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Permit changes approved to allow Kansas Children’s Discovery Center expansion

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Permit changes approved to allow Kansas Children’s Discovery Center expansion


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Topeka’s governing body approved permit changes Tuesday night to allow an expansion project for the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center.

The city is not funding the project, but they needed to amend the center’s existing permit granted in 2009. Shawnee County approved the project in April. Funding from the Gage Park Improvement Authority sales tax is being matched by private donations to support the project, according to KCDC President/CEO Dene Mosier.

The expansion is a $10 million, 16,000 square foot project that will add three new classrooms, a traveling exhibit space, a storm shelter, and 75 new parking stalls.

The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center saw record attendance in 2023, with over 120,000 visitors. It even welcomed its one millionth visitor just a couple days after the expansion was approved.

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Kansas State football suddenly has depth, experience on defensive line for 2024

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Kansas State football suddenly has depth, experience on defensive line for 2024


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Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman has good reason for touting his defensive line as an asset heading into the 2024 season.

It starts with experience, as in three super-seniors, two of whom have been with the program for six years. And then there is a talented group of young defensive ends that may have coordinator Joe Klanderman re-examining the switch two years ago to a three-man front.

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Even the nose tackle position, a concern after returning starter Uso Seumalo missed most of spring practice and junior college transfer Malcolm Alcorn-Crowder did not enroll at semester as expected, seems to have sorted itself out.

“We had two six-year guys decide to come back at defensive end, which was big for us,” Klieman said of returning starter Brendan Mott and Cody Stufflebean, who was a key member of last year’s rotation. “So, we’re going to rotate seven or eight guys in the defensive line, and we have a lot of depth there.”

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Mott, a 6-foot-5, 244-pound former walk-on, ranked sixth in the Big 12 last year with six sacks, and he could well end up as the Wildcats’ third-leading pass rusher. Sophomore Tobi Osunsanmi, a converted linebacker, and 6-6, 282-pound redshirt freshman Chiddi Obiazor, both can get to the quarterback as well.

Here is how K-State’s defensive line might break down in 2024.

Is it time to go back to a four-man front?

The lack of depth at nose tackle in the spring led Klanderman to experiment with additional ends. But that doesn’t mean he is scrapping the 3-3-5 base defense just yet.

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“We are a little light there,” Klanderman said of the tackle position back in April. “So, I guess in my mind it’s not so much are we going to play four-down stuff as much as it is, how can we utilize maybe another defensive end type body into what we’re already doing?

“And how can we, in that way, get our best 11 people on the field consistently.”

The facts that Obiazor is big enough to play inside if need be and the 6-5, 318-pound Alcorn-Crowder is agile enough to occasionally line up at end give the Wildcats plenty of options.

Is there enough playing time to go around at d-end?

Perhaps defensive ends coach Buddy Wyatt’s greatest challenge is finding playing time for everybody.

In addition to Mott, Stufflebean, Obiazor and Osunsanmi, the Wildcats brought in sophomore transfer Travis Bates, a 2023 freshman All-American, from Austin Peay. And redshirt freshmen Jordan Allen and Ryan Davis were impressive in the spring as well.

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“I like to play a lot of people,” Wyatt said. “It’s going to be a juggling act, and it’s going to be based on those guys. If they’re ready to play and they put in the work and we know we can count on them and they know how to do it, they’ll play.”

Uso Seumalo’s return solidified nose tackle position

After transferring from Garden City Community College in 2022, the 6-3, 337-pound Seumalo spent his first season backing up Eli Huggins in the middle. He moved into the starting lineup last year, appearing in 11 games before missing the last two with an injury.

Even as a super-senior, he is relatively new to the position, having only played one year of high school football in his native Hawaii. But he showed enough last year to receive All-Big 12 honorable mention from the league coaches.

With Seumalo sidelined, it meant more opportunities during the spring for junior Damian Ilalio, who started three games as a sophomore. Redshirt freshman Asher Tomaszewski also got plenty of work.

The wildcard is Alcorn-Crowder, a redshirt sophomore, who recorded 28 tackles, 10 of them for loss with seven sacks and two forced fumbles in nine games last year at Butler Community College. He was rated the No. 4 overall junior college prospect in the Class of 2024 by On3 and No. 5 by ESPN.

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Arne Green is based in Salina and covers Kansas State University sports for the Gannett network. He can be reached at agreen@gannett.com or on Twitter at @arnegreen.



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Jalon Daniels provides the twist Kansas football’s new offensive coordinator is bringing

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Jalon Daniels provides the twist Kansas football’s new offensive coordinator is bringing


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LAWRENCE — It didn’t take long, as Lance Leipold took his turn to speak at the podium, for the topic of his offensive coordinator to come up.

Leipold, Kansas football’s head coach, was speaking Wednesday at Big 12 Conference media days in Las Vegas. He mentioned how much he appreciated the more than a decade Andy Kotelnicki, now the offensive coordinator at Penn State, spent with him across multiple stops. Leipold couldn’t fault Kotelnicki, who’s had a desire to be a head coach himself one day, for making a move that could help him grow even further.

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But with that moment, also came the chance for Leipold to highlight the addition of Jeff Grimes as the team’s new offensive coordinator/assistant head coach. Grimes, who’ll be assisted by the return of co-offensive coordinator Jim Zebrowski, is someone Leipold admired during Grimes’ time as the offensive coordinator at Baylor in recent years. And not only has Leipold enjoyed being able to work with Grimes, but Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels is excited about the twist Grimes is providing their offense.

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“Kansas football, we’re known for having a lot of gadget plays, a lot of shifts and motions going in,” Daniels, a redshirt junior, said during a TV appearance on ESPNU at media days. “Trust me, nothing in that nature is going to change. But, without giving too much, I’m just going to say we’re going to add a few little sprinkles of how we’re able to line up formationally and having a lot of our playmakers be able to make plays in different spots rather than just their main one.”

Daniels has more on his mind than acclimating to Kansas’ new-look offense. He’s coming back from an injury that cut his 2023 season short. But Daniels volunteered Wednesday if the Jayhawks had a game the next day he’d be fine, and said he’s made adjustments — including core work five-to-six times each week — to ensure he’ll be ready health-wise.

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With a healthy Daniels, Kansas has an offense that’s capable of being one of the best in Big 12. At running back alone, there’s senior Devin Neal and redshirt junior Daniel Hishaw Jr. At wide receiver, there’s a trio of senior wide receivers in Luke Grimm, Quentin Skinner and Lawrence Arnold, and that’s before getting into the potential at tight end and the offensive line.

Maybe there will be a period of adjustment early in the season, with Grimes at the helm offensively, and maybe there won’t. But in his interview with ESPNU, Leipold noted Grimes’ familiarity with the Big 12 and creativity offensively — especially in the running game — as two reasons the new OC fits with what the Jayhawks are trying to do on that side of the ball. Grimes also joined with a familiarity for another one of Leipold’s assistant coaches.

“Jonathan Wallace, our running backs coach, was a player at Auburn when Jeff was there,” Leipold said. “They knew each other. The three of us met in Dallas and we started talking about some things. And it was mainly, can we continue our identity and then add something to it?”

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Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. He is the National Sports Media Association’s sportswriter of the year for the state of Kansas for 2022. Contact him at jmguskey@gannett.com or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.



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SE 18th St. to be closed at S. Kansas Ave. starting Monday in Topeka

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SE 18th St. to be closed at S. Kansas Ave. starting Monday in Topeka


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – SE 18th St. will be closed at S. Kansas Ave. starting on Monday in Topeka, Kan.

According to the City of Topeka officials, SE 18th St. will be closed at S. Kansas Ave. and the outside northbound lane on Kansas Ave. will be closed starting on Monday, July 15. This is the closure for phase 1.

City of Topeka officials said Phase 2 will include northbound left turns from Kansas Ave. onto SW 18th St. and SW 19th St. to be closed. Additionally, the northbound outside lane on Kansas Ave., midblock between 18th and 19th St., will be closed.

Work is being done by a sanitary sewer CCTV contractor. It is estimated that this work will take three days.

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