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Exactly 40 years ago today revelers gathered at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency. What followed is one of the deadliest collapses in US history.

More than 1,500 revelers had gathered on the first floor of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency for a popular tea dance party hosted by the swanky 1-year-old hotel.
As musicians performed big band hits, couples swing-danced under long, novel skywalks spanning the second and fourth floors that seemed to float in the sky, historians have recalled.
Then, as the orchestra was said to be playing Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll,” the fourth-floor skywalk collapsed onto the second-floor skywalk directly beneath it. Both walkways then crashed onto the ground floor, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200 others.
The catastrophe on July 17, 1981, is one of the deadliest structural collapses in US history. That same year, the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida, was completed — only to meet a similar, disastrous fate this June, when it partially collapsed killing at least 97 people.
Forty years after the Kansas City disaster, the memories are still vivid. And the lessons learned from it are as relevant as ever — not just for engineers and architects but for everyone, several people close to the tragedy told CNN.
Here’s what they want Americans to remember:

Don’t rush to judgment, and don’t ignore the details

Bill Quatman was a 23-year-old architect just starting his career in Kansas City. He wasn’t involved in the design of the skywalks, but he marveled at the way they seemed to float in the air — an unusual sight at the time, he said.
He and his wife had dined at the hotel a week before the collapse and had noticed another spectacle:
“A few thousand people were enjoying themselves at a tea dance, listening to big band music from an orchestra, dancing and laughing to tunes of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington,” Quatman said.
“We saw this tea dance going on (and thought), ‘That looks like fun; we should come back sometime.'”
But on the evening of July 17, they had other plans. That night — after the skywalks fell — a friend told Quatman about the tragedy but mistakenly said the hotel’s roof had fallen in.
“The first 48 hours, nobody really knew the cause, but there was speculation — just like there is today with the Surfside condos,” Quatman said. “All sorts of theories floating around, and nobody knows … I think one of the similarities is the rush to judgment.”
The cause of the Surfside collapse is still under investigation.
One popular myth following the Kansas City disaster was that the song playing at the time of the collapse — Ellington’s “Satin Doll” — somehow contributed to the skywalks falling, he said.
The theory was “harmonic vibrations from the band music caused the steel to oscillate,” Quatman said. But experts and courts later determined there were fatal engineering design errors.
The original design had called for the second-floor and fourth-floor skywalks to both be supported with a set of steel hanger rods connected to the ceiling. But a design change was made over the phone between the steel fabricator and the structural engineer, Quatman said.
“They hung the second-floor bridge from the fourth-floor bridge and doubled the load on that connection, which was ultimately a fatal design change,” he said.
The resulting design was “capable of withstanding only an estimated 30 percent of the mandated minimum,” according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. A series of miscommunications and failures to double-check calculations and plans led to the collapse.
In the decades since, Quatman has spent much of his career as both an architect and lawyer speaking to engineering and architecture students to help prevent such catastrophic mistakes in the future.
“I always end my talks by saying you cannot ignore the small details,” Quatman said. “The (connection) that failed was about 8 inches wide.”

Don’t take the ‘simple things’ for granted

Brent Wright was just 17 years old when he lost his mother and stepfather. Since then, every anniversary of the collapse has been challenging.
“Even though it’s been 40 years, those memories come flooding back,” said Wright, now 57. “It’s emotional. All these years later, I still miss my mother and stepfather.”
Karen and Gene Jeter had gotten married just 16 days before the skywalks collapsed. The newlyweds spent their final moments doing what Karen loved — dancing.
It was a skill she insisted her son learn — for the sake of his future dating life.
“When I was growing up, my mom said, ‘Look, you need to learn how to dance. All the girls will love it if you actually know how to dance.’ So she taught me how to dance,” Wright said.
Footage of the Hyatt Regency’s dance party showed his mother and stepfather having a glorious time, Wright said. The event was so popular, his father and future stepmother were also there.
But Wright didn’t know that — or about the tragedy that would change his life — until the following day. On the night of the collapse, he was working the loading dock at a Macy’s store to earn money for college.
“I had the radio turned on on the dock and heard something come over the radio about some accident. It wasn’t clear what the details were,” Wright recalled.
“I called my mom because I was going to ask her about it. Nobody answered.”
Wright, who lived with his father at the time, came home that night and went right back to work early the next morning. Then his dad called him and told him to come home immediately.
“My dad just looked at us and said, ‘I don’t know any way to tell you this, but your mom and Gene were killed at the Hyatt collapse,'” Wright said. “It was absolutely awful.”
The Jeters never got to see Wright and his younger sister Shelly become adults and have children of their own.
“They’ve missed so many things through the years,” Wright said. “They missed me going to college, graduating from college, graduating from law school, getting married, having children. All those things, all those milestones in our lives. It’s difficult, even 40 years later.”
Over the years, he’s learned to cope with grief — a process he knows families of the Surfside victims are just beginning.
“You try not to forget the past but also try not to let all the grief or the difficulties from the past hold you back from going forward,” he said. “I know my mom wanted that. She would have said, ‘Go ahead and live your life and be happy. But don’t forget me.’ So we don’t.”
To ensure his mother, stepfather and 112 other victims are never forgotten, Wright became president of the Skywalk Memorial Foundation. It led efforts to create the Skywalk Memorial, which features a modern design evoking two people dancing, along with the names of those lost. It also honors the hundreds injured and the rescuers.
“Even all these years later, none of (the rescuers) have ever been able to forget what they saw, what they did, which was selfless,” Wright said.
This anniversary, Wright is also remembering the dozens of lives lost in the collapse at the Surfside condo building.
“All those people in Florida, my heart breaks for them. I want them to know that there are people everywhere who are thinking about them, praying for them,” he said.
“I hope that they get help from mental health professionals because it’s not something you can do on your own.”
And there’s a lesson everyone can take away from such tragedies.
“We all have to remember not to take those day-to-day, simple things (like) family for granted. You just don’t know when you may never have another chance to see them again,” he said.
“It’s a good reminder, and it’s something I’ve tried to do as I live my life is to try not to take those things for granted.”

The mental health needs of first responders are crucial

Vince Ortega, then 26, was the first Kansas City police officer dispatched to the scene.
On the police radio, “The way it came out was (an) elderly lady had fallen off the escalator,” said Ortega, now 66.
More calls quickly followed, but nothing prepared him for what he saw when he arrived at the hotel.
“People were running out, bleeding from the head,” he said.
“When I went in, I saw a dead body right away. The rubble had flattened the body out. I could tell it was a woman because she had a dress on.”
Ortega had no idea what had collapsed. So fearing another imminent collapse, he tried to rush as many injured survivors as he could outside to safety.
“You’re just helpless because you’re bringing out just a few at a time, and there’s a whole lobby full of people,” he said.
“Then water started coming out of the walls.”
The collapse of the skywalks broke the sprinkler system, flooding the floor with several inches of water, Ortega said.
No amount of academy training can fully prepare a first responder for such a mass tragedy, he said.
“There was this one gentleman who was underneath the rubble … ‘I need help! I need help!’ And he had his arm sticking out from the rubble,” Ortega said.
“So my (officer) friend grabbed his hand and started to pull him out, and his arm just came off. And my friend just dropped it and walked out the door. He actually never came back — he never returned to the police department.”
Such overwhelming trauma highlights the need for first responders to have adequate mental health support, Ortega said.
“Back then they didn’t really offer the mental health assistance” needed, he said.
That changed after other officers who had responded to the collapse started leaving the force.
“They did it after people started not showing up for work. And they figured out nobody wanted to admit they got affected by it.”
Ortega said he’s lucky to come from a family of first responders — including two firefighter brothers and a nurse mother — who helped him cope with the trauma.
But some emergency workers can be haunted by feelings of inadequacy despite their most valiant efforts.
“You always wish you could have done a little more,” Ortega said.
He now thinks about the first responders in Surfside, who have been digging through tons of rubble for weeks trying to find those still missing from the condo collapse. Digging through the wreckage, one Florida rescuer said, has also meant “emotionally digging for more strength to continue.”
Ortega hopes the Surfside teams can benefit from the lessons learned 40 years ago in Kansas City.
“Once it’s done, please seek counseling,” Ortega said. “Over the years, I’ve seen people leave the job with mental health issues because of the overwhelming tragedy that they see over time.”
“Everybody is vulnerable,” he said. “I was just fortunate.”

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Kansas City Southern sticks to Canadian National after Canadian Pacific fails to raise bid

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A freight train of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company is pictured in Toluca, Mexico October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

(Reuters) -Kansas City Southern on Friday reiterated that Canadian National Railway’s offer was “superior” after Canadian Pacific (NYSE:) Railway refused to raise its bid, moving a step closer to creating the largest ever merger of North American railways by transaction value.

The Canadian rivals have been locked in a takeover battle for the U.S. railroad operator for two months to create the first railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada, as they stand to benefit from a recent pick-up in trade.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE:) last week accepted Canadian National’s $ 33.6 billion offer, upending a $ 29 billion deal with its competitor Canadian Pacific.

The U.S. railroad on Friday said it paid Canadian Pacific a breakup fee of $ 700 million, which would be reimbursed by Canadian National.

Canadian Pacific said on Friday it was willing to re-engage with Kansas City, hoping that the rival bid would be shot down by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), a regulator that oversees railroad companies.

Canadian National’s deal has recently run into regulatory hurdles, with the STB having denied its motion for approval of a voting trust earlier this week. The U.S. Department of Justice had also said last week that Canadian National’s bid for Kansas City appears to pose greater risks to competition.

Canadian National and Kansas City said they expect to gain all the required regulatory approvals, including that from STB.

Kansas City said the deal is expected to close in the second half of next year, following which its shareholders will own 12.6% of the combined company.

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

U.S. regulator gives CP Railway early win as Kansas City Southern review continues

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

2/2 © Reuters. The Canadian Pacific railyard is pictured in Port Coquitlam 2/2

(Reuters) -Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd on Saturday welcomed the U.S. Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) decision to uphold a 2001 waiver it granted to Kansas City Southern (NYSE:) being applicable to the merger of the two companies.

The two companies will proceed with an application under the standards in the STB’s pre-2001 major merger rules, according to a statement by Canadian Pacific (NYSE:).

The STB, charged with the economic regulation of various modes of surface transportation, primarily freight rail, on Friday confirmed that the waiver it granted to Kansas City Southern in 2001 is applicable to the proposed friendly combination of the two companies.

Both companies expect the STB’s review to be completed by the middle of 2022.

The STB updated its merger regulations in 2001 to introduce a requirement that Class I railways in the United States have to show a deal is in the public interest.

According to the regulator, the merger would result in the smallest Class I railroad, based on U.S. operating revenues and also result in few overlapping routes.

CP had agreed to buy Kansas City Southern in a $ 25 billion cash-and-stock deal to create the first railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada in March.

Canadian National Railway Co made a competing bid of $ 33.7 billion for Kansas City Southern on Tuesday after which CP said it will not raise its bid. Its Chief Executive Keith Creel said that bigger rival Canadian National’s offer is “not a real deal.”

Kansas City Southern said on Saturday that its board has determined that the offer from Canadian National Railway on April 20 could be expected to lead to a “superior proposal”.

Canadian Pacific, in a response, said that the Kansas City board was simply meeting its obligations under the merger agreement with CP and fulfilling its “fiduciary duty” to its shareholders by assessing the Canadian National offer.

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‘I’m the baddest man from Kansas City’: UFC bruiser Marquez calls out NFL stars Mahomes, Kelce in BADMINTON challenge (VIDEO)

After asking for a date with pop queen Miley Cyrus after his last win, UFC star Julian Marquez has gone further by challenging the NFL’s Patrick Mahones and Travis Kelce to a badminton match to decide the true king of Kansas City.

The 30-year-old Marquez, who is known to some as the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’, picked up the third win of his UFC career on Saturday night when he sank in a second-round rear-naked choke to coax a tap from experienced veteran Sam Alvey in Las Vegas – before using his time on the mic afterwords to issue a very unusual challenge to a host of his fellow Missourians.

I am the entertainment you pay to see, but anything you see I gave to you for free, so now I have a callout to give out to everyone from Kansas City,” Marquez announced live on ESPN following his fight.

You guys know I’m the baddest man from Kansas City, the baddest middleweight in Missouri. It is my time right now.

So Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill: I challenge you guys to a badminton or pickleball competition. Straight up, if you guys want to see who the pound-for-pound champ is of Kansas City, you’re coming after me.

This magnificent beard tops all that you guys have to bring.

Fight fans are well accustomed to mixed martial artists calling their next shot after a successful cameo in the cage, but it isn’t often that these challenges cross over into different sports altogether. 

But it seems that the targets of his dramatic callout – the superstar trio who helped the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs to two consecutive Super Bowl appearances – are more than down for the challenge.

Need a couple of weeks but I’m always down for a challenge,” replied quarterback Mahomes, along with a trio of laughing emojis, while Kelce also indicated his interest.

We can settle all this up at Chicken and Pickle,”  wrote the game’s best tight end. “Let’s f***ing go.”

It remains to be seen if the badminton skills of Mahomes and Kelce can rival the heroics they perform on a football field on a Sunday or even what exactly ‘pickleball’ is, but it seems that the battle of Kansas City is very much on.

Marquez’s unique callout comes just months after he asked popstar Miley Cyrus to be his Valentine after another submission win in February – on that occasion against Maki Pitolo. 

I’ve been waiting 31 damn months to get on this mic and to call these people out right now,” Marquez announced in February.

This is my time to shine. So, Miley Cyrus: will you be my Valentine?

After shooting his shot, Cyrus was quick to respond.

Shave an MC into your chest hair and I am YOURS,” she wrote. “Happy VDay and congratulations, my love.
Also on rt.com ‘I am YOURS!’: Pop queen Miley Cyrus responds to UFC fighter Julian Marquez’s Valentine’s Day request (VIDEO)


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Positive COVID-19 tests derail Kansas, Virginia conference tourney runs

It’s unclear what the COVID-19 issues mean for No. 16 Virginia and No. 11 Kansas going forward, with Selection Sunday just days away.

For the second time in many days, major conferences have called off tournament games due to COVID-19 concerns — this time involving No. 11 Kansas and No. 16 Virginia.

The Jayhawks withdrew from the Big 12 Tournament on Friday after a positive COVID-19 test within the program, which led to the cancellation of their semifinal matchup with No. 13 Texas.
And earlier Friday, the Atlantic Coast Conference canceled the league’s semifinal game between the top-seeded Cavaliers and Georgia Tech due to a positive test, quarantining and contact tracing within the Cavaliers program. The announcement came less than 12 hours before the Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers were set to play the first of two semifinal games.
That means Georgia Tech will advance to Saturday’s championship game to face the winner of the North Carolina-Florida State matchup. And in the Big 12, the Longhorns moved on to the title game to face the Oklahoma State-Baylor winner.
It is unclear what the COVID-19 issues mean for the Virginia and Kansas going forward, though the Jayhawks released a statement that they would continue preparing for the NCAA Tournament.
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett described the outcome of the tests as a “gut punch.”
“I’m hurting for our players, especially our seniors,” Bennett said in a statement. “I told our young men they have every reason to be disappointed, but it is still very important how they choose to respond. We are exhausting all options to participate in the NCAA Tournament.”
Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said in the statement the school was “in communication with the appropriate officials regarding our participation” in the NCAA Tournament, which starts Thursday.
The cancellations came a day after Duke withdrew from the ACC Tournament and ended its season amid its own positive test before facing the 15th-ranked Seminoles in the quarterfinals.
The Jayhawks learned earlier this week they would be without center David McCormack and backup forward Tristan Enaruna due to COVID-19 protocols. They beat No. 25 Oklahoma 69-62 in the quarterfinals without them, and had gone the entire season without an outbreak that forced a cancellation or postponement.
“Obviously we are disappointed and our players are disappointed that they can’t continue to compete for the Big 12 championship,” coach Bill Self said in a statement. “While we have been fortunate to avoid this throughout the season, there are daily risks with this virus that everybody participating is trying to avoid.
“We have followed the daily testing and additional protocols that have been setup for us, unfortunately we caught a bad break at the wrong time. I look forward to preparing my team in probably a unique way for next week’s NCAA Tournament.”
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined to comment Friday on the Virginia and Kansas cancellations.
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Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said on a Zoom call with reporters that the ACC should not cancel the rest of the tournament, even though the three teams left are already almost certain to be invited to the NCAA Tournament.
“We want to go win that game and put our name in the record book,” Pastner said, adding that he hopes the Cavaliers also get to compete next week after winning the last NCAA Tournament held in 2019.
“They’re the defending national champions. They’re our league champions,” he said.
ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement that he was “heartbroken” for the student-athletes, coaches and support staff at Duke and Virginia and that the league will follow the lead of “our medical personnel.”
The NCAA Tournament will be held entirely in the state of Indiana to create what NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt has called a “controlled environment” instead of a bubble.
The tournament protocols include requiring each member of a team’s travel party to complete seven negative COVID-19 tests before leaving for Indianapolis. Gavitt has said a team can continue to play if it has five players available through those safety protocols.
“This whole year has been a lot different for everyone with the testing protocols, socially distancing, wearing masks, making sure you’re not seeing people outside of your bubble really,” Virginia guard Sam Hauser said after Thursday’s win against Syracuse on a last-second shot.
“Pretty proud of our guys. We were very disciplined throughout the year and continue to be, especially this time of the year when if you get a COVID bug like that, it could end your season. … We’re just going to continue to take the right protocols, and we should be all right.”
AP Sports Writer Hank Kurz Jr., in Virginia; and AP Basketball Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Missouri; contributed to this report.