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Headlines for Monday, February 12, 2024

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Emily Fisher

Patrick Mahomes Rallies Chiefs to Second Straight Super Bowl Title, 25-22 over 49ers in Overtime

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid have made the Kansas City Chiefs a dynasty. They’re already thinking three-peat. First, they had to become the NFL’s first back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 19 years. Mahomes made sure of it, leading another super comeback on the NFL’s biggest stage in America’s showcase capital. Mahomes threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime, and the Chiefs rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 on Sunday, becoming the NFL’s ninth repeat Super Bowl champs. With pop star Taylor Swift watching boyfriend Kelce from a suite, the Chiefs captured their third title in five years and joined some of the league’s greatest franchises.

While Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid have made the Kansas City Chiefs a dynasty, they’re already thinking three-peat. First, they had to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 19 years. Mahomes made sure of it, leading another super comeback on the NFL’s biggest stage in America’s showcase capital.

Mahomes threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime, and the Chiefs rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 on Sunday, becoming the NFL's ninth repeat Super Bowl champs.

With pop star Taylor Swift watching boyfriend Kelce from a suite, the Chiefs captured their third title in five years, a run that puts them among the league's greatest franchises. “Well, you know the goal has always been to get three,” Kelce screamed on stage after sharing a kiss with Swift. “But we couldn’t get here without getting that two, and having that target on our back all year. ... How about that. We get a chance to do it three times in a row.”

The NFL’s first Super Bowl in Las Vegas was a sloppy, mistake-filled affair that was mostly boring until the back-and-forth fourth quarter and OT. It was the second of 58 Super Bowls to be tied after regulation, and the first played under new overtime rules that ensured both teams got the ball.

The Chiefs (15-6) trailed 22-19 after Jake Moody kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime, but Mahomes rallied the Chiefs, completing another impressive comeback in a rematch of the Super Bowl four years ago.

Mahomes ran 8 yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the Chiefs' chances alive and then scrambled 19 yards to set up the winning score, which came 14:57 into the extra period — just before what would have been the second OT. “With all the adversity we’ve been through this season to come through tonight. ... I’m proud of the guys,” said Mahomes, who earned his third Super Bowl MVP award. “This is awesome. Legendary.”

After he connected with a wide-open Hardman, the Chiefs ran on the field as red-and-yellow confetti fell onto the turf.

Mahomes and Reid are now halfway to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who won six championships in 20 years together with the New England Patriots and were the most recent team to go back-to-back following the 2003-04 seasons.

The 28-year-old Mahomes becomes the fourth starting QB to win three Super Bowls — joining Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman — and second-youngest. “I am going to celebrate tonight, celebrate at the parade and then work my way to get back in this game next year,” Mahomes said. “I am going to do whatever I can to be back in this game next year. Three-peat.”

The most excitement in the first half came when a frustrated Kelce bumped Reid on the sideline, knocking the Chiefs' 65-year-old coach a few steps back after teammate Isiah Pacheco fumbled inside the red zone during the second quarter. “You guys saw that?” Kelce said. “I’m going to keep it between us unless my ‘mic’d up’ tells the world. I was just telling him how much I loved him.”

The action picked up after a crucial blunder by San Francisco’s special teams set up Mahomes’ 16-yard TD pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 13-10 lead.

Brock Purdy and the 49ers (14-6) answered but they couldn’t make enough plays, denying Mr. Irrelevant an opportunity to go from last pick in the 2022 NFL draft to Super Bowl champion. “We have the offense to score touchdowns and I failed to put the team in position to do that," Purdy said.

Niners wide receiver Jauan Jennings threw a TD pass and caught one, joining Eagles quarterback Nick Foles six years ago as the only players to do both in the Super Bowl.

After Moody’s 53-yard field goal gave the Niners a 19-16 lead with 1:53 remaining, Mahomes and Kelce went to work. Mahomes connected with Kelce for a 22-yard gain to set up Harrison Butker’s tying kick, a 29-yarder with 3 seconds left.

A holding call on Kansas City’s Trent McDuffie extended San Francisco’s opening drive of overtime and Purdy made key throws to drive the 49ers to the Chiefs 9. But San Francisco settled for a field goal.

Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and the Niners jumped ahead 10-0, but that’s no big deal for Mahomes and the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. They’ve trailed by 10 points in all three of their victories, including last year’s 38-35 win over Philadelphia.

Mahomes wasn’t at his best early and threw an interception. But with the game on the line, he was a magician once again. He finished 34 of 46 for 333 yards and two TDs.

The Chiefs were hardly dominant during the regular season and entered the playoffs as the AFC's No. 3 seed. They won at Buffalo and at Baltimore in the postseason — the first road playoff games of Mahomes' career — and entered the Super Bowl as 2 1/2-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. “The Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs. Just know that,” Mahomes said.

They became the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls as underdogs; the Philadelphia Eagles were slight favorites a year ago.

The game turned when San Francisco’s Ray-Ray McCloud couldn’t scoop a punt that hit teammate Darrell Luter Jr.’s leg and the Chiefs recovered at the 49ers 16, leading to Mahomes' go-ahead TD pass to Valdes-Scantling.

The Niners answered on the next possession with Purdy tossing a 10-yard TD pass to Jennings for a 16-13 lead. Moody’s extra point was blocked.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan gambled on fourth-and-3 from the Chiefs 15, passing up a chance for a tying field goal. Purdy hit George Kittle for a 4-yard gain and then found Jennings for the score.

Shanahan resorted to trickery for the only touchdown of the first half.

Jennings, a wide receiver who had never thrown a pass in an NFL game, tossed a 21-yard TD to McCaffrey. He was hit as he threw a wobbly pass across the field, but McCaffrey snagged it and sprinted to the end zone.

Shanahan fell to 0-2 as a head coach in Super Bowls and 0-3 overall, including a loss when he was offensive coordinator for Atlanta. That was the game in which Brady and the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win in OT. “When you go against guys like Tom Brady and Pat Mahomes, you never feel comfortable with a lead. Those guys are two of the best to ever play the game,” Shanahan said.

There were plenty of stars in the building as the NFL brought its biggest game to this gambling mecca — once a taboo idea. Jay-Z, LeBron James and Paul McCartney were among the celebrities in the crowd.

Post Malone sang “America the Beautiful,” Reba McEntire performed the national anthem and Usher electrified the crowd at halftime. He brought out a number of guests, including Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, Lil Jon and Ludacris.

Attendance was announced at 61,629 at the relatively compact Allegiant Stadium, the smallest crowd in Super Bowl history except for the pandemic game in Tampa, Florida, three years ago.

It didn't start out well, but thanks to Mahomes, those fans ended up seeing one of the best Super Bowl finishes.

Fans will get to celebrate the Chiefs on Wednesday, Valentine's Day. The Kansas City Sports Commission released the official route and timing late Sunday night, KMBC-TV reported. The parade will begin at 11 am.


KC Chiefs Plan Victory Parade for Wednesday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR) – Kansas City will celebrate the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win with a victory parade through downtown Kansas City on Wednesday. The all-day party will resemble last year’s victory celebration. The parade will start at 11 am at the corner of 6th and Grand and make its way south on Grand through downtown, Power & Light and the Crossroads. At Pershing, it turns right to Union Station, where a rally starts around 12:45 pm. That route will be mostly closed starting Tuesday morning. Kansas City Public Schools are among the local districts that have already said they’ll cancel classes Wednesday; so did many others last year, when the celebration attracted more than a million people. This year, it’s also Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, though that’s not expected to diminish the crowds.

Mahomes Leads Chiefs on TD Drive to Remember to Win His Third Super Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes put himself squarely in the conversation for the best quarterbacks of all time with another Super Bowl victory in dramatic fashion. The two-time league MVP led the Kansas City Chiefs for a tying field goal with 3 seconds left in regulation Sunday and then threw the touchdown pass that gave them a 25-22 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. It was the second straight Super Bowl title for Mahomes and the Chiefs and his third ring overall. Tom Brady has the record for a starting QB with seven rings, but that hardly seems out of reach.

The San Francisco 49ers gave Patrick Mahomes two opportunities to drive for the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.

They should have known — who doesn't at this point? — that it was one too many.

After leading the Chiefs downfield late in regulation, only to settle for a tying field goal with 3 seconds left to force overtime, Mahomes capitalized on his second chance. The Chiefs' sturdy defense held the 49ers to a field goal of their own, and with the ball back in his hands, Mahomes marched the defending champions right downfield on a touchdown drive to remember.

He scrambled for a pair of first downs, including one on fourth-and-1 with the game on the line, and was 8 for 8 passing on the drive. The last of the throws may have been the easiest, a 3-yard toss to Mecole Hardman to finish off the heart-stopping 25-22 victory, and give one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history his third Super Bowl ring.

"This is awesome," Mahomes said simply. "Legendary."

Fitting way to put it for a 28-year-old quarterback quickly reaching legendary status.

Mahomes is only the sixth quarterback to win three Super Bowls — and was selected MVP for all three — and the youngest to do it. Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are within reach with four apiece. And given how quickly Mahomes has been stacking up those shiny Lombardi Trophies in Kansas City, it's hard to believe Brady's record of seven is untouchable.

Mahomes is also closing on Brady's record of five Super Bowl MVPs; Montana is the only other player with three.

"I think Tom said it best: Once you win that championship, you have those parades and you get those dreams, you're not the champion anymore. You have to come back to that with the same mentality," Mahomes said. "And I learned from guys like that that have been the greatest of all time."

The Chiefs are the first repeat Super Bowl champions since Brady and the Patriots in 2003 and '04, and their third title in four trips over the past five years puts them in rarified air. Only four teams have won three championships in a five-year span.

Asked whether the Chiefs have achieved dynasty status, Mahomes replied: "It's the start of one."

"He comes to work every day humble. He comes to work every day wanting to be great," said the Chiefs' Andy Reid, who became the fifth coach with at least three Super Bowl wins. "An absolute pleasure to coach."

In truth, Mahomes struggled for much of the game Sunday, especially because the 49ers refused to bring the blitz, which the two-time league MVP tears apart with ease. But he started to heat up in the fourth quarter, when he drove Kansas City for a field goal to tie it at 16 with 5:46 left, then when he drove for another field goal that sent the game to overtime.

Impressive stuff from a quarterback who had surprisingly struggled in the clutch this season. Mahomes was just 18 of 47 for 167 yards with no touchdowns and an interception with a chance to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter or overtime.

"I don't think Pat knows how to lose," Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice said.

Mahomes celebrated winning by sprinting like mad into the end zone. He wheeled around, his helmet held aloft, and headed all the way back to Kansas City's sideline, where he fell onto the yellow-painted turf. With nobody around Mahomes for the briefest of moments, he stared into the sky in what seemed to be an exhausting mixture of elation and disbelief.

As if anyone should have any reason not to believe in Mahomes by now.

"We've got the best quarterback in the league," Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said.

Mahomes finished the Super Bowl with 333 yards passing and two TDs, and he extended his franchise record for yards rushing in the playoffs with 66 more. The head-scratching interception he threw into heavy coverage early in the game was forgotten by the time he hit Hardman in the end zone, sending red and yellow confetti raining down inside Allegiant Stadium.

Also forgotten were all the losses and lousy games Kansas City had this season.

The Chiefs were largely juggernauts during their previous Super Bowl runs, romping through the playoffs with ease — even if they had to come from behind in the finale to beat the 49ers in 2000 and the Eagles last year. But they struggled mightily this season, losing five of eight games during one stretch, and dropped all the way to the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

They had to beat Miami in the fourth-coldest game in NFL history in the wild-card round. Then they hit the road to beat second-seeded Buffalo and No. 1 seed Baltimore, before knocking off another No. 1 seed in the 49ers on Sunday.

"I hope people remember not only the greatness we have on the field, but the way we've done it," Mahomes said. "I feel like we enjoy it every single day. We have fun. We play hard. It's not always pretty, but we fight to the very end.

"I know there's some fatigue sometimes with one team winning," he said, "but we just try to enjoy it. We try to enjoy it."

How the Chiefs Shape Their Roster Will Be Top Story to Follow in the Offseason

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are a dynasty and already are looking to become the first team to three-peat in the Super Bowl era. They're underdogs to do it. Getting to New Orleans to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy next February will be difficult for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. There's no guarantee Travis Kelce isn't retiring, Chris Jones is set to become a free agent and even coach Andy Reid could ride off into the sunset. Perhaps that's why the Chiefs aren't the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl next year. The San Francisco 49ers are plus-450 to win it all, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Chiefs have the second-best odds at plus-750, followed by Baltimore (plus-900). Detroit and Buffalo are tied at plus-1,200 to close out the top five.

The NFL wrapped up its 2023 season when Kansas City overcame another 10-point deficit in a Super Bowl and rallied to beat the 49ers 25-22 in overtime on Sunday to become the first repeat champions since the New England Patriots 19 years ago.

Now, it's onto 2024 with the first Super Bowl in Las Vegas in the books.

One of the biggest offseason storylines will be how the Chiefs shape their roster. Kelce didn't commit to returning, though he is excited about going for three in a row. There's no word how his relationship with pop star Taylor Swift will affect his decision.

The league is certainly pulling for Kelce to stick around so Swift can keep showing up to Kansas City's games.

"We'll go ahead and enjoy this and everything that just happened," Kelce said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I've been able to go through three times now, man, and so it gets sweeter every time."

Jones, the All-Pro defensive tackle, is due for a new contract, and it's unlikely the Chiefs will use the franchise tag on him, so they have to make a tough decision.

The 49ers had their best shot at a record-tying sixth Super Bowl but beat themselves. Still, oddsmakers favor them to finish the job next season. At least they won't have a question mark at quarterback like they did last offseason when Brock Purdy was returning from major elbow surgery.

"If I'm going to lose with a group of guys, I'd do it with those guys any time, and we'll get over this and come back next year ready to go," Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said.

There's no time off in the NFL, so vacations will be short.

The league's annual scouting combine is only two weeks away and free agency follows on March 13. Jones, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Jaguars edge rusher Josh Allen and Bengals receiver Tee Higgins headline the list of players who could be available.

The draft goes to Detroit on April 25 for three days, and there could be new rules in place by the time rookies show up for training camp.

The NFL plans to address the hip-drop tackle, but the players' union adamantly opposes banning it.

"Hip-drop tackles cause injuries at 25 times the rate of any other tackle," NFL executive Jeff Miller told The Associated Press. "There are major time loss injuries. We're talking about high-ankle sprains. We're talking about knee injuries. We're talking about broken bones, so we know it's a risk to the game. And we know that players are missing time as a result. And when you identify something like that, in the past we've gotten rid of blindside blocks because we saw it as unnecessarily risky behavior that we wanted to get rid of. That led to fewer injuries when we took that play out. Similarly with hip drop, this is something that we've identified as an issue."

The first NFL regular-season game in Brazil is coming Week 1, with the Eagles hosting a yet-to-be-named opponent. In total, five regular-season games will be played internationally in 2024, including three in London and one in Germany.

It's way too early to make any Super Bowl predictions, but the Chiefs love being underdogs and they have Mahomes.

Chiefs Ponder Possible "Three-Peat"

LAS VEGAS (KPR) – The Kansas City Chiefs are already thinking about something that has never been accomplished in NFL history: three straight championships, known as a “three-peat.” But the march towards such an achievement starts with the head coach. With Bill Belicheck and Pete Carroll no longer holding NFL head coaching positions, Andy Reid is now the oldest current head coach in the NFL. He says he hasn’t been talking about retirement but that "...I get asked it. I’m still in awe of the game and what went on there. I really haven’t thought why or what or anything else, but people keep asking me." Reid says he’s just been made aware that an NFL three-peat has never happened. He says that’s inspiring him to lay out the plan for another championship next year.

Chiefs Victory Parade Could Cost Around $1 Million

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR) – The Kansas City Chiefs parade is free to anyone who attends on Wednesday…but it’s far from free for Kansas City. KCUR reports that the city plans to spend close to a million dollars for the celebration, and Jackson County is chipping in $75-thousand. The Chiefs are contributing as well, according to Kansas City Manager Brian Platt, who said “...it's a little over a million on their side and they've got some partners that they're helping, they're helping fundraise as well.” Platt added that the funds cover equipment, police overtime and other personnel costs. The total cost of this year’s parade and rally have yet to be determined. Fans are excited about seeing their favorite team members, but many fans are also hoping for an appearance by Taylor Swift. The superstar attended the Super Bowl on Sunday, but it’s unclear if she’ll join the team’s convoy or take part in the rally at Union Station. Platt said he thinks that Swift will draw even more people downtown regardless. He said the city already reached out to Swift’s team about security concerns if she decides to attend, saying "...that's gonna be a whole second level of security issues that we have to deal with with the crowds and, and all that sort of thing. So we are more than ready. We have no concerns with our safety protocols.” The city says at least 600 Kansas City Police officers and more than 250 personnel from outside law enforcement agencies will work the event.


Kansas House Committee Recommends Plan on Year-Round Fireworks Sales

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Kansans would be able to buy fireworks all year under a plan lawmakers are advancing. The Kansas News Service reports that current state law only allows Kansas retailers to sell fireworks between June 27th and July 5th. The idea behind the bill is to get rid of that state rule and leave it all up to local governments. Cities and counties could still restrict the sale and use of fireworks to specific dates. In 2023, the state brought in about $2.7 million in sales tax from fireworks stands. The House Commerce Committee recommended the bill be passed. It now awaits action in the full House.


Kansas House Committee Approves Bill to Expand Eligibility for Rural Emergency Hospital Designation

UNDATED (KNS) – A Kansas House committee has passed a bill that would expand eligibility requirements for rural emergency hospital designations. The Kansas News Service reports that currently, to be eligible for rural emergency hospital designation, hospitals must have been in business since at least December 2020. The legislation would push back that start date requirement to January 2015. Tara Mays, a vice president for the Kansas Hospital Association, says rather than compete with one another, facilities designated as rural emergency hospitals would help support existing in-patient hospitals. “It is very important for all of them to have access points to care and in particular, the rural emergency hospital is designed to be a stabilization center,” Mays added. For the Kansas bill to go into effect, federal legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas, also must pass.


KC Baby Dies After Mother Mistakenly Put Her in an Oven

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An infant in Missouri died when her mother mistakenly put her down for a nap in an oven. Mariah Thomas of Kansas City is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The charges were announced Saturday. Court records do not yet show if Thomas has an attorney. Police were called to a home Friday afternoon. A probable cause statement says responders found the child with apparent burns. The statement says responders were told by a witness that the mother "put the child down for a nap and accidentally placed her in the oven instead of the crib." The statement did not offer an explanation about how that mistake was made.

The child was pronounced dead at the scene. The statement said responders were told by a witness that the mother "put the child down for a nap and accidentally placed her in the oven instead of the crib." "We acknowledge the gruesome nature of this tragedy and our hearts are weighted by the loss of this precious life," Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker said in a statement. "We trust the criminal justice system to respond appropriately to these awful circumstances."


Topeka Prepares to Enforce New Homeless Camping Regulations

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – City officials in Topeka are preparing to implement a new ordinance aimed at removing homeless people from camps along the Kansas River. KSNT reports that the city will work with the Topeka Rescue Mission to enforce the new camping ordinance. The law that the City Council passed last year places restrictions on where people can camp within city limits. Along with several other measures, no camping will be allowed within 500 feet of any walking or biking trail or within 50 feet of any sidewalk inside city limits. Last year’s annual head count revealed that the city's homeless population had hit a four-year high and city officials say that number appears to have grown since last year’s count.


Report: Some Kansas Farms Sit on Thin Aquifers

LIBERAL, Kan. (KNS) – A new report reveals some farmers in Kansas live on areas of land where the aquifer isn't robust and is at higher risk of depletion. The study, from the University of Nebraska, explores the connection between aquifer thickness and water supplies that farmers rely on during drought. Aquifer thickness refers to the volume of water. Places with a thick aquifer can produce more water. But the aquifer in Kansas can vary wildly. Nick Brozovic is co-author of the study. He says farmers on thin aquifers could quickly deplete the water pumping at the same rate as someone whose farm is located on thicker aquifers, which could lead to failed crops during dry periods. “The ripple effect to preserve aquifers in the long term, is that you're able to sustain the production of profitable, nutritious food," he said. Brozovic says the data could help Kansas farmers understand the health of the aquifer and how much water they can sustainably use.

The thickness of the aquifer determines how much water Kansas farmers can pump during drought seasons. It varies widely in Kansas, from 50 to 1000 feet. In areas where the aquifer is thin, overuse will mean not enough water in the future to support crops like corn, wheat and soybeans. Another author of the study, Taro Mieno, says farmers in those areas will need to change how much water they pump or switch crops. “If they continue this path, you know, they will be forced to rely on less water intensive crops anyway, down the line," Mieno said


Sunflower Electric Planning Large Solar Project in Southwest Kansas

LIBERAL, Kan. (KNS) – The hot and dry climate of southwest Kansas is attracting what will be the largest commercial solar facility in the state. The Sunflower Electric Power Corporation is planning its third solar project in the state. The company will provide solar power to its member utilities and the residents they serve in western Kansas. The 150 megawatt facility in Ford County will produce energy during the hottest days of the year, when electricity is in peak demand. It will cover 1,000 acres with 300,000 solar panels, accounting for about 10% of the corporation's energy needs. Construction for the Boot Hill site will begin next year. With this project soon to be underway, plus high capacity wind farms located in neighboring counties, southwest Kansas could be open for business in terms of green energy.


Congress Advances Legislation to Reduce Farming Cyberattacks

UNDATED (HPM) – Congressional lawmakers have introduced legislation that would reduce the risk of cyber-attacks on the nation's food system. Harvest Public Media reports that the bills call on the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct more research on the possible threats to farmers and vulnerabilities in supply chains. Kim Cooper is the senior director of Government Affairs for theNorth American Millers' Association. Cooper says one of reasons her members support more focus on cyber security in food production is because mills operate 24-7, 365 days a year to make things like flour and everyday foods. "And to give you an idea in terms of volume, a regular mill can put out over a million pounds of flour daily," she said. Several lawmakers have said food security is national security. So far, the bills have received bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate.


Car Crashes into ESU Student Recreation Building

EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) – A car crashed into the student recreation building at Emporia State University Sunday. The Emporia Police Department says the crash happened just before 6 pm. The recreation building was closed and empty at the time. WIBW TV reports that the driver was hospitalized with “non-life-threatening injuries.” The driver’s name has not been released. Police say excessive speed was a factor but the crash is still under investigation.


Northwest Kansas County Adopts Resolution Opposing Transport of Undocumented Immigrants to Area

THOMAS COUNTY, Kan. (KNS) – Frustration from elected officials in Thomas County, Kansas, has led to the county government adopting a resolution opposing any programs that might bring undocumented immigrants to the area. The county commission adopted a resolution stating opposition to any program that would involve transporting, settling or employing undocumented migrants in the northwest Kansas county. Michael Baughn, county commission chairman, says it was prompted by dissatisfaction with the current immigration laws and people crossing the border. “Congress is sitting on their hands and sitting there yakking at each other and getting nothing done about comprehensive immigration reform,” Baughn added.

Census data shows Thomas County is 95% white. The resolution opposes any type of programs for undocumented immigrants and does not make any distinction for migrants who may be seeking asylum.


San Fran Area Tortilla Company Moving Factory to Kansas

MOUNDRIDGE, Kan. (KSNW) - A San Francisco area tortilla company is moving its factory to Kansas. KSNW TV reports that the La Tortilla Factory will relocate its operations from Santa Rosa, California, to Moundridge, in McPherson County. The move will take effect in late March. The company already has a presence in Kansas and will now consolidate some of its operations in Moundridge.


Kansan Ed Dwight Was to Be the First Black Astronaut. At 90, He's Finally Getting His Due

NEW YORK (AP) — Ed Dwight grew up in segregated 1930s Kansas on a farm on the edge of Kansas City, Kansas. An airfield was within walking distance, and, as a boy, he’d often go to marvel at the planes and gawk at the pilots. Most were flying back from hunting trips and their cabins were messy with blood and empty beers cans on the floor. “They’d say to me, ‘Hey kid, would you clean my airplane? I’ll give you a dime,’” Dwight, 90, recalls. But when he was 8 or 9, Dwight asked for more than a dime. He wanted to fly. “My first flight was the most exhilarating thing in the world,” says Dwight, smiling. “There were no streets or stop signs up there. You were free as a bird.”

It would be years before Dwight entertained the idea of himself becoming a pilot. “It was the white man’s domain,” he says. But while in college, he saw in a newspaper, above the fold, an image of a downed Black pilot in Korea. “I said, ‘Oh my God, they’re letting Black people fly,’" Dwight says. “I went straight to the recruitment office and said, ‘I want to fly.’”

With that decision, Dwight set in motion a series of events that would very nearly lead to him being among the first astronauts. As Dwight progressed through the Air Force, he was handpicked by President John F. Kennedy’s White House to join Chuck Yeager’s test pilot program at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave Desert.

That fabled astronaut breeding ground, site of “The Right Stuff,” might have turned Dwight into one of the most famous Americans and the first Black man in space. But at Edwards, Dwight was discriminated against even with Kennedy championing him. Dwight eventually departed for civilian life and largely receded from history.

But in recent years, Dwight is finally being celebrated. The new National Geographic documentary “The Space Race," which premieres Monday on National Geographic Channel and streams Tuesday on Disney+ and Hulu, chronicles the stories of Black astronauts — and their first pioneer, Dwight. “When I left, everyone said, ‘Well, that’s over. We got rid of that dude. He’s off the map,’” Dwight said in an interview by Zoom from his home in Denver. “Now it comes back full force as one of these I-didn’t-know stories.”

It wasn't until 1983 that the first African American, Guion Bluford, reached space. But two decades earlier, Dwight found himself at a fulcrum of 20th Century America, where the space race and the struggle for social justice converged.

In “The Space Race,” astronaut Bernard Harris, who became the first Black man to walk in space in 1995, contemplates what a difference it might have made if Dwight had become an astronaut in the tumultuous '60s. “Space really allows us to realize the hope that’s within all of us as human beings,” Harris says. “So to see a Black man in space during that period in time, it would have changed things.”

“Ed is so important for everyone who’s followed after, to recognize and embrace the shoulders they stand on,” says Lisa Cortés, who directed the film with Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. “There’s the history we know and the history that’s not had the opportunity to be highlighted.”

In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into orbit, it jolted its Cold War rival into action.

As the U.S. began pursuing a space program, political leaders were conscious of the image its astronauts could project of American democracy. The first astronauts, the Mercury Seven, were all male and white.

When the Aerospace Research Pilot School was established that November, the White House urged the Air Force to select a Black officer. Only Dwight met the criteria.

That November, Dwight received a letter out of the blue inviting him to train to be an astronaut. Kennedy called his parents to congratulate them.

Despite reservations, Dwight joined up. He was celebrated on the covers of Black magazines like Jet and Sepia. Hundred of letters hailing him as a hero poured in. But in training, he was treated with hostility by officers. “They were all instructed to give me the cold shoulder,” Dwight says. “Yeager had a meeting with the students and the staff in the auditorium and announced it — that Washington was trying to shove this N-word down our throats.”

Yeager, who died in 2020, maintained Dwight simply wasn’t as good as the other pilots.

Dwight was among the 26 potential astronauts recommended to NASA by the Air Force. But in 1963, he wasn’t among the 14 selected. Dwight astronaut future took a more drastic turn when Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.

Kennedy was killed on a Friday. By Monday, Dwight says, he had papers in his mailbox shipping him out to Germany. He quickly met with Bobby Kennedy in Washington, who had the Pentagon cancel those orders.

Ultimately, Dwight was stationed at Wright-Patterson in Ohio in January of 1964. He graduated the program and totaled some 9,000 hours of air time, but never became an astronaut. He left the Air Force in 1966.

Asked if he was bitter about his experience, Dwight exclaims, “God no!”

“Here you get a little 5-foot-4 guy who flies airplanes and the next thing you know this guy is in the White House meeting all these senators and congressmen, standing in front of all these captains of industry and have them pat me on the back and shake my hand,” Dwight says. “Are you kidding me? What would I be bitter about? That opened the world to me.”

In 1977, he earned his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Denver. Much of his work is of great figures from Black history such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Barack Obama. Several of his sculptures have flown into space, most recently one aboard the vessel Orion. NASA named an asteroid after him.

Dwight is filled with gratitude. His one recommendation is that every congressman and senator be flown on a sub-orbital flight so they can see the Earth from above. Everyone, he thinks, would realize the absurdity of racism from that height. “I’d advise everybody to go through what I went through, and then they’d have a different view of this country and how sacred it is,” Dwight says. “We’re on this little ball flying around the galaxy.”


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