Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Public Policy Polling: Third party candidates Greg Orman, Keen Umbehr show momentum in Kansas races

By NICK SLOAN, nick@kansascitykansan.com

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- If today's poll from the Public Policy Polling outlet is a great indicator of this November's races in Kansas, two third party candidates could each play a major role in the outcome of the two biggest races in Kansas.

PPP's poll shows that Democratic challenger Paul Davis leads Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback 39 to 37 percent. Meanwhile, Libertarian Keen Umbehr received nine percent of the vote. According to the poll, 65 percent of Umbehr's voters would choose Davis as their second choice.

It's the highest level of support Umbehr's received in a poll this year. It's the fourth poll from a third separate outlet that shows a lead for Davis. Brownback led a New York Times poll taken in July.

Umbehr is not the only third party candidate making noise in Kansas. 

In this year's U.S. Senate race, Independent Greg Orman is receiving nearly one-fourth of the vote. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) leads the race with 32 percent of the vote. Democratic nominee Chad Taylor has 25 percent of the vote, while Orman checks in third place with 23 percent.

In a head to head race, Orman would beat Roberts 43 to 33 percent, according to the poll. Taylor trails Roberts in a head-to-head contest 43 to 39 percent.

More here.

New Semester Brings Changes to KCKCC Student Housing

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Student housing at Kansas City Kansas Community College is changing this semester as the department looks at more innovative practices as it moves forward.

“Since the time we signed the lease with Royal Ridge, David Root has done a fantastic job of enhancing all aspects of the three buildings we currently use for Student Housing,” said Jonathan Long, dean of student services at KCKCC . “But as Dr. (Doris) Givens has stressed many times, innovation is a vital part of what we do at KCKCC.  So picking-up where David left off, we are simply continuing to innovate.”

Campus housing at KCKCC can hold about 175 students, 75 percent of which are athletes. It also houses students from other campus programs such as debate.

“We see this as a tremendous benefit for both the Athletic Department and Student Housing,” Long said. “The coaches, working in tandem with the Student Housing Supervisor and Resident Assistants, have a tremendous opportunity to provide the residents with both academic and interpersonal support.”

One of the most noticeable changes for students, especially those who have lived in the buildings before, is a more structured environment.

Long said this structure will stress community development as well as academic success and concepts such as respect, civility and lending help to a neighbor.

“More than anything else, Campus Housing provides a student with the opportunity to live in an environment that focuses on mutual respect within a communal living environment,” he said. “Let’s face it, most students entering college today have never had to share a room with anyone, never had to share the responsibility for keeping the common areas clean, or even cook for themselves. These are all life skills that will hopefully make them more capable to being successful in their chosen profession.”

The restructuring of Student Housing includes a new Supervisor of Housing, Lisa Griffin. Griffin has an extensive background in Student Services as well as Residence Life. In addition, there are six new Resident Assistants who will live on site, along with Griffin, and help students with any issues or situations that arise. Staff members were required to go through extensive training on community building, conflict resolution, activity planning, utilizing campus resources and how to effectively respond to conduct matters. Training even included responding to maintenance issues such as a leaky pipe.

“Being an RA is a wonderful experience, but can be very challenging,” Long said. “It requires that a student have strong leadership skills, an ability to relate to students from diverse backgrounds, be energetic, and also willing to deal with crisis situations and discipline.”

Long said if it fits into the strategic plan of the college, he would like to see KCKCC consider building a Student Housing complex on campus in the future. He said construction of a new facility has huge potential in terms of both recruitment and retention of students.

“The students who choose to living in Campus Housing do so for a reason - they want to feel more connected to the campus, and benefit from a residential experience,” he said. “Research on college student retention has consistently shown that students who reside in campus housing stay in school and graduate.  So it only makes sense to do all we can to enhance our current housing program.”

For more information about the KCKCC Student Housing Department, contact Jonathan Long at 913-288-7621 or by email at jlong@kckcc.edu.

Sporting KC opens 2014-15 CCL campaign on the road

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Sporting Kansas City opens the club's 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League campaign in Nicaragua for the second consecutive year matching up against Real Esteli FC.

The group stage match is set to kickoff at 9 p.m. CT and will be available on FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Sports Go and FOX Soccer 2Go.

Sporting KC defeated Real Esteli FC 2-0 at Estadio Independencia a year ago with goals from Ike Opara and Dom Dwyer. Dwyer is second in Major League Soccer for goals scored this season with 16, including two in Sporting KC's 4-1 victory against Toronto FC last weekend.

Joining Sporting KC and Real Esteli in Group 2 is Costa Rican side Deportiva Saprissa. Esteli hosted Saprissa earlier this month and the two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in Nicaragua.

Real Esteli has won each of the last seven Apertura (fall) and Clausura (spring) titles in the Nicaraguan Primera Division and are the only team to represent Nicaragua in the CCL. Esteli is tied for first place in the Primera Division's Apertura season with a 3-0-0 record. However, the home side is seeking their first win all-time in a CONCACAF competition. The club is 0-29-7 in CONCACAF matches since 1991 and 0-4-3 at home during that timeframe.

Since 2011, Sporting KC is one of two American teams with at least two major trophies (2012 U.S. Open Cup, 2013 MLS Cup) and the only MLS team with two conference regular season titles (2011, 2012). With 10 games remaining in the 2014 MLS regular season, Sporting KC is in first place in the Supporters' Shield standings with a 12-6-6 record and 42 points.

Sporting KC finished atop Group 2 in the 2013-14 edition of the tournament with a 2-0-2 record before falling 5-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals to reigning champions Cruz Azul.

The CONCACAF Champions League features the top club teams from across North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The winner of the tournament earns a berth in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup. The tournament started in 1962 and was originally called the CONCACAF Champions Cup before switching to the current format in 2008 (and now called the CONCACAF Champions League).

All fans are encouraged to attand Sporting KC's official watch parties on Tuesday at area Johnny's Tavern locations. Fans can also follow the match online at SportingKC.com/GameOn or via Twitter @SKCGameday.

Big first inning leads T-Bones to victory

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kansas City scored five runs with two outs in the first inning as the T-Bones went on to beat Amarillo 8-4 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark on Monday night.

Amarillo starter Clayton Tanner (2-3) collected two quick outs before allowing singles to Matt Padgett, Ray Sadler and Nick Schwaner, which loaded the bases. Tanner then walked Bryan Sabatella, forcing in a run, and allowed a single to Robby Kuzdale that scored Sadler and Schwaner. Brian Erie, who came into the game hitting .375 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and then shot a single up the middle that scored two more and pushed the Kansas City lead to 5-0.

The Sox, meanwhile, had trouble figuring out Kansas City starter Jared Messer. Making just his third professional start, Messer didn’t allow a base runner to reach third base for the first five innings of play.

Amarillo would finally get something going in the sixth. Trailing 6-0, Ransom LaLonde led off the inning with a single and came around to score when Derek Perren knocked an RBI single into center field. Andres Rodriguez later doubled, scoring Perren and cutting the Kansas City lead to 6-2.

Kansas City would reclaim its six-run lead almost immediately, however, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Danny Richar drew a walk, forcing in a run. Matt Padgett then grounded into a double play, but managed to push across another run and increase the Kansas City lead to 8-2.

Messer (4-2) went on to toss 7 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits while striking out seven, as he picked up his first win at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Tanner took the loss.

With the win, the T-Bones move to 39-47 on the season, while the Sox fall to 30-54. Kansas City continues its three game series with Amarillo Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark at 913-328-5618.

Wyandotte County Traffic: Northbound I-435 Over Swartz Road Bridge

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Northbound I-435 LEFT TWO LANES over the Swartz Road bridge (between K-32 and Kansas Avenue) will be CLOSED for bridge deck repair work on Tuesday, August 19 between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in Kansas City, KS (Wyandotte County).

There will be one northbound I-435 through lane open to traffic during this double left lane closure.

NOTE: Traffic control set up will begin around 8:30 a.m., thus traffic may start slowing at this time due to activity taking place on the highway shoulders and right of way.

Traffic will be directed through the project work zone via signage, cones and arrow boards. Drivers should expect some delays during the daily peak time commutes and may wish to adjust their travel times accordingly.

Updated daily traffic information for this project and the entire Kansas City Metro Area can be viewed online anytime at: www.ksdot.org/kcmetro/laneclose.asp.

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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wyandotte County unemployment rate jumps in July

By NICK SLOAN, nick@kansascitykansan.com

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- The unemployment rate in Wyandotte County increased one percent from June to July, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate for Wyandotte County was 8.8 percent in July, up from 7.8 percent in June 2014.

The seasonally-adjusted rate for the State of Kansas ticked up slightly from 4.8 percent to 4.9 percent.

However, both the State of Kansas and Wyandotte County have lower unemployment rates this year than at this point last year.

The July 2013 unemployment rate for Wyandotte County was 9.2 percent, while the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

Sporting KC tops Toronto FC 4-1, moves into Supporters' Shield lead


Sporting Kansas City moved back atop the Supporters' Shield standings and extended their Eastern Conference lead to five points with a 4-1 win over Toronto FC on Saturday.

Dom Dwyer struck twice from the penalty spot in the first half before Soony Saad and C.J. Sapong each added second half goals in front of the 48th consecutive sellout crowd at Sporting Park.

Dwyer's brace was his League-leading fifth of the season and brings his goal scoring total to 16 goals this year, second in the MLS Golden Boot race and the most in a single-season by a KC player since Preki scored 18 in 1996.

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin made two saves and earned the victory in his first career MLS start at age 21, making him the youngest goalkeeper to start a match in club history.

Sporting Kansas City threatened to open the scoring in the 15th minute through the combination of Sal Zizzo, Benny Feilhaber and Dwyer. The Englishman was poised to unleash his shot when Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow slid in to intervene at the last moment.

The ensuing corner kick fell to the feet of Feilhaber, who dribbled past Michael Bradley at the top of the penalty area before being brought down inside the box on a challenge from Jackson. Dwyer stepped to the spot and roofed his shot under the crossbar to give Sporting KC a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.

Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik made his lone save of the match in the 24th minute, getting a hand to Aurelien Collin's header after the Frenchman connected on a cross from Graham Zusi.

Referee Drew Fischer pointed to the penalty mark for the second time in 15 minutes when Doneil Henry's sliding tackle tripped up Dwyer at the corner of the six-yard box. Dwyer then successfully doubled the home side's advantage by sending his shot to Bendik's left and improved to six-for-six on penalty attempts in 2014.

The goal gives Dwyer 10 against Canadian clubs this season after he also struck twice against Toronto in a 2-2 draw in May. As a result of the first half goals, all Sporting Kansas City fans can text Sporting 1 to 72727 to receive one burger of equal or lesser value with any burger purchased at BurgerFi's Leawood location over the next 48 hours.

Toronto FC -- playing without the team's leading scorer Jermain Defoe and club captain Steven Caldwell -- came close to cutting the deficit in half in the 43rd minute when Bradley's free kick was deflected narrowly wide of the near post. Three minutes later, the visitors pulled a goal back through Gilberto.

The Designated Player made a strong run to the near post and slipped his shot under Kempin's outstretched arm with a clever backheel. The goal was Gilberto's fifth of the season and his third in as many matches.

With the momentum to start the second half, Gilberto nearly scored a second to bring the sides level on a breakaway in the 51st minute. Kempin came off his line to cut down the angle and came up with his best save of the night to deny the Brazilian after a 60-yard-run that started inside his own half.

Sporting Kansas City responded with the team's third goal of the night in the 64th minute. Zusi's corner was initially headed away by Toronto FC but only so far as Saad, stationed 20 yards out. The fourth-year forward, who turns 22 on Sunday, took a touch to control and struck a half-volley through traffic for his seventh career goal.

One week after an impressive goalline clearance in Vancouver, MLS All-Star Aurelien Collin again prevented an imminent goal with his recovery in the 71st minute. Jackson worked his way past Kempin and had an empty net awaiting ahead of him only to see Collin intervene.

The reigning MLS Cup champions put the game out of reach in the 77th minute with the team's third goal of the night as a result of a corner kick.

Saad's first-time flick set up second-half substitute C.J. Sapong for a sliding finish from close range for the 20th goal of his career, moving him into a tie for ninth most in team history and improving Sporting KC 19-0-2 when Sapong is on the scoresheet in MLS competition (including postseason).

Zusi earned the secondary assist and now holds sole possession of third place on the team's all-time assists chart with 36 in his career.

Sporting KC supporters can celebrate the second half gold by texting BWWSKC to 72727 to receive a buy one, get one snack size wing order at any KC-area Buffalo Wild Wings locations.

Additionally, Sporting KC fans can receive 44-cent Monster Taco's at Jack in the Box on Sunday as a result of the team's five shots on goal.

With the victory, Sporting Kansas City is now 6-0-1 at home against Toronto FC since 2010. Moreover, Manager Peter Vermes is 9-1-3 in his coaching career against Toronto.

Sporting Kansas City now turns the team's attention to the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League ahead of Tuesday's group stage opener at Real Esteli in Nicaragua.

The match will be broadcast live on FOX Soccer Plus at 9 p.m. CT and can be seen at the team's official watch parties at area Johnny's Tavern locations.