Thursday, August 25, 2016

Restaurants. Retail. Nightlife. Entertainment. Arts. Offices. Housing. Those of us who have lived in the area for a while all have our vision for the future of Grandview’s downtown corridor. And, much of that vision is the same from one person to the next. Whether we are looking for more dining options, a place or two to buy some unique gifts, or a one-stop-shop where we can live, work and play, I think we can all agree that our downtown is currently lacking.

Recently, on a Friday night at 9 p.m., I walked to my car with my son after eating a quick dinner at the newer taqueria on our Main Street. 9:00 on a Friday and there was not a soul in sight. I snapped a quick picture, and posted it to Grandview Main Street’s Facebook page with a simple question: who would like to see more nightlife in our downtown?

Every response was positive. The simple fact that our downtown essentially shuts down at 5 p.m. every day isn’t what our community wants. We want parades and festivals. We want places to shop and have a cold drink. We want to be able to park a car on one end and spend hours walking up and down a bustling district.

As president of Grandview Main Street, that is exactly what I’m working on, along with a board who also has that vision. With all of the great things happening in Grandview, let’s work together to make the heart of our city - our downtown - great again, too. Downtowns are the lifeblood, the core, the heartbeat of cities across the globe. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if ours had a pulse again?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn and countless others, social media has become a norm in our society. Businesses use various platforms to drive sales, news outlets push their stories to the top of your feeds and it can be a way to keep up with friends whom you haven’t seen in years or decades.

Whether or not you like using social media, I think we can all admit that it is a technology that likely won’t be going away for quite some time. We want to be able to quickly and easily keep in touch with those we love. I use social media for various things. On my personal page, I post a lot about my son and my relationship, along with promotion of local businesses.

A few weeks ago, an older gentleman stopped by the office to run an anniversary announcement in the paper (it was published last week). He explained to me that on their 40th anniversary, he got in big trouble because he didn’t make a big deal about it, so this year, for their 50th, he’s planning to celebrate and show her how much he loves her, including putting a little announcement in my paper, to make up for it. His eyes lit up when he told me about their wedding and how happy she makes him still to this day.

Unfortunately, his wife passed away four years ago, but this quiet, gentle, sweet man is still doing whatever he can to put a smile on his late wife’s face. I posted this story on my own Facebook account, and within hours, it caught the attention of nearly 200 of my friends, two of whom decided to purchase flowers for him when he came to pick up copies of the newspaper last week.

Mr. Martin came, and I handed him his bouquet, with the note that read “In Memory of Darlene.” I was touched almost as much as he was. A simple Facebook post can make someone’s day. That’s the power of social media

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It’s that time again: back to school. Next week, my own kiddo will be heading into his last year of elementary school in Grandview. Fifth grade for him means being a leader in the school. For us, we’re looking forward to student council elections (Win With Wilson - I already have his posters designed in my head), a final year of recess and, in Michael’s mind, a year to still goof off without the responsibilities that come with middle school.

This year, though, school shopping has been a bit different than I’m used to. Suddenly, my son is more interested in the type of shoes he has rather than who his teacher is going to be. Whether they are LeBrons, Jordans or plain Nikes, I’m already cringing at what I’ll have to dole out for his sneakers. But, that’s what boys are into.

We spent too long in the school supply section of Target last weekend as Michael had to make sure he had only “cool” notebooks. And black pens? I never realized there were so many choices, as I’m pretty sure I just had plain Bic stick pens when I was a kid.

Without even thinking, I threw several boxes of crayons in my shopping cart. Checking the list to mark them off, I sadly realized that fifth graders don’t need crayons anymore. No more coloring? I guess my son truly is growing up. We have matured from a superhero lunchbox to hair gel and cologne.

I’m looking forward to this last year of elementary school. I’m nervous about what the future for my son holds, but I’m excited at the same time. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and some great people in his corner rooting for him every step of the way.

Fifth grade gives me at least one more year with my baby boy. One more year of surprise school visits from Mom that are still considered cool. One more year of getting hugs from my son as he leaves the car when I drop him off. One more year before girls, friends and sports become more important than I am. I’ll take what I can get.