Sunday, July 3, 2016


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Ward 5 Alderman
Steve Mock Hospitalized
Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock was hospitalized Thursday evening. Sources close to the family tell us he has been hospitalized and is under a doctor’s care at St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City.
The family has expressed gratitude for the concern shown by Raytowners. They ask that friends pray for Steve’s recovery.

Let Our Light Shine Fundraiser
Raytown Main Street Association is hosting a fundraising auction to raise $20,000 for Christmas lights to be used in the newly refurbished Streetscape in Downtown Raytown.

Mark your calendar for July 9th at 9:00 p.m. The auction is being held in the old Sav-A-Lot Grocery Store located in the strip mall behind Wendy's. And the best part is that it is free to the public. So head on up for some real bargain shopping in a large building filled with goodies for sale!

There is a Sneak Peek and Bid event Friday night, July 8. Your $35 ticket gets you in the night before for first choice bids, along with dinner and drinks from Salvatore’s and Crane Brewery.

Hurry – there are a limited number of tickets left for the Friday night event

Or, come by on Saturday night for the regular auction at no charge. 
Call Sue Frank at 816-353-4400 for tickets. For more info visit www.Facebook/rmsalights

Paul’s Rant
A Lesson for Bob Phillips
One of the many hats I wear is that of an auditor. I understand the purpose of accounting. I also understand the purpose of audits.
Bob Phillips wrote some very misleading information in the last issue of the Raytown Times.
He claims “revised audit numbers on the (350 Live) TIF project, and updated projections” of anticipated sales tax revenue “that more than a half million dollars will remain in cash” over the 25 year life of the GO (General Obligation) bonds.
First of all, the bonds are not General Obligation bonds. The bonds used to finance the Raytown 350 Live TIF are Revenue Bonds. They are paid for by sales tax revenue and allocated Property Tax revenue. They were not voted on and approved by the public.
The most misleading part of Bob’s statement is his qualification of it by city audits.
It is a common mistake. Many people (including Bob) equate an annual financial audit with an investigative audit. An annual audit is done to make certain no one is playing fast and loose with the taxpayer’s money and to make any recommendations necessary to change office procedures to protect the client’s assets.  There are very specific rules guiding a financial audit.
An investigative audit, as would be conducted by the State Auditor is not bound by the same rules as a financial audit.  The investigative audit would look into improper activities by City employees in connection with their performance of their duties.  An improper activity is one that violates state or federal law, is economically wasteful, or involves gross misconduct.
As for Bob’s assertion of over half a million dollars left over once the TIF Bonds are finally retired in 2032 entirely depend upon the ability of retail outlets in the TIF District to create sales tax revenue to pay the bonds. The 350 Live TIF District remains less than 50% developed.
The TIF payment will increase substantially in 2020, less than four years away. As the table below shows, the bond payments will increase. The only way to meet the obligation is to create more sales tax revenue. The original bond package had a ten year life for developers to take advantage of the abatements awarded with the TIF and assorted tax abatements.
This means there is not an incentive for developers to create more retail space. None is planned for the largest targeted area for development, just east of the former YMCA on 350 Highway. It takes a minimum of three to four years (from start to finish) to start a new development of that scope. None are planned at this point.
Raytowners are already feeling the consequences of the failed 350 Live TIF. Residential streets are paved with a slurry seal type of material that is far below the standard re-surfacing enjoyed by surrounding communities. Despite many years of promises, the street light program in Raytown is non-existent. If you have them in your neighborhood, consider yourself lucky. There are many parts of town that do not.
Allegations of drastic cutbacks in the staffing of ambulance personnel appear to have merit. Basic code enforcement, such as property maintenance and animal control services are non-existent on weekends.
Let’s re-visit this topic in four years, Mr. Phillips. Maybe then you will understand the financial quagmire Raytown is headed for.

Photo Rules Important
Randy Battagler had an interesting column in his paper last week. He wrote about a mother who was upset because he had taken a picture of her daughter at Super Spash. Randy could not understand the lady’s position of not wanting her child’s picture taken. He wrote “I certainly hope the lady will calm down.” Randy had been taking pictures of the children without parental permission.
He then went on about some ruling of the Supreme Court protecting journalists in such situations.
From time to time I will take pictures and use them on the Raytown Report. If it is a picture of an individual I make a practice of receiving permission before publishing the picture.
I remember an annual public safety event I attended in Raytown at Kenagy Park a couple of years back. The Mid-Continent Library had a booth at the event. One of the librarians was showing a young girl some pictures in a book. The picture I took is what I call a “Kodak Moment”. The picture literally showed the two in their own world with all the activity going on about them. It was a fine shot.
I planned to use on the Raytown Report the following week – but before doing so, I thought it would be best to check with the library. I contacted the Director of the library and asked his permission. He said he liked the picture and that it was okay with him. Then he said, let me check with the librarian and see if it is okay with her.
To our surprise she said she did not want her picture published.
I erased the picture from my camera.
I was visiting with Paul about this story before writing it. He told me an interesting bit of information along the story lines. At the Kansas City Zoo there is a petting zoo. It is a popular exhibit and children love it.
Zoo employees are stationed around the petting zoo. If someone is taking pictures of children at the exhibit, they will be approached by one of the employees and asked if they are taking photos of their own child. If they are not, they are told to quit taking pictures and to erase the photos they have taken at the exhibit.
We have all seen Amber Alerts on television and our cell phones. The rules for privacy are there for a purpose. People have a right to privacy. Not everyone follows that rule, but they should.

Gymnastics Academy 
SHOWN ON THE LEFT: Before and after pictures of the pit  (top picture) under construction . . . and how it will look when completed.

April Leonard, a gymnastics coach of fifteen years, has some big plans. She has leased one half of the vacant grocery store located behind Wendy’s at 6240 Raytown Trafficway and is the process of converting 15, 347 square feet of space into Champions Gymnastics Academy.
When completed, Champions Gymnastics Academy will serve clients throughout the metropolitan Kansas City area with a unique opportunity for children, ages 6 months through 18 years to learn the art of gymnastics.
 April is a certified Junior Olympic Gymnastics Coach through USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics is the governing body for gymnastics in the United States including the Team USA’s Olympic Gymnastics Team.  
 The centerpiece of the facility will be a 20’ x 30’ loose foam pit. Inside this 7’ deep pit will be a custom made trampoline bed and 13,000 loose foam pit.  This soft forgiving landing area will help gymnasts learn new skills and will help to protect budding young gymnasts from injury.
Along with the regular gymnastic classes, this gymnastics training center will offer the following classes:
PARENT AND ME CLASS – Crawlers with a parent will enjoy many fun activities to help mom or dad interact with baby and introduce simple stretches, songs, dances, activities to introduce balance, colors, textures, shapes, and lots of smiles!   Our 6 to 12 month crawlers classes are free!  
Walkers age 12 months to 3 years with a parent will enjoy many activities to help mom or dad interact with their growing toddler and explore the new environment around them.  There are many mountains to climb, bars to swing on, trampolines to jump on, slides to slide down, and beams to balance on.   There are many activities for our little toddlers to begin to fine tune their gross motor skills with games, songs, dances, and tumbles for everyone!  
RECREATIONAL GYMNASTICS – for girls and boys age 3 to age 18.
COMPETITIVE JUNIOR OLYMPIC AND ELITE GYMNASTICS – for girls who to compete in competitive gymnastics.  
AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR – for children. Yes, modeled after the popular reality television show, this program is great to get boys and girls active and learn how to use their muscles!  
PRE-SCHOOL – special dance, cheerleading, silly-yoga and gymnastics classes specially designed for 3 to 6 year olds. 
TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING – for youth athletes and a special class just for parents!
CARDIO AND SPORTS AGILITY TRAINING – for young ball players.
SLACKLINING – best described as stationary skateboarding – you have to see it to understand it.  Feel free to youtube this!  
HOME SCHOOL PROGRAMS – our homeschool fitness and gymnastics classes are offered at times during the day at a reduced rate for local home school families!

Photo Credit: KMCCLA
Fire Department Holds Wetting Down Event 
One long standing tradition in the fire service is blessing newly commissioned fire apparatus into service. A “wet-down” is a ritual celebrated by many fire departments in the United States in which firefighters commission a new fire apparatus by anointing it with water sprayed from the retiring pumper’s tank water or from a neighboring firehouse’s apparatus.

The ritual dates back to the late 1800’s when horse drawn pumpers were used throughout the nation’s Fire Service.

Horses that were commissioned for service would be washed along with the
pumper at their newly assigned firehouse and backed into the firehouse bay.

The firefighters would then fit the new horse with its harness placing the company in service. After every run, firefighters had to hand push their pumpers back into the bay and ready themselves for the next alarm.
Fiscal constraints forced some towns to have their fire department horses perform double-duty by requiring them to pull wagons of garbage to the local dump.

When the horse was not in service at the firehouse, it was working for the town’s sanitation company hauling trash. At the end of their shift, the horse would have to be washed and fed before being stowed in the firehouse bay.
When new horses or pumpers were purchased neighboring firehouses, department chiefs, and citizens from the surrounding community would attend the ceremony to celebrate the new powerful addition to their neighborhood firehouse.

Local clergy came to bestow blessings upon the horse throwing holy water unto it for long life, strength, speed and good health. The blessing would serve to ward off any evil spirits or “gremlins” that could affect the firehouse’s newest addition.

Today, We continue to celebrate this tradition with the help of a driver in the seat and the company’s transmission in drive. After being wet-down and blessed, the company is slowly rolled into the bay while firefighters assist by pushing.

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