Free bike rodeo May 17 to provide bike helmets for kids

The free KCK Kiwanis West Bike Rodeo returns Saturday, May 17, to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, 9400 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

Elementary-aged kids will have the opportunity to learn tips on cycling safety, participate in interactive activities that promote health and safety and to sneak a peek at attractions at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark at the eighth annual bike event. Hours are from 9 a.m. to noon May 17.

The event sponsors plan to distribute up to 300 free bike safety helmets and T-shirts to participants.

Activities will take place in the parking lot and entrance area of Schlitterbahn, and a large turnout is anticipated. Children should be accompanied by an adult.

The KCK Kiwanis West club, in partnership with Atmos Energy, Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, Judi’s Bakery, Big D Cycling and several community businesses and organizations, are helping area youth ride their bicycles safely.

“During the past seven years, we’ve reached approximately 1,550 kids throughout Kansas City – helping them become safer cyclists,” said Jan Wiley, KCK Kiwanis West member and chair of the Bike Rodeo. “That’s 1,550 young cyclists who understand the rules of the road and the importance of wearing safety helmets to prevent head injuries. We’re really excited about the popularity of this event because it has the potential to save young lives. Our community sponsors are making it possible for us to reach more kids than ever before.”

Kids are encouraged to bring their bicycles. Helmets will be fitted, bikes will be inspected for safety, and kids may visit bike riding stations to earn a safety certificate.

“Even though helmets can’t keep a cyclist from falling, they can save lives,” said Kevin Jones, a Kiwanis West member and employee with Atmos Energy, the company that provides free safety helmets. “When they are properly fitted, helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent if a fall occurs.”

Just as helmets reduce the risk of injury in bicycle accidents, car seats are vital for kids’ safety in automobiles. That’s why the event will also feature a free, drive-through car seat safety check. Experts will inspect car seats and ensure they are installed securely in families’ vehicles, making sure restraints are age appropriate and facing the right direction.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children from ages 1 to 14,” said Kimberley Holm, a member of the Kiwanis West club and a certified National Child Passenger Safety Technician with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department.

“Even though most parents understand the importance of putting their children in car and booster seats, seven out of 10 kids in child safety restraints are not buckled in properly. We want to reduce that number,” she said.

Holm will be joined by Donald Paul Jones, the Safe Community coordinator with the Unified Government Health Department. Together with their volunteers, they will be available to check that child safety seats are properly installed.

“Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark is thrilled to host this popular community event for the fourth year,” said Chuck Stites, Kiwanis member and Schlitterbahn director of development. “In addition to helping kids gear up for a safe bike-riding season, the event promises to offer a morning packed with free family fun.”

New to Schlittlerbahn this year is the Verruckt waterslide, the world’s tallest waterslide. Schlitterbahn season passes will be on sale for $5 off the full gate price on that day. Season pass holders will be able to process their Schlitterbahn identification cards in person during this event.

Bike rodeo participants will be treated to free doughnuts, courtesy of Judi’s Bakery; get to enjoy performances by kids affiliated with Kansas Academy of Theatrical Arts; tour attractions at Schlitterbahn; get a close-up look at emergency vehicles; get into the groove with fun Zumbatronics workouts; and engage in other activities, games and crafts provided by local businesses.

Cabela’s will be on hand, providing a free fishing derby experience for the kids.

Additional sponsors for this event include: Legends Honda, Legends Toyota, Country Club Bank, Board of Public Utilities, Sunflower Dental, August Resources, PACES, Country Place Senior Living, Chick-Fil-A, Dr. Jane Philbrook, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department, Kansas City, Kan., Public Library Foundation, Adventurezip KC, Eric McTye – Edward Jones, Providence Medical Center, Liveable Neighborhoods and First Legend Bank and Trust.

Those with questions on the day of the event may call 816-751-4227.
– Information from Kiwanis West Club and Schlitterbahn

Kansas Supreme Court upholds murder conviction

The Kansas Supreme Court today affirmed the conviction of Kelvin H. Gibson Jr. for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in 2008 in Kansas City, Kan.

Gibson, who was 17 then, was found guilty of the Oct. 6, 2008, killing of Phillip Martin.

Martin died from multiple gunshot wounds, and was found dead on his kitchen floor in what appeared to be a drug-related crime, according to court documents.

Gibson had appealed his conviction, arguing that his statements to investigating detectives were not freely and voluntarily given and that he should have been given an opportunity to testify to suppress the statements after he refused to testify at his first hearing.

In a unanimous decision, the court agreed with the district court’s determination that Gibson’s two interviews with detectives on separate days were voluntary.

Gibson, who was 17 years old at the time, argued he was under the influence of marijuana during his first interview and that his young age made him intimidated by the officers. The court noted Gibson had denied being under the influence of any drugs when interviewed and that the interview video showed his responses were prompt and clear when detectives read him his rights, and that he had admitted to being treated fairly, not threatened, or being uncomfortable.

The court also held the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give Gibson a second chance to testify about why the statements should be suppressed because he had refused his opportunity to testify at an earlier hearing on that issue.

The Supreme Court decision is online at