Community invited to join KCKCC Jazz Band in Cuba Dec. 16-22

by Alan Hoskins

Anyone ever wishing to visit the intriguing country of Cuba, Kansas City Kansas Community College is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The KCKCC Jazz Band will be performing in the 30th Annual Havana Jazz Festival Dec. 16-22 and members of the community are invited to go along.

“This is going to be a great tour and huge fun,” said Bill Yeazel, former director of the KCKCC Performing Arts Center who is organizing the trip for the college. “Having been to Havana a couple of times, it is truly a unique destination and the music scene at night is spectacular.”

The cost of the land package in Cuba is $1,769 and includes hotel based on double occupancy, four lunches and one dinner, all ground travel and airport transfers and All-Access passes to all festival events.

Not included is a $20 Cuban tourist card, a $300 license to return to the U.S. and airfare. Because American airlines are not allowed to fly to Cuba, connections will be made through Cancun, Mexico. The Cancun-Havana round trip is currently $320 while the cost of Kansas City-Cancun flights has yet to be determined.

“Because the flights from Kansas City to Cancun fluctuate so much, we are highly encouraging anyone seriously interested in making the trip to contact us immediately in order that we can book the necessary number of seats as soon as possible,” Yeazel said. Only the first 30 persons to sign up will be guaranteed space on the trip. Persons interested are urged to contact Yeazel at or 816-665-0296 or Mayre Hoffman at

An informational and sign-up meeting on the trip will be held in the college’s Conference Center adjacent to the Campus Lake at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24. However, persons interested in making the trip are urged to contact Yeazel or Hoffman as soon as possible.

In addition to attending performances of the world famous Havana Jazz Festival which will include premium seats at the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies, the trip will offer a spectacular tour of the highlights including:

• Guided tour of the Havana Historical Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Day trip exploration of Vinales Valley and Town, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Tour of Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts.
• Visit to Iinstituto Superior de Arte (ISA), the country’s top art academy.
• Luncheon hosted by Jose Fuster, renowned Cuban ceramist and painter.
• Exploration of Finca Vigia, where Earnest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than 20 years.
• Tap dancing and live jazz music at Pena de Santa Amalia.
• Welcome dinner at Havana’s famous restaurant, El Aljibe.
• Farewell lunch at La Ferminia restaurant.

The festival will open on Wednesday, Dec. 17, with the KCKCC Jazz Band performing on Thursday and Friday nights. The Festival will close on Sunday with the return to Kansas City on Monday.

A complete and comprehensive itinerary can be found online at and is recommended for anyone interested in making the trip.

UG to look at convention center for Village West area

The Unified Government is considering a feasibility study for a convention center in or near Village West in western Kansas City, Kan.

At an Economic Development and Finance Standing Committee meeting Monday night, UG Administrator Doug Bach received preliminary approval to send out a request for proposals for a feasibility study for convention space in or near Village West and the entire I-435 corridor in western Wyandotte County.

The feasibility study idea will go before the June 5 UG Commission meeting for commission approval. It was unanimously approved by the committee.

Bach told the committee that during the last few years, developers had approached the UG about convention space. There were different proposals, but the UG staff believed the UG ought to “take control of it” and make sure the project is done for the long-term benefit of the community, and not for the benefit of the development itself, Bach told the committee.

He said there have been conversations with different parties, including the Hollywood Casino-Kansas Speedway group, which is moving forward on a hotel with 250 rooms currently. The hotel is scheduled to be constructed in October.

Bach said the UG also has been talking with the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Kansas City, Kan., about a convention center.

He recommended that the UG do its own RFP, select a consultant to do an analysis to see if a convention center is feasible, and if so, how big should it be and what would be the best location, and not take the project to one developer.

He told the UG committee that the majority of the $50,000 approximate study cost might be funded by other entities, although the UG would be in control of it. He said the CVB and the casino group might contribute to paying for most of the study. The study may take 60 to 90 days.

If the study recommends a convention center site next to the casino hotel, there might be an extension of the time the casino group is allowed to start building the hotel, especially if the hotel needs to be relocated, Bach said. However, the site of the convention center could be anywhere along the I-435 corridor.

“I think this is a great time to proceed with studying this,” said Commissioner Jim Walters. “There’s a lot of interest.”

He said he recently attended a commissioners’ conference in Manhattan, Kan., which had a better convention facility than did Kansas City, Kan. One day at the conference, the spouses took a side trip to go shopping at The Legends in Kansas City, Kan., he related.

Commissioner Ann Murguia asked Bach to come back to the UG Commission for further approval if the funds the UG would have to pay for the study were a lot larger than anticipated.

Commissioner Gayle Townsend said this benefits the UG from the planning perspective, as it puts the UG in a position of strength and knowledge, and it sounded like a reasonable project.

Sporting KC to transfer midfielder Rosell to Portuguese team

Oriol Rosell

Sporting Kansas City announced on Tuesday that the club has agreed to transfer midfielder Oriol Rosell to Sporting CP in Lisbon, Portugal.

Sporting Kansas City will receive two-thirds of the transfer fee to use as allocation money per MLS rules, as well as a percentage of any future transfer of Rosell from Sporting CP to another club.

“We wish Uri the best of luck in pursuing this new opportunity,” said Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman. “The perception from the outside might be that the timing is not great, but from the inside we believe that the timing is perfect. It opens the door for Uri and for us. Uri came from Barcelona B to Sporting Kansas City, won an MLS Cup and furthered his development on the field. This transfer helps enable us to retain our core players while adding pieces to the team. As we continue to build our roster for the future, and looking at our goal of pursuing championships, we identify what types of players we need to have on our roster to compete continuously for the U.S. Open Cup, MLS Cup and Champions League. This move has also expanded the relationships we have built with many top clubs, opening access to similar players around the world, showcasing what can be accomplished in Kansas City and the other platforms that open up from here.”

Rosell, 21, joined Sporting Kansas City in August 2012 from Barcelona B. He contributed two goals and two assists in 49 MLS appearances (including postseason) and led all MLS players with 130 interceptions during the 2013 season. Rosell was voted No. 14 on’s top 24 players under the age of 24 last year and made his international debut for Catalonia in 2013.

Sporting Clube de Portugal were runners-up in the Liga ZON Sagres this season and will compete in the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League. The team features two-time MLS All-Star Fredy Montero, as well as four players on national team rosters for the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Islam Slimani (ALG), Marcos Rojo (ARG), William Carvalho (POR) and Rui Patricio (POR).

In accordance with MLS Roster Rules and Regulations, allocation money does not count against a club’s salary budget and can be used:
•To sign players new to MLS
•To re-sign an existing MLS player, subject to League approval
•To “buy-down” a player’s salary budget charge below the League maximum
•In connection with the exercise of an option to purchase a player’s rights or the extension of a player’s contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year
Rosell becomes the third Sporting Kansas City player in the last 18 months to move to Europe. In 2013, Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza joined Wigan Athletic (England) and Sierra Leone striker Kei Kamara was transferred to Middlesbrough FC (England). Rosell’s transfer will open a Salary Budget Player spot and international slot on the Sporting Kansas City roster.

– Story from Sporting KC