UG candidate charged with involuntary manslaughter

Today, the charges against Tamika Pledger, a Unified Government candidate, were increased to involuntary manslaughter and three counts of reckless aggravated battery.

If she wins elected office and is convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Pledger would face an action by District Attorney Jerome Gorman to remove her from office, the district attorney confirmed today.

Pledger is a Unified Government 1st District at-large commission candidate in the spring elections who was involved in an accident Jan. 30 at 13th and Troup that injured four teens. On Friday, Feb. 6, one of the teens, Tierra Smith, died from her injuries.

Pledger, as someone who is charged with a crime but not convicted, is not prevented from running for office, Gorman said. But if Pledger wins office and is convicted, Gorman confirmed today that his office would take steps to remove her from office. Officeholders are ineligible to hold office once they have a felony conviction, he said. Pledger, a community activist, had filed for office before the accident occurred.

Recently, there has been an indication that Pledger may intend to continue her campaign for office, as a “Go Fund Me” website was started for Pledger’s legal bills and her campaign expenses at http://www.gofundme.com/lrp4u0.

Today, a judge also ordered that Pledger can have no contact with victims or witnesses in this case, and that includes use of social media, Gorman said. The district attorney’s office played a telephone recording in court that was used to support this order.

At this time, there have not been charges filed against the youth in the fight. Gorman said that authorities are still waiting for the complete investigation to be finished before determining whether anyone else might face charges in connection with this case. An investigation is also still continuing about any possible mechanical problems involving the vehicle.

There are a number of factors that are contributing to this case, he added. There was enough evidence from everything authorities have learned to charge Pledger, he said. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

There has been an online fundraising effort for the funeral expenses of Tierra, the teen who was killed in the car accident. (https://fundly.com/tiera-smith-memorial?ft_src=email_share_mobile)

Last Friday, the day that Tierra died, Commissioner Tarence Maddox took to Facebook where he urged youth to stop fighting.

“I’m pleading with you because I’m tired of going to funerals,” Maddox said in the video.

Historical reenactment classes to continue at KCKCC

by Kelly Rogge

James Naismith was the focus of the first class Kansas City Kansas Community College continuing Education presented on past leaders of Kansas and more topics are to come.

The presentation, which was Feb. 5, was led by historical reenactor Bill Hicks. Topics included the history of basketball, including the reason Naismith developed the game – a class project to provide physical exercise between football and baseball. It was never expected to become the “game” it is today.

The next class in KCKCC’s series will be on Wilbur Wright, one of the men who invented the first airplane. Once again, a historical reenactor will speak on the Wright brothers path to inventing the airplane and how Wilbur Wright almost drowned on his way to the Kitty Hawk. Information will also be given as to why Wilbur and Orville’s sister, Katherine, is sometimes considered the “third” Wright brother.

The class is at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in Room 3625 on the KCKCC main campus, 7250 State Ave. Tuition is $10. However, the first five individuals who register will get in for just $5.

“I had a great time listening to the historical reenactment of Dr. James Naismith presented by Bill Nicks,” said Brian Patrick, director of cultural outreach at KCKCC. “Bill made the character of Dr. Naismith come alive. It was like you were listening to Dr. Naismith himself telling stories about his life. Mr. Nicks remained in character even during the question and answer period so we were able to get opinions from the creator of basketball about modern developments such as the shot clock and dunking. The entire evening was both entertaining and educational. I highly recommend these presentations to everyone, students and public alike.”

For more information on the classes in this program or to register, call KCKCC continuing education at 913-288-7660.

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Mayor to be guest speaker at Leavenworth Road Association meeting tonight

Mayor Mark Holland will be the guest speaker at the Leavenworth Road Association meeting Feb. 10.

The Leavenworth Road Association will meet for a pot luck dinner and social hour at 6 p.m. Feb. 10, followed by a program at 7 p.m., at the Eisenhower Recreation Center, 2901 N. 72nd, Kansas City, Kan.

The LRA will provide baked spaghetti, while those attending will bring a side dish.