Sunday, August 24, 2014


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. . . BREAKING NEWS . . . 

RAYTOWN, MO (KCTV) Homicide probe underway after person found dead in Raytown. A man has died in a Raytown neighborhood in what police are calling a homicide. Police responded about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to the 6900 block of Hunter Avenue a reported man unconscious in the street.

When officers arrived it was determined the man, in his 30s was dead and the cause was suspicious.  Investigators are still working to gather information and do not have any suspects at this time.

If you have any information, please call 816-747-TIPS.

For more information use this link:KCTV LINK


Sources at Raytown City Hall say that Raytown’s Public Works Director, Andy Noll, has tendered his resignation from the City of Raytown. Details of the announcement are few. Only that Mr. Noll met with City Administrator Mahesh Sharma, who, in turn, shared the information with the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

The Paul Livius Report
Paul Livius is away on personal business this week so he asked me to step up and give the report on last Tuesday’s Raytown City Council meeting.

So, without any further ado, here is what took place last Tuesday night at Raytown City Hall:

Item 1: The city has a new Finance Director. Her name is Martha Mundt. Ms. Mundt will be relocating to the Raytown area from Springfield, Missouri to take on the duties as the leader of the Raytown City Hall’s Finance Department. Since she is new to the area, we hope she decides to make Raytown her home, not only as a professional businesswoman but also as a resident.

ITEM 2: A resolution asking Governor Jay Nixon to veto a bill passed by the Missouri House and Senate which exempted certain items from sales tax. There was ample debate on this resolution. After all the noise and smoke had subsided the Board voted by a 6-3-1 margin to approve the resolution.

Voting Yes (in favor of the Resolution): Melson, Josh Greene, Lightfoot, Aziere, Mock, Ertz
Voting No (in opposition to the resolution): Jason Greene, VanBuskirk, Creamer
Absent: Emerson

ITEM 3: A resolution authorizing the sale of surplus city equipment by auction. The resolution passed unanimously.

ITEM 4: A resolution approving the contract for one year with Infinity Building Services, LLC for the cutting of noxious and overgrown weeds and lawns in the City of Raytown. This is the final year of a three year contract. The resolution passed unanimously.

ITEM 5: A resolution approving the contract for one year with Raytown Animal Hospital, Inc. for veterinary services associated with animal control. Mayor Bower expressed concerns with this final year of a three year contract with Raytown Animal Hospital. However, he did not elaborate what those concerns were. The resolution was approved unanimously.

ITEM 6 and 6A: This Public Hearing for the consideration of the mechanics of how nuisance ordinances are enforced made some minor changes in the time line for repeat offenders of the city’s nuisance ordinance as regards overgrown laws and weeds. In effect, it shortens the time period for approximately one day given for property owners to cut noxious weeds and overgrown lawns in compliance with city code. The ordinance passed unanimously.

ITEM 7 and 8: These two ordinances granted acceptance of a Family Dollar Store to be built in Downtown Raytown on 63rd Street. Residents to the south of the proposed development had expressed concerns about the impact on their neighborhoods due to traffic and possible security of their homes so close to a major retail outlet. One local resident, Julie Wishy, told the Board that while not all of the concerns had not been met, that she felt comfortable with changes to the plan which protected the privacy of their neighborhood. The developer promised to include a PVC privacy fence between homeowners and the Family Dollar Store. The bill passed unanimously.

ITEM 9: An ordinance establishing a procedure for disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and substantial interests for certain municipal officials. This ordinance was written to bring the city into compliance with state law. The bill passed unanimously.

ITEM 10: This bill, which was approved as an emergency ordinance, granted at conditional use permit subject to certain conditions to operate a car dealership at 11900 East Highway 350. The application had been held up by the Planning and Zoning Commission because they were unable to field a quorum to consider the application.

Greg’s Rant
Typing Paul’s report for him has been a humbling experience for me. It takes a lot of patience to weed through what was said at a City Council Meeting. Paul is the pro when it comes to that – I hope my message in his place is enough to keep the reader up to speed on what is happening at City Hall.

That being said, there are some things in the report that deserve a good “rant”. So sit back and consider the following:

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Mayor speak in favor of placing a privacy fence between the new Dollar General and the neighborhood just south of the development. A 12,000 sq. ft. footprint of a store with adjoining parking lot creates problems for neighbors that are unique to the operation of a large retail outlet.

One is obvious, trash and debris. Sad to say, some people think that parking lot is where they dump the junk and trash out of their cars. A privacy fence will keep it on retailer’s side so it can easily be picked up. The other is something that the Mayor did not say, but should have, about why you need a fixed wall or fence between large retail and residential areas.

It has to do with crime. Any large retailer is going to have shoplifters. It comes with the territory. When they bolt out of the store, it is highly unlikely the will run across 63rd Street. No, the fastest get away is to cut through neighboring yards – that was a major problem at the old Walmart Store on 67th Street years ago – unfortunately it will probably be a problem on 63rd Street as well. 

The privacy fence creates an impregnable barrier for such escape routes – making the policeman’s job a little easier, but more importantly, maintaining the security of home surrounding the development. The reverse is true as well. A good barrier,  be it a concrete wall or a PVC fence (as required by the city in this case) also keeps burglars from plying their trade and blending in to the parking lot of a large retail establishment.

Here is what bothers me about all of the above. The Mayor asked for a fence. The representative of the Dollar General said it would be done -- not the developer. There was not a formal motion by any Board member requiring the barrier in the agreement. 

The fence or wall will probably be built. After all, the representative from Dollar General publicly agreed to the stipulation. Still, it would probably set better with homeowners if the Board had formally included the fence as a requirement for approval of the developer's plans.

BAD IDEA JOE . . . The meeting ended with a discussion item offered by Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer. Creamer introduced Lisa Saparno (if the spelling is wrong, our apologies, none was given at the meeting) and Anthony Carpino. Both of who say they grew up in Raytown. Lisa, who deals in real estate, now lives in Lee’s Summit and Anthony, who deals in home loans, lives in Kansas City. 

Lisa and Anthony want to offer and educational program to potential Raytwon area  homebuyers of the opportunities for first time and second time buyers of homes in the Raytown area. Alderman Joe Creamer wants the city to “partner” with Lisa and Anthony to make this happen.

Creamer told the Board, Raytown  . . .  “has not done a very good job of marketing our community”.

He believes that Anthony and Lisa can help in that regard. All he wants is for the city to allow them to use City Hall for meetings and to have city staff help in promoting the program.

As it turns out, the program already exists, and is free for use by the public . . . as was pointed out by Ward 5 Alderman Michael Lightfoot.  Lightfoot explained that he used the program when he purchased his first home in Raytown.

Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk was skeptical of the program as well, he told the Board “that putting people in houses they cannot afford” is not really a good idea.

Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock also had comments. Mock, who is in the business of building new homes, said that it is really not proper for the City to endorse one realtor or loan company over another. He wondered out loud if the City would officially endorse him as a builder if he put together and educational program. His conclusion was that they probably would not.

Mayor Bower, ever the diplomat, said he was all for the plan if it was feasible. He suggested that Creamer put together a committee to study the question. From the sounds of the comments of his seatmates on the Board . . . he may have trouble finding those willing to serve.

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Cups
Today, for Guest Bloggers’ Week, reader Kristi — a weight-loss blogger in the Boston area who is a newly licensed Zumba instructor, current Weight Watchers member, taco lover and Jillian Michaels superfan — is sharing a delicious sweet treat with us! They’re creamy, delicious and can be served chilled or frozen, with fruit or graham cracker crumbs. We’re already sold!  READ MORE

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


Come on people! Raytown’s leaders have yet to find a rule that can’t be broken! Oops! Let me clarify my statement. They have yet to find a rule that concern them, their friends or department heads, that can’t be broken.”

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Bits and Pieces
The recent Republican Primary Election held August 5th had what we call a “trivial moment”. The race for two seats on the Jackson County Republican Committee had only one candidate. That candidate, Mary Jane VanBuskirk, easily won re-election to the seat.

The interesting part was a spate of write-in votes to fill the other seat. Four of the five candidates had ties to the Raytown Charter Commission.

Janette Guenther received one vote. She is the wife of the Chairman Steve Guenther.

Kristin Greene received one vote. She is the wife of Charter Commissioner and Raytown Alderman, Jason Greene.

The other two write-ins were just as interesting. Janet Emerson got two vote. Like Greene she also serves on the Commission and Raytown Board of Aldermen.

And the winner is . . . Lisa Emerson, who received four write-in votes. Emerson had just finished her first term on the Republican Committee and had decided not to run for re-election. Looks like some of her supporters felt otherwise.

Too Many 
Discount Stores?
Family Dollar is expected to receive permission to build a new retail outlet in Downtown Raytown at 63rd and Arlington. What most people do not know is that another discount retailer, Dollar General, is expected to make application for a similar store just one block away on some vacant acreage next to Blue Ridge Elementary.

The empty lot is surrounded by residential property and faced a tremendous amount of opposition from local homeowners a couple of years ago. The Board of Aldermen turned down the application at that time.

We have heard that neighborhoods surrounding the proposed sight are not letting the grass grow under their feet in organizing opposition this time around either. One of our regular readers, Missy Laval, whose home is literally at ground zero of the property in question has asked that we help out by publicizing the developer’s plans.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, August 21, 2014 from 4 pm to 6:30 pm at the Holiday Inn Express located at 8551 East Blue Parkway just east of Raytown on 350 Highway. 

Anyone interested in more information can contact Missy Laval by emailing her at

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen – August 12, 2014

Mayor Bower recognized Dr. Dawn Weeks as the Missouri Municipal League 2014 Civic Leadership Recipient.

Vicki Turnbow said Raytown Chamber of Commerce will host a Senior celebration at The Point at Graceway (5600 Blue Ridge Cutoff) on Saturday, September 13 from 5 to 8 pm.  A ticket is required and the cost to attend is only $10 per person.  Tickets may be purchased at Hy-Vee in Raytown or the Raytown Chamber office until August 29 and will be sold on a first come first served basis.  Tickets are non-refundable.  Only 400 tickets will be sold so don’t wait until the last minute.  The ticket includes great music, dancing, dinner/dessert, door prizes, photo booth, and the opportunity to meet new neighbors!  Questions, please contact the Chamber office at 816-353-8500.

The Board approved the reappointment of Rebecca Clatanoff and Kevin Wilson to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

The Board approved the appointment of Terry Copeland, Pat Jackson, and George Mitchell to the Park Board.

The Board approved the reappointment of Joseph Jimenez and Steve Meyers to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Board approved the appointment of Paul McKnight, Marci Swartz, Bill Zornes, Steve Scott, and Carolyn Bradley to the Raytown Crossing Community Improvement District Board of Directors.

The Board approved a resolution approving the purchase of a new phone system for City Hall.  Dan Berry, Senior Information Systems Project Coordinator and the Public Works staff has researched the needs of all the departments in city hall and have selected a phone system that will address the current needs of the departments and provide flexibility for future needs.  The proposed phone system will replace the outdated current phone system that was installed in 1997.  The current phone system has become less reliable and difficult to find replacement parts for repairs or handset replacement.  The only equipment that is typically available for the current phone system is refurbished equipment.  The new phone system will require new communication cable be run for each phone location.  The cost for the phone system is $45,287.30.  To ensure the project is completed in a timely manner and prevent coordination issues between two sets of contractors staff recommends awarding the installation of the cable to the local Mitel representative, Electronic Office Systems, in an amount not to exceed $19,500.00 for a total cost of $64,787.30.

The Board approved a resolution approving the amendments to the Budget for the Public Works Department.  Andy Noll told the Board the professional services line item in the General Fund Public Works Department is likely to go over budget due to several expenses.  Missouri One-Call expenses due to Google Fiber installations is a one-time expense, fuel pump repairs are a one-time expense, and an increase in liability insurance are all items that have caused the fund to potentially be over budget at year-end.  Public Works proposes to reallocate available funding in the amount of $35,000.00 from the Vehicle Expense line item to the Professional Services line item to rectify the situation.  The General Supplies line item in the Transportation Sales Tax Fund within the Public Works Department will be over budget by the end of the year.  Increased expenses for traffic control cabinet repair, electrical service repairs, increased salt expenses, and increased asphalt repairs are the main reasons for the increased expenses.  Public Works proposes to increase the expense account by $43,000.00 to provide funding for needed asphalt repairs through the end of the year.  The increase in expenses will be funded by the unallocated balance of the Transportation Sales Tax Fund.

The Board approved an ordinance amending the Police Officers’ Retirement Pension Plan.  Chief Lynch told the Board the City sponsors a pension plan for the benefit of commissioned officers of the Raytown Police Department.  The Police Pension Board of Trustees made the following recommendation: Revise the Plan to add an IRS requested provision that lump sum amounts between $1,000 and $5,000 will be directly rolled over to an individual retirement account if the Member does not timely elect to receive the amount in another form of distribution after notification.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance to change the Code pertaining to nuisance abatement for repeat offences.  John Benson told the Board Raytown staff is proposing to amend the language written in Section 28-451, dealing with general nuisance abatement, and dealing with abatement of tall grass and weeds, of the Raytown City Code.  The City has adopted minimum requirements for mowing or trimming grass and other vegetation on private property.  As provided in the attached ordinance, the amendments proposed relate to the following.  Current regulations stipulate that a violation of City ordinance exists when weeds or grass are more than eight inches in height or if any poisonous vegetation, such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac exist on a property.  Other vegetation such as vines, sapling, or shrubs may be a violation if it exceeds the eight inch height limitation and is clearly uncultivated.  Currently, the City of Raytown uses a nine day process for removing tall grass and weeds, as well as all other general nuisances that are found to be in violation of the Raytown City Code.  Once a property is found to be in violation of the municipal code, both the property owner and the tenant, if the two are not the same, are notified of the violation, and are given four days by which they can request an informal hearing to discuss the violation, or to remove the violation.  After those four days have passed, or once the informal hearing has been held, Raytown staff can declare code violation to be a nuisance, and order that it be abated and/or removed within five business days.  Should the nuisance not be abated within the five business days, the Raytown staff, then place a work order for the nuisance to be abated, and then certify the costs to the City Clerk, along with a $75.00 fee, paid within thirty days, or else it will then be placed as a lien on the property.  To expedite the abatement process and to address repeat violations within the same calendar year staff is proposing the following amendments:

Change from Business Days to Calendar Days: The five business days for abatement of tall grass and weeds as currently stipulated by City Code can extend the abatement process by one, two or three additional days if the five business day abatement period encompasses a weekend and/or holiday.  It is the recommendation of staff that all mentions of business days in be removed, and instead replaced with calendar days, so that the ordered abatement must take place within five calendar days of the abatement order, regardless of weekends and holidays.

The Board held a public hearing to consider a site development plan for proposed retail store at 9601 E. 63rd Street in accordance with the City of Raytown Central Business District Design Elements as specified in Division 17 of the City of Raytown Code of Ordinances.

Mark Evans with Triple C Development is seeking approval of a site development plan in relation to the Raytown Central Business District (CBD) Design Standards, as provided in the Raytown Zoning Ordinance.  The site development plan submitted by the applicant proposes to redevelop two adjoining properties located at 9509 E. 63rd Street and 6300 Evanston.  The project proposes demolition of the existing buildings and parking areas on these properties and construction of an 8,233 square foot Family Dollar retail store.  The subject property is zoned Neighborhood Commercial (NC) district, which permits retail stores as an allowed use.  The proposed redevelopment of these properties would also result in public improvements that include construction of curb and gutter, storm sewer improvements and a sidewalk along the west side of Evanston Avenue.  In addition, the project includes demolition of the existing driveway entrances and construction of a new driveway entrance on 63rd Street.   

Because thedevelopment proposes to redevelop these two properties with a new building, the CBD Design Standards Overlay District requires that the plans for the proposed Redevelopment be reviewed and approved by the Board of Aldermen following their receipt of a recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission.

During the public hearing, Julie Wishy said the City should have checked the traffic before considering this.  Several businesses are in that area and also there are school bus stops.  She also said they should look at truck traffic making deliveries.
Jonathan Smith said there is open store space in the shopping center behind Wendy’s.  They could put the Family Dollar there.  He said traffic is heavy enough at rush hour without adding another store.  Dwayne Bashim said this is the opportunity for Raytown to have a b rand new building in the downtown area.  He said the Board should help to make it something all of Raytown can be proud of.  Gary Knabe said the people who are complaining about all the traffic should ask the owners of Clark’s appliances, the restaurants in the area and the folks who work at the bank if they want more traffic in the area.  He said the bank has a sign out front claiming they are open and inviting people in.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance to establish a procedure to disclose conflicts of interest for officials in Raytown.  Teresa Henry told the Board this is an annual ordinance.  She said in 1991, the Missouri General Assembly adopted an ethics and personal financial disclosure law, which applied to all municipalities with an annual operating budget in excess of $1 million.  Under the law, municipalities were allowed to adopt their own simplified personal financial disclosure requirements by ordinance (commonly known as “short form” reporting).  The financial disclosure reporting requirements apply to each elected official, the City Administrator (as the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Purchasing Officer), the Director of Finance (as the Chief Financial Officer), the City Clerk, the full-time General Counsel, the Park Board, and the Parks and Recreation Director.  Each political subdivision desiring to use the “short form” is required to readopt the ordinance authorizing “short form” reporting every two years.  However, in order to avoid the significant consequences of the failure to readopt the ordinance the recommended best practice is to adopt the ordinance annually. The ordinance must be adopted by September 15 and a copy must be provided to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Missouri Revised Statute 
Chapter 79, Fourth Class Cities, Section 79.070 
Last Thursday, the Jackson County Election Board sent a letter to the City of Raytown  regarding Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer’s voter registration which stated  . . . “that the investigation is complete and Mr. Creamer will remain registered at his current address”.

So closes one page of a controversy that has been building for the past year at Raytown City Hall.

The question of Creamer’s registration may be resolved, but the question of his legal residence remains confused.

On April 25, 2014, Creamer filed documents with the Jackson County Circuit Court in which he identified his legal residence as 10608 East 71st Terrace, Raytown, Missouri.

10608 East 71st Terrace is located in Ward 2. Creamer represents Ward 1 on the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

Missouri Revised Statutes clearly state in Chapter 79.070 regarding Fourth Class Cities.

 Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 79
Fourth Class Cities
Section 79.070

79.070. No person shall be an alderman unless he or she is at least eighteen years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant and resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election, and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or she serves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.

This means that an Alderman must live within the physical boundaries of the Ward he or she represents. An Alderman from Ward 1 cannot make his home in Ward 2. Nor can he make it in Ward 3, or, for that matter, Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Election Board authorities told the Raytown Report that enforcement of state statutes in these circumstances does not rest with the Election Board. The ruling made by Election Board attorneys specifically addresses the question of voter registration.

Raytown is a Fourth Class City. Therefore it must follow laws as written by the State of Missouri and as a contained in the Statutes of the State of Missouri.

When a Raytown Alderman takes his oath of office he swears he will . . .  “support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Missouri; the provisions of all laws of this State affecting Cities of this Class, and the Ordinances of the City of Raytown, Missouri and faithfully demean myself in office.” 

It is very clear that Joe Creamer does not take his oath of office very seriously. But that does not give the Board of Aldermen an excuse to ignore the State Statutes as well.

Mr. Creamer has spent nearly one quarter of his term of office in direct violation of Missouri State Statutes. There are over 2,000 homes and apartments in Ward 1. A good number of them are vacant. Creamer could have made anyone of them of his home. He chose not to do so.

As one blogger wrote last week in the blog section of the Raytown Report;

Come on people! Raytown’s leaders have yet to find a rule that can’t be broken! Oops! Let me clarify my statement. They have yet to find a rule that concern them, their friends or department heads, that can’t be broken.”

Given the current circumstances at Raytown City Hall regarding Mr. Creamer, it is hard not to agree. 

Raw Carob + Coconut 
Squares That Are Full of L-O-V-E!
It’s funny. When people think of “raw,” “gluten-free” or “vegan” foods, they usually think bland, boring and tasteless. But I swear — especially when it comes to desserts — sometimes it’s the raw, gluten-free and vegan ones that are amazingly dense, filling, moist, rich and delicious. (I pretty much credit that to copious amounts of good-for-ya fatty nut butters and coconut oil like this paleo fudge has!) And this coconut squares recipe from Karolina EleonĂ³ra’s new ebook Snack Smarter certainly fits that bill. READ MORE

 Michael McDonough Announces 
Bid for Mayor of Raytown
Michael McDonough announced Friday, 08-15-14, his intention to run for Mayor of the City of Raytown.   Michael McDonough is dedicated to fostering an environment of cooperation within the City of Raytown.  He is committed to working alongside citizens and businesses to meet important community goals. For decades, Michael has served the public, his own neighbors, with integrity and dedication, in both public safety and local charity service, and is committed to our community's progress.  The election will be held in April of 2015.

Michael, a nearly life-long resident, has achieved many accomplishments throughout his personal and professional life.  He was most recently honored to be named the Truman Heartland Foundation 2014 Raytown Outstanding Citizen of the Year.  As stated by the Truman Heartland Foundation's press release announcing the honor, that recognition is reserved for those community members that have "used their skills, abilities, and positions to promote the wellbeing of their communities and the people that live in them. While the avenue towards change may be varied among them, all the honorees are united by a common goal, to improve the lives of their fellow citizens, and a common desire to help improve and enrich the communities of Eastern Jackson County."

He donates his personal time to many charitable organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for Raytown Emergency Assistance Program (REAP,) the Raytown Police Benefit Fund, and was elected to a position on the Raytown Charter Commission. He was also involved at Southwood Elementary School for seven years in the Youth Friends Program.

His other accomplishments include having been an EMT with training in Emergency Care of Wounded Police Officers, Scouting, Coaching youth sports, and assisting other organizations with fundraising events.  He has received the Officer of the Year Award, twice, a Lifesaving Award from the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, the James Schneider Award from the Raytown Fire Protection District, the Life Saving Star from Raytown Emergency Medical Services, as well as several Quality Contribution Certificates from the Raytown C-2 School District.

Michael McDonough has lived in Raytown for the past 51 years.  He grew up in Raytown, went through school here and graduated from Raytown South High School in 1973. He enjoys living in Raytown because of the great people that live here. They are so giving and helpful to one another, and just like him, are proud of this community. Although this town is surrounded by Kansas City, it has continued to keep its small town feel.

He has served as a police officer for the Raytown Police Department since 1975. Prior to that, he worked for a year in the City Street Department, while attending community college.  His passion has been, and always will be, serving the citizens of the City of Raytown. He has been serving his community for the last 40 years, and will continue to do so.  He continues to live in Raytown because of the people, and his love for this community.

It is that dedication and commitment to our community that has led Michael McDonough to decide to run for Mayor of the City of Raytown in the April 2015 election.  Michael would be honored to continue his service to the citizens of Raytown by leading the City of Raytown with a spirit of cooperation and progress.

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