Sunday, March 17, 2013

Want to help keep Raytown's YMCA open? Use this link to sign a petition showing your support  . . .  YMCA PETITION LINK


YMCA Meeting Draws Large Crowd BY GREG WALTERS

Forty eight hours after they were blindsided by the news that the YMCA located on 350 Highway was marked to be closed, Raytowners took action.

Raytown School District Superintendent Allan Markley announced through local internet media sites and the social network that the District would host a public meeting to address the closing of the YMCA.

Over 230 people showed up.

A course of action was planned to meet with officials from the YMCA in hope of buying some time to find a solution.

One point of contention brought up was the fact that both the City of Raytown and the Raytown School District have spent of over $250,000 in construction costs of the building and grounds of the facility.

The School District was reported to have paid for the creation of additional swimming lanes and locker rooms. The City was reported to have helped in the cost of a large detention basin on the property and a sizeable payment for construction of a meeting room for community events.

Public officials in attendance at the meeting were Aldermen Steve Mock, Bill VanBuskirk, Charlotte Melson, Jim Aziere and members of the Raytown School Board, as were candidates for Alderman Janet Emerson and Richard Tush

A Penchant for Secrets
Who knew?

That was a question that was making the rounds at the meeting last Thursday night. A reporter from the Kansas City Star had quoted a YMCA spokesman as stating that community leaders had been notified of the change.

At Thursday night’s meeting Markley said he did not have any prior knowledge of the closing.

Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock, when addressing the audience, said that the Mayor had found out the week before on a Friday evening at a meeting City Administrator Mahesh Sharma and he (Mayor David Bower) had with officials from the YMCA telling them the news.

Neither Mayor Bower (who was said to be out of town) or City Administrator Mahesh Sharma attended Thursday night’s meeting.
If true, that would be the second major issue before City Hall which has been “locked down” before disseminating the information back to the public. That was four days before the official announcement was made. Those four crucial days could have been better used in developing a plan to keep the YMCA up and running.

Over a month of denials by Mayor Bower about knowledge of a proposal for a Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown has been proven to be false.

This penchant for secrets at City Hall does not serve the public well.

The YMCA debacle, the Walmart secrecy, the refusal of the Mayor to allow anyone but himself to speak at city council meetings, are examples of a closed door policy at Raytown City Hall.

  • It is interesting to watch the ebb and flow of politics in Raytown. The news about the YMCA seems to have pushed the discussion over a Downtown Walmart off the front page. It also appears that City Hall, through its public mouthpiece, the Raytown Times, is trying to dismiss those opposed to a Downtown Walmart as not important. That is a mistake.
  • The statistical facts of Walmart – a 24 hour business in a residential area, the increase of crime in areas surrounding the stores – should not and cannot be ignored. The “see no evil” crowd at City Hall would do Raytown a favor if they were to pull their head out of the sand and listen to what their constituents are trying to tell them.
  • Kudos to Raytown School District Superintendant Allan Markley. He has taken the lead in trying to save Raytown’s YMCA. His plan to meet with YMCA officials to buy more time to work out a way to keep the facility open is right on the money. If the Mayor sat on this news for four days without sharing it with other communities leaders -- shame on him.
  • We have been watching the races for Aldermen take shape this past month. In Ward One it looks like a good old-fashioned yard sign war is forming up between candidates Richard Tush and Josh Greene. Ward One is the one area where there will definitely be change. Neither candidate has served on the City Council in the past.
  • The Ward 2 race (three candidates) is heating up as well. We hear that Jim Aziere was spotted placing signs for his seatmate, John Hamilton. Jason Greene is reported to have taken his campaign the old fashioned way, walking the neighborhoods and knocking on doors. Little action, if any, has been seen from former Alderman Jerry Kinman.
  • In Ward 3 there is evidence of campaigning by the two challengers Chris Merrill and Janet Emerson. Both have yard signs sprinkled throughout the Ward. There is no evidence of activity by incumbent Christine White. White has also been conspicuous in her absence from some meetings of the Raytown Board of Aldermen since the New Year. She was not on hand when over 75 people showed up to protest a proposed Walmart Store for Downtown Raytown. She was absent at last Thursday’s meeting held by Superintendant Markley at the YMCA.
Rick Thode for Raytown School Board BY RICK THODE

I am Rick Thode, and I am running for reelection to the Consolidated C-2 Board of Education. I was elected in 2009 to serve a one year term and reelected in 2010 to serve a three year term. My wife, Sandy, and I have lived in the school district for 25 years, and our three sons (and Sandy) attended Raytown schools. I am a graduate of Wichita State University, obtained an MBA from Northwestern University and served as a CPA for 33 years before retiring in 2009. I serve as Treasurer on the Park University Board of Trustees and am past President of the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired.

I am standing for reelection for three reasons. First, our schools significantly improved their test scores last year through standardization of curriculum, enhanced teacher training and strong leadership and commitment from the Administration and Board of Education. I want to continue our upward path and believe that attention to rigor in the classroom will further boost our success and enable our kids to graduate and attend college.

Secondly, it is essential that the district win its appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court of a recent lower court decision which would require our schools to accept student transfers from the non-accredited Kansas City school district. In my view, the decision was wrong and the transfer law is unconstitutional. If the decision is upheld, our district will become overcrowded with student transfers, and Raytown taxpayers could be required to pay the bills.  I will fight to make sure that every legal and political argument is made to the Supreme Court to win the appeal and protect our district from this illegal encroachment on our schools and taxpayers.

Finally, I will fight TIFs which allow cities to wrongfully take taxes of school districts and other jurisdictions and reallocate such monies for projects which have nothing to do with education. I participated in the successful negotiation of the Winchester TIF which would have cost Raytown schools over $14 million in district money. TIFs are designed to line the pockets of developers and lawyers and take money from our teachers, schools and children. I will fight to protect our schools from the egregious misuse of public funds and will demand that TIFs be structured with claw backs and terms that require authorities to use money for valid growth opportunities.

I seek your vote on April 2nd.

Raytown Robbery Foiled by Dollar General Clerks
A 19-year-old Raytown man thought robbing the Dollar General on Missouri 350 would get him some quick, easy cash.

But he didn’t plan on a clerk fighting back during the 9 p.m. attempted robbery Friday night, court records say. When the robber lunged with his knife, the clerk put him in a headlock. The men struggled, hands flailing. At one point, the clerk grabbed a toilet plunger to block the robber’s knife. But the robber eventually stabbed the clerk in the right buttock. READ MORE

Were Cavemen the First Foodies? Trying Marrow Bones for the First Time BY KAREN

My self-proclaimed title of Foodie isn’t something to be taken lightly. With left hand gently resting on Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking and right hand raised high, I solemnly swore to explore any new eateries in town and determine which chef had created the latest tour de force in the culinary field.

When it first appeared on a menu, I thought it was a misprint or a cutesy play on words—roasted marrow bones, huh? I fervently hoped the restaurant was one of those avant-garde establishments where dogs were allowed but had a sneaking suspicion that wasn’t the case. Damn my Foodie creed, I was about to go where no one (but Fido) had gone before. READ MORE

To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments on the line directly below this sentence.

No comments: