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

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR

The thought of being locked in a small room with a bunch of math and logic problems might trigger some uncomfortable flashbacks to a 7th grade math test, but for two new businesses in Kansas City's River Market, that's the whole point.

Breakout Kansas City and Escape Room Kansas City both opened up within a few weeks of each other, and they're bringing an unusual experience to the metro area.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri participated in a national event Saturday to get area residents interested in their family history.

The Global Family Reunion is based in New York City, but satellite events were held all over the country. The Genealogy center had music, crafts and introductory steps for amateur genealogists to find out more about their ancestry.  

Cody Newill / KCUR

A new exhibit in Kansas City Crossroads district takes the city's data and turns it into visual art.

"The Art of Data" made its grand opening at ArtsKC Friday after months of planning. Dozens of First Friday patrons came to see the pieces, which are based on statistics like life expectancy by zip code and the city's homicide rate.

Timo Newton-Syms / Flickr-CC

Older drivers often face a difficult decision on whether to continue driving or not as they move into their twilight years, but an expo Wednesday seeks to help them stay safe and find alternatives.

The Get Up And Go Older Adult Driving Expo is meant to give aging adults information about a wide range of transportation options.

The Kansas City Star / Google Creative Commons

Despite coming off a nearly 50 year, record-low homicide rate in 2014, Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Darryl Forté isn't content to just rest on his laurels.

Amid unrest from protests over police killings of unarmed African Americans in the United States, Forté has promised a renewed focus on deescalating situations and training officers to retreat from potentially lethal situations.

The Kansas City Council delayed a vote Thursday on raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

The council came to an agreement after nearly four hours of public testimony in committee. Petitioners in favor of raising the minimum wage had submitted a ballot initiative in conjunction with Councilman Jermaine Reed introducing an identical ordinance.

The issue is complicated by an Aug. 28 deadline for a bill on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk that would prohibit cities from raising the minimum wage. Mayor Sly James summed up the council's difficulty with the measures.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A Kansas City Council committee gave initial approval to a plan for a new downtown convention hotel Wednesday.

The city's Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee approved an outline for a $300 million, 800-room Hyatt hotel. The plan puts the city on the hook for $35 million, which would come from the city's existing tourism funds that currently go to Kemper Arena.

Allagash Brewing / Flickr-CC

Craft breweries and distilleries in the Kansas City area could soon have a new venue to sell their libations.

The Kansas City council's Public Safety & Emergency Services Committee advanced an ordinance Wednesday that expands liquor sales in the City Market area near downtown Kansas City.

Currently, only wineries can bring their products to the farmer's market, but the new ordinance would allow state-licensed breweries and distilleries to do the same.

Cody Newill / KCUR

For the fourth year in a row, Kansas City officials are pushing for teens and young adults to join Mayor Sly James' Club KC and Mayor's Nights events during the summer.

The initiative is meant to keep kids from causing trouble at places like the Plaza by hosting parties and sports tournaments at various community centers across the city.

Mayor James and several city council members were on the Plaza Saturday handing out fliers for the programs. James says that attendance is expected to match last year, which means less problems for law enforcement.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The 11th annual Troost Festival brought together hundreds of community members, artists and businesses Saturday for a one-day celebration of the culture of Troost Avenue.

Dozens of booths and pavilions lined the street from Linwood to 31st Street, with groups like the Harry Potter Alliance sitting next to Black Lives Matter activists.  

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's downtown streetcar line is on schedule for its tracks to be fully laid out by mid-summer, according to streetcar officials.

KC Streetcar spokeswoman Donna Mandelbaum says that construction is coming to a head just under a year after the city officially broke ground on the project.

"This summer we'll see the completion of track construction, we'll be finished up on the electrical systems and our station stop construction," Mandelbaum said. "We really are in the home stretch now."

Cody Newill / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stopped by the recently closed Missouri River bridge on Highway 291 in Sugar Creek, Missouri Thursday to call on state lawmakers to pass a fuel tax hike for transportation funding.

The northbound bridge was closed Wedensday when a Missouri Department of Transportation inspection found a rusted hole through a support strut. 

Nixon said the bridge is indicative of a larger problem with state transportation funding.

Tim / Flickr-CC

What were you doing in 1998? Getting down to the Top 40 chart-topper "Too Close"? Showing outrage over President Bill Clinton's adulterous proclivities? Perhaps still dealing with 56k modems to check your America Online email?

Cody Newill / KCUR

Medical marijuana activists from Kansas and Missouri met at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain Saturday to rally for expanded medical marijuana legalization.

Activist groups Bleeding Kansas and Sensible Missouri organized the rally. Sensible Missouri founder Nick Raines says that lawmakers should allow citizens who are suffering from chronic illnesses the choice of medical marijuana.

Cody Newill / KCUR

In the wake of unrest in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri, the Kansas City Police Department held a community peace rally at Linwood and Prospect Saturday morning.

Mayor Sly James told the crowd of several dozen police officers, community members and city council members that keeping the city peaceful will require a continued cooperative effort.

"The issues that arose in Ferguson are not unique to Ferguson," James said. "The issues can arise here just as easily, just as quickly, if we are not vigilant."

Matteo Merzi / Flickr-CC

Kansas City isn't exactly known for being a pedestrian friendly city. Downtown is overcrowded by parking lots, there have been books written about the city's automobile obsession, and it still only has a "bronze" rating from the League of American Bicyclists for its cycling friendliness.

But there are still Kansas Citians who go against the grain and make it a point to walk. In a conversation with Central Standard's Gina Kaufmann Wednesday, Pedestrian Path blogger Rhianna Weilert said her breaking point came after her car was totaled in a hit-and-run accident.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Kansas City No Violence Alliance kicked off a two-year long effort Saturday to reduce violent crime around Prospect Avenue.

NoVA partners will work with Kansas City, Missouri police on the area from 39th Street to 25th Street going north-south and Paseo to Indiana going west-east. 

Detective Maurice Oatis is one of four officers who will be embedded in the area.

"The biggest problem is actually the blight," Oatis said. "The vacant areas, the trash left out in the area: people not really caring about their community is the main issue that people are worried about right now."

Cody Newill / KCUR

For years, pinball and classic video games like Pac-Man held a special spot in American culture. But by the early 2000s, it was hard to find many arcades still open for business.

But that's changing with the rise of the arcade bar, a craze that Kansas City is just now getting in on.

At the opening night of the Up-Down, the newest arcade bar in Kansas City's Crossroads district, Brian Yates pumped token after token into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kansas has reopened for the 2015 season after a lengthy hiatus.

The roughly 150-acre facility was first chartered by Congress and President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 and opened its doors in 1965, nearly 50 years ago. 

But the Ag Center has never received governmental funding, and for nearly 10 years has struggled to keep its doors open. It even had to close early last May due to a lack of sponsorship.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of uninsured citizens flooded into Bartle Hall in Kansas City Saturday for one reason: to see a doctor.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics collaborated with KC C.A.R.E. to bring 1,300 doctors, nurses and other volunteers to the city for a one-day free clinic.

The most common ailments doctors saw were high blood pressure, complications due to diabetes and severe dental problems. 

Brandon Ellington has been an outspoken proponent of legal reform in the aftermath of the Department of Justice report on Ferguson, Missouri. But he won't call the bills he's pushing in the Legislature "Ferguson-related bills." Here's why.

Plus, what it's like to be a minority in the Legislature, in every sense of that word. 

Guest:

  • Brandon Ellington, Missouri State Representative for District 2, leader of Missouri's Black Legislative Caucus
Cody Newill / KCUR

Almost 400 youth soccer teams from across the Midwest came to Overland Park, Kansas for the 2015 KC Champions Cup tournament, and that means lots of money went into hotels, restaurants and shops in the area.

Brian Darby owns Coach's Bar & Grill. He said the Champions Cup and other tournaments like it at the Overland Park Soccer Complex bring in customers by the dozens.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Ten members of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus held a town hall at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in Kansas City Saturday to let community members know about some of the bills they've been working on in the 2015 session.

Frustration was evident from both the lawmakers and the several dozen attendees. Although some of the Caucus members' measures have been supported by the Republican-dominated legislature, nearly all the lawmakers talked about difficulties with conservative leaders in both chambers.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Friday that a 20-year-old Topeka, Kansas man has been charged in a plot to detonate a suicide bomb at the U.S. Army base in Fort Riley.

Grissom said that John T. Booker, Jr., also known as Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, has been charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

He could face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison if convicted.

National Weather Service

The Kansas City metro area could be in for a wet and wild Wednesday with severe thunderstorms, large hail and even tornadoes possible as storm cells loom to our west and southwest.

National Weather Service Pleasant Hill meteorologist Jenni Laflin says there's around an 80 percent chance that the metro will see some rain tonight, but more severe probabilities can't be quantified just yet.

Rama / Wikimedia Commons

Updated Wednesday, 9:21 a.m.:

According to the Jackson County Election Board's unofficial results for Tuesday's municipal election, Independence's levy increase passed with 64 percent approval and Lee's Summit's bond issue passed with nearly 80 percent approval.

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Cody Newill / KCUR

Dozens of low-wage workers rallied Thursday outside the McDonald's at 3741 Broadway in Kansas City to protest a recent decision by the fast-food giant to raise wages for some workers.

McDonald's is raising wages by at least a dollar for about 90,000 employees in corporate-owned restaurants. That means employees working in franchised restaurants won't get a raise unless franchise owners follow suit.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than a dozen education activists are marching 60 miles from Merriam, Kansas to Topeka for the third year in a row to protest how the state funds public schools.

The walkers from Game On for Kansas Schools were greeted by hundreds of supporters in Lawrence Saturday. The group takes issue with the state legislature's decisions to fund schools through block grants and replace the old funding formula with an outcome based method.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 700 volunteers showed up at Lakeside Nature Center Saturday morning to help clean up the Blue River. 

The volunteers divided up into more than 20 groups to clean up different sections of the river. One of the teams stationed at the Coal Mine Pond just off I-435 had their work cut out for them: on top of the usual trash, a 16-foot boat sat underneath the water.

Group leader Jim Armer has been involved in river cleanups for about 10 years. In that time, he's seen just about everything there is to see at the bottom of a riverbed.

Ford Motor Company / Wikimedia Commons

The middle class is seemingly ever-present in American politics and ideals. President Obama pushed for what he calls "middle class economics" in his State of the Union address, and according to a Pew research study in 2012, nearly half of all Americans identified themselves as being part of the middle class.

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