Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Day Our World Turned

By Mary Wilson

Fifty years ago, the United States was turned on its axis. The 35th president of this nation, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy’s murder was widely publicized, and conspiracy theories and details of his personal life are still present in media today.

Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime and arrested that evening, but Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald two days later, before a trial could take place. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that those investigations were flawed and that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy.

Despite what exactly may have taken place that November day in Texas, people all across the country and the world, were glued to their television sets and radios for at least the weekend following his death. While I wasn’t born until many years later, my parents and other friends in the community provided me with some insight into where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of Kennedy’s assassination.

My dad was sitting in his fifth grade class at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, and remembers an announcement coming over the intercom and then school being dismissed for the rest of the day. My mom was in second grade at Kratz Elementary in St. Louis.

“I remember my teacher called us into a circle in the back of the room,” said my mom, Becky Davis.
“She told us what happened, and we all cried. I remember watching it on TV all weekend.”

My husband’s grandmother, Carolyn Wilson, recalls being at home with two young children when she heard the news on the radio. Being the early sixties, a lot of women were at home doing housework with the television or radios on in the background.

“I don’t remember much about the rest of that day, but can still see myself as I stood there at the sink and then sort of wandered around for a few minutes,” she said.

Former Grandview Mayor Jan Martinette and her family had just moved to a house behind the Terrace Lake Shopping Center. She was home with two children under two years old and remembers
being stunned at the news reports. Retired Grandview teacher Margaret Ferman was in college and was just returning to her dorm room.

“I usually didn’t turn on the radio, but for some reason I did that day and heard the announcement of JFK being shot in Dallas,” said Ferman. “ Needless to say, news spread around campus quickly and most of us were in shock that such a terrible thing could happen in the US to our President.”

Grandview C-4 Superintendent Dr. Ralph Teran recalls being in his fourth grade class at Caldwell Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas.
“I don’t recall how or what, if anything, we heard at school that afternoon, but I remember watching days of coverage on national television up to the funeral march and burial,” Teran said.

Grandview City Administrator Cory Smith also heard an announcement over the loud speaker at his high school. He recalls he was in Latin class and when it was announced, everyone was in a state of shock.
“Our teacher tried to calm everyone down, but then started crying herself, said Smith. “I think it was within the same hour or close to it when we heard that he had actually died. School was suspended, we were all sort of in shock, and we all left for home that day and of course, the whole weekend was consumed with continual TV coverage of the assassination, killing Oswald, and the funeral, and all that went with it. It was pretty traumatic for everyone who lived through that, and of course, it changed the course of history and created all sorts of conspiracy theories.”

Aggie Turnbaugh, former owner of the Advocate, remembers watching As The World Turns on television when news of the shooting broke in. Being in the newspaper business, I can only imagine what those who worked at the paper were going through. Trying to get the story right, and with the news reports coming in, I’m sure it wasn’t an easy task.

Unfortunately, we no longer have the issue of the Advocate that was published the week after Kennedy’s assassination. Newspapers were kept as souvenirs rather than sources of updated information.Years ago, a former employee of the newspaper took a good chunk of the historical photos and clippings from our archives.

Kennedy’s death changed the course of our national government, and the assassination proved to be an important moment in U.S. history because of its impact on the nation and the ensuing political repercussions. Television became the primary source by which people were kept informed of events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination. I still watch the specials that are on television today regarding the incidents on November 22, 1963, and I’m certain that someday the country will know the truth of who killed John F. Kennedy and whether or not there is any truth to the theories.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 Reasons the Chiefs Can Beat the Broncos this Weekend

By Paul Thompson
The Denver Broncos, as you might have gathered, are the darlings of the NFL. Peyton Manning is at least half-deity, and their lone loss to the Indianapolis Colts was a clear fluke. The ludicrously fortunate Chiefs will surely be exposed against the unstoppable force that is the 2013 Broncos.

The previous paragraph about sums up what the national media has been opining in the week leading up to the highly anticipated Chiefs-Broncos Sunday Night Football game. The Broncos are roughly eight-point favorites in Vegas, and no one seems especially motivated to bet that line down. Ever the contrarian, though, I’ve come up with five reasons why the Chiefs can beat the Broncos this weekend.

5. The Brady Quinn Effect
Brady Quinn started both Denver games last season, with disastrous results. Quinn, who might have been the worst quarterback in football in 2013, summarized the Chiefs season by piloting Kansas City to a miserable 38-3 bloodletting in the last week of the season against Denver. He was 7-16 for 49 yards passing in that contest, a stat line so grotesque that it needs to be looked at through a mirror to limit the risk of blindness.
I know some have their issues with the conservative offense being run by Alex Smith, but I also haven’t been hearing any calls for the glory days of Quinn. Kansas City’s biggest upgrade this off-season was from atrocious to passable at the quarterback position, and it is ultimately the biggest reason why this team has inverted last season’s fortunes. Unlike Quinn, Alex Smith won’t lose games. With the Chiefs defense behind him, that might just be enough against the Broncos on Sunday
night.

4. The Absence of Denver Head Coach John Fox
I know that Jack Del Rio has sat in the big chair before – for nine years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, actually – but that doesn’t mean the Broncos aren’t going to miss head man John Fox while he recovers from heart surgery. Fox holds a 101-83 career coaching record, has earned six postseason wins, and led the 2003 Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl. Del Rio has a 68-71 lifetime record with just one playoff win. The absent head coach is an intangible situation that is impossible to quantify, but it will be intriguing to see what, if anything, changes with Fox sidelined.

3. Denver’s Banged Up Offensive Line
Top Broncos lineman Ryan Clady suffered a season-ending injury early in the year, and initially it didn’t curb Denver’s vaunted offense much at all. But Peyton Manning has been strip-sacked in each of the past two games, as the line is finally starting to show some wear and tear. That trend is liable to continue this week, with Kansas City’s ferocious defensive front salivating at the notion of chasing a battered Manning around for his life. Look for Justin Houston, who has recorded just five tackles over the previous two weeks, to run roughshod over that makeshift offensive front.

2. Andy Reid’s Record After a Bye
Historically, Andy Reid’s teams crush it after a bye, compiling a 13-1 overall record in those scenarios. Obviously, this Broncos team isn’t your average clunker rolling in for a shellacking, and the game will be played a mile high in Denver. But I have faith that Reid will add some offensive wrinkles after two weeks without an opponent. That’s his modus operandi. Expect the Chiefs to move the ball better this week.

1. Peyton Manning’s Potentially Injured Ankle
No one knows exactly how injured Manning’s battered right ankle really is, but he was noticeably hobbled during his Week 10 game against San Diego. An MRI on Monday revealed no further damage to his previously diagnosed high ankle sprain, although Manning admitted after the game that he was “sore” following the contest. The elder Manning brother has never been much for mobility, but this is the type of injury that could get progressively more difficult to play with, especially if he takes pressure early in a cold-weather night game against the Chiefs. By the way, Denver backup quarterback Brock Osweiler has completed a grand total of four passes in his career for 22 yards. You really think he's ready to stand tall and deliver against the Kansas City defense? At 6 feet, 8 inches tall, Osweiler would more likely morph into the world's largest tackling dummy.

Are you feeling better about the Chiefs' chances yet?



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Asphalt Plant Creates Public Health Concern

By Mary Wilson
A community meeting was held on Monday evening in regards to the Ideker Asphalt Plant, located in southern Kansas City at I-49 and MO-150 Highway, bordering Grandview. The meeting, hosted by the Grandview School District, the City of Grandview, and Concerned Citizens for AIR (CCAIR), an organization formed recently in protest of the plant’s permanent residence in the community.

"This is a public health issue,” said Attorney William Session, who has been helping the city and CCAIR establish the legal framework for the case. “I’m just the vehicle to get you from point A to point B. The rest is really your concerns, your issues and your risks, as much as they exist.”

According to Session, Grandview’s residents breathe air which may contain hazardous substances due to the proximity of the asphalt plant to the city, as well as to two of Grandview’s elementary schools: Belvidere and Butcher- Greene.

“There is no doubt that what comes out of the plant contains hazardous pollutants,” said Session. “Whether you breathe it or not depends on where you are, not only on a daily basis, but on a seasonal basis.”

The City of Grandview became concerned with the plant some time ago, and of greatest concern was public health and economic development. The major issue was that the Ideker plant was placed where it is without an opportunity for public comment. Through several months of conversation with the State of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the City of Kansas City and various governmental agencies that had a hand at permitting the plant to be located where it is, the end result determined that the plant was permitted and is going to be there permanently.

“As much as anything, that’s probably why I’m standing here at the encouragement of City of Grandview officials, and now the Concerned Citizens for AIR,” said Session.

When the plant was first permitted for operation, it was allowed under a temporary permit, which was set to expire in June of 2014. Those who already showed interest in what was going on with the plant prior to the decision were never informed that the plant operator had applied for permanent permits  for operation.

“There was no opportunity for public discussion, even when it was well-known that there were special interests by those who are exposed to what comes out of the plant,” said Session.

After the request for the permanent permit was issued, a lawsuit was filed. A circuit court judge for Jackson County issued a temporary restraining order to restrain the Missouri Department of Natural Resources from granting the permanent permit.

“Of course, it’s a temporary restraining order,” said Session. “We don’t know how long, or whether or not that will become a permanent restraint on MDNRs actions. It’s uncertain. We believe it should be; they believe it shouldn’t.”

According to Session, there is a consensus of the State of Missouri that they did nothing wrong and the plant should remain where it is permanently. The types of emissions due to the plant operation contain dust and other contaminants. Many of the emissions are undetected by sight or odor, according to Session, which is why there is a concern for the permanency of the plant. The emissions may contain particulate matter (dust), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and other hazardous air pollutants. Such emissions are regulated under federal law standards, which are delegated to state agencies like the Missouri Department Natural Resources. There is a limit on what can be emitted into the atmosphere and for citizens to remain safe. According to a study done by air quality experts that the City of Grandview hired a year and a half ago, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources applied outdated standards to measure the pollutants coming out of the plant.

“Legally, we think they should be using the current standards,” said Session. “MDNR has chosen not to. Those standards are far more restrictive than the ones that were actually used to review the permit for the plant.”

The study also determined that MDNR failed to determine the impact of PM2.5 emissions, which are tiny dust particles. According to Session, the concern is for the combination of what comes out of the Ideker plant with what’s already in the air. Finally, MDNR improperly calculated even larger dust
particles.

“Quite simply, ten tons is the limit,” said Session. “They allowed thirteen and a half tons of the material. This is just too obvious. How can you have a flat standard that says 10 tons of this particular pollutant can go into the atmosphere, and right on the permit it says 13.85 tons? There’s been no explanation for that even to this day.”

The lawsuit filed claims that the Missouri Department  of Natural Resources failed to review the various contaminants and that the plant is in violation of the national air quality standards. To join the citizen-based advocacy efforts of the Concerned Citizens for AIR, contact CCAIR President Kathy Sutoris by email at csideagain@yahoo.com, visit the Grandview Chamber of Commerce office in person, or email Chamber President Kim Curtis at ksc@grandview.org. Concerns can also be submitted to 37th District State Representative Joe Runions via email at joe.runions@house.mo.gov.

At a special open meeting held November 4 at 6:15 p.m., the Grandview Board of Education unanimously approved an administrative recommendation that the district donate up to $5,000 to the Concerned Citizens for AIR. Contributions are not tax deductible, and will be used to support the advocacy efforts. If you would like to make a donation, remit payment to Concerned Citizens for Air, Inc., P.O. Box 543, Grandview, MO 64030.