2021 IS HERE. But the collective hope that turning the calendar page will cause a 180-degree shift from a bad 2020 … just hold onto that thought a bit longer.
February 2021. A diversion.
Drone footage shows snow-covered KC landmarks
It was so cold and snowy for about two weeks in KC right after the Super Bowl. Which we lost. We experienced several days of sub-20 temps and many in single digits. For the video, I didn’t make it very hard, but ‘can you identify these landmarks?’ was in the headline and someone actually wrote to ask me for answers!
December 2020. Why are Missouri boarding schools allowed to rely on restraint methods for discipline?
Former students of unlicensed Christian boarding schools in Missouri describe how restraint methods were used as discipline. The schools are allowed to operate with little oversight due to religious exemptions.
This video accompanied an investigative project by Kansas City Star super reporters Judy Thomas and Laura Bauer that has prompted Missouri lawmakers to act to protect children. I am grateful for the animation and graphics by Neil Nakahodo.
2020, Year of Coronavirus.
Grammy-nominated organist’s busy concert schedule came to a standstill when coronavirus hit
Jan Kraybill’s album “The Orchestral Organ,” recorded at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, was nominated for three Grammys. The coronavirus lockdown halted what was to be a busy concert season.
99-year-old former Marine, WWII veteran and COVID-19 survivor honored as he goes home
COVID-19 survivor Max Deweese, 99, a Marine and World War II Veteran, was honored by dozens of healthcare workers, an honor guard and KCK police and firefighters as he was discharged from Ignite Medical Resorts, where he rehabilitated.
Video postcards from the coronavirus lockdown
A drone captures the empty downtowns and town squares of Liberty, Independence, Parkville and Gladstone, Missouri. The Kansas City metro area’s stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic are scheduled to be lifted soon.
Ramadan in isolation ‘does not violate our religious freedom’ but elevates Muslims in eyes of God
The thousands of Muslims that normally fill the Islamic Center of Johnson County during Ramadan will be observing it in isolation due to the coronavirus. But being socially responsible during a health crisis is a high priority in the community. The month of fasting and prayer begins Apr. 23.
And … a little fun
This guy made gathering b-roll of a building the highlight of my day.
North Kansas City brewery is taking beer to the people and keeping fridges stocked during stay at home order
Cinder Block Brewery in North Kansas City started delivering beer to reach customers during the stay at home order imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Brookside bagpiper spreading ‘a little grace in these times’ of coronavirus lockdown
John Tootle, a bagpiper for 30 years, plays his pipes in Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods to help uplift spirits while a stay-at-home order is in effect during the coronavirus pandemic.
3D printing company producing masks 24/7 to help protect front line workers during COVID-19 pandemic
3DHQ, a small business on the Plaza, is using 3D printing technology to help protect medical professionals and others during the coronavirus pandemic. They are printing face shields and masks they say provide protection similar to N95 masks.
Take flight for a bird’s-eye view of the tranquil Missouri River near sunset. Drone flight over the river in Parkville.
Shatto to help farmers who have lost restaurant business due to coronavirus
Shatto Home Delivery partners with The Kansas City Food Hub, a farmers’ collective, to offer local produce to customers. The purchases help farmers who have lost restaurant orders due to COVID-19.
More than 500 cases in Missouri; 169 in Kansas as of Mar. 26.
Not a great video but shows what the test looks like: Drive through COVID-19 testing by prescription only
People with symptoms who have a doctor’s prescription and test negative for the flu can be tested for the coronavirus, COVID-19, at Sharon Lee Family Health Care in Kansas City, Kansas.
ICYMI 2018-2019. A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world. – John le Carré.
I did a short-lived video series on local people who are recognizable in their fields. What’s on My Desk? was intended as an entry point to getting to meet them informally in their environment and to provide a glimpse as to how they do their work. The subjects were gracious good sports as I stumbled around trying to figure out how to do this. To Vanessa Severo, Sam Mellinger, Dana Wright, Bobby Watson and Sharice Davids, I say THANK YOU! It was a fun project!
KMBZ radio host Dana Wright | Dana Wright, one half of the KMBZ radio show Dana and Parks, shows us her desk, which also happens to double as a mini-museum of her life. This longtime television reporter-turned radio personality is a hardworking force of nature.
Jazz great Bobby Watson | Kansas City has been graced to have internationally renown jazz saxophonist, composer, band leader and educator Bobby Watson in our midst for the last 20 years. Watson is the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri endowed professor of jazz studies and director of jazz studies at UMKC. Early in his career, Watson was musical director for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Watson plans to retire from teaching and return to touring in 2020. We caught up with him between classes, and Watson gives us insight into his creative process.
Kansas 3rd District Rep. Sharice Davids | When Sharice Davids defeated the four-term incumbent representative of Kansas’ 3rd District in 2018, she made history twice in one night. Davids became the first Native American woman – a distinction she shares with Deb Haaland of New Mexico – to be elected to Congress and the first openly LGBT person to represent the state of Kansas. We catch up with Davids in her new Wyandotte County office.
Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger | Who better to delve into the real or imagined ‘sports-industrial complex’ than Sam Mellinger, columnist at The Kansas City Star. In a thoughtful and conversational way, Mellinger uses the relationships he’s built over his 24-year career to understand the motives of everyone involved: from the athletes to the organizations and businesses they play for.
Mellinger grew up in Lawrence and wrote for papers there and in Topeka. Hired by The Star to cover high school sports 18 years ago, he rose to become a general sports columnist. Focused on local sports but often casting a wider net, Mellinger peels back the polish on complex and controversial issues in sports and the business of sports.
Multi-talented performer Vanessa Severo | Anyone who’s enjoyed Kansas City’s first-rate theater scene will likely know Vanessa Severo. The actor-dancer-choreographer-comedian-playwright who landed in Kansas City in 2002 via Brazil, Germany, San Francisco and Springfield, Mo., has performed in nearly all area theaters in a considerable variety of roles. In 2019, Severo revisited a one-woman play about Frida Kahlo which she wrote performed at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in late spring. Severo was busy writing ‘Frida: A Self Portrait’ on her ‘desk’ when we caught up with her.
January 2020. Real Andy Reid or ‘Almost Andy?’ You be the judge
Matt Black has people doing double takes as ‘Almost Andy,’ a Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid lookalike. Almost Andy also happens to be an opera singer. Shot before the Chiefs WON SUPER BOWL LIV, the first Super Bowl appearance for the team IN 50 YEARS!
February 2020. reStart might have to eliminate entire single adult section if no funding found
Because of eroding federal funding, Kansas City’s reStart homeless shelter could lose all the beds for single adults. $1 million in community support is needed.
February 2019. How a 50-foot T-rex will honor Elton John on John’s farewell tour
Union Station is paying tribute to Elton John as he stops in Kansas City for his farewell tour at the Sprint Center in February 2019. Dino-sized, rhinestone-encrusted, heart-shaped glasses will be installed on the T-rex in front of the station. Some lighter stuff for the coronavirus time of crisis.
November 2019. With overloaded Missouri public defenders, you only get a ‘sliver of an attorney’
Missouri public defenders like Walter Stokely have been struggling through a decades-long crisis. With too many cases, they fear they’re failing their clients in a system that denies defendants their constitutional rights.
September 2019. Couple fights sand mine to preserve way of life in Kansas town
Sand mining has accelerated in Kansas as the demand for concrete and asphalt increases. Mark and Tracy Tinberg are leading a group of landowners opposing a 220-acre sand mine proposed to be built just north of DeSoto and the Kansas River.
November 2017. His son ‘was failed in Kansas’ says father of dead child
Clint Blansett’s 10-year-old son Caleb was killed by Caleb’s mother in 2014 in Wellington, Kan. Blansett now lives in Texas. Blansett hopes to never return to Kansas, where he says the Department for Children and Families failed his son.
This video was part of a team project, “Why So Secret, Kansas?” that was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
February 2018. Giving the gift of life: Teacher donates a kidney to her principal
We follow as Natalie Frese, wife of The Star’s David Frese, donates her left kidney to Ty Poell, her boss and principal at Tonganoxie Elementary School. Natalie, a second-grade teacher at the school, found out she was a donor match in the fall of 2016.
This video was nominated for Mid-America Regional Emmy Awards in 2018.
November 2018. Liberty Memorial ablaze with animated poppies in dramatic WWI commemoration
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918, a light installation, “Peace and Remembrance,” was projected on the Liberty Memorial for nine nights, honoring the nine million soldiers who died in the war.
This video was awarded First Place Video by the Missouri Press Foundation in 2019.
July 3, 2017. Commercial photographer Jeff Schotland uses a technique developed in 1851 called wet plate collodion to create images that will last generations. Schotland describes the process as he shoots portraits from his North Kansas City studio June 20.
Police turn out in force Saturday, May 4, 2017, to the lemonade stand of a KC 3-year-old who wanted to earn money for a police uniform and dreams of becoming a cop.
Displaced family near Carthage describes loss
Spring River flooding Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, displaced William Stanley and his extended family from their trailer homes in Carthage, Missouri, an unincorporated community in Jasper County. By Tuesday, the water had receded enough for family members to come back and take stock of their situation.