Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Future Wizards vs. Manchester United Friendly Showcases Soccer's Growth in Kansas City

Bookmark and Share

While large crowds for World Cup matches in Kansas City signaled an increased interest in soccer across the United States and in Kansas City, the upcoming Wizards vs. Manchester United game may be a sign that interest in the world’s most popular sport is more than a passing fad.

The Wizards’ organization is reporting that over 40,000 tickets have been sold for the July 25th friendly between Kansas City’s MLS team and one of the most popular and successful teams from the English Premiership. Despite drawing Manchester United, 40,000 tickets is an extremely high number of tickets sold for a friendly game not involving the US National Team.

The previous attendance record is 37,319, which occurred in 2001 when the National team played a World Cup qualifying match against fellow CONCAF team Costa Rica. After Kansas City’s Power and Light District announced crowds of over 10,000 to watch the US vs. Ghana Round of 16 game in the World Cup, it appears that soccer has caught significant momentum, at least in the Kansas City area.

Tickets for the game are still available through Ticketmaster and the Kansas City Wizards’ Ticket Office.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kansas Smoking Ban Bans Smoking In All Enclosed Public Places

Bookmark and Share

Effective July 1st, Kansas will join many other states in banning smoking in almost all enclosed public places. Prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places is part of a growing trend nationwide that makes the habit more of a hassle for smokers.

Many smokers are being forced to pay higher premiums in health insurance and other acts that are being protested as discriminative. As more anti-smoking laws get passed, the debate between legislature that promotes public health and boundaries of citizen rights presses on.

Republican Representative Ray Merrick has suggested that smoking restrictions remain a local option, which gives businesses a choice on following the ban. Giving local businesses an option may be a way to find a middle ground between personal freedoms and public health, however it may not be an option given the recent momentum in the anti-smoking campaigns.

Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup Crowds in Kansas City Shows Soccer has Grown - But How Much?

Bookmark and Share
Since the United State’s run to the Quarterfinals in 2002 to the arrival of David Beckham to the LA Galaxy, soccer pundits have waited for the sport to take off in America. Saturday’s game-watching crowds in downtown Kansas City showed an increased interest in the sport, however only time will tell if that support for soccer is here to stay.

After the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, FIFA mandated the creation of an American soccer league. The MLS, now over a decade old, has been one example of the sport slowly growing in America. With many teams moving from NFL stadiums to their own complexes (such as the Wizards), progress is being made to establish the sport on a national level.

Despite the growth in the MLS league and the international star power of players such as Landon Donovan and Tim Howard, there are many hurdles the sport must overcome to enjoy the following the NFL or MLB has. Unlike European, South American and African nations, the US already has established leagues in several other sports that are extremely popular. The MLS is also a clear step below European leagues such as the English Premiership, which could turn off some casual fans with the stigma of a second-rate league.

The massive crowds in Kansas City’s Power and Light District and other venues show that Americans are willing to take a national interest in their teams, from the world cup to the Olympics. While soccer has and continues to grow, there are many limitations and hurdles the sport must face to escalate to the level of an NFL or MLB.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle Showcases Cooking Talent and Great Food

Bookmark and Share

The Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle offered Kansas City residents the opportunity to showcase their cooking skills while enjoying as much free food as they wished. Despite high temperatures, the event was a success drawing in an estimated 14,000 to 15,000 people over two days.

This was the 29th consecutive year the contest was held, which started as a much more local competition in 1982 and later grew to become the state of Kansas’ barbeque championship. The contest has continued to grow, and contestants can now compete in several categories.

The event, held in Lenexa’s Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, had over 190 teams compete. Winners of the events are determined from a panel of judges who taste the various entries from competing teams.

Friday, June 25, 2010

KU, K-State Announce Tuition Increases

Bookmark and Share

In-state tuition got more expensive for Kansas college students, as both the University of Kansas and Kansas State University announced increases in semester tuition fees, effective in the fall of 2011.

KU’s tuition increased to $4,012 per semester, $306 or 8.2 percent more than the previous amount. Kansas State’s tuition increased by $253, or 7.4 percent, to a semester fee of $3,688.

KU offers a program known as KU Compact, which allows students to pay one non-adjustable rate for all four of their years at the University. Tuition for this program increased $263 up to $4,366 per semester. The program allows students and families to pay more money now but avoid the possibility of higher tuition in the future, possibly a smart move as college tuition rates have been steadily increasing nationwide.

Despite both major public universities increasing tuition, Kansas residents still enjoy having colleges with some of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. KU is routinely listed on many pundits’ “Best Buy” lists, while Kansas State offers a lower tuition fee than KU.

Tuition increases have become normal for both public and private universities nationwide. With affordable options throughout the state, Kansas residents are presented with many options those in other states are not able to enjoy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kansas City School Board Faces Issues with Closed Schools

Bookmark and Share

The Kansas City School Board has faced issues of what to do with its closed schools. Many conflicts, including budgeting conflicts, have impacted the school board. The district has already closed 15 schools, while other schools have pending sales and have been available for purchase for years.

Twenty-one buildings will be closed, with the district keeping 10 buildings. The board is facing many questions, notable who will cover costs and what the overall plan should be for the buildings.

The board is currently seeking to bring in someone to lead the process and work with the developers. The American Institute or Architects has also been brought in to assist with the issues.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Checkpoints hurting Waldo and Brookside in Kansas City

Bookmark and Share 
Checkpoints are causing problems with club owners and restaurant owners in Waldo and Brookside, two midtown Kansas City restaurant and bar districts.

Checkpoints set up routinely at 77th and Wornall are seemingly targeting the blossoming Waldo area specifically.  According to a local business owner in the Waldo area, the checkpoint at 77th and Wornall is positioned directly in the middle of the Waldo restaurant and bar district, being just south of the busy intersection at 75th and Wornall.  We asked the business owner (who wished to remain anonymous) if they thought that the new checkpoint location was a result of the recent success in the Waldo bar area.  He had this to say:

"The checkpoint at 77th and Wornall is definitely a back-handed compliment to our latest success as a popular Kansas City hot spot.  The main problem is that there are 14 restaurants and bars in the Waldo area, and this checkpoint location sits right in the middle of them.  600 cars per hour travel down Wornall road, and at the last checkpoint they set up at 77th and Wornall only yielded 18 arrests.  This hardly warrants a checkpoint at this location.  Setting up checkpoints at or near The Power and Light District makes MUCH more sense, as they have 20 times the bar traffic that the Waldo restaurants and bars have combined.  for years the only location on Wornall that held sobriety checkpoints was near 94th and Wornall where Wornall meets Ward Parkway.  When they started setting up shop at 77th and Wornall they started hurting our business directly.  Besides the obvious negative effects, crowds thinning out, customers leaving but not coming in, there is another negative aspect that most don't realize; the checkpoints are affecting our waitstaff and kitchen employees and their income.  Once the news gets out that there is a checkpoint literally in our back yard, we invariably have to let a few servers go for the night who were counting on their weekend tips to pay the rent, etc.  We also have to cut our cooks early, leaving them short of the 40 hours that they are counting on to make ends meet.

To be fair to us and our employees, the police should notify local business owners at least two weeks in advance when they are planning on setting up the trap at 77th and Wornall.  The checkpoints aren't fooling or surprising anyone in this modern day of text messaging, facebook, and twitter.  Once the first person sees the checkpoint, they immediately notify all of their friends and the word actually spreads to US within minutes - that's how we know how well the texting, etc. works - because WE find out quickly.  Basically, there is no way to be sneaky about a checkpoint with today's technology, so they might as well notify us in advance so we can schedule less staff for the night of the checkpoint and try to make up their hours during the week prior."

Surely, the reason for the lack of checkpoints at The Power and Light is purely political, and it seems that the new checkpoint at 77th and Wornall is a tribute to the new success of the Waldo area, however the police should consider the livelihood of Waldo's work force and notify restaurant and club owners in advance so that they can make adjustments.

Missouri Police Announce More Sobriety Checkpoints

Bookmark and Share

After stopping over 500 vehicles last Saturday night and making 18 arrests, Kansas City, MO police announced that they will continue to crack down on impaired driving this coming week.

Law enforcement announced that it will be out in full force along 1-70 this weekend, continuing the state’s “Heat is On” campaign to crack down on impaired drivers.

The number of arrests and drivers removed from the road from these future checkpoints should be an indicator to the effectiveness of the state’s campaign to prevent drinking and driving. The 18 arrests being made during the last checkpoint suggest that a high number of residents are willing to drive impaired despite the threat of sobriety checkpoints.

Announcing the sobriety checkpoints in advance could help convince impaired drivers to stay off the road, a proactive approach from the Kansas City, MO Police Department to cut back on drunk driving.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Missouri Program Helps Students Find Summer Jobs

Bookmark and Share

Young Kansas City residents seeking a summer job may be in luck, as the State of Missouri has announced a state-funded program to provide paid internships for up to 4,800 people.

The jobs will focus on the construction, engineering and conservation industries, however positions in other fields will be available. The state program is for those from low-income families between the ages of 14 and 24.

In the wake of education budget cuts for the state of Missouri, Governer Nixon and Representative Cleaver should be commended on a program that helps young residents find summer jobs and earn some money. While boosting the economy, the program will help kids earn money and get a head start on their future.

Monday, June 21, 2010

SkillsUSA Conference Kicks Off This Week in Downtown Kansas City

Bookmark and Share

For the 17th year, Kansas City will host the SkillsUSA conference. More than 5,000 students are expected to attend the convention, which consists of high school, college and graduate students competing in various events.

About 15,000 people are expected to attend the event, which makes it the largest convention in Kansas City with an economic impact of about $15 million to the city.

Many streets in the downtown area will be closed this week to accommodate for the event, which will be held at Bartle Hall, Municipal Auditorium, Kemper Arena as well as other venues.

Those interested in learning more about SkillsUSA or the competition can learn more at:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sobriety Checkpoints Attempt to Keep Drunk Drivers off the Road

Bookmark and Share

Kansas City police continue to crack down on drunk driving through the use of sobriety checkpoints, as 18 impaired drivers were arrested Saturday night at a checkpoint on Wornall Road.

Over 500 vehicles were stopped from between 11 p.m. and 4. a.m., with drivers being arrested for impaired driving, possession of drugs and outstanding warrants.

This is another episode in the Kansas City police’s attempt to cut down on impaired driving, as random checkpoints have been one tool officers have used to cut down on drinking and driving. However, the amount of drivers arrested suggests that despite the known threat of a checkpoint, Kansas City citizens are still willing to drive home after drinking in the downtown area.

While sobriety checkpoints do remove impaired drivers from the road, it is important for police to take more proactive measures to help prevent drunk driving to begin with. If citizens knew of sobriety checkpoints before hand, it could be a measure to help convince them to take a cab or find another ride home. Drivers may still drive and find an alternative route around the checkpoint, but police need to take as many measures as they can to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel to start. Whether sobriety checkpoints and their consequences will have a long-term effect on the number of Kansas City residents who drive impaired or is simply a method of removing drunk drivers from the road remains to be seen.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Big 12 Will Be More Competitive

Bookmark and Share

The Big 12 has officially been saved as a conference, and the new make-up of the league should make for increased competition and a tougher road to a conference championship. Should the league continue as a ten team league, which seems to be the most likely outcome after the upcoming departures of Nebraska and Colorado, the new ten team league will be more difficult for both football and basketball, and could make a stronger conference overall.

The New Big 12’s football scheduling will likely be similar to the Pac 10’s conference scheduling: each team will play three non-conference games and then nine conference games. With the elimination of a north and south division, this will assure a much harder schedule, especially for the north teams. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, well-known for his preference for scheduling cup-cakes before getting into the tough conference games, warns that while the conference will be stronger overall, the schedule may be too much for some teams to overcome (see all of Snyder’s comments here: North teams like Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State will now face Texas, OU and Texas Tech every season, which makes the odds for a BCS game run (like Kansas achieved in the 2007 season) difficult.

Big 12 basketball will also be much tougher in conference play, as the schedule will likely now feature an 18 game schedule in which every team plays every other team once at home and once on the road. Increased road games could provide problems for perennial favorite Kansas, who despite winning the league six strait years, has struggled mightily in Austin and Stillwater since the league’s inception. The increased road games and revenge opportunities teams will face should help the league’s schools once the NCAA tournament starts.

The new Big 12 schedules will increase the difficulty to win the league in both football and basketball. While ten teams should make for a more competitive conference, the lack of parity could be problematic, especially for the former north schools.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Budget Cuts in Missouri Could Impact Schools

Bookmark and Share

The state of Missouri is facing more cuts to the state budget, which could impact Kansas City, MO schools. Today, Governor Nixon announced over $300 million dollars in tax cuts, which will decrease college scholarships, mental health services and school transportation.

The cuts to school transportation may be the most significant reduction to the state budget, as the reported $70 million being cut for transportation is 45 percent of the overall budget. Nixon said the cuts were made to preserve funding for classrooms.

While Nixon’s efforts to improve education are commendable, slashing the school’s transportation budget nearly in half will likely have significant consequences. If schools continue to cut transportation, working parents may lose bus options for their children and be forced to find other options. If the school districts cannot cut transportation further, other areas of education may be negatively impacted.

It is important for the state to try to cut education as little as possible. If budget cuts are necessary in the future, hopefully legislation can find ways to reduce spending without impacting education. In our present economy, however, this may not be possible.

KCPL Attempts to Increase Rates in Kansas City

Bookmark and Share 
KCPL is attempting to raise rates for power in Kansas City in relation to a new power plant they intend to build in Weston, Missouri.

The estimate to build the new plant is at a whopping $98 million dollars - $20 million over KCP&L's original estimate.  The new plant will be a coal-fired 850 megawatt plant which will be 73% owned by Great Plains Energy, KCP&L's parent company.

So who do you think KCP&L will expect to pay for this new plant?  That's right, the consumers.  David Springe, head of the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board in Kansas, has been anticipating that rates will increase by 50 percent.  Springe said it's important for regulators to scrutinize the plant's cost to see whether any of it is imprudent."We'll see if the management and shareholders can absorb some of the cost instead of just dumping it on consumers," he said.

The good news is, a ruling came down today from the Kansas Corporation Commission stating that KCP&L should not only be denied the $50 + million dolar rate increases, but should actually cut their revenues by $9 million per year.  The KCC claims that the consumer should not have to pay for KCP&L's new plant, nor the $4 million they are seeking to improve their current headquarters in Kansas City.

Well, all we can say is, it must be nice to have a MONOPOLY based company that can raise it's rates whenever they feel like it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kansas City Picked to Host 2012 MLB All-Star Game

Bookmark and Share 

Kansas City has been officially selected to host the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star game. The decision was announced by MLB commissioner Bud Selig today before the Royals’ inter-league game against the Houston Astros. The official announcement ends over a year’s worth of speculation that Kansas City would be picked to host the event in 2012.

The recent renovations made to Kauffman stadium were a boost to Kansas City’s chances of landing the game. Kansas City approved a $225 million bond issue to fund stadium renovations, which were completed before the 2009 regular season.

Kansas City has not hosted an all-star game since Kauffman Stadium’s opening season in 1973. The event, which features the all-star game as well as a full week of festivities including the home run derby, will generated an estimated $60-65 million dollars in revenue.  This means great things for Kansas City Restaurants and most likely The Power and Light District.

Anaheim, CA will host this season’s event. Current ticket prices for the 2010 event are starting at well over $400, which signals an expensive experience for any Kansas City locals who are interested in attending. Phoenix, AZ will host the all-star week during the 2011 season.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kansas City Hit Hard by Flooding

Bookmark and ShareKansas City area homes and business continue to be damaged by on-going flooding. Up to four feet of water has been reported in some areas, as heavy overnight rains have pushed creeks and rivers out of their banks and into business and residential areas.
The National Weather Service has reported that areas near the state line between Kansas and Missouri have been hit the hardest. Leawood, Mission Hills, Prairie Village all were victims to the most significant flooding that came primarily from Indian Creek.
Many homes and businesses have experience power loss as well. The combined effects of the water damage and loss of power have caused some businesses to permanently close, while many residents have been forced to relocate.
Several major highways in Kansas and Missouri have had closings as well, which has caused traffic problems for other highways. While many of these issues are being resolved, the forecast for rain throughout the month of June could signal more problems in the future.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Big 12 Survival Still Possible

The new network, which would be modeled after the Big 10’s successful network, could produce anywhere between $17 to $20 million dollars for the remaining schools. The Big 12 would also split the penalties Colorado and Nebraska would be forced to pay for leaving the conference, adding further financial incentive for the remaining schools to possibly stay and salvage the conference.
The move may be too little too late from Beebe, who has been criticized for his lack of a proactive approach throughout the various progressions of conference realignment news. The Pac 10 has reportedly already offered Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State spots in the conference, in addition to Colorado who has already committed.
Texas A&M is reportedly interested in the SEC and has turned down the Pac 10, which may now be targeting Kansas. Pac 10 Commissioner Larry Scott has reportedly flown to Kansas City to talk to KU officials as early as Monday morning.
Beebe’s actions and many of the Big 12’s schools desire to stay put may save the conference. However it appears everything hinges on the decision of Texas. The schools must decide what is best for their future first and what is best for the rest of the Big 12 schools second. No matter what happens, it appears that an outcome should be coming soon that will significantly or insignificantly shake up college sports.


This is a legally confirmed "open forum" website that is not responsible for any content posted within. The opinions, articles and comments on this site do not reflect the opinions of the owner of this site, or it's subsidiaries.