Cody Newill

Digital Editor

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 works as the digital editor for the station, producing web and social media content. 

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Cody Newill

Everybody knows that Santa Claus is used to some cold weather — how else would he tolerate the sub-zero climate of the North Pole?

But old Saint Nick took things a step further over the weekend by taking a dip with the Kansas City Zoo's penguins.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order in Kansas City Friday promoting best practices to help end Missouri's gender pay gap.

Nixon signed the order at the Women's Foundation's annual luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel. The event drew nearly 1,600 people who came to see Nixon, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington speak, among others.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Around 100 activists didn't let cold rain dissuade them from marching through the Country Club Plaza Sunday to voice their support for more strict environmental regulations before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

The group, organized by environmental advocacy groups 350KC and the KC Climate Coalition, wove through the Plaza chanting, "Turn on clean energy, turn off fossil fuels." They were part of the Global Climate March, which encompassed more than 2,000 events in 175 countries over the weekend.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Every year, thousands of people snap out of their Thanksgiving food comas to grab deals during Black Friday. But for smaller vendors, the real holiday shopping event to wait for is Small Business Saturday. 

That's certainly the case for .POP!, a self-described "gypsy market" that's currently located at Bonfire on Johnson Drive. Every three or four months, .POP! moves to another space in Kansas City to show off local makers and their wares.

Cody Newill / KCUR

If you've driven past 11th and Main Street in downtown Kansas City since Tuesday morning, you've probably been a little perplexed about the large green rectangle that now adorns the pavement.

What is that strange new addition, you might very well ask? It's Kansas City's first "bike box."

Bike boxes are spaces just before traffic lights that give cyclists a slight head start when signals turn. It lets them pull ahead of cars by a few feet to safely make turns from bike lanes over to adjacent streets.

Cody Newill / KCUR

LGBT activists and supporters met at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City Saturday to promote positivity for local transgender residents.

More than 50 people attended the event, which featured poetry, songs and experiences from more than a dozen speakers about the struggles and strengths of Kansas City's transgender communities. The gathering capped off Transgender Awareness Week, a national effort to raise awareness about transgender identity.

Cody Newill / KCUR

The Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City unveiled a new historic marker Friday to honor a Kansas City neighborhood you've probably never heard of before: Harlem.

Several dozen members of the Native Sons and Daughters, City Council members Scott Wagner and Jolie Justus and former residents of Harlem met outside the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport to commemorate the new marker. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 100 Kansas Citians and French nationals joined in a gathering of solidarity at Liberty Memorial Sunday to show support for France after terrorist attacks killed more than 120 people in Paris.

Residents held French flags, signs and flowers of blue, white and red as Honorary Consul of the French Republic Cyprienne Simchowitz spoke over a microphone.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City area residents have joined a nationwide effort petitioning Sprint to keep offering internet for nonprofit organizations through its WiMax service.

WiMax provides low-cost, high-bandwidth internet access with no data caps through mobile hotspots. Providers Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen use the service to hook up schools and other nonprofits.

Sprint acquired WiMax along with telecommunications company Clearwire in 2013, and decided to shut down the service and migrate customers over to its LTE service instead.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's downtown streetcar made its first powered run along its 2.2 mile route early Thursday.

KC Streetcar Authority workers tested visibility for streetcar operators and made sure the vehicle maintains contact with overhead electric lines.

Streetcar spokeswoman Meghan Jansen says maintenance crews would monitor the car and take notes as they go from the Singleton Yard maintenance facility south to Union Station and back.

Mizzou Legion of Black Collegians / Twitter

Update 6:30pm:

Football players from the University of Missouri say they are boycotting football activities to protest what they say is insufficient response to incidents of racism on the Columbia campus.

A group of students has been leading protests to draw attention to the school’s reaction to a string of incidents and have called on University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe to resign.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City No Violence Alliance partners and ArtsTech came together with neighborhood associations along Prospect Avenue Saturday to honor Ivanhoe neighborhood leaders with a mural.

Youth artists with ArtsTech unveiled the mural, titled "Then and Now," at the corner of 39th and Prospect. The mural was collaboratively painted by more than 75 youth artists, photographed and then framed.

One half depicts 39th and Prospect as it looked from the 1940s to 1960s, and the other shows what the area looks like and could feature in the near future.

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City streetcar took its first ride through downtown Kansas City early Friday. After a series of delays, the first car arrived three days ago from the manufacturer in Elmira, New York.

A handful of streetcar construction workers, city officials and officials from the KC Streetcar Authority rode in the vehicle while others walked along side streetcar #801 as a massive tow truck pulled it through the River Market.

City of Kansas City

It's been a long 30 years since the Royals last earned the title "World Champions," but Sunday's 7-2 victory over the New York Mets has put Kansas City back in the winning mood.

To keep the good vibes flowing, the city has decided to hold a parade and celebration Tuesday to honor the boys in blue. Since it's been a generation since the last local World Series parade, we decided it might help to give Kansas Citians a quick primer on the ins and outs of the party.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Baseball is a notoriously superstitious sport for both players and fans. The superstition is so powerful that it has led two Royals fanatics to make a portable shrine to keep the boys in blue lucky during their battle for the World Series against the New York Mets.

Valdez Campos and Jon Watkins both love the Royals and they both work at Blvd. Tavern. One slow Sunday night at the bar, they got to thinking about how they could honor the team and create a good luck charm to see them through the Series.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City's Planning & Zoning Committee held its first community listening session Saturday to connect city officials with residents who had questions and concerns about issues in their neighborhoods.

Around a dozen residents from the area, mostly from the Marlborough neighborhood, showed up at the Trailside Center in South Kansas City to speak with council members and city employees from a variety of departments.

KCTRANSIT.com

The KC Streetcar Authority could prevent the city's downtown streetcar line from receiving any federal grant funds for operations, according to a report from the City Auditor's Office.

The report published Thursday says the Federal Transit Administration requires recipients of grants for transit operations to be "procured through a full and open competition." 

Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas City's Public Works Department plans to tap into city employees to nearly double its residential snow plowing routes this winter.

Public Works officials encourage all public employees to sign up for 8 - 12 hour shifts driving pickup truck plows this winter. They'll focus exclusively on helping clear off residential roads and helping residents who might be stuck on roads.

knittymarie / Flickr-CC

Educators behind two proposed elementary charter schools in midtown Kansas City are eagerly awaiting approval next week by the Missouri State Board of Education.

The Midtown Community School Initiative approached Citizens of the World Charter Schools last year in hopes of opening two schools in Kansas City. CWC operates charters in New York and Los Angeles. They hope to open the Kansas City schools next fall.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Updated 9:05 a.m. Monday:

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) representatives say school districts were given ample time to prepare for online science testing that caused big drops in annual performance points for the Hickman Mills School District.

Sarah Potter with DESE's communications department says the district had years to get students ready for the switch.

"Districts were notified in 2010 that all state assessments would go online by 2015," Potter said. "That gave districts time to direct budgets toward technology and also prepare students with 21st century computing skills. At the end of the day, it's up to districts to help students prepare for any state test."

Cody Newill / KCUR

Around two dozen community members joined Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) officials and Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed on a tour of Prospect Avenue Wednesday to give feedback on the proposed Prospect MAX bus line.

The $54 million project is currently in its early development phase while the Federal Transit Administration mulls over the ATA's application for federal funds. The ATA asked for $30 million, and the city just passed a resolution pledging matching funds of $12.4 million. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

The KC Streetcar Authority has almost completed its streetcar vehicle maintenance facility and will soon turn on power to streetcar cables to begin testing the line.

The facility, named after longtime transit advocate E. Crichton "Kite" Singleton, sits at 3rd Street and Holmes. Streetcar maintenance workers are expected to be hired in November and will take care of the streetcar vehicles in the building's maintenance bays.

Once the final touches are put together at the facility, more than 20 employees will work there.

Cody Newill / KCUR

More than 100 people met at the Adrion Roberson Athletic Field off North 9th Street and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, for a community healing and prayer event Saturday.

The metro area has seen at least 16 children killed over the last year, many in drive-by shootings. Minister LaRon Thompson said it was simply time to speak out against the violence.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests announced Saturday two more settlements against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph related to a former priest who took lewd photos of young parishioners. 

Two civil suits were settled between the diocese and three litigants Friday. Two girls and their mother were awarded $200,000 and payment for counseling services related to sexual abuse by former priest Shawn Ratigan.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr-CC

Catholic Charities of Northeastern Kansas is serving significantly more residents at its food pantries than in previous years.

The organization served nearly 175,000 individuals in need of food over the last 12 months. That's a 25 percent increase over the previous year.

"The economy has picked up, but a lot of people who have gotten jobs are working jobs that (pay) low wages," says Kim Brabits, the organization's vice president of program operations. "Although they're no longer unemployed, they're still (sometimes) living below 200 percent of the poverty level."

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A local group is planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a little known but important gathering of gay activists in Kansas City.

The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America at UMKC wants to memorialize the first meeting of the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations, or NACHO. The group gathered at Kansas City's State Hotel in February 1966, three years before the Stonewall Riots in New York City. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

For 35 years, the American Royal's World Series of Barbecue called Kansas City's West Bottoms home. But this year, the popular competition made its debut at Arrowhead Stadium.

The event drew a record 618 barbecue teams from across the country to the parking lots around the football stadium. The American Royal insisted for years that the city raze Kemper Arena to help keep the expanding competition in the West Bottoms. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Several dozen volunteers helped finish up the Blue Valley Middle School Outdoor Learning Center Saturday in memory of two of the victims of the shootings at Jewish community sites in Johnson County.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Sprint will move to cut up to $2.5 billion in operating costs over the next six months, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal obtained an email detailing the move from the Overland Park-based telecommunications company's CFO Tarek Robbiati Thursday. So far, the company hasn't announced how they plan to cut the money, but layoffs are likely.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Several hundred protesters met the Westboro Baptist Church outside Oak Park High School Thursday in support of the school's transgender homecoming queen.

Landon Patterson, a senior at the Northland school, was crowned queen two weeks ago. In response, the noted hate group decided to protest outside a gas station near the school.

They were met by a large counter-protest organized by alumni and supported by groups like the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ and local LGBT activists.

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