Cody Newill

Digital Editor

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 works as the digital editor for the station, producing web and social media content. 

Ways to Connect

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

At the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission's June meeting at Union Station Tuesday, one thing was clear: Despite a lower total budget than last year, the Missouri Department of Transportation is looking to the future.

Commission Vice Chair Steve Miller says that, although the Missouri General Assembly didn't increase fuel taxes this session to help fund roads and bridges, the reinstatement of a $20 million cost-sharing program is a boon.

With large hail, rain and even one confirmed tornado sweeping through the Kansas City area Thursday, local Twitter users took to their cell phones with the hashtag #kswx to capture photos of the swirling, gray skies.

We put together a few highlights — or lowlights depending on your tolerance for storms — of the weather.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Wyandotte County prosecutors filed charges Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of Kansas City, Kansas Det. Brad Lancaster.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman charged Curtis Ayers of Tonganoxie, Kansas with capital murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and burglary, two counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm.

At a press conference, Gorman said Ayers' bond was set at $10 million. He also said the case could be prolonged if Ayers fights extradition from Jackson County back to Wyandotte County.

Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

Ganja. Weed. Pot. Dank herb.

Whatever you call it, marijuana is becoming a more prominent presence in American culture. Nearly half the country has legalized some form of medicinal marijuana, and four states (plus Washington D.C.) have gone whole-hog and legalized the substance for recreational use. 

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

After $102 million and more than five years of design, construction and testing, Kansas City is about to get a taste of streetcars again.

The 2.2 mile starter line marks the first time the city has brought back public rail transit since 1957, when the historic line was shuttered. For KC Streetcar Authority Executive Director Tom Gerend, the process has already been worth the effort.

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.

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