Archive for Info Wyandotte

Kansas lawmakers consider new regulations after water slide death

Legislators are discussing changes to Kansas laws following a water slide death at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, in August 2016. (Wyandotte Daily file photo)

by Stephen Koranda, Kansas News Service

A Kansas legislative committee is considering tighter amusement park regulations following the death of a lawmaker’s son last year on the Verrückt water slide in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Aug. 7, 2016, death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, son of Rep. Scott Schwab of Olathe, prompted Rep. John Barker to look into the state’s regulations for amusement park rides. Barker is an Abilene Republican who chairs the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, which had a hearing Thursday on new regulations proposed in House Bill 2389.

“It’s the nature of the tragedy,” Barker said. “A young child gets killed at an amusement park, that’s concerning to everyone.”

Barker and other lawmakers didn’t like what they found when they compared Kansas regulations to those in other states.

“We don’t have much of anything right now,” said Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican. “Kansas is really under-regulated in this industry.”

HB 2389 would set standards for insurance, ride inspections and injury reports and would require annual inspections for stationary rides like the Verrückt. These checks would be performed by inspectors paid by the insurance companies, not the ride owners.

Current state law requires annual inspections for stationary rides, but the ride owners can hire private inspectors.

Whitmer, who has experience in the industry, said legislators face a balancing act when considering new regulations so they don’t put Kansas ride operators at a competitive disadvantage. He wants to see regulations put in place but said he can’t support the bill in its current form.

The bill likely will undergo changes as debate moves forward. The bill requires ride inspections from a licensed engineer or someone with five years of inspection experience. Whitmer said he’ll clarify what types of engineers could perform the inspections.

“If I’m a train engineer, I’m not qualified to inspect a carnival ride,” he said.

The bill also would require a qualified inspection every time a mobile ride is moved and assembled. That sounds like too much to Zachary Wilson, owner of Fun Services of Kansas City, a company that rents mobile rides.

“Are we going to have a qualified inspector on the clock at midnight for a 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. party? That seems a little burdensome,” he said.

Wilson would like to see the bill amended to allow inspections by people with industry safety training and certifications. He said they could be more knowledgeable than engineers.

“Then you put somebody in there that’s familiar with the rides,” Wilson said. “You’re much better off.”

Barker said he doesn’t know if the new regulations could have prevented the death of Caleb Schwab, but he hopes the changes will prevent future injuries.

Barker has worried about the safety of rides when taking his grandson to the county fair, and he believes the changes the bill requires can calm those fears.

“I don’t know if they were inspected or not. After we pass this legislation, I will know that it’s been inspected,” he said.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to

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KCKCC culinary arts team receives gold medal in metro competition

The KCKCC Culinary Team recently competed in the 2nd HCA High School Team Culinary Challenge, held by Johnson County Community College. (Photo from KCKCC)

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College culinary students once again showed their culinary prowess in a Team Culinary Competition designed for high school students.

The KCKCC Culinary Team competed in the 2nd HCA High School Team Culinary Challenge, held by Johnson County Community College last month.

Team members included Jenna Crum, senior at Basehor-Linwood High School; Nancy Mascote, senior at Harmon High School; Biggie Stoudamire, junior at Leavenworth High School and William Bowles and Alex Torres, both seniors at Bonner Springs High School.

The group attends KCKCC-TEC and the Pioneer Career Center in Leavenworth through the college’s high school.

Seventeen high schools from around the Kansas City metropolitan area participated in the competition. The KCKCC team received a gold medal and took home awards for Best Entrée and Best Dessert.

“The experience was so much fun,” Mascote said. “We are just a school from Wyandotte County, and we worked to the standard of Broadmoor (Technical Center in the Shawnee Mission School District). The chefs really helped us so much. If it were not for them, we never would have made it this far.”

In the culinary competition, each four-person team was responsible for preparing a three-course meal in 60 minutes. In addition, they had 15 minutes to demonstrate knife skills. Teams were not competing against each other, but against a set of standards established by the American Culinary Federation. Teams started with 100 points and received deductions based on errors made.

“I really felt we had done great. We were well prepared and had great coaches. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” Torres said. “I think we were all extremely nervous until we got into the kitchen. When they announced the winners, it was an amazing feeling, a really nice moment.”

Students had the opportunity to try out for the competition team in December and started working with each other in January.

The culinary team created the menu, which included an appetizer of seared scallops and Risotto Milanese; an entrée of seared duck, butternut squash puree, roasted carrots and a cherry gastric and for dessert, a deconstructed candy bar.

Coached by Chef Kelly Jenkins and Chef Justin Mitchell, culinary arts instructors at the Pioneer Career Center and KCKCC-TEC, the team practiced four days a week to perfect their menu and improve their culinary skills.

“I think we really had great communication. We were basically like a family and knew what each person was working on,” said Crum, who was the only returning member of the 2016 team. “We knew Broadmoor was good, and the only team who beat us last year (Olathe North) wasn’t there. We had to raise the bar and show people what we could do.”

Stoudamire said she wanted to be on the competition team after watching shows like Food Network’s “Chopped.”

“I was so excited (when the team received the gold medal). I have never really won anything,” she said. “I love being in the kitchen. The smells make me feel like I am at home. I love taking a recipe and making it my own.”

An entree from a recent KCKCC culinary competition. (Photo from KCKCC)

A dessert from the KCKCC culinary team entered in a recent competition. (Photo from KCKCC)

Accident reported on I-435 in Wyandotte County

A single-car accident was reported on southbound I-435 a little north of Wolcott at 9:29 a.m. March 22, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper’s report.

A Ford Escape was southbound on I-435 when for an unknown reason, it went off the roadway to the left and struck the guard rail, according to the trooper’s report.

The driver, a 27-year-old woman from Leavenworth, Kansas, was injured and taken to a hospital in Kansas City, Kansas.