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Nick’s Picks | Up, Up and Away at the New KCI First Flight at New Terminal Tuesday Morning

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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It’s been more than five years since Kansas City voters approved a new $1.5 billion single terminal at Kansas City International Airport. Now it’s finally opening. 

Are you ready for takeoff? 

At the stroke of midnight tonight, Terminal B and C at KCI will permanently close after 50 years of serving passengers.  

Then on Tuesday morning, the first flight will depart the new amenity-filled terminal. 

It’s a 5 a.m. Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago Midway. And if you’re on that plane, you’ll likely be sitting next to the mayor, members of the City Council and prominent civic leaders who’ve already taken to social media to report they’ve snagged seats on the maiden flight. 

If there’s an unexpected delay, passengers will have nearly 50 new restaurants, coffee shops, bars and stores to check out. Most of them carry familiar local names from Bo Lings to the Martin City Brewing Co. 

But not all the new eateries and shops will be ready to go on opening day. Despite several big hiring fairs, they’re still struggling to staff up. 

The company picked to run concessions at the new terminal says they’re still looking for bartenders, servers, hosts, cooks, food runners and dishwashers. 

What will be ready for passengers to see on Tuesday is a sea of new artwork.  

Under the city’s “1% for art program,” $5.6 million was made available for paintings, sculptures, hanging pieces, ceramics and stand-alone installation works, which together represent the largest public art project in Kansas City history. 

We’re currently working on a documentary about the airport’s new art and the inspiration of the artists who brought those works to life. It airs Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. on Kansas City PBS. 

Artist Kathy Liao in her downtown studio with a draft (top right) of her artwork for the new KCI terminal. Titled, “Hello and Goodbye,” the piece will feature acrylic on birchwood panels and ceramic tiles.
Artist Kathy Liao in her downtown studio with a draft (top right) of her artwork for the new KCI terminal. Titled, “Hello and Goodbye,” the piece features acrylic on birchwood panels and ceramic tiles. (Photo | Jim Barcus)

Buttigieg in KC 

Ahead of the opening of the new airport terminal, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will be in town. 

Buttigieg is scheduled to arrive at KCI this morning to tour the new passenger building with Mayor Quinton Lucas, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. 

Later, he will travel to Johnson County to host a news conference focused on the Biden administration’s electric vehicle manufacturing efforts. The event will be on the future Panasonic battery plant site in De Soto.  

Buttigieg will then travel back to Kansas City to meet with students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

Student Loan Case 

Here’s a big national story with huge local implications. 

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments over President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. 

More than 1 million current and former students in Kansas and Missouri are eligible for the program that would cancel at least $10,000 of their college debt.  

But the president’s plan was halted last fall by a federal judge.  

Now the nation’s highest court will decide whether the president has the power to forgive student loans or if that’s a responsibility of Congress. 

Some legal watchers say the court’s decision could have far-reaching consequences on the president’s power to make rules unilaterally on other issues, including abortion and immigration policy. 

DeSantis Ponders Presidential Run 

Does this mean he’s in? 

Following what some say is a well-worn path to a presidential candidacy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will release his autobiography on Tuesday. And one of the first stops on his nationwide book tour is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. 

The book is called, “The Courage to Be Free” and DeSantis says it will show how Florida can be a blueprint for “America’s revival.” 

Waco Siege 

Do you remember the siege in Waco? 

This Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the 1993 standoff between federal agents and a small religious group called the Branch Davidians, just outside Waco, Texas. 

In the end, 76 Branch Davidians died in the 51-day siege, including more than 20 children.  

“Waco” would become a call-to-arms for some Americans anxious about perceived government tyranny. 

Two new books and a documentary about the siege are scheduled to be released this week. They make the case that the 1993 standoff was the spark that ignited the American militia movement. 

Sporting KC 

Let’s try this again. 

This week, Sporting KC will make another attempt to start its new season. 

The team’s opening game against the Timbers was canceled over the weekend after nearly a foot of snow fell on Portland.  

It marked the second snowiest day in the city’s history. 

The teams will now play tonight at 8 p.m. But good luck finding the game on your TV. 

Starting this season, Sporting KC matches can only be found on Apple TV.  

Local broadcast and cable providers have lost their contracts to show games. Major League Soccer has signed an exclusive deal with Apple for the next 10 years. 

Travis Kelce on ‘SNL’ 

This weekend, Travis Kelce will become the first local sports figure to ever host “Saturday Night Live.” 

The Super Bowl winning tight end will showcase his acting and comedic chops alongside special musical guest Kelsea Ballerini. 

But Kelce won’t be the first Kansas Citian to host the primetime show. 

Ed Asner, Don Cheadle, Jason Sudeikis and Paul Rudd have all hosted the show during its 48-year run. 

Mahomes Milk  

You can buy Patrick Mahomes breakfast cereal. Now you can eat it with Mahomes milk. 

The Shatto Milk Co. says their red MVP milk will arrive at area grocery stores starting today. 

The MVP stands for “Most Valuable Patrick.” The chocolate cherry concoction will be available at Hy-Vee, Price Chopper and Hen House. 

Close Encounter 

It’s a big week for stargazers. 

The two brightest planets in our sky are getting cozy.  

On Wednesday night, Jupiter and Venus will appear to be nearly touching each other, in what astronomers call a “conjunction.” 

You’ll be able to see the rare encounter starting around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Amazon Prices 

Free delivery can’t last forever. 

This week, Amazon will start charging prime members for its grocery delivery service.  

Starting on Tuesday, the online giant will tack on a $10 delivery fee on all food orders under $150. 

Amazon previously offered free delivery on grocery orders over $50. 

Free Tickets 

It’s the last call on getting free tickets to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 

For The second year in a row, the Kansas City Royals and Royals Charities are offering free admission to the attraction during Black History Month. 

That means you’ve got two days left to take advantage of the deal. The offer expires on Wednesday

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. (Courtesy | Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)

Nelson Rolls Out Immersive Experience 

Starting this week, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is rolling out a new immersive way for you to experience its most valuable works of art. 

It’s called “A Beautiful Disruption” and it’s completely free. 

Beginning on Friday, the gallery’s curators will bring together some of the museum’s most famous paintings and add light and sound to give visitors a new perspective on the work. Special audio tracks will tell the painting’s back story and share details about the mindset and the mood of each painter as they worked.  

While the experience is free, it’s only available on Friday evenings and you do have to reserve your spot on the museum’s website. 

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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