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.


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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Food Critics
12:02 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Coffee Shops In Kansas City

For many, a morning cup of coffee is just the boost needed to start the day.
Credit madame.furie / Flickr-CC

For some, coffee is simply a quick way to perk up and start the work day. But for others, a lovingly roasted coffee with steamed milk and all the accoutrements is the source of near-religious worship. 

On this week's Food Critics, Charles Ferruzza, Emily Farris, Jenny Vergera and some callers helped narrow down which coffee houses and shops have the best cup of Joe in the Kansas City metro.

Here are their picks: 

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Election 2014
10:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 2 On Sex Crimes

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 would make it easier for prosecutors to bring evidence of sexual crimes against minors to court.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot could change the way sexual crimes are prosecuted in Missouri.

Constitutional Amendment 2 would allow previous relevant criminal activities to be admissible in court for crimes of a sexual nature against a minor. 

Ballot language:

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Election 2014
9:59 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 6 On Early Voting

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 6 would create an early voting period of six days for voters.
Credit Ken Zirkel / Flickr-CC

A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot could give Missouri voters access to early voting for the first time.

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 6 seeks to establish a six-day early voting period statewide. The period would not include weekends or time outside of normal business hours for polling places. 

Ballot language: 

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Kansas City Royals
6:58 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Former Royals Talk About Kansas City Spirit And The World Series

Royals fans took a hit Tuesday with a 7—1 loss against the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, but ahead of the win in Game 2 Wednesday, a rally with former Royals who won the World Series focused on the positive.

Sportswriter Joe Posnanski led a panel of 1985 Royals Willie Wilson, Frank White and Danny Jackson at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. White said he sees similarities between the 2014 Royals and the 1985 Royals, but the fan support has been much different.

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11:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Foreclosure Rates Plummet In Kansas And Missouri

Foreclosure rates in Kansas and Missouri dropped significantly during the third quarter of 2014.
Credit BasicGov / Flickr-CC

New numbers on foreclosures in Missouri and Kansas show promising signs of economic stability for both states.

Real estate information company RealtyTrac reports that foreclosure rates in Kansas dropped 31 percent from July to September. In Missouri, the numbers dropped even lower for the same period — a 45.5 percent decrease.

RealtyTrac spokeswoman Ginny Walker said that in terms of foreclosures, both states are back to pre-housing crisis numbers. She attributes the progress to consistently low unemployment rates in both states.

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Kansas City Royals
11:18 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Korean Royals Fan SungWoo Lee To Return For World Series

South Korean Royals fan SungWoo Lee is going to return to Kansas City for game one of the World Series.
Credit SungWoo Lee - Twitter

A Twitter movement to bring South Korean Royals fan SungWoo Lee back to Kansas City, Mo., for the World Series has triumphed. 

After the Royals swept the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, fans took to Twitter with the hashtags #BringBackSungWoo and #SungWooSeries to lobby for Lee's return.

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Kansas City Royals
12:43 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Which Team Would The Royals Rather Face In The World Series?

The Royals will either face the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series
Credit St. Louis Cardinals / San Francisco Giants / MLB

The Kansas City Royals clinched the American League Championship against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, and will move on to the World Series for the first time in 29 years. 

Fans are celebrating the historic moment, but the boys in blue aren't out of the woods just yet.

Now the question is which team will they face off against: the St. Louis Cardinals or the San Francisco Giants? And which would be a better matchup?

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10:05 am
Mon October 13, 2014

How One Royals Fan Is Sprinkling A Little Magic On Kauffman Stadium

Royals fan Andy Berry poses with his baggy of dirt from the 1985 World Series.
Cody Newill KCUR

Royals fans don't get much more devoted than Andy Berry. A lifelong Kansas Citian, Berry attended the 1980 World Series when the Royals lost to the Phillies, and Game seven of the 1985 World Series when the Royals beat the Cardinals.

On that night when Missouri's two MLB teams clashed, Berry decided to sneak his way down onto the field after the final play. It was there that he got a special piece of memorabilia to remember that night: some dirt from the diamond.

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Kansas City vs. Baltimore
11:21 am
Thu October 9, 2014

How Kansas City And Baltimore Match Up Outside The Baseball Diamond

Kansas City's downtown as seen from the Liberty Memorial.
Credit Allen Brewer / Flickr-CC

Since winning the American League wild-card game against the Oakland A's and sweeping the Los Angeles Angels in the Division Series, the Kansas City Royals have brought a big shot of hope back into the metro area.

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Kansas City Royals
3:02 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

A Fair-Weather Fan's Guide To Jumping On The Royals Bandwagon

Royals fans filled Kauffman Stadium during the wild card match between the boys in blue and the Oakland Athletics Tuesday.
Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Even if you don't pay attention to sports, social media or Kansas City, you probably saw something about the Royals winning their first playoff game in 29 years Tuesday

Fans were left stunned after what was arguably the most intense game in Royals history. But what about people who generally don't follow baseball and want in on the excitement? What about those who don't know a bunt from bean? 

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:05 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Documentary Casts Light On Kansas City's Mental Health Care Woes

A KCPD officer and a mental health liaison talk with a mentally ill man who is in need of treatment.
Credit Michael Price / KCPT

The state of Kansas City's mental health care services is dire, according to a new documentary.

Journalist and documentary filmmaker Michael Price's Lost Minds: KC's Mental Health Crisis focuses on the growing number of fraught confrontations between severely mentally ill people and police on Kansas City's streets. The locally produced documentary airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday on KCPT. 

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Kansas City Royals
1:05 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

How Royals Fans Are Celebrating The Team's First Playoff Run Since 1985

South Korean Royals fan SungWoo Lee poses with a cutout of Alex Gordon as he watches the game.
Credit SungWoo Lee - Twitter

The Kansas City Royals clinched their spot in the American League wild card game last week, taking the team to the playoffs for the first time since 1985. 

With the team's World Series hopes hinging on their performance against the Oakland A's Tuesday, Royals fans in Kansas City and around the world are showing their support for the boys in blue. 

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Kansas City
10:20 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Huffington Post Names Kansas City 'Coolest' City In America

Kansas City is the "coolest [city] to visit right now" according to the Huffington Post.
Credit Allen Brewer / Flickr-CC

Kansas City is the most up-and-coming city in the country, according to a new ranking list.

The Huffington Post ranked Kansas City as the most exciting, "it" city in the United States. The food, Midwestern hospitality and music were all highlighted as reasons to visit the metro area.

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Food Critics
12:31 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Smoked Foods In Kansas City

Kansas City cuisine may be best known for the smoky taste of barbecue, but the earthy goodness of smoke isn't limited to pulled pork and brisket. 

From rich, smoked Gouda, to smoke-infused cocktails, adding smoke to a dish can add another layer of complexity to its taste. 

Central Standard food critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris and callers gave us their picks for the best smoked foods and drinks in Kansas City:

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