KCPD urges parents to take precautions with kids before Chiefs parade, rally: Here are some tips

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

Everyone’s excited about Wednesday’s parade. There will be a lot to look at and a lot going on downtown.

But local officials have some advice if you plan to take your kids with you to the event.

“Please, parents, prepare for keeping track of your children. We lost 100 children temporarily during the Royals celebration,” Maj. Chip Huth with the Kansas City Police Department said.

Linda Hanson owns R.E.A.C.T. Self Defense and has been training people on how to be safe for more than 40 years. She said there are a few easy ways to think ahead.

Take a picture of your child at the beginning of the day. That way you know exactly what they were wearing and look like in case you need to show officials or police.

She also suggests pointing police, or any officials, out to your children in case they need one if you get separated.

Hanson said another way to be smart is to take a picture of yourself and your contact information and put it in a plastic pouch your kids can keep with them.

“Have them put it in their pocket or even around their neck would be a really safe thing to do so that if they do get lost, they don’t have to describe you,” Hanson said.

“They don’t have to remember the number because in that frightening moment when they’re separated, sometimes it’s not easy to recall those numbers. They’ll have it with them much easier to find you.”

Hanson said a whistle is an easy way to get your child’s attention and are easy to get ahold of. You can get one at any party store or most box stores. She said everyone wants to wear red, but if you can have part of your outfit be another color it will hep distinguish you from others in the crowd.

“The most important thing for tomorrow is to celebrate,” Hanson said. “This is such an incredible event. We’re so excited for the Chiefs. It’s an amazing opportunity, but just take these small safety tips into consideration so that you can stay safe and have a great celebration. Go Chiefs!”

If you do get separated from your children, KCPD said there are several designated meeting places along the route:

  • Grand Avenue Temple – 205 E. 9th St.
  • Police Headquarters – 1125 Locust
  • Church of the Resurrection Downtown – 1601 Grand
  • Tent – 18th and Grand
  • Tent – 20th and Grand
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City – 2301 Main St.

Man dies in fireworks accident immediately following Chiefs Super Bowl win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

Kansas City police reported Monday morning that a man attempting to light commercial-grade fireworks in an improvised mortar died Sunday night after suffering a catastrophic head injury.

Police say this happened at 9:17 p.m. in the 9800 block of Richmond, after the Kansas City Chiefs had just won Super Bowl 54, with the game ending at 9:15 p.m.

Further details about the victim or any other injuries related to that incident haven’t been released yet.

KCPD says there were also 163 reports of illegal gunfire that they’re following up on. The shots were fired between 5:30 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday.

At the city’s biggest entertainment district, KCPD says there were 20,000 people at Power and Light for a Super Bowl watch party. Police made a total of 14 arrests and ejected 45 people from the district. The Kansas City Fire Department responded to 24 medical incidents during and after the game.

KC couple’s dreams come true when Chiefs win the Super Bowl during their wedding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

It’s a dream come true for a couple of Kansas City Chiefs fans after their team won the Super Bowl during their wedding.

For Nikki and Rob Walkowiak, it was 50 and 4 years in the making. The couple are lifelong Chiefs fans and have been together for four years.

“We’re huge fans, and we thought, ‘Yeah, if the Chiefs happen to be in it, we get the best of both worlds,'” Nikki said.

“We get our wedding. We get all of our friends and family here. Big Super Bowl party. So we went ahead and started planning.”

The Walkowiaks and the Chiefs had the best day of their lives. Their friends and family were all invited to a Super Bowl party with even more to celebrate.

“When they realized that we were going to be having a ceremony and then opening it up to a big Super Bowl party afterwards, they were in,” Rob said. “There were no complaints.”

“We’re going to tell the grandkids about this for years to come, and it’s the most incredible feeling,” Nikki said. “I think we’re more nervous about the game than we are getting married. We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”

The night was filled with tomahawk chops, toasts and touchdowns. It only needed one more thing — Super Bowl history.

“We are so proud of them like everyone else in this town, and thank you for winning the AFC Championship for us, and making our dreams come true today,” Nikki said.

The couple said the next stop after their wedding was to Rally House to get their Super Bowl Championship gear.

Metro nonprofits say Chiefs players make a huge difference in kids’ lives on and off the field

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

The Chiefs are betting on the future of Kansas City. Thousands of kids in the metro have a special connection with the team.

Beneath the touchdown glory and Super Bowl swagger, many of the Chiefs have a soft heart for the city’s youth.

“The Hunt family and the Chiefs, what an anchor for us,” Operation Breakthrough CEO Mary Esselman said.

Operation Breakthrough in KCMO has been around for nearly 50 years. They help provide an enriching after-school experience and support for more than 700 kids.

“When you look at the fact that they don’t just see financial support, they actually see the players, the players are actually here interacting,” Esselman said. “So think about what that role model provides when you work hard and play hard. What a great message to send to our kids and families.”

Patrick Mahomes’ 15 and the Mahomies Foundation recently sponsored a grant for after-school scholarships to the program.

Travis Kelce sponsors their robotics program and spends time regularly with the kids. This holiday season, Tyrann Mathieu hosted 10 families for a dinner and gifts with a meet and greet.

Team Smile works with punter Dustin Colquitt, Kelce, Harrison Butker, James Winchester and countless other players. Executive Director John McCarthy said Team Smile has been working with the Chiefs organization more than 10 years.

This year the nonprofit plans to provide free dental care to thousands of children in a number of different states.

“We use the power of sports to create that connection and give this special experience for the children,” McCarthy said. “So it takes the fear out of dentistry. It makes it cool, it makes it fun, and we give a kids the experience that they may never have otherwise to bring them out to some of the great stadiums throughout the country.”

McCarthy said on Super Bowl Sunday, these kids will not only get to see the Chiefs play, but see people who truly made a difference in their lives for the better.

“It’s a tremendous impact that they have, and sometimes they might not even realize it. They may be out there to take the pictures and love on the kids, but really their influence goes well beyond that day,” McCarthy said.

With one man’s vision and Lamar Hunt’s ‘go to it,’ the first Chiefs cheer squad was formed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

Did you know before the Chiefs came to Kansas City their cheerleading squad was already in the works?

The legacy began with an idea. An alternate cheerleader at Kansas University wrote Lamar Hunt at 21-years-old, and the rest is history.

In 1963, Randy Neil heard KC was getting a football team from Texas. He was working out in his grandmother’s garden, and something compelled him to go back into the house and compose a letter to Chiefs founder, Lamar Hunt.

He asked him if he needed a squad when they arrived, and he was shocked when weeks later he found a letter in his mailbox.

“Chills just started going right down my whole body. I was blown away,” Neil said. “One line in the note that stands out is ‘go to it.’ And then he said, ‘See us when we get to our offices,’ because they hadn’t even established an office. They hadn’t even established a name yet for what the team was going to be there.”

Neil got a squad together, designed uniforms, and they practiced cheers.

“We’re going to have to finance this ourselves,” Neil said. “Moms are going to have to make uniforms, etc. And we had no problem doing that in those days. Everybody seemed to be able to, which was nice.”

A pep rally at Ward Parkway Center got the attention of high school senior Mike Nauman who decided to join the squad.

“We made a sacrifice of giving our time and our effort,” Nauman said. “But it’s like most things where you volunteer in it and give your commitment to something you believe in — you get more back. And you know, the cheerleading squad was, it was just great.”

Nauman stayed with the squad a few years but eventually left his cheering days in the past. Neil went on to become an author and founded the International Cheerleading Foundation.

“I don’t know. Some of the things that have happened have been just absolutely stellar,” Neil said. “I feel extremely fortunate that I’ve been able to live the life I have. And it’s all because Lamar Lamar said, ‘Go to it.’ That’s, that’s really something cool.”

They cheered with a purpose for a team with purpose that was stronger than he knew.

To learn more about the history of the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders, you can find more details here.

Potential coronavirus case in Lawrence has Kansas’ top doctors puzzled

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Original Post

Health experts around the world are working frantically to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.

FOX4 got a chance to talk with Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman. He said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into more than 100 potential cases of the coronavirus, including a potential case from Lawrence.

By the weekend, we could learn whether a patient admitted to a Lawrence Memorial Hospital contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to China.

Dr. Norman says that experts are still at a loss on the original source and how to combat it.

“We still don`t know how long the person shed the virus. Are they infectious before they come down with the symptoms?” he said.

One thing that is helping: the five confirmed cases of the virus here in the United States. Norman said doctors are examining the strains to look for clues.
He said Americans are at a low-risk of contracting the illness, but warns travel, especially to China, could increase your risk of exposure.

Dr. Norman doesn’t want people to panic, but does want them to be aware.

“I don`t know if I would recommend that people go out and start stockpiling masks. If somebody`s ill, you would want them to stay at home. If you`re coughing or sneezing you wouldn`t want to kiss them,” he said.

FOX4 will continue to follow the potential case in Lawrence and will provide breaking updates when the test results are released.

Overland Park leaders considering changing snowy sidewalk enforcement

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Original Post

The snow isn’t going to shovel itself. That’s why Overland Park’s Public Works Committee is looking into the possibility of a snow shoveling enforcement ordinance.

“We have in good faith looked at this every few years because there are cities north of here that have more enforcement mechanisms,” Councilman Jim Kite said.

Kite said the subject was brought up earlier this month in a committee meeting. Shoveling may not be physically possible for some, he said, but he knows others need to get where they’re going.

“We’re going to have to look and see how, how we can do that and make it a fair to everybody in the local community,” Kite said.

Lori Chapman lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where residents are required to shovel their sidewalks. However, she slipped, fell and broke her wrist after the most recent snowfall when a neighbor’s sidewalk wasn’t shoveled.

“There’s a lot of people out there walking, not just people like me. But there’s people (who) have to go to work and have to walk and if you don’t, the snow turns into lumpy ice, which is very difficult to maneuver,” Chapman said.

She said she understands if someone can’t shovel their walk, but hopes neighbors will lend a helping hand.

“Please just do the whole thing in front of your house,” Chapman said. “If you have a sidewalk just, just a little bit. For those of us who are walking around, there’s probably more people walking than you may think.”

“If neighbors will just take the extra step to help their neighbors when we do have these infrequent snows, that’s really the best solution,” Kite said.

Kite said they are looking into how other cities in the metro enforce shoveling ordinances and if they’re effective.

Boulevard makes charitable Super Bowl wager with San Francisco brewery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Original Post

A friendly wager between two breweries could benefit a local nonprofit if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl.

Boulevard Brewing Company is teaming with a San Francisco brewery on the bet.

Boulevard said they came up with the idea after the Chiefs clinched the AFC Championship and reached out to 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco.

Patt Mullen, digital marketing manager at Boulevard, is working on the wager.

“When they won the AFC Championship, we reached out to them, said, ‘Hey, let’s make something happen here,’ where we wanted to go a little bit above and beyond what you normally see in these bets,” Mullin said.

The breweries agreed to put up $1,000 each. The money will go to either Project Night Night, a nonprofit helping children affected by homelessness in the Bay Area, or to Kansas City’s Veterans Community Project.

“We build communities of tiny houses as transitional housing for homeless vets as well as having a walk-in clinic for all veterans in Kansas City to come in and utilize,” Veterans Community Project CEO Bryan Meyer said.

Meyer said he knows the Chiefs will win. Afterall, fullback Anthony Sherman surprised him with two tickets to the game.

“I don’t really want to admit that I was crying, but I was definitely crying,” Meyer said.

“It was really, really an incredible experience. But more than that, just feeling so fortunate because I also had to recognize that I get to go because the way the Chiefs and the rest of the community have supported the veterans that we serve and that just made it extra special,” he said.

Boulevard works with the nonprofit as well and is hoping the Super Bowl will be a win-win.

“I mean that would be an incredible moment at the end of that game to not only say, ‘Kansas City’s taking home this championship, but then, we’re getting $1,000 coming to us from 21st Amendment, so we get amazing feeling for those guys,'” Mullin said.

It’s a seemingly small gift Meyer said would make a big difference in the lives of Kansas City veterans.

Independence community helps ‘Critter Hunter’ after tricycle stolen with outpouring of donations

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Original Post

One day after someone stole an Independence man’s independence, the community stepped up to help.

Residents know Darryl Havens by his uniform, badge and name tag. He’s known by friends as the Critter Hunter.

“They always say ‘Hi,’ and they always like to see me smile,” Havens said.

“He has been called Critter Hunter since he was little because he’s always looking around trying to find different bugs and snakes, any kind of animals,” Haven’s aunt, Shawnda Reade said.

Havens rides around town on his signature tricycle. It allows him to get groceries, go to appointments and find critters who need help.

“I just catch animals and then just take them wherever they need to go,” Havens said.

That is until Wednesday morning. That’s when he realized his bike was stolen. He left it locked to a light post outside his building overnight. When he went to get it, the tricycle was gone.

“When I saw it not there for the first time, I was a little confused because that never happened before,” Havens said.

“I was mad. I was really mad because that’s the source of transportation,” Reade said. “That’s the only way that he has to go around.”

His aunt posted about it on Facebook. That’s when people who have seen him around, friends and strangers all stepped up to help. Many people posted their personal stories about how he has touched their lives. The fund raised more than six times what they had hoped it would.

“I was in shock. I thought they were kidding around to make me feel better,” Havens said.

Thanks to complete strangers the Critter Hunter will be back before they know it.

“I want them to see how much that Daryl is appreciating this and how much he loves it, how much they are taking something out of their pocket to change his life around and make things better for him,” Reade said. “I mean, they’re amazing, and it doesn’t get any better than that. We have a really strong community.”

Darryl’s aunt says the money will go into a fund that will be managed to help with his needs. He’s planning to get a new bike, and a GPS tracker in case it happens again.

Gardner family displaced, pets lost after home and daycare damaged in fire

GARDNER, Kan. — Original Post

A family in Gardner says they’re grateful to have each other after a fire broke out in their home Tuesday night.

Not only did it displace them from their house, but it’s temporarily closing their in-home daycare.

Jennifer Clements loves taking care of kids. She’s been doing it nearly 10 years and is hoping maybe someone in Gardner can help her keep doing what she loves.

Clements said she doesn’t recognize her bedroom after the fire broke out.

“It breaks my heart,” she said.

Just after 9 p.m. her husband and three children came home from gymnastics. The first thing she heard was her smoke detector.

“I think I’m still in shock,” Clements said. “When I was running through the house trying to get the animals out, I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought that it was just a smoke that was in the house and that, you know, everything was going to be OK. And when I realized that’s not the case, we just tried rushing to get everything we could.”

Clements runs an in-home daycare out of her basement and takes care of 10 children daily.

“My business is everything,” Clements said. “I love those kids. They’re amazing.”

After the fire, she said it will take about six months to get back into their home. In the meantime, they’re staying between family’s houses and a hotel.

But she’s hoping she can find a place in the Gardner community to keep her daycare in business.

“I’m going to try to reach out to churches or somewhere that I can rent some space so I can continue working,” Clements said. “I’m gonna find something that I can do, somewhere I can be in the meantime, so that way I can still watch those kids.”

In the fire, Clements said they lost several pets, mostly reptiles. They were able to save some of them, and the kids are coping with the loss.

“They don’t exactly understand everything, but they’re, you know, they’re upset that their house was on fire and that lost their pets,” Clements said.

She said she’s grateful to parents, friends and family who are reaching out to help.

“I really appreciate everything that everybody has done,” Clements said. “The Gardner community is amazing.”

The mothers from the daycare put together a fund for the family. If you would like to donate you can do so here. Also, if you are in the Garner community and have a space that may help, please reach out to sherae.honeycutt@fox4kc.com.