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Nick’s Picks | Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Royals Ballpark We Have Questions

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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6 minute read

Kansas City officially launches a new professional sport this week – it’s called Taylor Swift spotting. 

Will the singer show up at your local coffee shop or your favorite barbecue joint this week? 

And an even bigger question for an answer is: Will Swift appear at this Sunday’s Chiefs game when her new main squeeze is against the Vikings in Minneapolis? 

Speaking of megastar singers, has Sunday’s Beyoncé concert wrapped up yet? Massive traffic snarls around Arrowhead Stadium forced a delay of the concert, with some ticket holders reportedly abandoning their Uber rides more than a mile from the stadium and running along the side of Interstate 70 to get there. 

Expect lots of finger pointing today about what went wrong, how public transit to the stadium needs to be expanded and warnings of more traffic chaos if the Royals ever decide to build their new ballpark downtown. 

This leads me to another big question: Now that the Royals are officially done for the season, will John Sherman pick this week to make his long-delayed announcement? The clock is ticking. Are the Royals headed downtown or North Kansas City? 

Now that I’ve got those questions off my chest, here are some other news stories worth watching this week: 

Last Week, Reviewed

Cop Cash Debate 

A woman beaten to death in a hallway outside her Kansas City apartment over the weekend has pushed the city’s murder count to 146. We are close to ending the year with the highest number of homicides in Kansas City history. 

Now city leaders are proposing upping police salaries to address 300 vacant positions in the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD). 

The Board of Police Commissioners is expected to send to City Hall this week a proposal boosting the starting salaries of KCPD officers from $50,000 to $60,000 a year. 

Mayor Quinton Lucas says he’s in favor of the $10,000 raise but claims the real debate is over where the city can find the money to pay for it. The salary boost is expected to cost $10-15 million a year. 

UAW Strike 

The United Auto Workers strike enters its third week and the union’s leadership is vowing to raise the stakes if it doesn’t receive a substantially improved contract offer. 

About 25,000 autoworkers are currently out on strike, representing about 17% of the union’s 146,000 members. 

Locally, there’s growing concern that workers at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo could join the picket line by this weekend, if no deal is reached. The plant makes the Ford 150 pick-up truck and the Ford Transit van. It employs around 7,000 workers. 

The strike has already forced the temporary closure of the GM Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas, due to a parts shortage. 

Federal Shutdown Avoided 

Most, but certainly not all, Americans are breathing a huge sigh of relief this morning that the country has avoided a federal government shutdown. 

Congress passed a stop-gap budget bill over the weekend that temporarily keeps Uncle Sam’s money tap flowing, at least for now. 

The federal government is Kansas City’s largest employer. If no deal had been reached by Saturday night’s deadline, as many as 13,000 Kansas City federal workers would have been furloughed, tens of thousands of area residents would have seen their government aid checks delayed, and federally run facilities including the Truman Library in Independence would have been forced to shut their doors. 

Republicans were successful in blocking new aid to Ukraine as part of the budget deal but failed in their efforts to trim back domestic spending and increase security measures at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

But this is not the end of the debate. This latest deal only keeps the government open for 45 days. We could be heading to talk of another shutdown by the middle of November. 

Kansas Police Chief Suspended 

The police chief of a small Kansas town who made global headlines by raiding the offices of a local newspaper has been suspended. 

Now the buzzards are circling around Marion top cop Gideon Cody, with some new reports claiming he could be gone by the end of the week. 

The mayor of Marion, Kansas, has confirmed the police chief’s suspension, adding that he couldn’t comment further because it was a personnel matter. Earlier, Mayor Dave Mayfield claimed the raid drew unwanted attention to the town and made local officials “look like a bunch of hicks.” 

The August police raid on the Marion County Record is still being investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigations. 

Teacher Suspended Over Porn Site 

Should you be punished for working a second job, even if it’s on your own time? 

A Missouri high school teacher will learn her fate this week after administrators discovered she was performing on a pornography website to supplement her salary. 

English teacher Brianna Coppage, 28, is now on leave from St. Clair High School, just outside of St. Louis after some of her students found explicit video images of her on the adult site 

Coppage says she’s getting thousands of messages of support from across the country, with some saying low teacher pay is to blame and she shouldn’t be punished for trying to support her family. 

School administrators say she’s violating district policy. 

Trash Talk in Johnson County 

Kansas City has experienced plenty of trash problems over the years. Now it’s Johnson County’s turn. 

Neighborhood leaders in Shawnee, Lenexa, Overland Park and Prairie Village are all complaining of rotting garbage and vermin problems. Some residents say they’ve gone three weeks without having their trash and recycling picked up. 

What each of the areas have in common is that they’re all served by Republic Services, one of the biggest waste collection companies in the country. Republic is blaming staff shortages for the pick-up problems. But Johnson County cities are running out of patience. 

Trash is on the agenda at this week’s city council meetings. Local officials are threatening fines and rescinding Republic’s contract if the garbage isn’t picked up this week. 

In Other News… 

· The Supreme Court’s new term starts today. A legal dispute over the availability of abortion pills is expected to be one of the most closely watched cases on the court’s docket. 

· Will this encourage you to buy a ticket? The Powerball jackpot has now risen to more than $1 billion ahead of tonight’s drawing. 

· The Major League Baseball playoffs begin Tuesday. 

· Hunter Biden will appear in court Wednesday, where he is expected to plead not guilty to gun charges. 

· Mark your calendars for Wednesday. It’s National Taco Day. 

· This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced Friday. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is the bookmakers favorite to win. But some self-professed Nobel prize experts say the awards committee would be reluctant to choose a wartime leader. They claim the world’s highest prize for peace will be more likely given to a lesser-known campaigner for global women’s rights, indigenous peoples or the environment. 

Bob Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975.
Bob Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975. (Courtesy | Netflix)

Bob Dylan 

While Beyonce and Taylor Swift have been grabbing all the local headlines lately, legendary rocker Bob Dylan has also been making news around town. He plays the second of two shows tonight at the Midland Theater

Dylan was 24 years old when he released his first career hit, “Like a Rolling Stone.” 

He is now 82. 

In the future, we may need to redefine what we mean when we say we’re listening to ‘80s music. It’s more likely we’re talking about watching someone in their 80s perform. 

A group with an even longer history takes the stage at the Ameristar Casino on Saturday. It’s been nearly 60 years since the Temptations recorded their first Top 20 hit, “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” 

Only one member of the Motown group is still alive. At age 81, Otis Williams rarely sings lead any longer, but if you’re heading to this weekend’s Kansas City show, you’re likely to spot him as a supporting player in the band’s vocal harmonies. 

Flo Rida is heading to Lawrence this week. The rapper and songwriter will provide the musical entertainment at KU Basketball’s Late Night in the Phog event at Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night. 

Looking for some other fun distractions this week? 

Break out your lederhosen and pick up a stein, it’s KC Oktoberfest this weekend at Crown Center. The two-day celebration of beer begins Friday night. 

And how many things can you make with an apple? Find out for yourself this weekend at the 35th annual Applefest in downtown Weston. 

Apple pie, apple dumplings, candy apples, apple butter and apple doughnuts are all on the festival menu. And I’m not sure what this involves, but there’s also an Apple-themed parade. Don’t forget to bring your Apple Watch or Apple iPhone to take pics of your family gobbling up those apple treats. 

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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