Published May 1st, 2023 at 9:54 AM
It’s a new month alert. Welcome to May!
May the Fourth be with you on Thursday.
Cinco de Mayo is on Friday.
Kentucky Derby day is Saturday.
And a new king is crowned this weekend.
Here’s your pithy guide to all the stories that could affect your life this week:
Clean-up is now underway after Kansas City’s epic three-day party.
The NFL Draft may be over, but officials say it could take another 10 days to tear down the gigantic stage outside of Union Station and the seven miles of fencing around the event site.
The front parking lot outside of Union Station remains closed this week as does the main road outside the historic attraction. It’s being used as a staging area for the tear down.
Science City will reopen today. But Union Station’s restaurants and the U.S. Post Office location are not expected to open until Wednesday.
The NFL claims 312,000 fans gathered for the three-day event. But it looks like that number signifies total admissions, not unique visits. In other words, the same person could have been counted two or three times if they chose to attend each day of the draft.
More encouraging for Kansas City tourism officials are the TV numbers. According to the NFL, on the first night alone, an average of 11.4 million viewers watched the draft on TV and digital platforms. That’s up 11% from last year when the NFL Draft was in Las Vegas.
Less happy it seems are some downtown businesses that didn’t get the customers they were expecting.
Our friends at KSHB 41 News reached out to the owners of Café Ca Phe, who claimed to have had the slowest weekend since they opened. Mildred’s Coffee House also complained of below-average sales. And KC Wineworks in the Crossroads said business was so bad it would consider closing its doors when Kansas City hosts the World Cup.
For such a large-scale event, it’s remarkable how little trouble was reported during the three days the NFL Draft was in town.
The only published accounts of police action involve two out-of-state visitors who were arrested for stealing jerseys intended for the NFL Draft picks.
But outside of the event grounds it was a bloody weekend in Kansas City, as police responded to four homicides in less than 24 hours.
It’s a reminder that while Kansas City can put on big splashy events, it still can’t get to grips with some of its most basic problems.
As we start this week, Kansas City is on track to record the highest number of murders in the city’s history,
While Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas may get all the attention, the man responsible for managing city government is now getting the headlines. This week, City Manager Brian Platt is facing a “no confidence” vote.
Several members of the City Council are upset Platt is bypassing them on important decisions. But adding fuel to the fire are new allegations that Platt ousted the city’s Civil Rights director for blowing the whistle on the new Meta Data Center now being built in the Northland.
Andrea Dorch says the $800 million project is not meeting the city’s minority hiring goals. But she claims that when she tried to step up enforcement the city manager fired her.
Platt denies the allegation, claiming Dorch was let go for violating the city’s residency requirement.
Even if Platt survives a “no confidence” vote he’s likely to face new constraints on his power.
This week, a council committee plans to take up an ordinance that would require council approval before any employee is dismissed for violating the city’s residency rule.
Seven months after Jackson County officials broke ground on a new jail the project could grind to a halt this week.
Amid concerns that the building may need to be scaled back due to increasing costs, several members of the county legislature want to hit the pause button and are calling for a public vote.
The Jackson County Legislature meets today in a make-or-break vote on the project.
When the county broke ground on the 1,200-bed jail in September, the budget was set at $256 million. But ballooning construction costs have pushed that price tag to over $300 million.
The county is under pressure to act. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker recently acknowledged that due to crowding at the existing jail, judges are now releasing some accused felons because there are simply no beds available.
This week, Kansas officials are bracing for fallout after state lawmakers enact a sweeping new transgender restriction law.
It would require transgender residents use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their sex at birth. It would also block transgender Kansans from changing their name or gender on a driver’s license or birth certificate.
Gov. Laura Kelly had vetoed the measure. But in one of their last actions before adjourning last week, lawmakers brushed aside those objections, cobbling enough votes to override her.
The new law will go into effect on July 1. That’s the same date a new ban on transgender athletes in girls’ sports would go into effect.
Both measures are expected to face legal challenges. Governor Kelly’s office says Kansas agencies could also lose millions of dollars in federal funding for violating federal anti-discrimination laws.
It may not be getting a lot of attention, but work continues behind the scenes to add an abortion rights amendment to the Missouri ballot. But will the effort come too late?
This week, Missouri lawmakers are inching closer to changing the rules so it’s tougher to alter the state constitution.
Instead of a simple majority, legislators want to raise the number of votes needed for passage to 57%.
The proposal could be on the governor’s desk by the end of the week.
In recent years Missouri voters have used ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana and expand access to Medicaid. Both measures would have failed if this new law were in effect at the time.
Next week, the Biden administration is expected to remove the last of the federal government’s COVID emergency rules, marking the official end of the pandemic in the United States.
But Kansas has its sights set on the next pandemic.
Before wrapping up their business for the year, Kansas lawmakers narrowly approved a bill that bans state and county health officials from issuing lockdown or closure mandates to counter the spread of any infectious disease. It would also prohibit them from restricting public gatherings.
The measure is now on Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk.
She has not indicated whether she plans to sign or veto the bill this week.
Thousands of Hollywood TV and movie writers are getting ready to walk off the job today. And that could have a huge impact on the shows you like to watch, as early as this week.
Members of the Writers Guild of America are in a dispute over how they’re paid in the new streaming economy. They argue wages have nosedived as digital platforms upend television and film productions.
If a strike does happen, late night TV may be the first to be affected. Without comedy writers to poke fun at the day’s news – shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” will likely go off the air.
Some movies and TV shows could continue filming if scripts are already written, but others will shut down because actors and set workers will refuse to cross picket lines.
The last time writers walked off the job, in 2007, the strike lasted 100 days and TV seasons got some very weird endings.
Get ready to break out your best teacups and bake some fresh scones as we celebrate Britain’s first coronation in more than 70 years.
King Charles III is set to be crowned at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday. But you’re going to have to get up early to watch. The coverage starts at 5 a.m. local time.
It’s part of a three-day celebration that includes a huge televised concert on Sunday at Windsor Castle, featuring artists ranging from Lionel Ritchie to Katie Perry. And next Monday has been declared a public holiday as the royal revelry continues with nationwide street parties.
Speaking of pomp and circumstance. This week marks the start of graduation season.
It’s the last week of classes for several of our area universities.
Commencement ceremonies are this weekend for students at Park University, the University of Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri State.
Most of our other area colleges will hold their graduation ceremonies next week.
There have been lots of news stories about the Royals poor start this season. But what about Sporting KC?
After 10 games, the team is still searching for its first victory.
Currently, they’re the only team in Major League Soccer that has yet to win a game.
But could this be the week they turn things around?
Sporting KC’s next game is this Sunday against the Seattle Sounders.
Eight years after he helped Kansas City win its 2015 World Series, Lorenzo Cain will officially retire as a Royal this week.
Remembered for his speed, the centerfielder will sign a one-day contract with the club and be honored in an on-field celebration before the Royals home game against Oakland on Saturday.
Cain spent seven seasons with the Royals before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. But his last major league appearance was almost a year ago.
Mix up a pitcher of Mint Julip and put on your most outrageous hat as we mark what has been called “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”
The Kentucky Derby is scheduled to start just before 6 p.m. on Saturday.
It’s considered the country’s longest-running and most prestigious horse racing event.
Cinco de Mayo is on Friday.
While lots of local restaurants and bars will be running Cinco de Mayo specials, you’ll find the biggest party in town at the Guadalupe Center on Kansas City’s Westside.
The two-day fiesta gets underway Friday evening with mariachis, folkloric dancers, food trucks and rides. Admission is free.
They may not be as huge and splashy as the NFL Draft, but we’ve got lots of other big events to look forward to this week.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Janet Jackson will be in town on Tuesday night.
The iconic pop singer is celebrating her 50th anniversary in the music business.
Jackson plays T-Mobile Center as part of her “Together Again” tour with special guest Ludacris.
The Brookside Art Fair begins Friday night. About 180 artists from around the country are scheduled to display their work at the three-day outdoor event. It continues through Sunday.
This weekend also marks the return of Waldo’s Spring Fling.
About 40 businesses and artists host vendor booths featuring everything from food to jewelry in the parking lot off Gregory Boulevard and Wornall Road. The Waldo Spring Fling is this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.