November, 2014 Edition

Inter-City Mourns the Loss of Sugar Creek Police Chief Herb Soule

   People around the Inter-City area and well beyond are mourning the loss of Sugar Creek City Marshall and Police Chief Herb Soule, who passed away on November 14 at North Kansas City Hospital. 

   Chief Soule served the citizens of Sugar Creek in the Police Department for 48 years, becoming Chief of Police in 2001.  Last September he was named Sugar Creek Citizen of the Year by the Truman Heartland Foundation in recognition of his years of service to the community.

   Besides being the Chief of Police, Herb Soule was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jackson County Drug Task Force, he helped create Jackson County’s anti-drug COMBAT program, he founded Sugar Creek Police and Fire Explorer Post 2, he sat on the Legislative & Resolutions Committee of the Missouri Police Chief’s Association, and taught aspiring law enforcement officers at the Western Missouri Regional Police Academy.  He was also a leader in developing the State of Missouri’s Homeland Security program. Chief Soule was a member and a leader of more community organizations than space allows us to print.

Herbert M. Soule, Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 11, 1944, but grew up in Sugar Creek.  He was a 1962 graduate of Van Horn High School, where he played football and basketball, and ran track.  After high school he joined the United States Army.

    Chief Soule joined the Sugar Creek Police force in 1966.  During his time as Chief of Police, he dealt with many high-profile cases, including the explosion of a tanker car following a train derailment in 2010 and the investigation of the murder of Sam and Lindsey Porter, children who were murdered by their father and buried in Sugar Creek in  2004.

   Retired Sugar Creek Detective Sergeant Steve Topi told the Inter-City News, "Herb Soule has been my friend since we were youths, and my boss for nearly 40-years.  He was a good man and a good police officer and Chief.  He will be greatly missed by myself and Sugar Creek Police and Fire employees, as well as many other departments and agencies, across the State and beyond.  My sincere condolences go out to all his family and countless friends."

Revitalizing the Truman Road Corridor

   Jackson County and the City of Independence are working with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) to get funding for the Truman Road Gateway Implementation Plan, to develop and enhance the Truman Road corridor east of I-435. 

   Last year funding was received and work began on repairing the Stone Arch Bridge at Truman and Blue Ridge Boulevard, which was completed in May of this year.  The roadway over the bridge was replaced, the walls were reinforced, rod iron fencing was added for safety, and lights and landscaping helped beautify the refurbished bridge, which was originally built in 1906.

   The Mid-America Regional Council funded a study with federal HUD money called the Truman Road Green Gateway plan, which was completed in March of this year.  The 89-page report detailed more ways that the roadway, which bears Harry Truman’s name and leads visitors from around the world to the Truman Home and the Independence Square, could be transformed into a modern and practical corridor that is pedestrian and bike-friendly, with sustainable housing and business solutions to help bring the area into the 21st century.

     Donna Pittman is the owner of Curt’s Famous Meats and the founder of the Truman Gateway Redevelopment Committee, the force behind the Truman Road revitalization efforts.  Donna is optimistic that the solutions outlined in the study can become a reality.  She praised the efforts of Independence Mayor Eileen Weir and the Independence Chamber of Commerce in making the Truman Gateway plan a priority, and seeking the funds that would be needed to implement the project.

   The cost to implement the plan would be around $8 million, with Jackson County handling the stretch of Truman Road from the interstate to Blue Ridge Boulevard, and Independence doing the work east of Blue Ridge.  

   According to a MARC representative, getting funding for these types of proposals would depend largely on interest within the community. 

   The Truman Gateway Redevelopment Committee welcomes any member of the community who is interested in making the Truman Road Gateway plan become a reality.  If you are interested in joining this group, send an email for more information to Lindsay Browne at LBrowne@kclinc.org.


Inter-City Native Writes “Tales From the Lake”

  Conley Stone McAnally, known to his friends in the Inter-City area as "Snapper", has penned his fourth book, Tales from the Lake, which picks up where an earlier work, Tales from Homer left off.   Tales from Homer consisted of eight whimsical stories happening in a town called Doodenville.  The stories are supposedly rejected submissions to The Atlantic written by the title character, the town’s jailer, Homer Storebeck.

  Snapper McAnally offered us this information:  "I lived on Crisp Lake, went to Mt Washington, then Van Horn, graduated in 1965, taught school in "Bush" Alaska, and am a retired army reserve officer. I live in Tucson now. Most of the characters I have written about, other than the two books about Alaska, are based a little on the people I knew growing up. A little bit of fact, a dab of humor, some outlandishness, and an item of fiction or two make up my stories. Many people think I make things up but everything is true to some extent."

   Besides his two books of Midwestern tales, McAnally has written two books about Alaska, Wilson Bay: Tales From an Eskimo Village and Jump, Alaska: Tales From the Interior.

   You can find all of McAnally’s books online at Amazon.com, and ask for them at local bookstores and libraries.

Buried at Mt. Washington: George Creel

   In the first week after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created a government agency called the Committee on Public Information, with a mission to use the media of that era to rally support for the war and to quash dissent.  Basically  it was a propaganda machine, and at its head was a former Kansas City newspaper man, George Creel.    

   Creel's Committee on Public Information used writers, artists, actors, and every form of media available to stir up war support.  Though Creel had long been a critic of censorship, his agency was heavily involved in doing just that, helping Congress pass the widely criticized Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.  Under the Sedition Act, it became a federal crime to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government."

   Ten years before the war, George Creel lived in Kansas City and published a local weekly political journal called The Independent.  His paper, which championed government reform and women's rights, began publishing in 1899 and continues to this day as "The Independent: Kansas City's Journal of Society."  

   In 1909 Creel gave his paper to two women publishers and took his calls for government reform to Colorado, writing for the Denver Post. He was appointed Police Commissioner of Denver in 1912, and the reforms he made in Denver were praised nationwide. Creel was active in Woodrow Wilson's re-election campaign, and when he heard that military commanders were calling for media censorship, he  called on President Wilson and suggested a different approach, "expression, not suppression" of the press."  Thus the Committee on Public Information was created.

   After the war George Creel devoted most of his time to writing and politics. He died in San Francisco on October 2, 1953, and is buried in Mt. Washington cemetery near his mother's grave.

Mary Howe Brings Experience & Luxury to the KnowHowe Salon

   Christine's Salon at 518 North Sterling is now the KnowHowe Salon, and we welcome the new owner, Mary Howe, to the Inter-City community.  Mary has been doing hair for 25 years, mostly operating as a Master Designer and Salon Manager with the JC Penney Salons.  That's where she met Christine, her friend and district manager at JC Penney.

  It was always Mary's dream, though, to have her own Salon, and Christine was delighted to offer her the chance to make that happen.

    Besides the experience she gained working with hair design, managing the JC Penny salons, and teaching cosmetology at KCCC, she also brings to the KnowHowe Salon four talented and experienced stylists, nail techs, and estheticians certified in Dermalogica® skin treatment, the only Dermalogica suppliers this side of the state line.  Her salon has expertise in the current designs, styles, and trends, as well as more traditional styling methods.

   Whether it's manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, Gelish nails, or men's cuts, KnowHowe, can provide what you need.  They also carry a wide variety of take-home products for sale, including Paul Mitchell, Redken, Dermalogica, and more.

  
KnowHowe Salon offers mobile and on-site services for those unable to visit the salon, or for special events. 

  As the daughter of a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, Mary was born in Montgomery, Alabama and lived in cities around the country and world, mostly growing up in Spain. All of her children are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Ask about Military Discount! Call (816) 252-0383 for an appointment.

Go Sugar Creek Helps Henry Street Homeowner

   Members of "Go Sugar Creek," a volunteer organization, working with the Sugar Creek Community Development Corporation has just completed its fourth civic project of the year. Chuck and Sandy Mikulich, Stan Salva, John McAvoy, Matt Williams along with Carolyn and Bill Haman worked to rehab the exterior at a home on Henry Street in Sugar Creek. The project required power washing, scraping, priming and finish painting of the home. There was also some fairly extensive repair of windows and doors.

   "Go Sugar Creek" has built two handicapped ramps, painted two houses and developed the Sugar Creek Community Garden this year.

 Homeowners in Sugar Creek with limited resources can make application at the Sugar Creek police station for assistance with exterior projects. Applications can be obtained at the police station. Applicants will be screened to determine if they meet income and other requirements.

    The organization welcomes new members to help with future projects to assist our neighbors in need. Tax deductible financial contributions to help support these efforts can be made to the Sugar Creek CDC. Our goal is to improve the quality of live for residents of Sugar Creek. We will again be sponsoring the garden in 2015. For more information or questions, please contact Bill Haman at either 816-254-8935 or whaman1057@aol.com.
Bill Haman

Wayne City Landing Days Audit Shows Nearly $50,000 Loss

   Controversy is brewing in Sugar Creek over the expense of the city’s Wayne City Landing Days celebration in August.

   According to an audit provided by the city, proceeds from the event amounted to $11,226.60, falling more than $47,000 short of covering the $59,000 it cost city taxpayers to put on the event.  All the same, the city has allocated another $50,000 in next year’s budget for another Wayne City Landing Days event to be held in  2015.

   Community activist Bill Haman complains of several issues surrounding the planning and expenditures involved with this year’s festival.  In a mass email to Sugar Creek residents and business owners, Haman raised issues ranging from the timing of the event to the cost bringing entertainment in from out of town rather than showcasing our local talent.

  In an email, he posed a number of questions:

   "Why did we not obtain a beer and soft drink sponsor? Those sponsors should normally cover entertainment expenses.

   "The city hall estimate of 5,000 attendees was excessive. No more than 3,000 people attended. Assuming 1,000 attendees per day the math is $50,000 divided by 3,000 total attendees equals $16 per person.  That is 16 taxpayer dollars wasted for each person that came to the festival.

   "Why was the entertainment in a location that was hidden from most attendees by the carnival trucks?  The entertainment should be the focal point of the entire event, not a stepchild.  Why did we spend so much money on acts?  There are numerous qualified bands here in KC that would have played the shows for much less money and had a larger following than the booked bands.   

   "Why was a band from Springfield booked instead of a local band?  The booking agent, the bands and the sound crew are the only ones involved that came out with plenty of money.

   "Why did we spend so much for a stage when modular stages can be rented for a third of what we paid?  $3,293 rental and towing for four bands is $823 per band.   Why did we pay for a hotel and meals for the sound crew?  I have been involved with many festival productions and have never paid for these items.  If the sound crew was from out of town why was a local vendor not hired?   $2,750 for four bands is $687 per band.  If you add in the meals and lodging for the crew that would be $3,367 for four bands or $841 per band.

   "The total for entertainment items listed is $12,100.  To put that in layman’s terms, someone cut a fat hog on the taxpayers of Sugar Creek.

   "In summary, it is time for Sugar Creek to move away from the festival business and understand that this event was not successful.  The mayor was presented with a flawed blueprint for a festival and blindly moved forward with a festival that was doomed to fail. Even after it became clear that the festival would not be successful the mayor could not admit that the event was failing.  He cast the deciding vote in a council meeting several months prior to the event that would have killed the event and saved the taxpayers $50,000.  The vote was not in the best interest of the citizens and was clearly made out of his self-interest. Aldermen Doyle and Kenney also cast votes to continue the event. Aldermen Sagehorn and Ray voted to stop funding for the festival. No more of Sugar Creek’s treasure should be used to support another Wayne City Event."

   Mr. Haman intended to ask these questions at the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen Study Session, but Mayor Mallinson would not allow comments from the floor about the issue.

CSL's Christmas Assistance Program

   The Community Services League is working to provide Christmas presents and meal baskets to Inter-City families in need this holiday season.  If you need help, please apply at any of the CSL offices (locations on Page 8) before November 26.  Please bring identification, proof of residence, Social Security cards for all adults and children in the home, and proof of income.

   If you would like to help a family this year, please donate new, unwrapped presents and food items (including perishables… frozen turkeys, Cool Whip, butter, etc.) at any of the CSL offices, preferably by Monday, December 8.  For more information call the Community Services League at (816) 254-4100 or visit them online at www.cslcares.org

Inter-City Election 2014 Winners and Losers

 
Most of Sugar Creek and the area east of Sterling and north of 24 Highway in Independence will be getting a new State Representative for the 20th District.  Republican Bill Kidd beat the incumbent Democrat, John Mayfield, by 672 votes, according to the unofficial results posted by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

   Kidd, a Christian minister, ran on a pro-life, 2nd Amendment platform, and promised to “…work to eliminate burdensome government regulations that stand in the way of small businesses.”
   Ira Anders and Brandon Ellington, representing the 21st and 22nd Districts respectively, ran unopposed.  Ellington, who was first elected in 2011, will serve as the chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus.

   Dennis Waits was re-elected to his eighth four-year term on the Jackson County Legislature, making his the Legislator holding that position the longest.  The staff of the Inter-City News is hoping he will start using some of this seniority to start calling for improvements in the economically neglected area he has been representing for the better part of three decades. 

   Frank White easily won the 1st District At Large Legislative seat being vacated by outgoing Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz, who is running for City Council in Kansas City.

   Congressman Emanuel Cleaver beat Republican Jacob Turk for the fifth time in a row.  Both candidates were approached by the Inter-City News to make a statement to our readers.  Only Congressman Cleaver responded.  His message to voters of the Inter-City, posted on our website before the election, can be found on page 6.

  The biggest loser this election day was the effort by the City of Sugar Creek to annex 2,700 acres of land to the east, near Atherton.  Voters in the proposed annexation area unanimously rejected the proposal.  There were approximately three times as many “Vote No on Annexation” signs in the area as there were voters.  Residents we spoke to before the election insisted that the move would raise their taxes and provide them with fewer services, in spite of Sugar Creek’s promises in its newsletter to the contrary.  None of the residents we spoke with in the proposed annexation area said that anyone from Sugar Creek had made contact with them to try and persuade them to vote yes on the issue.  58 per cent of the voters living inside Sugar Creek city limits approved of the plan.

Fairmount Community Center Arrow Rock Trip

The See the city of Arrow Rock decorated for the holidays with the Fairmount Community Center. Visit the old-time Country Store, the town's tiny post office and the interesting period shops on Main Street, better known to locals as "The Boardwalk."

Other highlights include the J. Huston Tavern, the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. Cost includes motor coach transportation and ticket to Lyceum Premiere Charles Dickens play "A Christmas Carol." Lunch is on your own. Sack lunches can be purchased from the center with 24 hour notice for an extra $3.


Cost: $60 per person
Registration Deadline: December 5th
Call the Fairmount Community Center
816-254-8334 For Reservations

Sugar Creek VFW Post 3976

 From The Inter-City News: Thursday, June 29, 1967

    On January 12, 1945, a charter was issued to the Sooter-Clemens Post No. 3976, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW, of the United States,  of Sugar Creek Missouri.  The Ladies Auxilliary was chartered May 11, 1945.  The post had 77 charter members and the Aux. 38 members.

   Initiation and installation of officers took place in the Sugar Creek school, now used for defense purposes.

   The post was named for Cecil Sooter and Frank Clemens, the first men from Sugar Creek to lose their lives in WWII; Cecil, as a Navy pilot in Panama, on a training flight, and Frank soon after D-Day, with the Army in France.  The name was changed to the Sugar Creek Memorial Post in 1966.

   Herbert Killion, was the first Post Commander, and his wife, Alice Killion, the first Auxiliary president.  A handful of veterans from WWII, including Mr. Killion, Walter P. Kenney, William G. Linnell, Tom Sooter, William Buford, William Buford, Sr., Lloyd Gibbons, William T. Krudop, Ferdinand J. Fischl, and Earl Evinger, organized the post while many of the other charter members were still on active duty.

   In 1946 when Walter Kenney was commander, the Veteran's Memorial was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies, and May 30, 1958, a plaque on the new swimming pool was dedicated to the memory of our local veterans.

   Each year at 11 o'clock May 30, VFW Memorial services are held at this monument with the whole community participating.  In the fall of 1961 a disastrous fire destroyed the VFW hall on the second floor of what is now Sterling Hall, 514 N Sterling, Sugar Creek, and nearly took the lives of Mr. and Mrs. William Linnell in their adjacent apartment (they were saved by their neighbor, Mike A. Benkovich). Practically all the property of the post and Auxiliary was destroyed, and for the next few years the organization suffered a setback and many of the community activities were curtailed.

A few local members continued to function and in 1962 the post and aux made a fresh start and continues to grow and prosper and carryout its VFW community service projects in Sugar Creek.  Mrs. Charlotte Kenney and Mrs. Patricia Kenney Train are the only charter members of the Auxiliary holding office in the Auxiliary.

Fritzanna Lyke Takes Time to Help Out

  
After Fritzanna Lyke retired from The Groves at the age of 67 she wanted to stay active.  Many years earlier she had taught Sunday School at the First Baptist Church, and after retirement, just by chance, she ran into one of the children she had taught there.  Her former student was all grown up and teaching First Grade at Fairmount Elementary School, and thought that Fritzanna would make a wonderful teacher’s aid. For the past four years Friztanna has been volunteering at the school, helping Kindergartners and First Graders learn how to master basic skills.

    She’s famous at the Fairmount School for the crocheted headbands she makes for her students – custom made for each student in their favorite colors.  Every Kindergartner gets a headband.

   Three days a week she volunteers at the school, and for the past three years she has spent two days a week she helping out at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store at 505 North Dodgion in Independence, where her husband James is also a volunteer.   James, who Fritzanna married 37 years ago, is also retired and devotes his time to helping others.  "We call it volunteering," he jokes, "but other people might call it ‘Community Service.’"  James spends his summers on his riding lawnmower (he calls it a tractor) cutting grass for homeowners who are unable to.

   Every Sunday the Lykes work with children at Northeast Baptist Church, 9412 E Independence Avenue, where five vans bring 65 children from Independence and Kansas City for Sunday School.  The children are fed lunch before an afternoon session, when they are encouraged to bring their school homework. Fritzanna and the other volunteers are able to help them complete their assignments and master any skills they may need help with.

    Fritzanna and James decided this year to start a community garden in a vacant lot they bought on Independence Avenue.  This year they had ten planters growing vegetables, and hope to expand on that in 2015.  

     Our community appreciates their service!

Sugar Creek Police Chief Herb Soule Dies from Illness


News release from the Sugar Creek Police Department:
"Chief Herbert M. Soule, Chief of the Sugar Creek, MO Police Department, passed away from complications of an illness at the North Kansas City Hospital at 3:40 P.M. Friday, November 14, 2014.

  "Chief Soule served with the Sugar Creek Police Department for 48 years and was Chief since April, 2001."
 The staff of the Inter-City News offers condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Chief Soule, and to the citizens of Sugar Creek and Jackson County for the loss of this devoted public servant.   Details on his memorial service will be upcoming.


Congressman Cleaver Speaks to Inter-City News

Note: We asked the candidates for Congress in the Fifth District to address the readers of the Inter-City News.   Jacob Turk did not respond to our repeated requests, but Congressman Emanuel Cleaver sent us the following:

Often times our democracy produces mixed results. I strive in Congress to produce positive results for the constituents of Missouri’s 5th District which I have the privilege or representing.  My district is very diverse stretching from the urban areas of our community to the rural areas of our State.  The needs are many and the resources limited, but know that each day I am fighting to bring federal resources home to our community.

I understand the challenges each of us face at work and the struggles our families face providing a better life for our children and grandchildren. As your voice in Congress, I am willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to build consensus in a civil manner to help Americans. Fighting for the working men and women is not a hobby for me - it is in my DNA.

Specifically, I strongly believe it is critically important to invest and provide incentives to revitalize those parts of our community that have fallen victim to blight and neglect.  Throughout my congressional career I have been a stalwart advocate for attracting federal dollars to the Blue River including flood control, mitigation efforts and environmental restoration.  My support will remain unwavering. I also believe the 24 Highway gateway to our "Favorite Son," President Harry S Truman’s, Presidential Library & Museum is a prime candidate for infrastructure investment. I fully support the passage of a six (6) years highway and transportation bill, the unfortunate reality is that appears unlikely in the near future.

I envision the success which was demonstrated in the Green Impact Zone through leveraging all levels of governments’ capital expenditures into a targeted area with a strategic focus will be replicated throughout our community and our country. This model can and should be utilized for the 24 Highway corridor. 

Additionally, incentives to assist small businesses with their start-up, expansion, and growth are a vital component to enhance the area.  Couple these efforts with enhancing and improving the housing stock adjacent to these community assets and you have a formula for victory like our Home Town Boys in Blue – the Kansas City Royals.

Like the Royals’ return to the World Series, these commitments of resources will take a few years.  As long as I am in Congress you can rest assured that I will be there trying to do my best to ensure that our families and businesses are poised for greatness.

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5)

Inter-City Fire Spurs Calls for Revitalization

 A fire that destroyed an apartment in the building at 8900 E. U.S. 24 has renewed calls for the revitalization of the 24 Highway corridor, which leads visitors from around the world from Interstate 435 to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. 

   Four fire trucks responded to the blaze of August 9, as flames were seen shooting six feet in the air. 
   The building, located across the street from the iconic Inter-City Bait & Tackle, began as a grocery store and in the 1960s and 1970s was run as a tavern.  An industrial garage was later added.

     “This area looks more like Detroit every day,” commented a resident, pointing out the yellow fire line tape which still surrounds the building more than a month after the blaze.  He added, “The building wasn’t much to look at before the fire,” calling it typical of the vacant and run-down commercial properties that dot this section of the highway system that Harry Truman helped create.

   In 2004, the Cities of Independence and Sugar Creek began a comprehensive study on the roadway’s potential and in 2006 issued a report called the US 24 Highway Corridor Study Plan.  

   This study identified many of the problems that were keeping this area economically depressed, and outlined several long-term solutions to revitalize the area. 

   Some of the solutions suggested in the report are in the works, such as the expansion of the 353 Tax Abatement, a program that rewards home and business owners for improving their buildings (see Page 5). Many of the report’s other suggested strategies fell by the wayside after the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed.

   Independence Mayor Weir has promised to make the revitalization of western Independence a priority.
    The building that burned has been listed for sale with Block Real Estate Services, LLC. 

   According to a Block Real Estate representative the property remains for sale, but the price of the 5,600 square foot building and lots is undetermined at the moment, pending negotiations between the building’s owner and insurance company.   Visit the Block Real Estate website at blockllc.com if you are interested in purchasing this site for future development.  

Travel Back in Time at Sentimental Journey


   There are some things Sue Wiggins wants you to know about Sentimental Journey Antiques, located at 1101 W. 24 Highway in Independence.

   First of all, with 4,200 square feet of antiques and collectibles, “We’re bigger than we look,” she says.

   Sue and her husband Bob have been serious antique collectors for decades, and their storefront, as seen from 24 Highway, doesn’t do justice to the rooms of antique clocks, pop-culture memorabilia, antique car parts, ice cream scoops and memorabilia, and somewhere around 300 Aladdin Lamps that are displayed, the largest collection of Aladdin Lamps in the Metro area.  They also repair and service lamps of all kinds.

   Sue would also like you to know that it’s easier to park and to get in and out of the parking lot than it looks.  There’s a parking lot on the side of the building, offering easy access from 24 Highway and many people don’t realize this when driving by.

  Sue and Bob came to Kansas City in the early 1960s. She grew up in Arkansas, and he’s from southern Missouri. They call themselves retired; Bob retired from General Motors and Sue from the AMC Theatres.

Their love of collecting began 35 years ago, when they began collecting ice cream scoops as a hobby.     They are avid members of the Ice Screamers, an international collectors club for lovers of ice cream parlor memorabilia.  They travel all around the country to meet and “swap scoops” with other ice cream enthusiasts from around the world.

   Sentimental Journey is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., though occasionally the store may be closed due to medical appointments or jaunts out of town. 

   Someday Sue and Bob would like to truly retire in order to spend more time traveling.    They would gladly sell their building and everything in it to another collector, but for now they enjoy spending their days taking visitors on a Sentimental Journey that begins the moment you walk through the door.

Meet Inter-City News Staff Photographer Joe Calton

 
The Inter-City News is happy to welcome to our team local photographer and writer Joe Calton.

   Joe became hooked on photography at the age of 13 after joining the 8th grade Photography Club. His first camera was an all plastic “Diana” model from a dimestore that set him back $7.00.    

   Joe Calton has a particular love for architecture, Americana, macro photography and turning common, everyday subjects into abstract images.  With his camera in hand he travels the region and the country, capturing snapshots of beauty in sights that often go unnoticed, and locking in time breathtaking moments of nature.

   Joe grew up in Excelsior Springs, but his home is in Independence now.  He’s spent countless hours roaming around the Inter-City area, bringing us a wealth of stock photography.  He is dedicated to preserving the history of the area while helping all of us make the Inter-City area a better place to live and work.

   You can see and download more of his work by visiting his online gallery at www.joecalton.com.

Don't Let Them Bury Me in Kansas City - INTERNATIONAL JAZZ LEGEND REMEMBERED IN INTER-CITY

  
“Don't let them bury me in Kansas City,” Charlie Parker told his wife Chan.

   Bird got his wish. He is not buried in Kansas City, he is buried right here in Inter-City, at Lincoln Cemetery next to his mother Addie in Unincorporated Blue Summit.

   Charlie “Bird” Parker was born August 29, 1920 in Kansas City, KS. The saxophonist got his start playing Kansas City nightclubs in the late 1930's and through collaboration with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pioneered the highly improvisational form of jazz known as “bebop”. Miles Davis once said “You can sum up the history of jazz in four words. “Louis Armstrong Charlie Parker”. Charlie Parker died March 12, 1955 in New York. He was only 34 years old.

   For many years now, local musicians and jazz enthusiasts have gathered at Lincoln Cemetery on the last Sunday in August to pay tribute to Bird. Although the size of the gathering can sometimes be depressingly small, this year was different. Sponsored by KC Jazz ALIVE and in partnership with Jazz Friends, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors and the American Jazz Museum, “A Kansas City Charlie Parker Celebration” took place at many venues in the area from August 14 through August 30, culminating with a “21 Sax Salute” in Lincoln Cemetery held on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday August 31.   

A local group called “Top of the Bottoms” which models itself after traditional, New Orleans Mardis Gras Krewes kicked off the festivities with an elaborate, colorful and moving Second Line funeral procession.

The graveside serenade was joined by local saxophonists, trumpeters, percussionists, and anyone else who wanted to participate in a rousing rendition of Bird's signature tune “Now's The Time”.

Bird's step daughter Kim Parker was in attendance and gave a short talk. She shared her memories which included her not understanding people's reaction to this large black man walking a young white girl to school in New York. She concluded by yelling “WAKE UP, BIRD!”

Poems were read, speeches were given and even some tears were shed. It was a very moving and heartfelt celebration of a short life that gave so much.

Should you find yourself on Blue Ridge Boulevard between Truman Road and Independence Avenue with some time to spare, stop by Lincoln Cemetery, leave a flower or some Mardis Gras beads, and feel free to yell “WAKE UP, BIRD!”

Les Miller Keeps Bees Busy

  
Les Miller of Miller’s Honey Farm in Independence will tell you that bees are smarter than humans, and that without bees there can be no life for human beings.  

   Miller’s honey, which he sells at the Independence Farmer’s Market, is organic, and his beekeeping methods are all-natural and holistic.  But like beekeepers around the world, he sees the bees dying off and disappearing at an alarming rate.

   More than 30% of the world’s bee population have disappeared in recent years, and Les says the people who depend on them to pollinate the crops of the food we eat are the very ones responsible for their disappearance.

   “People kill bees, with the poisons they use to kill weeds and other bugs, and sometimes they just kill them whenever they see them because they’re afraid of them.”

   Miller is not afraid of any bees or any other insect, and he’s especially fond of pollinators.    He’s been raising butterflies since he was 8 years old, and as a child he watched his father raise bees and make honey.  He decided to take up the profession of beekeeping 14 years ago, after decades of being a mechanic took a toll on his back and on his health.  “One day I got stung by a bee, and my back quit hurting,” he says.  He decided to learn everything he could about bees and beekeeping, and now he earns a living doing what he’s always loved, “playing with bugs.”

   All pesticides and herbicides threaten the bee population, he says, but points out that certain chemicals called Neonicitinoids are particularly deadly. Neonicitonoids have been banned in Europe and there’s a push by U.S. environmentalists for them to be banned in the United States as well.

   Miller’s bees gather pollen and nectar from flowering trees, wildflowers, and gardens.  “Dandelions are really important for the bees. If they survive the winter, dandelions are the most plentiful source of nutrition bees have before the trees come into flower, but too many people see dandelions as a bad thing and they poison them,” he says, adding that dandelions are important to soil health as well as bee health.  “Every kind of poison you put on the ground stays in the ground, and it gets in the groundwater, and it’s killing the bees.”

   Bees find a safe-haven in Miller’s hives, though, and his pure, all-natural honey is prized by honey connoisseurs around the region. If you can’t make it to the Independence Farmers Market, call Miller’s Honey Farm at 254-3702 and place an order.