My name is Paul Livius. I am the “new” guy at the Raytown Report. You saw my inaugural article last week in the Raytown Report. It is my job to give an objective report on what takes place at Raytown City Council meetings. I have seen broadcasts of City Council meetings in Raytown and find them to be a tedious and slow way to show what our City Council is up to.
You will not see much editorial comment from me. I will leave that to Greg. I think most of you will agree that he does a good job of cutting through the “noise” of Council meetings and comments on the real issues that affect us the most.
Here is this week’s report. I hope you find it informative.
Raytown Board of Alderman Meeting – April 19, 2010
- Mayor Bower thanked Joe Creamer for his service as Mayor Pro Tem during the last year and presented Mr. Creamer with a City Proclamation for his services.
- Dawn Weeks, Pastor of the Raytown Christian Church, told the Board that the Kansas City Royals made a $2,000 grant to the Summer Ministry Lunch Program.
- The Raytown Main Street Committee told the Board that the Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on the Green Space, along with the Old Car Show. Family Story Time will be at the Raytown Library and photos with the Easter Bunny will be taken at the FOP building.
- Mayor Bower reminded everyone that the Annual Clean Up day will be Saturday, April 30 from 8am to 3pm at the Super Splash. He thanked all the volunteers who will be helping.
- City Administrator Mahesh Sharma told the Board that the Budget line items based on revenue projections are available on the City’s website.
- The second reading of the Housing Grant was brought before the Board. Beth Linn, Community Development Director answered many questions. Alderman Melson asked if the grant money would be held in a separate account. Ms. Linn confirmed that it would. Alderman Melson also wanted to know if the Board would receive regular reports to show how the money is spent. Ms. Linn said the money would be used to purchase homes in the targeted area (53rd Street to 59th Street from Blue Ridge Cutoff to Woodson). The homes would be rehabbed and the grant includes money to help with down payments, lower the mortgage rates, and assist with home ownership classes. Ms. Linn also stated that the grant money can be used on any home in the target area, not just foreclosed property. She also stated that she will be asking the Board next week to hire a Grant Administrator and a Housing Specialist to manage the grant money. Raytown will also have to monitor the property to make sure that the owners reside there. This money will fund 27 homes. Alderman Aziere asked if the construction companies will have to bid on the homes per the government regulations. Ms. Linn said that the new staff members would be able to explain the bidding process. Alderman Van Buskirk stated that he has voted to approve grants in the past and would probably vote to approve grants in the future, but he believed that this particular grant was not in Raytown’s best interest and would be voting against the acceptance of the grant. Alderman Creamer thanked the staff for all their hard work in preparing this grant. He said that while he was campaigning, he saw many vacant homes. He thought this grant would be a good opportunity for Raytown to make vacant homes habitable. Alderman Melson asked if the grant money would pay the salaries of the new Staff Employees. Ms. Linn said it would. The measure passed 9-1.
- The Board voted to enter into an agreement with the Missouri Highway Commission for bridge rehabilitation. The approach pavement and sidewalks on Blue Ridge Blvd over 350 Highway would be replaced.
- The Board approved the measure to enter into an agreement with Mid-America Regional Council to fund the Green Light Traffic Control System at a cost of $9,623.
- The election results were certified and the Board members were sworn into office. The session was adjourned Sine die, which is the end of the legislative session.
- After a short break, Mayor Bower declared the new legislative session open.
- Jeremy Wilmoth, Finance Director, presented the new rates for employee health insurance. Vision insurance is now offered to the employees as an optional benefit. He said the insurance premiums went up as much as 8% over the previous year. The city offers health insurance as a PPO and an HMO. Currently, the city pays 100% of the premium for single coverage for the HMO, and 50% of the coverage for couple and family for the HMO. Alderman Lightfoot said he supports splitting the premium increase 50/50 between the employees and the city. Alderman Ertz agreed, saying the city employees do a lot for us. Alderman Van Buskirk agreed, stating that is the fairest way to handle the increase. The new insurance rates and employee contributions were passed.
- The Board approved a contract with Creative Landscaping for city mowing services. Andy Noll, Public Works Director, stated that he had only received two bids. The current provider had won a larger contract and didn’t bid on the Raytown job. Alderman Van Buskirk asked if combining the contracts for Public Works and Parks Department would attract more bidders and perhaps result in lower cost for the City. Mr. Noll agreed that it would.
- Police Chief Jim Lynch asked that $13,540 be moved from Salaries to Education and Training in the Budget. He said this would not result in more spending, but would allow the Police Department to reallocate funds for the Police Academy.
- The Board passed a resolution that appropriated $15,528 of unspent monies from the 2009/2010 budget to various Park Department projects.
- Mayor Bower asked for nominations for Mayor Pro Tem. Alderman Creamer nominated Alderman Aziere for the position, saying that Mr. Aziere had shown excellent leadership skills. Alderman Hamilton stated that the process is flawed. He believed the position should not be nominated and voted on, but should be appointed by the Mayor.
- The Board adjourned into a closed session.
The April Election is behind. A new Board (which is really the same as the old Board) has been sworn in and they have already accomplished their first bit of traditional business, the selection of one of their own as President of the Board.
This time they chose Jim Aziere. Which is not much of a surprise as he was the only one actually campaigning for the job. Sources on the Board say the past Mayor Protem, Joe Creamer, wanted to continue in the job but apparently enough members said “no thanks, Joe” to dissuade him from pushing the issue.
Like a baseball team in the Spring, hope springs eternal for better times ahead. This is also true of governments and those we choose to lead us.
With that in mind, consider this a short list of pet peeves and sincere hopes that we believe the BOA should change and address:
- For crying out loud, please, please quit the Junior High School antics of having some sort of contest as to who gets to make a motion for adoption of city ordinances. It is demeaning to the office you hold to see adults act like pre-teens trying to get the Mayor’s attention for this dubious honor. As a matter of decorum, the sponsor of a bill or its main proponent should be making the motion.
- On the same note, Mr. Mayor, please quit treating the honor of who makes a motion as some sort of contest. It demeans your position as much as it does those members of the Board who conduct themselves this way. (editorial note: Not all members of the BOA conduct themselves in this manner. Those that do know full well who they are, we hope they are listening)
- Consent Agenda. The consent agenda is a device by which a number of agenda items are voted on at one time. It is supposed to be used for housekeeping items that are agreed upon by ALL members of the Board. The goal is to save time and to make more time for more important issues before the BOA. Makes sense. But the Raytown Consent Agenda has an ugly little twist to it. If any member of the BOA objects to an item being on the consent agenda, he or she must gain the permission of the majority to pull it off the agenda. That is contrary to the very term “consent”. It is, in fact, a perfect example of what is called the Tyranny of the Majority. The Board of Aldermen is supposed to be a board of equals. A rule that allows the majority to effectively muzzle the objections of even one member is not good government or good politics. Open your minds and return real democracy to Raytown City Hall.
- The Board of Aldermen has done something somewhat out of character by removing the fees for Raytown Cleanup Day. We applaud them for their action. Now it is time to build on that action. Be more considerate of neighborhood friendly projects. The cry for more street lights and better road maintenance is not just campaign rhetoric. It is the echo of what your constituents are saying. Listen to them.
Crème Brûlée: Fancy and Heart Healthy! by Erin Whitehead
Crème brûlée is one tasty dessert. But I’d hardly consider it to be a healthy dessert option. However, miracles happen. Case in point: This heart-healthy version of crème brûlée from Florida Juice. This and other orangey recipes can be found here, including one yummy-looking Butternut Squash Soup that we’re filing away for later!
Orange Tapioca Crème Brûlée
Makes 6 servings
1 c 100% Florida orange juice
1/3 c small pearl tapioca
2 c 2% milk (or fat-free half & half)
2 eggs, separated (or ½ cup egg substitute plus 2 egg whites)
Pinch of salt
½ c sugar substitute or sugar (check sugar substitute package for amount equivalent to ½ c sugar)
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
6 tbsp turbinado sugar, such Sugar in the Raw
Florida orange segments, optional
Fresh mint leaves, optional
1. Combine orange juice and tapioca in medium saucepan; let stand for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg yolks and salt; add to orange juice mixture. Bring orange juice mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes until thickened.
2. Meanwhile, beat egg whites in small mixing bowl; gradually add sugar substitute. When sugar substitute is dissolved, add cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form; set aside.
3. Fold ¾ cup of orange juice mixture into beaten egg whites; then add to remaining orange juice mixture in saucepan. Fold and let cool. Add the vanilla, nutmeg and orange zest until blended. Divide mixture into 6 ramekins. Chill for at least 4 to 6 hours until firm. Just before serving, remove from refrigerator and sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar.
4. Caramelize sugar with small blowtorch, moving flame evenly back and forth over sugar just until sugar is melted and golden brown. Garnish each créme brûlée with orange segments and mint leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.
Note: Don’t have a blowtorch? The sugar can be caramelized under a preheated broiler. Place 2 to 3 inches from heat and broil 2 to 3 minutes, just until sugar is melted and golden brown.
My mouth waters just thinking about that crunchy carmelized sugar over that yummy creaminess. Must go make now.
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/
ASK PETE . . . a column dedicated to gardening
If you had dropped by our Eden’s Acre this weekend of April 22nd and 23rd you would have been able to buy radishes, spinach, mustard, collards, turnip greens, and lettuce of different colors and varieties.
I was going to address planting tomatoes this week, but the soil is wet, the weather prediction is for more cool weather and another week would not hurt and might even be wise. Instead, I want to address what Robyn said about our radishes.
She said, “These are the best I have ever eaten“.
I know, she is my ‘significant other‘. But last fall I had customers returning and talking of how our turnips were the best they had ever eaten. Now what is the secret?
Fresh for one thing. You can’t beat product just picked. Let us go a little farther into this discussion.
We buy vegetables that have had a ’man made’ fertilizer applied to the soil. The vegetables are grown on soil that has been ‘used up’ for years. Only the bare minimum of nutrients have been added, nutrients that promote fast growth at the expense of everything else.
Before soil became soil, it was rock. And as soil developed, the minerals in the rock remained. Some 90 minerals have been identified in soil and most farmers, even organic farmers, are unaware of these minerals and their importance both for plant growth, vegetable nutrients, and taste.
If you are interested in knowing more about these minerals, feel free to drop buy 5900 Raytown Trwy and we will discuss the minerals with you.
In the meantime, there are simple ways you can add many of these minerals and organic farmers will recognize what I am speaking of. You can add any sea product such as kelp or fish emulsion. Think about it, water from the mountains carry minerals down the rivers to the sea these products grow.
In addition, think of the deep roots that trees have reaching down to rock and virgin soil bring up minerals, so leaves would be good to add to your soil. And of course, the manure of animals will concentrate the foods they eat and the manure they pass will be mineral rich.
So, do you still want to just add commercial fertilizers?
On another note, I had a gentleman stop by and ask me about his tree. He wanted to know what he could do about roots growing up from the soil. I began by asking exactly what he meant and found out that they were growing out, not up from the tree. In addition, I he informed me that the tree was taller than his house. Immediately I told him he was not going to change the tree much at that size. Those lateral roots are what keeps the tree from falling over. At one time they thought that roots of a tree extended down so that they looked like the tree above the ground. We now know that the roots do not go down that deep, but do spread outward an extended distance. I have seen roots 50 feet away from the tree itself. So remember this when you plant near trees, they will such water and nutrients as well as block sunlight.
Questions or comments, firstname.lastname@example.org
LINKS TO OTHER RAYTOWN NEWS SOURCES
To catch up on O'Hara Sports use this link O'Hara High School
To catch up on Raytown South Sports use this link Raytown South High School
To catch up on Raytown High Sports use this link Raytown High School
To catch up on the Raytown Police Blog go to Raytown Police Blog
To view Raytown Crime Statistics go to Raids on Line
Last Week's Poll Results:
Should the Board of Aldermen cut street overlay and street lights to cover shortfall of payments for Walmart and the ambulance service?
29% . . . YES
71% . . . NO
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