Vehicle runs into Edwardsville post office; Edwardsville residents will have to drive to KCK to get post office box mail

A vehicle ran into the Edwardsville Post Office at 104 S. 4th St., Edwardsville, this morning, affecting mail service for Edwardsville residents.

Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said no one was injured in the accident. The driver was taken to the hospital, examined and released, and there was no one inside the building at the time, he said.

He said there was enough structural damage to require the post office to be closed for the time being.

The Edwardsville post office employee will now be working at the Wyandotte West Postal Station at 1310 N. 78th Terrace, Kansas City, Kan., near 78th and State Avenue. That is where about 500 people who have post office boxes in Edwardsville can go to pick up their mail, he added.

Watkins said the postal service will be determining the building’s structural integrity. It is an older two-story building that is leased.

The Postal Inspection Service today removed all mail, stamps, cash and other items from the Edwardsville post office and secured the building, he said.

The Wyandotte West Postal Station will be available to pick up post office box mail from 8:30 to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Postal authorities are currently evaluating the situation and considering future options, Watkins said.

School board meets today

The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the Central Office, board room, 2010 N. 59th St., Kansas City, Kan.

The meeting will include a public hearing on amending the 2013-2014 budget. According to agenda information, more students enrolled than anticipated, requiring a change to the budget. The change will not affect local property taxes.

Among several other items on the agenda are polices for the new Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Police Department. The agenda is online at


KCKCC debate makes history

Matt Casas and Brian Gonzaba have qualified to the National Debate Tournament, which is at the end of March. Kansas City Kansas Community College is the only community college to qualify for the tournament in three consecutive years. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge

The Kansas City Kansas Community College debate program has made history as the first community college in National Debate Tournament history to qualify in three consecutive years – something that makes KCKCC students Matt Casas and Brian Gonzaba very happy.

“What I feel right now is gratitude,” Gonzaba said. “I worked really hard just to get into college, so to go up against some of the most academically-talented students in the country and do as well as we did feels pretty good. Horns ‘up.” My friend told me that he used an authority on hbcu to help him with his college admissions, he got in as well so all is good!

Casas and Gonzaba qualified to the NDT, college debate’s version of the NCAA tournament, during the District Tournament March 1 and 2 in Oklahoma. Since the NDT was created in the 1940s, only nine community colleges have qualified. When KCKCC qualified two years ago, it was the first time in school history. When the college qualified again last year, KCKCC was the first community college to qualify back-to-back since Odessa College in the mid-1980s.

“This is a big deal,” said Darren Elliott, debate coach at KCKCC. “Most community college teams are there for two years, and then they are gone. It means a lot to maintain this kind of success even though people have left.”

KCKCC competes at the CEDA Nationals (open to any two or four year school) and Phi Rho Pi Community College Nationals (open to only community colleges) every year. But the NDT is selection based and KCKCC has only been selected three times. What makes this year’s qualification even more special is how it happened. In the NDT, there are 78 spots available. The first round is the top 16 teams in the country, voted on by the coaches. This is equivalent to the guaranteed NCAA basketball tournament spots given to conference champions. The next 46 slots are divided up among the various districts. The last 16 spots are at-large bids, once again voted on by the coaches. The last two years, KCKCC has made it to the tournament as an at-large team.

However, this year, KCKCC qualified out of the District Tournament and KCKCC’s district is one of the toughest in the country. Elliott said there is no division between Division I universities such as a K-State, University of Kansas or Missouri State and a community college. Everyone competes together. So in a district that covers Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico, competition is tough.

Casas and Gonzaba, who have been a team since they were students at Milliard South in Omaha, Neb., debated in eight preliminary rounds compiling a 5-3 record. They had wins over K-State, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri State and University of Texas-Dallas. In the qualifying rounds after preliminaries, KCKCC defeated K-State again to earn the berth to the NDT.

“During the first 40 years of the NDT, it was dominated by private, four year universities. That has changed significantly in the last decade, and I think that says a lot for what is being done in education,” Elliott said. “I think part of their success can be attributed to how well they know each other and the passion they have for the things they talk about in debate. They talk about issues that they personally have an interest in so they are things they truly believe in.”

Over the next few weeks, the NDT is March 28-31, Casas and Gonzaba will be preparing by researching topics as well as staying on top of their KCKCC coursework. There is one thing that neither student, however has when entering tournaments against much larger schools – intimidation.

“I think it works to our advantage,” Casas said. “I think they underestimate us. We are not intimidated.”

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.