BPU discusses customer service

by William Crum

At the work session, the Board of Public Utilities members talked about ways to improve customer service.

At the regular session, Mike Caudle and Chris Collins received Linemen certifications from Bill Johnson, head of the electrical side of the Board of Public Utilities. Linemen go to many hours of training, both in the classroom and in the field, and this is an honor.

BPU general manager Don Gray gave a report on the Western Fuels resolution which deals with alternating fuel sources for the future.

The BPU received a safe drinking water five-year director’s award, which was presented by D.J. Johnson. This is an honor that few utilities receive.

Sporting KC signs midfielders Claros, Steuble

Sporting Kansas City announced today the signing of Honduran midfielder Jorge Claros and Swiss-Filipino midfielder Martin Steuble.

Claros has been added to the team’s roster and will be available for selection this weekend, while Steuble has been added to the team’s roster and will join the squad in the near term.

“We are always looking for players to enhance our roster,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “Not only is the quality of Jorge and Martin high, but obviously with the injuries and things we have dealt with this season adding them will be a great benefit for the second half of the season.”

Claros has featured 53 times for the Honduras Men’s National Team and has scored three goals since making his debut on Aug. 16, 2006. The 28-year-old midfielder appeared in eight matches during Honduras’ successful World Cup qualifying campaign as well as in all three matches for Los Catrachos at the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside former Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza.

“I am very happy to be here,” Claros said. “This is a big opportunity for me and I am thankful to Major League Soccer and to Sporting Kansas City. I hope to reward them for their faith in me with my play on the field.”

The 5-foot-9 defensive midfielder began his career with Honduran club C.D.S. Vida in 2004 before joining Club Deportivo Motagua a year later. Following successful appearances at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2008 Summer Olympics, Motagua loaned Claros to Scottish first division club Hibernian. Claros spent one-and-half years with Hibernian, leading the club to the 2012 and 2013 Scottish Cup Finals.

After returning to Motagua in the summer of 2013, Claros appeared in four matches for Honduras at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring the game-winning goal against El Salvador in the group stage. Claros started Honduras’ 1-0 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica as well as the team’s 3-1 loss to the U.S. Men’s National Team in the semifinal round of the tournament.

Steuble joins Kansas City after seven years of professional soccer in Switzerland, most recently with Swiss Challenge League club FC Wil 1900. The 26-year-old Swiss-Filipino made five appearances in the Europa League, while playing for FC Lausanne-Sport and scored a goal in a 3-3 draw against AC Sparta Praha on Oct. 21, 2010.

“I am really excited to join Sporting KC,” Steuble said. “I was there for a trial and loved what I saw. I felt good from the beginning and am honored that they offered me a contract. The team is doing very well right now and I’m just going to do whatever I can to help.”

Steuble has featured nine times for the Philippines national team under head coach Thomas Dooley. He made his international debut on March 1, 2014, and opened his international scoring account in a 3-0 win over Nepal on April 11, 2014.

Sporting Kansas City now has 30 players under contract with the addition of Claros and Steuble to the team’s roster. Two players (Christian Duke and Jimmy Medranda) are currently on loan to USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC and four players are unavailable due to injury (Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Peterson Joseph and Eric Kronberg).

– Story from Sporting KC

Downtown day care loses contract with state; downtown residents challenge land use

Just when residents thought the issue was settled about a downtown Kansas City, Kan., day care being located next to a proposed parole office, a new wrinkle has turned up.

The downtown day care, Pandarama, will lose its contract next Tuesday with the state, which pays for 60 percent of its children, according to Carolyn Sipple, director of the day care.

In back of the day care, about 100 feet away, is the old Apple Market building at 7th and State that was being converted for a parole office.

The day care and downtown residents opposed the placement of a parole office so close to a facility with young children. Rep. Val Winn, D-34th Dist., led a successful effort to pass new legislation prohibiting a parole office from locating so close to a day care.

Now, the state welfare agency has notified parents at the day care who receive child care assistance that they will have to find another place for their children because the day care’s contract with the state has been canceled, Sipple said.

Under the terms of the contract, the state doesn’t need to have a reason to cancel it. The center was cited for some small items, but has taken care of them, and they are not of the magnitude that should result in a cancellation of a contract, Sipple believes. In more than 36 years of operating the day care facility, she believes that these items are not out of the ordinary.

Sipple said she is concerned that the children who receive this assistance are being displaced, and she also is concerned about her staff, which is a minority staff and could be displaced.

She said the state agency has not yet allowed an appeal. The day care center has hired an attorney and is now looking at its options.

As some children are being forced to leave and change preschools, Pandarama currently would like to find other children to attend day care there. The day care center is not closing, Sipple said.

“We’re standing, and we’re here,” Sipple said.

‘Doesn’t pass the smell test’

Rep. Winn was shocked about the latest developments, as she thought the parole office matter had been settled. There had been discussion in the community about the parole office moving to a new building in the Argentine area of Kansas City, Kan.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Rep. Winn about the latest developments.

Rep. Winn said the state could have used the old Apple Market building for another of its offices downtown, such as a Department of Revenue office. If it was approved for another state use, it would not have been a loss to the state or the building’s owners to renovate the building.

Residents ask for moratorium on social services downtown

The lack of consulting neighbors first when businesses, offices or agencies move in has sparked some downtown residents to organize around these issues.

Scott Murray of the Turtle Hill neighborhood group recently appeared before a Unified Government Standing Committee to ask the UG for a moratorium on all new social services downtown, while the issue is studied. He had opposed the parole office’s location in the downtown area and also was concerned about other social services’ locations there.

A former city planner, Murray told UG commissioners they had to decide the future of downtown – whether they wanted it to be a business center or a social service center.

He said social services were tending to cluster together in the downtown area, and he suggested that it would be better for residents and businesses if any additional social services were somewhere else, such as the bottoms area.