The attached is one of our favorite youtube videos. It speaks so clearly of the strength of the human spirit that is worth seeing again. Be sure to turn your speakers on for this video of Welsh runner Steve Jones.
Use this link . . . THE WILL TO WIN
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National Night Out Against Crime - August 6th
The Raytown Police Department in conjunction with the National Night Out Against Crime will hold its annual this year on Tuesday night, August 6th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This year’s event will be held at Kenagy Park in Raytown located at 79th and Raytown Road (enter from the 79th Street parking lot.
Large exhibits from various agencies, not-for-profits that work with our residents, giveaways, and free hot dogs while they last. Free raffles will be held throughout the evening with some great prizes. Come out and join us for an evening of FREE fun. Questions call 816/737-6018.
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – July 2, 2013
Mahesh Sharma reported Midwest Underground, the contractor for Verizon Wireless will begin construction activities for the cell tower during the week of July 1st. They should begin moving equipment in on Monday, with activities expected to last approximately 3 weeks. Once Verizon completes their install, Motorola will begin the installation of our radio equipment here.
Dave McCaully went before the Board to tell them he has a business in the Raytown Plaza. He said the lawsuit brought by the former mayor was disturbing. He thought she would have been upset and would have called it a waste of money and city resources if this had happened when she was mayor. He believes it shows a lack of respect for small businesses that he thinks would have been protected by the Neighborhood Market. The businesses in the Raytown Plaza need an anchor business.
Chris Rathbone thanked the city for their help on the charter process. He said Mr. Sharma and Ms. Henry were very helpful.
- The Board reappointed Terry Landers to the Raytown Park Board.
- The Board reappointed Mark Seittmann to the Raytown Park Board.
- The Board reappointed Michele Sipes to the Raytown Park Board.
The Board passed a resolution approving an organization Resolution with UMB Bank. With Senior Accountant Briana Burrichter’s departure from the City, it is necessary to name a replacement; which is Christy Hessenius. The authority granted by this resolution empowers the agents to manage the City’s investment activity and authorize other banking business items as required.
The Board approved an agreement with Ferralgas for propane. Public works staff has researched the use of propane as an automotive fuel and has presented the findings of the research to the board of aldermen. The board of aldermen directed Public Works to continue with the implementation of utilizing propane as an alternative automotive fuel. Implementation of the propane requires the installation of a propane refueling station at Public Works and the installation of propane equipment on vehicles. Public Works compared the cost of purchasing a refueling station against the increased cost per gallon of propane if we utilized a supplier refueling station. The comparison resulted in at least a 10 year break-even point between the cost of the two alternatives and this did not include maintenance of a purchased refueling station. The suppliers add about $0.20 per gallon of propane for the utilization of the propane refueling station and will provide maintenance of the station. As staff gains experience with the refueling station and the maintenance, we will reevaluate if purchasing a refueling station is justified.
The Board approved a resolution approving Change Order no. 1 to the agreement with A & A Concrete Company for the 2013 concrete repair project. Additions to the project include trip hazards around City Hall, voids underneath the sidewalks and curbs, and increased concrete replacement within the project locations. There were trip hazards around City Hall due to deteriorated concrete and settlement. Large voids were discovered as the contractor was removing failed sections of concrete in the previously identified project area. The voids were found to be the result of settlement of a sanitary sewer trench. Finally, increased quantities of curb and sidewalk replacement were needed to complete the identified areas.
The Board passed an ordinance granting a conditional use permit. Gary Shafer with Shafer Computer Services, on behalf of Gary Egger Trustee for Stella Properties Inc., is seeking approval of a Conditional Use Permit application to construct an off premise advertising sign at 6632 Raytown Road. The proposed sign is to be a monument sign with a sign face on each side of the sign and would be located at the intersection of Raytown Road and 66th Terrace.
The Board passed an ordinance granting a Conditional use permit to operate a tattoo business on property in the neighborhood commercial district on property located at 6147 Blue Ridge Boulevard.
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance amending the previously approved site development plan for a planned zoning overlay district in accordance with the provisions of the comprehensive zoning regulations. Willow Bend Villas is seeking approval of their application to amend the previously approved site development plan for a 6.67-acre tract of land. The property is located at the southeast corner of Blue Ridge Boulevard and 51st Street. The site development plan is for a senior residential development to be constructed on the property. The senior residential development, which would be known as Willow Bend Villas, would consist of 10 four-unit buildings providing a total of 40 units. A clubhouse building is also proposed to be constructed near the northwest corner of the property. The plan that was previously approved for the property was for 50 residential dwelling units that would consist of a mix of single-family detached homes and townhomes. Because the property is zoned as a Planned Zoning Overlay District the applicant is required to submit the site development plan for review and approval by the Board of Aldermen.
Charles Featherstone told the Board he lives on the west side of the project. The developer has 5 properties. Three of them are HUD Section 236 Properties. He asked if this will be a low income housing project. If so, that will erode the value of the surrounding properties. He also asked if Raytown is giving tax incentives for this project. He also said there is not enough water pressure to accommodate the extra usage from 40 households.
Katherine Nelson told the Board she was concerned because of the storm water drainage. There is no storm water sewer on this project.
Gwen Thomas said if this project is approved, the property owners need to be responsible for the residential properties when the storm water drainage backs up and damages their properties.
Mayor Bower asked Donna Ellis, the Representative from Willow Bend Villas, about some of the residents’ concerns. She said she has spoken with the Raytown Water company and was told there was sufficient water supply and pressure to accommodate this project. She also said there will be storm water detention, referred to as “the pond”. It will be dry 95% of the time. There might be water in it during heavy rains. It will be large enough to hold the rains from a 100-year storm.
Alderman Emerson said many seniors today are raising their grandchildren. She asked if children will be allowed to live there. Ms. Ellis said no, the state and federal tax incentives are for a facility for residents 55 years old and older. Grandchildren may visit, of course, but not live there. She also said the only tax incentives will come from the State and Federal governments and none from Raytown.
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance to approve the sixth amended development plan submitted by the Raytown Municipal Redevelopment Corporation, establishing a declaration that the Redevelopment area described within the sixth amended development plan is a blighted area in need of development and redevelopment, and authorizing certain tax abatements within the redevelopment area. Marvin & Michelle Russell have submitted an application seeking tax abatement on improvements to a property they own at 6020 Blue Ridge Boulevard. As described in their application, the improvements to the building and property are to be made and are to include improvements to the basement, improvements to the stucco on the exterior of the building, HVAC improvements, improvements to the electrical system, construction of a parking lot, construction of an outdoor seating area, and landscaping improvements.
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance calling for an election in the city of Raytown, Missouri and placing on the ballot the Question of whether a charter commission shall be chosen to frame a Charter for the city of Raytown, Missouri and the names or groups of names of electors of the city who are candidates for the commission. Alderman Lightfoot asked what it will cost for the election. Ms. Henry said the last municipal election cost $38,000. Alderman Lightfoot asked how the election will be funded. Mr. Sharma said he will put it in the budget in October and it will come out of the General Fund. Alderman Ertz asked what the wording will be on the ballot and how much the commission will be allowed to spend. Mr. Sharma told the Board Missouri law says the commission can spend what is reasonable. He thinks the Board will set the budget and determine what responsible costs are to be. Alderman Melson asked who will track and report expenditures. Alderman Ertz said some commissioners resigned from the last commission. He asked who would determine the replacements. Alderman Van Buskirk said the commission will appoint the replacements. He told the Board the State law says the commission will decide what are necessary and responsible expenditures. There will be attorney fees, recorders for the meeting minutes, sub committees, printing costs, and other expenditures. Mayor Bower asked when the election will be help. Ms. Henry said she recommends April, 2014. Alderman Van Buskirk said that was too soon. Mayor Bower pointed out this is just the first reading. Ms. Henry said she is looking for the Board to set a date and approve the wording on the ballot. Mayor Bower asked if the election could take place in November, 2014 Ms. Henry said it could, but the Jackson County Election Board is recommending April rather than November. If the Board sets the date in November, the petitioners could sue for an earlier date. Most judges will agree the election can be in April, 2014. The petition turned into the Election Board calls for an election at the next city or municipal election. She said the next municipal election is in November. The proposed wording on the ballot will be “If the majority of the electors voting on the question “Shall a Commission be chosen to frame a Charter?” vote in the affirmative, the thirteen (13) candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall constitute the Commission to frame said Charter.”
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance establishing a procedure to disclose potential conflicts of interest and substantial interests for municipal officials in Raytown. Ms. Henry told the Board 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. The financial disclosure reporting requirements apply to each elected official, the city administrator, the director of finance, the city clerk, the full-time general counsel, the park board, and the parks and recreation director. She said this is the annual ordinance submitted each July.
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance rescinding ordinance No 5453-13 which granted a change in zoning from neighborhood commercial and Town square overlay district to neighborhood commercial and planned Zoning overlay district on land located at 6200 Blue Ridge Boulevard, 10016 E. 63rd Street & 10028 E. 63rd Street. Alderman Emerson said she brought this motion because Walmart is no longer interested in purchasing this property. She believes the zoning should revert to the plan approved by the residents for the Downtown project. Alderman Ertz said it is the only property with these design standards and he sees no reason to revert. He thinks it sends a bad message to developers if the city rescinds zoning. Mayor Bower said Walmart spent over $100,000 and sees no reason for another developer to recreate the design. Alderman Ertz said it goes to credibility. What if Walmart decides to go forward and we rescind the zoning? That would tell Walmart we don’t want them on that property. Alderman Van Buskirk said if we hope to have any kind of anchor development, we need to leave the zoning in place. Alderman Mock said no developer will ever come to Raytown if they have to start all over on zoning. Alderman Jason Green said he agreed with Alderman Emerson. The property should go back to the original site plan set by the community. Alderman Josh Green asked if the Board has the authority to send this issue back to Planning and Zoning. He was told yes. He also asked if there was currently a plan for Downtown. He was told the plan was adopted in 2002 that sets the vision for downtown. Mayor Bower said in his little mind he can’t find a reason to go backwards. Alderman Melson said she agreed with most of the Board. She said in the future she would appreciate more detail about the proposed ordinances the Board is receiving. Mayor Bower said this was brought up at the 11th hour of the last meeting. He didn’t find any real explanation for this in the Board’s packet. In the future, proposed ordinances should provide reasoning to the other Board members. He said it was very disrespectful not to.
John Benson proposed several ordinances to the Board concerning building codes. He told the Board the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) is proposed to replace the 2006 IRC, which was previously adopted by the city. The IRC governs detached one and two-family dwellings and townhouses that are not more than three stories above grade in height and have their own separate means of egress. Buildings that are accessory to these dwellings and townhouses such as garages and sheds are also regulated by the Residential Code. The 2012 IRC was used for the analysis of each of the technical codes presented to the Board of Alderman for adoption. These ordinances are:
- Construction of all buildings and structures.
- Repair, alteration or change of occupancy and the addition or relocation of existing buildings
- Repair, installation or repair of mechanical systems
- Repair, installation or repair of plumbing systems
- Repair, installation or repair electrical conductors or optical fiber cables
- Repair, installation or repair of energy efficient buildings
- Repair, installation or repair of fuel gas systems
- Updating the codes regulating the hazards from fire and explosion from the storage and/or use of hazard materials
Foot in Mouth Disease BY PAUL LIVIUS AND GREG WALTERS
Mayor David Bower was flexing his political muscle last Tuesday night. Some think he went a little too far.
In closing comments he made disparaging remarks about fellow elected officials who dared to disagree with him. Without naming names he said that anyone who brings an item for discussion without telling him at least a week in advance is being disrespectful.
That is an interesting choice of words.
Two weeks ago Mayor Bower blind-sided the Board of Aldermen and the public when he had City Administrator, Mahesh Sharma, read into the record announcing that Walmart was withdrawing from pursuit of a Neighborhood Market in Downtown Raytown.
The letter was dated June 14th. It was made public four days later at 7:00 p.m. in the evening.
In fairness, it is possible that the letter did not arrive at City Hall until 6:55 p.m. But since it was delivered by a private delivery service it is highly unlikely.
Bower’s remarks were in response to a motion made by Ward 3 Alderman Janet Emerson in which she asked that the zoning for the Green Space be returned to a multi-use status.
In our opinion, the matter is quite simple.
Mrs. Emerson was correct in bringing up the subject in a timely manner. Her presentation was short, to the point and logical. Two weeks earlier the city received a letter stating that Walmart had decided not to locate in Downtown Raytown. Why keep the zoning if the applicant was leaving?
The Mayor’s reaction is not because she made a motion. Motion's are made by members of the Board at every meeting. It was the subject matter she brought up that riled his honor.
It appears there is an epidemic of sorts spreading at Raytown City Hall. It started last week when Alderman Joe Creamer made false accusations against former Mayor Sue Frank. Creamer had written a letter accusing the former Mayor of trying to block the demolition of the old First Baptist Church. Mrs. Frank was, in fact, the guest of honor who took the first ceremonial hit on the building with the sledge hammer shown in the picture on the left.
Now the Mayor reduces himself to making unkind public remarks about another elected official during a public meeting.
Keep up the good work Mrs. Emerson. It is your job to bring ideas forward. It will not always please some of your seatmates, but is a necessary part of governing.
As for Mayor Bower and Alderman Creamer – we hope you both recover from Foot In Mouth Disease soon.
Fix Our Broken Parks! BY GREG WALTERS
Raytown is blessed with many small parks that are extremely functional and used by many on a day to day basis.
That being said, it would also be accurate to say that Raytown’s parks are plagued with the same anti-social behavior found in municipal parks across America. These problems manifest themselves in many ways. Graffiti, vulgar behavior, and criminal acts of vandalism of public property are all too common in Raytown Parks.
When a situation becomes so bad that people stay away from parks because they fear for their safety or are uncomfortable in public places, then there is a problem.
At such a point, the body governing the parks can make one of two decisions. They can recognize the problem and do something about it – or – they can ignore the problem and hope that it will go away.
One decision is proactive. The other is not.
In the last two months there have been two incidences of gun play at Colman Park located at 59th Street and Raytown Road. Witnesses to the two events have come forward at both the Raytown Board of Aldermen meetings and the Raytown Park Board meetings asking the Park Board and City to look into the problem.
Both of those events are also the subject of a formal complaint filed with the Raytown Police Department by Mr. Jim DeLong.
This Fourth of July Holiday Week another incident took place. The picture at left is what remains of an outdoor port-a-potty at Coleman Park. On Tuesday night (July 3rd), nearby residents were awakened at approximately 11:30 p.m. by the sound of an loud explosion that shook neighboring houses. Fireworks experts estimate the damage was caused by the equivalent of a half-stick of dynamite.
The explosion took place after the park was closed for the evening.
ENFORCE PARK RULES: Raytown Park has rules. Some of which are routinely ignored by both the Police and Park Department. According to those rules, amplified music is not allowed in the parks, neither is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Enforcement is non-existent.
PARKING: It is not unusual to see cars double and even triple parked along Lane Street during league softball games. Even though there are plenty of empty spaces just to the north of the ball field. It is amazing that people find it too difficult to walk half a block to play a game in which they run. But they do.
Neighbors of Colman Park along Lane Street have witnessed fire trucks and ambulances slowing down to maneuver through the maze of vehicles haphazardly parked on Lane Street.
GATE THE PARK AFTER CLOSING: Neighbors of Colman Park tell of illicit sexual activity when the park is closed. The problem is that the operating hours of the park are routinely ignored by people who drive into the park from 11:00 p.m to 7:00 a.m. The activity that takes place is not only illegal, it is also a health hazard.
SOLUTIONS ARE NEEDED, NOT EXCUSES: Active enforcement of park rules of the aforementioned by city and park officials would go a long way in reversing the downward spiral at Colman Park.
A simple solution, recently suggested at a Raytown Park Board meeting, would be to gate the park when its closed. By gating the park after it is closed the amount of illicit activity will decrease. This would free up our police to increase patrols in the rest of the City.
It would be a win/win situation for all concerned.
The gunfire, the wanton destruction of public property, the fear that neighborhood people have of visiting their own park is all well documented. The ball is now in the court of the Park Board and City Council.
They have two choices. Find solutions – or ignore the problem.
FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS
A Tour of New Jersey BY ERIN
Moving to New Jersey a few years ago was quite an adjustment. Coming from the crunchy super-healthy atmosphere of Northern California to the East Coast was interesting. The NorCal weather basically begs you to be outside and active; East Coast, not so much. In Cali, there was an insane variety of healthy restaurants. The East Coast has… Continue reading
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