Woodlands, smoking at casino amendments defeated on Senate floor

Two amendments affecting gaming in Wyandotte County went down to defeat on Tuesday night in the Kansas Senate.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-5th Dist., offered an amendment on the floor to a southeast Kansas gaming bill that would change the state’s share of slots revenue at the racetrack  from 40 percent to 22 percent, the same rate paid by state casinos.

Several votes on the amendment were taken, and the final 19-19 vote on his amendment did not pass.

Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., proposed an amendment that would eliminate smoking on the casino floors.

Currently, smoking is allowed on the state casino floors, although smoking has been banned in most other public places including restaurants. However, Missouri casinos still allow smoking.

While both amendments lost, the southeast Kansas gaming bill passed 28-10. It reduced the total amount of money investors would need to pay the state.

Another amendment to the bill, by Sen. Tom Holland, would have allowed veterans organizations to have three electronic gaming machines, but the amendment was withdrawn.

House Bill 2272 eliminated an earlier version about industrial revenue bond property tax abatement and added language on gaming that would drop the amount of investment required in infrastructure in a southeast Kansas casino from $225 million to $50 million. The privilege fee required by the casino manager to the state was dropped from $25 million to $5.5 million.

Cool, sunny weather in today’s forecast

Sunny skies and cool weather are in store for Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures were 28 degrees at 8 a.m., and are expected to reach a high of 41 today.

Winds will be 11 to 16 mph, gusting to 24 mph. Wednesday will be windier, with a south wind from 13 to 18 mph increasing to 23 to 28 mph in the afternoon. Winds may gust as high as 39 mph Wednesday.

Showers are likely late Wednesday night. There is a 60 percent change of precipitation.

A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms is forecast for Thursday, with more windy weather.

Friday, there will be a 20 percent chance of showers with a high near 50.

Saturday’s weather will be sunny with a high near 64, and Sunday’s forecast is sunny with a high near 75.

15th annual memorial service and candlelighting planned April 14 for Crime Victims’ Rights Week

The Wyandotte County community, families of fallen victims, and community officials will come together on Monday, April 14, to remember those who have lost their lives to homicide in 2013.

The Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort, a program service of Friends of Yates Inc. and co-sponsored by the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program along with the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department’s Victim Services Unit will hold its 15th Annual Memorial and Candle Lighting Vigil in recognition of Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The event will be held at Forest Grove Baptist Church, 1417 N. 9th St., Kansas City, Kan., where the Rev. Desmond Lamb is the host pastor.  The event will begin at 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a light dinner, followed by the candlelight program at 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort was developed after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Kansas City, Kan. This tragic event created great concern throughout the Kansas City, Kan., community.

In response to the outrage, a forum was called by Friends of Yates  Inc. and members of the Baptist Ministers’ Union on October 27, 1998, to bring together local businesses, law enforcement personnel, community leaders and concerned citizens to begin the dialogue about how crime was hurting the Kansas City, Kan., community.

More important, Friends of Yates Inc. wanted to challenge these community leaders to design a strong plan to address the violence in the area.  Through the efforts of Friends of Yates Inc.; a collaborative partnership was formed and became known as the Crime Awareness Coordinating Effort.

This year’s memorial service will remember the 34 victims of homicide, serve as a support system for victims’ families and educate the Wyandotte County community on the progress made to diminish the threat of violence throughout the community.

This year’s guests will include District Attorney Jerome Gorman, KCK Interim Chief Ellen Hanson, Sheriff Don Ash, Mayor Mark Holland and U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.

The event is free and open to the public.  For more information about this and other programs and services sponsored by Friends of Yates Inc, or for ways to support, volunteer or donate to the agency; contact the administrative office at 913-321-1566 or visit the website at www.friendsofyates.org.

– Information from Demetrius Hurt, Friends of Yates Inc. community outreach coordinator