October 6, 2017

FAIRMOUNT'S FLOODING PROBLEM: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

EDITORS' NOTE: The City of Independence has spent more than a decade forming committees and making elaborate plans to improve Fairmount and turn it into a trendy business district, yet very little has been done during this time to address the obvious problems that have existed for years. Flooding, lack of proper sidewalks, public safety, and economic problems are ignored as plans are being drawn up for such projects as a new park, a possible roundabout on 24 Highway, walking trails and so forth.
   The City Council is now forming a new committee that is said to be making the FINAL decision on how to improve this area. Contact the City Council using the contact information found at this link and let them know what we really need!
 
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
By Aimee Worley

   Who is to blame for the flooding of 24 Highway and Northern Boulevard?

   For 5 years now the businesses on this small stretch of 24 Highway have had to deal with major flooding anytime heavy storms or flash flooding is forecasted. Thelma Jordan, owner of Fairmount Liquors, Mark Cosgrove of the Best Buy Car Company, along with the car wash have to move into high gear and move their products to higher ground. 

   Fairmount Liquors always gets the worst with thousands of products which must be removed or raised up to 4 and a half feet as flood water along with mud fill her store. She has had to suffer multiple losses. Enough is enough.

   No one wants to take responsibility, not the City of Independence, the City of Sugar Creek, nor even MODot (Missouri Department of Transportation) which is responsible for 24 Highway and its storm drains. 

   This reporter, who grew up in this area and has never lived further than 3 miles from here knows that someone is to blame. I have done some investigating because I know there is a major problem and I have come up with the only conclusion.

   Over the past couple of years everyone has pointed to the Best Buy Car Company, but as I was investigating I discovered the water that flows under the highway is failing, but not on the Sugar Creek side. 180 feet behind Best Buy is a ravine that is collapsing. The City of Sugar Creek purchased old smoke stacks from Standard Oil to use around the city as culverts.
Old Standard Oil Smokestacks were converted
into drainage culverts in 1961.

   I counted over five in different places around town. Well those old smoke stacks are failing. As I investigated on Saturday, August 26, I found heavy drainage pouring out of one of the old stacks, along with trees falling, rocks being washed away with the amount of water moving out and into Sugar Creek on its way to empty into the Missouri River. 

   The ravine and stagnant, infested water on the south side of 24 Highway keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s also creating another pond on the west side of Northern Blvd. It flooded the Full Gospel Church, which suffered extensive losses.

   The City of Independence stated in 2015 that they along with MODot think that the culvert is working properly and it isn’t their problem. I believe they are wrong and it’s time for them to spend their money on taking care of the businesses that have been affected by this problem. We don’t need a park or a roundabout to improve the area. Fix what is broken first. Enough is enough.

Full Gospel Assembly Church’s Devastating Month

    As their pastor, Rev. Doyle Ankrom, lay suffering in the hospital from stage 4 lung cancer, the parishioners of the Full Gospel Assembly church in Fairmount were desperately coping with the flooding of August 21 and 22 that completely destroyed the church’s basement and everything that was stored there.

   Church members trudged through mud and shoveled wet sheet rock, while others spent many hours trying to salvage priceless artifacts including the Pastor’s extensive collection of gospel recordings, many of which were recorded by Reverend Ankrom’s own gospel recording groups over the course of decades.

Church Member Pat Pace spends a Sunday
morning removing wet sheetrock from the
church’s basement destroyed by the flooding.
   The church has had more than its share of weather-related problems in the past. In May of 2013 a storm tore the roof and steeple off of the church’s building and flooding has been a problem for the church for years. In the past high water in the parking lot prevented the church from holding services but it wasn’t until the recent heavy rains of late August that water actually entered the building, flooding the basement up to the ceiling.

Church members trying to save Pastor Doyle Ankrom’s gospel record collection, many of which were recorded by his singing groups.
   On September 13 Reverend Ankrom passed away. His wife Sharin has taken his place as the interim Pastor of the congregation, and neither flood nor loss will stop the Full Gospel Assembly from their mission of serving the Lord and serving the local community.

   Twice a month the church hosts a free Saturday breakfast, sometimes serving more than 300 members of the community. Bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy, and anything one could hope for in a good breakfast are served to anyone who is hungry for food and/or fellowship. Their extension ministry across the street is open at this time, providing household items to people who need them. Ground has been broken to expand the Fellowship Hall so that more people can be served.

   You can help the Full Gospel Assembly church in rebuilding by sending donations to 10537 E 6th St, Independence, MO 64053, or to donate building materials contact Connie Cunningham at dccunningham@att.net

Goodbye Queen City

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT

FOR SALE: 84,814 square feet of prime commercial real estate land (once the old motel buildings are removed by the current owner) on heavily trafficked U.S. 24 Highway, just a little over a mile east of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. This is a GREAT retail development opportunity for investors wanting to get in on the ground floor of the inevitable Truman Library Corridor revitalization project. Interested investors should contact Wally Bredemeier at (816) 302-8554 of CEAH Real Estate.

   In the years before I-70 began carrying motorists east and west across the country, U.S. Route 24 Highway, known as Independence Avenue in these parts back then, was a major transportation route for people traveling by car.

   Sometime around 1950, Queen City Court opened along this road as a first-rate motor lodge, offering air conditioning, television sets, telephones, a swimming pool, and just about any amenity a weary traveler could hope for in a place to take a break from the road or a place to stay while visiting President Harry Truman's hometown.

In 1964 the motel was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Cleo Smith and the name was changed to the Queen City Motel. 

Around the same time, the Queen City Restaurant was opened next door, where the Fraternal Order of Eagles building is now. The restaurant was one of the few restaurants in Independence to be open 24 hours a day, and was popular for its fried chicken and steak dinners. The Queen City Restaurant closed its doors in 1974.

After the Sisk family sold the motel in the 1980s, the ownership of Queen City changed hands a number of times and the quality of the 24- Highway landmark diminished over the decades that followed.

Queen City was finally closed by the Sugar Creek Police Department in 2015. Numerous complaints about criminal activity going on there led to an investigation conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies. On the morning of July 16, 2015, police raided the motel, making 17 arrests and closing Queen City once and for all. Demolition is planned to begin any day now.

Letter to the Editors

 We asked readers to send us ideas for the revitalization of 24 Highway and Sterling and received the following email:

   I think a senior living complex, with shopping, health care, transportation, recreation. In this time there is a high demand for an affordable easy living safe place to spend the rest of their days out.
There is no place like this in this part of town. This complex would bring in new families in the houses that seniors have been living here all their lives and bring a year round income. 

   Make our area a place where families want to live. Dollars stores only bring down the areas. It’s a great location. You can get anywhere in the KC Metro within 20 minutes (theater, music, sports).
Make our area more welcoming. Bring up properly values.
Just my thoughts. 

   Thank you, Linda Williams

Historic Fairmount Building to Be Demolished


Once the home to Standard State Bank and the Inter-City Press, which published the original Inter-City News, the building at the corner of 24 Highway and Huttig in Fairmount will soon be demolished. It became home to Standard State Bank in 1939, the bank’s fourth location since its incorporation in 1921. Before the bank moved into this building, it was located across the street where Huttig meets Cedar, in the small brick and stone building that still has bars on the doors and windows.

In 1972 Standard State Bank built a new location with drive-through services up the road at 10725 E U.S 24 Highway. By 1974 all banking business operations at the building above had ceased and the Inter-City Press, which had operated out of the basement, relocated to 501 W Lexington in Independence. 

   The old bank building, located at 10110 E U.S. 24 Highway, remained mostly vacant until the 1980s. The building was occupied by a company called "The Wallpaper People"” between 1983 and 1985. In 1986 this building became the home of the Roadrunner Video Club, where people could rent VHS videos of all kinds. Family-friendly movies filled the main part of the old bank building, while the "Adult Video" section was relegated to the old bank vault in the back. Despite the presence of a Blockbuster Video store up the road at the corner of 24 Highway and Sterling, Roadrunner Video continued to do business there until 1997. 

   Various other businesses and enterprises moved in and out of the building over the next two decades, but the building has become so dilapidated and unsafe that it must be demolished.


Van Horn Falcons Win Kansas City Cup

  
The undefeated Van Horn Falcons Men's Varsity Soccer Team brought home the coveted Kansas City Cup, winning eight games in ten days and beating Lincoln Prep in the finals on September 9, 2017. The Falcons, led by head coach Jesus Rodriguez, won by a score of 3-2, scoring the game winning goal with 33 seconds left in double overtime.

   Named the next week by HyVee and Fox 4 Sports as “Team of the Week,” the Falcons have continued undefeated and on September 25 Van Horn Forward Favian Valenzuela (senior) was named HyVee’s Player of the Week.

    With an overall record so far of 17-0, the Falcons are hoping to move on to the State Championship at the end of October.

REMEMBERING FRED HENDRIX: A TRIBUTE BY ROGER KINNEMAN

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is with great sadness that we report the loss of William Fred Hendrix, Van Horn Class of 1962, who passed away on August 27, 2017 in Gulfport, Mississippi following a long battle with cancer. His dear friend Roger Kinneman offered us the following tribute, and below that we are republishing an article that Fred wrote for the Inter-City News in 2014.

   It’s hard for me to just say in a few words about my best friend Fred Hendrix. But it is with happiness and love that I share some of my thoughts. Fred and I became good friends during our senior year in the class of Van Horn High School, 1962. We have been good friends ever since.
Van Horn Class of 1962 Best Vocalists
Barbe Black and Fred Hendrix

   Wow, fifty six years of dear friendship and a hell of lot of laughter, fun times, stories, and doing things must normal people would never do.

   Soon after we graduated Fred and I got our first apartment together on River Road in Sugar Creek, Mo, better known as Fred and Rog’s party house, and that it was.

Fred moved to New Orleans in 1964 to live with his brother John and attended the University of New Orleans. I hung around in Missouri and went off to school at Southeast Missouri State.

   Fred and I love to get together and tell stories, stories that some could not even believe. Even as he lay in his hospital bed during these last days he wanted to tell the nurses stores about us and entertain them. Fred always loved being on stage. Here’s his favorite story he shared with his doctor and some nurses, a short story about how we got back together. Fred was in New Orleans and I was in Independence. A Story of friendship that changed our path and lives forever.

   I went to visit Fred in New Orleans during the spring of 1965 and we headed to Bourbon Street to go to a new club that just opened up called Your Father’s Mustache. So much fun: sing along, banjo band playing, and lots of cold beer and peanuts. Out in front of the club one night was one of the banjo players who happened to be the owner, Joel Schiavone. Joel said, “Oh, our two favorite customers!” He wanted to know if we were looking for work. Well Fred took the job and I had to head back to Independence.

   After school let out that spring, Fred headed back to Independence on his way to work at Your Father's Mustache in Cape Cod. When Fred arrived he wanted me to go to the Cape Cod with him. He said, “I can get you a job.” I told Fred I didn’t have the money to go. The next day when Fred showed up at my house he was all upset. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “My car just broke down and won’t run.” So after thinking about what to do I told Fred, "I will sell you my '56 Chevy, and you’ll have a car to get to the Cape Cod and then I will have some money to go with you."

   This friendship decision changed our lives forever. The nurses loved the story.

  
We worked together at Your Father’s Mustache during the summer of 1965. At the end of the summer we headed back together to New Orleans to work at Your Father's Mustache on Bourbon Street. Fred and I managed Your Father’s Mustache together for several years.

   We continued to work together for about 20 years in the night club restaurant business in New Orleans always helping each other out.

 Vince Vance and the Valiants, a Rock and Roll group. He later opened his own business at 711 Bourbon Street called the Tricou House. During this time period Fred married Nancy Wilson, our classmate he met at a class reunion. I was living in Sarasota, Florida and in 1989 Fred, Nancy and their young son Dalton came to my wedding. Fred was my best man and Dalton was the ring bearer.
  Fred created and managed

   Although I ended up living in Seattle, Wa and Fred in New Orleans , we always kept in touch and visited.

   Fred worked for almost 40 years on Bourbon Street. He had the personality, the drive, the hard work ethics, very creative, and a great boss and friend to all. Fred hired and gave work to many musicians. He would always lend a helping hand to those in need. Fred wanted work to be fun. Fred would always say, "Let' work hard, have fun and make money."

   In August 0f 2005 Katrina hit New Orleans. This destroyed and changed the path for many, including Fred. The Tricou House had to shut down.

   Fred found work in restaurants in Mississippi. But he was always thinking about new ways to make money. One time he wanted to create lobster beds to raise lobster in the underground caves in Independence. We even created a novelty company in New Orleans called The Fun Times. Fred was always thinking about new ideas. He was a dreamer and he followed many of his dreams. Toward the end if his life he spent time living in Jamaica.

   Fred was living at his son’s house, Dalton Hendrix in Long Beach, Mississippi upon his death. Fred was very proud of his son and would share many great stories of when Dalton was growing up.

   Fred is now free of cancer and free of pain.

   It isn't possible to put into words the importance of our friendship and how much our relationship meant to us. He positively influenced my life in so many ways and I will miss him with all of my heart and soul. Rest In Peace my Dear Life Long Friend.

Your friend always,
Roger Kinneman

Growing Up in Fairmount by W. Fred Hendrix

(Originally Published in the July, 2014 Edition)

   I consider myself lucky to have grown up in Fairmount during the 1950's. It was a great time and a great place to be a kid. We use to take long hikes in the woods and along the Mo. River. The hills over looking the river had such things as "Look Out Point," "Dead Mans Trail," and the "Jessie James Cave"

   One of the great joys was the Byam Theater in Fairmount and the Saturday afternoon shows. The Shows were all black and white then and were for the most part old 30’s and 40’s reruns but we had never seen them before. Tarzan movies, and Westerns along with Flash Gordon and the Three Stooges.  There would also be a serial where each week a chapter would be shown, leaving the hero or his girl in the face of death to be continued the next week.

   Admission was 10 cents. My mom would give me 35 cents, so that left 25 cents to spend. With popcorn at 5 cents as well as pop and candy for 25 cents it was enough to treat myself and also buy for my "girl friend.” It was great for the parents since they had a place to drop off the kids on a Saturday to keep them busy and out of the way and it was great for the kids to see the movies and to spend time with their friends outside of school.

   Once a month or so the Byam would have a talent contest on Saturday afternoon. The girls would have little dance skits, boys would play drums or do a reading or comedy skit. The prizes were a box of popcorn or a Coke and first prize was a free ticket to next week's show. I entered and got second place with a much practiced and moving rendition of "Home on the Range."

   The Byam closed in the mid 50's but by that time we were going to the Maywood and then later the Englewood, and going out at night.

   It was a great time, little crime, no drugs, and cheap oil. I remember the gas wars when a gallon of gas was 8 cents a gallon. What a great time.

  

FROM INTER-CITY NEWS TO "MISSOURI’S THIRD SENATOR" -- The Life and Career of Stanley R. Fike

Stan Fike, Senior Picture
East High School, Class of 1930
   In 1929 East High School had a newspaper called the "East High Echo" and its editor was a 16- year-old senior named Stanley R. Fike. The "Echo" was printed at the Inter-City Press, located in the basement of the Byam Building in Fairmount. Stanley was fascinated by the newspaper business and spent so many hours talking shop with Harry Falk, the co-owner of the company and editor of the newly renamed Inter-City News, that in January of 1930 Falk offered Stan Fike a job with the paper.


   While Stanley got to do a little writing and proofreading for the Inter-City News, his main job was as a "printer’s devil," which involved a lot of sweeping and cleaning the presses. For $4.50 a week Stanley worked every day after school and on Saturdays. He loved the newspaper world so much that he would have done the job for free. After graduating in 1930, working for "the paper" took up every minute he could spare. In 1931 he enrolled at the Kansas City Junior College but quickly dropped out. College was cutting into his time working at the newspaper. By that time Fike was doing much of the editorial writing for the paper. 

   The Inter-City Press went bankrupt in 1931 and was sold at auction. Stan Fike found himself unemployed for three weeks but was quickly re-hired by the new owners who were seasoned newspapermen that handled the editorials while Fike worked the local news beat.

   Future President Harry Truman was close friends with former owner and editor Harry Falk, and Truman’s friendship with the Inter-City News continued throughout his political career. During Truman’s successful Senate race in 1934 the Inter-City News wrote numerous editorials in support of Truman that were distributed all over the state, and the Inter-City Press did the bulk of the campaign printing for Harry Truman’s Senate race.

   By the mid-1930s Stanley Fike was the editor of the Inter-City News, and his reputation across the state of Missouri quickly spread. By 1943 he was the president of the Northwest Missouri Press Association, and in 1949 he became president of the Missouri Press Association, the youngest person ever to hold that office. The next few years would be his last as the editor of the Inter-City News.

   In later years it was said that not every Missourian knew who Stanley R. Fike was, but every Missouri newspaperman and every Missouri politician did.

Stanley R. Fike
Administrative Assistant and Right
Hand Man to Senator Stuart
Symington
   In 1952 Stanley Fike was hired as the Publicity Director for the U.S. Senatorial campaign of Stuart Symington. Symington had been named the first Secretary of the Air Force by President Truman in 1947. As Air Force Secretary Symington laid the foundation for the United States Air Force Academy and he played a large role in implementing Truman’s Executive Order 9981, which ended racial segregation in the Armed Forces. With Fike’s help Stuart Symington won the Senate race in 1952 and the new Senator took Stanley Fike with him to Washington, making Fike his administrative assistant.

   For the next 24 years that Stuart Symington served as Senator he considered Stanley Fike to be his right-hand man. Fike’s extensive state-wide press and political connections gave his boss a huge advantage in the ability to get things done for Missouri in Washington, and Symington often fondly referred to Stanley Fike "Missouri’s Third Senator."

   Stuart Symington resigned from the Senate in December of 1976, a week before the end of his term as a favor to his Republican successor, Jack Danforth, allowing Danforth to have a seniority advantage in the Senate that Danforth would not have had as a regular Senate freshman. Stanley Fike retired at the same time.

   Following his retirement Stanley Fike only returned to the Inter-City area to visit. After all those years living in the D.C. area he and his wife Mildred made the state of Maryland their home. Stanley spent his retirement years helping out charitable organizations, and when he passed away on September 29, 1989, he donated his body to the University of Maryland Medical School. He and Mildred, who passed away in 1995, are buried in Jefferson County, Kansas.

The Very First Inter-City News

  
On January 4, 1929, the paper once known as the Mt. Washington News changed its name to the Inter-City News. With the new name came a new mission and wish list of accomplishments, as you’ll see below:
WHAT WE HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH
 (Inter-City News, January 4, 1929)
 With this issue of the paper the name is changed to the INTER-CITY NEWS. The reasons for this is that the communities of Mt. Washington, Fairmount, Fairland Heights, Fairmount Highlands, Maywood, Englewood, South Englewood and Athol and Sugar Creek are fast becoming one community, that of the East Suburbs of Kansas City. 
First Edition of the Inter-City News
   For some time the NEWS has supplied these various communities with a newspaper, but a great many people have looked upon it as the paper of only one of these communities, while in reality we have tried to make the paper represent the East Suburbs.  
   With the change in name, the size and style of the NEWS, and with an enlarged personnel, we hope to give our readers a real NEWSpaper, giving the news without bias, and without considering race, creed or politics. We intend to pursue a vigorous editorial policy as to what we believe to be the needs of the community and to lend our best effort toward seeing that the East Suburbs receive the best from its neighbors and the best from its own citizens. 

   -----------------------------------------------------------------

The newspaper was founded in May of 1911 a group of boys from the Mt. Washington Methodist Church Sunday School ranging in age from 13 to 16 years old who called themselves "The Hustlers." They began publishing the Mt. Washington News, a small publication of 3 columns on 4 pages. They were assisted by two girls who wrote "society items."

   Some early items from the first edition of this newspaper included stories such as, “Charles Huckett and Herman Voght went fishing. They did not even catch a cold,” and "D. M. Bone keeps a supply of candy at the bank for children depositors," and " 'Red-headed’ people are known for good citizenship and their kindly deeds.'"

By July the news items became more substantial. The history and cost of the Mt. Washington School were discussed. Bringing water to Mt. Washington from the Independence Water Works and the chemistry of water treatment were among the topics being printed. The parents of "The Hustlers" began to see the potential for a newspaper and its advertising possibilities and they took interest.

The next year the paper was taken over by Walter Harriman, father of Hustler Whitney Harriman, who went into partnership with a print shop owner in Mt. Washington. The paper was renamed the Mt. Washington Reporter.

By the 50th anniversary of the publication in 1961 the newspaper would change hands eight times and change names five times, finally settling on "The Inter-City News" so as to include as much of the growing "East Suburbs of Kansas City" as possible. The area served by the Inter-City News was unincorporated in Jackson County and most of the area would not be annexed by Independence until 1961.

According to the Library of Congress the Inter-City News officially ceased publication in 1976.

BENNY SCOTT AND THE 1949 RUN OF THE YEAR

   If you Google the phrase, "Benny Scott Run of the Year" you will find a video showing one of the most incredible punt returns in College Bowl game and even football history. The year was 1949 and the game was the “Pasadena Bowl,” also known as the "Junior Rose Bowl." The Little Rock Trojans' undefeated season led them to the California bowl game, and thanks to Benny's amazing run a crowd of almost 34,000 watched the Little Rock Junior College Trojans beat the Santa Ana Dons by a score of 29- 19.

   Benny Scott, who now lives in Independence, hails from a town called Smackover, Arkansas, growing up in a large family of athletes. By the time Benny made the famous touchdown his older brother Clyde had already won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics for the 110-meter hurdles, played track and football for the University of Arkansas and the U.S. Naval Academy, and was playing halfback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

But on December 10, 1949, it was Benny Scott who was the family and the nation’s football hero. As told the next day by the San Bernardino County Sun newspaper:

"The big thrill of the day was a punt return by Benny (Little Smackover) Scott, Little Rock's 127-lb safety man and brother of pro football's Clyde (Big Smackover) Scott. Benny fielded a punt on his own 25 and scampered back to his 15, reversed himself three times as the Santa Ana Dons began to decorate the turf, and finally cut loose with an 85 yard run and a touchdown that sent his mates into the fore, 19-12. "



   During their trip to California the Benny and the Trojans were given VIP treatment on the Hollywood Scene by leading celebrities like John Wayne and a bevy of pretty girls.

   But Benny wasn’t just some talented college athlete. In 1943 Benny Scott went to war. Two Navy ships set sail from San Diego, California, one for the Navy and one for the Army. The Army ship sunk but Benny was in the Navy and his ship made it to his duty station in the Aleutian Islands. For a whole week they headed due north to an ice box called Amaknak Island where "you will never get a hot beer." The Army had just run the Japanese off which ended for them in a suicide charge. They would never be back and for over two years Benny and his fellow American service men would subsist on a diet of lamb.

   Benny’s job was as a crew member in a U.S. Navy PBY, an amphibious aircraft (flying boat) designed in the 1930s, also known as a Catalina. The PBY was a two engine patrol boat used to spot enemy submarines and sink them, both in the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters of operation, with a crew of five led by a lieutenant who was the pilot. There was also the co-pilot and three 50 caliber machine guns; every ten rounds was a tracer. One gun was on either side with one in the tail. Benny was the gunner on the port side (left).

   The job of hunting Japanese submarines was a flight of several hours at 130 mph. If a sub was spotted bombs would dispatch them. One problem was that the alcohol needed to precipitate an explosion had sometimes been consumed by the ground crew, making the bombs inert; a dud.

   Luckily the Japanese didn’t want the Aleutians and so there wasn’t much war going on there. These men needed some form of recreation. Gambling took that role. The Army had a casino but the Navy wasn’t allowed so the Navy set up their own and almost every night enjoyed games of chance. The black market supplied the booze smuggled from Alaska. $5 worth bought there could sell for $50 if you didn’t get caught. There was a 3 beer a day limit with no exceptions unless you were an officer.

   After almost three years of freezing in the Aleutians, Benny returned to San Diego to become a civilian again. As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” After five years of war 14 million men and women could get back to the things that were more important -- like the Baby Boom.

    Once again a citizen Benny's first job was with the Standard Oil Co. in El Dorado, Arkansas. In 1948 Benny enrolled at the Little Rock Junior College, excelling in track and field, winning many honors including the heart of his wife of over 60 years, Helen Cecile.

   Soon the responsibilities of raising a family caused him to leave college and move back to El Dorado, Arkansas where he returned to work for Standard Oil. When that refinery shut down in 1970 Benny was transferred to the Amoco Refinery in Sugar Creek and retired as a supervisor ten years later.

It’s been 35 years since Benny Scott retired, and at the age of 92 he is still an athlete, playing golf every Wednesday, followed by beer at Dr. Pikls.

Help for Kids Who Need Clothing

In a huge room at the Fairmount Community Center is Tabitha's Closet, a non-profit organization that provides clothing for school children all over the Independence area. Last year Tabitha's Closet served over 2,500 students in the Independence area providing shoes, coats, and clothing of all kinds for kids of all ages, from newborn through high school. One in eight kids in the Independence and Fort Osage school districts asked for and received help from Tabitha’s Closet last year, and the need seems to be holding steady as the new school year begins.
In a huge room at the

   Families who need help with clothing can receive it by contacting their school’s liaison who will make an appointment for the family to come and receive clothes. "Each child gets a new pair of shoes, new socks, new underwear, and gently used clothes -- six shirts, 3 pants, a jacket, and a winter coat," according to Betsy Waldeman, Executive Director of the NorthWest Communities Development Center, the organization that runs the Fairmount Community Center and houses Tabitha’s Closet.

Independence Meals on Wheels

The Fairmount Community Center is proud to partner with the Trinity Episcopal Church by doing the cooking for the Independence Meals on Wheels program. Monday through Friday nourishing food is delivered to people who are housebound, convalescent, handicapped, and the elderly. Call them at 816-254-9566 for more information, to get signed up, or for volunteer opportunities.

July 25, 2017

Help and Hope for Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Inter-City

You don’t have to hit rock-bottom. There is help for you now.
(816) 361-5900 FirstCall KC 24 Hour Confidential Crisis Hotline


If you or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol, write down or preferably memorize this phone number: (816) 361-5900. This is the number for First Call, a CONFIDENTIAL 24-hour crisis hotline that is answered by trained professionals who know the exact resources in our area that are ready to help anyone struggling with substance abuse issues.

People who have pulled themselves out of a drug or alcohol addiction will often tell you that they wish they’d done it sooner and that even while they were addicted they often had a strong desire to quit. “I hated myself. I could see the damage I was doing to my life and my family, but there didn’t seem to be any way out. “

The motivation to break an addiction has got to be strong -- it often takes a life-changing event to make a substance abuser turn their life around. “When they’ve OD’d or nearly OD’d or a friend has, or they’ve had a bad experience, right then they’re motivated. After they feel better they might not be, so it’s really important to have people think about that right then when they need help,” said Stacy Daniels Young, a clinical psychologist who serves as the director of COMBAT. COMBAT provides funding for dozens of agencies in Jackson County that are devoted to helping people break free from addiction.

HELP IN THE INTER-CITY AREA

People with private health insurance have many more options for getting treatment than people without it. Lack of insurance need not be a barrier for getting help and treatment, though. In the Inter-City area there are several agencies ready to help people who may think they have no options.

Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS) is at the forefront of providing not only addiction treatment but basic services to help people struggling with addiction and other mental health issues get on their feet. Helping people get on Medicaid is an important service they provide. According to Julie Pratt, Vice President of Operations at CMHS, “A lot of our consumers don’t have Medicaid. That’s one of the things that we try to help them with when they come in the door are some of those basic needs, like
making sure they have a Social Security card, a drivers license, if they qualify for Medicaid we help them go and apply for that.”

Jenny Duncan, the CMHS Director of Addiction Services added, “You can’t address whatever substance abuse or whatever problems you’re dealing with if you’re worrying about ‘Where am I going to get food?’ and ‘I don’t have anywhere to live,’ so you have to start with the basics. So we’re doing more than just addressing a substance use issue. You can’t focus on those kinds of things when you have so many other things going on.”

CMHS takes pride in their many success stories. Indeed many of their volunteers and employees were once clients. “We have some that actually start the program,
Gateway. They’ll graduate successfully and then we want them to have a year clean, and then they’ll come back and work for us. They’re employees. They’re mental health techs in our Gateway program. They’re giving what they’ve lived to the current clients that are in the house right now -- ‘I've been there. It can happen. You can do this and you can get through this,’ so we do, we employ people,” said Duncan, and Pratt added, “And they’re the best employees. We’ve had some wonderful success stories.”

It’s because of this success that as of July 1, CMHS began offering the services of a federal program designed to medically assist people who are addicted to heroin and other opioids by distributing the drug Buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone), an alternative to the traditional treatment of Methadone. “They’ll
come in and get a quick screening done and immediately see the doctor.” Missouri is one of only eight states participating in this program, and Comprehensive
Mental Health was chosen because of its proven record of providing successful treatment to people struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

Although the opioid crisis is raging around the country, we were told by representatives from Comprehensive and several other agencies that methamphetamine
continues to be the most widely abused drug that people are seeking treatment for.

HOPE FOR WOMEN IN ADDICTIVE RELATIONSHIPS

For women in relationships where addiction is an issue, whether they are users or their partners are or both, Hope House can help to break the cycle of abuse
that often comes from being in dangerous relationships. Hope House has a 24-hour hotline at (816) 461- HOPE (461-4673). Janet Howard of Hope House tells us,
“Hope House is an Emergency Shelter for victims of domestic violence, this includes physical abuse but also encompasses emotional, sexual, financial and
psychological abuse,” many of which are typical in relationships where substance abuse is an issue.

“Each victim who comes to Hope House is screened by phone to see if they meet our criteria. If the victim meets the criteria then they are given further instructions, if they do not meet our criteria then further resources are provided.” A woman can’t come into Hope House if she is under the influence
at the time of admission. “If they are under the influence then sobriety would be the first need before entering our services.”

Once entering Hope House there are a great many services provided to women and children to help them start a new life free from abuse and addiction. “We are State Certified Substance Abuse Program Level 3. We provide groups and individual therapy for the victims through our shelter services.

Typically victims come into shelter for safety concerns, (fear of abuser, abusers family, or homeless due to domestic violence). Upon completion of the shelter program victims are then placed in our Outreach Program for further therapy, support, or services.”

FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP IN INTER-CITY

Several of the agencies we spoke with in researching this article were singing the praises of a resource in our area that has been invaluable in helping people who were once prisoners of addiction to break free and stay clean: Maywood Baptist Church, located at 10505 E Winner Rd. in Englewood. A spokesman tells us, “Maywood Baptist has Wednesday night groups which are very good and generally speaking most of the people in those classes are in recovery. They also have a
Narcotic Anonymous program at Maywood Baptist which meets several times a week. The best thing I can say about Maywood is that there are so many people
in recovery there and so many success stories so if you are looking to get sober it’s a great place to start and stay as well.

So many stories of Victory there. If you’re looking for recovery stick around Maywood Baptist Church.”

Google Street View Takes You Back in Time


It’s been ten years since Sugar Creek used the threat of Eminent Domain to seize the homes of residents who lived near the intersection of 24 Highway and Sterling in order to build what they called the “Sugarland Center,” a 225,000 square-foot retail center that they promised would include a winery, multiple restaurants, a 45,000 square-foot supermarket along with other popular retail stores.

Some residents happily took the generous payouts offered for their property by the City of Sugar Creek, while other homeowners went down fighting. Some were unwilling to see homes that had been in their families for generations be demolished in the name of commercial progress. In the end, after spending millions of dollars, the City of Sugar Creek won the battle for the right to demolish 33 properties.

But like so many ideas that sounded good to developers in 2007, the economic collapse put an end to Sugar Creek’ lofty shopping center plan and ten years later what was once a sweet, quiet neighborhood now stands truly desolate and blighted.

Thanks to Google’s Street View, though, anyone with a computer can go “back in time” and look at the homes and streets that Sugar Creek claimed were “blighted.” Just go to http://maps.google.com and type in “24 Highway and Smart Ave” and click on the Street View image. Use your cursor to navigate to the “NOW” image above, click the forward arrow that will appear and Voila! You’ll be
transported back to 2007 where you can make the loop around Smart Avenue and see a few of the nice little houses where families once lived (and paid property taxes -- which the city no
longer receives -- adding to the multi-million dollar losses). If your web browser allows it, you'll see the image below. Just click on the road and go back in time.



Ten years later hundreds of acres of wasteland are all that remain at a busy intersection on 24 Highway. Click here to see some ideas for bringing this corner back to life!

Kansas City Bermudas Baseball Team

Back: Gene George, Larry "Dino" Maddox, Don Heriford, (future Judge) Jack Gant,
Paul Bandy, Bill George.
Front: Bob Cupito, Al Gauert, Algon George, Howard George, Joe "Jo Jo" Farris
In the early 1950s a group of guys calling themselves the "Kansas City Bermudas," wearing pink Bermuda shorts and sporting a variety of unusual headgear, would drive out to small towns in outlying areas looking for teams to play baseball with. They figured that the "hay haulers" in these country towns would see the pink shorts and consider them to be "sissies" from the city and easy prey on the ball field. The country teams would soon learn this would never be the case.

The undefeated “Barnstorming Bermudas” were made up of seasoned athletes. Paul Bandy was a star basketball player at East High School, and Don Heriford at Northeast.

After being awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Korea, Bill George was captain of the football team at Central Missouri State University. He spent six years playing baseball in the Minor Leagues, and would later be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame for the decades he spent officiating collegiate sporting events.

Gene George would go on to play semi-pro football for the Kansas City Jiggers, winning a national championship against the Portland, Maine Seahawks, and would spend 20 years as a coach at Northeast Junior High School.

After serving in the Marine Corps in Guam guarding Japanese prisoners accused of war crimes, Jack Gant played shortstop for the UMKC Kangaroos while studying law. Always interested in politics, he served as Assistant Prosecutor and State Senator before being appointed Judge in the 16th Circuit. Sports continued to play a big role in his life all the while, coaching and pioneering youth sports programs in our area. The Jack Gant Award is presented every year to the best overall student-athlete at UMKC.

For the Kansas City Bermudas, it was all about fun, games, and a lot of laughs. For Al George, who served as the team's bat boy, it meant a lot more than that. "It was one of the greatest honors of my childhood. Those guys were my heroes and my idols."

USS SPROSTON DISPLAY FINDS A HOME ON THE SQUARE

There's a new feature at the Veterans Hall in the Truman Memorial Building on the Independence Square. It's an impressive display featuring a scale model of the USS Sproston (DD-577), a Fletcher- Class Naval Destroyer, along with other mementos collected by the USS Sproston Reunion Group. This great Navy destroyer lovingly called a “Tincan” like all destroyers are called by the sailors who served on them, was first commissioned in 1943 and served honorably during World War II, Korea, the Cold War, and Vietnam before finally being decommissioned in 1968.

Orville Amos, president of the USS Sproston Reunion Group says, “I personally had the greatest honor of my life to have served aboard her from early 1962 to late 1964. During this period she made two deployments to the Western Pacific (which the Navy calls WESTPAC) from our home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. These deployments were designed to show the flag and maintain a presence in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea.”

The USS Sproston was one of 175 ships of this class commissioned during World War II. She was named in honor U.S. Navy Lieutenant John G. Sproston who was killed in action while leading an attack on a Confederate ironclad during the Civil War. This destroyer model was built by James McLaughlin, a WW II veteran, and was donated to the USS Sproston Reunion Group upon his death. Orville says, “The ship model came to us with a significant amount of damage so we decided to have it refurbished by a professional model builder; hence the pristine ship model just as she was commissioned in 1943. Special thanks go to Dick Clark, a WW II veteran who sent us the commissioning pennant which is also on display, and also to Vice Admiral James A Sagerholm who provided the clear plastic dome that protects the model.”

Finding someplace to display the model proved to be a challenge. The Truman Library considered housing the display but declined due to the fact that there wasn't a direct connection between President Truman and the USS Sproston. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans also turned down the model because they already have so many Tincans on display. Then Orville approached the Truman Memorial Building about adding it to the Veterans Hall and the USS Sproston DD-577 Model finally found a home.

“The story here is not about a single person but the comradery of a tincan crew,” says Orville. “I always found it amazing that a crew that consists of young men, most between the ages of 17 to 21, could go to sea and make a U S Navy warship function like a well oiled machine. I can't find the words to describe the bond that connects destroyer men, and now women. But I guarantee you that any tincan sailor who reads this will know instantly what I'm talking about. Finally in my 21 year membership in the USS Sproston reunion group I've been privileged to meet some of the most admirable veterans I've ever known. Especially the WW II veterans who served in the last war where ships actually lined up and shot at each other. For any sailor who reads this story I wish them fair winds and following seas.”

You can see the USS Sproston model along with many other displays of military memorabilia, interactive kiosks with video recordings of local Veterans, and the Veterans Courtyard and Memorial Foyer at the Truman Memorial Building located at 416 Maple on the Independence Square, any Monday through Saturday.

If you'd like more information about the USS Sproston you can visit the website www.sproston.com
or contact Orville Amos at oamos541@aol.com.

LIFE AFTER PRESIDENCY: THE TRUMANS COME HOME

The election for President of the United States of America in 1952 was a blow out for Dwight David Eisenhower. Adlai Stevenson, the Democrat, lost the Electoral College -- 442 to 89. The Democrats won  the south. President Truman would not have done much better. He decided in 1950 that the job sucked. The USA didn’t have a presidentfrom noon until half past on January 20, 1953, when Eisenhower was inaugurated.

After power nap at the residence of Dean Acheson the Trumans left Washington D.C. that evening at 6:30. Approximately 1000 people were at the D.C.’s Union Station to see the ex-president off. His parting words to the masses were, “In all my career, and it has been a long one, I’ve never had an experience like this. This is the first time I’ve had the experience of being sent home in a blaze of glory. I’ll never forget this if I live to be 100 and that’s what I expect to do.” He made it to 88.

Silver Springs, Maryland, was his first stop and several hundred people showed up to see him. Next stop was Martinsburg, West Virginia. In Cincinnati, Ohio the train stopped for 15 minutes, just enough time to buy a newspaper. A reporter shouted, “Ask the president to look this way!” Harry replied, “I’m just Harry Truman. I’m not the president anymore!”

The next morning at a stop in Seymour, Indiana, Mrs. Truman could be seen through the windows eating breakfast while Harry greeted the crowd that had gathered. As the train started to pull away Mrs. Francis L. Jordan of Seymour handed Harry a package of home country smoked sausage from her freezer for his first breakfast at home. Harry smiled and said, “Well thank you. Bless your heart.”

There was a short stop in St. Louis to change trains, something which would never have happened to a sitting president. At the train station in Independence 10,000 people, one fourth of the population, waited in 40 degree temperatures for the 6:30 train that would be 20 minutes late. Also waiting for the couple was the American Legion Band and Mayor Weatherford. As Harry and Bess stepped from the train bright lights for the TV cameras and the sound of the Missouri Waltz filled the air. The mayor’s speech was quick: “Welcome home neighbors, and you’ll always be Mr. President to us!”

The former First Lady stepped forward to say a few words. “Thank you all very much. We are delighted to be here. It is a wonderful welcome.” She tried to continue but her eyes teared up and she stepped back from the microphone. The Trumans then entered the mayor’s auto and drove north with a police escort. People lined the streets and cheered as the former First Couple drove home.

On the front porch of the Truman home Harry was reacquainted with Sgt. Arthur Bell, a current member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and former member of Battery D 129 Field Artillery, WWI, who was to be his security detail. After a few more photos on the front porch the Trumans retired after a very long day.

The town pretty much left the couple to themselves until the official reception to be held on February 5th. From getting off the train until the gala Harry was busy. First there was his visit to the Grandview property he was considering to be the site of the Truman Library which was expected to cost $1.5 million. $100,000 was already in the bank. Next he got an office in Kansas City. He did a lot of walking with the press who were trying very hard to get him make a statement about Eisenhower’s negative comments but he didn’t take the bait. Many of his walks were 14 blocks leaving some of the younger pursuers out of breath. He loved it.

On Thursday, February 5, 1953, at the RLDS Auditorium 650 people broke bread with one of the best presidents in the country’s history. Bess wore white pearls and Harry wore a blue suit with a white carnation. Turkey dinner was on the menu. Tickets were $3.50. The orchestra struck up the Missouri Waltz, after which Mr. Truman gave a ten minute speech. Mrs. Truman thanked everyone and everyone went home happy.

Among the notables in attendance were the mayors of the local cities, among them Rudy Roper of Sugar Creek.

The event was broadcast nationally on television, radio, and newsreels that were shown before the feature presentations at movie theaters. The media covering the gala included Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, MovieStone, Pathe, Metro, United Press TV, local television news, and more.

These were the days before former presidents received a pension. Harry’s take home pay was now $112 dollars a month for being a Major in the Army.

Who Owns This Dump???

When visitors from around the world exit I-435 to visit the Truman Library, this is one of many abandoned and blighted sights they are treated to.8623-8625 Winner Rd. (24 Highway) in KC is registered to a defunct corporation whose agent passed away several years ago. The owners (whom we won’t name yet) have not paid property taxes for two years but the site won’t be up for tax auction until August, 2018. We hope that Kansas City will take action quickly to remove this eyesore and help us begin the revitalization of “The Road to Harry’s Library.” In Kansas City you can report dangerous buildings simply by dialing 311.