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Nadya Faulx / KMUW

New Indictment Expands Wire Fraud, Money Laundering Charges Against Michael O'Donnell

Sedgwick County Commissioner and former state Sen. Michael O’Donnell has been charged with more counts of wire fraud and money laundering related to his campaigns for office, just days before a scheduled hearing on Friday to have earlier charges dismissed.

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So my family went out of town for a week and Wichita had a whole lot of rain during that time. There was the usual indicator of too much moisture in Wichita yards: a mushrooming bumper crop of political yard signs.

The recent death of Tom Leahy Jr., better known as Major Astro to Kansas baby boomers, caused my mind to rocket into the past. The good major wore his astronaut jumpsuit while hosting a daily afterschool kiddie show on local TV from 1962 to 1973. Wally Gator, Touche Turtle and Felix the Cat cartoons were beamed earthward to all the little tykes watching their rabbit-eared TV sets. Many were, no doubt, clutching their membership cards to the Major Astro Club.

Had a garage sale the other day. Swore I’d never have another one 2 sales ago. But stuff just kept piling up and something had to be done. So my wife, my daughter and I spent a long 90-degree June day saying over and over, “Yes, we’ll take 50 cents instead of 75 cents for that.”

I was going to do another commentary today about British Petroleum’s oil massacre of the Gulf of Mexico. But when I sat down to write it and began thinking about the leak which is a mile below the surface of the water, my thoughts were interrupted by a BP official who burst into my brain and quickly waved me away from the scene.

“You can’t consider this at all,” he ordered. “This entire area of thought is off-limits to anyone except employees of BP. Cease all mental cogitation on this subject immediately.”

The amazing thing about the tragic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for me, is not that it happened. It’s not the gargantuan size of the spill itself. And it’s not that the three corporations involved are each blaming the other. What’s unbelievable about this disaster is the fact that the drilling industry had no plan for what to do in the event that such a spill took place. They seem to be scrambling and improvising in a way that reminds me of a three-year-old who shattered Mom’s favorite flower vase all over the kitchen floor while trying to get to the cookie jar.

There’s a local businessman who’s running for Representative Todd Tiahrt’s congressional seat.  This guy is apparently just nuts about me. He really really really wants to be my pal. I know this because he’s tried three times to “friend” me on Facebook. Each time I turn him down and it never hurts his feelings. He just comes back again with another request. He’s positively smitten with me, I can only surmise.

Spring is such a generous season. Without our having to lift a finger, nature showers us with spectacular abundance every April. It didn’t require a public vote on which trees would bud first. There was no legislation passed stipulating that by a certain date all tulips would burst open. The enthusiastic birdsong outside our kitchen windows every morning now does not have to be critiqued by a panel of celebrity judges.

My ego can beat up your ego. My team can beat your team. My political party can beat your political party. My country can beat your country. My planet can beat your planet. My galaxy can…well, we’re not quiet that far yet, but the time will come.

Bragging rights. We humans love ‘em. Gotta be the best, the biggest, the baddest. In a conversation with a friend recently I found myself saying this about the recent basketball season: “Thank goodness for the Emporia State women’s team! National Division II champs!”

What’s wrong with this picture: Here I am living in Wichita, Kansas, and I have to buy frozen White Castle cheeseburgers at the grocery. That’s right. Frozen. They come 6 to a box. Shipped in from God-knows-where. To Wichita.

Wichita is the home of White Castles. They were invented by Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram right here in 1921. They swept throughout the Midwest in the next decades. They continue to thrive all over the place. But are there any in Wichita? No, there are not.

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Commentary

Naomi Woddis

Marginalia: S. K. Perry

Sarah Perry was longlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate in 2013, and her experience as a poet is evident in her debut novel, Let Me Be Like Water .

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KMUW Music

Sunday, August 19

Sunday on Soulsations we remember the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She passed away from pancreatic cancer on August 16, 2018 at her home in Detroit. Franklin was 76 years old.

Album cover art

Wednesday, August 15

Listen for selections from new and recent releases by Tami Neilson, Horne + Holt, The Magpie Salute and a re-recording of David Bowie’s “Zeroes.”

Thursday, August 16

Released in 1993, Frosting On The Beater was the third album from Seattle power pop outfit The Posies. We’ll hear music from that collection plus selections from Columbia: Live At Missouri University, the 1993 album from the reunited Memphis band Big Star. The group’s remaining members, Jody Stephens and Alex Chilton, recruited Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies for what was thought to be a one-time reunion but lasted until Chilton’s death in 2010.

Friday, August 17

With their band Knest on a hiatus, guitarist Jonathan Horne and classically-trained cellist Randall Holt began experimenting with improvisational techniques. The result is Wires, their debut album, which explores the possibilities of both their respective instruments across a series of compositions that the pair see as tone poems. We’ll hear music from that release as well as selections from High And Lonesome With The Excuses, the new release from veteran singer-songwriter John Eberly and his band The Excuses.

Saturday, August 18

Listen for music from Led Zeppelin, Jeff Buckley with Gary Lucas and new music from Galen Ayers.

Monday, August 20

We celebrate the 70th birthday of vocalist Robert Plant with selections from his work with Led Zeppelin and as a solo artist. Plus music from Jimmy Page with The Black Crowes, Sam Phillips and Stone Temple Pilots.

Danny Clinch

In early 2017 Old Crow Medicine Show celebrated signing with the Columbia label by issuing a live, track-by-track re-recording of Bob Dylan's classic 1966 LP Blonde On Blonde. The band had tapped acclaimed producer Dave Cobb to helm their next studio album, but Cobb issued a specific if somewhat unusual directive to the band, which visits the Stiefel Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Robert Plant turns 70 on Monday, August 20, and Global Village and Strange Currency are teaming up to celebrate. Tune in from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. for three hours of music from Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin and other Plant projects, and notable covers. 

Monday 8.13.18

Lots of great jazz piano tonight on the Night Train as we mark birthdays of George Shearing and Mulgrew Miller, and get to new releases from pianists Eliane Elias, Michika Fukumori, Lynne Arriale, Erroll Garner, Bill Anschell, and Brad Mehldau. We’ll also hear from pianist Jimmy Rowles, one of four musicians we’re featuring this month for their centennial birthdays, and from South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, who was just named a 2019 NEA Jazz Master.

Tuesday 8.14.18

Night Train marks birthdays of singer Lorez Alexandria and singer/pianists Ben Sidran and Jeannie Cheatham tonight. Plus more for our centennial birthdays feature – this time from pianist Jimmy Rowles (with guitarist Barney Kessel and saxophonists Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster), vocalese pioneer Eddie Jefferson, and Texas tenor Arnett Cobb. New release tonight include Peter Erskine & the Dr. Um Band, Karrin Allyson, Eddie Henderson, Eddie Palmieri, Kurt Elling and Jared Gold.

Wednesday 8.15.18

Night Train marks birthdays of drummer Stix Hooper of the Crusaders and jazz piano great Oscar Peterson (featured in a special in hour two of the show). The August Four Centennials Feature continues, this time with music from Arnett Cobb, and there’s new music from Latin jazz ensemble Tribu, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, and soul jazz organist Radam Schwartz.

Thursday 8.16.18

Night Train features music from pianists Bill Evans (featured in a Jazz Profiles special in hour two of the show) and Mal Waldron, singer Mary Stallings and drummer/producer Cecil Brooks III, all born on this date – along with more in the August Four Centennials Feature, this time from Jimmy Rowles and Eddie Jefferson.

Noteworthy

Edgar B. Smith/wichitaphotos.org

'Hope For The Future': The Dockum Sit-In, Sixty Years On

This year is the 60th anniversary of the first successful student-led sit-in of the modern civil rights movement. And it didn’t happen in the South, but rather in the heart of the Midwest: in Wichita.

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