Thursday, June 30, 2016

Large developments in South Kansas City and Grandview seem to have spurred some smaller development in our community, just as we were promised. With Cerner, Oxford on the Blue, Honeywell and more, we have seen the redevelopment of Truman Corners and now Red Bridge Shopping Center, along with some big announcements like Gateway Village. With all of these comes new retail, new restaurants and new places for us to do business.

Just over a year ago, Local Roots Market in downtown Grandview on Main Street opened their doors, offering a unique farm-to-grocer experience for shoppers to indulge in. The anticipation of Local Roots was astounding, as the owners spent quite some time getting their store ready and ordering merchandise to stock their shelves.

Recently, Local Roots held their one year anniversary celebration. And, more recently, they announced they’ll be closing their doors for good come the end of July. With the announcement on Facebook this week, I saw many people upset and disappointed, and I don’t blame them.
Here we sit, on the brink of great development happening in our part of the city, for once, and yet, we can’t support our local mom and pop businesses like Local Roots. I, too, was disappointed to hear the news that they were closing.

But, hopefully, this will be motivation to beef up our support of our locally-owned businesses, especially those that continue to invest in this great community. We can only thrive with your support, and you can help me out by reading the Jackson County Advocate and shopping in downtown Grandview Main Street’s business district. While all the new retail coming to our community is fantastic, we can’t forget about the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the businesses at the heart of our town.

We can’t patronize them only when Small Business Saturday comes around. When I need a watch battery, I go to Crews Jewelry. When I want a smoothie, I go to Songbird Cafe. My favorite tenderloin is at Paul’s and I got my Kentucky Derby hat at The Hat Store in Martin City.

I understand that sometimes we have to visit the WalMarts and Targets of the world for the things we need, but at what cost? The cost might be of another local family who invested so much of their lives into this community closing their business doors. Shop local. Eat local. Drink local. And, most importantly, read the local paper.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

“I’m fed up with visiting crime scenes where the victim is an innocent child. I’m fed up with schools and universities being ground zero for mass killings. And I’m fed up with trying to convince misguided legislators, at various levels of government, that sensible gun regulations can be enacted without offending the second amendment. Despite the challenges, however, we must continue to argue for ways to eliminate the widespread availability of illegal guns on our city streets.”

Kansas City Mayor Sly James is fed up. As he should be. I’m fed up, too. Every day for the last several years, I have read report after report, or seen broadcast after broadcast, depicting violence taking place in our communities, in our homes, in our schools and in our places of business.

While our politicians and our leaders continue to debate whether this is a gun problem or a people problem (it’s clearly both), we will continue to see these horrific acts of violence in our newspapers, we will watch scenes of destruction unfold during the 6 o’clock news, and we will read about the latest murders on our social media feeds.

The debate and discussion will not solve the problem. Will taking guns out of the hands of those who seek to cause harm be the solution? Not completely, but I think it’s the most logical place to start. There isn’t one solution that will serve as the end-all-be-all answer to this question.

Instead of talking about it, instead of arguing over which side is right and who the NRA is financially supporting in order to prevent legislation, I’d like to see our leaders take action against the real issue: people, innocent children and parents and friends, are continuing to lose their lives while those who might be able to come up with some preventative measures twirl their thumbs with their noses held high.

In the meantime, another mother is making funeral arrangements for her four-year-old in Kansas City. A young man awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to his involvement in the murder of a 14-year-old girl just minutes from where I sit now. And this mother of a 10-year-old boy is fed up. I’m sick and tired of writing about this issue. And I urge our leaders to take action now, before it’s too late.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Every year on Father’s Day, I’m reminded of all of the great men who’ve been a part of my life and made a positive impact on the person I am today. Of course, my own father has had the most influence. But, I grew up with an older brother, as well, who certainly made his mark. My brother is not one to give me a big hug when he sees me or any other form of sibling love. But, I always know he has my back no matter what.

I grew up with multiple grandfathers. My mother’s parents divorced before I was born, and both remarried. So, I had three grandfathers: Rodney (my dad’s dad), Richard (my mom’s dad) and Fred (my mom’s step-dad). Though my grandpa Richard is the only one in the bunch still living, I think I had a special bond with each of them.

My grandpa Fred was an amazing guy. He had stories of his world travels and had a deep, good-for-radio voice that was as soothing as it was intimidating. Grandpa Fred once served as King Faisal of Saudi Arabia’s personal assistant when he flew on aircraft.

My grandpa Rodney was a gentle, kind-hearted man who did his best to take care of his family and would drop everything to ensure needs were met. I still remember him wheeling a bicycle through the front door of our house for a birthday I was having. I grinned from ear-to-ear and hugged him hard.

My grandpa Richard, while he lives the farthest, was always a lot of fun to be around. Whether he was telling corny jokes or letting me drive the cart while he played golf (and taking the blame when I ran over a tree), I knew I was in for a good time full of laughter and love.

With all these men in my life, it’s only natural that my son also has a group of extraordinary men to look up to. From both sides of his family, Michael has smart, handsome and charming men whom he can lean on as he grows up. When he becomes a father himself, I hope that he remembers the love and respect each of these men instilled in him since day one.

Happy Father’s Day to each father or father figure in our community. May you all be blessed on this day and every day as you raise future teachers, doctors, scientists, engineers and even journalists.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

As a kid growing up in Grandview in the 80s and 90s, I spent my summer breaks outside. From riding my bicycle across our neighborhood north of High Grove, to spending long days in the sun at the old Meadowmere Pool, I lived to feel the heat on my skin and the grass in my toes.

My family and I used to bike from our house to the Longview Lake trails. I’d eat cherry tomatoes off the vines in my backyard until my stomach couldn’t take anymore, and I’d suck the sweet honeysuckle from the weeds that grew alongside the dandelions. Weekends were often spent at my grandparents’ lake place up north, where I was always ready to swim, even if the water was still frigid.

My friends and I would gather at Mapleview Park, where we’d lay our bikes down and spin for hours on the merry-go-round. Summer was about sunshine, laughter, friends and innocence. It was skinned knees, sun-bleached hair and being able to stay out well after dinner.

Despite growing up and the growing list of responsibilities that goes along with that, I still think it is important to enjoy summertime just as much as I did back then. This summer, Michael and I plan to be regulars at Oceans of Fun. We plan to start the Geocaching search, starting in our neighborhood and working our way across the metro. We plan to eat more hot dogs than we can count and see which of us can spit watermelon seeds the farthest.

Summer is for adventure with those we love, and I certainly plan to make the most of mine this year.