Join our family of curious Kansas Citians

Discover unheard stories about Kansas City, every Thursday.

Thank you for subscribing!

Check your inbox, you should see something from us.

Sign Me Up
Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Nick’s Picks | New Zoo Aquarium, Busy Labor Day Weekend Peak Festival Season

Share this story
Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
Sponsor Message Become a Flatland sponsor
4 minute read

Just ahead of the Labor Day holiday, Kansas City is opening one of its biggest new attractions.  

It’s the $77 million aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo. 

After more than a decade of planning, the 650,000-gallon underwater experience opens on Friday. 

Visitors will get an up-close look at 34 exhibits featuring everything from sharks and moray eels to giant Pacific octopuses and sea turtles. 

The project is the largest capital undertaking in the Zoo’s history. 

Entry to the aquarium is included in the price of zoo admission. But due to the expected crowds, you must reserve a timed ticket in advance. Reservations can be made at

‘Wrong Doorbell’ Shooting 

Four months after he was shot in the head for ringing the wrong doorbell, Northland teenager Ralph Yarl will finally face the man who shot him this week. 

It’s a case that’s attracted international attention and sparked a renewed debate over racial bias.  

84-year-old Andrew Lester has pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the April shooting. He faces a preliminary hearing at the Clay County Courthouse in Liberty on Thursday. 

Yarl has now recovered from his physical wounds, though his family says he still suffers from headaches and emotional scars. He just started his senior year at Staley High School. 

Last Week, Reviewed

Missouri Transgender Restrictions  

After months of debate and legal challenges, Missouri’s new transgender restriction laws finally take effect this week.  

Starting today, medical providers are banned from performing gender-altering surgeries or treatments on Missourians under 18. 

Some adults will also lose access to transition-related care. Medicaid will no longer cover transgender-related treatments, and the state will stop providing transition surgery to inmates in Missouri prisons.  

Doctors who violate the law face losing their medical licenses. 

Also taking effect this week is a new law limiting transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports. 

The restrictions apply to all schools in Missouri, including colleges and universities.  

Schools can be stripped of state funding if they do not follow the law. 

Kansas enacted similar legislation last month. So far, there have been no reports of athletes or school’s testing the new law. The head of the Kansas High School Sports Association says he has yet to receive a single call from a parent, student or coach. 

‘Texting and Driving’  

Missouri’s new “texting and driving law” takes effect this week.  

While most states have some form of restrictions on texting while driving, Missouri has only restricted drivers 21 and under from using their mobile phones while operating a vehicle. 

That changes, this week. 

You may be surprised to know that starting today you could be ticketed for even holding your phone while driving.  

Hands-free phone use is still allowed. 

While getting a ticket for distracted driving could jack up your insurance rates, police won’t start issuing fines under the new law until 2025.  

Layoffs at T-Mobile 

This week, nearly 6,000 T-Mobile workers in Kansas City will find out whether they still have a job. 

The Washington-based wireless carrier just announced its cutting 7% of its entire workforce.  

Many of the pink slips are expected to be felt locally.  

Overland Park is home to T-Mobile’s second headquarters, after the company swallowed up Sprint in a corporate takeover in 2020. 

During its heyday, Sprint employed as many as 18,000 workers at its Overland Park campus, making it the area’s largest private employer. Only about 6,000 workers remain.  

The State of Aging in KC 

For the better part of a year, Kansas City PBS has been tracking the business of aging in Kansas City, and now we’re ready to reveal our findings. 

Would you join us next Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Plaza Library

Kansas City PBS documentary filmmaker Michael Price has been lifting the hood on nursing home care and efforts to allow elder Kansas Citians to age in place. We show clips from the new film and answer citizen questions with a panel featuring industry insiders, state regulators, elder care attorneys and aging advocates. 

College Football Returns 

College football makes its long-awaited return this week. 

The Missouri Tigers play South Dakota in Columbia this Thursday at 7 p.m. 

On Friday, the Kansas Jayhawks host Missouri State in Lawrence at 7 p.m. 

And the Kansas State Wildcats host Southeast Missouri State in Manhattan on Saturday at 6 p.m. 

With college realignment on the way next year, this will be the last season for many long-time rivalries. The Big 12 expands to 16 teams next year. 

Labor Day Weekend Fests 

With no brutal triple-digit temperatures in the forecast, Kansas Citians may be ready to venture outdoors again this week – and there’s a lot going on. 

This Labor Day weekend brings with it a motherload of festivals.  

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival is gearing up for its 46th season in Bonner Springs on Saturday. 

The Santa Cali Gon Days festival starts Friday in Independence. 

And the three-day Kansas City Irish Fest takes over Crown Center beginning on Friday night. 

Irish Fest crowd gathers below the Kansas City skyline.
Kansas City Irish Fest celebrates its 20th year this weekend at Crown Center. (Courtesy | KC Irish Fest)

In other entertainment news… 

The group formerly known as The Dixie Chicks fly into Kansas City this week.  

You may remember, they removed “Dixie” from their name back in 2020, amid concerns over its negative racial connotations.  

Now called simply The Chicks, they take the stage at T-Mobile Center on Tuesday night. 

There’s going to have to be a swift changeover to make room for country music star Zach Bryan. He’s playing before a sellout T-Mobile Center on Wednesday night. 

This Tuesday is Charlie Parker’s birthday. The jazz legend was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on Aug. 29, 1920. 

The Ambassador Hotel is hosting a 103rd Birthday Bash for Parker with local jazz great Lonnie McFadden.  

This will be one of the first chances to see McFadden since he lost his brother and performing partner Ronnie. He died after falling during a gig at the downtown Lowes Hotel in February. 

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.


Like what you are reading?

Discover more unheard stories about Kansas City, every Thursday.

Thank you for subscribing!

Check your inbox, you should see something from us.

Enter Email
Reading these stories is free, but telling them is not. Start your monthly gift now to support Flatland’s community-focused reporting. Support Local Journalism
Sponsor Message Become a Flatland sponsor

Ready to read next

Alvin L. Brooks Center for Faith-Justice Takes Shape on Troost

Rockhurst University Pursues Project

Read Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *