Friday, August 22, 2014

New Hours for New Grandview Parks

By Mary Wilson

With the Grandview community embracing their new parks and showing their appreciation at the polls on August 5 with the passage of more no-tax-increase parks bonds, the excitement of what’s already been completed has received attention from neighboring cities. With an uptick in usage from Grandview residents, as well as the metro area as a whole, Grandview Parks and Recreation staff has also seen an increase in complaints.

“We are seeing a tremendous increase in park usage across the city,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Lucas. “With that increase, we are also seeing and hearing concerns from citizens regarding park usage after dark.”
The complaints have been from concerns stemming from Meadowmere, Mapleview and Valley Parks. Previously, city ordinance allowed for park usage between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. daily.

“The current ordinance makes it difficult for our police department to enforce the ordinance because if it’s 9:00 and dark outside, people are legally allowed to use the parks,” said Lucas. “Given that most of our parks are in neighborhoods, and the fact that not much good comes from activities after dark, we believe that the park hours need to be modified.”
Lucas discussed possible scenarios with staff and also gathered information from other area ordinances to determine what the best-case-scenario would be for Grandview. Ultimately, the Board of Aldermen voted to unanimously approve a new ordinance regarding park usage hours at the Tuesday, August 12 meeting.

Effective immediately, the ordinance now states that it is unlawful for any person to be on or in the premises, boundaries or facilities of any park or park facility between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from April 1 to October 31, and between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from November 1 to March 31. An exception would be made for those participating in a scheduled, supervised program of the city’s parks and recreation department or with written permission from Lucas. Those breaking the ordinance could face a fine of up to $100, or face up to 90 days jail time.

“The police department preferred a scenario with set hours because it keeps things much cleaner for them and eliminates interpretation,” said Lucas.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 2014 Primary Election Results

Following Tuesday’s election, some races are over, while others are just beginning.

The primary sets in place candidates from each party who will be facing off in November. Below is a listing of the unofficial ballot results for local races with opponents, as well as the outcome of state and local amendments and questions.

For a complete listing of election results, visit

Thursday, July 17, 2014

May Milling Enriches Grandview Community for Generations

By Mary Wilson


Since 1930, the May family has been milling about Grandview when J. Russell May bought Grandview Feed Mills, located on the corner of 6th and Rhodes, for $2000 from a man by the name of Edward Curtis. Over the years, May Milling Company has become a local institution. On Sunday, July 13, Rod May, Jr. shared the history of the family business with members of the Grandview Historical Society.

Currently working as manager of May Milling, Rod, Jr. is a fifth-generation mill worker for the May family. His father, Rod May, Sr., operated the business from the late 1960s until his semi-retirement in 1994. Perched on a seat made of feed bags, Rod, Jr. joked that the May family should go into the furniture business.

The May family has been in the grain business since 1898, when Rod, Jr.’s great-great grandfather came from Scotland and got into the cooper barrel-making business in Independence. When business began to decline in the 1890s, he switched gears and installed an elevator and a scale and started the grain business. That would become the May Coal and Feed Company at 407 South Liberty Street in Independence. The family also owned May Grain Company in Dodson, MO.

In June of 1938, the Mays acquired Quisenberry Feed Manufacturing Company, located at 258 W 3rd Street in Kansas City. This plant produced the feed for the Grandview mill and for many feed retail stores in the Midwest, and the base of operations was moved to Quisenberry, later changing its name to May Way Mills, Inc.

In September of 1939, Grandview Feed Mills burned down. The mill burned for two days, due to an overheated ball bearing in the oat crimper. The entire facility was made of wood and tin.

“There were people in Grandview who would come home, eat dinner, and then go down to the mill to watch it burn,” said May.

It was a total, devastating loss. Today, all that remains of the original building is a concrete walk-in safe. After the fire, J. Russell bought the Dodson mill from his father, Nephi May, for $1. In 1940, Grandview Feed Mills opened a new office across from the old plant on Rhodes Avenue. There were two small warehouses and a large haybarn located at 6th and Main.

Both small warehouses burned down later, and operations were moved inside the large haybarn. With its plank floors, milling machinery and an elevator installation, Grandview Feed Mills changed its name to May Milling Company in 1940, where it continues operations today. The interior of the warehouse was built with old wooden boxcar sides.

When they reopened, customer parking space was needed on the east side of the building. At the time, the Mays leased land from the railroad. When lease pricing kept climbing to the point where it wasn’t worth the price, the Mays then moved the entrance to the west side of the building, with use of the new dock and entrance beginning in 1994.

Due to J. Russell’s failing health in 1957, Rod, Sr. moved to Kansas City, where he worked with his father in the office until he was no longer able to work. J. Russell died in 1971, and when his wife, Elizabeth, died in 1985, ownership of the two companies passed to her sons, with Rod, Sr. taking over operations.

In 1989, Quisenberry Mills was sold to Timothy Blevin, and was closed within the next two years.

Over the years, former employees have come in to tell stories of their times working in the mill. The family looks forward to hearing from visitors of the past. Presently, May Milling Company sells its own brand of dog food, horse feed, wild bird food and several kinds of feed for domestic birds. The only feed produced and bagged at their location is the domestic bird feed.

May Milling is also home to cats, and patrons may remember the calico with the reputation of being the best “mouser” ever. Located at 606 Main Street in Grandview, May Milling also carries different brands of feed for all kinds of animals, as well as cooking spices, dog treats, and an assortment of other items.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grandview Turns Corner on Future Development

Truman’s Marketplace development moving forward this summer

 RED Legacy, in partnership with the City of Grandview announces plans to move forward with the redevelopment of the Truman Corners Shopping Center in Grandview, Missouri. In addition to the new name, Truman’s Marketplace boasts a complete remodel and the introduction of several new tenants.

 The 72-acre site is located at the intersection of Blue Ridge Boulevard and Highway 71/Interstate 49, on what was once the boyhood farm of the nation’s 33rd President. Once completed in the summer of 2015, Truman’s Marketplace will bring 580,000 square-feet of major brand grocery, specialty stores, apparel shops, pet supplies, arts and crafts, and new restaurants to the area.

 “This will be a wonderful front door for Grandview,” says Grandview Mayor Leonard D. Jones, Jr.  ”This site serves as the gateway not only to Grandview, but also the entire Kansas City Metro area. We could not be more thrilled to have this development underway.”

 The site has been the subject of complex property acquisition issues and negotiations since the redevelopment project was originally announced, however, the shopping center anticipates opening by late spring 2015.  RED Legacy has commitments from retailers for most of the shopping center space, including a new anchor store, and anticipates that the pad sites will be filled once construction on the shopping center begins late this year.

“The City of Grandview and RED Legacy are very excited about how quickly this project has come together in the past few months. Though we have been excited to get started, we are actually seeing some benefit from the timing.  Changes just this year in the financial markets have allowed the City to actually reduce its financial risk,” stated Jones. “This is a great opportunity for Grandview and its residents. I know that the community and those visiting Grandview will be pleased with the variety of new stores and restaurants that will soon be available.”

RED Legacy, as well, is bullish on the success of the new shopping center. “We’ve known for quite sometime what a treasure this location is,” stated Bart Lowen, Managing Partner of RED Legacy.  “It has great access for the entire metro and is under-served for retail and restaurants. The response to lease space has been tremendous.”



Bolstering that claim, RED Legacy released the names of seven new tenants that would be a part of the renovated Truman’s Marketplace.

New stores and restaurants joining the new center include:

Ross Dress for Less—The largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States with 1,146 locations in 33 states, Ross offers first-quality, in-season, name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions for the entire family at everyday savings of 20% to 60% off department and specialty store regular prices.

TJ Maxx—T.J. Maxx  is one of the country’s most prominent off-price retailers of apparel and home fashions, offering  an ever-fresh array of fashionable, brand name family apparel, home fashions and other merchandise, such as beauty products. T.J. Maxx operates 1,079 stores in 49 states.

Burlington—.Burlington stocks a large assortment of current, high-quality, designer and name brand coats, clothing, and shoes for the entire family— at up to 70% off department store prices. With over 470 stores in 44 states, Burlington is among the nation’s most prominent off-price retailers.

LC's BBQ—Amidst the competitive Kansas City BBQ scene, LC’s has quietly earned a reputation for serving the finest burnt ends and ribs in the business, with many barbeque enthusiasts regarding LC’s sauce as one of the area’s best-kept secrets. For authentic Kansas City-style BBQ LC’s is considered one of the greats.

Petco—Petco is a leading specialty retailer of premium pet food, supplies, services and companion animals with more than 1,200 stores in all 50 states. Petco provides more than 10,000 different pet-related products for dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and small animals.

Shoe Carnival—Shoe Carnival is a leading retailer of family footwear. Each store offers a wide selection of both name brand and private label merchandise, where contests, games, neon signs, flashing lights and up-tempo music produce an energized shopping atmosphere.

Anna’s Nails – Adding a new specialty shop to the new center.

The new marketplace will consist of mostly new construction, with a high level of architectural finish.  Any remaining structures will be reconstructed with entirely new facades and interiors, presenting an appearance duplicating the new construction.

Existing stores that will continue operation in brand new surroundings include:

Price Chopper

54th Street Grill

International House of Pancakes


Dollar Tree

Advanced Auto

Payless Shoe Source

Radio Shack


Truman Corners Barber

Sally Beauty


Originally opened in 1958, Truman Corners shopping mall has been Grandview’s premier shopping destination for decades.  The reconfigured Truman’s Marketplace is designed to be a walkable shopping center with pedestrian connections to Truman’s farmstead and numerous other pedestrian-friendly amenities. In addition to completely new architecture, the project will feature an entirely remodeled parking area, landscaping and hardscaping throughout the center.


Fired from the same single-minded drive that powered RED Development for more than 16 years, RED Legacy delivers shopping centers focused on rent growth and providing a unique customer experience.  The newly created RED Legacy focuses on suburban and infill redevelopment opportunities.  Under RED co-founder, Dan Lowe, RED Legacy engages in value-add projects with strong returns.  Please visit for more information.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grandview Man Dies After Being Shot

Grandview, MO - Last night at about 11:30 p.m., Grandview Patrol Officers responded to the 6300 block of 127th Street on several calls regarding the sounds of shots fired.  It was discovered that a 41-year-old man had been taken by his family to a local hospital with a gunshot wound.  The man later died at the hospital.

Grandview Detectives and KCPD Officers located two juveniles, one 13- and one 14-year-old at a residence in Kansas City, MO.  The juveniles were taken in for questioning.

Anyone having information regarding the shooting is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 474-TIPS (816-474-8477) or the Grandview Police Department at 816-316-4980.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grandview Gal Meets Memphis Belle

Click on the video to experience takeoff in the Memphis Belle, overlooking downtown Kansas City.

By Mary Wilson

This week, I had the incredible opportunity to step back into time and channel my inner Rosie the Riveter as I experienced the “Flying Fortress” herself, Memphis Belle B-17. With her sleek belly, loud purrs and tattoos of swastikas and pin-up girls, Memphis Belle is surely a sight to be seen.

While the Memphis Belle I saw on Monday wasn’t used in battle, it is the aircraft that was used in the movie Memphis Belle. She was built tough, able to withstand heavy combat and bring her soldiers home safe. Just walking around her on the outside, I could feel her power and authority. She means business.

The Boeing B-17 is by far the most famous bomber of World War II. In 1934, the Boeing Aircraft Company began construction of a four-engine heavy-bomber. Known as the Model -299, the first flight was achieved on July 28, 1935. As a result, the U.S. Government placed an order for production of thirteen of the aircraft and began to take delivery of the production between January 11 and August 4, 1937. The Final B-17 production model, the B-17G was produced in the largest quantities (8,680) than any other previous model and is considered the definitive "Flying Fortress".

During WWII, the B-17 saw service in every theater of operation, but was operated primarily by the 8th Air Force in Europe, and participated in countless missions from bases in England. A typical B-17 mission often lasted for more than eight hours and struck targets deep within enemy territory. During the war, B-17's dropped 640,036 tons of bombs on European targets in daylight raids. This compares to the 452,508 tons dropped by the B-24 and 464,544 tons dropped by all other U.S. aircraft. The B-17 also downed 23 enemy aircraft per 1,000 raids as compared with 11 by B-24's and 11 by fighters and three by all U.S. medium and light bombers.

There were a total of 12,732 B-17s produced between 1935 and May, 1945. Of these, 4,735 were lost in combat. Following WWII, the B-17 saw service in three more wars. B-17's were used in Korea, Israel used them in the war of 1948, and they were even used during Vietnam.

Today, fewer than 100 B-17 airframes exist and fewer still are in airworthy condition. At one time, more than 1,000 B-17's could be assembled for mass combat missions. Now, less than 15 of Boeing’s famous bombers can still take to the sky.

“The minute that people start to think that this sort of thing is boring, we have a big problem,” said volunteer pilot John Ferguson. “We need to get the word out to the public on the history of the wartime veterans and what they did for us. If they didn’t do what they did for us then, we wouldn’t be able to do this today. That’s what we’re all about.”

Memphis Belle is anything but boring. Climbing aboard through her small door, I sat in the back of the aircraft, closest to a veteran who remembers flying in B-17s during the war all too well. 95-year-old Jake Simonitsch was in a B-17 during the war and was gunned down.

I sat down, strapped myself in, and readied for takeoff. The four engines roared to life, and we were on our way. The flight itself was much smoother than I anticipated. Once we were in flight, we were able to unbuckle and walk, sometimes crawl, through the plane.

I crawled all the way to the nose of the plane, which would have been manned by a gunner engineer to defend the aircraft from enemy fire. The view from that seat was simply breathtaking, as we circled above Kansas City.

When finished exploring all of her nooks and crannies, and receiving a few “souvenirs”, or love bites of my own, as Ferguson calls them, we headed back to our seats to ready for landing. Once again, I sat toward the rear of the plane, closest to Simonitsch. He had a look of pure joy on his face as we neared the landing strip.

When the wheels touched ground, he looked at me and smiled, giving a thumbs up. To experience something that so long ago was so prevalent in this man’s life alongside him is truly something I will never forget.

“I was a navigator on one of these planes for eighteen missions,” said Simonitsch. “That eighteenth mission was when the Germans decided I didn’t need to fly anymore.”

The Memphis Belle, leased by the nonprofit Liberty Foundation, will be on display for free tours this weekend at the Wheeler Downtown Airport, and will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as part of the foundation’s 2014 Salute to Veterans tour. Public flights will also be available for $450, and last about 30 minutes with nine seats available. Call 918-340-0243 to book a flight.

The volunteers with Liberty Foundation will be running the flights and tours all weekend, and hope to keep the history alive with donations from the public.

“We’re volunteers because World War II and the airplanes flown are in our DNA,” said Ferguson. “It’s why I became a pilot. This is home for me.”

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Problem Solved


By Paul Thompson

The South Kansas City Alliance connected eight city departments with constituents on Saturday, June 14, in the first of (hopefully) many “problem-solving” events to be held in South Kansas City.
Cribbed from the successful Northland neighborhood alliance problem-solving events, 6th District Councilman John Sharp suggested that the SKC Alliance attempt something similar with their constituents. So it was last Saturday, when representatives from the water department, the South Patrol police department, the 311 Action Center, the codes department, public works, street repairs, parks and recreation, and the Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) came to the Trailside Center from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to meet with citizens face-to-face and listen to their problems.
“You aren’t just emailing someone or calling someone, you can actually have face-to-face contact and have the time to fully explain the problem,” said Sharp of the event. “We think it will really facilitate the city addressing problems and solving them more effectively, and quicker.”
Each department was split up at their own tables, with chairs opposite the department representatives for citizens to sit and explain their respective issues. With dozens of city residents crisscrossing the room, moving from table to table, the scene more closely resembled a round of speed dating than a typical public meeting.
City staff enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the people.
“It’s great to come out and actually meet the people. It gives us a chance to actually have a conversation,” said Roosevelt Parks of the Parks and Recreation department. “Oftentimes, you just get a problem and then you have to work on it. When you get a chance to actually sit down with somebody, you can talk about some of the challenges and give them an understanding of what we’re facing.”
Andy Shively of the water department agreed that the event proved to be a strong benefit for all involved.
“It’s a great opportunity for the city and for water services. It’s a great chance to interact with our customers,” said Shively. “We really enjoy these opportunities to get out and interact with the residents and give them a chance to talk to a live person. I think everyone is pleased so far, and I’m sure it’s going to be a success.”
Chris Korth of the Kansas City Alliance organized the event, and he was pleased with the amount of interest from both the citizens and city staff. Everyone at the Trailside Center had volunteered their time, and he felt the effort was well spent. Korth said that his group will keep working to ensure that South Kansas City residents remain properly represented moving forward.
“We’re concerned about doing many things for South Kansas City to make it a better place to work, to live, and to play,” said Korth.