Cody Newill

General Assignment Reporter

Born and raised in Independence, Mo., Cody is passionate about the Kansas City metro and its culture. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Cody has contributed to arts and culture publications such as The Bohemian Zine and completed an internship with KCUR's "Up to Date." He currently helms the Sunday morning newscasts and produces digital content for the station's website.

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Education
10:36 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Kansas City Students Put Hand-Crafted Robots To The Test At FIRST Tech Challenge

Student built robots attempt to capture wiffle balls and put them in tall bins at the FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier.
Cody Newill KCUR

Nearly 500 students from the Kansas City metro area competed in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, Tech Challenge qualifier Saturday. 

Thirty-seven teams of middle and high school students filled UMKC's Swinney Recreation Center. Each team brought a small remote-controlled robot to roll around small arenas. The students guided their robots to try to collect Wiffle balls and place them in tall bins.

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Community
10:31 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Second Section Of The Fairfax Bridge Demolished

The Fairfax Bridge is being demolished so a new bridge can be built in its place.
Credit MoDOT Photos / Flickr-CC

Kansas and Missouri's transportation departments demolished another section of the Fairfax Bridge Saturday. 

The section was the second to be taken down with explosives this year. Both KDOT and MoDOT say the bridge, which crosses the state line, can no longer bear the weight of cars and trucks passing over it daily.

Several dozen people parked off of the 7th Street Trafficway in Kansas City, Kan., to get a view of the explosion. David Dumler brought his son to watch as a familiar bridge from his childhood was taken down.

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Government
1:28 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

President Obama Takes State Of The Union Themes To KU

President Obama appeared confident and jovial during his speech at KU.
Bill Anderson KCUR

President Obama focused on child care reforms, his free community college proposal and reaching across the aisle in a speech at the University of Kansas Thursday.

He is the first sitting president to visit the Lawrence, Kan., school in more than 100 years.

Before he launched into the issues at hand, the president made sure to please the crowd with some Kansas love, saying how excited he was to visit Allen Fieldhouse before his speech.

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Beyond Our Borders
4:32 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

4 Small (But Kinda Big) Differences Between Kansas And Missouri

Liquor laws between the Kansas and Missouri are just one of the little differences between the two states.
Credit Greyerbaby / Pixabay / CC

The Kansas-Missouri state line is one of the easiest state borders to cross. In fact, it's one of the only state dividers that has an actual road lying on most of it

But as Kansans and Missourians know, there are plenty of differences between the states.

Here are a few of the technicalities when it comes to state laws governing everyday life:

Alcohol

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MLK Day
8:12 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations To Continue In 'Fuzzy' Thompson's Absence

The Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson's memorial service. Thompson had a big hand in Kansas City's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Leaders from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups in Kansas City are promising that the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations will continue in the absence of The Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson.

Thompson was laid to rest Saturday, just two days before MLK Day. The long-time civil rights activist had a big hand in organizing Kansas City's events honoring the life and work of King. 

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Community
11:36 am
Sun January 18, 2015

LISTEN: Remembering Rev. Nelson 'Fuzzy' Thompson

For nearly 50 years, the Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson fought for civil rights in America and abroad. Thompson was a follower of Martin Luther King Jr. and a major proponent of nonviolent protest. 

Thompson was laid to rest Saturday, just two days before Martin Luther King Day. We caught up with those who knew Thompson best at his memorial service. 

Voices:

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Beyond Our Borders
11:32 am
Fri January 16, 2015

How The Kansas-Missouri State Line Became A Road

The original Livestock Exchange building sat on State Line Road and 16th St. Its location is likely the reason the road was built in the mid-1800s.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collection / Kansas City Public Library

For the past four months, KCUR's Beyond Our Borders project has examined how the Missouri-Kansas state line affects the lives of those around it

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2015 Legislative Session
2:47 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Missouri Marijuana Activists Seek Reforms From 2015 Legislative Session

Missouri marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis will push state lawmakers to pass reforms on industrial hemp and medical marijuana this session.
Credit Aleks / Wikimedia Commons

Missouri marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis is planning to push lawmakers to reform marijuana laws in the 2015 legislative session.

The group is specifically interested in creating a medical marijuana program and lifting the ban on hemp production for farmers.

Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne believes that the Republican supermajority in both chambers will be more likely to support hemp production, but a medical program shouldn't be counted out yet.

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Charlie Hebdo
7:18 am
Sat January 10, 2015

Kansas Islamic Activist Group Reacts To Charlie Hebdo Shooting

Demonstrators in Luxembourg assembled with signs reading "Je suis Charlie," or "I am Charlie," to show their support for Charlie Hebdo.
Credit Valentina Cala / Flickr-CC

The suspected shooters who killed 10 journalists from French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and two police officers in an attack Wednesday have been connected to Al-Qaeda by many sources.

The Council on American Islamic Relations cautions that jumping to conclusions about the attackers can deepen anti-Islamic sentiments both intentionally and unintentionally.

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Community
2:51 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Red-Light Camera Settlement To Give Missourians Partial Ticket Refunds

A class action lawsuit against Missouri's red light camera provider has been settled, which means those who were fined could get a little cash back.
Credit Derek Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

Around 200,000 Kansas City metro residents who got caught running red-lights by traffic cameras are getting the chance for a partial refund of their tickets.

A class action lawsuit involving 27 municipalities across Missouri has been settled by American Traffic Solutions, the company that leases the state's red-light cameras.

The settlement requires ATS to pay 20 percent refunds to citizens who successfully apply for them. 

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Food Critics
5:08 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Food Critics: The Best Dishes Of 2014

Pizzabella's Brussels sprouts were among our Food Critics' favorite dishes of 2014.
Credit Pizzabella / Facebook

From happy hour treats to sumptuous desserts, Central Standard's Food Critics covered a wide swath of Kansas City cuisine in 2014. And what better way to test their culinary knowledge than with a "Best-of" list?

Here are the Food Critics' choices for the best dishes of 2014 in Kansas City:

Mary Bloch:

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Government
3:55 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

'Urban Opportunity Zones' Potentially Coming To Kansas City, Kansas

An offshoot of Kansas’ Rural Opportunity Zones program could be moving into Wyandotte County, pending approval from the state legislature.

Wyandotte County officials are optimistic that Gov. Sam Brownback will introduce the plan to the Kansas legislature soon. Brownback first debuted the idea for “Urban Opportunity Zones” on the campaign trail in August.

The zones would entice out-of-state residents to move into Kansas with a five-year income tax exemption, up to $15,000 in help for student loan payments, and significant property tax breaks for 15 years.

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Christmas Music
9:00 am
Wed December 24, 2014

The Best Christmas Music You've (Probably) Never Heard Of

James Brown is mostly known for being the "Godfather of Soul," but he's on our list for best Christmas songs that you might not have heard before.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Besides food and presents, Christmas music might be one of the most important parts of the holidays.

From Bing Crosby to Brenda Lee, dozens of music artists have produced timeless classics that never lose their seasonal appeal.

That said, one can only tolerate "White Christmas" so many times before suffering a holiday breakdown. To keep that from happening, here's a list of more obscure Christmas tunes that are sure to brighten your spirits.

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Gasoline Prices
11:12 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Missouri Has Lowest Gas Prices In U.S.; Kansas City Second Lowest In State

Missouri's gas prices are the lowest in the nation, according to AAA.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

Missouri has the lowest average gasoline prices in the country at just $2.05 a gallon, according to AAA's daily fuel tracker.

On Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., that average is even lower, at $1.97 a gallon.

The only city with lower prices in Missouri was Springfield, at $1.94 a gallon, according to AAA.

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Black Lives Matter Protest
9:31 am
Sun December 21, 2014

#Blacklivesmatter Protesters Arrested After Attempt To Block I-70 In Kansas City

#BlackLivesMatter protesters with activist group One Struggle KC begin their march through Parade Park to I-70.
Cody Newill KCUR

Seven people involved in a protest in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday were arrested as they attempted to block Interstate 70.

The protest was themed #BlackLivesMatter after the viral hashtag, which took off after the decisions not to indict the police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

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Kansas City Star
1:58 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Scam Targets 'The Kansas City Star' And Dozens Of Other Publications

A new mail-based subscription scam is targeting The Kansas City Star among dozens of other newspapers around the country.
Credit Judith E. Bell / Flickr-CC

The Kansas City Star has been targeted by a nationwide billing scam, according to Star editors.

The paper has been publishing a warning box in its print edition cautioning readers to disregard any renewal notices asking for money to be sent to Oregon or Nevada.

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Government
2:32 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Kansas City Councilman Resigns Amid Violence Accusations

Mayor Sly James says the Kansas City, Mo., City Council could have a new person in resigning Councilman Michael Brooks' seat by the end of January 2015.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 5 p.m. Wednesday:

In the wake of Kansas City, Mo., Councilman Michael Brooks' resignation, Mayor Sly James says his focus is on filling the empty 5th district seat. 

"We're not looking for someone who can warm a chair. We're going to look for someone who can do the job," James said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

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Body Cameras
7:33 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Police Chief Forté Says Body Cameras Highly Likely For Kansas City Police

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said that Kansas City officers will most likely end up using body cameras at some point in the near future.
Credit KMBC

At a Kansas City Police Department community listening session Saturday, Chief Darryl Forté said it’s “highly likely” that officers will wear body cameras soon.

Forté has called together a community work group to gather information on what camera services are best for the department, but said he doesn’t have a specific schedule at this time.

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2016 Ballot Initiatives
5:00 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

New Marijuana Legalization Petition Filed In Jefferson City

Two separate ballot initiatives are trying to present marijuana legalization to Missouri voters in 2016. One would regulate marijuana the same as alcohol, the other would make it available to all residents regardless of age.
Credit Dank Depot / Flickr-CC

Last month, Missouri marijuana legalization group Show-Me Cannabis filed a ballot initiative for 2016 that seeks to regulate marijuana consumption the same as alcohol. Now, another petition is trying to give Missourians a broader option.

The Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act of 2016 seeks to fully legalize marijuana use and cultivation for all residents of Missouri, with no age limit.

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Traffic Cameras
3:20 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Missouri Bill Seeks To Let Voters Decide On Traffic Camera Legality

A new bill introduced to the Missouri General Assembly is seeking to give Missourians the option to vote on the legality of red light and speeding cameras.
Credit Derek Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

A new bill introduced to the Missouri General Assembly seeks to give voters the choice to ban the use and enforcement of red light and speeding cameras statewide.

Earlier this month, the Missouri Supreme Court heard three cases testing the legality of traffic cameras. But Mo. Rep. Paul Curtman (R) of the 109th District wants to give the final say to voters.

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90.9 The Bridge
1:47 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Kansas City Music Guy Chris Haghirian To Host All Local Radio Show

90.9FM The Bridge's new music show "Eight One Sixty" is set to launch this January and focus on all things local in Kansas City's music scene.
Credit 90.9FM The Bridge

Kansas City community radio station The Bridge is launching a new hour-long music program this January hosted by local music aficionado Chris Haghirian.

"Eight One Sixty" will debut on Jan. 6 and air weekly on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. The show will play all local music and feature interviews, news and live performances from Kansas City-based artists. 

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Community
7:50 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Hundreds Attend Memorial Service For Slain Kansas City Teen

Hundreds of members of the Islamic Somali community and other faith organizations came to honor the memory of Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

Several hundred people packed into the Somali Center of Kansas City Sunday to honor the memory of the teenager who was killed in a hit and run last week.

More than a dozen faith-based organizations and some civic leaders attended the memorial service for Abdisamad "Adam" Sheikh-Hussein to show their solidarity with his family and the Somali community.

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Flu Shots
5:56 am
Sat December 6, 2014

CDC Warns Flu Shots May Not Be As Effective This Year

The CDC and doctors countrywide are warning that flu vaccines might not be as effective as planned, but still will help prevent people from getting the flu.
Credit Steven Depolo / Flickr-CC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that this season’s flu shots may not be as effective as last year’s due to a mutation of the H3N2 flu virus.

The H3N2 flu strain has "drifted" as doctors say, into a new subtype. So this season’s vaccinations will only be about 48 percent effective at preventing people from catching the H3N2 flu strain, according to the CDC.

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Women's Rights
3:00 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

New Study Shows Deep Gender Inequalities In Missouri

This map from the National Women's Law Center showed that Missouri women make around 77 cents per dollar that a man does. A new study is showing that they actually make around 71 cents per dollar.
Credit National Women's Law Center

A new study on gender inequality in Missouri has identified five major areas where women are treated unfairly: income, child care, health insurance, poverty and elected offices.

That’s where women face a significant disparity compared to men, according to the Women’s Foundation and the University of Missouri. At a preview conference on Friday in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the groups shared key findings.

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Conservation
7:30 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Bald Eagles Migrate Into Missouri And Kansas

A nesting bald eagle in mid-flight at Longview Lake in Lee's Summit, Mo.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr-CC

For decades, the bald eagle was an endangered species, but conservation efforts bolstered populations, particularly in Missouri.

Conservationists point to the insecticide DDT, which was banned in the 1970s, as one of the main threats to bald eagles. But now, more than 2,000 of them migrate into Missouri alone during the winter to feed at the state’s abundant rivers and lakes.

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Roeland Park
9:00 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Roeland Park Cave Redevelopment Concept Presented To City Council

This concept for redeveloping the limestone caves at 48th Street and Roe Avenue in Roeland Park, Kan., seeks bars and restaurants to create a public gathering place.
Credit Joel Marquardt / City of Roeland Park

For more than 20 years, limestone caves and an old swimming pool at 48th Street and Roe Avenue in Roeland Park, Kan., have sat vacant.

But city officials are starting to float new ideas about how to use the space.

At a city council meeting earlier this month, Roeland Park Mayor Joel Marquardt showed off conceptual drawings that would change the limestone cave formation into a hub for restaurants and bars. The concept is similar in design to Kansas City’s Power & Light District.

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Small Businesses
9:00 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Local Businesses Gear Up For 'Small Business Saturday'

If you thought Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the only big holiday shopping events, think again.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as a marketing campaign for American Express. Last year, small businesses across the country raked in $5.7 billion in sales on that one day. And that number is expected to grow this year.

Dan Murray is the National Federation of Independent Business’s Kansas branch director. He admits he was skeptical at first, but quickly realized how the dedicated day can help visibility for such businesses.

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Beyond Our Borders
2:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Kansas City, Missouri, Companies Score Higher On LGBT Friendliness Than Kansas

For the most part, companies based in Kansas City, Mo., scored high on the Human Rights Campaign's latest study on LGBT friendliness in businesses.
Credit Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A new report ranking Kansas City-area companies on LGBT equality essentially gave the Missouri side a B — and Kansas a C. 

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Ferguson
12:39 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Eric Holder Urges Peace As Ferguson Grand Jury Prepares Indictment Decision

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a video urging peace leading up to a Ferguson grand jury decision about whether to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown.
Credit United States Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder asked police across the nation to prepare appropriately Friday for demonstrations tied to Ferguson, Mo. 

The warning comes as the public expects a grand jury decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

In a video post by the Justice Department, Holder said that protests are most effective when they're nonviolent.

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Central Standard
12:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Restaurants Within 250 Miles Of Kansas City

The Lemp Mansion Restaurant in St. Louis, Mo., is just one of the destination restaurants that the Food Critics recommend.
Credit Chris Yunker / Flickr-CC

With holiday vacation days in sight, many will be leaving the Kansas City area to go visit loved ones.

Instead of just eating gas station burritos that look like they've been irradiated, why not stop for something a little more refined?

This week on Central Standard, food critics Mary Bloch, Charles Ferruzza and Cat Neville discussed the best spots to eat within 250 miles of the Kansas City metro. From fried chicken to artisan chocolates, they covered a wide range of tastes and culinary styles.

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