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A drawing showed the new national soccer training center proposed for 98th and Parallel Parkway.

by Mary Rupert

State and local officials were ecstatic tonight about a new $75 million U.S. Soccer National Training Center complex to be built near the Schlitterbahn at 98th and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kan.

The economic effect of the new soccer village, including new jobs and investment, will be more than $1 billion over 30 years, Gov. Sam Brownback said in a news conference at Sporting Park. The site of the new village is just a little over a mile to the northeast of the Sporting Park stadium. Also at the announcement were Sporting Club, Unified Government, Schlitterbahn and EPR Properties officials.

“This high-quality training facility with structured programming, along with Sporting Park, state-of-the-art soccer stadium, will undoubtedly transform Kansas City, Kan., and our region into one of the top soccer venues in the nation,” Mayor Mark Holland said. For Kansas City, Kan., it also will be an opportunity to bring more visitors to the destination who will spend money in the community, he said.

Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman unveiled the project, which will include a 125-room hotel, a 100-square-foot indoor training facility, eight lighted professional fields and eight youth fields. It will also include an indoor pavilion and specialized facilities. He noted that this project was the same as getting another sports franchise here. The completion date is 2016.

The intent of the project, according to officials, is to build a world-class development to train youth and adult players, coaches and referees.

The soccer complex was expanded from its original idea of solely a youth training facility to one encompassing adults, including serving as a host to the national men’s and women’s teams, at youth and adult levels. It also is expected to be used for national soccer training camps, and referee and coach education programs.

“We’ve been committed to bringing world-class destinations to Kansas City, Kan.,” Mayor Holland said. He added Kansas City, Kan., is already No. 1 in the region for soccer, if not the nation. Soccer, a growing sport, also gives youths something to aspire to, he added.

While some of the details still remain to be worked out, and approved by the Unified Government Commission, the project will use sales tax revenue bonds, according to officials.

The process of city and state approvals will probably take 90 days, Heineman said. Simultaneously, design work will be done.

Mayor Holland said the STAR bonds at this new project will not mean any change to the retirement date of the Village West STAR bonds, projected in 2017.

The governor said the state of Kansas and local community can make the decision about whether STAR bonds will be issued. State Rep. Tom Burroughs said the state has given discretion to the Kansas secretary of commerce to make those decisions, and the Legislature will not step in unless a question arises.

“We’re all excited,” said Unified Government Commissioner Mike Kane about the new development. Something like this doesn’t come along very often, he added. Commissioner Jim Walters, also at the announcement, said he was glad to see the new development.

While the property for the new training center is in the area originally set aside for the Schlitterbahn, according to Maureen Mahoney, chief of staff for Mayor Holland, there will still be plenty of land available there for more Schlitterbahn expansion.

State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., said he was in favor of more development for the eastern side of Kansas City, Kan.

A resolution to set a public hearing for the proposed STAR bond district and project plans is on the UG agenda for Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. If approved, the public hearing date would be Aug. 28. Described in the agenda is a project area between 94th Street and I-435, from Parallel Parkway to State Avenue.

Gov. Sam Brownback said Wyandotte County and the state of Kansas could see an economic effect exceeding $1 billion over 30 years with the new U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo)

Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said the new U.S. Soccer National Training Center proposed for Kansas City, Kan., would be the same as bringing another sports franchise to the area. (Staff photo)

Mayor Mark Holland said the new national soccer training center would transform Kansas City, Kan., and the region into one of the top soccer venues in the nation. (Staff photo)

David Brain, president and chief executive officer of EPR Properties, and Gary Henry, CEO of Schlitterbahn, attended the announcement. (Staff photo)

Discussing the new soccer training development before the announcement were, left to right, Bill Rogers, Unified Government Commissioner Jane Philbrook and State Rep. Tom Burroughs. UG Administrator Doug Bach is at the left. (Staff photo)

In the Unified Government agenda documents is this drawing of the proposed development area.

This map in the Unified Government agenda documents shows the boundaries of the STAR bond district.

Sporting Kansas City fans made their way to Wednesday night’s match against Manchester City. (Staff photo)

Scene from the Wyandotte County Fair. (Photo by Steve Rupert)

Hours: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
5 p.m. Pie Contest at the Red Barn
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Carnival Wristband night
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hedricks Petting Zoo, Hedricks Camel Rides, Pony Rides and Pictures
6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Hedricks Pig Races
6:30 p.m. to dusk Hot air balloon rides
6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Free Magic Show, Red Barn
7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sully Brothers, Free Stage Tent
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Arena, Horseshoe Pitching Contest (4 tosses for $1), Wyatt Earp interpreter, blacksmith demonstration

The Wyandotte County Fairgrounds is at 13700 Polfer Road, Kansas City, Kan. (east of K-7 and Polfer Road).

Admission to the fair is free and parking is $5. There is a charge for carnival rides; wristband nights are Tuesday and Wednesday, when a wristband admission will cost $15.

For more information about the fair, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/five-day-county-fair-kicks-off-tuesday-with-more-arena-events-than-last-year/

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A federal jury in Kansas City, Kan., today convicted three men for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana in the Lawrence area, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The government is seeking a money judgment of more than $16.9 million against the traffickers.

The men were found guilty on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and other drug trafficking counts. The defendants are Los Rovell Dahda, 32, Lawrence, Kan.; Roosevelt Rico Dahda, 32, Lawrence, Kan.; and Justin Cherif Pickel, 34, San Lorenzo, Calif.

During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that starting in 2008 law enforcement agencies began receiving information that Los Dahda was distributing marijuana in the Lawrence area. When Roosevelt Dahda was released from prison in November 2010, he joined his brother Los in the trafficking organization, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Prosecutors presented evidence that during the early days of the conspiracy the Dahdas bought marijuana from Mexico to sell in Lawrence. Over time, they turned to California for their supply. They purchased marijuana in California for $1,800 to $2,800 a pound and they sold it in the Lawrence area for $3,500 to $4,800 a pound, according to prosecutors. It is estimated that the traffickers distributed more than 8,000 pounds of marijuana from 2005 to 2012.

The Dahdas used a business they owned in Lawrence, Gran-Daddy’s BBQ at 1447 W. 23rd St., as well as other properties to receive, store and process marijuana for distribution.

Pickel worked for the Dahdas transporting marijuana from California to Lawrence, prosecutors said. On April 25, 2012, he was stopped on Interstate I-80 in Nebraska. Investigators found 38 pounds of marijuana concealed in a false compartment in a toolbox-fuel tank.

Pickel also set up an indoor marijuana grow operation in California that he maintained for the Dahdas. On June 13, 2012, investigators executed a search warrant at Pickel’s residence in California and seized more than 100 marijuana plants.

The defendants were convicted on the following counts:

Los Rovell Dahda: Conspiracy (count 1), maintaining Daddy’s BBQ at 1147 W. 23rd in Lawrence in furtherance of drug trafficking, distributing marijuana, using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, andpossession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Roosevelt Rico Dahda: Conspiracy, using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Holcomb Sports Complex in Lawrence.

Justin Cherif Pickel: Conspiracy, using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Sentencing will be set for a later date. The crimes carry the following penalties:

Conspiracy: Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million. On this count, Roosevelt is facing a minimum of 20 years because of his prior convictions.
Maintaining a house or building in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Distributing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or playground: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $500,000.
Distributing marijuana; possession with intent to distribute marijuana: A maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000.
Using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of four years and a fine up to $250,000.
Taking part in an ongoing criminal enterprise: Not less than 20 years and a fine up to $2 million.

Agencies involved in the investigation and the arrest of defendants include the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Johnson County Sheriff‘s Office, the Lawrence Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Alameda County, Calif., Sheriff’s Drug Task Force, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Lenexa Police Department, the Overland Park Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department and the Hayward, Calif., Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead is prosecuting.