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Nick’s Picks | Midterm Election Season Heats Up This Week On the Ballot

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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The first votes of the midterm election will be cast this week. 

Advanced voting begins in Kansas on Wednesday, though local election boards get to set the timetable of when they start.

If you live in Johnson County, in-person advanced voting begins on Saturday

If you live in Wyandotte County, you’ll have to wait until next Monday to cast your early ballot.

If you’ve been thinking about voting but haven’t yet registered, you have until this Tuesday at 5 p.m. to fill in the paperwork

If you live in Missouri, you’re too late. The deadline to register to vote was last week.

Davids vs. Adkins Debate

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids and her Republican opponent Amanda Adkins will be at Kansas City PBS studios this week as we present the Kansas 3rd District congressional debate.

The Cook Political Report claims it’s one of the most competitive races in the country

A recent redrawing of the political map has made the district less favorable to Democrats. But the race is currently listed as a “toss-up” with either party having a good chance of winning. 

Does Davids deserve two more years in Washington? Or should former Cerner Corp. executive Amanda Adkins get a shot of representing the Kansas district? 

You decide. We’re partnering with the Shawnee Mission Post and KCUR news to bring you this hour-long exchange.

You can watch Friday night at 7:30 on Kansas City PBS.

Catching Up

Mike Pence in Kansas

We might not be getting high-profile visits from President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump this election year, but some other big political names have been hitting the local campaign trail.

Last week it was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz rallying for Republican candidates in Kansas and Missouri. This week, former Vice President Mike Pence will swing through our area.

He’ll be in Kansas on Friday. 

Pence is headlining a campaign rally in Wichita for Derek Schmidt, the Republican candidate for Kansas governor.

Artful Presidency

Former President George W. Bush will be in Kansas City this week, or at least his artwork will. 

More than 60 of Bush’s oil paintings will be on display as part of a new traveling exhibit at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence.

Portraits of Courage,” tells the stories of U.S. military members who have served the country since 9/11 and who Bush has come to know personally since leaving office.

The exhibit is free to veterans and active military. It runs through December 31.

Four Portraits of Courage paintings.
More than 60 of former President George W. Bush’s oil paintings will be on display as part of a new traveling exhibit at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence. (Courtesy | Truman Presidential Library and Museum)

KC School Closings 

Two Kansas City high schools and eight elementary schools could close as early as next fall. That’s the latest recommendation in a consultant’s report looking into declining enrollment in the Kansas City Public Schools. 

This week you can voice your opinion. The district is hosting three public hearings on the proposed closures, which would include shuttering or finding new uses for Central and Northeast high schools. 

The first hearing is tonight at 6 p.m. at Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St.  District organizers say meals and childcare are being provided.

If tonight doesn’t work, you have another opportunity to weigh in on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Central High School, 3221 Indiana Ave.

A virtual Zoom meeting is scheduled for Thursday night. You can get the details on the school district’s website.

Police Chief Search

Will this be the week we finally learn who wants to be Kansas City’s next top cop? 

It’s been six months now since Rick Smith stepped down as Kansas City police chief, but the search for his successor is igniting tensions. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and several other civic groups recently sent a joint letter to the Board of Police Commissioners expressing alarm that the public is being shut out of the selection process.

This week, the police board is scheduled to interview six candidates for the job. But they have not revealed who applied. One police board member says they will hold forums with the public once they’ve narrowed their search to three finalists.

Blast of Winter

After weeks of unseasonably warm weather, we’re about to experience our first blast of winter.

Temperatures are going to plunge below freezing over the next couple of days.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a low of 25 degrees on Tuesday morning and a low of 23 degrees on Wednesday morning.

The icy blast won’t last long. We’re expected to return to daytime highs in the 80s by Friday.

Heating Bills 

We’re all experiencing sticker shock these days, with rising prices at the gas pump to the grocery store. But are we about to get an even bigger shock when we see our winter heating bills?

Spire, which provides gas service on the Missouri side of state line, is asking for a more than 10% rate hike to help defray the costs of inflation, boost worker pay and for infrastructure and technology upgrades. 

But the Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates the utility industry, is holding a public hearing to decide whether that rate hike is fair to customers. 

You can weigh in at an in-person forum this Tuesday night at the Gregg/Klice Community Center, 1600 E. 17th Terr., Kansas City, Missouri. The public hearing begins at 6 p.m.

Crossing Guard Shortage

There have been plenty of news stories about a shortage of teachers and even of school bus drivers. But there’s another staffing crisis that’s causing huge headaches, a shortage of school crossing guards.

The situation has become so desperate that the Overland Park City Council is scheduled to vote this week on boosting school crossing guard pay to $25 an hour.

At the start of the school year, 35 elementary schools in Johnson County reported being without any crossing guards.

In Sports…

The KC Current just won its first playoff game in franchise history. 

Now they’re off to the semi-finals of the women’s league championship.  The Current takes on the top-seeded OL Reign in Seattle on Sunday night.

The Chiefs are also back in action this week after a painful loss against the Buffalo Bills.

They’re heading to California to take on the San Francisco 49ers. Game time is Sunday at 3:25 p.m.

Spooky Season

Halloween may still be a couple of weeks away, but the Kansas City Repertory Theatre is getting a jump-start on the spooky season with “Ghost Light: A Haunted Night of Songs and Stories.” 

According to The Rep, this is a “hybrid outdoor concert and ghost-story event” that weaves together local storytellers and musicians sharing scary tales and yarns that will leave you “shaking with excitement.”

What may get you shaking with excitement is that for the first time, this annual event is now totally free.

The first two “Ghost Light” shows were on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 

This year, it is moving to Roanoke Park, just north of Westport.

Performances are this Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7:30 p.m.

Dia de los Muertos 

Just as the Kansas City Repertory Theatre is jumping the gun on Halloween, the Mattie Rhodes Art Center is getting an early start on Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. 

The Latino nonprofit is partnering with the Kansas City Museum and the Crossroads Hotel to bring you a Day of the Dead fiesta this Friday night.

Think mariachi music, puppetry, face painting, specialty cocktails and food. While you pay for the nibbles and liquid libations, the rest of the fiesta is free for the entire family.

It starts Friday night at 6 p.m. at the Crossroads Hotel, just north of the Freight House District at 21st and Central streets.

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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