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Nick’s Picks | World Cup, Snow and the Holiday Season Loom

This Week's News Forecast

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

One of the most watched sporting events on the planet begins this week.

The first match of the 2022 World Cup starts on Sunday in Qatar.

Hordes of soccer fans have already arrived in the tiny, oil-rich country in the Persian Gulf.

A big delegation from Kansas City also is getting ready to join them. 

A group of city and business leaders is on a fact-finding trip to learn lessons they can bring back to Kansas City in advance of the tournament being played here in 2026.

VisitKC and Sports Commission CEO Kathy Nelson is among those heading to Qatar. Before she heads out of town, she will join me on “Week in Review” Friday alongside Kansas City World Cup Bid Director Katherine Holland and City Manager Brian Platt. 

They’ve got a lot on their plates, from hosting tens of thousands of international visitors to getting creative on how to transport large crowds to Arrowhead Stadium, the site for all of Kansas City’s World Cup matches.

Even Qatar is struggling to find enough hotel rooms. The host country is now leasing cruise ships to help house thousands of World Cup fans. 

That’s not going to be possible in Kansas City unless Royal Caribbean can find a way to navigate one of its mega ships up the Missouri River. 

The United States plays its first game next Monday. And they’ll be taking on my birth country, Wales.

It’s going to shut down the place. The last time Wales qualified for the World Cup was in 1958. In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.

You can watch our World Cup edition of “Week in Review” at 7:30 p.m. Friday on Kansas City PBS.


Catching Up


First Snow

Be prepared for a challenging commute Tuesday morning.  

The first snow of the season is forecast for tonight.

The National Weather Service is forecasting up to 2 inches across the KC metro.

The snow is not expected to start until 9 p.m. tonight and end around 7 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Fate of Congress

Will we finally learn who will control Congress this week? 

Democratic control of the U.S. Senate was settled Saturday when Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada won reelection, giving Democrats the 50 seats they needed to keep the chamber.  But the U.S. House majority is still in question.

19 House seats are still too close to call. 

About a dozen of them are in California. There are also close races in Colorado and Oregon that are so tight they could be headed to a recount

Despite the uncertainty, Capitol Hill observers say the path to victory looks much easier for Republicans than it does for Democrats. Of the 19 undecided races, the GOP needs to win just six.

If that happens, that would mean a new speaker of the House and the possible end of Nancy Pelosi’s career in Washington. A recent attack on her husband has already left her second-guessing her future in politics.

If Republicans do take back the House one of the biggest local winners will be U.S. Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri. He’s poised to become chairman of the House Transportation Committee, a powerful position that could help boost funding for local projects from the airport to public transit and highways.

Trump Announcement

Former President Donald Trump is expected to make his “very big announcement” this week. 

He has been teasing a 2024 Presidential run.

Will we finally find out tomorrow whether he’s in or out?

Trump’s team released a brief statement saying the event will be held Tuesday night at his Mar-a-Lago private estate in Florida. 

Some Republicans have been urging Trump to delay his announcement until it’s determined which party controls Congress.

Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Rose Garden. (Contributed | AP Images)

Police Funding

This week, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas will be hoping a Missouri judge will sympathize with his new legal challenge over police funding.

Last week, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, which requires the city to spend a minimum of 25% of its revenue on its police force.

Within hours of the result, Lucas filed a lawsuit claiming the measure was unconstitutional.

No Cannabis for Christmas

Here’s an update on another big ballot measure. 

Last week, Missouri became the 21st state to legalize recreational marijuana. But don’t go looking to light up a joint this week or find other ways to go crazy wild. 

According to the state, the very earliest you’ll be able to legally buy marijuana products under this new amendment is Feb. 6, 2023.

And what about getting your record expunged for past marijuana offenses?

That may take some time too. 

The Missouri Supreme Court says it needs lawmakers to appropriate $7 million in new funding for the courts to implement the change. So what happens if they say no? Is this going to be the next political battleground that delays the implementation of the new marijuana law?

Counting Continues

While many Kansas Citians may want to put the election behind them, they’re still counting ballots where we live.

Thousands of provisional and mail-in votes have yet to be tabulated. The Veterans Day holiday delayed that work.

While the big races have all been called, some contests remain unresolved.

The biggest is a statewide amendment in Kansas that would limit the power of Gov. Laura Kelly. The vote is so close a recount is now underway.

If passed, it would allow state lawmakers to overturn any executive order or regulation from the governor’s office by majority vote.

And before we move on from election coverage, there are two interesting factoids worth mentioning from our recent collective trip to the ballot box.

Despite all the attention the election got, local election officials in Johnson County and Kansas City say fewer voters went to the polls than during the last midterm election in 2018.

And then there’s this statistic. According to the campaign finance tracking site OpenSecrets, more than $16.7 billion was spent on the election. That’s enough to buy every American voter 12 Big Macs each.

New Missouri Attorney General

Will Missouri get a new attorney general this week?

Now that Eric Schmitt has just won a seat in the U.S. Senate his old job is up for grabs.

Gov. Mike Parson now has the chance to appoint someone to the influential state office, which has long been seen as a sizable political stepping stone in Missouri. 

Several published reports claim Parson has interviewed five potential candidates, including his general counsel, Andrew Bailey. Other names that have been floated are former state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican, Tim Garrison, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, and Parkville state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who led the recent effort to require Kansas City to spend more money on its police department.

It’s unclear how fast the governor will move to fill the high-profile position. Parson is currently out of the country on a 10-day international trade mission to Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Greece.

Hospitals Filling Up

For the third week in a row, let me offer a cautionary note that our hospitals are filling up again. This time with cases of flu and respiratory viruses.

For the second straight week an entire school has shut down because of so many illnesses.

Christ the King School in Kansas City, Kansas, is the latest to close. Sixty of its 250 students and a third of the teaching staff were out sick last week. 

Humbug…

Ebenezer Scrooge is back.  

This week, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” returns to the Kansas City Repertory Theatre for its 42nd season.  

Its five-week run begins on Friday.  

A scene from "A Christmas Carol."
A scene from “A Christmas Carol.” (Contributed)

Another holiday tradition for Kansas City families will return this week as The Coterie Theatre at Crown Center presents “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” featuring Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the whole “Peanuts” gang.

The live musical production starts Tuesday and will run through Dec. 31.

And you’ve heard of those immersive Monet and Van Gogh and even King Tut exhibits opening up around town. Now get ready for the “Immersive Nutcracker.” 

It opens this week in the Grove Building at Zona Rosa.

Instead of floor-to-ceiling art being projected all around you, this exhibit will feature animated characters from “The Nutcracker” alongside footage of professional ballet dancers.

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle” begins Saturday and runs through Dec. 31.

If it just feels slightly wrong to be celebrating Christmas this early, there are some other distractions and diversions for you to consider:

This Friday night, Kenny G plays alongside the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Just down the road that same night, Reba McEntire will take the stage at T-Mobile Center

On Saturday, comedian Ron White will be in town. He’s headlining a show at the Ameristar Casino.

Also on Saturday, you can spend an evening with food writer and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. 

She’s hosting an interactive event at Yardley Hall on the Johnson County Community College campus.

And on Sunday, the Kauffman Center presents Mannheim Steamroller.

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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