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Nick’s Picks | Masks, Statues, Chiefs and School Openings Setting the Agenda for the Week to Come

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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Kansas City’s mandatory mask order was scheduled to expire on Sunday.  But like so much else, that has abruptly changed.

Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has extended the mask order indefinitely.  Meanwhile, Platte County will come under a mask order for the first time on Thursday. 

In Kansas, a statewide mask mandate is in place until Sept. 15. But 90 of the state’s 105 counties have chosen not to comply.  Columbia, Missouri, has just approved a 90-day mask order, which means residents will still be wearing masks until Oct. 10.

Statue reviews

Will Kansas City decide to remove any more statues or monuments? And who’s making those decisions? This week a Kansas City Council committee will consider a plan to create a 12-member commission to research and make recommendations on the removal of monuments.  

According to the proposal from Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, the panel must have one member from each of the six council districts, an historian, three members representing local civil rights groups, a religious scholar and a representative of an indigenous group.

Across the country, local governments are facing calls to remove statues and rename landmarks that celebrate Confederate leaders and racist historical figures.

Chiefs renaming?

Today the Washington Redskins officially announced plans to retire the teams’s name and logo. The move follows pressure from sponsors over a nickname widely criticized as a racial slur against Native Americans.  

The Cleveland Indians also have announced the team is open to a name change. 

A number of national stories see the dominos falling far wider now with the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Chiefs being pushed to make changes. Last week, more than a dozen Natives American leaders and organizations sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking that the league stop using Native American names, images and logos.  That included a plea for the Kansas City Chiefs to change its name.

So far, there has been no public word from the Chiefs organization about plans to launch any review. The pressure will be on them this week to make some form of announcement.

Killing our children

There’s no letup in homicides in the area.

Last week we were laying to rest a 4-year-old Kansas City boy who was shot in the head while he slept.

This week, Kansas City mourns a 3-year old girl, Olivia Jansen from Kansas City, Kansas. Her father and his girlfriend have been charged with her murder. They allegedly dumped Olivia’s body near a walking trail. 


Justice can move slowly. Did you know there have been no federal executions in nearly two decades? That changes this week. 

On Wednesday, a Kansas man is scheduled to be put to death for raping and dismembering a Kansas City teenager in 1998. Wesley Purkey abducted 16-year-old Jennifer Long while she was walking home from Kansas City’s East High School. 

Reopening schools

How will Kansas City-area kids go back to school?

We get the first test of how that will work as two schools in the North Kansas City School District head back to class today. Crestview and Winnwood elementary schools operate on a year round schedule and this is their first day back since the pandemic began. 

The district is requiring masks and temperature checks. There will be no lunch break in the cafeteria. Food service will deliver meals to the students’ classrooms. 

Meanwhile, the Kansas State Board of Education meets Tuesday and Wednesday to decide how schools will reopen in Kansas.

One big concern is teachers.  Age and underlying health conditions place many teachers at high risk. And there some worries that there may not be enough staff members willing to return to the classroom amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Worlds of Fun cuts back

After reopening just a couple of weeks ago, Worlds of Fun is now scaling back operations.

If you thought about heading to the amusement park today, you’re going to be out of luck. It’s closed. Starting this week, Worlds of Fun will open only four days a week, Thursdays through Sunday.

Fringe festival

Last week we found out that there will be no Nutcracker in Kansas City this year as the Ballet, the Symphony and the Opera pulled the plug on all performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts until next year.  It was the biggest body blow yet to the Kansas City arts scene. 

But that doesn’t mean there’s no performances taking place. This week the 16th annual Kansas City Fringe Festival gets underway.  From plays, poetry, music and dance, you can see 35 different shows from the comfort of your couch. Yes, like so much else this year, it is going to be a totally virtual affair. You can get your virtual ticket at The festival runs from now through July 26.

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

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