Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hog at the Trough? by Greg Walters

In 2001 the City of Raytown embarked on a program to beautify the 63rd and Blue Ridge Cutoff intersection. The intersection was redesigned, trees planted, state of the art traffic signals and new street lights placed.

Thus was born Raytown’s first “Gateway” intersection.

At the time the city had entered into a partnership with BHA Group, the owners of a large office building located on the northeast corner Blue Ridge and 63rd Streets. BHA Group upgraded their building and property to fit in with the theme of the Gateway created by the city.

For their participation in the project BHA Group was given quite a few tax credits and tax abatements from the State of Missouri.

The City of Raytown threw in a property tax abatement in the form of a 15 year abatement on the property tax levy for the grounds (but not the building) owned by BHA. Area water users saw an increase in their monthly water rates as well. When the street was rebuilt it was discovered that the 50+ year old water lines needed replacing. Guess who got to pay for that. If you guessed the residential water users, you are correct!

Part of the tax abatement contract between Raytown City Hall and BHA Group required a certain number of people be employed at the building.

At its last meeting City Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth informed the Board that the current tenants of the building have fallen below that mark.

Now BHA Group would like to rewrite the contract to extend their tax abatement to include the building as well as the property for the next five years.

So let’s get this straight. The city kept its end of the bargain. The State of Missouri has kept its end as well.

BHA reneged on the contract requirements. Now they want a larger abatement as a reward!?!

The improvements to the property and the intersection have been completed. BHA has fallen short on delivering on jobs for the Raytown area (which, according to Mr. Wilmoth's statements at the last meeting of the Board, they blame on a weak economy). It is interesting note that there has not been any public discussion on what will happen to the requirement if the economy improves.

The City of Raytown and the State of Missouri have kept their end of the agreement. There is no reason to sweeten the deal for BHA. Tax abatements are not an entitlement. The City of Raytown should put the brakes on the tax give-aways they have become so fond of issuing under the Bower Administration.

Tax Abatement Explained . . .

We heard an explanation of how property tax abatements work that bears repeating. We repeat the story here for a few members on the Board of Aldermen who seem to have trouble grasping the consequence of their actions with regards to tax abatements.

Let’s say four people decide to buy an apple pie. The pie costs $1.00. So each person would pay 25 cents for their portion of the pie.

Now, let’s say that one of those buying the pie is given an “abatement” of his cost.

The pie still costs $1.00.

Instead of it being split four ways, with each person paying 25 cents . . . the cost is now split three ways.

Each person still receives a quarter of the pie. Because of the abatement, only three are paying. So those three remaining people paying for the pie will each pay 33 cents.

The person with the abatement still gets a quarter of the pie, but he pays nothing for it.

ASK PETE . . . a column dedicated to gardening


Its time! Finally we can plant tomatoes.

Tomato plants have a root system that extends out a considerable distance, like maybe some three feet in all directions. So you can see that planting in a hanging sack or a container of any kind becomes difficult.

You may do so, but water requirements will be high and fertilizer needs will be greater than if planted in soil. When fertilizing, pick a fertilizer that has a low amount of nitrogen (the first number of the 3 numbers on the label). Nitrogen will cause a plant to grow large at the expense of setting fruit.

You will need to decide whether you want a determinate or indeterminate tomato plant. The determinate plant will only grow a certain period of time and then die whereas a indeterminate plant will grow til frost kills it. Determinate tomato plants do not grow as large and can be grown without staking. Determinate plants are usually quicker growing and will bear earlier, yet may die out in Sept. On the other hand, I have seen indeterminate varieties grow to 15 or more feet tall. The label should tell you which kind of plant you are buying.

When picking out your plant, you should look for a plant that is short, not thin and leggy. In addition the color should be a dark green. You will find many plants that are tall and leggy and when you remove the roots from the container they come in, you will find the roots are twisted around and around the ball of dirt. They are root bound and if your plant is as described, then you should pull the roots out as otherwise they will continue to grow in circles restricting their growth.

When you plant the tomato, remove the leaves except for the top four.

Then bury the stem all the way up to the leaves. Roots will form on the buried stem giving you extra strength. This will especially help if you have a leggy, root bound plant.

After planting the tomato, wrap a strip of aluminum foil around the stem.

This will keep the cutworms from cutting the stem. Do this the same day as planting. Many people can relate to having their crop, sometimes their complete crop, cut down the first night after planting.

If you mulch around your plant, this will help keep the moisture at a constant level keeping cracking to a minimum. You need to add calcium to help prevent blossom rot. This may be bought or you can use crushed egg shells spread around the plant. These eggshells may help keep slugs and some pests at bay.

Many people add Epson Salts to their fertilizing program which will help the flavor of the fruit.

There is no taste more satisfying then a fresh homegrown tomato.

The Salamander Returns!
Our President, Barack Obama, is in a class all his own. When pushed to the brink he always comes through.

This time it was a birth certificate. The Salamander can hardly wait for the next bit of ”Presidency in action.”

The birth certificate helped settle what was a long-festering question. Obama is President of the U.S. If people want a change, all they have to do is wait about a year and a half and then make their decision.

It is amazing how Mr. Obama has an ability to rationalize anything he does. He could give Bill Clinton lessons.

Example:

Speaking to the press about his birth certificate, the President pontificated:

“We don’t have time for this kind of silliness.”

He continued that his preference was “not to comment” on “sideshow issues.”

He went on to say “some enormous challenges are out there.”

It was downright inspiring. Real, big-time high-sounding non-political talk from our leader.

BUT – AND IT IS A BIG, BIG “BUT.”

Right after telling us all we should pay attention to the important things and not struggle over minor pronouncements he went right out to meet the big challenges.

In case you don’t take the Star, this correspondent will tell what happened.

First, he flew to Chicago to appear on a TV talk show. Upon completing his pilgrimage to Oprah Winfrey’s sign-off, he hurriedly left the studio.

There were, afterall, “big challenges to be met.”

Mr. Obama then sped to Air Force One. He flew to New York City to attend not one, not two, but three dinner fundraisers to finance his re-election  campaign.

The election is 24 months away but, as the President said, “We should not waste time on silliness.”

The Salamander has no report on how much money the dinners raised. For the man who puts first things first, you can bet the meals were less than spectacular.

Wax On, Wax Off by Jenn Walters

Before I realized how injured I really was, I was mistakenly still working out post-marathon. I thought that as long as I didn’t run, I would recover and be fine. We’ve since found out that was flawed thinking, but I had a good month or two there where I embraced my new non-running freedom with new workouts galore. From regular sweat (and cursing) sessions with Jillian Michaels’ workout DVDs to time on the elliptical to a live Zumba class, I had a somewhat painful blast catching up on some of the activities I didn’t have time for during marathon training.

I also tried not one but two forms of mixed martial arts. The first? A form of self defense called Kasie. Kasie, which I can’t find anything about online but my instructor swore it was what trained Christian Bale to be so quick in the Batman movies, is all about protecting yourself and getting the heck out of the way. Which is perfect for a girl who wants to be more confident when going out to her car at night or spending an evening or two alone while the hubby is away on business. The moves were simple and easy to remember—no flipping dudes over or anything super impressive—but they used your elbows to do enough damage to get you out of a pickle or really freaky situation.

The other class I took was based off of a reader suggestion: Krav Maga. This class was a little more showy and one HECK of a good workout. Krav Maga is used by military people all over the world and involves just about anything gnarly you can imagine: striking, grappling, wrestling, crotch-kneeing, it’s all far game. The class I took was in a weird, industrial part of town and the building looked and felt a little like a bunker. Appearances aren’t everything though. Because I didn’t just learn moves in this class, I got to practice them. On people with pads. While yelling. And not like normal yelling. Like primordial “OMG, did I just sound like that?” yelling. It was fun and kind of liberating. It was most definitely a workout, too. It’s amazing how intervals of screaming, punching, kicking and kneeing can really take it out of a girl. In a good way.

Now, have I had to use my new-found skills? Thankfully, no. But I feel more confident and empowered knowing that I have them in my back pocket to pull from if something were ever to happen. (Get more self defense tips!) And it just reinforces my love and appreciation of workouts. Even though I can’t go out and run or really do anything with my legs right now, I will soon. Using your body regularly not only feels good, it makes you a more capable human being. Whether it’s sprinting away from a bad situation or even being able to carry that huge bag of groceries without batting an eye, working out isn’t just about looking good. It’s about doing good, for yourself!

Have you ever tried mixed martial arts or taken a self-defense class? Tell us about it! And, for the record, the booty is getting better. I hope to be up and running (literally) soon!

Jenn Walters and Erin Whitehead jointly publish Fit Bottomed Girls. To read more of their thoughts on lifestyle choices and fitness go to http://www.fitbottomedgirls.com/

Last Week's Poll Results:
Should the Mayor Pro-tem be elected by the Board of Alderman or appointed by the Mayor with Board approval?

60% . . . Elected by the Board
40% . . . Appointed by the Mayor

To post a comment click on the word comments below:

31 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

If “We don’t have time for this kind of silliness,” why did Dictator O'Bummer cause this silliness by NOT producing his birth certificate when requested and then waste millions to protect His cover up? My mother would have said something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

It seems to me that the Dictator could have simply produced his birth certificate when requested but choose to drag this silliness through more than half of his first (and I hope) his last term of office.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Seems as though the man had to provide the birth information when filing to run for office. Will you morons ever get a life and go on to something else instead of harping about the mans birth certificate? He is a US citizen, enough already with the theatrics. I suppose that now we will still hear from the race haters about how the black man is in the white house and some out there do not like that. Grow up already!

Anonymous said...

How typical! Another liberal bringing race into the argument. I swear these types of folks are really closet racist. Rather than discuss and issue they want to talk about the color of a man's skin.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am not a racist and in fact supported O'Bummer in the beginning because I like what he had to say but I realized be was "buying votes" with his lies.

It has been stated that he was NOT required to present his birth certificate to run for office and the uproar is because the Dictator refused to present his birth certificate. I would like to know where and to whom he presented his birth certificate. I think 2:10PM is assuming that the Dictator presented his birth certificate.

The problem is he is attempting to destroy this country as well as being a liar.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

How did the Raytown Cleanup day do? I drove by and saw very long line. I wondered if everyone who wanted to had an opportunity to drop off there stuff. The six hour time limit put on the day seemed kind of short for a town of 30,000.

Andy Whiteman said...

It was stated at a BOA meeting that the time had been cut back because a tally of drop offs from the previous year indicated that very few people dropped anything off between 3PM and 4PM, hence it was a waste of money to stay open that hour. Personally I feel that 4PM was still too early and it should have been continued into the evening.

I wonder what the purpose of clean up day was since yard waste was not accepted? I think the most obvious thing to clean up is yard waste. I had some tree branches that but some kind soul picked them up long before cleanup day. I thank that anonymous person whoever he or she may be.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

For those of you who wondered why they did not see Mayor pro tem Jim (Superman) Aziere at the clean up day site, I have it on good authority that he did his job that night flying over the site of the clean up checking for broken glass and nails that were left. Good work Superman I look forward to seeing and hearing more amazing from you.
Sign me, Lois your co worker at the news paper

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder to you liberals, it was the Clintons that originally brought up Obama's birth certificate issue! How soon you people forget and how often you choose to ignore the truth.

Anonymous said...

The cleanup was absolutely huge. I did two loads and while it did take me two hours, it moved along quite efficiently considering the crush of humanity that showed up to drop off their stuff. The lines were long but it was worth the wait.

Salamander - get over it. The country has more important issues than something the president has repeatedly proved is verifiably true. To hear you still bark at it like a deaf dog barking at nothing is really amazing. I suppose next you'll be asking for proof he's black.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that next the Republicans will want a copy of Osama Bin Laden's Death Certificate, and pictures to validate it too!

Andy Whiteman said...

2:49PM, The Dictator is NOT black....doesn't appear to be black at all. He is mulatto.

Many dogs appear to be barking at nothing but if investigated, there is usually a reason that may be perceived by only the dog.

I am glad to hear that Jim had a concern for safety at the clean up site. IT would be tragic if someone stepped on glass or nails or had a flat tire.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

One of Gibb's rules: "Trust but verify."

bin Ladin's execution and disposal happened so fast there was no time to verify. With no body, there is no proof. The Dictator could be lying, as usual, for political gain. So far it is all hearsay.

Andy Whiteman

KMCCLA said...

Andy, part of the reason they no longer do yard waste is because there is so much of it. Since yard waste can no longer go to the landfill, it has to be mulched, and disposed of otherwise. I can remember years (25-30 something) when there was a clean-up day over at South Middle (not far from my house) and the pile for the yard waste was huge (over twenty feet high, fifty feet wide, and hundred feet long, if not more). The biggest reason is because there is so much of it they have no way to get rid if it all, at least that is what my understanding of situation.

As for the so called "birther" issue, I wish everyone would just get over it. What in the hell is the big deal? I am no fan of Obama, but it based on his political leanings and policies, not his so called race, or where he was born. He is an American Citizen, pure and simple. And to the Republican Bashers -- and you know who you are -- turn about is fair play. Do not be so shocked and surprised about the venom and vitriol towards Obama, many of you showed the same feelings toward Bush.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me the most about comments, particularly from the far left side ofthe political arena is the intolerance they show in their actions and speech.

The interesting part is that the liberal mindset goes so far left that it often becomes paranoid in its beliefs and turns right when it comes to allowing others their space for an opinion.

Andy Whiteman said...

KMCCLA, Thanks for the info about the yard waste. It sounds logical and the pile you described would be a fire hazard. Since yard waste can't go to the dump, that is why I don't have grass clippings picked up. It is just too expensive to pay the person who is mowing for the extra work as well as paying a hauler to pick up something they will compost and sell.

If O'Bummer is an American citizen, why did he take so long to produce the document? All we have is an electronic image which many claim is forged. The paper document needs to be produced and verified. True there have been issues over Bush and McCain, but McCain produced his documents immediately. Why did McCain produce his but O'Bummer spent millions to cover up something? I wonder what he really was covering up?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

To those who are complaining that Raytown isn't getting new businesses:

Tom Cole did a lengthy graphic visual presentation on Google Maps with new businesses marked. I was surprised that there are many more new businesses in Raytown than I realized! He also explained why some did not progress. No business can get a bank loan of $10M to develop the Green Space (Olde Baptist Church). The hot dog stand decided to go to another location with fewer remodeling issues. The car wash lease was cancelled by the bank.

If anyone can watch it on cable or Raytown video web site, I suggest they do so. It was an excellent, professional presentation.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The Mayor was true to form at the BOA meeting last night. Nasty, nasty it is the only way he knows how to treat people. Mayor you better watch it, it will come back to bite you in the ass. And dI might add it will happen when you least expect it!!!

Anonymous said...

Andy,

What is next DNA testing to prove someone is allowed to run for President.

All of this is a waste of our time.

We have issues with politician getting great donations from gas companies who are sticking it to us at the pump.

This is what needs to be reviewed and an end put to.

Anonymous said...

Why should Obama be required to produce a birth certificate? His mother was born in Kansas. That makes her an American citizen. Look up the 14th Admendment. If one of his parents are an American citizen, then he is automatically an American citizen. Look up the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. It's quite plain. Even you can understand it.

Anonymous said...

Andy, I am curious. Did his google map show the businesses that had shut down? or did he only tell half the story.

Andy Whiteman said...

11:09AM, The verbal dialog included shut down businesses that were being redeveloped. Crawfords and Bergiblia at Gregory and 350HWY were shown. I question if Crawfords was shut down on its own or shut down for redevelopment? Hometown Realty was shown now occupied by the Raytown Times. The car dealership shut down on 350HWY & Raytown Rd. and being redeveloped was shown complete with storm damage. The burnt down house on 63rd Ter. was shown along with the relocated location. The deceased jeweler's
is being developed. A burnt down house behind Raytown Plaza and another house are being developed as business. The old IGA in Blue Ridge Plaza alond with another pad will be occupied.

The Olde Baptist Church was shown as vacant area or so called "Green Space."

Otherwise shut down busisnesses not being occupied were not pointed out. I assume the invormation would be available if you or anyone inquired.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Don't know if they really went out of there way to include everybody. How about the auction center on 350 Highway. I guess it's being "re-developed" as well. Did they give the price tag, i.e., how much in tax abatements, unsecured loans, increased sales taxes we get to pay, etc.

Sorry folks, there is not free lunch!

Andy Whiteman said...

As I remember it, the auction center was only given a conditional use permit.

I don't go out for lunch, but where can I get my free dinner?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

This came from a friend who is on Face Book:

Let's be clear on this: OBAMA did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American soldier, who Obama just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to PAY, did. Obama just happened to be the one in office when our soldiers finally found UBL and took him out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN victory!! REPOST IF YOU AGREE!!!!...

Anonymous said...

I understand the Mayor is a church going man, but I wonder was he ever taught to treat others as he would want to be treated. Mayor this is what God would want you to do. Read your Bible sometime and see what God has to say about it. It might change the way you treat other board members.

Greg Walters said...

Anyone who does not understand the danger of over-extending a city's debt service should read this morning's KC Star.

The City of Independence, in the space of one year, has had to pump 7.6 million dollars of the taxpayer's money into keeping The Falls development afloat.

The Falls anchor store is Bass Pro Shop located on Interstate 70 in Independence. The developer has told the city it cannot make the debt service payments on the development.

Therefore, the City of Independence must pay for the debt service or default on the bonds.

City Manager Robert Heacock told the Star that 16 employees of the City stand to lose their jobs as a direct result of the payment by the City.

All city employees will take a three day unpaid furlough and city employees will pay an increased share of health and dental insurance premiums.

To read the story go to

www.kansascity.com/news

Pat Casady said...

Greg,
Your article on the Kansas City Star article
is exactly why I think it is so necessary for
elected officials to have at the very least a
little knowledge of how business is.
Elected officials that spend, give away or loan
taxpayer money without having the taxpayers
vote or approve it should be held accountable
for their actions.
Using taxpayer money without approval is stealing.
It is no different that someone going into your
bank account and taking your savings investment.
After all, taxpayer money is for making the town or city
better for the people. It is the taxpayers investment in their
town or city, to be used for the good of that town or city.
NOT BIG BUSINESS!

Anonymous said...

FYI,

In case we have a new place in Raytown to eat if you have not heard it's Dough Boy at 63rd and woodson in woodson village shopping center. We just found it a couple of days ago. It's only been open about a week. They have doughnuts and sandwichs, pizza, pasta dishes, several other lunch and dinner things on the menu and they have breakfast dishes. We did not eat the doughnuts but everything else we have had is very very good. Raytown needs to support this great new place. You won't be sorry. The owners are very nice people and love Raytown and want their business to success here. It's not a big place and it's not a chain. So Raytown next time you are in that area stop in and have a great meal.

Andy Whiteman said...

No one can handle their personal finances they way the city wastes money. I don't understand how any thinking Alderperson could do that with city funds. Any person doing that would soon be bankrupt or on welfare. Maybe the city can get more grants if they can prove they don't have money.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

What are Dough Boy's hours? Do they take credit cards? Since dinner is mentioned, I assume they are open for dinner. Big Mama's closed way too early. I am NOT a day person.

Anonymous said...

I was told by a friend that Dough Boys was a little pricy, $30 for 3 people. I personally don't think I should spend more than $7 on a lunch, so $10 a person is a bit much. The thrift store at Raytown and 87th street was too pricey too and now they are going out of business. They "say" they are moving but I asked where and she said "I don't know yet.". So Raytown has new businesses? How many of those are Payday Loan sharks or Cheap Smokes sort of places? All low end.
Next, no Obama didn't kill Bin Laden. I personally am glad Obama gave permission to send in a professional instead of going in and doing it himself. Ugh. I am NO Obama fan but really... c'mon now. If Obama "didn't kill Bin Laden" because he himself didn't pull the trigger, then Bin Laden didn't kill thousands of Americans on 911. And any major contender for the office of Presidency gets a very thorough back ground check by either the Secret Service or maybe the FBI, and if he hadn't been born in the U.S it would have disqualified him before he even got started.