UG Commission may change way casino grants are distributed

The Unified Government Commission tonight discussed changing its process for distributing $500,000 in community charitable grants from the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.

There was a consensus at the 5 p.m. commission discussion to change from an independent committee that screened and made recommendations for the charitable grants, to grants given out by each individual commissioner. A straw poll was taken at the 5 p.m. meeting that showed six votes in favor of moving forward with developing a proposal that would outline the details of this idea.

Under that method, each commissioner and the mayor would have about $45,000 to distribute. There also seemed to be a consensus to continue spending the money on healthy lifestyle projects.

One of the reasons the new plan was advanced during a discussion last year was that some of the commission districts were not receiving an equal amount of funding from the casino grants. Many of the grants were located in a few districts.

Discussing the proposed changes, Commissioner Ann Murguia said it was a good idea to reach out to the small struggling groups in the community and make a difference. She said there are a number of small groups here that can make a difference with a small amount of money.

Mayor Mark Holland said he favored the older way of having an independent committee evaluate the grant applications, but added that he would accept whatever the commission decided.

Commissioner Hal Walker expressed his opinion that he would favor an independent committee to screen the grants and make the decisions.

Commissioner Murguia stated that if the older selection method continued, there would still be problems with it that need to be worked on.

Commissioner Jane Philbrook was concerned about who would do the vetting of the projects, and who would evaluate whether the organizations that received money had reached their goals. Would the administration have to do this, she wondered. Later in the meeting, it was stated that the commissioners would track the projects.

Commissioner Mike Kane was in favor of the change, as his district largely had been left out of the casino charitable grant money. He said if this change is made, he would like to see that some of the grant money goes to the school district.

The rules of the past charitable distributions did not allow any funds to go to school districts, since in past years it was stated that the public districts already received some funds from the casino. However, in Kane’s opinion, the schools need the money.

Commissioner Tarence Maddox brought up a discussion from a few years ago where commissioners thought small grants would not make much of a difference in the community. Some commissioners then had been interested in funding a larger project that would be very visible in the community.

Chefs visit KCK

Chef Sophia Chatterfield showed how sushi is made for the Chefs Association meeting that visited KCKCC TEC recently. (Photo by William Crum)
Chef Sophia Chatterfield showed how sushi is made for the Chefs Association meeting that visited KCKCC TEC recently. (Photo by William Crum)
by William Crum
Recently, the Greater Kansas City Chefs Association held their monthly meeting at the Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center culinary school.

This is the first time that the Greater Kansas City Chefs Association decided to hold their monthly meeting here in Kansas City, Kan. The Greater Kansas City Chefs Association is made up of the top chefs in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area.

Close to 100 people attended this event, and many of the members decided to take a tour of the facilities. They truly saw what the school was about. The students got a chance to meet and talk to the top chefs from the Chefs Association. This gave the students a chance to network, which in the long run could mean jobs in the future.

A lot of the members were really impressed by the school and by the students as well. Robert Honeychurch, a chef who works for the Department of the Army in Manhattan, Kan., was really impressed.

“The facilities here are really amazing and the students here are fantastic,” he said. “They really know what they are doing,” he said.

During the meeting the students lined up before the crowd. And the crowd applauded them for a job well done.

The Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center’s culinary department is located at 65th and State Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. This year enrollment is up considerably; the department is outgrowing its current facilities. This culinary school is unlike any of the others in the area. Students not only study culinary arts, they also are required to attend many classes in business as well, such as accounting. This makes it ideal for the student who might in the future decide to open his or her restaurant.

Thomas Figous, a recent graduate, showed how to cook with various types of grains at the Chefs Association recent visit to KCKCC TEC. (Photo by William Crum)
Thomas Figous, a recent graduate, showed how to cook with various types of grains at the Chefs Association recent visit to KCKCC TEC. (Photo by William Crum)

Culinary students lined up at a recent visit from the Chefs Association to KCKCC TEC. (Photo by William Crum)
Culinary students lined up at a recent visit from the Chefs Association to KCKCC TEC. (Photo by William Crum)

Super, heroic theme launches United Way of Wyandotte County’s campaign

The United Way of Wyandotte County launched its "Live Heroic, Live United" annual campaign today with a goal of $2,130,000. (Staff photo)
The United Way of Wyandotte County launched its “Live Heroic, Live United” annual campaign today with a goal of $2,130,000. (Staff photo)

With capes flowing and the theme, “Live Heroic, Live United,” the United Way of Wyandotte County launched its annual fundraising campaign today.

The campaign goal this year was set at $2,130,000.

Mayor Mark Holland, the opening speaker, said it was very appropriate that the United Way campaign launch was on Patriot Day, a day of service and remembrance of the American heroes in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the United States.

Mayor Mark Holland said it was appropriate that the campaign was launched on Sept. 11, a national day of service, and asked people to be heroes in their own communities. (Staff photo)
Mayor Mark Holland said it was appropriate that the campaign was launched on Sept. 11, a national day of service, and asked people to be heroes in their own communities. (Staff photo)

He called on people to see how they could be heroes in their own community. “We all have a chance to be heroes today,” he said.

Several people in Superman, Batman, Superwoman and other costumes attended the event, held at the Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. Many of those who were in costume were from the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.

Mary Pulley of Fox 4, the emcee of the event, said, “Heroes don’t always come with capes.” It’s not always a hero with a machine gun who rushes in and saves the community who is important, she added. Heroes in the community are just as important, she said. She recalled that one of her heroes was a teacher at Wyandotte High School.

Chris Hill, a youth volunteer from the Eighth Street YMCA who has dedicated more than 25 hours a week to volunteer work, told the audience, “I would do it all over again without nothing” because Hill volunteers for people and the community. Hill said he was proud to be from Wyandotte County.

“It’s not where you live, it’s how you live, and I choose to Live United and Live Heroic in Wyandotte County,” Hill said, receiving the most applause at the event.

Joe H. Vaughan, honorary chair of this year’s campaign, challenged those present to make a pledge collectively and “with superhuman strength,” to smash the fundraising goal and address the needs in Wyandotte County.

Assistant Fire Chief John Peterson, left, takes a "selfie" picture with Brince Rogers, right, playing Batman, at today's United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch. A selfie contest was part of the events. (Staff photo)
Assistant Fire Chief John Peterson, left, takes a “selfie” picture with Brince Rogers, right, playing Batman, at today’s United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch. A selfie contest was part of the events. (Staff photo)

Playing superhero characters at today's United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch were, left to right, Brince Rogers, Diana Weber and Danny Helmich. They are with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. (Staff photo)
Playing superhero characters at today’s United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch were, left to right, Brince Rogers, Diana Weber and Danny Helmich. They are with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. (Staff photo)

Mary Pulley of Fox 4, the emcee of the event, said, “Heroes don’t always come with capes.” (Staff photo)
Mary Pulley of Fox 4, the emcee of the event, said, “Heroes don’t always come with capes.” (Staff photo)

Also speaking was Chris Hill,  a youth volunteer from the Eighth Street YMCA who has dedicated more than 25 hours a week to volunteer work. (Staff photo)
Also speaking was Chris Hill, a youth volunteer from the Eighth Street YMCA who has dedicated more than 25 hours a week to volunteer work. (Staff photo)

Joe H. Vaughan, honorary chair of this year’s campaign, challenged those present to make a pledge collectively and “with superhuman strength." (Staff photo)
Joe H. Vaughan, honorary chair of this year’s campaign, challenged those present to make a pledge collectively and “with superhuman strength.” (Staff photo)

Superheroes were featured at today's United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was "Live Heroic, Live United." (Staff photo)
Superheroes were featured at today’s United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was “Live Heroic, Live United.” (Staff photo)

Superheroes were featured at today's United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was "Live Heroic, Live United." (Staff photo)
Superheroes were featured at today’s United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was “Live Heroic, Live United.” (Staff photo)

Superheroes were featured at today's United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was "Live Heroic, Live United." (Staff photo)
Superheroes were featured at today’s United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was “Live Heroic, Live United.” (Staff photo)

Jill Stevens, left, an intern for United Way of Wyandotte County, and Emily Worm, director of the RSVP program for the United Way of Wyandotte County, were ready for the campaign launch today. (Staff photo)
Jill Stevens, left, an intern for United Way of Wyandotte County, and Emily Worm, director of the RSVP program for the United Way of Wyandotte County, were ready for the campaign launch today. (Staff photo)

Superheroes were featured at today's United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was "Live Heroic, Live United." (Staff photo)
Superheroes were featured at today’s United Way of Wyandotte County campaign launch as the theme was “Live Heroic, Live United.” (Staff photo)

Hundreds of people attended the campaign launch for the United Way of Wyandotte County today at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. (Staff photo)
Hundreds of people attended the campaign launch for the United Way of Wyandotte County today at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. (Staff photo)

Hundreds of people attended the campaign launch for the United Way of Wyandotte County today at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. (Staff photo)
Hundreds of people attended the campaign launch for the United Way of Wyandotte County today at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. (Staff photo)

Hundreds of people attended the campaign launch for the United Way of Wyandotte County today at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. (Staff photo)
Hundreds of people attended the campaign launch for the United Way of Wyandotte County today at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave. (Staff photo)