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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sporting KC gets blown out in Mexico, knocked out of CONCACAF Champions League

Posted by on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 11:31 PM

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After Wednesday night, it's easy to see why Major League Soccer teams haven't won a CONCACAF title in years. Cruz Azul, a top Mexican-club soccer team, displayed far greater skill on its way to a crushing 5-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City in the second game of their two-game playoff.

Cruz Azul won the series 5-2 on aggregate goals when counting Sporting Kansas City's 1-0 victory at Sporting Park last week. 

Sporting KC's loss means all MLS teams are out of the CONCACAF Champions League competition, which pits top clubs every year from Canada, United States, Mexico and Central America. The San Jose Earthquakes and L.A. Galaxy also got bounced from the competition by Mexican clubs this week. No MLS team has won a CONCACAF title since 2000. The competition has been normally dominated by Mexican teams, with the occasional victory by a Costa Rican squad.

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Yoki, a Japanese-themed novelty and home-goods shop, opens Saturday in the City Market

Posted by on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Pretty in pink: Yoki.
  • Pretty in pink: Yoki.
The City Market will welcome a new tenant this weekend, when Yoki opens for business on Saturday at 400 Grand, Suite 426.

"Yoki" translates roughly to "cheerful" in Japanese, and the shop is aiming to reflect that with its variety of Japanese-inspired "housewares, kitchenware, dishes & ceramics, stationary and home office items, health and beauty products, gifts, novelties, and seasonal items," according to a release.

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Reminder: The Citadel project is still costing Kansas Citians money

Posted by on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Millions in taxpayer money has gotten Kansas City this development.
  • Millions in taxpayer money has gotten Kansas City this development.
Crosby Kemper III sent a letter last year to Tax Increment Financing Commission appointees and Kansas City, Missouri, City Council members that, among other things, invited its recipients to take a tour with him of the infamous, failed Citadel project.

To date, no one has taken the Kansas City Public Library CEO up on his offer.

And without Kemper-led walking tours of the development disaster at 63rd Street and Prospect, virtually no one treads the empty, still-toxic ground that for years was supposed to become a shopping center. But despite its legacy as one of the worst scandals in city history, the barren site still draws Kansas City taxpayer money as though it were a thriving, incentive-fueled development.

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Baked in Kansas City's sous chef Grant Klover leaves restaurant

Posted by on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 1:14 PM

The cheery Westport bakery and restaurant, Baked in Kansas City, has plenty of baked goods, but not sous chef Grant Klover. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • The cheery Westport bakery and restaurant, Baked in Kansas City, has plenty of baked goods, but not sous chef Grant Klover.


Talented young chef Grant Klover, a recent graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, has already bid adieu to two-month-old bakery and bistro Baked in Kansas City (reviewed this week in The Pitch) after, he says, "continual disagreements" with the restaurant's owner, Frank Sebree.

Klover, who left his post last Friday, says he has been interviewing with three high-profile local restaurants. Executive chef Liz Huffman continues to oversee operations at the venue as well as the kitchen at the Majestic Steakhouse.

Frank Sebree tells The Pitch: "Grant was a nice guy. We wish him the best of luck."

Sebree says he has just hired chef Max Sanchez from the Michael Smith and Extra Virgin restaurants to oversee the Baked in Kansas City kitchen during the lunch hours.

"He's very talented and will be working closely with Liz Huffman on our lunch menu."


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Amber Versola, trainer and community organizer, answers The Pitch's questionnaire

Posted by on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Amber Versola - SABRINA STAIRES
  • Sabrina Staires
  • Amber Versola


Name: Amber Versola

Occupation: Trainer and community organizer

Hometown: Galva, Kansas

Current neighborhood: JoCo - specifically, Shawnee

What I do (in 140 characters): If I'm doing my job right, I educate, engage, empower, inspire, organize and win ... and train others to do the same.

What's your addiction? Being present in the space that exists between social justice and public policy.

What's your game? Running. (I don't know if this counts as a game or an illness.)

What's your drink? Salted-caramel latte or a skinny Brookside Bob from the Roasterie

Where's dinner? Genovese in Lawrence, Tapatio in KCK, Chipotle, Cheesecake Factory, or any of the great delis/bistros around the city

What's on your KC postcard? A picture of Union Station and the KC skyline at night. Cliché, I know, but this view never gets old.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Con artist Owen Hawkins' judicial losing streak continues

Posted by on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Pictured: Hawkins and his lawyer.
  • Pictured: Hawkins and his lawyer.
Through most of Owen Hawkins' recent brushes with the law, the 58-year-old self-proclaimed entrepreneur has eschewed legal counsel. After all, if the Kansas City man could build one of the world's largest companies only in his own mind, he possessed the wits to get himself out of legal trouble.

But much like his purported natural-resources company, Petro America, Hawkins' legal strategy has gotten him nowhere but prison.

Hawkins is spending a 30-year stretch in federal prison, which means he will probably die behind bars. Despite his incarceration, his legal setbacks continue.

Readers of this newspaper know Hawkins well. In 2010, The Pitch broke the news that Hawkins had flimflammed investors all over the country by selling securities in Petro America, which he described as a $284 billion operation. Hawkins and others were charged in federal court in Kansas City right around the time the original story was coming out.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cordish gets millions in taxpayer money to build its new apartments in Power & Light District

Posted by on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 1:32 PM

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Cordish, the Baltimore-based operator of the Kansas City Power & Light District, got a splash of publicity last Friday when it announced that it would finally start building its long-awaited apartment high-rise at 13th Street and Walnut.

City leaders generally hailed Cordish's announcement, and, on its face, the development of One Light - the moniker of the nearly $80 million, 25-story high-end apartment building - does sound good. It has long been Kansas City's goal to get people living in the city's center. Property- and sales-tax revenue from more residents there would help bring a return on the city's enormous investment in downtown over the past decade. But downtown rental property is in limited supply, and demand has put occupancy rates downtown in recent years well over 90 percent.

Despite this demand, however, many new dwelling projects command taxpayer subsidy - and One Light is one such project. Just what is Cordish getting?

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Iowa State Cyclones basketball team returns to the Sprint Center in November for CBE Classic

Posted by on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Big 12 Tournament Champion Iowa State returns to Sprint Center in November. - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS
  • Iowa State University Athletics Communications
  • Big 12 Tournament Champion Iowa State returns to Sprint Center in November.

Iowa State fans flocked to Kansas City this weekend to witness Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones basketball squad capture the school's second Big 12 Tournament Championship. It had been 14 years since the Cyclones swept through the tourney.

The Power & Light District was flooded with cardinal and gold colors, especially on Saturday, as the Cyclones, coming off a semifinal win over the Kansas Jayhawks, prepared to play the Baylor Bears in the title game.

And some of those fans may be making a return trip to KC later this year as Iowa State headlines the 2014 CBE Classic at the Sprint Center November 24-25. Also taking part in the two-day, four-team tournament are Alabama, Arizona State and Maryland.

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Irredeemable cretin who dedicated his life to hate will probably be dead soon

Posted by on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Fred Phelps, pride of Kansas.
  • Fred Phelps, pride of Kansas.
Fred Phelps is apparently on his deathbed. Equality Kansas, a LGBT organization whose members have been tormented by the Phelps-led Westboro Baptist Church for the last 20 years, is taking the high road.

"If the reports of Fred Phelps' declining health are accurate, then his family and friends are certainly saying their good-byes and preparing to mourn his loss," said Sandra Meade, chairwoman of Equality Kansas. "We ask that everyone understand the solemnity of the occasion, and honor the right of his family and friends to remember and mourn his loss in private without interruption or unseemly celebration."

To outright celebrate Phelps' imminent death does seem a bit vulgar. It would also give him more credit and attention than he deserves. But it's worth noting that Fred Phelps is a world-class piece of shit, and the world will be better without him living in it.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

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