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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Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Not content to let the "Boys in Blue" bask in their 2015 World Series glow, popular statistical analysis blog FiveThirtyEight says the Royals only have a four percent chance of winning the World Series this year.

The blog's new daily 2016 MLB predictions are a little more generous for the Royals' playoff and division leadership chances: 47 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

The Daily Beast

For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named Lincoln College Preparatory Academy the top high school in Missouri. The publication also named Blue Valley North the top high school in Kansas.

The annual report looked at graduation rates, state assessment results, college readiness and low-income student performance to rank 174 Missouri and 116 Kansas public high schools. 

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

It's hard to escape the Missouri River's influence in Kansas City. Even if you don't live immediately next to its winding banks, it's tough to get around a river that cuts straight through the heart of the metro area. And you've no doubt heard the phrases "north of the river" and "Big Muddy" at least once.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

If you just want to see the video, scroll down

I'm not afraid to admit that I'm scared of heights. Standing 50 feet off the ground on a lightly swaying tree platform at the new Go Ape Zip Line and Treetop Adventure in Kansas City's Swope Park didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in my heart — at first. 

But the two safety cables attached to my harness (which are strong enough to support an SUV with five people in it) ease my instinctual concern. 

Kansas City Mayor Sly James gave his fifth State of the City address Thursday, with particular focus on the city's earnings tax, education and violence.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The 44th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade marched down Broadway Thursday, attracting the Irish and their friends who love to dress in green. Around 150,000 people were expected to join in the festivities, according to organizers. 

Because this year's theme was "Blarney on Broadway," KCUR asked folks what they thought about blarney during a presidential election year.

KCUR 89.3

Updated, 7 p.m. Thursday:

Hillary Clinton has won the Missouri Democratic presidential primary.

The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will not seek a recount, which candidates are entitled to request if the margin is less than one-half of 1 percent.

It's still possible Ted Cruz could ask for a recount on the Republican side. He finished about two-tenths of a percent behind Donald Trump in Tuesday's presidential primary.

The original post continues below.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Just a day after canceling a rally in Chicago due to violence and unrest, GOP front-runner Donald Trump came to the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in downtown Kansas City on Saturday to try to boost his chances of winning Missouri's Republican primary.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 5:50 a.m. Sunday:

Sen. Bernie Sanders was declared winner of the Kansas Democratic caucus by the Kansas Democratic Party Saturday evening, with 90 percent of precincts reporting. 

"People used to ask, 'What's the matter with Kansas?'" Sanders said in a victory statement. "It turns out that there's nothing the matter with Kansas when you give people a clear choice and involve them in the democratic process."

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Before the Kansas City Council sat down for its second public hearing for the 2016-2017 budget Saturday, 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed predicted that blighted housing would be a key topic for the day.

"There's a bit of excitement, but also a bit of caution," Reed said. "People don't necessarily want to see these buildings and homes torn down, they want to see people repopulate the urban core."

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

After years of planning, construction and testing, Kansas City's streetcar line will open to the public on May 6.

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority and the city of Kansas City announced the launch Thursday morning. Chris Hernandez with the city's communications department says the plan is to make the opening into a party of sorts that will last through May 7.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Thousands of Kansas Citians crowded Bartle Hall Wednesday afternoon in support of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who visited just before state caucuses in Kansas and primary in Missouri.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Several dozen Kansas City residents went to the city's first public budget hearing for the 2016-2017 budget Saturday morning, and most who testified had the same three things on their minds: infrastructure, blighted houses and the city's earnings tax. 

City council members listened to the residents' testimony for more than an hour at the Kansas City, Missouri, Regional Police Academy. Keith Nelson of the North Bennington neighborhood in the Northland told council members that infrastructure needs had been neglected for too long.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

As second baseman for the Kansas City Royals, Frank White helped bring the team a big first: a World Series win.

On Friday, more than 30 years after the 1985 World Series, White celebrated two more firsts: his first State of the County address as the first African-American Jackson County Executive. 

"Today I feel like a rookie again," White said with a wide smile and to much applause. "I have never experienced a first quite like this."

Cody Newill / KCUR

The city has announced plans to demolish the Royale Inn -- known to neighbors and leaders as a dangerous, crime-ridden place, not to mention a less-than-welcoming gateway to downtown when driving from the interstate onto Paseo. But while demolition may solve problems for the neighborhood, does it address underlying issues of poverty and crime, or just relocate them?

Guests:

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

A small group of Kansas Citians gathered outside the Kansas City Gun Show at the KCI Expo Center Saturday to call for stricter gun control.

Organizer Alice Kitchen says she'd like to see stricter background checks for guns as well as a more concerted effort from gun producers to keep firearms from falling into the hands of criminals.

KCMO Housing and Neighborhood Services / Opendata KC

The Kansas City Missouri City Council on Thursday received a proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 from Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte that would make big changes in vacant housing and boost funding for the arts.

The key proposal from the $1.5 billion budget would issue a $10 million bond to raze more than 800 dangerous houses, most of which sit east of Prospect Avenue.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Every Tuesday and Friday, about a dozen seniors from the Santa Fe Towers Apartments in Overland Park eagerly drop quarters into the fare box of the 812 Flex route bus. 

Many of the passengers are old hats when it comes to public transit. They've got their fare ready well before they get on the bus, and some pull along wheeled baskets to tote around the groceries they'll get from Hy-Vee.

One of the riders on a recent Tuesday was a woman named Carolyn, who asked that only her first name be used. She's used buses to get around Johnson County for the past 7 years.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Frustrations ran high at the Citizen Task Force on Violence's first listening session Saturday morning, as several dozen Kansas Citians spoke out on how to curb violence in the city.

William Thomas, a probation officer in Johnson County, summed up what many of the attendees want out of the task force: a concerted effort before its self-imposed November deadline.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Tackling some of the biggest problems in Kansas City area schools is no easy task, but that's exactly what more than 100 participants with the Lean Lab's "ReversED" event set out to do this weekend.

The Lean Lab started in October 2013, acting as an incubator for community members to pitch educational solutions to area schools.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

It's been a pretty magical year for the Royals, hasn't it?

Months after hundreds of thousands of Royals fans descended upon downtown Kansas City in November for the team's World Series parade, thousands more are expected to fill Bartle Hall for the 2016 Royals FanFest this weekend.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Eds note: This post originally stated that an initiative seeking to decriminalize marijuana in Kansas City would require more than 3,400 signatures from registered voters in order to be considered by the Kansas City Council for voters. That is true for referendum efforts, not initiative petitions.

Initiative petitions only require signatures equal to 5 percent of votes cast for mayor in the last municipal election. By that reasoning, only 1,708 valid signatures will be required. The text below has been changed to reflect the correct numbers.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Sprint Corp. is laying off more than 800 employees at its Overland Park headquarters.

The telecommunications company filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act, or WARN, notice with the state of Kansas late Friday. The firm said it's letting go a total of 829 workers.

Allen Brewer / Flickr-CC

You’re a newbie, huh? Don’t know KCMO from KCK, burnt ends from a short end, but suddenly you find yourself in good old “Cowtown.”

 

(First hot tip, nobody calls Kansas City “Cowtown” anymore).

 

Well don’t freak out! The Kansas City metro may sprawl nearly 8,000 square miles, but all you need are a few pointers and you’ll be fine.

Crawford Architects, LLC.

Kansas City officials have debated the future of Kansas City International Airport for years, but there's another proposal on the table that could change the conversation.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Topics ranged from youth empowerment and education to Kansas City's historic jazz district when Mayor Sly James spoke at a community forum Sunday morning.

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church holds forum discussions with civic and community leaders every Sunday morning, but the latest was part of a nearly 20 year annual tradition of inviting Kansas City's mayors to the discussions.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

For 115 years, a time capsule once stored in the cornerstone of the Thacher School in Kansas City's Historic Northeast laid dormant. But a team of historians with the Kansas City Museum opened the memento Saturday morning, finding a treasure trove of documents.

The historic school was named after Civil War major Louin Kennedy Thacher in May, 1900 and was closed by the Kansas City Public Schools in 2009. The school building was demolished last August.

X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Missouri/M.Brodwin et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: JPL/CalTech

A team of astronomers led by a UMKC professor have nailed down more particulars about the most distant massive galaxy cluster ever discovered.

Galaxy cluster IDCS J1426.5+3508 was first formally discovered in 2012, though UMKC associate professor Dr. Mark Brodwin and astronomers from around the country have worked on projects since 2007 that led up to it.

Paul Sableman / Flickr-CC

Just like the millions of people who will make resolutions this week, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is making changes in the new year. 

The transit service will extend its 107 line in Kansas City, Kansas, to connect the transit center on Johnson Drive in Mission to KU Med Center. Riders can also go from there to downtown Kansas City, Missouri, if they choose.

Cindy Baker with the KCATA says officials consider the expansion to be the metro's first truly regional route, and hope KU Med employees take advantage of it.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver held a holiday party and interfaith rally at Union Station Sunday evening to show support for Kansas City's Muslim community.

Several hundred people of all faiths came to the event to mingle, eat and enjoy the holidays together. Since terrorist attacks in Paris left more than 100 dead in November, Cleaver says, Islamophobic rhetoric in America has gone too far and risks alienating moral, law-abiding citizens.

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