, with KU taking on North Carolina Central, K-State facing USC and Mizzou with a season opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. 

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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