Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Resident Advocacy Training

Monday, July 30th
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Brush Creek Community Center, 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd

A new resource is on the way! The Missouri Legislature recently passed a Bill to allow the City of Kansas City to create a Land Bank – a new tool to help convert vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties into productive reuse. This training will help you understand what that means to you, how it could help you address vacant properties issues in your neighborhood, and how neighborhoods can have a strong voice.

- Learn effective advocacy tips and techniques.
- Identify common areas of concern and interest between neighborhoods.
- Learn how to work collaboratively to get maximum results.
- Plan to stay as breakfast is provided and door prizes will be awarded.

You must RSVP by Thursday, July 26th
awisner@lisc.org or call 816-753-0055 x20

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hickman Mills Board to Conduct National Search for Superintendent

By Mary Kay Morrow
The Hickman Mills C-1 School District will conduct a national search over the next few months for a permanent superintendent to take the reins on July 1, 2013.

School Board President Breman Anderson, Jr. made the announcement during a board retreat at the Holiday Inn Coco Key Resort on Saturday. The retreat included strong advice from an internationally-recognized leader in urban education, who urged the board to consider not only those things they must legally do, but also things they “should” do when conducting a search.

“I have full faith you will get good legal advice, but that is not the only thing you need to consider for the community outcome you desire,” said Dr. Brian Perkins, Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program at Columbia University. “This issue can clearly divide a board and split a community. When people get upset, it’s about where expectations were not clear.”

Anderson’s announcement ended a ten-month controversy about how to proceed with the superintendent’s position following Dr. Marge Williams’ announcement last summer that she would retire in June 2012.

The board asked Dr. Williams to provide them with a succession plan for her position.

In September 2011, in a closed session, the board voted 5-2 to accept her recommendation, which promoted former principal Dr. Everlyn Williams to Deputy Superintendent so she could shadow Dr. Marge in her last year, and promote her to Interim Superintendent for this 2012-13 school year.

The deputy/interim superintendent position was not posted, and interviews were not conducted. Not even Dr. Everlyn Williams herself was interviewed for the job.

That vote appeared to violate the board’s own written Policy 1015, which stated: “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.”

On Saturday, Anderson said the district will hire a law firm and contract a human resource specialist to insure the search is conducted properly.

“The board will vote. There will be a search. We will follow policy,” Anderson said.

“Anytime you introduce a search, it’s going to be national,” Anderson added – especially in light of technology that allows you to expand your search “with the click of a button.”

Anderson said Dr. Everlyn Williams will apply for the permanent superintendent role and “we welcome others to apply as well.”

Board members have expressed clear, but differing, preferences for the type of person who should lead the district. Darrell Curls and Dan Osman have pressed their colleagues for a national search process and timeline for nearly a year.

The board’s newest member, Eric Lowe, also supports a national search.

Board Vice President JT Brown and Bonnaye Mims maintain the best candidate will come from within the district, and have urged their associates to support the administration now in place. April Cushing stated her support in March of Brown’s and Mims’ desire to choose from within the district.

Anderson announced Saturday the formation of a superintendent search committee, and appointed Mims as chairperson, Dan Osman as vice-chair, and April Cushing, meaning that two of the three members of the committee have previously expressed a preference for hiring locally, or within the district.

The committee is charged with reviewing applicants and screening them to “three to five” candidates for the board to consider.

Dr. Perkins encouraged the board to get feedback from the community on who they would like to see lead the district.

For example, during the Grandview C-4 School District’s last superintendent search, top candidates met with business leaders, the community, and students, who all gave input on who they would hire.

“If you don’t engage people they always have the right to say, ‘You didn’t ask,’” Dr. Perkins told the Hickman Mills School Board on Saturday.

The decision to conduct a nationwide search comes after what Anderson, who has been board president since April, said was a great deal of discussion about how to go about the search process. The issue has not appeared on a public agenda, however, despite Osman’s multiple requests for it to be added.

At the retreat, Mims asked Dr. Perkins when the board could have time to work on the superintendent plan out of the public view.

“Unfortunately, because of Sunshine Laws, you can’t,” Perkins explained. He explained the exceptions to the law are pending litigation, contracts, and employment discussions.

On Saturday, Curls asked specifically if discussion about the selection process would be on the July agenda.

“It will definitely be on the agenda for July,” Anderson responded.

Dr. Perkins advocated a sense of urgency.

“My recommendation is to start yesterday,” he said.

Anderson is not wasting time.

“I will meet next week with the attorneys and human resources,” he said.

The superintendent selection is crucial for the district that has struggled to hold onto its accreditation, is currently undergoing a state audit, and has suffered declining enrollments, teacher lay-offs, and school closings.

Marsha Rudolph and Shari Silvers, two district patrons and employees since 1988, said they feel the district is at a crossroads due to its “relatively young board,” the state’s audit of the district currently underway, and changes in district leadership.

“We’re at a crucial time right now,” Silvers said. “The search is needed to get the best candidate. Unless you interview, how do you know you’ve got what you need?”

Dr. Perkins encouraged the board to build consensus about it’s superintendent search process.

“The last thing you want is for the process to be undermined by the board saying it wasn’t in agreement with the process up front,” Perkins said. “Delineate how (candidate) data will be collected and compared. What kind of data will you consider?

“There’s a lot at stake,” Perkins said. “It’s not easy.”

Perkins also emphasized the need to clarify the role Dr. Everlyn Williams will play during the coming year. In a team exercise, he asked board members to jot down their “overarching expectations” for Dr. Williams. After reviewing the responses, Dr. Perkins said no two people wrote the same answers.

“Your responses are as different as day and night,” he said. “You wrote everything from ‘keeping the status quo’ to ‘hiring new people to help us grow and expand the vision.’ She can’t do all of those things.”

Perkins stressed the need to clearly define the interim superintendent role this summer.

Board President Anderson closed Saturday’s retreat with a call to action.

“It appears we have a great deal of work to do,” he said. “It’s time for us to move forward.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Expansion Continues Along 150

By Paul Thompson

After years of planning, the time for results has finally arrived for the 150 Highway corridor near 71 Highway.


By January 2013, 71 Highway will be known as I-49, Grand Summit Apartments will have added over 400 new units to their complex, and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will officially begin a move of epic proportions from its Bannister Federal Complex to 150 Highway.

These high profile projects were all discussed at the Thursday, June 28 Economic Development Council (EDC) meeting held at the TrueValue warehouse in Grandview.

Honeywell Sr. Director of Transformation Rick Lavelock joined Grandview’s business leaders to give an update new NNSA facility being constructed along 150 Highway and Botts Road.

According to Lavelock, the scope of the project is immense. There are currently over 1,000 construction jobs being filled at the site, with $1.9 million is being spent every day on the project. The total investment for the facility is now estimated at $1.134 billion, which includes $429 million in federal dollars to go with $705 million in private investments. The NNSA plans to begin their relocation from their current site at the Bannister Federal Complex in January 2013. The relocation is expected to take a whopping 19 months, and won’t finish until August 2014. And that’s with two crews working 10-hour shifts, five days a week, dedicated entirely to the move. Honeywell predicts that in total, approximately 3,200 trailer loads will be moved between the sites. The relocation will require the employment of 2,600 contractors, whose collective payroll and benefits will exceed $300 million.

“This really is a great national asset,” said Lavelock of the new facility.

The NNSA campus will be a great asset locally as well. The site was previously a soy bean field that earned the Grandview C-4 School District $600 in tax dollars per year. The new NNSA facility will bring in $1.2 million in tax revenue to the school district, representing a gain of $1,199,400 in revenue.

GRAND SUMMIT

Employees at NNSA looking for nearby housing will have new options as well, and Lindsey Management is being aggressive in their efforts to market the Grand Summit Apartments as that destination.

Grand Summit will add a new subdivision called “The Fairways,” featuring 456 new apartments with upgraded amenities. The complex, located off 150 Highway, already features two swimming pools, tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course.

“There’ll be another fitness center, a third pool, and a banquet area for parties,” Jonathan Hopmann, with Lindsey Management, announced at the EDC meeting. “We’re doing several upgrades, mostly in the kitchen. We’re going to get new appliances, counter tops, and cabinets.”

Lindsey Management will also be responsible for upgrades to Corrington Ave., which will connect the extension of Grand Summit Blvd. within the complex to 155th St. on the south. Corrington Ave. would be built to city standards and become a public street.

Hoppman cited heavy market demand as a chief reason for the new subdivision, set to open in December 2012 or January 2013. According to Hoppman, the complex has been at or near 100% occupancy for several years running.

MoDOT UPDATES

The Missouri Department of Transportation also presented updates for the 150 Highway & Botts Road interchange, and the conversion of 71 Highway to I-49.

MoDOT is installing an innovative design known as a diverging diamond interchange at Botts Road and 150 Highway to accommodate traffic in-and-out of the NNSA facility.

The diverging diamond interchange is designed to increase traffic flow and eliminate left turns through opposing traffic. It is unique, though, because it requires drivers to pass over to the opposite side of the street as they pass through intersections. MoDOT has been a champion of the design ever since they completed the first version of it in the country in Springfield, Missouri.

Drivers should get an opportunity to test the diverging diamond sooner rather than later, as construction is currently wrapping up on the project.

“The completion date of that is September of this year,” said MoDOT Transportation Project Manager Jeff Hardy at the meeting.

Hardy also provided updates regarding 71 Highway’s upcoming conversion into an interstate, to be called I-49. MoDOT is already prepping 71 for the conversion. Once the interstate change-over is completed, Hardy reiterated MoDOT’s plans to proceed with a refurbishment of the Main Street Bridge, probably sometime in 2014.

But for now, I-49 is a top priority.

“We’re going to resurface 71. You should see that this summer,” said Hardy of the future I-49. “As for the conversion of US-71 and I-49, my understanding is that the completion date will be 12/12/12.”



Friday, July 6, 2012

City offers resources during Excessive Heat Warning


The City of Kansas City, Mo., is in the midst of an Excessive Heat Warning placing some residents at risk for heat exhaustion and possible death.

Residents seeking relief from the heat can call 2-1-1 to learn of all open cooling centers, City and non-City operated. During Excessive Heat Warnings, individuals needing transportation to a cooling center may call the City’s 3-1-1 Action Center at 311 or 816-513-1313 to request transportation to the nearest City cooling center (see location/schedules information further down). This service is provided by Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department personnel. Service animals will be transported, but household pets will not be accepted for transport.

In the event of heat exhaustion or life threatening heatstroke, call 911 for emergency medical care.

Throughout this heat event, residents are encouraged to check on neighbors, friends and family who are at high risk for heat exhaustion – residents without access to air conditioning; senior citizens; infants; young children; and residents with mental or physical illness, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure. If possible, please help residents without air conditioning find a cool place to stay and remind them of the importance of drinking plenty of cool fluids slowly.

Residents seeking relief from the heat may go to the City’s community centers. Community center addresses and schedules, as well as open City swimming pools and spraygrounds, are listed below.

Community Centers:

Brush Creek Community Center – 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., Sunday: closed, Monday, Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.,


Garrison Community Center – 1124 E. 5th St.., Sunday and Saturday: closed, Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m


Gregg/Klice Community Center – 1600 John "Buck" O'Neil Way, Sunday: closed, Monday-Thursday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5: p.m.


Hillcrest Community Center – 10401 Hillcrest Road, Sunday: closed , Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Kansas City North Community Center – 3930 N.E. Antioch Road, Sunday: closed, Monday-Thursday: 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.


Line Creek Community Center – 5940 N.W. Waukomis Drive, Sunday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Marlborough Community Center – 8200 Paseo Blvd., Sunday and Saturday: closed, Monday- Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,


Southeast Community Center – 4201 E. 63rd St., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Thursday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Tony Aguirre Community Center – 2050 West Pennway Terrace, Sunday: closed, Monday-Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Westport-Roanoke Community Center – 3601 Roanoke Road, Sunday: closed, Monday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

City Swimming Pools:

Brush Creek Community Center Pool, 3801 Brush Creek Blvd.


Budd Park Pool, Esplanade Street and Denver Avenue


The Grove Park Pool, Truman Road and Benton Boulevard


Swope Park Pool, Swope Park, 67th Street and Lewis Road


The Springs Aquatics Center, 9400 N. Congress Ave.


The Bay Water Park, 7101 Longview Road

Free swim is offered at the following times and locations:

Brush Creek Community Center Pool, Mondays, 1-7 p.m.


Budd Park Pool, Tuesdays, 1-7 p.m.


Swope Park Pool, Sundays, 1-5 p.m. and Wednesdays, 1-7 p.m.


The Grove Park Pool, Thursdays, 1-7 p.m.

Spraygrounds are free and open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information on swimming pools and spraygrounds visit the website at http://bit.ly/chdKnB.

Neighborhood pools are free and open from 1-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, closed on Mondays

Arbor Villa Park, 66th Terrace and Main Street


Ashland Park, 23rd and Elmwood streets


Gillham Pool, 41st and Gillham streets


West Terrace Park, 16th and Jarboe streets

Please note: it is against City ordinance for residents to swim in any of the City’s fountains.

For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the CDC’s webpage about extreme heat: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/ExtremeHeat/.

Heat information also can be found at www.kcmo.org/heat.

For general information on signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, call the 3-1-1 Action Center at 311 or 816-513-1313. For heat information and community resources, call the Health Department's community partner United Way 2-1-1, at 211 or 816-474-5112.