Thursday, February 23, 2012

Martin City Prepares for the 25th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Martin City Business & Community Association (MCBCA) is gearing up for the 25th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Sunday March 11, 2012. This year’s theme is “25 Years of Goin’ Green”.  All parade entries may feel free to decorate with green, green, green.

Gary Lezak, Chief Meteorologist at KSHB, NBC ACTION NEWS is the official Grand Marshall  and will kick the parade off at 2:00 pm.

Activities preceding the parade begin at 11:00 a.m. and will include an Entertainment Area at 135th St. & Oak in heart of Martin City.  Faulkner Ranch will set up their popular Kiddie Korral showcasing the ranch ponies, the traveling Petting Farm filled with Barnyard Friends, a Western Props Cow Milking Contest and 4 Rockin’ Ropers. A Pigment Pie Face Painting tent will be strategically set up right outside of the Kiddie Korral entrance.  This is some of the most face beautiful painting you will ever see.

A Prince & Princess Contest will be held for children ages two to seven with the winners judged prior to the parade and riding in the parade as royal dignitaries.  The Prince & Princess will both receive gift baskets including a $50 Savings Bond.  All participants will receive a gift bag for just entering.
Land of Paws will coordinate a Best Dressed Dog Contest with the canine winner and owner also participating in the parade and receiving gifts.  The Martin City Animal Hospital tent will provide water and treats for all dogs.

Food and beverage stations will include the Boy Scouts Hot Dog & Refreshment Stand, and Martin City’s own Pizza Shoppe.  Also featured are R’s Funnel Cakes, and the MC Business Association Information Tent including MCBCA St. Patrick bead sales – 3 for $1.00!  There will also be roving bead sales persons throughout the afternoon.

This annual parade, called Kansas City’s “biggest little fun parade” consistently draws over 20,000 attendees who come to enjoy the IRISHPALOOZA festivities. They arrive early, line the streets with their folding chairs and await the fun.

The parade will begin at 2:00 p.m. departing from the State Line Point Shopping Center parking lot at Washington St. & 135th St.  The parade will proceed east across 135th Street to Holmes Road. The parade typically has over 65 entries - a great mix of floats, family entries, drill teams, auto clubs, motorcycle groups, dignitary cars, walking groups and many animal groups.  The parade ends at around 3:30 p.m.
Cash prizes will be awarded for the following categories: Overall best parade entry = $600; Overall second place entry = $300; Overall third place entry = $100; Best Smart Car Cash Awards 1st Place = $100, 2nd Place $50 and 3rd Place $25. 
Other prizes include a RC’s Best of Show trophy with Jess & Jim’s Gift Card, and the Don Harmon Most Humorous Entry receiving Martin City gift cards.
Capping off the day, many of the parade attendees will mosey on down to RC’s Backdoor Restaurant & Bar, Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse, the Martin City Brewing Company and Jack Stack BBQ for a meal and more festivities.

All information on the parade and events that precede and follow it is available on the parade website, www.irishpalooza.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Greener Pastures

By Joe Dimino & Andrea Wood
This Valentine's Day, on the western edge of Grandview's Main Street, wreaths of roses, an "I Love You" balloon, and stuffed animals were tied to a barbed-wire fence along a lonely pasture. It was an outpouring of affection for a friendly donkey, who during his 32 years taught many the meaning of unconditional love.

It had been a difficult winter for Ebenezer, the world-famous ‘Goodwill Ambassador' of Grandview, and he toughed it out just as long as he could. All the while, he kept braying, walking up to the fence along Main Street to greet fans and do everything we have always loved about Ebenezer.

On the evening of February 12, 2012, with his caretakers Shirley and Randy Phillips by his side, he was ready to bid us all his farewell and finally rest his aging bones.
 
Most recently, he suffered a fall in the mud and was in an extreme amount of pain.
 
All in all, he cheated death several times and made the entire Kansas City metro, along with the world, believe in him enough to wrest him back from the brink of death and fund all the needed medicines to keep him going. 

Whether it was buying a calendar from a local feed store or sending in money from Canada, Ebenezer was always on someone's mind.
 
I still remember the triumphant tears of joy in Shirley Phillips' eyes when Ebenezer finally walked down his ramp outside his pasture and returned from the Equine clinic in Raymore, MO on April 28, 2010 after 83 days of recovery from bad gums, ailing hooves and a hurt lung.
 
The little donkey that could was even provided a police escort back home.

In a welcome from a throng of locals that loved that donkey, he was made new and whole again. With new digs and the daily tending by Randy and Shirley, along with a host of other friends, Ebenezer was in good company and ready to take on the world once more.
 
It is in this moment of emptiness, I think we should be mindful of what Ebenezer was and how his legacy will live on. Thanks to Ben and Victoria Alvarado for bringing this unique donkey to a pasture just off Main in Grandview after being inspired on a trip to Jerusalem.
 
"I decided to name him Ebenezer because it means that God has brought us this far," Ben said. "I think about how Ebenezer has brought us this far."
 
"He has truly touched many people over the years and just keeps on bringing people together," Shirley explained. "Watching how Ebenezer treats all the people he meets has taught me that the human race needs to be more like him.
 
"He just simply accepts everybody for who they are," Shiley reflected. "Maybe that's why God put him here - to teach us us all to be more tolerant and friendly towards each other."
 
And in the end, it was Randy and Shirley Phillips who did what they do best .. love Ebenezer and make sure he wasn't going to leave this planet alone. 

For all the people he made feel connected to community, nature, and each other, he deserved a heap of love in the end and he got it every day from his caretakers and the many folks that understood how unique he truly was.


As we move on with our lives and personal adventures, we know that Ebenezer's tales will surely be spun in a multitude of ways. Ebenezer was like the hero of a children's book that almost seems fictional. That was the key ingredient to the Ebenezer mix...it was all true and it's a beautiful story.
 
For all the kids and adults that were lured in by the charisma of Ebenezer, they will continue to retell the story of a famous donkey in a pasture in Grandview.
His is a story that Pixar Studios makes films about. Yet, Grandview is a town cool enough with a community caring enough to create some unique non-fiction.
 
Thank you. We love you, Ebenezer.
 
And as the bumper sticker on so many local cars declare:LONG LIVE EBENEZER!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
For more information and photographs of Ebenezer, see his website at: www.ebenezerthedonkey.com

Hickman Mills Proposes Teacher Layoffs

By Mary Kay Morrow
Hickman Mills C-1 is proposing to cut nearly $3 million in teacher positions -- approximately 50 positions -- for next school year.

"We'll try to give notice by late March to those teachers who won't get contracts," Associate Superintendent of Business Mitch Nutterfield said. "We'll have to tell them, ‘unless something changes, we're not going to be able to bring you back.'"

Nutterfield laid out the plan at a school board retreat at Holiday Inn on February 4th. Additional proposed cuts for the 2012-13 school year include $480,000 in central office administrative costs, $400,000 in building administrator reductions, and a $355,000 elimination of recess aids, a police officer, and intramural extra duty costs.

Nutterfield told the board that the federal government has notified the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that 2012-13 funding will be 85% of this year's funding.

"There will be no federal stimulus money next year," Nutterfield said. "Since it is an election year, there may not be a lot of changes."
 
However, last month Missouri Governor Jay Nixon proposed a record-level $5 million statewide increase in the K-12 school foundation formula. If approved, that would be the largest amount ever distributed to classrooms.
 
Nonetheless, Nutterfield presented more than $4.85 million in reductions to the Hickman Mills budget, along with more than $1 million in additional expenditures to fund Step increases for staff and additional benefit costs.

IMPACT ON THE CLASSROOM
The cuts proposed for next school year fall heavily on the backs of the teaching staff in the district. This comes at a time when Hickman Mills may see an influx of students from the Kansas City, Missouri School District which lost its accreditation in January.
 
"This year, some kids moved in from KCMO but we also lost some," Nutterfield explained. 

Board members discussed increasing the number of students per classroom. Hickman Mills has traditionally been below the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) guidelines, which indicate "desirable" standards from 20 to 28 students per class - gradually increasing in size from K-2 to 7-12 grades. But the maximum could be as high as 33 in the 7-12 grades.

Last year, Hickman Mills originally laid off 40 teachers in the district. However, when state funding was finalized in late May, the district realized it had overestimated the amount of funding cuts. When all was said and done, 24 teaching positions (16 fewer than planned) were eliminated.
 
"This (academic) year, we were able to bring some people back because the budget was better than we thought," Nutterfield explained. "Hopefully, that'll be the same next year. We can't say yet."

C-1 ADMINISTRATIVE IMPACT AND  RESTRUCTURING

Over the past three years, the trend in Hickman Mills has been to cut teaching staff and close buildings in response to dwindling enrollment.

At an administrative level, however, there have been new positions created as the district restructures its central office.

For this school year, for example, $700,000 was cut in teacher salaries, but administrative costs went up $44,000. Compared to 24 fewer teachers, only one administrative position, in Grants Administration, was eliminated.

The online organization chart for the district and number of chairs at the boardroom table have also increased. Last year, there were two associate superintendent positions shown on the district website which reported directly to Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams- Nutterfield and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beverly Phillips.

This year, there are four associate superintendent positions, plus a new Deputy Superintendent position.

The job once held by Phillips is now split into two Associate Superintendent positions--Casey Klapmeyer for Elementary Schools and Dr. Greg Rich for Secondary Schools. Dr. Phillips now serves in the Administration Center as Director of Research & Assessment, but is not shown online reporting directly to the superintendent level.

There is also an Associate Superintendent spot for Student and Special Services held by Susie Fanning. School officials explained that Fanning's former responsibilities were expanded.

"Fanning was serving in that capacity as a director last year," Nutterfield said. "That position was elevated, broadened, and given a new title."

Most of the new administrative positions were not posted and interviews were not conducted.


"Defining who is an administrator varies," Nutterfield said last fall. "Are there more, yes. Some of those were promoted from within the administration and got raises."

Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams maintains administrative increases were mostly the result of restructuring.

"The titles may have changed from last year - from directors to associate superintendents - but the number of direct reports in the superintendent's team remains the same," Dr. Williams said in September.

Dr. Williams has said Hickman Mills now has the same organizational structure as it did when she first came to the district 20 years ago.

Though enrollment has declined by 1,500 students in the last 12 years, the superintendent appears to be reversing her early efforts to reduce the number of administrators.


"When I was hired as superintendent, I streamlined administrative roles," Dr. Williams said.


For next year, the district will save more than $100,000 at an administrative level with the elimination of the Deputy Superintendent position, as Dr. Everlyn Williams will be promoted to Interim Superintendent as Dr. Marge Williams retires and the Superintendent position is temporarily vacated.

For now, administrators will continue to look at budget reduction options and move forward with proposed teacher layoffs a month before the Missouri General Assembly adjourns on May 11. Hopefully, some of those pink slips will be recalled after that time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

RED Plan Approved for Truman Corners

By Seann McAnally
     The Truman Corners Shopping Center got a new lease on life Tuesday night. 
The Grandview Board of Aldermen voted 5-1 to approve a redevelopment and tax increment financing plan for RED Development’s “Truman’s Landing,” a $91.3 million, 545,000-square-foot project that would totally rebuild the shopping center by 2015. Alderman Joe Runions was the sole vote against the plan.
The board also voted 5-0 not to approve a competing plan, The Grand, from the center’s current owner, American Resergens Management Company, who offered a more modest and less financially risky proposal. Runions abstained from that vote. He said his “no” vote for RED’s plan was because he’s uncomfortable with the level of public subsidy RED requested.
“They’re getting the city to put up 45 percent of the money,” Runions said. “That’s $41 million. That’s a lot of money to not know what we’re getting.” He referred to the fact that RED does not currently have any leases in place for the center.
RED also asked the city to back bonds that would pay for almost half of the construction costs. Tom Kaleko, an independent financial advisor for the city, acknowledged that the city could be at risk if the center does not perform as well as analysts predict. In negotiations, city officials tried to minimize that risk by insisting that RED have the center leased before bonds are issued.
The risk didn’t bother many in the packed house at City Hall that night. Dozens of residents had already spoken at previous meetings in favor of RED’s plan, which was formally endorsed by the Grandview Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m proud of this city,” said Gail Worth, of Gail’s Harley Davidson. “But I must say, when I drive down the highway and see the eyesore of Truman Corners, it sickens me. Let’s take a risk.”
Local pastor Alan Kinder agreed.
“When we first moved here, what we saw at Truman Corners was an eyesore. Now, 10 years later it’s still an eyesore,” he said. “No risk does not necessarily mean the best plan. Risk is a part of life.”
Albert Teague, of Teague Construction, agreed, saying the current management failed to keep up the center and should not be given another chance.
“You can work your horses, but if you don’t feed, water and nurture them, they die,” Teague said.
Aaron March, an attorney for RED, said he understood that financial risk was a concern to some, but that it’s not as bad as it sounds.
“I know that it sounds very scary when you hear it on the surface,” he said. “But we’ve done a pretty good job of eliminating as much risk as we could in a public-private partnership like this. We believe in very short order we will have the project leased.”
Alderman Jim Crain said he’d spent some “sleepless nights” trying to decide how to vote, but in the end, he was comfortable the city’s efforts to mitigate risk in RED’s plan.
“RED’s plan has a vision that’s much closer to my vision as being a lifelong resident of this community,” he said. “I think our residents deserve better places to shop than what they have currently.”
Alderman Leonard Jones agreed.
“I feel comfortable that the risk we are going to undertake, we’ve done an admirable job to mitigate that to the best of our ability,” he said.
Alderwoman Annette Turnbaugh said she was excited about the future.
“Our hope is we’re going to have a glowing Truman Corners again with hustle and bustle,” she said.
RED has yet to purchase the property from ARMC, a process that could end up in condemnation proceedings if negotiations fail. But March said the developer would immediately begin leasing the property.
“We’ll start tomorrow,” he said. 
Mayor Steve Dennis thanked both ARMC and RED for being "gentlemen" during the competition. 
"This has been excruciating," Dennis said of the selection process. "But every game has a winner and a loser."
ARMC had a tax increment financing plan with the city but it was revoked last year, with city officials citing ARMC’s failure to lease the center. ARMC also several times appealed any property value increase for the center, testifying before Jackson County officials that it was worth less than county assessors said it was.
"That's contrary to the purpose of a TIF," said Joe Lauber, a city attorney, when the board revoked ARMC's TIF last year. 
Those appeals could have an effect on the price RED offers ARMC for the center. 
"We believe that it's worth what they said it was worth when they testified under oath," March said. 

Superintendent Discussion Delayed at C-1 Board Retreat

By Mary Kay Morrow
A process for how, when, and if the Hickman Mills School Board will do any search for the district’s permanent superintendent has been delayed until summer.
In August, the board voted 5-to-2 in closed session to accept Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams’ succession recommendation that promoted Dr. Everlyn Williams to a new Deputy Superintendent position this year, and Interim Superintendent next year 2012-13.  
The vote appeared to violate the board’s own written Policy 1015, which states: The Board of Education is solely responsible for the recruitment, selection and appointment of the superintendent of schools.The Board will conduct an active search to find the individual believed most capable of putting into action the policies of the Board.
The interim superintendent position (as well as other administrative appointments) was not posted and interviews were not conducted. Not even Dr. Everlyn Williams herself was interviewed for the job.
Board Members Darrell Curls and Dan Osman voted against the recommendation in hopes that candidate credentials would be presented and the selection process be explored.
Since then, however, the issue of the superintendent’s position has not been discussed by the board at a regular meeting. That doesn’t mean the issue hasn’t been considered by others, however.
District Groundsman Wesley Van Hoecke spoke out at a recent school board meeting, questioning the lack of vetting for the district’s top jobs.
“It doesn’t seem fair when you’ve got the highest paid people getting appointed to jobs,” he told the board. “Buildings & Grounds can’t do that.  Food services can’t.  I can’t put it any simpler than that.”
Van Hoecke went on to ask how officials know they’ve gotten the best people without interviews, and to say he didn’t think the appointments could be justified simply by saying that it’s the way it’s been done in the past.
At the school board’s retreat last Saturday, Board Member Darrell Curls raised the topic of the superintendent selection process, saying he didn’t want the board to be caught blindsided after it was too late to examine the process and make the best possible choice – a choice he feels is one of the most important decisions school boards make.
“To me, right now we have no plan,” Curls said.  “We need to have a clear-cut understanding as to how this board is going to proceed.  All I’m asking for is how are we proceeding from this point.”
A member of the Policy Committee, Curls pressed for timeframes and a process for the board to decide whether or not to do a search and to move forward with a step-by-step selection process.
“When will it be too late to look at the process?” he asked.  “We need to know what those timelines are. Right now, we haven’t even talked about it.”
Board President Bonnaye Mims cut off discussion saying that she has already put some of the process in place and will have it to put in front of the board for discussion before June.
“I have not presented it to you guys because we’ve been having a lot (going on),” Mims said.  “Toward the end of June, we’ll have that process in place.”
Superintendent Marge Williams, whose term expires June 30, 2012, offered guidance to the board.  She stressed that it’s the board’s responsibility to have a process in place that will move them toward making their ultimate decision. 
“You’re going to have to make a decision on who your permanent superintendent is, whether you do a search or you remove the ‘interim’ [from Dr. Everlyn Williams’ title,]” she said.
The current superintendent explained that nothing prohibits the board from having discussions before June and suggested they get together by July to put the process and timeline in place.
“By November or December of next year, you should be well aware whether you’re going for an internal candidate or an external candidate who would take on the reigns for you July 1, 2013,” Dr. Marge Williams said.
She cautioned the board to clarify what “search” means.
“Your policy does not dictate that a search has to be external if you believe in fact the best candidate is an internal candidate. You can do a search internally,” Williams said.
In school districts across Missouri, the average superintendent search typically takes four months and costs $15-40,000.
Board Member JT Brown agreed with Curls on the need to have written steps in place on how to proceed - but not necessarily that the selection of a superintendent was the most important board function.
“Our number one job is to support the choice that the majority of the board has made.  We have this administrative staff in place right now,” Brown said.  “Regardless of how the minority feels now, it’s time to get in line with the rest of us.”
Brown said he believes that if the board stands strong in support of the choice it already made, that person has a much better chance of bringing the district, which has struggled to keep its accreditation, to the next step.
“Our best bet is to choose someone who knows our children, who knows our district, who knows this board, and who knows the community.”
President Mims and Board Member April Cushing echoed some of Brown’s sentiments. 
Mims believes the best way forward is to promote from within.
“You want to bring someone new in that doesn’t know you, and then you’re all back trying to scramble and pull stuff together and trying to move forward while still trying to groom?  Or, are you going to look at promoting from within with the best that knows our community, our students, our curriculum, and the staff?”
She said she would like the board to support the current administration.
“People need to get on ship, get on board. If you don’t, move on,” Mims said.
Last September, Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams said that the board was considering hiring a search firm to look for a new superintendent and that timing was an issue.
“The board has not taken any action past 2012-13,” Dr. Williams said last fall. 
And for now, and potentially for months to come, that is still the case.

‘The Bay’ Wins SKC Pool Naming Contest

Come Memorial Day weekend, South Kansas City residents will be able to take a refreshing dip in...The Bay!
‘The Bay Aquatics Center’ was voted by local residents as the winning name for the new outdoor pool facility at Longview Tract in south Kansas City.
Last month, Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation had asked residents to help name the new facility by voting for their favorite of three name choices: The Bay, The Lagoon or H2Ozone.
“We had 534 votes, online and paper ballots,” said Heidi Downer, Marketing Director for KCMO Parks and Recreation.
The final tallies were close, with a tie in the online votes. Paper ballots collected at Hillcrest Community Center made the difference in the final vote:
• The Bay: 197
• H2Ozone: 195
• Lagoon: 142
The new $7 million facility will be located on the site of the former YMCA and current Longview Tract park and sprayground at 7101 Longview Road. The Bay Aquatics Center will include a zero entry pool, lap pool, lazy river and water slides.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Board Approves RED Plan for Truman Corners

By Seann McAnally
      The Truman Corners Shopping Center got a new lease on life Tuesday night. 
The Grandview Board of Aldermen voted 5-1 to approve a redevelopment and tax increment financing plan for RED Development’s “Truman’s Landing,” a $91.3 million, 545,000-square-foot project that would totally rebuild the shopping center by 2015. Alderman Joe Runions was the sole vote against the plan.
The board also voted 5-0 not to approve a competing plan, The Grand, from the center’s current owner, American Resergens Management Company, who offered a more modest and less financially risky proposal. Runions abstained from that vote. He said his “no” vote for RED’s plan was because he’s uncomfortable with the level of public subsidy RED requested.
“They’re getting the city to put up 45 percent of the money,” Runions said. “That’s $41 million. That’s a lot of money to not know what we’re getting.” He referred to the fact that RED does not currently have any leases in place for the center.
RED also asked the city to back bonds that would pay for almost half of the construction costs. Tom Kaleko, an independent financial advisor for the city, acknowledged that the city could be at risk if the center does not perform as well as analysts predict. In negotiations, city officials tried to minimize that risk by insisting that RED have the center leased before bonds are issued.
The risk didn’t bother many in the packed house at City Hall that night. Dozens of residents had already spoken at previous meetings in favor of RED’s plan, which was formally endorsed by the Grandview Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m proud of this city,” said Gail Worth, of Gail’s Harley Davidson. “But I must say, when I drive down the highway and see the eyesore of Truman Corners, it sickens me. Let’s take a risk.”
Local pastor Alan Kinder agreed.
“When we first moved here, what we saw at Truman Corners was an eyesore. Now, 10 years later it’s still an eyesore,” he said. “No risk does not necessarily mean the best plan. Risk is a part of life.”
Albert Teague, of Teague Construction, agreed, saying the current management failed to keep up the center and should not be given another chance.
“You can work your horses, but if you don’t feed, water and nurture them, they die,” Teague said.
Aaron March, an attorney for RED, said he understood that financial risk was a concern to some, but that it’s not as bad as it sounds.
“I know that it sounds very scary when you hear it on the surface,” he said. “But we’ve done a pretty good job of eliminating as much risk as we could in a public-private partnership like this. We believe in very short order we will have the project leased.”
Alderman Jim Crain said he’d spent some “sleepless nights” trying to decide how to vote, but in the end, he was comfortable the city’s efforts to mitigate risk in RED’s plan.
“RED’s plan has a vision that’s much closer to my vision as being a lifelong resident of this community,” he said. “I think our residents deserve better places to shop than what they have currently.”
Alderman Leonard Jones agreed.
“I feel comfortable that the risk we are going to undertake, we’ve done an admirable job to mitigate that to the best of our ability,” he said.
Alderwoman Annette Turnbaugh said she was excited about the future.
“Our hope is we’re going to have a glowing Truman Corners again with hustle and bustle,” she said.
RED has yet to purchase the property from ARMC, a process that could end up in condemnation proceedings if negotiations fail. But March said the developer would immediately begin leasing the property.
“We’ll start tomorrow,” he said.
ARMC had a tax increment financing plan with the city but it was revoked last year, with city officials citing ARMC’s failure to lease the center.

City participates in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut on Feb. 7

Earthquake drill promotes drop, cover and hold on

The City of Kansas City, Mo., will participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 10:15 a.m. and encourages residents to join the City and the more than two million other central U.S. citizens as they practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On.”

The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is designed to help residents prepare for the possibility of an earthquake by learning appropriate actions to take while an earthquake and aftershocks occur.

To participate in the ShakeOut, simply do the following on Feb. 7 at 10:15 a.m.:

- DROP to the ground
- Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, or near the inside corner of a building
- HOLD ON to it until the earthquake drill is over (or during an actual earthquake, until the shaking stops)

During an actual earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks.

To register your family, business, school or other organization to participate in this year’s ShakeOut, please visit www.shakeout.org/centralus. Registered participants will receive information on planning their drill and creating a dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness.

This year’s Great Central U.S. ShakeOut will mark the bicentennial anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes, which were a series of damaging earthquakes that shook the central U.S. in the winter of 1811-12. The final New Madrid earthquake took place Feb. 7, 1812.

Recognizing this anniversary reminds us that we are at risk for a possible earthquake in the Kansas City region – in fact, the Central United States Earthquake Consortium estimates a 25 to 40 percent probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within the next 50 years.

The ShakeOut will involve citizens from nine states, including Missouri. Federal, state and local emergency management believe that “Drop, Cover and Hold On” is the most appropriate and effective measure to take to minimize injury during an earthquake.

For media inquiries or more information about what the City of Kansas City, Mo., is doing during the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, please contact Jennifer Fales, the Office of Emergency Management’s training and outreach coordinator, at 816-784-9304.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grandview Centennial: Commemorative Special Section


The City of Grandview turns 100 years old on February 6, 2012! Inside the Feb. 2 issue of the Advocate, you’ll find a four-page special section: “Grandview’s Grand History - A View of the Past 100 Years.” Dive back into 1912 and discover the pioneers who helped start Grandview, and how the city became the thriving suburb it is today. This special keepsake is loaded with historic photographs, and is something you’ll want to keep for years!
And don’t forget the two events this weekend that will kick off a year-long celebration:

centennial dinner -
sat., february 4th
The city will hold it’s Centennial Dinner on Saturday, February 4th at The View Community Center. The event will include a reception at 6:30pm, with dinner and a program, including a slide show of the city’s history, starting at 7pm. Tickets are $20 per person. A few tickets are still available. Call Ana Nixon at (816) 316-4812 to reserve your tickets today!

the view open house -
february 4th & 5th
The View will be hosting on Open House for Grandview residents on Sat, February 4th from 8am-8pm and Sun, February 5th from 10am-8pm to celebrate the anniversary of its opening, as well as the city’s centennial.  Residents can use The View’s gym, fitness equipment, and indoor swimming pool for free. All guests will receive special promotional items. Door prizes will also be given throughout the two days. Residents are asked to bring proof of residency, such as an ID or utility bill with your name and Grandview address.

Historic State of the City Address

Grandview "On the Edge of Prosperity," says Mayor Steve Dennis
By Seann McAnally
Grandview Mayor Steve Dennis
As residents and business leaders crowded The View Community Center on Jan. 26 prior to Mayor Steve Dennis’ annual State of the City address, they talked about the “big announcement” they expected about the future of Truman Corners.
As it turned out, they didn’t get it. Instead, the crowd was given hints as to potential new projects along 150 Highway and throughout the city. And the mayor was given a chance to act as, in his words, “the chief cheerleader for our city” on the cusp of the Grandview’s 100th anniversary.
 “I know everybody wanted me to make a major announcement today,” Dennis said, “but I feel very comfortable with where we are. You guys will be hearing announcements in the next week and a half, and we’re going to have a new front door for our city.”
Dennis clearly referenced the two competing proposals for redevelopment of Truman Corners, which he called “the biggest issue of our time.” RED Development has the backing of the Chamber of Commerce and a slew of residents who have spoken in favor of it, while the current owner, ARMC, has a more modest proposal that has met with less enthusiasm. Dennis said city staff and elected officials are doing their “due diligence” in making sure the city isn’t “put at risk” by either proposal, referring to the massive public subsidy RED is requesting, and its request that the city back bonds for the project.
Though Truman Corners is on everyone’s minds, there’s much more going on in Grandview – and much of that speaks to a new sense of energy and renewal in town, Dennis said. He said other communities are starting to notice.
“I used to think we were alone on an island, and that the other cities were competitors for development – especially those people on the evil side of the state line in Kansas,” he joked, drawing a chuckle from the crowd. “But I’ve also found that the men and women in leadership in nearby cities are people of honor. There will be more joint ventures between cities in the metropolitan area.”
Dennis praised the Chamber of Commerce for recruiting and attracting businesses in tough times.
“These folks work tirelessly,” Dennis said. “They love our city.”
Dennis singled out Grandview businesses for praise, and thanked them for locating here.
“A city can never say thank you often enough,” he said. “You could have located anywhere in the metro and you chose to be Grandview businesses.”
He apologized to city employees for the lack of cost-of-living pay increases for the last three years.
“But with the budget, even in difficult times, we passed a balanced city budget without any layoffs, without any furloughs or cuts to basic services. In the toughest economy of our lifetimes, Grandview is actually on the edge of prosperity.”
Dennis singled out each city department for praise, focusing on the Public Works Department.
“As long as I’ve lived here I’ve never seen this much activity, and lot of that has to do with that guy sitting right there,” Dennis said, pointing at Director of Public Works Dennis Randolph.
Dennis spoke of the Main Street Revitalization project as a sure sign that Grandview is refreshing its image.
“Main Street redevelopment will bring new life to our city,” Dennis said. “I know it’s a little inconvenient on Main Street right now, but bear with us, because it’s going to be really cool.”
He said he was also excited about “pumping energy” into the Farmer’s Market location at 8th and Main, which is expected to be expanded and redeveloped later this year.
“The Farmer’s Market will have never looked, or tasted, so good,” Dennis said.
He praised the Public Works Department for the “boring stuff” that isn’t generally noticed by the public – specifically road and sewer work. Dennis also dished out thanks to the Parks and Recreation Department, and plugged the new destination playground Brumble’s Forest, expected to open in April. He said leaders in other cities are already asking about it.
“It’s already being talked about around the city as one of the most unique play areas,” he said.
Dennis said Grandview residents could also be proud of the developing scene at 71 and 150 highways. He praised Gail Worth of Gail’s Harley Davidson for getting the ball rolling and “being a pioneer.”
“Gail started the success train rolling down on 150 Highway,” Dennis said, noting the new restaurants and Hickman Mills Clinic / Encompass Medical Group facility that have sprung up in the area.
And, though he stressed that the deals were still in the talking stage, he said it was worth noting that developers are approaching the city about the possibility of a new grocery store or movie theater on the 150 Highway corridor. He also mentioned the expansion of the Grand Summit complex and Wayside Waifs as evidence of positive economic movement in the city.
Dennis urged residents and businesses to shop locally when they can.
“I know we’re all challenged a little bit in what we can buy right now, but that’s changing,” he said, adding that the Board of Aldermen is trying to find ways to make Grandview more business-friendly.
“I know it’s not perfect, but we really bend over backwards,” he said.
Dennis pointed out that Grandview is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary this year, and spoke of major upcoming celebrations, particularly the new Truman Heritage Festival in the spring.
“There’s a lot of work still to be done…but I know that we can reshape this city. I know it in my heart. I see Grandview 10 years from now, and I really, really love what I see. I hope you’re starting to see that vision, too.”
Ultimately, Dennis said, Grandview’s positive forward momentum can be maintained in little ways.
“I’m starting to realize that it all starts with little acts…acts of home repair…acts of charity…isn’t that what we should all be doing anyway?”