Kansas City Week in Review – March 20, 2020

The last time we
had a week in review program our city’s top health official was telling Kansas Citians to relax everybody can take a deep breath and relax and now the city’s entire public life shutting down I am ordering all K through 12 schools to close and cease in-person instruction I don’t believe that coronavirus is going to be over in a week or two I believe we have to consider that this is gonna be here for months there are more cases than have been identified there are some who will be angry about any number of things that will be closed over the next several weeks or perhaps longer this week the trends and local impacts of a virus appending our city we answer the questions you’ve been sending us plus one of the stories we’re missing because of coronavirus coverage 24/7 Week in Review is made possible through the generous support of Dave and Jamie Cummings Bob and Marley’s Corley Smithfield Foods Haas and Wilkerson insurance the Courtney s Turner Charitable Trusts John H Mize and Bank of America NA co-trustees and by viewers like you thank you welcome everyone I’m Nick Haines we go on a brief break for our kCPT spring membership drive and we return to a vastly change City and just as your life has been disrupted so has hours the entire kCPT staff now working from home even our receptionist taking all of your calls from a spare bedroom in our house ruckus by the way has been put on hiatus and on this show we’ve been told to scale things back fewer panelists fewer crew but we’re keeping calm and carrying on committed to keeping you informed of this week’s news reviewers from KMBC 9 News chief political reporter Micheal Mahoney from the Kansas City call newspaper senior writer Eric Wesson and from KCUR News Steve Kraske now a week ago Kansas City’s biggest complaint was that the big 12 basketball tournament was being canceled now basically everything is shut down no schools no universities no st. Patrick’s Day Parade most arts organizations have closed their doors the Kansas City Zoo shut down casinos bars restaurants any of our big-name shops two of Kansas City’s largest employers shutting their doors as the Ford Motor planting Claycomo and the GM assembly plant in Kansas City Kansas halting their production line at least for now so rather than list everything you can no longer do Pamela’s can give us a little bit of a bright spot here is there anything we can actually do this weekend as we head into the city that is largely shut down at this point I think the list of things people can do is starting to emerge now in decades the city sort of recovers from the initial shock of what this pandemic really means for them here’s one thing they can do they can go online and buy gift certificates to local reservoirs and and maybe even local artists they’re setting up the different web pages to offer support to them that would be something very proactive they can do this weekend you know some of these changes that have taken place the state of emergency these recommendations Micheal Mahoney or could you be find put in jail if you for instance open a bar or a restaurant during this period of time some of them are orders some of them are recommendations to state another emergency in Kansas City is in order the recommendations about social distancing and closing things down in the state of Missouri are largely recommendations a lot of it over in the state of Kansas is an order from from the governor but as we were talking earlier Nick let’s just take bars and restaurants regulated industry the control people in Kansas City it’s a very small staff and I don’t think saved maybe for st. Patrick’s Day they were out looking and I don’t think that the police are also looking either but this idea of social distancing and the serious nature of this is as being taken art I’ve been amazed actually by the immense compliance that has taken place from from this but has there been people violating the state of emergency Eric they’re the social distancing aspect of it I believe people have kind of disregarded that as far as people getting together but one of the things that we talked about before the show homicides are down so if there’s a bright spot in all of this the fact that homicides are down I don’t think we’ve had one over the past week and a half because fewer people are outside going about their business exactly if your people are on the street I think this gives people a exhale mama to just kind of calm down get in the family my families watched a lot of movies over the past few weeks because we haven’t really been out and about no the biggest news of the week though involved on schools I am ordering all K through 12 schools to close and cease in-person instruction for the duration of the 2019 2020 school year it’s all moving so quickly nobody has a plan yet very overwhelmed and not sure what to do next kind of in shock I really can’t imagine you know kids with this kind of freedom parents having to go to work regardless no supervision it’s not going to work real well it sounds great to talk about well we’ll just flip to a virtual school format the the logistics the practicality and and how you do that is not something that school districts are really set up to be able to do all our area school districts equipped to launch online education for tens of thousands of metro area school children Michael the answer to that is yes and no in the sense that on Thursday state of Kansas came out with about as comprehensive plan is you can put together in a week for continuous education for many districts around here that’s going to be online learning for some families and some kids that don’t have a devices or laptops or computers at home or good internet service they’ll there will have packets going going home what this is gonna do neck is a it’s a pretty bold plan by the state of Kansas to even though they have closed their school buildings they are going to resume schooling their children this will probably start in earnest on Monday the March 30th all of this coming week is going to be devoted at the district level to putting this plan into place and it will not be one size fits all it’ll be by district to district over in Missouri it’s a different situation all 555 school districts are now closed the local districts who did that not the state and they are in a very different situation about we didn’t see about how long it’s going to last their schools around Kansas City probably April 3rd yeah the target but nobody knows for sure if they’ll reopen I sort of quote from the deputy superintendent in the Excelsior Springs School District Stephen that said that we have some places where 30% of the kids will not have any Internet access we can’t even take that for granted you know enormous challenges being posed here by these decisions by our districts Nick when it comes to feeding kids when it comes to what you just said distance learning childcare for many parents now posing huge problems just want to point out though I think the districts need a little bit of time to sort some of this out for instance just today the Kansas City Missouri School District announcing big plans to feed students in the weeks and months perhaps going forward here just took them a matter of days to launch this very major program to get our kids fed it’s gonna take educators a little time here to sort some of this stuff out and you’re right it’s it’s not gonna be smooth for a lot of things feeding children is important you know for many people that may be the only meal for children that they get that at least that main meal of the day comes when they’re at the in the school absolutely and a lot of churches a lot of groups are opening their doors yesterday giving out groceries to help families but my kids are in the Raytown School District I got a first grader and a fourth grader before they went on spring break the kids brought on laptops and my son brought on about that much work and so we knew this was coming but they had said Tuesday they like to expect the kids to be logged into their computer online by 8:30 in the morning and they’ve created an atmosphere where they have discounts for them to get their internet access as well Michael now in Kansas who say they’re saying they don’t expect kids to be on their computer learning seven hours a day in fact their schedule runs from 30 minutes for kindergarteners from pre-k all the way up to a maximum of three hours for high school students but the point I want to make here Nick is that I believe that whatever shape were in will we come through this on the other end the the look of American education may be on the verge of a major change it’s not gonna happen overnight but we may be on the very first step of a big revaluation about how we educate kids as Michael was talking about the state of Kansas there is pushback bomb on lawmakers in the state of Kansas about the governor even closing down schools they think that’s an abuse of her emergency powers they’ve been trying to push back against that and and change those powers this week would that mean that schools could reopen again well I think potentially it could and yeah big a partisan jockeying match going on in Kansas right now and Nick between Republicans and the Democratic governor who don’t want to see governor Kelley get in their eyes get too far out over her skis she was the first governor in the country to make this declaration of closing down all the schools just want to point out again some of the major decisions that still have to be made you know what our education officials going to do for students who are prepared to graduate in May even though they haven’t completed their school years yet Nick if school is canceled through May even into the summer if you graduate this cohort – of senior kids or you make them come
– back and finish things out we’re seeing Some decisions getting made now on standardized testing those getting put off for a while but big meaty decisions that education officials have to wrap their collective arms around one of the things Steve that Kansas is doing is they are saying look seniors got to graduate with 21 hours we’re a worth of credit most districts require them to graduate with more than that right now and they believe they’re pretty confident anyway that a lot of kids will be able to meet that 21 hour credit now we know what we assent insight to this current health emergency many people are asking what can we expect next one thing we know is that the upcoming election in Kansas City has been postponed the April 7th ballot would have decided an increase in the sales tax for the fire department along with several local school board races that’s now being pushed back until June meanwhile the Kansas presidential primary being held on may 2nd will go on as planned but the Kansas Democratic Party is encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail apparently every Democratic voter will get a mail-in let’s sent to their homes by May will voters in Kansas have anything decide in this Democratic campaign for president Steve you know III think that the race has been decided Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee we know now that Bernie Sanders is reassessing his campaign Nick so that’s the problem with states waiting to go that late these decisions always get made early I always sort of wonder why Kansas and Missouri don’t opt to go earlier to have some real impact on these campaigns well I think Missouri did their slot in the second Super Tuesday I think ed had some impact Kansas bet on the fact that maybe it was going to be a multi-candidate a primary down the road and they would be in a real position to power the larger question here I think it’s going to be the fact that Missouri is going to have to have this discussion again about early voting and not this little white lie absentee system that the state has right now but have a genuine plan for early voting like Kansas does good luck with that yeah presumptious though for the state of Missouri to push back that April election to June as if things may be normal at that point in time Eric yeah I think this is gonna be around for the long haul and I think June said in the June date looks good and sounds good but I think it’s gonna be longer than June but I don’t know if they’re gonna send out the absentee ballots and let everybody vote that way but I think it’s gonna last longer than June but let me say one other thing that we haven’t talked about when we were talking about the problems that are going to create it city budgets you can just about throw those in the shredder with these cities not getting sales tax money now they cancelled the basketball terminus tournaments a great deal of revenue coming from that that money is gone you’ve probably projected that in the budget the state budget even projected off a restaurant sales hotel sales tax those things now you’re going to be having a great problem what else might we have then that we may not be thinking about at this point in time Steve boy what other Michaels help me here oh thanks I appreciate that I move on the coronavirus has created anonymous anxiety and uncertainty and it’s bringing up lots of questions you have many of them are we hearing from you this week and some of those a kind of heartbreaking Courtney is concerned about her father who’s currently in hospice care in Kansas City with the state of emergency prevent us from having a funeral Erik yes and funeral homes are in the Centers for Disease Control or urgent funeral directors to do funerals online live stream them rather than having people come in immediate families although churches are exempt immediate family members are who they’re requesting to come in for the funeral so it will have an impact Sam called in worried about people we too often overlook mr. Haines I’m calling about friends of mine who are homeless and unable to get medical care for the chronovisor hospitals are not accepting homeless people they are turning people away without IDs is that happening and if so what is the effect of that I think the homeless population is a huge concern when I asked mayor Lucas the other day on the air what keeps you awake at night the first thing he said and it surprised me was the homeless population those folks tend to congregate closely together they can spread the disease quickly if they indeed contract it that’s gonna be an issue that authorities are gonna have to wrestle with and compounding that is the fact that here in Kansas City and elsewhere across the nation hospital bed space is at or near capacity and if they if we have an outbreak like the one that Steve just described there that’s gonna be very very very very troublesome Alex emails as I read that the tax filing deadline has been pushed back until July but that states may still require you to pay your taxes on time is that true in Kansas and Missouri he wants to know Steve if you live in Missouri they’re gonna give you 90 days to pay your taxes you got to get your forms in by April 15 you got a 90 day grace period without penalty to actually go ahead and write your check I haven’t seen anything out of Kansas yet on that front perhaps lawmakers will deal with it in the weeks to come the other thing very quickly is that the federal government is move the April 15th tax deadline back lots of calls and emails coming in as I said to the station this week including this one from Barbara I’ve heard on the news about they want to get out president Trump’s $1,000 because that includes seniors like on Social Security to help boost the economy they were talking about but I don’t know if that’s just people getting laid off from work is that for everybody they’re looking at an income threshold Nick they don’t want to give these checks to millionaires I think Republicans and Democrats are united on that idea but this is still in the very very early stages Nick the Senate Republicans have dealt with this it hasn’t gone past the Democrats in the Senate in the house that’s the way in yet but would seniors be entitled to something like if they make under a certain amount of money yes I think that’s the threshold that there we see the federal government getting engaged in this what about our state and local governments are they doing anything to help those most closely affected by the coronavirus kid they’re still trying to put this all together and the way this crisis is unfolding here a lot of this is falling on state governments to execute some of this just on Friday for example the National Association of Governors asked Congress give this governors give the states 150 billion dollars to deal with this on the on the front line and it’s going to be the state capitals in Topeka and Jefferson City and throughout the nation where I think it’s going to be the the bull’s eye on this even mayor Lucas Nick is looking at some kind of aid package to small businesses and restaurants still working on the details here he can’t print money like the federal government can but he’s looking at a package in the low millions of dollars to help out there governor Kelley along with the closing of all schools put a stop on any evictions in the state of Kansas for the time being from homes or businesses that will certainly has some eyebrows raised among the landlord and the banking community but that’s only on the Kansas side what about in Missouri can you still be evicted from your home during this – period of time they stopped evictions –
– I think utility companies about so said They’re not to disconnect anyone during this period but again we don’t know how long this period is gonna last so that and banks are supposed to be given small business loans or then that’s coming through the government as well III notices we were doing the show now free buses they haven’t even paid for it yet but now right Casey says all buses from Kansas City out to independence into Johnson County will be free but that really is about protecting the drivers right yeah but it also speaks to the point that Eric was making or earlier about the tax not in the the burden on local governments and their and their budgets the the ATA system was still going to be charging fares for the rest of the system outside of Kansas City now that that’s going away there’s gonna be you know people are gonna have to pick up the load on this and I think Eric’s right on the button here local budgets are gonna be torn to shreds here you know just a quick comment here Nick I mean the pace of this story is so dramatic you’ve already alluded to it here we’re churning through a lot of information here I think the three of us are struggling to keep up with it all I certainly am at KCUR I found myself in the mornings Nick listening to the Today Show and NPR at the same time my head’s getting scrambled with so much information that’s what you know we have made it a regular part of our show every week to ask what is the big story we missed well what stories are not being covered or reported on because we are now in this er 24/7 coronavirus news cycle that mayor Lucas you know even though he’s dealing with this and it’s like he came into office he had to deal with the homicides then he left two homicides two months later he’s dealing with the potholes he comes out of the potholes he deals with the tenants because they’re saying that they’re not in the budget for nurse money now he has a national crisis that he’s dealing with and he always looks cool calm and collective on TV but I know it’s got to be a burden because he’s not been able to do anything that he can’t paint saying that he was going to be able to do I think I I think every other public issue that we have discussed over at this table for months is now is now on the back burner from potholes to budget Medicare expansion – primary’s – who’s going to be running our government with the elections all of that now is push back on now on the back burner are there stories that we’re missing yeah but this this is so all-consuming that it’s taken up all the air but all our state elected officials and even our local officials is this an opportunity now to push through policies and ordinances and things that they knew were going to be unpopular because this issue is taking up all of the attention that they can push through no question about it American I think you see an example that with Laura Kelly sort of signing off on the know eviction order here that wasn’t adjudicated by the legislature that was simply her calling for that almost under the radar screen here I think the the push in the journalism community right now Nick is for utilitarian useful information and as a consequence of that the watchdog role of the press sort of gets pushed aside that’s always concerning yeah absolutely and one other tax I forgot about earnings tax the people who aren’t working and people working from home and waiters and waitresses aren’t working what happens with that earnest tax money that the city is now going to be getting during the second world war when confronted with the enemy Americans got to work millions put on a uniform and they went on to the Battlefront those who stayed behind supported the war effort taking jobs in munition plants purchased Liberty Bonds and participated in rationing programs confronted with this any enemy and many of us feel helpless when the only demand made of us is to stay home and sit on the couch what can we do as Kansas Citians to go from feeling helpless to helpful this week is there anything we can do Michael I think it is as simple as buckling down nobody likes this nobody wanted it to happen but everybody’s got to eat it and I miss my friends but we just kind of we have to buckle down and in that same sense of national service that you just described in World War two is the very thing that we’re being asked to do right now I say look I’m a boomer all right and I’m taking precautions and I also tell my friends look this is the generation that survived bad skateboards very violent cartoon tune the Three Stooges we can make it through this I think that we have to figure out a way to to help less fortunate people even in this crisis a lot of families aren’t going to have food we got the kids that probably won’t have balanced meals every day we have to figure out a way to help these shelters and homeless people throughout this whole food pantries ok yes I think just in recent days Nick we’re seeing sort of that aspect of this crisis come to the public view here more and more Kansas Citians trying to navigate this tricky balancing act of maintaining social distance while trying to help out friends and neighbors were seeing stories about folks delivering food to shut-ins that kind of thing I heard a story in the radio today about folks in one neighborhood who want to keep their kids are really rambunctious they want to keep them inside the house but everyone’s writing letters to everybody else and then it’s going out one family at a time and delivering the letters around the neighborhood terrific idea people are going to get really creative to find safe ways to connect with people for all of the acts there have been these uplifting stories coming out of the negativity including local distillery Jay Riga turning its gin production line into a hand sanitizer plant and offering it up to the public on a what you can afford to pay basis what’s the most uplifting story you’ve encountered here in the Metro Eric the food giveaway from Macedonia Church even though they were did it on Wednesday people got their message mixed up on Facebook they came back Thursday and handed out groceries to people then so – people are doing something to help
– Michael I heard this one Steve show this Morning but I think I think it’s great beyond the leather the letters a group of folks they called you up and said look we’re kind of a social group and now we’re going to all order out from the same restaurant we’re gonna go pick up our food then we’re gonna get on the FaceTime and chat and have a glass of wine and go from there that’s coming together that’s that’s community building in a way Steve well my neighborhood got together on Wednesday evening Julie Petersen email the neighbors and and for people to get together and then Cortney Falk a woman who lives right across the street came out and actually marked X’s on the street six feet apart so that everybody could come out together that’s the result of it on Belinda court in little Westwood Kansas and one more reason why I love my neighborhood so much I’m part of that group right now but people actually stayed on their marks and stayed apart from each other as you can see there and I thought it was one more example of creativity when people need to get out and sort of touch base with of it with each other at a time like this my daughter and I went to loose Park after finishing work yesterday and I have to say that I don’t think there was a lack of green space there people were out and about and my daughter said Wow you would never know there’s an issue so when the weather is nice and that’s part of the problem we’ve had such a lousy weather when the weather is nice people are out and about they’re still walking their dogs they’re still going out and communicating with one another again even though it’s very lonely here right now and in many of our news rooms where a lot of people are working from home we’re continuing to provide that information for you thank you so much for joining us on this week’s episode of Kansas City Week in Review our thanks to our news reviewers for braving it here at kCPT from KMBC 9 news Micheal Mahoney from the Call newspaper Eric Wesson and Steve Kraske who’s now keeping you informed every weekday at 9:00 with a special case you are broadcast that keeps you updated on the coronavirus that instead of your updated up-to-date program at 11:00 right in o’clock every day for the foreseeable future Newark thank you very much and I’m Nick Haines from all of us here at kCPT keep calm and carry on thanks for spending part of your weekend with us [Music] you

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