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Nick’s Picks | Your Top 10 Stories for the Week Ahead

World Cup Decision on Thursday

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

It’s a look at the week before it happens. Here are 10 local and national news stories to pay attention to this week.

1. World Cup Decision

Will Kansas City play host to the World Cup?

We’ll finally find out this week.

On Thursday, soccer’s international governing body, FIFA will announce which cities have been picked to host matches when the global sporting event heads here in 2026. 

The United States is staging the games with Mexico and Canada.

If Kansas City is selected, as many as six World Cup matches would be played at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City officials appear confident. They’re encouraging fans to head to the Power & Light District on Thursday afternoon to watch the FIFA announcement live

Mayor Quinton Lucas also has moved this week’s City Council meeting from its normal 3 p.m. slot to noon so he and the rest of the council can be there.

Does he know something we don’t?

That World Cup announcement will come down at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

A large crowd at Power and Light watched USA vs. England.
A KC Live! crowd takes in USA vs. England in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (Courtesy | Power & Light District)

2. Heat Wave

Toasty temperatures will be a big talking point this week. 

The National Weather Service has placed the Kansas City area under a heat advisory. The mercury may hit 100 degrees today and “feel like” temperatures will be in the triple digits throughout the week. 

There’s no immediate end in sight. Forecasters claim Kansas City will experience above average temperatures through the end of June.

3. Debating Guns and Abortion

While much of the news focus this election year is on the midterm congressional races, there’s a lot of critical state and local issues on the ballot.

Our Kansas and Missouri attorneys general have been in the middle of pretty much every hot button issue dividing America — from abortion to gun rights, from transgender athletes to mask wearing in schools.

With early voting about to start in Kansas, we host the Kansas attorney general debate this week.

Republican candidates Kris Kobach, Kellie Warren and Tony Mattivi square off at the Doubletree Hotel in Overland Park. And there’s a terrific moderator joining them on stage, me.

You can watch live on the Kansas City PBS Facebook page at noon on Wednesday. Or catch our primetime debate broadcast at 7 p.m. Wednesday night on Kansas City PBS.

4. Watergate Turns 50

You’ll be hearing a lot about Watergate this week. 

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the break-in scandal that would topple President Richard Nixon.

There will be documentaries, cable news debates and a series of high-profile panel discussions in Washington.

And there’ll be one big question. If Watergate played out in today’s fractured media environment, would Nixon have survived?

5. NBA Champion

Basketball crowns a new champion this week.

Will it be the Boston Celtics or the Golden State Warriors? 

Both teams are tied at two games apiece in the NBA finals. 

A winner could be declared as early as this Thursday night.

6. COVID Shots for Kids Under 5

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to sign off this week on giving COVID shots to children under 5. 

They are the last group of Americans who have not been eligible for the vaccine.

The White House says it’s ordered millions of kid-sized doses in anticipation of the decision. They could be available in Kansas City as early as next Monday.

But it’s not clear how popular the shots will be. A recent survey suggests only one in five parents of young children would get their kids vaccinated right away.

And public health officials have been disappointed at how many older children have yet to be vaccinated: Less than one-third of kids aged 5 to 11 have gotten the two recommended doses.

7. Juneteenth in Kansas City

Many Kansas Citians are heading into a three-day holiday weekend.

It’s Juneteenth. 

Declared a federal holiday by President Joe Biden just last year, it commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned about their freedom on June 19, 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

A growing number of cities, counties and employers have made Juneteenth a day off for workers.

Wyandotte County has planned an all-day food and music event, called Juneteenth in the Dotte.

The largest celebration is taking place in the 18th and Vine Jazz District. Thousands are expected to attend Saturday’s Juneteenth KC Heritage Festival featuring food, performances, puppeteers and face painters.

Parades are planned in Clay County and in Leavenworth. Johnson County is marking Juneteenth as a public holiday for the first time. 

8. Shakespeare Festival Returns

After a two-year pandemic absence, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival returns this week to Southmoreland Park, next to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

You can see Shakespeare’s most famous love story, “Romeo and Juliet,” performed under the stars starting this Tuesday night.

The free outdoor performances continue through July 3. This is the festival’s 30th season.

9. Boulevardia Bounds Back

Also returning after a two-year absence is Boulevardia.

The beer and music festival created by Boulevard Brewing Co. has moved from the West Bottoms and is now taking over Crown Center and Washington Square Park.

Boulevardia was the first major local festival canceled because of the pandemic in 2020.

Now, organizers say they are excited to announce the biggest music line-up in the event’s seven-year history.

More than 60 bands are expected to perform. The two-day festival starts this Friday evening. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Dashboard Confessional are the musical headliners. 

Boulevardia's Taps & Tastes
Taps & Tastes is one of the food and drink experiences at Boulevardia. (Contributed | Boulevardia)

10. Goodbye to the Hearts

The Parade of Hearts comes to an end this week. Organizers have begun removing the iconic heart shaped artwork from prominent public spaces across the metro.

They will be auctioned off this Friday to benefit several local organizations.

You can bid online. The oversized hearts have attracted bids as high as $6,000. 

The final bidding will close at noon on Friday.

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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