Thursday, April 13, 2017

As journalists, it is our job to stick to the facts, remain unbiased and professional, and keep our emotions in check. For the most part, I’ve become a pro at this. I’ve covered tragedy. I’ve met people with extraordinary gifts and talents. I’ve written about death and healing. With this job comes the great responsibility of telling the stories of the people in this community. Every once in a while, some of those stories hit close to home.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my contact at Belton Regional Medical Center inviting me to their next Great Save event. I’ve written about some great saves in the past, and they always make great stories, so immediately I was intrigued. Then, the story pitch listed the name of the patient, and I was speechless.

Kayli Welvaert, whose story is on the front page this week, was a name I knew, as I’ve known her mom, Noelle, for around 20 years. Kayli’s story was a story I knew. I remember seeing her mom’s pleas for prayers, for a miracle, on social media last December. I had seen pictures of Kayli while she was in intensive care, and I saw posts of Kayli as she recovered from her heart attack and coma. Kayli was alive, and she was okay. Mostly, I remember how familiar this all seemed to me at the time.

In 2011, my best friend Danielle suffered a major heart attack. After no oxygen made its way to her brain for roughly 45 minutes, despite revival of her heart, she was no longer with us. Several days later, her family made the tough decision to let her go.

Like Kayli, Danielle was a mom, a sister, a daughter and a friend. Both in their 20s, Kayli and Danielle had shown signs of heart issues in the past, but nothing that would amount to life or death situations at such young ages. Back in 2011, I hoped and prayed for a miracle, for a blessing, for Danielle to pull through. Last December, as memories of Danielle flooded my mind while watching Kayli’s story unfold, I knew that, more than ever, her family needed prayers and support.

Kayli got that miracle that day. As I watched her earlier this week hold her daughter and kiss her cheek, I was thankful for the miracles her medical team provided for her. This mom, this daughter, this friend to many now has a second chance at life. Kayli is a living, breathing, walking miracle, and I am grateful to be able to share her story, no matter how emotional I may have gotten while writing it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How can you possibly do someone like Aggie Turnbaugh justice in just a few lines on some newsprint? Someone who, undoubtedly, still had ink running through her veins, someone whom I could call with a question like, “Hey, maybe twenty, or thirty, years ago, this thing happened, does that ring a bell?” And Aggie, of course, would not only remember the event, she’d remember what issue it was in and on what page. For many years, Aggie Turnbaugh lived and breathed this community, this newspaper. She was truly the backbone, the historian, the mouthpiece, for Grandview and South Kansas City.

Aggie was passionate about journalism and about telling the stories of those she came to know and love. She was quick to offer suggestions or point out things I could improve upon, but she always did so out of love and respect for this profession and this newspaper.

Not many people in Grandview didn’t know who Aggie was. I asked a few of those to offer up some “talkin’” points about Aggie:

The day I was hired at the Jackson County Advocate, Aggie Turnbaugh was sitting at her famous desk just inside the front door of the office at 5th & Main, her trusty typewriter and canine companion at her side. No job had been posted for the newspaper, and I wasn’t sure why exactly I had felt compelled to walk in with my resume. Later, Aggie told me she felt Jim had sent me. The passing of her husband in 2003 had been incredibly hard on the family, as well as the entire community since the Turnbaugh family had run our hometown newspaper for 50+ years. Now, Aggie’s passing is hard as well – who didn’t know Aggie? Through her weekly column, through the decades, the entire community got to know this strong woman with her soft spot for animals. My heart goes out to Annette, who was always there by her mom’s side, and who continues as an Alderman in her family’s wonderful tradition of making a huge impact on the City of Grandview. - Andrea Wood, Jackson County Advocate former editor & owner

Stratford Estates Homes Association and the Southern Communities Coalition have truly lost a “dear friend”.  Going back to the late 70’s until Aggie sold the business I always looked forward to our Tuesday morning chats concerning both Grandview & So. K.C..
Aggie was a lady with a “wealth of knowledge” regarding the history of this area, as well as politics and other issues and the number of people she knew was over whelming,no  one was a stranger.
She was a “grand lady” and the community is missing her already. - Carol McClure, Stratford Estates

Aggie surely impacted many in the community. If you have thoughts you’d like to share, please email them to, or stop by the Advocate office where we’re “just talkin’” about the legacy of Aggie.