Published April 10th, 2023 at 9:35 AM
Prepare to bring your patience on your downtown commute. The NFL Draft is still more than two weeks away, but prep work on the huge event will start causing traffic headaches this week.
More than a mile of Main Street has now been closed in both directions from roughly the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to 20th Street in the Crossroads district. Several side streets along the route have also been closed, including the connector road in front of Union Station.
A massive stage is now going up in front of Union Station. That’s where the main NFL Draft event will take place starting on Thursday, April 27.
In another sign of the disruption to come, Kansas City Public Schools has decided to cancel in-person classes and move instruction online during the event. School district officials say it will simply be too difficult to provide transportation and get kids to school with so many roads closed.
Kansas City is on the clock.
This Wednesday is the deadline for the city to form a Mayoral Reparations Commission.
It follows a vote in January that charged the new panel with studying how Kansas City can “make amends for its participation in the sanctioning of the enslavement of Black people and historical enforcement of segregation.”
The commission has a year to come up with concrete recommendations.
Some are concerned the effort will only aggravate racial tensions in Kansas City. Even among supporters, there’s disagreement about how to measure the harm caused by slavery, who should be included in the compensation program and who should pay.
In 2021, Evanston, Illinois, became the first city in America to make reparations available to Black residents.
It uses revenue from a local marijuana tax to offer qualifying Black households up to $25,000 for home repairs or for a down payment on a house.
Amid public backlash, the Kansas City Police Department has relaunched its missing persons unit. The newly constituted eight-member team will begin work this week.
The unit was disbanded last year by former Chief of Police Rick Smith, who said he needed the detectives to work on an explosion of new homicide cases.
But it was a decision that caused division in the Black community where there have been long-standing complaints that police have been insufficiently responsive to families who report missing relatives. Just last month, the KCPD did not alert the public about two missing Black teenagers. Both were later found dead.
What’s unclear is what impact reassigning seven detectives and a supervisor will have on homicide investigations.
As we start this week, Kansas City is outpacing not only last year’s murder rate, but the number of homicides recorded in 2020, which was the deadliest year in Kansas City history.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly will be in the spotlight this week as more transgender restriction bills land on her desk.
Before departing for a three-week break over the weekend, lawmakers sent Kelly a bill requiring transgender Kansans to use restrooms and changing rooms that align with their biological sex.
A second measure would revoke the medical license of physicians who perform gender-altering procedures on minors.
While Kelly is expected to veto both bills, it’s unlikely to stop lawmakers from trying to override her.
Just last week, Kansas lawmakers successfully overturned the governor when she tried to thwart a ban on transgender athletes.
The new law will go into effect in July.
It means that when Kansas high schools and colleges return for the fall semester, trans athletes will no longer be eligible to compete in girls or women’s sports.
The measure is certain to be challenged in the courts and also by the Biden administration. The White House says it’s working on a federal rule that would use Title IX to stop blanket bans on transgender athletes. Passed more than 50 years ago, Title IX is a provision in civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receive government funding.
Missouri lawmakers will head for home next month and it looks like one of the big casualties of the session will be sports betting,
For the sixth year in a row, lawmakers are deadlocked on giving Missourians the right to wager on their professional sports teams.
Even though Kansas lawmakers legalized sports betting last year, their Missouri counterparts can’t reach agreement on how the program should work and how much tax should be placed on every bet.
This weekend, one of the top leaders in the Missouri Senate characterized the odds of passage as “not good.”
There’s been more agreement on another big issue of the session. Inching towards the governor’s desk this week is a measure eliminating the state sales taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene products. But to get the votes necessary to pass, the measure also wipes out state taxes on the purchase of guns and ammunition. If Gov. Mike Parson signs the measure, Missouri would be the only state in the nation that taxes food but not firearms.
Last week, Donald Trump appeared in a New York courtroom in what has become America’s most closely watched legal drama.
But don’t expect to see any big updates in the case this week.
In fact, the former president’s next court appearance isn’t scheduled until December, though it’s possible the case will be settled or dismissed before then.
Congress could also attempt to thwart the case. Over the weekend, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee said Republicans are working on legislation that would “insulate” current and former presidents from state prosecutions.
What’s your favorite day of the year?
Did you say Tax Day?
I didn’t think so.
If just the thought of filling out tax forms leaves you with sweaty palms and a tight chest, you’ve been given a welcome reprieve this year.
As April 15 falls on a Saturday, you’ve got some extra time to get your paperwork in order.
Typically, the next business day after April 15 is the tax filing deadline, which would be Monday, April 17 this year. But that date is also the District of Columbia’s local holiday, called Emancipation Day, which the IRS observes and closes for.
That means you now have until midnight on Tuesday, April 18 to file.
But don’t expect to get a hefty refund this year. Many of the tax breaks and relief programs started during COVID have expired. The IRS estimates that the average refund will be $326 lower than it was last year.
It’s been a challenging time to buy a home in Kansas City. But if rising property tax appraisals have convinced you that now’s the time to sell, there may not be a better week of the year to do it.
After crunching the numbers, Realtor.com pins the week of April 16, which starts on Sunday, as the exact point in the calendar where you’ll get the most money for your home and when it will sell the fastest.
Largely, it’s because families want to move when school is out, in about a month from now.
According to Realtor.com, the week of April 16-22 is expected to have 16.4 % more buyers and sales 18% faster than the average week. You’ll also get 2.1% more for your home.
This Friday is Fountain Day, the day Kansas City turns its scores of public fountains back on.
In a partnership with the Royals, Kansas City’s fountains will be dyed blue this year, but not all at once.
On Friday, Slugger and a brass band will join city leaders at the former J.C. Nichols Fountain next to the Country Club Plaza. The Parks Board voted to strip Nichols’ name from the fountain in 2020 so it is now technically unnamed.
The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Nearly 100 years after Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, a new museum to the famous Kansan opens this week in her hometown of Atchison.
You’ve been able to visit the aviator’s childhood home for years, but now you can check out the Amelia Earhart Hanger Museum, which features 14 interactive exhibits and the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E airplane, the aircraft Earhart used on her final flight around the world in 1937. She would never reach her final destination. Earhart would disappear in mysterious circumstances above the Pacific.
The new museum opens to the public on Friday.
Remember those big painted hearts that started popping up all around Kansas City last spring?
Well, they’re back.
This week, The Parade of Hearts returns, and before the artwork is installed at popular venues around town you can see all 40 of the new creations at a special kickoff event.
You won’t have to scour an online map to look for them, you can just head to the American Royal Center in the West Bottoms this Saturday and see all the creations in one place, along with the artists who made them.
The Parade of Hearts benefits half-a-dozen charities, including the KU heart care center and the Children’s Miracle Network. Admission to Saturday’s preview event costs $5.
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.