Norton, Harbert, Santiago named KCKCC athletes of year

The Athletes of the Year at Kansas City Kansas Community College are, from left, softball infielder Lacey Santiago, baseball outfielder Lucas Norton and basketball guard Cassidy Harbert. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins

Three athletes who took Kansas City Kansas Community College teams to unprecedented playoff depths are the Athletes of the Year for 2014.
Lucas Norton, who played a key role in the Blue Devil baseball team coming within one win of the NJCAA World Series, is the Male Athlete of the Year while Cassidy Harbert and Lacey Santiago were named co-Female Athlete of the Year recipients. Harbert helped the Lady Blue Devil basketball team go the farthest in tournament play in Coach Valerie Stambersky’s 14 years while Sanitago was a vital cog in the KCKCC softball team winning its first home playoff series.
In announcing the 2014 recipients, KCKCC Athletic Director Tony Tompkins said selections were made based not only athletic success but academics, community service, leadership and citizenship.
The 2014 recipients:
Lucas Norton – “Lucas being gone is like losing a member of the coaching staff,” said KCKCC baseball coach Steve Burleson. “He won the Mike Haen Hustle Award and would have been our MVP if we had one. A prototypical No. 9 hitter as a freshman, through concentrated hard work he raised his batting average about 150 points from last year and made himself an outstanding leadoff hitter as a sophomore.”
A centerfielder from Liberty, Mo., Norton led the Blue Devils in hitting with a .366 average after hitting .215 as a freshman. He also led in hits (82) and stolen bases (29) while driving in 29 runs from the leadoff position. After a 5-15 start, the Blue Devils finished 39-22 and reached the finals of the NJCAA super-regional tournament.
Carrying a 3.8 grade point average, Norton finished his final semester making all A’s. “Not only our team leader, Luke has led us in community service, academics and fund-raising,” said Burleson.
Cassidy Harbert – “Cassidy was a critical component to our team’s success this year,” said Stambersky. “Without her running the point for us, we would not have been 24-8. She started every game, scored for us, rebounded for us and got the ball to others so they could score. A leader who works hard every day in everything that we do on the court and in the classroom, she’s a 3.08 student.”
Earning honorable mention on the WBCA All-American team, Harbert finished fourth in the nation in assists with 197 and fifth in steals with 106. A freshman from Wichita Northwest, her 6.2 assist average led the Jayhawk Conference and she was third in steals (3.3) to earn selection to the EBA JUCO National Spring Showcase and nomination to the NJCAA All-Star Game.
Her community work included programs for Toys and Tots, the Ronald McDonald House, Community Blood Drive, Biddy Ball Clinic and the campus clean-up drive as well as fund-raising undertakings with Sporting KC, Kansas City Chiefs and NASCAR races along with on-campus involvement with security, concessions and a community car wash.
Lacey Santiago – “Almost everyone on campus knows Lacey because of her willingness to go out of the normal comfort zone for students by engaging in conversations with anyone on campus,” said KCKCC softball coach Kacy Tillery. “A great representative of our college and athletic department, it would be hard to find an office or professor who doesn’t know Lacey.”
An All-Region and two-time All-Jayhawk selection from Molokai, Hawaii, Santiago batted .464, drove in 23 runs and led in stolen bases with 14 on a Lady Blue Devil that swept Neosho in opening round playoff action and finished 32-15. An academic All-American with a 3.40 grade point average, Santiago was named to “Who’s Who in American Community Colleges” and twice to the Provost’s Honor Roll.
Her community service included reading to youngsters at the Child Care Center, volunteering for an admissions project with local high schools, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a retirement home in Leavenworth, Community Blood Drive participant and work at all KCKCC winter softball camps.


KCKCC prepares for commencement ceremonies

by Kelly Rogge

Kansas City Kansas Community College will be celebrating new beginnings this week during several graduation and pinning events.

Five commencement ceremonies will be taking place as the 2013-14 academic year wraps up. Including graduates from December 2013, May 2014 and Summer 2014, KCKCC will have approximately 950 students graduate with associate degrees or certificates this year. These ceremonies include:

·         Respiratory Therapy Pinning – 7 p.m. May 19 at Providence Medical Center.

·         GED Graduation – 6 p.m. May 20 at the KCKCC Field House.

·         Nurses’ Pinning – 8 p.m. May 20 at the KCKCC Field House.

·         KCKCC Graduation – 8 p.m. May 21 at the KCKCC Field House.

·         Physical Therapy Assistant Graduation – 7 p.m. May 22 at the KCKCC-TEC.

Major Gen. Karen E. LeDoux, U.S. Army, will be the speaker at the KCKCC graduation Wednesday. LeDoux has a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Mo. and a MMS degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.  She has also attended the Combined Arms and Services Staff School and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

She has served as a training officer, deputy commander and commander of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program Support Unit, commander of the 94th Training Division, commander of the 55th Sustainment Brigade and Commanding General of the Army Material Command – Southwest Asia/G4.

LeDoux is currently the deputy program manager and research fellow for logistics and technology group at the Logistics Management Institute in McLean, Va. Among the many U.S. decorations and badges she has received are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

All commencement ceremonies are open to the public.

For more information on Kansas City Kansas Community College, visit its website at


Six sentenced to prison for drug trafficking in ‘Operation Broken Bone’

Six defendants have been sentenced to prison as a result of a federal drug investigation in metropolitan Kansas City dubbed Operation Broken Bone, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

The investigation targeted a drug trafficking organization that operated from January 2006 to November 2011 to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The FBI, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas and other members of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force on the case.

The following defendants were sentenced May 16:

Damian Mays, 24, Kansas City, Kan., 19.5 years in federal prison.
Verdell Mays, 37, Kansas City, Kan., 18.75 years.
Christopher Holliday, 26, sentenced to 9.5 years.
Frank Sharron Piper, III, 35, Kansas City, Kan., 11.25 years.
Brenton Bassett, 38, Kansas City, Kan., 7 years.
Cynthia Hatfield, 32, Kansas City, Kan. 3 months.

At the sentencing, prosecutors told the judge the defendants conspired together to distribute drugs and to maintain multiple Kansas City area residences where the drugs were stored, consumed or distributed. The investigators arranged to buy drugs from the defendants and served search warrants in which drugs, money and firearms were seized.

Other defendants include:
Gregory T. Moore, 37, Kansas City, Kan., who is awaiting sentencing.
Daniel Bryant, 34, Kansas City, Mo., who is awaiting sentencing.
Johnie Mitchell, 60, Kansas City, Kan., sentenced to 35 months.
Marcus M. Williams, 35, Overland Park, Kan., who is awaiting sentencing.
Michael D. Davis, 33, Kansas City, Kan., sentenced to 40 months.
Ondre Durham, 40, Kansas City, Kan., sentenced to 30 months.
Rahmann Easley, 35, Kansas City, Kan., who is set for sentencing July 17.
Charles Easley, 38, Kansas City, Kan., who is awaiting sentencing.
Joshua Jones, 28, Kansas City, Kan., who is awaiting sentencing.
Raymond Cornejo, 53, Kansas City, Kan., who is awaiting sentencing.
Lamar Brooks, 38, Kansas City, Mo., who is set for sentencing Oct. 21.
Christopher Craig, 31, Kansas City, Mo., who is set for sentencing July 15.
Jacquel Cunningham, 22, Kansas City, Kan., who is set for sentencing Aug. 5.
Anthony Smith, 41, Kansas City, Mo., who is awaiting sentencing.

Grissom commended the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Kansas City, Mo., Career Criminal Division, the Riverside Police Department, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Krug for their work on the case.