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Kansas City

Charlie Riedel / AP

It’s officially spring in Kansas City, even with the coronavirus. Around the metro, there are signs Mother Nature is unaware of the pandemic with greener grass, budding flowers and warmer temperatures.

That’s drawing many people outdoors to take a break from being cooped up indoors following stay-at-home orders. Health experts say getting exercise is important, even with restrictions on movement, but people should still try to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.

Here are some tips for safely getting some fresh air and exercise outdoors during a pandemic. 

Like parents around the country, Michelle Haffer never imagined having to become her child’s full-time teacher. But Haffer’s daughter is out of school and mostly stuck in the house.

And her daughter, Maddy, isn’t loving it.

“Well, she’s been struggling. It’s mostly the social distancing, in that nothing is open,” Haffer said.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

One day after the Jackson County Health Department told Bass Pro Shops to close its Independence store because it is a nonessential business, officials now say "the situation has changed."

Kayla Parker, a spokeswoman for the health department, said in an email Tuesday that officials are now "working with" Bass Pro Shops. She did not provide further information.

The store remained open Tuesday, with workers limiting customers inside the building to 50 at a time. There was no line outside the store. Inside, employees seemed to outnumber customers. 

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The Kansas City Council passed a $1.7 billion budget Thursday even though the city does not yet know the full extent of the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the city’s revenues.

“We are in a most serious time,” Councilwoman Teresa Loar said during Thursday’s four-hour debate. “We should just pass a budget, see where we’re at, and then we will take care of things as we go.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri has postponed April municipal elections until June, a decision that could have a long-term impact on metro school districts asking voters to approve bonds for construction projects.

North Kansas City Schools, the state’s third largest school district, needs to replace two elementary schools, build an early childhood center and add on to Staley High School. There’s also a backlog of deferred maintenance at the district’s oldest school buildings. 

Google Maps

Although only “essential” businesses are supposed to remain open under stay-at-home orders now in effect in the Kansas City area, some businesses appear to have adopted a loose definition of the term.

The 700,000-square-foot Guitar Center distribution center in the Northland is one of them. The sprawling facility employs hundreds of people to fulfill online orders for musical instruments and musical gear.

KU Hospital

As the coronavirus continues its relentless spread, hospitals are making tough decisions about postponing or canceling elective procedures.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommended that providers consider a range of factors in determining whether to postpone surgery or other procedures. They include patient risk, urgency of the procedure, bed availability, staffing and the availability of personal protective equipment.

Courtesy photo

Brandy Granados felt like she was just getting back on her feet. After spending the summer without a home, she was working with a temp agency at UPS and living in an apartment with her 8-year-old son, Jude, and a roommate. 

Then two weeks ago, she was told by UPS “her assignment had ended.” And with schools closed due to the coronavirus, she’s focusing much of her energy on Jude, who Brandy says, has trouble concentrating and was getting specialized instruction at school.

Unable to work, Granados doesn’t know how she’ll pay her rent in April.

Unsplash

Media experts say better news literacy was needed before the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. But the rapid spread of misinformation along with the disease itself, they say, has created a different kind of pandemic.

KCUR is tracking the latest coronavirus developments in the Kansas City region on our live blog. But we also wanted some answers for how you can avoid misinformation online during these unsettled times.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

As federal and state courts cancel in-person proceedings amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, one court remains open for business, albeit not entirely as usual.

The immigration court in Kansas City, the only such court in Missouri, is continuing to hold hearings for detained immigrants, although it’s no longer conducting hearings for people not in custody.

But the confined space of its three courtrooms, located in an office building in Crown Center, don’t realistically allow for the “social distancing” recommended by public health officials.

Ray Weikal / Kansas City Public Schools

With schools around the metro closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, food service directors in Kansas and Missouri have taken on a daunting logistical challenge: how to feed hungry kids until it’s safe for them to go back to class.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The 83rd annual NAIA men’s basketball tournament was canceled last week as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It was supposed to start Wednesday and run this week through next Tuesday. 

Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

With COVID-19 forcing schools across the metro to cancel classes and many peole to work from home, the “digital divide" between those with easy and reliable access to the internet at home and those without, is on the minds of many. 

According to a recent report from Broadband Now, the number of people without access to the internet in the US may be 42 million, nearly double the reported number from the Federal Communications Commission.

Jodi Fortino / KCUR 89.3

A second man has been charged in connection to a shooting in Westport in late February that killed one person and wounded four.

On Thursday, Jackson County prosecutors charged Ernest P. Jones, Jr., 23, of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action for his involvement in the Feb. 29 shooting.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Did that just happen?

Financial markets and oil producers delivered a double whammy Monday that left the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 7.8% — its worst drop since 2008.

Ten Kansas City-area public companies tumbled even more than the benchmark average. In just a day, the 10 local companies saw their combined market cap fall $8.25 billion.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Opposition is growing to the proposed redevelopment of an old hospital in south Kansas City that could be made into a detention center to house immigrant children.

As of Thursday, opponents had gathered more than 4,800 signatures in an online petition opposing the development plan. It will be presented to members of the City Plan Commission at the March 17 meeting.

Courtesy Wilson Vance

Tenants of a landlord notorious for the festering conditions of its apartment units have won the right to sue  as a class.

Complaints by tenants of Ruskin Place Apartments, a 169-unit complex in south Kansas City, ranged from “vast amounts of water” leaking through windows, mold and sagging floors to inadequate heat, unsecured doors and “large critters” roaming through the units.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Details remain scarce after a man was shot and killed Wednesday while FBI agents and task force officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant at an apartment building in midtown Kansas City.

On Thursday, an FBI spokesman identified David William Irving, 35, as the shooting victim. Nobody else was injured.

It is not clear if Irving died at the scene or was the intended target of the warrant. Nor is it clear whether he was shot by an FBI agent or by a task force officer working alongside the federal agents.

Maria Franco

Public universities in Missouri haven’t been able to offer in-state tuition to students living illegally in the U.S. since 2015. Some state lawmakers are now trying to make sure that doesn’t change anytime soon.

A bill currently making its way through the state Senate would ban publicly funded colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to undocumented students, making permanent budget langauge that currently must be approved each year.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Shares of Kansas City-area companies took a beating as U.S. markets took a dive Monday amid investor anxiety over the spread of the coronavirus and a surge of infections in South Korea and Italy.

MoDOT

If your weekend travel plans typically include I-70 in Independence, you'll want to find an alternate route this weekend. 

That's because the Missouri Department of Transporation is shutting down a seven-mile stretch of one of the metro's busiest roadways to make way for a major construction project where I-70 meets I-435 near the Truman Sports Complex. 

Here's what you need to know: 

WHERE: MoDOT plans to shut down westbound I-70 between where Route 291 meets I-470 in Independence to the I-435/I-70 interchange near the stadiums. 

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Kansas City Chiefs fans are among the tens of thousands of people pouring into South Florida this week, joining Midwest expats already here for a celebration of the team’s first Super Bowl appearance in half a century.

Courtesy / Stram family

The Kansas City Chiefs are preparing to play in the franchise's first Super Bowl since Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Hank Stram led the team to a title in Super Bowl IV 50 years ago.

Stram's sons — Dale, now 64; Stu, 62; and Gary, 58 — were three of the six children raised by Phyllis and Hank Stram in Prairie Village in the 1960s and 1970s.

Texas Tech Athletics

It turns out, Patrick Mahomes isn’t the first Chiefs player from Texas Tech University to star in a Super Bowl.

That honor goes to E.J. Holub, who is the only player in NFL history to start a Super Bowl on offense and defense. In Super Bowl IV, he snapped the football to the game’s Most Valuable Player, Len Dawson, as the Chiefs’ starting center.

Four years earlier, he started at linebacker in the very first Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.

KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Kansas City metro area, and a couple of cities just outside of it, will soon have 45 medical marijuana dispensaries. 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued dispensary licenses Thursday, marking a major milepost since voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 that legalized medical marijuana. 

Brynn Anderson / AP

The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in fifty years. That’s prompting many fans to consider a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Miami to see their team play in person at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2.

Thinking of going to Miami for the big game? Here are some numbers you may want to consider.

Colin Braley / AP

David Glass, the former owner of the Kansas City Royals who sold the club late last year, has died.

The team announced his death Friday, saying he "passed away last week." Glass was 84 years old.

Glass bought the Royals in 2000. Before that, he had served as the team's chairman of the board after the death in 1993 of the team's founder, Ewing Kauffman.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is painting the town red ahead of Sunday's big game.

The Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Championship Game with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. It's the second straight year Kansas City has advanced this far in the playoffs, and with football fever in the air once again, metro motorists are seeing red everywhere.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 people gathered in front of the home of Cameron Lamb on a cold Saturday afternoon, offering remembrances of the 26-year-old man fatally shot by a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer nearly two weeks ago. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Local, independent bookstores in the Kansas City area are making a comeback. 

Buoyed by growing consumer unease with online retail giant Amazon, "indies" here and around the country are trying to capitalize on customer sentiment that favors brick-and-mortar intimacy and community spirit. 

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