Munson goes wire-to-wire for third WyCo golf championship

J.R. Munson, right, is presented his third Wyandotte County Open championship trophy by Sunflower Hills master golf professional Jeff Johnson. (Sunflower Hills photo by Chuck Ettinger)
J.R. Munson, right, is presented his third Wyandotte County Open championship trophy by Sunflower Hills master golf professional Jeff Johnson. (Sunflower Hills photo by Chuck Ettinger)

by Alan Hoskins

J.R. Munson’s third Wyandotte County Open championship proved a little easier than the first two.

“It was the first time I could sleep with the lead,” said Munson, who opened up a five-shot lead with a 2-under par 70 after the opening 18 holes en route to a four-shot win in the 38th WyCo Open at Sunflower Hills Sunday.

Comfortably in the lead, the 28-year-old Munson played it close to the vest the rest of the way, finishing with a 2-over par 74 for an even par144 total that was four shots in front of the 2013 champion, Kyle Ritchie. Reece Nigh and Eric Pahls deadlocked for third at 151 with Jerry Reid fifth at 152.

Munson took command on the final nine Saturday with a string of four birdies in five holes. Precision iron play left him birdie putts of six feet or less on Nos. 10, 11 and 12 and he added a 12-footer on No. 14 on the way to the 2-under 70.

“I played very well Saturday,” he said. “It could have been a lot lower but the greens were slow and I couldn’t get a good read on them.”

With the five-shot lead, Munson took no chances of giving it away on Sunday. “I told myself to play it smart. Keep it simple and don’t do anything stupid. Just play for par.”

After a slow Sunday start with bogeys at Nos. 3 and 4, Munson righted himself with a string of four birdies in six holes – No. 6, 7, 9 and 11 – and cruised in despite an ailing back. “My back went out on me on No. 12,” he said. “I’ve been fighting a pinched nerve and bulging disk since February.”

In the end, it was Munson’s crisp iron play that was the difference.

“I hit 14 greens in regulation both days and was able to put the ball in play with good angles,” said Munson, who credited playing Nike’s new RZN black golf ball being a factor. “It was a big difference because the greens were so soft.”

A freshman at Kansas City Kansas Community College when he won his first WyCo title in 2005, he won his second in 2009 after giving professional golf a shot in 2006. A Kansas City, Kan., native, he works in security at Farmers Insurance in Johnson County.

Other flight winners were Brian Perdieu, who also had Kansas City’s longest putt, A; Easton Nigh, B; Bob McNellis, C; Dave Klein, D; and Len Zimmerman, E.

2014 WyCo Open flight winners

CHAMPIONSHIP – 1. J.R. Munson, 144; 2. Kyle Ritchie, 148; 3. (tie) Reece Nigh, Eric Pahls, 151; 5. Jerry Reid, 152′; 6. Brad Ansley, 154; 7. (tie) Tim Skorija, Parker Miller, Stan Wiehe, 156.

A – 1, Brian Perdieu*, 152; 2. Bob Chatterton, 102; 3. Kevin Rome, 109; 4. Tim Nick, 162; 5. (tie) Jake Laing, Keith Capps, 164.

B – 1. Easton Nigh, 155; 2. Mike McNellis*, 157; 3. Todd Milberger, 157; 4. Rick Richardson, 158; 5. (tie) Troy Templeton, Stuart Hunt, 160; 7. Daron Maier, 162.

C – 1. Bob McNellis, 161; 2. Bill Campbell, 162; Dan Maskil, 164; 4. Jeff Hanchar, 167; 5. (tie) Norton Jizbalm, Bill Hashman, 168; 7. Ian Tomasic, 172.

D – 1. Dave Klein, 168; 2. Ron Medley*, 173; 3. (tie) Mike Super, Jay Sutera; 5. Doug Winkelbauer, 175; 6. Kyle Norris, 176; 7. (tie) Tim Hinkle, Chad Cowher, 177.

E – 1. Len Zimmerman, 170; 2. Chris Bean, 180; 3. Bill Pratt, 4. Rob Robson, 186; 5. Greg Schmidt, 191; 6. (tie) Phil Hoffman, Roger Miller, 195.
* – Won scorecard playoff.

Proximity winners

Kansas City’s longest putt – Brian Perdieu.

SATURDAY – Closest to hole: Pat Seber-Bradley, No. 4; Roger Miller, No. 8; Stuart Hunt, No. 13; Kevin Rome, No. 16. Longest putt: Chuck Vallejo, No. 9. Long drive, Troy Templeton, No. 10.

SUNDAY – Closest to hole: Jon Swinney, No. 4; Tristan Abs, No. 8; Danny Maskil, No. 13; Tony Reed, No. 16. Longest putt: Rick Kempf, No. 9; Long drive: Troy Templeton, No. 10.


Revenues up at Hollywood Casino

Revenues were up at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway during July, according to a report from the Kansas Lottery Commission meeting today.

July revenues were slightly over $11 million, a small increase from July 2013, according to Keith Kocher, director of program assurance and integrity for the Kansas Lottery.

In June 2014, revenues were $10.4 million at the Hollywood Casino. The June 2014 revenues were down 2.8 percent at Hollywood Casino as compared to June 2013.

Revenues for the Boot Hill Casino, Dodge City, Kan., and the Kansas Star Casino, Mulvane, Kan., also were up in July, after being lower in June, Kocher reported.

According to a written report from Bob Sheldon, Hollywood Casino vice president and general manager, to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, slots revenue for July was a slight decrease of three-tenths of a percent from the prior year.

Total games revenue was an increase of $68,000, or 4.3 percent compared to the prior year, he reported. It was attributed to a strong hold percentage.

During July, Hollywood Casino offered its usual promotional offers, he said. It offered midweek food specials in the Final Cut restaurant, along with seasonal specials in the other outlets.

An official Sporting KC watch party was held in the casino’s Turn 2 sports bar, which was well attended by local fans, Sheldon reported.

The casino’s “Superstar Reels” promotion created a buzz as the jackpot approached its cap of $25,000 nearing the end of July, he stated.

An original agreement with the Unified Government had called for the Hollywood Casino to build a hotel. Currently, a hotel and convention center for western Wyandotte County are the subject of a feasibility study by the Unified Government.


New federal rules will disrupt care for disabled Kansans, state officials say

by Dave Ranney, KHI News Service

Topeka — A state official charged with overseeing Medicaid-funded services that help people with disabilities live in community-based settings rather than in nursing homes said Tuesday that coming changes in federal wage and hour rules are likely to increase costs, reduce access to care and give beneficiaries less say in deciding who will provide their care.

“We have great concerns about this,” said Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Kari Bruffett, testifying before a Statehouse meeting of the Robert G. Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight.

Kari Bruffett, former director of the Division of Health Care Finance, now serves as secretary of the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

The changes, which were first announced by the U.S. Department of Labor in September 2013, are set to take effect the first of the year. They require states to pay attendant care workers overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week.

Bruffett said the changes are expected to have little effect on home health companies that already pay their employees an hourly wage and have long been subject to laws governing overtime.

But in Kansas, she said, most of the state’s Medicaid-funded in-home services are based on an assessment of each individual’s needs and a formula for calculating how much the state will pay to have those needs met.

Medicaid beneficiaries then are given the choice of letting a home health agency provide the needed services or making those decisions for themselves.

Typically, a home health agency won’t agree to provide the services if the agreed-upon rate doesn’t cover its overtime costs. But there’s nothing to stop an individual from hiring a caregiver – an adult son or daughter, for example – who’s willing to provide the care for what the state is willing to pay.

Bruffett said KDADS is now being told that after Jan. 1, so-called self-directed caregivers will have to be paid minimum wage as well as overtime.

If the agreed-upon rate falls short of the required wages, she said, the state will have to cut services or pay more for them.

The rule change likely will double the cost of providing thousands of beneficiaries with sleep cycle support services, she said. That refers to the practice of paying someone to be present while a beneficiary sleeps so they’re available when the person in their care needs help toileting, taking medication, being repositioned to prevent bedsores or getting out of bed in the morning.

Currently, the state pays about $35 for six to eight hours of sleep cycle support. After the minimum-wage requirement takes effect, it’s likely to cost roughly $60 per person per night.

Bruffett warned that without sleep cycle support, thousands of vulnerable Kansas – frail elders and people with disabilities, primarily – likely would need to move to a nursing home setting.

“Those would not be good choices,” she said.

Bruffett said KDADS has not yet calculated how much it expects the change to cost the state. Instead, she said, the department is planning to “push back pretty hard,” noting that she recently wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, asking him to exempt Kansas’ self-directed programs or delay implementation of the new rule.

“I’m not here to cause alarm,” she said, “but we do want people to know that changes are going to be made. And we’d like them to join us in pushing back. We’d like for there to be some kind of Kansas-specific exemption.”

Bruffett said she was aware that Perez has denied similar requests from other states.

The committee did not hear from anyone representing the U.S. Department of Labor.
In a news release last year, Perez called the rule changes “an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals (direct care workers) receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home.”

Also, then-Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the departments would “continue to engage with consumers, states, advocates and home care providers in the implementation of this rule to help people with disabilities, older adults and their families receive quality, person-centered services.”

But Mike Oxford, executive director at the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, said that didn’t happen. Instead, states’ independent living centers, Medicaid directors, proponents of self-directed care and front-line advocacy groups were “purposely excluded” from the departments’ discussions, he said.
“I believe that these regulations are very shortsighted and will ultimately harm both workers and people with disabilities in Kansas and in many other places,” Oxford said.

“And what’s really sad is that this is going to highjack a lot of other issues that we have going on, like restoring cuts in services and addressing waiting list for services,” he said. “And now, we’re looking at having to spend all this money on overtime, which, when it’s all said and done, is going to lead to fewer services.”

Oxford encouraged Medicaid beneficiaries to contact their legislators about the changes.

The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute. It is supported in part by a variety of underwriters. The News Service is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy-making environment. More about the News Service at or contact 785-233-5443.