Archive for January 14, 2015

DEAN’S LIST: STILL NOT TIME TO PANIC ON KOKOMO MUNICIPAL STADIUM, BUT…

Kokomo Jackrabbits 2

THE DEAN’S LIST

BY DEAN HOCKNEY, PUBLISHER

Four weeks ago, I said that it was not time to panic concerning the construction of Kokomo Municipal Stadium. I wrote that after the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Indiana Department of Homeland Security sent letters to the city demanding work be halted on construction due to the potential of breaching federal grant rules for the state. My exact words in my Dec. 16, 2014, column were:

So to the local baseball community, I say “hold your horses” and let this process play out. As with any major government building project, politics will be played and opposition will be heard. Yes, dealing with a federal entity can be cause for alarm due to a slow process, but the city administration is working on the situation and already has our Washington, D.C., elected officials involved. And rest assured, the Sports Journal will stay on top of the issue and report whatever outcome there is – I just do not think it is time for panic.

The process is now playing out, and on Jan. 6, Indiana State Senator David Long (R-Fort Wayne) authored Senate Bill 100, which after a committee report, Senator Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) took over as first author. In a nutshell, the emergency legislation – which is aimed at the local baseball project but could impact any project in the state – would allow IDHS to issue a cease and desist order to the construction project.

Indiana Senate Bill 100 synopsis: Authorizes the executive director of the department of homeland security to issue a cease and desist order when a political subdivision is taking an action that: (1) constitutes a violation of any state or federal statute or local ordinance, any state administrative rule or federal regulation, or any contract provision or condition of the receipt of any form of federal governmental assistance; and (2) creates an immediate risk that the state will lose grant funds under the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mitigation grant program or that property owners in any part of Indiana will become ineligible to purchase insurance  through the federal flood insurance program. Allows the order to be issued on an expedited basis. Provides that the order may be issued against and be binding upon the political subdivision, the executive of the political subdivision, the members of the executive, and a contractor or subcontractor. Provides that the attorney general may enforce the order by bringing an action in circuit or superior court. Provides for the imposition of a monetary penalty against a political subdivision that violates an order, and makes a violation of the order by an executive of a political subdivision or a contractor or subcontractor a Class A infraction.

The city, through a statement from the corporation counsel of the City of Kokomo, believes it is still in the right on the construction issue and stands behind its original statements that they are within the guidelines of the Hazard Mitigation Grant it received.

“The City of Kokomo questions the necessity of SB100 and believes that the provisions, regulations and protections implemented and controlled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency sufficiently address the concerns raised in the proposed bill and prohibit a political subdivision from unilaterally acting in such a way to jeopardize the State,” said Beth Garrison in the statement. “The City of Kokomo further questions whether the bill could potentially undermine or diminish a political subdivision’s due process rights, given the vagueness of the language set forth in SB100. As such, the City believes such legislation is superfluous and trusts the General Assembly will act accordingly.”

So what does this all mean? I will be honest, I have no idea. The bill still needs to go through the Environmental Affairs Committee, be voted on by the senate and house, and then be signed by the governor. Then, IDHS would actually have to file the order against the city, which the city would probably fight. Yes, this is not sounding good. If construction is stopped for any length of time, I don’t see how the stadium will be finished in time for the Jackrabbits inaugural season this summer in the City of Firsts.

But is it time for panic? I still contend it is not; but we are a step closer. Buck stated he hopes the legislation is signed into law by the end of January. If he gets his bill through the legislative process, then we will have something serious to talk about. Until then, I will continue to drive down Apperson Way every day and marvel at Kokomo Municipal Stadium going skyward.

Until next time, remember to keep the man and ship in sports – and I’ll see you at the game.

Dean Hockney is the publisher of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana and sports editor of the Kokomo Herald. You can follow him on Twitter (@Sports_Journal) for the latest in local sports news and game reports.

KOKOMO LADY WILDKATS TOP CARROLL (ALLEN COUNTY), PREPARE FOR CHICAGO TRIP

Kokomo's Allie Lowe battles for a rebound. (Photo by William Gibson)

Kokomo’s Allie Lowe battles for a rebound. (Photo by William Gibson)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – For the third straight season, the Kokomo Lady Wildkats have reached the double-digit win plateau after a nail-biting 53-50 victory over Carroll of Allen County. Leading by 11 points going into the final stanza, the Kats withstood a fierce comeback to record win No. 10 on the season.

“We hadn’t played in a week and the girls were excited to get on the floor,” said Kokomo head coach Heather Mygrant, who noted its game against Noblesville was postponed due to weather. “We play well at home, got up by 13, and then they trapped us and they got themselves back in the game. But when it counted, we finished the game and came out with a win.”

Kokomo led 35-24 after three quarters only to see Carroll’s Madison Peterson get hot. With only four points in the first three quarters, Peterson scored 14 points to lead a 16-3 run by the Lady Chargers. Despite overall poor free throw shooting (10 for 20 for the game, lower than the its season average of 55 percent), Kokomo closed strong on the back of Quaynika Merriweather hitting 7 of 9 free throws in the final stanza.

Merriweather led Kokomo with 14 points and five steals. Jayda Andrews added 11 points and Olivia Wilson scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Gabrielle Smith had a nice all-around game with seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

Next up for the Lady Kats is a home North Central Conference game with Harrison and then a road trip to the Chicagoland Classic – an annual voyage for the squad. This year, Kokomo will spend the weekend and play in two games – Chicago McAuley at 6 p.m. on Jan. 17 and Batavia (Ill.) at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 19.

“We still have Harrison, Muncie Central and McCutcheon – those are three tough conference teams,” said Mygrant. “This month of January will go by quick. Chicago is a great opportunity to do some team building. We won’t know anything about these Illinois teams, so we can treat it like a tournament. The Classic is in its 25th year, and they are going to honor some of those from the inaugural game during our first game. That is neat, and I am glad our girls will get to see that because we have played in this tournament many times. I think this will make us a stronger team.”

Kokomo enters its stretch run at 10-4 and 3-1 in conference play.

COUGAR MEN AND WOMEN SWEEP UC-CLERMONT IN HOOPS

Indiana University Kokomo Cougars

BY ABIGAIL BANAN

IU Kokomo sports information director

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Indiana University Kokomo men’s and women’s basketball teams defeated the University of Cincinnati-Clermont in Cincinnati, OH on January 3, 2015 for the second time this season.

Throughout the women’s 76-71 victory, freshman guard Deja Felder (Goshen, Ind.) led the Cougars with 25 points, 9 rebounds, and a steal. Freshman guard Nevada Jones (Fort Wayne, Ind.) put in 12 points for the Cougars as well as 3 rebounds, and 4 steals.

The women’s team had a 39.0 two-point field goal percentage and a 37.0 three-point field goal percentage for the game.  The Cougars shot 69.0 percent from the free-throw line, had a 38.0 field goal percentage overall, and 33 rebounds total.

During the men’s 78-63 win, junior guard Jerome Campbell (Indianapolis, Ind.) led IU Kokomo with 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Junior guard Nick Teeter (Berne, Ind.) added another 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists for the Cougars.

The men’s team had a 59.0 two-point field goal percentage and a 28.0 three-point field goal percentage for the game.  IU Kokomo shot 58.0 percent from the free-throw line, had a 49.0 field goal percentage overall, and 29 rebounds total.

The IU Kokomo men’s and women’s teams will hit the road again on Friday, January 9 when they travel to Pittsburgh, PA to take on Carlow University at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. est.