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Headlines for Wednesday, April 3, 2024

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Emily Fisher

Stadium Sales Tax Proposal Rejected by Kansas City Area Voters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KPR) - Voters in the Kansas City area have rejected a proposed sales tax that would have funded a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals and funded renovations at the stadium used by the Kansas City Chiefs. Voters in Jackson County, Missouri, said NO to the stadium sales tax extension. The vote was approximately 58% voting NO... and 42% voting YES. If approved, the ballot question would have authorized a 3/8th-cent sales tax in Jackson County for the next 40 years. So, now... it's back to the drawing board for the Royals and the Chiefs as they look to come up with an alternate plan.


After Voters Reject Tax Measure, Chiefs and Royals Look Toward Future, Whether in KC or Elsewhere

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan stood on a small stage in the second-floor lounge of the historic J. Rieger & Co. distillery in Kansas City on Tuesday night, acknowledging the will of voters who had rejected a sales tax initiative that would have helped pay for a new downtown ballpark and renovations to Arrowhead Stadium.

“Won a baseball game tonight,” said Sherman, whose Royals had beaten the Orioles, “but we didn't win this.”

The ballot measure didn't just lose, though. It lost decisively.

More than 58% of voters in Jackson County, Missouri, rejected the three-eighths of a cent sales tax. The Royals, who had promised $1 billion in private funding, wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to build a new ballpark as the centerpiece of a $2 billion-plus downtown district in a thriving arts neighborhood known as the Crossroads. The Chiefs, who had committed $300 million from their ownership, wanted to use their share for an $800 million renovation of Arrowhead Stadium.

“We will look to do what is in the best interest of our fans and organization as we move forward,” Donovan said Tuesday night.

Sherman and Donovan then walked off the stage and out a back door, leaving what had been an upbeat and festive watch party without taking questions, yet leaving many questions to be answered in the days and months ahead.

There was no single reason the tax failed; rather an accumulation of factors soured voters. Among them were the location of the downtown ballpark, the messaging from the franchises and the very nature of their construction plans.

Last fall, the Royals floated ballpark concepts east of downtown and in neighboring Clay County, Missouri, and said they would decide by September on one of the sites. But that self-imposed deadline passed, and it wasn't until February that the club said it would move instead to the Crossroads, leaving less than two months to sway voters on the location.

Yet the Royals experienced serious pushback from business owners in the area, some of whom would have had to sell their property and relocate. Compounding the problem was the lack of concrete plans — the Royals could not even produce a current ballpark rendering by Tuesday night after agreeing last week to keep open a street in the stadium footprint.

That was just the start of messaging problems that plagued the campaign.

Along with lacking transparency, the Royals and Chiefs shifted their approach at the insistence of political strategists running a committee to keep the teams in Jackson County. Their once-positive and collaborative messages were replaced by veiled threats that they would leave if the tax failed, and the "vote yes-or-else” message turned many voters away.

Then there was the issue of the plans themselves. In the case of the Chiefs, the renovation would have upgraded concourses, video boards and the parking at Arrowhead Stadium. But the everyday fan, who in many cases already has been priced out of games, balked at helping to pay for exclusive endzone clubs, renovated suits, sideline clubs and VIP entry points.

The Chiefs and Royals have said they would explore all options if the tax failed. And while they could still agree to a revised deal with Jackson County, they also could be courted by locales offering tax breaks and other financial benefits. Officials in Kansas have not been shy about trying to woo the Chiefs across the state line, possibly to an area that includes Kansas Speedway and Children's Mercy Park, the home of MLS club Sporting Kansas City. Meanwhile, cities such as Nashville that desire a big league ballclub could promise the Royals the funding they desire. The two teams are deeply woven into the fabric of Kansas City, though. Sherman said one of the reasons the late David Glass sold him the Royals in 2019 is that he entrusted the Kansas City businessman with keeping the baseball team in town, where fans have supported it through far more losing seasons than winning ones. The most likely scenario is the Chiefs and Royals try again in Jackson County, though rather than work together, each could seek its own deal. Jackson County executive Frank White, a member of the Royals' Hall of Fame, had been a vocal critic of the tax yet said Tuesday night he was hopeful the teams would “come back to the table.” Similar sentiments were echoed by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who endorsed the tax initiative only late last week.“ The people of Kansas City and Jackson County love the Chiefs and the Royals. They rejected plans and processes they found inadequate," Lucas said. "I look forward to working with the Chiefs and Royals to build a stronger, more open and collaborative process that will ensure the teams, their events and investments remain in Kansas City for generations to come.”


Tax Cut Deal Reached in Kansas Statehouse

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Leaders from the Kansas House and Senate have reached a new deal on tax cuts after previous Republican plans failed. The Kansas News Service reports that the new plan would lower the highest Kansas income tax rate by 0.2% and make no cuts for lower tax brackets. Republican lawmakers had hoped to pass a flat tax this session but were unable to override a veto from Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The new plan includes several other measures Kelly supports, like eliminating taxes on social security benefits and fully repealing the food sales tax by July instead of next year. Both chambers are expected to vote on the plan in the coming days.


GOP Lawmakers Are Using the Budget to Pressure Kansas Governor on DEI and Immigration

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republicans are likely to approve a proposed state budget for Kansas with provisions aimed at forcing the state's Democratic governor to restrict diversity initiatives on college campuses and help Texas in its fight with the Biden administration over border security.

GOP negotiators for the state House and Senate have agreed to include those items in a single bill containing the bulk of the $25 billion in spending for Kansas' 2025 budget year, which begins July 1. Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature expect both chambers to vote this week on the final version of the bill.

“It’s an opportunity to make a point,” state Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican, said Wednesday. “The power of the purse — that’s all we have. That’s our main power.”

Both the Kansas House and Senate approved resolutions this year expressing their support for efforts by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to enforce a law there allowing his state to arrest migrants suspected of entering the U.S. illegally. The Biden administration argues that only the federal government sets immigration policy.

But Republicans in the Kansas Senate then added an extra $15.7 million in the next state budget with directions to Gov. Laura Kelly that she provide Kansas National Guard resources to Texas.

Republican senators also included provisions to withhold a total of $35.7 million in funding from state universities unless their presidents appeared before Kelly and top legislative leaders and confirmed that they were not requiring prospective students, job applicants or staffers seeking promotion to provide statements endorsing diversity, equity or inclusion initiatives or discussing past experiences with it. The GOP budget negotiators agreed to retain those provisions unless a separate bill banning the practice becomes law.

The state constitution gives Kelly the power to veto individual budget provisions, and it's not clear that the immigration or anti-DEI ones have the two-thirds majorities in both chambers needed to override a veto. But if Kelly were to veto the anti-DEI provisions, the $35.7 million would go with them.

“It's kind of like blackmail,” said Democratic state Rep. Tom Sawyer, of Wichita.

Republicans in at least 20 states have sought to limit DEI initiatives, arguing that they are discriminatory and enforce a liberal political orthodoxy. Alabama and Utah enacted new anti-DEI laws this year.

The Kansas House last month approved a bill that would bar universities, community colleges or technical colleges from basing a student’s admission or an employee’s hiring or promotion on any statement or pledge about DEI or “any political ideology or movement." Republicans are hoping to have a vote on a new version in both chambers this week.

But the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees the state's higher education system, already is responding to GOP lawmakers' concerns. The board expects to consider a proposed policy change in April that would ban requirements in admissions or employment for “statements pledging allegiance to, support for, or opposition to diversity, equity or inclusion.”

“I really don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I think they’re all going to change their policy,” said state Rep. Kyle Hoffman, a Republican from western Kansas and a House budget negotiator.

Republicans' interest in border security comes with former President Donald Trump ramping up anti-immigrant rhetoric as he campaigns for reelection, often spreading falsehoods about migration. Roughly two-thirds of Americans disapproved of President Joe Biden's handling of border security in an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted in March.

GOP officials in many states also frame the issue as stopping the flow of the dangerous opioid fentanyl across the Mexico-U.S. border, though experts agree the key is reducing demand for it in the U.S.

“We need to stop it,” said state Sen. J.R. Claeys, a central Kansas Republican and a budget negotiator. “Obviously, the Biden administration isn’t going to do that, so we’re going to have to do it ourselves.”

But state Rep. Susan Ruiz, a Kansas City-area Democrat, said problems at the border demonstrate the need for reforming national immigration laws and argued that Americans are more likely to smuggle fentanyl than immigrant families seeking a better life in the U.S.

“They’re willing to blame every possible thing on immigration in on immigrants,” she said.

Some Republicans expect Kelly to veto the provision. Last month, she told reporters that the state constitution makes her the guard’s commander-in-chief and she decides how its resources are used.

But Claeys responded: “We also have other budgetary ways of making things happen, so we’ll continue to use those and the power of the purse.”


Study Evaluates Possible Economic Impact of Passing Anti-DEI Bills in Kansas and Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCUR) – The economies of Missouri and Kansas could be significantly affected if state lawmakers pass bills that attack diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, a recent study shows. KCUR reports that economic consulting firm The Perryman Group found Missouri could lose more than $2 billion and close to 24,000 jobs by 2030, while Kansas risks losing close to $900 million and more than 8,000 jobs. That’s because travelers and prospective businesses see these bills as discriminatory. Health Forward Foundation published the report in February. Vice President Eusebio Díaz says the proposals would diminish economic development for years. “Two sectors are significantly impacted … tourism and retail. But we see the impact across all sectors,” he explained. Kansas’s anti-DEI bills focus on education and employment. Missouri’s proposals outlaw state spending on DEI efforts.


Kansas Legislature Sends "Abortion Coercion" Bill to Governor

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS) – Kansas lawmakers sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would ban coercing someone to get an abortion. The Kansas News Service reports that advocates for survivors of domestic violence say the measure is too narrow. The bill would enable Kansas courts to sentence romantic partners, family members or doctors to up to 25 years in prison for coercing someone to get an abortion.

Anti-abortion groups backing the bill say coercion is a top reason women get abortions. These groups say women frequently feel pressure to get abortions from partners and family members. Representative Rebecca Schmoe. a Republican from Ottawa, voted in favor of the measure. “So, if a woman has expressed her desire to continue the pregnancy, and someone threatens her - whether it is to harm her physically, or whether it is to harm her financially, then that would now be punishable as a crime," she said.

But advocates for survivors of domestic violence say they are disappointed lawmakers stripped an amendment that would’ve also outlawed other kinds of reproductive coercion, like destroying someone’s birth control. Michelle McCormick with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence testified that “...it was much more frequent in my experience, that a victim or survivor was being pressured into either having children when they wouldn't want to or having their chosen form of birth control hidden from them.”


Kansas Bill Would Stop Giving Voters Extra Days to Return Mail Ballots

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KPR) — Republican legislators in Kansas have revived a proposal to stop giving voters three extra days after polls close to return mail ballots after making key concessions in a bid to get enough votes from rural GOP lawmakers to overcome the Democratic governor's potential veto. Republicans have argued that allowing election officials to count ballots received after Election Day undermines people’s confidence in the results. The Republican-controlled Legislature expects to take final votes this week on a version of the proposal drafted Monday by GOP negotiators for the House and Senate.

House Elections Committee Chair Pat Proctor, a Republican from northwest of the Kansas City area, said people are suspicious when the result flips in a close election as vote counting continues after Election Day. “I don’t think that our votes are less secure because we take ballots after Election Day — which I know some Republicans do believe to be the case — but it does create doubt," he said after Monday's negotiations.

More than 30 states require mail ballots to arrive by Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among the remaining states, deadlines vary from 5 pm the day after polls close in Texas to no set deadline in Washington state.

The latest version of the Kansas proposal would wait until the start of 2025 to end the grace period and add two extra days to advance voting, so people could start voting in person at election offices and receive mail ballots 22 days before an election, instead of the current 20. Also, county offices would have to be open for advance, in-person voting for at least four hours the Saturday before an election.

Those provisions are designed to win over skeptical rural Republicans and garner the two-thirds majorities in both chambers needed to override a governor's veto.


Report: Disparities Persist in Poverty and Wellness for Black Children in Kansas

UNDATED (KCUR) – Federal aid during the pandemic lifted millions of children out of poverty… but disparities still persist for Black children in Kansas. KCUR reports that the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest Race for Results report scores child well-being out of a thousand points based on benchmarks for education, early childhood and family resources. Black children in Kansas received just 381 points. Jessica Herrera Russell with Kansas Action for Children said a statewide child tax credit could help close gaps in wellness, explaining that "...doing something like this in Kansas would really give that monetary relief back to families, and help them be able to pay for the necessities that their kids need to really grow up healthy and thrive." Asian and Pacific Islander children ranked highest in the state with a score of 747.


Lawmakers Want Schools to Show Proof of Effectiveness of At-Risk Programs

UNDATED (KNS) – Kansas lawmakers want schools to prove whether programs for academically struggling students are really working. The Kansas News Service reports that lawmakers hammering out a school spending bill have agreed on a measure that would require schools to show how they use money set aside for at-risk students. Under a pilot program this year, 10 districts chosen by the State Board of Education would submit reports showing whether their programs improved test scores. The following year, all districts would file the reports. Republican state Senator Renee Erickson says the change improves accountability. “That’s the best safety net we can use to make sure that the continuation of that at-risk program is, that’s giving us positive results,” she added. A recent audit showed that Kansas schools aren’t following state law in how they spend $730 million set aside for at-risk students.


Kansas Poised to Increase Penalties for Killing K-9 Officers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is poised to increase penalties for killing police dogs and horses after legislators gave their final approval Tuesday to a measure inspired by a suspect's strangling of a dog last year in the state's largest city. The House approved a bill with a 115-6 vote that would allow a first-time offender to be sentenced to more than three years in prison for killing a police animal, an arson dog, a game warden's dog or a search-and-rescue dog and up to five years if the killing occurs when a suspect is trying to elude law enforcement. An offender also could be fined up to $10,000.

“There is a lot of time and money put into those animals,” said House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican who was the bill’s leading advocate. “They have to continually train all the time and so to have one killed, there’s got to be a pretty harsh penalty.”

The Kansas Senate approved the measure by a 25-15 margin last week, and the bill goes next to Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, who has not said publicly whether she will sign it. Kelly typically signs measures with bipartisan support, but most of the 11 Democrats in the Senate opposed the bill.

Increased penalties have had bipartisan support across the U.S. In Colorado, the Democratically led General Assembly approved a measure last month. Proposals have advanced in GOP-controlled Legislatures in Missouri and West Virginia and introduced in at least four other states.

The Kansas measure was inspired by the November death of Bane, an 8-year-old Wichita police dog. Authorities say a suspect in a domestic violence case took refuge in a storm drain and strangled Bane when a deputy sent the dog in to flush out the suspect.


Climate Change Documentary Screens Thursday in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) - A new documentary called "Hot Times in the Heartland" will be screened at Liberty Hall in Lawrence Thursday night. One of the people featured is University of Kansas professor Ward Lyles, who says climate conversations are having an effect on his own students. "Students are coming to me despondent. There's climate grief, climate anxiety," he said. "This is a huge and growing field." The documentary begins at 7 pm Thursday at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. The screening is free and open to the public.


Bird Flu Spreads Cow-to-Cow and To One Human in Texas

TEXAS (Kansas Reflector) — Texas cows are believed to have directly transmitted avian flu to other cows and now, to at least one person. That's according to agriculture and health officials in Texas. The Kansas Reflector reports that new evidence of mammal-to-mammal transmissions of the virus that is highly infectious and deadly for domestic birds is a troubling development. Research published last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the occurrences need to be closely monitored to prevent a potential health crisis.

The “virus may be changing and adapting to infect mammals,” researchers concluded. “Continuous surveillance is essential to mitigate the risk for a global pandemic.” The Texas Department of State Health Services announced the human infection on Monday. The person worked closely with dairy cows that are thought to be infected, and he was likely infected directly by them. The person’s only symptom is conjunctivitis — commonly known as “pink eye” — and he has been told to avoid contact with other people while he recovers.

At this time, officials think the risk is low for public health in general and especially for people who are not working with sick cows. There is no evidence that the virus has changed in a way that makes it more transmissible to humans, federal officials have said.

The bird flu outbreak in dairy cattle in Texas, Kansas (and potentially New Mexico) was first reported last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Migrating birds are the apparent sources of the initial infections, which were noticed, in part, because sick cows were producing thick and discolored milk. On Friday, the USDA confirmed the disease in a Michigan dairy herd and said it was the result of sick cows from Texas being transported there before they showed symptoms.

The current bird flu outbreak started February 2022 in the United States and has since resulted in the culling of about 82 million birds in commercial and backyard flocks in 48 states, according to CDC data.


Man Cuffed but Not Charged After Chiefs Super Bowl Rally Shooting Sues 3 More Lawmakers over Posts

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — A man who was briefly handcuffed but not charged in the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl rally is suing three more lawmakers over social media posts falsely accusing him of being among the shooters and an immigrant in the country illegally.

Denton Loudermill Jr. of Olathe filed the nearly identical federal lawsuits Tuesday against three Republican Missouri state senators: Rick Brattin of Harrisonville, Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg and Nick Schroer of St. Charles County.

The complaints say Loudermill suffered “humiliation, embarrassment, insult, and inconvenience" over the “highly offensive” posts.

Loudermill made similar allegations last week in a lawsuit filed against U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican from Tennessee.

Schroer and Hoskins declined to comment, and Brattin did not immediately respond to a text message Wednesday seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Burchett said last week that the congressman's office does not discuss pending litigation.

The Feb. 14 shooting outside the historic Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, killed a well-known DJ and injured more than 20 others, many of them children.

Loudermill, who was never cited or arrested in the shooting, is seeking at least $75,000 in damages in each of the suits.

According to the suits, Loudermill froze for so long after gunfire erupted that police had time to put up crime scene tape. As he tried to go under the tape to leave, officers stopped him and told him he was moving “too slow.”

They handcuffed him and put him on a curb, where people began taking pictures and posting them on social media. Loudermill ultimately was led away from the area and told he was free to go.

But posts soon began appearing on the lawmakers' accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter, that included a picture of Loudermill and called him an “illegal alien” and a “shooter,” the suits said.

Loudermill, who was born and raised in the U.S., received death threats even though he had no involvement in the shooting, according to the complaints.

The litigation described him as a “contributing member of his African-American family, a family with deep and long roots in his Kansas community.”


Kansas Trooper Stops Driver Traveling 150 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone

HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Highway Patrol said a driver was pulled over in Harvey County for driving nearly 100 miles over the speed limit. KSNW TV reportsthat the driver was stopped Monday on U.S. Highway 50 in Harvey County. According to the citation, the driver was clocked on radar, traveling 150 miles per hour. The posted speed limit is 55 for that section of Highway 50. The driver was also cited for operating without registration or with an expired registration. According to the citation, the driver is a resident of California. The Kansas Department of Transportation reports that in 2022, there were nearly 5,000 (4,890) speed-related crashes in the state.


Kansas Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner Spar Over Disputed Medicaid Certificate Audit

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An audit released Tuesday by Kansas' attorney general concluded that the state is losing more than $20 million a year because its Insurance Department is lax in overseeing one of its programs. The department said the audit is flawed and should be “discounted nearly in its entirety.”

The dispute involves two elected Republicans, Attorney General Kris Kobach and Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt, who are considered potential candidates in 2026 to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Their conflict flared a week after the GOP-controlled state Senate approved a bill that would give Kobach's office greater power to investigate social services fraud through its inspector general for the state's Medicaid program.

The audit released by the inspector general said the Insurance Department improperly allowed dozens of nursing homes to claim a big break on a per-bed tax that helps fund Medicaid. It said that from July 2020 through August 2023, the state lost more than $94 million in revenues, mostly because 68% of the certificates issued by the Insurance Department to allow homes to claim the tax break did not comply with state law.

But Schmidt's office said the inspector general relied on an “unduly harsh and unreasonable” interpretation of state law and “unreliable extrapolations” to reach its conclusions. Also, the department said, the conclusion that most applications for the tax break were mishandled is “astronomically unreflective of reality.”

The state taxes many skilled nursing facilities $4,908 per bed for Medicaid, which covers nursing home services for the elderly but also health care for the needy and disabled. But nursing homes can pay only $818 per bed if they have 45 or fewer skilled nursing beds, care for a high volume of Medicaid recipients or hold an Insurance Department certificate saying they are part of a larger retirement community complex. “There are proper procedures in place; however, they are not being followed,” the audit said.

The inspector general's audit said the Insurance Department granted dozens of certificates without having complete records, most often lacking an annual audit of a nursing home.

The department countered that the homes were being audited and that it showed “forbearance” to “the heavily regulated industry” because annual audits often cannot be completed as quickly as the inspector general demands.

Insurance Department spokesperson Kyle Stratham said that if the agency accepted the inspector general's conclusions, “Kansas businesses would be charged tens of millions of dollars in additional taxes, which would have a devastating impact on the availability of care for senior Kansans.”


Chiefs' Rice Takes 'Full Responsibility' for His Part in Car Crash in Dallas That Injured Four

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice said Wednesday that he was taking “full responsibility” for his part in a weekend wreck involving speeding sports cars that caused a chain-reaction crash on a Dallas highway and resulted in minor injuries to four people.

Rice was leasing a Lamborghini SUV that police said was speeding along with a Corvette on North Central Expressway on Saturday. The crash ultimately involved six vehicles, police said, and the occupants of the Lamborghini and Corvette left the scene without providing information or determining whether anyone needed medical attention.

“Today I met with Dallas PD investigators regarding Saturday’s accident. I take full responsibility for my part in this matter and will continue to cooperate with the necessary authorities,” Rice wrote in a post to his Instagram Story. “I sincerely apologize to everyone impacted in Saturday’s accident.”

An attorney for Rice said earlier this week that the NFL player was cooperating with authorities but did not elaborate. The Chiefs also said they were aware of the crash but declined additional comment.

Police have not released any information about the other people involved in the wreck.

Rice was leasing the Lamborghini from The Classic Lifestyle, said Kyle Coker, an attorney for the Dallas-based exotic car rental company. Under the terms of the lease, Rice would have been the only person allowed to drive the vehicle, which rents for about $1,750 a day and is worth about $250,000.

Rice’s attorney, state Sen. Royce West, said Rice “will take all necessary steps to address this situation responsibly.” West did not respond to questions Tuesday and has not said whether Rice was driving one of the vehicles.

Rice was born in Philadelphia but grew up in the Fort Worth, Texas, suburb of North Richland Hills. He played college football at nearby SMU, where a breakout senior season in 2022 put the wide receiver on the radar of NFL teams.

The Chiefs selected him in the second round of last year's draft, and he quickly became one of the only dependable options in their passing game. With exceptional quickness off the line of scrimmage, Rice finished second on the team to Travis Kelce with 73 receptions for 938 yards while leading the Chiefs with seven touchdown receptions.

Rice may have been even better in the playoffs. He had 26 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown, including six catches for 39 yards against San Francisco in the Super Bowl, helping the Chiefs win their third Lombardi Trophy in five years.

(–Earlier reporting–)

Kansas City Chiefs' Rashee Rice Leased Lamborghini Involved in Dallas Crash, Company's Attorney Says

DALLAS (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice was leasing a Lamborghini sport utility vehicle that authorities say was one of two speeding sports cars that caused a chain-reaction crash on a Dallas highway, an attorney for the company that owns the vehicle said Tuesday.

Dallas police have not confirmed whether Rice was involved in Saturday's crash, which caused minor injuries. The occupants of the Lamborghini and the other speeding vehicle — a Corvette — left without determining if anyone needed medical attention or providing their information, police said. A total of six vehicles were involved in the crash.

An attorney for Rice said this week that the NFL player was cooperating with authorities but has not elaborated.

Rice was leasing the Lamborghini from The Classic Lifestyle, said Kyle Coker, an attorney for the Dallas-based exotic car rental company. He said that contractually, Rice would have been the only person allowed to drive the vehicle, which rents for about $1,750 a day and is worth about $250,000.

Police have said that the drivers of a Corvette and a Lamborghini were speeding in the far-left lane of North Central Expressway when they lost control. The Lamborghini went onto the shoulder and hit the center median wall, causing a chain-reaction collision. Four people in the other vehicles were treated for minor injuries.

Police said Tuesday that they were still working to identify suspects. Police have not released any information about the people they are seeking, including whether Rice was among them.

Rice's attorney, state Sen. Royce West, said that Rice “will take all necessary steps to address this situation responsibly.” West did not respond to questions Tuesday and has not said whether Rice was driving one of the vehicles.

Rice, a member of the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs team, is from the Dallas area. He played for Southern Methodist University and grew up in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills.


Travis Kelce Brings Music Festival Back to Kansas City

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Travis Kelce is keeping himself busy: On the heels of winning his third Super Bowl, earning a Webby nomination for his podcasting endeavors and garnering headlines for his newfound relationship with Taylor Swift, the superstar tight end will continue living his best life with his annual music festival next month. Kelce announced Tuesday the headliners for his second annual Kelce Jam festival. The event will be held May 18 and livestreamed from the Azura Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, Kansas — a metropolitan area of Kansas City.

The event will feature performances by Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and Diplo. “I like to keep it fresh, new and keep people coming back for more,” said Kelce, whose festival brought out 20,000 attendees last year. He said his event will continue to celebrate the success of the Chiefs, who won their third championship in four trips after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58 in February.

Along with Kelce's on-field triumphs, he's thrived away from the football field, too. He along with his brother, Jason Kelce, a recent NFL retiree, earned a Webby nomination Tuesday for their flourishing podcast “New Heights.” He's also appeared in countless headlines for his relationship with Swift, a 14-time Grammy winner who recently set the award's record with the most album of the year wins.

Swift is not expected to attend Kelce Jam since she's scheduled to perform on tour on the same date in Stockholm, Sweden. But even though she might not be in attendance, Kelce — who has displayed a strong stage presence — said he might ask Swift for some tips. “The only thing I can learn from her that translates into how I can perform is just how relatable she is on stage," said Kelce, who hosted “Saturday Night Live” last year. "She’s very comfortable. She brings everybody into the room with her. She makes it an intimate setting even though there’s 70,000 people at every show. It’s pretty impressive.”

Kelce said safety has been a top priority entering Kelce Jam after the Chiefs' Super Bowl rally shooting that resulted in the death of a woman and nearly two dozen injuries.

“Our hearts and hands are still out to the families and everybody involved and everything that happened at the parade," said Kelce, who reportedly donated $100,000 to families of the two kids who were shot during the parade. Swift donated the same amount to the family of the woman who was killed in the shooting.

The event's producers, Medium Rare, said safety measures will be expanded by bringing in a “specialized live event security and risk team” who have worked on high-profile festivals such as the U.S. Open, Coachella and Lollapalooza. “It’s still a touchy subject knowing how serious it was," Kelce said. "We’re definitely taking security extremely serious at Kelce Jam. You’ll definitely feel safe being there.”

In all, Kelce said he wants to bring joy to a city that has celebrated him and his team. He hopes his teammate and three-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes can join the festivities this time. “I think it’s going to keep going up," he said. "Hopefully we keep winning Super Bowls so we got something to celebrate.”


AP Sources: Carson Wentz, Clyde Edwards-Helaire Agree to 1-Year Deals with the Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to one-year deals with quarterback Carson Wentz and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday, giving them a backup for Patrick Mahomes and some depth in their backfield. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither deal had been announced.

Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, will join his fifth team in five years after starting his career in Philadelphia and spending last season with the Rams. He was 47-45-1 as a starter in eight seasons with the Eagles, where he finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017 but tore two knee ligaments and watched backup Nick Foles lead them to a Super Bowl victory.

Wentz started 17 games for the Colts in 2021, leading them to a 9-8 record while throwing for 3,563 yards with 27 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He started seven games the following year for the Commanders, then won his only start for Los Angeles, when he played well in a largely meaningless regular-season finale against San Francisco.

Wentz, who has thrown for 22,292 yards with 153 TDs and 67 interceptions in a career plagued by injuries and inconsistency, fits the mold of experienced quarterbacks whom the Chiefs have brought in to be Mahomes' backups.

When they won the Super Bowl in the 2019 season, it was Chad Henne who held down the job, and made a couple of crucial plays during their playoff march. Henne retired after their Super Bowl triumph two years ago, and last year, it was Blaine Gabbert who signed a one-year deal to be the backup QB and earned a Super Bowl ring.

Edwards-Helaire is a known commodity in Kansas City, which picked him 32nd overall in the 2020 draft.

He struggled to live up to expectations as a first-round pick, though. Edwards-Helaire dealt with a series of injuries over the past four seasons, and that was part of the reason that Isiah Pacheco was able to wrestle away the starting job two years ago.

The Chiefs decided not to use their fifth-year option on Edwards-Helaire, making him a free agent. But his knowledge of Andy Reid's complex offense, coupled with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, made an agreement make sense to remain in Kansas City, where Edwards-Helaire could earn a more lucrative contract with a good season.

Edwards-Helaire has appeared in 48 games, running for 1,845 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has caught 89 passes for 765 yards and seven touchdowns over the past four seasons in Kansas City.


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