Thursday, July 31, 2014

New date announced for K-5 Repair and Resurfacing Project

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The Kansas Department of Transportation has announced a new date for a road construction project in Wyandotte County.

More information:
On Monday, August 11, a pavement repair and resurfacing project will begin on a 2.25-mile stretch of K-5 from I-635 to Sunshine Road in Kansas City, Kan. (Wyandotte County). 
Also, project work will take place on the ramps at I-635/18th Street, K-5/18th Street and K-5/10th Street. 
Project work includes pavement patching on K-5 mainline lanes and patching, milling and asphalt overlay on all ramps (listed above). Work will take place during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset), Monday through Friday with some occasional Saturday work. 
Traffic control installation work begin the week of August 4 and then starting at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 11, northbound and southbound K-5 from I-635 to Sunshine Road will be reduced to one lane each direction, 24/7 round the clock throughout the project duration. 
There will be a 12-foot lane width restriction and a 45 mph posted speed limit through the project work zone throughout the project duration. 
Project work will first be completed on all adjacent ramps (listed above) during two full 24/7 weekend closures followed by the patching work on K-5 mainline lanes. 
The ramps from northbound and southbound I-635 to 18th Street, southbound I-635 to eastbound/northbound K-5, 18th Street to eastbound/northbound K-5 and southbound/westbound K-5 to 10th Street will be closed, 24/7 round the clock, beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 14, and will reopen to all traffic at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, August 18. 
A marked detour will be provided. I-635 to K-5 ramp traffic will detour to Leavenworth Road then back on northbound I-635 to K-5. See detour route map below. 
Additional project-related traffic closures will be sent out in advance under separate cover. Updated daily traffic information for this project and for the entire Kansas Metro Area can be viewed online at: 
Drivers should expect delays and must allow extra time during their daily commutes. The Kansas Department of Transportation urges all motorists to be alert, obey the warning signs, and “Give ‘Em a Brake!” when approaching and driving through the project work zone. 
Realm Construction, Inc. (Blue Springs, MO) is the primary contractor on this rehabilitation project with a total contract cost of $1.32 million. Project work is scheduled to be completed in late August 2014, weather permitting. 
This project is funded by T-WORKS, the transportation program passed by the Kansas Legislature in May 2010. Find out more about these and other T-WORKS projects at:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TRAFFIC NOTE: K-7 from Kansas Avenue to Riverview Drive traffic alert for July 31-Late September 2014

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Northbound and southbound K-7 from south of Kansas Avenue to north of Riverview Avenue will be reduced to ONE OPEN LANE each direction and shifted side by side in the existing northbound lanes, 24/7 round the clock, beginning after morning rush hour on Thursday, July 31 through late September 2014, weather permitting.

This traffic shift is needed for reconstruction work on the southbound K-7 lanes. Also, the I-70 to southbound K-7 double left turn lane movement will continue to be reduced to ONE OPEN left turn lane throughout the project duration.

All access to/from Commercial Drive and K-7 will be CLOSED beginning tomorrow as well. During this construction phase, K-7 traffic must access Commercial Drive from Kansas Avenue and Commercial Drive traffic vice versa.

There will be no access from southbound K-7 to Speaker Road, but there will be right in-right out access from northbound K-7 to Speaker Road and vice versa.

Traffic will be directed through the project work zone via signage and cones. There will be a 50 mph posted speed limit and 12-foot lane width restriction through the project work zone throughout the project duration. Drivers should expect major delays during peak commutes and should allow extra time for their daily commutes.

Updated daily traffic information for this project and for the entire Kansas City Metro Area can be viewed online any time at:

CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jim Yoakum, Wyandotte County Judge race

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I emailed questions to all three judicial candidates for this year's primary. All three candidates received the same questions. I will publish them as they come in. 

Today, we feature Jim Yoakum. 

1. Why are you running for office?

I'm running for office to make a difference in the place that I have called home my entire life.  For Wyandotte County.  Throughout my personal life and professional career, I have received so much from so many people from this county.  I'm running because I believe I can make a difference.  The District Court is where the 'law' most touches the lives of everyday people.  It's where we go for a contract case, a divorce, a probate matter, a juvenile issue or a criminal matter. As an attorney who has practiced in each of those areas of the law, I know that an experienced and well qualified Judge can make all the difference.  I'm asking Wyandotte County for the chance to do just that....make a difference.

2. What are your qualifications for being a judge?

I have been a practicing attorney in Wyandotte County for 17 years.  During that time I have handled cases for well over a thousand people.  I represent individuals with every day problems.  I have practiced law in nearly every area that an attorney can practice in.  I tell people all the time; ask your friends, ask your neighbor or ask your attorney.  If you do you will find someone here in Wyandotte County that I have represented.  I am one of 10 local attorneys that are responsible for handling all of the juvenile offender and child in need of care appointments for this county.  I was the municipal court prosecutor in Edwardsville, Kansas for six years.  I have extensive criminal and civil experience.  I believe that my legal experience would be an asset to the local bench because I could handle nearly any docket that I was assigned to.

3. To follow-up, whether it's a particular case you tried or career achievement, what are you most proud of about your legal career so far?
As a juvenile contract attorney I am one of ten Wyandotte County attorneys who handle all of the Juvenile offender and child in need of care cases for indigent clients. Juvenile Court can be both rewarding and heart breaking.  One of the most powerful and devastating legal moves that the State can do is to take custody of children.  It is at that time that I am appointed to represent some of these parents.  These parents are as low as they can possibly be.  Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't.

My absolute proudest moments are when parents listen to the advice I give them, follow Court Orders, work hard on themselves, and get their children back.  Those cases are the ones that make me feel the best about myself and the entire legal system.    

4. What is your philosophy in rendering justice?

A judge should be a humble public servant.  A Judge should treat everyone with respect, be fair and impartial, and follow the law.

5. With it being "budget season" in Wyandotte County: Do you feel that there's room for improvement when it comes to efficiency of the Court? If so, do you have ideas that would help make the court more efficient?

There is always room for improving the efficiency of the court and all judges should strive to do so.  However, financial decisions are not the job of a judge and commenting on them is against judicial cannon.  In our three branches of government it is the legislature's duty to finance the court and make decisions involving the 'purse'.  Any judge or judicial candidate who makes claims that they can save tax money for citizens doesn't understand the process and should stop making those claims.

6. What sets you apart from your opponents in this race?

Experience. Community involvement. Sense of community. Humility. Dedication to Wyandotte County.  Knowing exactly who I am and what I want to accomplish.

7. If you are elected, what are your top three priorities?

Treat everyone with courtesy and respect.  Administer my courtroom as efficiently as possible. Be a fair and impartial Judge that follows the law.   

KCK man pleads guilty for role in home invasion

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- A Kansas City, Kan., man has pleaded guilty for his part in a home invasion that resulted in the death of three people.

Raul Soto, 23, joined four other individuals who have already pleaded guilty in the case.

Soto confessed to breaking into an Independence home in November 2012. The suspects broke into the home believing it contained a large amount of methamphetamine.

Maria Hernandez, Thomas Dominguez-Gregorio and Antonio Hernandez were murdered that night in the home.

Soto admitted to killing Antonio Hernandez, who was Maria's son.

A 27-year prison sentence is recommended for him.

Wyandotte County third for births among Kansas counties in 2013

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- In 2013, 2,678 babies were born in Wyandotte County.

That total was good enough for third-place among counties in the State of Kansas.

Wyandotte County was just behind Sedgwick County and Johnson County. Sedgwick County reported 7,487 births in 2013, while Johnson County had 7,320 live births.

Information courtesy of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

More information here.

KCKCC recognizes computer technician camp participants

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Kansas City Kansas Community College celebrated the hard work of students in the Computer Technician Basic Skills Camp with a graduation and recognition ceremony July 24.

The goal of the three-week computer camp is to give young adults the opportunity to improve their technical skills, while also getting a taste of what it is like to be in a college environment.

 attended classes five days a week, working with different instructors in the areas of computer skills and programming.

Courses focused on everything from learning the basics of computer hardware and software and troubleshooting to business writing skills and how to behave in the workplace. In addition, students learned about job readiness skills such as resume building and interviewing, helping them to be prepared to enter the workforce. The program utilized the A+ computer curriculum.

The camp was sponsored by KCKCC and Johnson County Community College and was open to all youth from Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Johnson counties.

“We are preparing these youth for today, teaching them abilities that will help prepare them for a path leading to a brighter future,” said Nancy McNealey, youth program manager with Workforce Partnership in Kansas City, Kansas. “We want to help them be prepared to find jobs and provide them with the opportunity to learn about these technical skills.”

During the camp, students helped to prepare computers for three non-profit agencies – Catholic Charities, the United Way of Wyandotte County and Connecting for Good.

These agencies were chosen through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process in which the students helped to facilitate. In addition, students had the opportunity to attend a two-day Digital Storytelling Class. During the class, students made short videos using a variety of animation techniques including Stop Motion and Claymation, among others.

“One of the big parts of this camp is philanthropy– giving back to the community,” said Jennifer Winchester, program director at JCCC. “If you don’t learn how to give back, you will not get anything.”

Brian Bode, vice president of student and administration services at KCKCC, said students in the Computer Technician Basic Skills Camp have a “sense of accomplishment” for completing the camp.

“I hope they learned something about team learning, using the strengths of other people to accomplish a goal. I hope they understand now, what it means to be a part of a team,” he said. “I hope they enjoyed being in a college setting and learning some serious skills that they can use down the road. When they want to use them, these skills will come to their aid.”

For more information about the Computer Technician Basic Skills Camp, contact Marisa Gray, business development liaison for Workforce Development at KCKCC at or by calling 913-288-7284.

New KCKCC athletic trainer has college, pro experience


Texas native Kinsey Mascorro worked an athletic trainer internship at Kansas City Kansas Community College last summer and liked it so much, she’s back as a fulltime athletic trainer.

Mascorro brings experience at both the collegiate and professional levels in joining KCKCC’s award-winning staff of head trainer Rodney Christensen and Ryan Arens.

“I did an internship with Rodney Christensen last summer and really liked it,” said Mascorro, 23. “Coming from east Texas where it’s flat, windy and hot, it’s really nice to have hills and green trees. I really learned a lot working with Rodney. He and Ryan taught me a lot in the short time I was here.”

Mascorro came to KCKCC last August after working a month-long internship with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Assn.) in July. “It was real cool, being at courtside watching players like Candace Parker,” said Mascorro.

A 2012 graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Mascorro holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science and a Masters in Athletic Training earned this past May at the Texas Tech Health Science Center. During her undergraduate days, she was a student athletic trainer for two years, working mainly with the Texas Tech women’s basketball, football and track teams.

Before joining the KCKCC staff, Mascorro worked as a contract athletic trainer in Lubbock. Growing in the small east Texas town, she started taking college classes while attending LaPoyner High School from where she graduated in 2009.