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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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:

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."

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Rama / Wikimedia Commons

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

What passed:

bigstock.com

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.

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.

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.'"

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.

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:

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.

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:

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. 

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: 

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:

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: 

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.

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.

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.

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?

Pages