Thursday, January 19, 2017

Incident at GHS Prompts Safety Discussions Throughout District

by Mary Wilson,

Grandview High School was under lockdown for the morning hours of Wednesday, January 11, after a firearm reportedly went off in a locker room. According to a statement from the Grandview C-4 School District, at approximately 8:55 a.m., there were reports that an object was discharged accidentally in a physical education locker room. Further investigation showed that it was a gun. All students were safe a no one was injured.

Immediately after the report, students were evacuated from the area and all students in the building were held safely in their classrooms as Grandview Police were called to investigate. During that process, the school went into an external lockdown until police were able to secure the firearm.

“The safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” the statement read. “Currently an investigation is in process and student discipline will take place according to board policy and statute.”

Policy JFCJ states: The Board recognizes the importance of preserving a safe educational environment for students, employees and patrons of the district. In order to maintain the safety of the educational community, the district will strictly enforce the necessary disciplinary consequences resulting from the use or possession of weapons on school property. No student may possess a weapon on school property at any time, except as specifically authorized during a school-sponsored or school-sanctioned activity permitting weapons. In such cases, the school district will provide secured storage of student weapons if necessary.

School property is defined as: Property utilized, supervised, rented, leased, or controlled by the school district including but not limited to school playgrounds, parking lots and school buses, and any property on which any school activity takes place whether held at home or at another school campus/location.

A weapon is defined to mean one or more of the following:
1.  A firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921.
2. Any device defined in § 571.010, RSMo, including a blackjack, concealable firearm, firearm, firearm silencer, explosive weapon, gas gun, knife, knuckles, machine gun, projectile weapon, rifle, shotgun, spring gun or switchblade knife.
3. A dangerous weapon as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 930(g)(2).
4. All knives and any other instrument or device used or designed to be used to threaten or assault, whether for attack or defense.
5. Any object designed to look like or imitate a device as described in 1-4.

Pursuant to the Missouri Safe Schools Act and the federal Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, any student who brings or possesses a weapon as defined in #1 or #2 above on school property or at any school activity held at home or at another school campus/location will be suspended from school for at least one calendar year or expelled and will be referred to the appropriate legal authorities. The suspension or expulsion may be modified on a case-by-case basis upon recommendation by the superintendent to the Board of Education.

Students who bring or possess weapons as defined in #3, #4 and #5 and not otherwise included in #1 and #2, will also be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from school and may be referred to the appropriate legal authorities.

Students with disabilities who violate this policy will be disciplined in accordance with policy JGE.
This policy will be submitted annually to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education along with a report indicating any suspensions or expulsions resulting from the possession or use of a firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921. The report will include the name of the school in which the incidents occurred, the number of students suspended or expelled and the types of weapons involved.

“We have crisis plans in every building,” said Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Lori DeAnda. “We have trained our administrators to deal with any kind of discipline that may come up.”

Part of that crisis plan, in an instance such as last week, is to notify law enforcement for support. 
Anytime the district receives information that there might be some sort of weapon, each instance is handled differently based on the circumstances that surround it.

“It’s more likely that we have a firework brought in, but we treat every situation as though we don’t know what the weapon is,” said DeAnda.

Each building follows protocols to notify the district’s central office administrators, who then report to offer support to building administrators. District staff then work to identify any student that may be related to the incident or provide any information to help with the investigation at the site level. Anytime an administrator feels that an incident maybe have a criminal component or a law has been violated, the police department is notified.

According to DeAnda, whenever an administrator might believe a situation to be dangerous, the district works in collaboration with the police department to contain students and staff and enforce lockdown procedures. It is a decision made between an administrator and central office or central office and law enforcement.

“It could even be just that we don’t want kids in the hallways for a little while,” said DeAnda. “It is different every time, and there are situations in which the police have to take over and we follow them. Then there are situations where they follow us.”

Staff in the building is notified through a variety of ways, depending on the situation’s urgency.

“Technically, all of our buildings are locked down every day,” said DeAnda. “The perimeter doors are always locked.”

If law enforcement is involved, the lockdown procedures are not lifted until police determine it is safe to do so. The district’s administration also double-checks to ensure the safety of everyone in the building. While an investigation may be ongoing, the priority is to be certain that the area of the incident is safe and secure.

“We always want to improve however we can, and we are constantly networking with other districts and looking at best practices when it comes to security and safety procedures,” said DeAnda.

The district began a process after a previous incident to look at how to improve practices. During these conversations, it became evident, according to DeAnda, that while kids in the district are aware of the dangers associated with weapons, they are still struggling to communicate with adults when an unsafe situation arises.

“When we investigate, we discover that kids knew about it here and kids knew it there,” said DeAnda. “If we had been told at this time or at that time, we could have responded quicker or made the situation safer.”

DeAnda added that in many cases, the students know more about the situation than administration. Ironically, when last week’s incident occurred, district administration was in the high school building in a committee meeting discussing safety and communication with students.  

“We have started that conversation,” said DeAnda. “Clearly we need to expand now and we know parents are asking the same questions.”

The district is developing a plan to contact parents when an incident occurs and include families in the conversations. The priority for parents is safety, and the district understands that concern.

“How do you make schools as safe as possible without making them feel like prisons?” DeAnda asked. “This is not a new question. For fourteen years, we’ve not had an incident. We’ve kept our kids as safe as possible.”

Research proves, according to DeAnda, that schools are not made safer with the use of metal detectors.

“The perception is horrible,” said DeAnda. “That’s not us. I don’t believe that is the educational climate that we want to cultivate here in Grandview.”

The district will continue to work on safety procedures and communication with students, families and the community. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Explosion Levels Grandview Building

Fireworks to blame; ATF charges expected soon

by Mary Wilson,

What began as a structure fire on Grandview’s southwest side of I-49 last week quickly turned into something potentially life-threatening. Just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, Grandview first responders received word of a structure fire at JW’s Lawn and Garden Equipment, located at 14010 US 71 (140th and I-49).

According to Grandview Fire Marshal Lew Austin, the first responder to the scene drove to the front of the building, and deciding to set up a command post on the north, moved his vehicle to the side of the structure. At that time, the front-side of the building exploded. The initial blast could be felt all throughout Grandview and in nearby communities.

“We are thankful that no one was hurt,” said Grandview Fire Chief Ron Graham. “The cops usually get to the scene first, and as they do, they look around and one of our officers could have easily been killed.”

Graham said his firemen were aware of the building, and has previously discussed a plan of action if it were to ever catch fire.

“They knew they weren’t going to go in there,” said Graham. “When the call came in, it was determined that if the fire was anything at all, they would not go in and they would fight it from the outside. We were prepared for that. We weren’t prepared for this.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was called in to help with the investigation. What was initially believed to be ammunition exploding inside the structure turned out to be the supplies for the makings of fireworks.

Austin added that it was rumored that there was a dog inside the building at the time of the blast, and that it was known that a wood stove was used to heat the building. Some trees to the west of the property were sheered to about three or four feet off the ground. Grandview firefighters evacuated 46 people after the initial massive explosion just after 7 p.m. The fire department has also reported a total of nine homes with broken windows caused by the initial blast, and 19 apartments with damage.
The last inspection completed at JW’s Lawn and Garden Equipment was in 2012. Austin said that for a typical business still in operation, an inspection every five to seven years is the norm.

While the investigation is ongoing, ATF is working to determine whether to file state or federal charges against the business owner. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mid-America Regional Council Honors Grandview Main Street

by Mary Wilson,

As crews put the finishing touches on the fourth phase of Grandview’s Main Street renovation, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) notified the City of Grandview that the project is among the honorees as a 2016 Sustainable Success Story.
Grandview’s $6.1 million, four-phase Main Street Improvement Project is an example of a complete street design, incorporating a road diet to minimize the width of the street, widened sidewalks, and pocket parks along the six-tenths mile stretch into the heart of Downtown Grandview. The Main Street Improvement Project is often seen as the catalyst for recent growth in Grandview, including a redeveloped Truman’s Marketplace shopping center, and construction of Gateway Village, a $300 million stay-and-play development of soccer fields, hotels, restaurants, retail and residential components.
 “With its unique style, native landscaping, special architectural features and design, and pedestrian-friendly feel, Public Works Director Dennis Randolph and our design consultants BHC Rhodes have created a whole new Main Street Corridor that should stand the test of time for our city’s residents for many years to come,” said City Administrator Cory Smith.
Grandview presented its Main Street Improvement Project at MARC’s Sustainable Success Stories program, alongside other innovative projects like the KC Streetcar, at the Kauffman Foundation.  MARC’s Sustainable Success Stories competition encourages local organizations to submit projects focusing on sustainable development in the Greater Kansas City region, with an emphasis on green and complete street policies, projects and initiatives.
Receiving over 20 submissions each year, MARC’s Assistant Director for Transportation and Land Use Martin Rivarola said that they chose Grandview in order to highlight a completed project that included a long-range transportation plan to improve and enhance the community.
“These changes can be challenging along existing corridors, impacting surrounding businesses and other pains as projects are improving the area,” said Rivarola. “What we saw in the project from Grandview as a good amount of effort given to implementing the street elements we were looking for, including streetscaping, as well as solid demonstration of innovative stormwater management, in conjunction with other economic development efforts currently taking place in the city.”
Rivarola added that MARC saw a need to showcase successful implementations of complete projects to replicate elsewhere in the region.

MARC’s Sustainable Success Stories is part of an ongoing community dialogue focused on building a better understanding of sustainable practices that have the potential to transform the entire community into “America’s Green Region.” By sharing local successes and challenges, MARC can enable community partners to learn about and replicate locally-tailored, high-impact sustainability practices.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Bulldog's Christmas Wish

by Mary Wilson,

All Stanley wants for Christmas is to walk on all four legs. A two-year-old English bulldog, Stanley has spent his entire life overcoming obstacles. Born with a bilateral cleft lip, he underwent correctional surgery in March of 2015. He also had deformities in the bones in his legs, and his family was originally told there was no way to fix them. However, despite the initial setback, in July of this year, one of his hind legs was operated on to fix the disability that prevented him from walking. A few weeks ago, the other leg was corrected with another surgery.

“He was born with his hind legs tucked under him,” said Stanley’s mom, Deborah Pack. “So, with these surgeries, he’s learning to straighten his legs out and build the strength to stand and walk.”

Pack hopes that Stanley can be an inspiration to children with disabilities. Currently an ambassador for the Smile Train organization, Stanley helps to raise funds for children across the world to receive cleft palate surgeries.

“We want to show that Stanley is working hard, doing these exercises to build his strength,” said Pack.

Stanley visits the Animal Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Grandview weekly to go through exercises and be monitored by Grandview Animal Hospital veterinarians. At the ARC, he also receives acupuncture and laser therapies. He’s undergoing therapy to ensure equal weight distribution on the corrected legs.

“When he first came to us, he was not wanting to put any weight on his back legs at all,” said Dr. Jill Clark, of Grandview Animal Hospital. “He is doing significantly better from where he was. We move at the pace of the dog, and each rehabilitation schedule is tailored to the individual.”

Before the corrective procedures, Stanley worked with what he had. He ate, with the help of his brother, and he got around in whatever way he could manage. During his recent surgeries, it was discovered that Stanley also has a curve in his spine, and he’s working on different methods to compensate for that disability, as well.

“That’s how children are, they work with what they have,” said Pack. “So, when they find out they have a friend who actually knows what they go through, it can help encourage them. It’s important for children to understand they’re not alone.”

Armed with a Santa hat, Stanley feels confident to get through his different therapies put before him during each visit to the ARC.

“The hat encourages him, in a way,” said Pack.

Whether it’s a hat, food, or another type of motivation, Stanley is encouraging to watch. Working three times each day at home, his family is pushing him to reach the goal of walking by Christmas.
The Animal Rehabilitation Center provides care in weight loss, family walks, playing fetch, post-operative exercise or making the most out of the time families have with their pets. Located at 1012 Main Street, Suite B, in Grandview, they can be reached by calling 816-492-6061.

“It’s a very unique thing they do here (at ARC) and we were very blessed to find them,” said Pack. “He’s worked really hard, and we think he can be an inspiration to others. While he’s not to that point yet, he’s trying.”

Like most two-year-olds, after his therapy sessions, Stanley has half of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. According to Dr. Clark, Stanley is not the only ARC patient that leaves and goes to get a cheeseburger. He also enjoys seeing Christmas lights, and when it’s nicer out, he likes watching boats and birds. You can follow Stanley’s story on Facebook, and cheer him on along his journey to walking by Christmas, under Stanley The English Bulldog Puppy fan-page. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Plumber's pipe dream made reality in Haiti

by Mary Wilson,

Timing is everything. In life, we make time to do the things we love, when we can. For Jeff Morgan, taking the trip of his dreams just took a little patience, and time. Earlier this year, Morgan stepped away from his successful plumbing business and entered into retirement. But, he’s not the kind of guy to just sit around waste away the minutes, days or weeks he’s been afforded.

Morgan believes that if you have a dream, and you say it out loud, you can make it happen. That’s exactly what he did. A few years ago, Morgan voiced his desire to travel to a third-world country to make what little bit of difference he could in a different part of the world. Being a social-media guru (he has been to “Facebookland,” as he calls it, and worked with their small business professionals), he saw a post from the Plumbers Without Borders organization.

“They shared a Build Health International (BHI) post about what they were doing in Haiti,” said Morgan. “I thought, ‘well, that would be really neat.’ So, I got on BHI’s website, filled out some paperwork, but I didn’t turn it in. It was all filled out; I just had to push one more button.”

While Morgan felt compelled to do it, he said he also felt a little scared. In February of this year, as he was leaving the office for the last time, a coworker told him he should go ahead and volunteer.

“He said, ‘why don’t you just go ahead and go to Haiti and do that work like you talked about,’” said Morgan. “So, after he left the office and I was boxing away the rest of my stuff, I pushed the button.”

Morgan put the thought in the back of his mind. It wasn’t until 6-8 weeks after he sent in his paperwork that he received an email. He then went through an interview-type process, where he spoke with folks from every spectrum of the BHI organization. The executive director of the organization owned a mechanical company, sold it, and took the proceeds to start BHI.

“Our stories were so similar,” said Morgan. “We had something in common.”

Having not worked with his hands in over a decade, and not worked any new construction for quite some time, Morgan was a little surprised to discover BHI thought he was a good match for their organization.

“I couldn’t even tell you how long it’s been since I’ve done that stuff,” said Morgan. “But, I can direct, and lead, and teach. So, that’s what I thought they would have me do.”

He scheduled an appointment to get current on all of his shots, and once those were complete, BHI started throwing some dates out to him.

“The very week that I was supposed to go, the hurricane came,” said Morgan. “I didn’t know how soon they would reschedule me, or how that even worked. But just before Halloween, they wrote me back and said they were ready.”

The timing worked for Morgan, and he flew to Miami where he met a representative from BHI whom he would travel with to Haiti.

“I was, literally, the last person on the plane to Haiti,” said Morgan. “I was charging my phone until the last possible minute. I wanted to make sure I was at 100%; I didn’t know what it was going to be like when I got there, you know?”

Once they landed in Haiti, Morgan was instructed to “do what I do” from his guide.
“It was absolutely berserk,” said Morgan. “There were animals everywhere. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.”

Hearing people speaking in Creole, Morgan said he definitely felt as though he was in a foreign land. With barbed-wire surrounding the first jobsite (a security measure), Morgan was escorted through and saw a security guard with a sawed-off shotgun.

“I respected him right away,” said Morgan. “That’s when it got a little bit scary. Not of getting shot or anything like that, I was scared because I knew that I couldn’t turn the channel.”

He then felt this new strength and armored himself with a shell to somewhat compartmentalize what he had stepped into.

“Something just came over me,” said Morgan. “You’re here; you have to get through this. That’s what I kept telling myself. Enjoy it. Do what you’re supposed to do; be what you’re supposed to be.”

Some equipment came to take back with them. Throwing the tailgate down on a truck, Morgan immediately started hauling the tools onto the bed. It was then that he said the others could tell he was there to work.

“And, man, they tested that,” said Morgan. “I dug a ditch. I did gas piping. I had to get all the equipment myself, having to go find it and work with whatever I found.”

While in Haiti, he felt a sense of overwhelming pride and humility. Many towns don’t have electricity, and some only have it during certain times. With no running water, the Haitians get their water from wells. Orphans earn their keep as indentured servants.

Morgan got back to his plumbing roots while he was in Haiti. The first week, he did a job that took up most of a day (which, he said he would expect his guys back home to finish before lunchtime). The second week, armed with a pick and a shovel, two apprentices and Morgan dug a ditch for a water line.

“This kid dug this ditch, 85 feet long, 2 feet deep, all day long, with flip flops on,” said Morgan. “I was just in admiration of the kid.”

He bonded with the boys. Later that week, the one in flip flops had gotten a pair of tennis shoes. At the end of the week, right before his return home, Morgan knew the bigger of the two would fit into his boots.

“I gave him my boots. I gave him my pants and a couple shirts,” said Morgan. “The other one wouldn’t have fit into any of my stuff; he was kind of little. The company, Morgan Miller Plumbing, had given me a care package. It was all wrapped a bandana. That thing was my savior while I was there, it was the best tool I had. So, on the last day, I gave the smaller of the two boys my bandana.”

On his way out of Haiti, Morgan’s transportation returned to the jobsite for gas and oil. He noticed that all the young men were lined up waiting for their job assignments for the day. Rolling down his window, Morgan looked to see if he could spot the two boys, thinking they’d be in line and he’d see his bandana.

“There he was. He’s got my freaking bandana on his head,” said Morgan. He raised his fist out the window. The boy spotted him, and raised his fist in the air as the car drove out of sight. “It was awesome. I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again.”

Coming home after his two-week adventure, Morgan knew he was forever changed.

“All I could think about the whole way home was, ‘who am I going to be?’ I can’t complain about anything ever again,” said Morgan. “I don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I’m still, a month later, walking around in a daze. I’m not the same, I’m just not. And it’s a magical feeling.”

The impact the trip made on Morgan’s life is profound. He’s unsure of what the future holds, though it seems as though the inherent need he has to lend a hand may lead him to other parts of the world and other people who are struggling.

“Facebook does this; it takes you all around the world and leads you to all kinds of paths that you would have never gone down otherwise,” said Morgan. “I’ve got the time. I’ve got the energy. Why not help where I can and when I can? That’s what it’s all about.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Grandview’s only provisionally-accredited school feels sense of urgency

by Mary Wilson, Editor

As part of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP), the Grandview C-4 School District is required to develop an ongoing, written Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP), which directs the overall improvement of its education programs and services. The CSIP includes goals and strategies that direct the improvement efforts of the district for at least a five-year period.

One of the focus areas in the district’s CSIP is student achievement, including processes to develop and enhance quality educational/instructional programs to improve performance and enable students to meet their personal academic and career goals.  In accordance with this focus area, one of the action items states that each school site will utilize the School Improvement Process during teacher collaboration to identify goals, focus on adult learning to improve instruction, and monitor student achievement progress to inform instruction.

These plans have been developed by the school leadership teams and have incorporated feedback from site-based stakeholder groups.  On Thursday, November 17, Grandview Middle School presented their School Improvement Plan to the Board of Education. With the final Annual Performance Reports released last month, the district learned that GMS fell below the fully-accredited range (70% or higher), garnering 63.6% of possible points. In 2014, the school was considered accredited with distinction, with 94.3% of possible points earned.

“We are sticking out like a sore thumb as a provisionally-accredited school,” said Grandview Middle School Principal Jacqueline Spencer. “That is not who we want to be and we do have a sense of urgency with where we are right now.”

This year, GMS is focusing on culture, professional learning community processes, and reading and writing in all content areas.

“The numbers that we are seeing just do not reflect our students,” said Spencer. “Nor do they reflect our staff. We have a lot of work to do. It’s not our story, but these are the numbers that we have.”

The first goal is to increase achievement in English Language Arts (ELA) for all GMS students. An emphasis will be put on various writing types as well as increasing reading comprehension through close reading strategies and the implementation of a building incentive program.

“Our target this year is to have 50% of our students proficient (in ELA),” said Spencer. “That will mean moving approximately 22 additional students to the proficiency level. We think that we will be able to do that.”

The second goal is to increase GMS student achievement in math. This will include teaching multi-step problem solving, algebraic expression and fractions at the middle school level. Each area will be assessed through the district’s benchmarking process. While the school did see an increase in algebra scores, it does not reflect on GMS’s overall points because algebra is scored at the high school level.

“We have to help at least 65 more eighth-grade students become proficient math students,” said Spencer. “With two math classes, that is 32 students per teacher, or seven students per class. Drilling it down that far shows the teachers that we can do this, this is feasible.”

Spencer and her team have also broken down student achievement levels in math for seventh and sixth grade students. In seventh grade, at least 40 additional students will need to score proficient.
The third goal is to increase student achievement in science, emphasizing earth and space, physical, life, engineering, technology and application of science. GMS plans to increase the number of students scoring proficient and advanced by 5% or more and decrease the number of students scoring basic and below basic by 5% or more.  

“Our target goal for this year is 50% of our students scoring proficient in science,” said Spencer. “With 28% proficient last year, this would mean that we need to increase by 45 students.”

A focus will be on the number of students in remediation, or those students who simply don’t understand the concepts, as well as the number of students who are in mastery-level on testing.

“Once we have that picture, we can then drill-down on what the students need individually,” said Spencer. “We will now focus on how we get our instructional strategies so aligned to either accelerate our students or enrich our students. For those students that are in remediation, we’ll have to fill in the gaps.”

Reading, writing and vocabulary continue to remain at the forefront of instruction. Spencer and her administrative team will also work to increase attendance and decrease the number of discipline referrals by creating a positive school culture and climate and provide a safe learning environment where respect and responsibility are hallmarks of character. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

CAC celebrates a giving community this holiday season

by Mary Wilson

Community Assistance Council is thankful this holiday season, and volunteers and employees have been celebrating all year. Marking 40 years in 2016, CAC held an anniversary celebration in September with over 200 people in attendance. Mary Russell, an original board member and community leader from 1976, was on-hand and recognized as an honored guest. The largest single fundraiser to date for CAC, the event netted approximately $20,000.

This year, after 33 years with CAC, executive director Carol Bird Owsley announced her retirement. Owsley received a personal proclamation from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and Councilmen Scott Taylor and Kevin McManus declared Friday, September 30, 2016, Carol Bird Owsley Day in Kansas City.

With Owsley’s retirement, CAC announced April Diaz as the new Executive Director. Diaz holds a master’s in social work and African studies, and a bachelor’s in political science and sociology, all from the University of Illinois. She also holds advanced certifications in nonprofit management, fundraising management, nonprofit board of education, meditation and human services management.

Prior to CAC, Diaz worked in donor relations for United Way of Greater Kansas City. She also served previously as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), as the assistant director of a community center in Illinois, and as a graduate research assistant at the Children and Family Research Center at the University of Illinois.

“It’s been good having April on board and having a fresh set of eyes on everything,” said Pam Meek, CAC Programs Coordinator.

Within the last year, CAC has opened the SAFE pantry, started a Happy Bottoms program, and was named Harvesters Agency of the Year.

“We’ve been blessed because we’ve had so much community support, especially on food drives, the past few months,” said Meek. “It’s amazing, it seems like this year, everybody is hearing about us.”

With the community support, CAC was able to help 98 families over the Thanksgiving holiday with food baskets. The Holiday Store is set for December 12-16, and CAC is currently collecting donations of gifts, stocking stuffers and gift wrap. Interested volunteers can serve as guides, food basket packers and shelf stockers. Shifts are from 9 a.m. to noon and noon to 3 p.m. each day.

CAC will help around 120 families with holiday this season. Suggested gift items include toys and games, household items, small appliances, wallets and purses, bedding, cologne, small tools, crafts, electronics, and sporting goods.

“If it’s a gift you would get for someone in your family, someone else would likely want it too,” said Meek. “We are always in need of food items. Anything that would contribute to a holiday meal always works.”

Looking toward the future of CAC, Meek added that they will be on the hunt for some architectural designers to help coordinate their upcoming move to Burke Elementary. Currently, CAC has just over 5000 square feet of space. When they move, they will double their inside square footage and have access to grounds for potential gardens and outdoor use. According to the Hickman Mills School District timeline, CAC will have access to their portion of the property beginning on August 1, 2017.

“With construction and other projects we’d like to have done, I’d imagine we won’t be in there and fully functioning until 2018,” said Diaz.

Potential volunteers for the Holiday Store, donation pickup drivers, Meals on Wheels drivers, food pantry workers or any other projects can contact CAC by calling 816-763-3277, or visit them online at