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Kansas is making a big run at Kansas City’s pro teams with a plan to help pay for new stadiums

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is making a serious run at becoming the new home for the reigning Super Bowl champions with legislators approving a plan Tuesday for luring both the Chiefs and Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals away from Missouri.

Bipartisan legislative supermajorities OKed the measure to authorize state bonds to help finance new stadiums and practice facilities for both teams on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area of 2.3 million residents, which is split by the border with Missouri. Three Super Bowl victories in five years — and player Travis Kelce’s romance with pop icon Taylor Swift — have made the Chiefs perhaps the area’s most celebrated civic asset.

The plan from the Republican-controlled Legislature goes next to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. While she stopped short of promising to sign it, she said in a statement that “Kansas now has the opportunity to become a professional sports powerhouse.”

Both the Chiefs and the Royals said they look forward to considering Kansas options. The lease on the Missouri complex with their side-by-side stadiums runs through January 2031, but both have said they already should have been planning for the future.

“We’re excited about what happened here today,” Korb Maxwell, an attorney for the Chiefs who lives on the Kansas side, said at the Statehouse after the bill cleared the Legislature. “This is incredibly real.”

The approval capped a two-month push to capitalize on the refusal in April by voters on the Missouri side to continue a local sales tax used to finance the upkeep of the teams’ stadiums.

Backers of the plan brushed aside decades of research by economists concluding that government subsidies for professional sports stadiums are not worth the cost. They also overcame criticism that lawmakers were moving too quickly.

A spokeswoman for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment. But in Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas promised to “lay out a good offer” to keep both teams in town.

“Today was largely, in my opinion, about leverage,” Lucas said. “And the teams are in an exceptional leverage position.”

Some Kansas officials reached the same conclusion.

“I think the Chiefs and the Royals are using us,” said state Rep. Susan Ruiz, a Kansas City-area Democrat.

The votes on the Kansas stadium-financing plan were 84-38 in the state House and 27-8 in the Senate. Lawmakers from across the state — even western Kansas, far from any new stadium — supported the measure.

It would allow state bonds to cover up to 70% of each new stadium, paying them off over 30 years with revenues from sports betting, state lottery ticket sales and new sales and alcohol taxes collected from shopping and entertainment districts around the new stadiums.

House Commerce Committee Chair Sean Tarwater, a Kansas City-area Republican, said the Chiefs still are likely to spend $500 million to $700 million in private funds on a new stadium.

“There are no blank checks,” Tarwater told GOP colleagues during a briefing.

Legislators debated the plan during a one-day special session called by Kelly to have them consider reducing taxes after she vetoed three tax-cutting plans before legislators adjourned their regular annual session May 1.

Republican leaders had promised that the stadium proposal wouldn’t come up until the Legislature first approved a plan to cut income and property taxes by a total of $1.23 billion over the next three years. Many lawmakers argued that voters would be angry if the state helped finance new stadiums without cutting taxes.

With the tax bill passed, the stadium plan gained support even from lawmakers who saw it as a handout for wealthy team owners. Some said failing to act risked pushing the teams to leave the Kansas City area, and a few said they had wanted the Chiefs in Kansas since childhood.

“It is amazing to me the speed with which we can solve problems when they’re oriented around wealth, when they’re oriented around business,” said state Rep. Jason Probst, a Democrat from central Kansas.

Yet Probst voted for the bill.

“This is the system that we’re stuck in, so if we choose to opt out of that system, we will lose every time,” he said.

Economists who study pro sports teams have concluded in dozens of studies that a new stadium and shopping-and-entertainment area merely takes existing economic activity away from elsewhere in a community, resulting in little or no net gain.

“It could still help Kansas and maybe hurt Missouri by the same amount,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith college in central Massachusetts who has written multiple books about sports. “It’s a zero-sum game.”

A skeptical state Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Kansas City-area Republican, used a Christmas Eve metaphor to characterize supporters’ excitement before she voted no.

“There are visions of sugar plums,” Baumgardner said.

North Mahaska Falls in Another One-Run Contest

NEW SHARON – North Mahaska coach Mark Schroeder has begun to despise close softball games. His Warhawks have played four one-run games in the last five and have come up short in each one. Monday, the Warhawks stayed in it until the end, but HLV pulled away in the seventh inning to score a 4-3 South Iowa Cedar League victory. 

Monday’s game was in dark contrast to the previous meeting between the two teams on May 22, which was won by HLV 19-15. Monday’s contest saw North Mahaska leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh when HLV rallied.

Olivia Ridgeway tossed out the leadoff batter for HLV in the seventh. Aaliya Cooper walked then Ayla Hall singled. With two out, HLV’s Reagan Molyneux hit a fielder’s choice to load the bases. NM third baseman Malory Andersen, an eighth grader making her varsity debut, attempted to tag Cooper on the play and just missed. HLV’s Lily Randall doubled to bring in the tying and winning runs.

In the North Mahaska half of the seventh inning, Addie Falb grounded out then Ridgeway singled but was caught stealing and Maddie Doonan was retired to end the game.

“Another one-run game, I think its our fifth,” said Schroeder. “We tried a different lineup tonight. We just cannot seal it in the end.”

Schroeder admitted his team was playing with some emotional adversity. His second baseman Kayla Readshaw lost her grandmother over the weekend and assistant coach Shauna Grewe’s house caught fire on Saturday.

“They were playing with some emotion,” said Schroeder. “I told them that our record is what it is. We know we are a better team than our record shows (5-11 overall, 5-7 in SICL). We win those one-run games, and we are in good shape.”

North Mahaska has three conference games left against Lynnville-Sully, BGM and Colfax-Mingo. They have beaten two of the teams previously and lost a one-run game to BGM. The Warhawks will close out the regular season with five nonconference games.

Hailey Jack earned the win for HLV. She allowed six hits and three runs, one earned, striking out eight and walking one. Jocelyn Pinkerton took the loss for North Mahaska allowing four runs on eight hits and walking three.

Junior catcher Regan Grewe led the team with one run batted in with a single and a double. Ridgeway, Kaylia Shipman, Andersen and Falb each singled for North Mahaska. Readshaw stole two bases. 

Hall led HLV with two singles. Randall drove in three runs on a single and a double.

Next up for North Mahaska is a game with Lynnville-Sully on Wednesday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.

Attorney General Bird Launches Cold Case Unit to Seek Justice for Victims and Families

DES MOINES — Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird announced the launch of her office’s new cold case unit to investigate Iowa’s more than 400 unsolved murders. The announcement was made in a press conference at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Des Moines. Speakers at the press conference also included:

  • Steve Ponsetto, Investigator and lead of the Iowa cold case unit in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office
  • Sheriff Kevin Schneider, Polk County Sheriff
  • Jody Ewing, founder of IowaColdCases.org
  • Josh Okland, brother of cold case victim Ashley Okland

“I became a prosecutor to fight for victims and families,” said Attorney General Bird. “That is why on day one in office, I made it a priority to build our office’s first cold case unit. I am glad to announce that we have today launched our new unit that will bring fresh eyes to Iowa’s cold cases and dedicate a team to detecting new leads. And I thank the legislature for granting us the budget to make it happen. My promise to families of Iowa cold case victims is this: we will never give up, we will never stop searching, and we will never lose hope. If even one case is solved, it is all worth it. No one should get away with murder.”

The cold case unit will consist of three full-time investigators and one prosecutor. The unit will partner with local law enforcement agencies across Iowa to crack cold cases, seek answers for families, and ensure no murderer walks free.

To submit a cold case tip, contact the Iowa Attorney General’s office at 1-800-242-5100 or coldcase@ag.iowa.gov.

Ottumwa PD Seeking Public Assistance to Identify Robbery Suspect

OTTUMWA — On June 4, 2024, at approximately 11:50 p.m., the Iowa Liquor and Tobacco Store located at 1021 E. Main, Ottumwa, was robbed.  The clerk who was working at the store during the robbery sustained minor injuries from a weapon that was used during the crime.  

Attached are images of the suspect that were captured when the Robbery took place.  The Ottumwa Police Department would like assistance from the public to try to identify a possible suspect.  The suspect was described as a skinny male who was tall, wearing a red coat and black pants.  

If anything in the pictures look familiar, for example the coat or the mask, they are requested to contact the Ottumwa Police Department at 641-683-0661. 

Singer Justin Timberlake arrested and accused of driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer Justin Timberlake was arrested early Tuesday and is accused of driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island, authorities said.

Timberlake was expected to be arraigned in Sag Harbor, on the eastern end of Long Island, according to a statement from the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Timberlake’s representatives did not immediately return requests for comment from The Associated Press.

Sag Harbor is a coastal village in the Hamptons, around 100 miles (160 kilometers) from New York City. In the summer, it is a hotspot for wealthy visitors.

A young Timberlake was a Disney Mouseketeer, where his castmates included future girlfriend Britney Spears. He rose to fame in the popular boy band NSYNC and embarked on a solo recording career in 2002. As an actor, Timberlake has won acclaim in movies including” The Social Network” and “Friends With Benefits.”

He has won ten Grammy awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards.

Last year, Timberlake was in the headlines when Spears released her memoir, “The Woman in Me.” Several chapters are devoted to their relationship, including deeply personal details about a pregnancy, abortion and painful breakup. In March, he released his first new album in six years, the nostalgic “Everything I Thought It Was,” a return to his familiar future funk sound.

Timberlake has two upcoming shows in Chicago on Friday and Saturday, then is scheduled for New York’s Madison Square Garden next week on Tuesday and Wednesday.

William Penn Places 7th in Commissioner’s Cup

OSKALOOSA — Top-three finishes from 10 different programs helped the William Penn athletics department finish in the middle of the pack as the final 2023-2024 Heart of America Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Cup standings were released recently.

The Statesmen ended up seventh out of 13 institutions with a rating of .587, while MidAmerica Nazarene claimed the Cup at .774.  Benedictine placed second overall at .753.

The Commissioner’s Cup is an all-sports award that further recognizes the achievements of its student-athletes and member institutions.

William Penn’s seventh-place finish is highlighted by titles in men’s volleyball and women’s bowling.  The Statesmen also secured runner-up placings in men’s bowling, women’s wrestling, women’s golf, men’s outdoor track and field, men’s lacrosse, and men’s soccer.

Third-place efforts from men’s cross country and men’s indoor track and field led the remainder of WPU’s athletic offerings.

The Heart’s 13 schools earn points for the Cup for their finish in the 25 Heart sponsored sports of: men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, men’s indoor track and field, women’s indoor track and field, men’s volleyball, men’s wrestling, women’s wrestling, cheer, dance, men’s bowling, women’s bowling, baseball, softball, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s outdoor track and field, and women’s outdoor track and field.

Each conference regular season champion or championship event winner earns a maximum amount of points based on the amount of teams participating in that sport.  That number is then divided by the amount of teams participating in that sport.

For example, as the Heart’s men’s volleyball champion, William Penn earned 10 points out of 10 teams competing.

10/10 = 1.00 (First Place)
9/10 = .900 (Second Place)
1/10 = .100 (10th Place)

To compile the final Cup standings, each school’s percentage in each sport they compete in is added up and divided by the amount of total sports in which they compete.  Final results are an average cumulative finish for each institution in every Heart sport that they sponsor.

2023-2024 Heart Commissioner’s Cup Standings (FINAL)
1. MidAmerica Nazarene–.774
2. Benedictine–.753
3. Grand View–.718
4. Central Methodist–.653
5. Mount Mercy–.645
6. Baker–.593
7. William Penn–.587

8. Park–.578
9. Missouri Valley–.424
10. Clarke–.385
11. Graceland–.373
12. Peru State–.372
13. Culver-Stockton–.338

Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report is released weekly April through November. Additionally, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship provides a weather summary each week during this time.

“Summer officially begins this week, and Iowans can expect temperatures that match the season. After the frustrating planting delays, crops seem to be catching up nicely,” said Secretary Naig. “Both corn and soybeans will continue to benefit from the forecasts indicating unseasonable warmth with above average chances for rain through the end of June.”

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s website at nass.usda.gov.

Crop Report
Despite some isolated rain showers, warm temperatures and mostly dry weather resulted in 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 16, 2024, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Primary field activities were finishing up corn and soybean planting and re-planting. Other field activities included cutting hay and spraying crops.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 1 percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 2 percent very short, 14 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.

Corn emergence is nearing completion at 95 percent. Corn condition rated 74 percent good to excellent. Eighty-six percent of the soybean crop has emerged, almost 2 weeks behind last year and 1 day behind the 5-year average. Soybean condition rated 74 percent good to excellent. Oats headed reached 74 percent, 2 days behind last year but 1 week ahead of the average. Nineteen percent of oats were turning color, 6 days ahead of last year and 13 days ahead of the 5-year average. Oat condition rated 81 percent good to excellent.

The State’s first cutting of alfalfa hay reached 89 percent complete, 6 days behind last year. Hay condition rated 80 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition rated 75 percent good to excellent. Some cattle feedlots remain muddy.

Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Approves 28E Agreements, Reimbursement Agreements

By Sam Parsons

The Mahaska County Board of Supervisors met yesterday morning and approved 28E agreements for Police Protection Services with the cities of Beacon and Keomah Village. The agreements lend the services of the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Department to those cities with the county receiving money in return. 

The board also approved reimbursement agreements with Union Pacific Railroad for the cost to review both the Southeast Connector Project and the bridge replacement project on County Road G29, each of which encroach upon their railroad right-of-ways. The combined reimbursement totaled $90,000.

Residents and communities preparing for heat wave that will envelop Midwest and Northeast next week

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Things are about to heat up in much of the U.S. with dangerously hot temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast next week, prompting health officials to urge people to make plans now to stay safe.

The heat wave follows an earlier-than-usual one in the Southwest last week, which saw triple-digit temperatures in cities like Phoenix, where there were 645 heat-related deaths last year.

Last year the U.S. had the most heat waves — abnormally hot weather lasting more than two days — since 1936. In the South and Southwest, last year was the worst on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The next heat wave will ramp up Sunday in the center of the country before spreading eastward, the National Weather Service said, with some areas likely to see extreme heat in reaching daily records. The heat wave could last all week and into the weekend in many places.

Here are some things to know:

What areas will see extreme heat?

There will be areas of extreme heat — when there’s little or no overnight relief — from eastern Kansas to Maine, according to a National Weather Service heat risk map. Heat will build over the Plains states on Sunday, where there will be extreme heat by Monday that spreads eastward into the Great Lakes states and Northeast.

Temperatures will be in the mid- to high-90s in many areas and likely will be at daily records in the Ohio Valley and Northeast, with the dew point making some areas feel as hot as 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), the weather service said.

It’ll be the Detroit metro area’s worst heat wave in 20 years or more, with temperatures forecasted in the mid-90s and heat indices around 100 F (38 C) starting Monday and potentially lasting into the weekend, National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Freitag said. There’s a chance the area could see its first 100-degree day since July 2012.

Although nighttime temperatures will dip into the 70s, providing some relief, the duration of the heat can have a cumulative and potentially dangerous effect on the body, Freitag said.

What are the dangers of extreme heat?

Heat-related illness can be deadly if not recognized and treated early, and often starts with muscle cramps or spasms, experts say. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke could follow.

Young children and infants, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions are especially vulnerable, as are those who can’t get around well or who live alone.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating and fatigue; a weak pulse; skin that’s cool, pale or clammy; and headache, dizziness, nausea and fainting. The person should be moved to an air-conditioned space and offered sips of water. Loosen their clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or put them in a cool bath. Seek medical help if they vomit.

A person suffering heat stroke may experience headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness and a body temperature above 103 F (39.4 C). They also may have hot, red dry or damp skin; rapid pulse and faint or lose consciousness. The CDC advises people to call 911 immediately and, while waiting for help, use cool cloths or a cool bath and move them to an air-conditioned space, but do not give them anything to drink.

How can you stay safe?

Stay indoors in an air-conditioned space and limit outdoor activities, experts said. If you don’t have air conditioning, find out if your community will open cooling centers. But even those with air conditioning should plan ahead in the event of a power outage, said Freitag, from the National Weather Service. Limit outdoor activities to the morning or, better yet, don’t go outside, he said.

Other tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

1. Drink plenty of water and take a cool shower or bath.

2. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, and use your stove and oven less.

3. Check on friends and relatives, especially those without air conditioning.

Communities also can prepare by opening cooling centers in places like schools and libraries. Some also send text messages to residents or have hotlines that people can call for help.

In Franklin County, Ohio, the office on aging is distributing fans to residents 60 and older, spokeswoman Kristin Howard said.

And some businesses whose employees work outside say they will start earlier to avoid the worst heat.

“When you get this sort of heat, any outdoor activities has to be a short duration (preferably) … in the early morning hours,” said Freitag. “But otherwise, there really shouldn’t be any outdoor activity with physical exertion during the peak of the day.”

County officials seek changes in Iowa property tax caps

By O. Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa)

The president of the Iowa State Association of Counties says county officials are hoping the state legislature makes changes in the 2023 law that capped property tax assessments.

Barry Anderson, a Republican from Greenville, is a member of the Clay County Board of Supervisors. “It kind of ties local government’s hands,” he said during a recent appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS, “and so I guess that’s where I want to hopefully work with legislation over this coming year to clean up some things, maybe look at how it affects different counties different than other counties.”

Under the law, county officials must abide by limits on the general property tax levy as well as the levy for rural services. “I understand that we don’t want property taxes to just run rampant,” Anderson said, “but I hope that everybody also understands…wages, roads and bridges, all kinds of expenses continue to grow.”

Officials in about a dozen counties say their county’s share of money from the state’s Road Use Tax Fund will be reduced because of the new property tax calculations. Anderson said he hopes discussions with state lawmakers can be less adversarial, so changes can be made in 2025.

“We have to, at the local level, be better at coming to the table and coming up with ideas of how to work through these things,” Anderson said, “but we have to also hopefully have legislators at the statehouse that are willing to come to the table at the statehouse and ask us: ‘How is this going to affect you?’”

The 2023 state law says if the total assessed value of property in a county grows by more than 3%, some of the excess revenue must be used to reduce that county’s main property tax levy. In 2024, lawmakers reduced the required property tax cut in counties where growth in property tax assessments was under 6%.

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