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.

Ways to Connect

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Kansas City, Missouri could soon be home to a new auto parts manufacturer and 375 new jobs.

The Kansas City Council's Planning and Zoning Committee Wednesday advanced plans for Challenge Manufacturing Co., a contractor for General Motors, to move into a space near Kansas City International Airport.

The company requested $56 million in bonds and 75 percent tax abatement for 10 years from the city. 

Planning and Zoning Chair Scott Taylor says the company had considered several different sites, including Kansas City, Kansas, but its first pick was near KCI.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of firefighters and spectators took part in the fifth annual Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sunday, despite a bomb threat made last week.

Bagpipes and drums echoed throughout the halls of downtown's Town Pavilion as 343 firefighters from eight states suited up and climbed the 38 -story building three times in a row in memory of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Each firefighter had the picture of one of the 343 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Center taped to their backs.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 500 union members and politicians rallied in Kansas City on Saturday to show their support for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a so-called "right-to-work" bill.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa spoke passionately to the crowd of people packed into the Teamsters Local 41 hall.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The Federal Transit Administration has given first-round approval to a big overhaul of Kansas City's Prospect Avenue bus line.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority has been working for several years to turn the route into a MAX line like the Main Street and Troost Avenue routes.

The Transit Administration's approval means the project can now move into its development phase, and the KCATA can start trying to secure federal funding to help offset the estimated $54 million price tag.

Salvation Army USA West / Flickr-CC

The Salvation Army's Olathe food pantry is facing a severe food shortage due to rising demand.

Since 2012, demand for food has climbed 72 percent at the Olathe location. Officials say that it could be because of a sharp rise in poverty levels in Johnson County, Kansas since 2000. 

Stand Up KC

The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance earlier this summer that would've raised the city's minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020. And while the move was praised by social justice organizations and workers, many business groups felt it was done too quickly.

In the weeks since then, a lot has changed with the minimum wage debate in Kansas City. Competing initiatives, an election and state law have all converged into a confusing mess.

To straighten out the tangle of procedures and petitions, KCUR has put together a timeline of the major developments surrounding the minimum wage. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it is our best effort to compile the significant dates and moments in the minimum wage conversation in Kansas City.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance this summer that would've raised the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020. But competing petitions and state laws have complicated the issue, and threatened the raise for Kansas City workers. 

'A glorious day for workers'

Activists and low-wage workers with activist group Stand Up KC protested for higher wages for years before the council's vote. For Subway worker Dana Whitman, who has struggled to pay rent on the wages she earns, that day earlier this summer was a day of joy and relief. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Activists and LGBT community members held a memorial service for Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old transgender, Latina woman who was brutally run over three times in a parking lot Aug. 15. 

Dozens showed up to the service in Westport, which was organized by the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and Una Lucha KC. Many placed red roses, a favorite of Dominguez's, on a pedestal next to an alter covered in candles and pictures.

Johnson County

University of Missouri-Kansas City students with a valid student ID can now ride Johnson County's bus lines for free.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority expanded the service as part of its new focus on regional transportation since former Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon was hired as president.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City Aviation Expo and Air Show drew thousands of people to the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport over the weekend.

People streamed across the closed Broadway Bridge to attend the show, which hasn't run since 2011. Air Show director Ed Noyallis says the main point is to get kids excited about aviation.

"They're all thrilled, you know, it's just fun," Noyallis said. "Airplanes are always a fascination for everybody."

Ken Zirkel / Flickr-CC

The Kansas City Council approved a petition that seeks to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 for a Nov. 3 election.

However, state law is likely to get in the way of the measure, regardless of what voters decide. When council members passed the city's minimum wage ordinance last month, they believed that a state bill forbidding local wage hikes gave a small window of opportunity.

But Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed that bill, which could be considered during the Missouri General Assembly's special Sept. 16 veto session. If it's overridden, any minimum wage ordinance or petition passed by Kansas City would be in violation of state law.

Chris Murphy / Flickr-CC

Overland Park's Corporate Woods commercial park is for sale, less than 10 years since it was last on the market.

The 22 building, 2.2 million square foot park was bought by Stoltz Real Estate Partners in 2006. Back then, Stoltz paid $290 million, which the Kansas City Business Journal reports as the largest real estate sell in Kansas City history.

Cody Newill / KCUR

In 1992, Missouri voters legalized riverboat casinos along the state's waterways. The promise was that tax revenue would soar for local communities and state education coffers would be filled. 

And for Kansas City's smaller Northland communities of Riverside and North Kansas City, that's largely been the case. Both cities have grown to depend on revenue from their casinos, though there have been some costs that come along with legalized gambling.

Transforming the Northland

Cody Newill / KCUR

Around 100 activists gathered outside the Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City Sunday for the one-year anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown.

Social justice organization One Struggle KC organized the event in Brown's memory, but also to call attention to black citizens who have been killed in the Kansas City metro.

The group marched around the mall to 85th Terrace and State Line Road where they taped off the intersection and several members laid on the ground after being mock shot by water guns. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Several dozen Lincoln College Preparatory Academy alumni met with a small group of current students Saturday to celebrate the historic school's 150th anniversary.

The alumni met the students at the Centennial United Methodist Church in Kansas City's 18th and Vine District to show their support and talk about how the school influenced their lives.  

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and the 12 newly elected city council members were sworn into office Saturday morning.

Hundreds packed the Gem Theater in the city's historic 18th and Vine District to hear James' inaugural speech and watch the council's first legislative session.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 100 nurses and activists gathered outside Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park Friday to protest what they say are unfair work conditions.

According to data provided by the hospital to the nurses, 59 percent of shifts in one of the hospital's surgical units weren't adequately staffed. The protesters also say that Kansas nurses are paid $3 less than the national average wage.

Linda Schall has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years. She says understaffing forces Menorah nurses to work 12-hour shifts without breaks, which can lead to bad practices.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Activists with Missouri Jobs with Justice protested in Westport Thursday over a challenge to Kansas City's new minimum wage ordinance.

The group Missourians For Fair Wages is a coalition of business groups, including the Missouri Restaurant Association, that oppose the wage hike, and have been collecting petition signatures to put it on the ballot through a referendum.

Cody Newill / KCUR

After a year of construction, crews have finally completed laying Kansas City's downtown streetcar tracks. 

More than 100 people showed up to the project's "River Market Rail Rally" Wednesday, which celebrated the streetcar's progress, as well as new artwork that will be showcased on two other stops in the River Market neighborhood near downtown.

Wikimedia Commons

The Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health is warning Kansas residents about an uptick in rabies infections this year.

As of July 1, there have been 69 positive cases of rabies in the state, 13 of which have been in domestic animals. In 2014, there were 69 cases for the entire year. 

Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Bill Brown says that the increase is part of a natural cycle. He says rabies cases typically surge every few years, and this year's hot temperatures and wet weather could be spurring more animal activity — and more chances for infection.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Last May, former Missouri House Speaker John Diehl resigned after journalists at the Kansas City Star obtained sexually charged text messages that Diehl had sent to a former intern.

Now, Sen. Paul LeVota of Independence has come under scrutiny after two former interns alleged that he propositioned them for sex and then retaliated when they refused.  

On Friday's Up to Date, host Steve Kraske was joined by former Statehouse interns Sarah Felts and Casey Millburg, former Rep. Sandra Reeves and Rep. Kevin Engler to talk about the rising issue of sexual harassment in the Missouri Statehouse.

The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance Thursday raising the city's minimum wage. 

Cheers rang out in chamber after the council approved the new ordinance 12 - 1. It will bump wages up to $8.50 an hour by August 24, and will eventually cap at $13 an hour by Jan. 1, 2020. 

But Mayor Sly James made it clear that the ordinance could be found to violate state law, and that legislators are unlikely to simply let it stand.

Stand Up KC

The Kansas City Council is poised to take action Thursday on an ordinance that would raise the city's minimum wage well above state levels.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A group of Web developers from across the globe gathered in Lawrence's Liberty Hall over the weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary of "Django," a Web application framework with Kansas roots.

In 2005, Web developers at the Lawrence Journal World created Django to help journalists put stories on the Web quickly. Now, it's used in a wide variety of websites and apps, such as Instagram, Pinterest and the Washington Times. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City Council will continue to discuss an ordinance that would raise the city's minimum wage. 

Dozens of activists from Stand Up KC, a group focused on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, filled the council chamber Thursday during a two-hour session of expert testimony. 

As it currently stands, the measure would increase the minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2023. That's $2 an hour less than what advocates want, and takes an extra three years.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Activists and low-wage workers gathered on the steps of the Kansas City's City Hall Thursday to start what they say will be a week-long fast in support of a minimum-wage increase.

Members of Stand Up KC crowded the steps shortly after dawn to support an ordinance that would raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

More than 4,000 members of the Mennonite Church USA gathered in downtown Kansas City July 2 to meet, worship and pass church-wide resolutions together at their biennial convention. But congregations are bitterly divided over two resolutions passed dealing with same-sex marriage.

The first resolution passed by nearly 1,000 delegates from congregations all over the country allows same-sex marriage if that congregation is within a regional conference that allows it. It calls for "Christian forbearance" and tolerance. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

A Lee's Summit fireworks stand that was blown over by a tornado has reopened just before the Fourth of July. 

High winds caused the tent to collapse Wednesday evening, ruining at least $20,000 worth of fireworks. The stand is run by volunteer students and Parent Teacher Student Association members at Lee's Summit North High School.

PTSA member Rebecca Fisher said there was a little grumbling, but the students got the tent back up and running within 24 hours.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A new emergency shelter for children in Wyandotte County opening up this summer got a little help from the community Saturday.

The proceeds from the "Luau with Love" at St. Patrick Catholic Church will help fund Robert's Place, a shelter where children in abusive homes can be taken after police have intervened.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR

Marriage equality advocates in Missouri and Kansas rejoiced Friday as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states are not allowed to place bans on unions by same-sex couples.