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.


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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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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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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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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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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Kansas City Royals
1:59 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Billy Butler Picked Up By Oakland A's For $30 Million

Designated Hitter Billy Butler has played for the Kansas City Royals since 2007, but starting in 2015, that'll no longer be the case.
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

The Oakland Athletics confirmed Wednesday that Billy Butler will play for the team starting in 2015.

Despite showing a desire to remain a Kansas City Royal, Butler's $12.5 million option for 2015 was too much for Royals managers.

Oakland approached Butler with a three-year, $30 million contract and $5 million signing bonus.

Some had mixed emotions about seeing Butler leave the only professional team for which he's played. Dean Tangeman posted this response on Twitter:

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9:25 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Mission's Johnson Drive Reconstruction Project Nears Completion

The Johnson Drive reconstruction project that started in mid-2013 in Mission, Kan., is finally coming to a close. 

For many business owners, having their parking blocked off by construction for so long dealt a major blow to their bottom line. Hershel Casey of the Casey Brothers service station said that he was surprised by just how much the construction hurt business.

"Well during the summer months, we were down about 45 to 60 percent on business," Casey said. "I think it took about twice as long as it should've."

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11:20 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Jeff Piehler, Prairie Village Man Who Built His Own Coffin, Has Died

Jeff Piehler, seen sitting in the pine coffin that he built, has passed away.
Credit Shari Hartbauer / Lincoln Journal Star

Jeff Piehler, the retired Prairie Village thoracic surgeon who built his own coffin, died Friday after a 12-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

In February, Piehler penned a New York Times op-ed about his decision to build his own coffin. Though his family believed it was morbid at first, building the coffin helped Piehler come to terms with his own mortality. 

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Arts & Culture
10:41 am
Thu November 13, 2014

JJ's Restaurant Re-Opens In New Location

Nearly two years after a natural gas explosion and fire destroyed JJ's restaurant, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and owner Jimmy Frantze cut the ribbon at the restaurant's reopening ceremony in the Polsinelli Building in the West Plaza.
Julie Denesha KCUR

JJ's restaurant re-opened Wednesday night for dinner in its new location in the West Plaza district of Kansas City, Mo., inside the Polsinelli Building at 900 W. 48th Place.

It's been a work in progress for more than 11 months. When a natural gas explosion destroyed the original location in February 2013, it was questionable if the popular meeting spot would ever recover. 

In the days following the explosion that left server Megan Cramer dead, JJ’s co-owner Jimmy Frantze couldn’t even bring himself to look at the building.

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Country Club Plaza
8:11 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Country Club Plaza Switches Lights To Environmentally Friendly LED Bulbs

This year, the Plaza's holiday light display will be 85 percent LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs.
Credit Highwoods Properties

When the Country Club Plaza's traditional holiday light display is switched on this Thanksgiving, nearly 85 percent of the bulbs will be new LEDs. 

LEDs typically cost more up front than regular incandescent bulbs, but they also consume anywhere from one-twentieth to one-tenth of the energy.

Gayle Terry, spokeswoman for Highwoods Properties, the company that owns the Plaza, said that the transition to LEDs was long expected.

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7:44 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Overland Park To Get Cellphone Signal Boosters On Street Poles

These antennas on the tops of street poles in Overland Park are meant to boost cellphone signal coverage.
Credit Courtesy photo / The City of Overland Park, Kan.

People who live in Overland Park, Kan., should be getting more reliable cellphone signals by year’s end, thanks to some inconspicuous antenna installations. 

Chicago-based telecommunications contractor Extenet Systems installed a handful of cone-like cellphone signal boosters on top of light poles throughout Overland Park.

Overland Park Public Works city traffic engineer Brian Shields says that the additions are a good alternative to building large cellular towers.

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Election 2014
11:37 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Missouri's Constitutional Amendment Election Results

Missourians who voted Tuesday approved two of the four constitutional amendments on the 2014 ballot.
Credit Wikimedia Commons, user: Rama

Two of the four constitutional amendments on Missouri's 2014 Election ballot passed Tuesday, and two did not.

What passed:

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Election 2014
7:13 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Kansas 2014 Election Results

Voters in Kansas had some heated races to follow up to Election Day.

Voters in Kansas went to the polls Tuesday to decide some heated races for both national and state political offices. The Kansas U.S. Senate seat and Governor's office races have been particularly intense. 

Below are the results for a selection of the races. You can find full results at the Secretary of State website.

Unofficial election results will be updated below as precincts across the state report results.

Updated: 1:10 p.m., Wednesday.

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Election 2014
8:35 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Rep. Cleaver Encourages Voter Turnout At Kansas Democratic Rally

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver speaks at a Democratic rally in Kansas.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

As Election Day approaches fast, Democrats in Kansas are bringing politicians across the state line to inspire voter turnout.

At a "Get Out the Vote" rally in Kansas City, Kansas Saturday, Missouri U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver toed a delicate political line. At no point did he directly endorse any of the Democratic candidates for political offices in Kansas, instead focusing on inspiring Democratic voters.

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Kansas City Royals
3:34 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Mayor Sly James Shows Royals Pride Before World Series Game 7

Kansas City Mayor Sly James showed his support for the Royals by wearing a Royals cap, blue bowtie and blue pocket square.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

In an appearance at Union Station Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Sly James showed up decked out in a blue bowtie and matching Kansas City Royals hat to show support for the boys in blue as the team headed into the final game of the World Series.

James said the excitement Kansas Citians have shown during the World Series has been long overdue.

"You can't buy this kind of pride," James said. "It's about time that we had something like [the World Series] where we can say, 'This is ours, we did it, we showed the rest of you, and this is something we're going to cherish.'"

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10:50 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Kansas City International In Running For 'America's Worst Airport'

The new one terminal KCI plan, which was recommended by a city hall appointed task force, will likely take at least another year before it appears on the ballot.
Credit Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

You may not be shocked to hear that Kansas City International Airport is in the running for "worst airport in America."

A poll being conducted by design and technology blog Gizmodo lists eight airports in contention for the title. The list of candidates was gleaned from nominations they solicited from more than 600 disgruntled travelers.

Currently, New York's LaGuardia Airport leads the poll with more than 24 percent of the 5,775 total votes. KCI has 6.4 percent.

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Election 2014
8:48 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 10 On Gubernatorial Power

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 10 is seen as a continuation of politicized fights between Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (pictured above) and the General Assembly over budget withholdings.
Credit Bernard Pollack / Flickr-CC

A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot could limit gubernatorial power over the state's budget. 

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 10 seeks to restrict the governor's power to withhold revenue based on projected budget shortfalls. It has quickly become one of the most politicized amendments on the ballot.

Ballot language:

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Election 2014
7:55 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Kansas Political Races Gear Up For Final Stretch

Kansas Governor candidate Paul Davis' running mate Jill Docking spoke about inclusiveness between parties at a rally for the Davis/Docking ticket and U.S. Senate challenger Greg Orman.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR

With Election Day closing in fast, campaigns for the Kansas Governor's office and Kansas U.S. Senate seat are trying to seal the deal by doubling down on what they hope will be winning strategies.

At  the "Take Back Kansas" rally in Overland Park Saturday, Democratic candidate Paul Davis' running mate Jill Docking emphasized that multi-partisanship would be their campaign's key to usurping Gov. Sam Brownback.

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Election 2014
10:00 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 3 On Teacher Tenure

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3 would make teacher tenure and pay reliant on student evaluation data.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot seeks to drastically revamp teacher tenure based on student performance. 

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3 would require that teachers' continued employment and pay be based on student performance evaluations and would change teacher contract lengths.

Ballot language:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

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Hotel Savoy
2:39 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Fire Heavily Damages Historic Hotel Savoy In Downtown Kansas City

The Hotel Savoy as it stood in 1950, already 62 years old by then.
Credit Missouri Valley Special Collection / Kansas City Public Library

A fire at the historic Hotel Savoy in downtown Kansas City, Mo., late Thursday damaged several floors of the building, which used to be known as a frequent stop for several U.S. presidents.

Firefighters told KSHB 41 Action News that the fire started due to "inattentive cooking" in the Savoy Grill. There were no customers in the restaurant at the time. Residents of the apartments above evacuated without injury. 

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