Kansas City Missouri

Crews will continue the removal of the Fairfax Bridge with a controlled blast of the center bridge pier Friday, March 20, at approximately 1 p.m., according to highway officials.

In coordination of the controlled blast, the northbound and southbound U.S. Highway 69 Bridge will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The blast will happen below the water line of the Missouri River. No public viewing will be available.

This is all part of replacing the current U.S. 69 Highway Bridge over the Missouri River, the KDOT spokesman said. A new structure will be constructed in its place and will include multiple lanes and bike/pedestrian access. It will be open to traffic in December 2016.

This project is shared by the Kansas Department of Transportation and MoDOT. Follow MoDOT on twitter at twitter.com/MoDOT_KC, #us69moriverbridge for more information.

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Nedra Dixon, right, plays Pearl Johnson and Vanessa Severo, left, plays Susanna Mullally in “Black Pearl Sings,” being performed at the Just Off Broadway Theater in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo by Jeff Rumans)
Nedra Dixon, right, plays Pearl Johnson and Vanessa Severo, left, plays Susanna Mullally in “Black Pearl Sings,” being performed at the Just Off Broadway Theater in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo by Jeff Rumans)

by William Crum

“Black Pearl Sings,” a play now being performed at the Just Off Broadway Theater in Kansas City, Mo., drew some of its inspiration from the author’s research at the Main Kansas City, Kan., Public Library.

A heartwarming and emotional experience, the play was written by Frank Higgins, an adjunct playwright professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Higgins got some of his influence from a VHS tape that he checked out in 2005 at the Main Kansas City, Kan., Public Library.

In late 2005 the first draft of the play was written, and in the spring of 2006 was the first reading of the play.

“I came across the video called, ‘Language You Cry In,’” Higgins said. “This was in early 2005. I have always wanted to write a play about this particular subject, but when I came across this video it was fate that truly made it happen. The first reading was in the spring of 2006. It wasn’t until 2007 the play first debuted in Houston, Texas.”

The play is about a prisoner named Pearl Johnson, played by Nedra Dixon, who is rescued by a young librarian, Susanna Mullally, played by Vanessa Severo.

In the play, two women of different cultures work together in a unique experience. The librarian is researching songs from the days of slavery, while Pearl Johnson is an inmate who sings and seeks her freedom.

A third actor, Jeannie Blau, who played a prison guard, also did a fantastic job.

If you want to see a play that is heartwarming and well done this in the play that everyone should definitely see. The acting, the set design and production is truly phenomenal. Personally after seeing the play, I think that people can learn about what it is to be a slave and how music affects us all, music that is handed down from our forefathers.

The play will inspire viewers to think about the world around them and how things are affected by different cultures. Theater-goers will feel the heartache that Pearl felt, and may even laugh and cry at the same time.

The play was produced by Spinning Tree Theatre Co., and it will end its run on March 22. Remaining performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19; 8 p.m. Friday, March 20; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

I highly recommend this phenomenal, emotional and educational experience.

The University of Kansas Hospital today announced the opening of an Urgent Care at Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

According to a spokesman, it is just the latest of a number of services KU Hospital, based in Kansas City, Kan., offers in Missouri.

The hospital acquired a network of family medicine clinics in 1998 on both sides of the state line, according to the spokesman.

The KU Hospital Training Complex is a sports medicine facility currently operating near Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

In addition, KU acquired Mid-America Cardiology in 2000 and its network of offices, a spokesman said. There are currently five locations in Missouri.

The KU Cancer Center merged with the Kansas City Cancer Center in 2011, and now has a network of outpatient cancer clinics located throughout the metropolitan area, including in Missouri, according to the spokesman.