June 23, 2018

ACTION NEEDED - CALL CITY HALL - ATTEND MEETING MONDAY

Call Mayor Weir at  (816) 325-7027
City Council (816) 325-7022
City Council Meeting 6:00 P.M. Monday, June 25

From Former Independence City Councilwoman Lucy Young:

On June 18, 2018 The Independence City Council voted to approve the budget with a Million Dollar reduction in the IPL (Indep. Power and Light) budget.  Now Karen DeLuccie has called a Special Council Meeting June 25, 2018 at 6PM to overturn this vote.   The citizens of Independence, MO pay higher electric rates than KCPL, even though ours is a city owned Power Company.  This reduction of 1M$ cuts some high salaried jobs that are not needed as we contract out studies and only produce 2% of our power, buying majority from a Nebraska company.   I would appreciate your news team alerting the citizens of Independence of this pending reversal of action.  These same people had no qualms in cutting jobs in favor of installation of Smart Meters but refuse to cut the high salaries and benefits paid jobs that drive our rates higher.   One Million Dollars cut from any budget should be welcomed by the citizens with open arms if they knew about it. (Video below of 6/18 City Council Meeting - Skip to 33:30 if the video doesn't start there automatically)

EDITOR'S NOTE: The City of Independence is now charging citizens an extra $4.95 if they pay their utility bills online or over the phone. More information about this change coming soon.



March 28, 2018

Sugar Creek Election Editorial

 Submitted by Sugar Creek Resident Bill Haman

Change or the Same

   Sugar Creek voters have a decision to make next week about the future  of  our city.  This is the second municipal election in two years.  There will not be another election for three more years.  Two new candidates were elected last year.  The results of this election will determine the road that Sugar Creek travels for at least 3 more years.  

    Do we want to elect the incumbents that want to take us down the dead-end road we have been on for years?  One of those candidates voted to continue funding “Wayne City Landing Days”  that cost Sugar Creek about $60,000 when it was clear that the event was going to fail.  The two incumbents favor spending as much as $1,500,000 to remodel the existing gym.  Would it not be logical to complete a more modest remodel and use the balance of available funds for infrastructure improvements?  

  Several area gyms have closed in the last few years because not enough memberships could be sold in our locality.  I believe the proposed management plan will fail and drain resources away from vital city services.  Several years ago the voters of Sugar Creek voted against spending a similar amount of money to remodel the old post office.  It seems clear to me that voters do not want to fund this type of
facility.  The gym needs some TLC that can be completed for far less treasure than the present plan.  

   I believe that Sugar Creek’s governing body has been inside the box for too long.  It is time for a change to younger members with new ideas and progressive goals.  The city needs to move forward with new leadership on the board and a plan for the future.  I believe that Chris Steffen in Ward 1 and Michael Schneller in Ward 2 are the ones to bring about this change and are committed to moving Sugar Creek in a new and better direction.  

   I urge you to get out and vote on APRIL 3rd.

March 26, 2018

Independence "Use Tax" Editorial

Submitted by Retired Independence Fire Captain Henry Carner

Confusing, Deceptive and Unnecessary New Tax 

Independence Tax Question 1 on the April 3rd ballot asks us to impose a New “Local Use Tax”. The City is not up-front on the fact that If Question 1 passes, only Independence residents will pay more for all Online purchases. We have not been told nor does the ballot state what exactly will be taxed.   What does “Local Use Tax” mean? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_tax

The ballot language is Confusing and Deceptive.  The City has not defined the exact need for this New Tax.  Further, there is No explanation on the ballot of how this tax will be collected or enforced.  The ballot does not state exactly where the money will go.  If passed, this “Use Tax” can be raised without your vote.  It will never end (no renewal date).

This is an Unnecessary New Tax.  There is no logical explanation for more taxes!  The City has a 291 million dollar budget, 6 special sales taxes (Fire, Police, Streets, Parks, Tourism and Storm Water taxes), a long list of fees for City services, 4 million a year income from fines and court costs, ever increasing real estate and property taxes, added taxes on our utility bills and a sales tax rate as high as 8.85%.  Moreover, the City receives an undisclosed amount of grants from our Federal and State taxes.

We recently passed tax increases for Police and Fire. How can a “Local Use Tax “be needed for these departments now?  The City asks us for more taxes about every other year.  Isn’t it time to encourage the City to live within its budget like we have too?

Tell the City that you don’t want them to tax you in the privacy of your home while shopping online. Vote NO on NEW TAX Question 1.

Henry Carner
Retired Independence Fire Captain

March 20, 2018

City Council Candidates -- In Their Own Words

The Inter-City News reached out to the candidates running for two At-Large seats on the Independence City Council. We are publishing them here in the order in which they were received. 

From Brice Stewart:

I decided to run for city council because with my background in Law-Enforcement as well as working within a government agency for many years; I feel I can bring positive ideas to the city.

I believe I represent the everyday resident of the city. My father is a retired truck driver and my mother retired from the medical field. I grew up on a farm in a very rural area and learned the value of hard work at a very young age. I live in a $70,000 dollar house in the Susquehanna area. You do not get much more “blue collar” than me.

I do not feel the council is representing the needs of the residents. I believe that certain individuals are more concerned about other initiatives than the crime, drug and blight problem.

I would like to see the city more concerned about the previously listed items than rather or not an eighteen year old can purchase cigarettes. This is only one example of government over reach that has occurred in the city and there are others.

My priorities would be jobs, crime and economic development. If we can bring in more jobs through economic development it will help reduce certain crimes.

I have worked for Jackson County, MO since the year 2000 in the Information Technology Department in addition to that I served for many years in Law-Enforcement with three years of that as a Chief of Police.

Beyond that I care deeply for this community and want it to thrive, I feel that more than anything qualifies me to hold a City Council seat.

---------

From Karen Deluccie:

I want the city to take care of basic city services and not unduly interfere in our citizen's lives. For example, I am very focused on "livability" in our town. I want our town to look as good as it possibly can look and to be as safe as it can possibly be. Therefore, I worked with others in shortening the time the city takes in handling building code/trash complaints. I supported increased funding in the code compliance department to increase our ability to be responsive to the citizen's concerns. We moved lots of money into the building codes department both to add staff (which shortens the time the city takes in responding to complaints) and to tear down buildings that need to be torn down. I supported the concept of the city suing landowners who have the financial ability to fix their property or tear down their dangerous property but chose not to do so. (I am tired having a tax lien placed on the property and hoping we will get paid when the property sells at a tax sales.) I supported the use of council goal funds to install sidewalks where none were located and to repair sidewalks that had fallen in disrepair.

 I voted against the "rental ready" program for a few different reasons. I believe that the program treats renters differently than homeowners. Why is it not an unreasonable search of my home to make me allow an agent of the city to come in to inspect my home? If that inspection is not an unreasonable search in violation of the US Constitution, then is the next step a government agent coming into homes that are owned by citizens and not just rented by citizens? Second, I believe that the city should focus on policing of the outside of the rental properties and, once that is successfully accomplished, then we can look at asking for voluntary internal inspections of rental properties.

 I am focused on examining the city expenses and income. I want to be sure that we are making the most efficient use of every dollar that we spend. I read everything that is put in front of me and ask questions if I do not understand something. I will continue to do this focused examination.

---------

From Mike Huff:

I am a proud third generation resident of Independence, MO. I attended Independence's schools K-12, married and raised a family, and worked here most of my life.  After graduating from William Chrisman High School, I went to work at Armco Steel which was on the decline cutting production and I was fortunate to land a job as janitor at Independence Power and Light. I worked long and hard hours for a career with IPL first as janitor, progressing to Journeyman Lineman, then a Lineman Superintendent, and finally the Transmission and Distribution Manager. I retired after being blessed with 34 years of service to IPL and the Independence community we serve.

I am married with two children and one grandson.

I enjoyed serving the residents of my hometown while working with IPL.  I gained valuable experience and knowledge on how this city operates.  I dealt with budget issues, power generation, power distribution, and the billing process. I was the project manager on the new operations building and understand how team work is needed to solve problems to better service the Independence taxpayer ... our true boss.

It is imperative that we have safe schools, safe neighborhoods, and safe streets to have the kind of city that draws businesses to create jobs and families to make Independence home.  I will support our police and give them the tools they need to keep our community safe.

The Northwest part of Independence is always promised development and renewal while a large share of the budget goes to the expanding business districts in the Southeast.  We cannot ignore the need to provide a fair share of the budget to the Western part of town.  Blight is also a problem that should not have boundaries. We must do better at stopping blight and removing eyes sores that hurt our property values and looks bad to visitors.

Rental Ready is an issue I don’t support as it stands now.  I believe in inspection of rental units but not when people are living in a rental.  If the City can invade the privacy of a renter, is a homeowner next? I do believe inspection is appropriate when the rental unit is empty before a new tenant moves in.  I would like to amend the program to protect renter’s right of privacy.

I am concerned that Independence Power and Light is dependent on outside electrical power generation.  We need our plant to be configured to produce our own power at peak demand.  Depending on outside supply makes us vulnerable to any weather related crisis that could cut power off for days.  I want Independence to be prepared for a loss of power from any outside provider.

I am not supporting the Local Use Tax.  I believe we must do better at getting the most for our tax dollars now and not over-burden citizens with more taxes. We must do better brainstorming at creating a unique cottage industry and attracting larger corporations to our area.

Independence is a great place to live, raise a family and have a job.  I have a wealth of hands-on experience and knowledge of our city government.  I have the time and heartfelt desire to give back to my city and look forward to the opportunity to serve for a better future and prosperity for all.
------

We received no reply from the write-in candidate Matt Medley.

The Inter-City News would like to thank these candidates for reaching out to our readers.

March 18, 2018

Salaries of Mayor, Council Nearly Double in April

   Voting in April of 2016, the Mayor and City Council raised their salaries to nearly double effective April, 2018. Because a sitting City Council can't raise their own pay, the salary increases will take effect this year, just a few weeks after the city will ask voters to approve a new "use tax" for most purchases made online. 

   Election Day for the tax vote is Tuesday, April 3.

   This April, Mayor Weir will begin receiving $40,000 a year and City Councilpersons will get $20,000 each per year. All will be given a $500 per month car allowance. As is the current policy, those salaries will increase by $500 automatically every 4 years. During her first term in office, Mayor Weir earned $29,999 and members of the Council received, on average, $11,500.


   The 2016 vote to raise salaries was close. Incumbent candidate for an At-Large seat in the April election, Karen DeLuccie, voted against the pay raise citing raised service fees, unfunded positions and other city employees she believed deserved raises.  The 2016 City Council passed the pay raise by a vote of 4-3, with Mayor Weir voting in favor. It was made clear at the time that the pay raises could be rescinded in the event that the economic situation in 2018 was not as optimistic as they were expecting it to be.

   At the City Council meeting on March 5 of this year Lucy Young, a former At-Large Councilperson  elected three times between 1998 and 2010, addressed the City Council and spoke at length about the financial problems facing the city, citing the Bass Pro Shop TIFF and questioning the logic and cost of building the new Farmer's Market at its chosen location. She said that pay for elected city representatives was kept where it was to prevent councilpersons from becoming "career politicians" and asked that a motion be made to rescind the upcoming pay raises.

   After Young spoke, Mayor Weir thanked her and asked the members of the Council for comments. The subject was quickly changed and Ms. Young's comments were not addressed in any way No motion was made to rescind the upcoming pay raise.


City to Pay Tennessee Company $50,000 for Logo Design, Branding

Does the Hometown of Harry Truman and Queen City of the Three Trails have a problem with branding and recognition?  Independence Mayor Weir and the City Council think so and have hired the marketing firm ChandlerThinks of Franklin, Tennessee to develop a "streamlined branding strategy and identity" for Independence with a price tag of $50,000. 

Independence will now join the ranks of Danville, Kentucky and Perry, Georgia as cities that use ChandlerThinks to "create a sense of place and assists brands in developing their strongest voice."

It's not just a new logo that ChandlerThinks will be developing. On her Facebook page, Mayor Weir responded to commenters that, "There is much more to it than designing a logo. It is promote our great city and attract people here to visit, work and live," and that improving our branding and image will entice people to come here because, "city visitors and newcomers contribute to our economy to let us do more basic services."

In hiring a marketing firm to develop a new streamlined logo and image, the city stated that there are more than 40 separate logos used by various departments in their marketing efforts. One city department that won't need the help of ChandlerThinks is the Health Department, which will be completely disbanded by July in order to save the city $375,000 a year.  Thirteen employees were terminated early in March, with ten other positions getting the axe in coming weeks. Jackson County and other city departments will take over the vital functions formerly handled by the Health Department.

The Inter-City News invites readers to assist the city and ChandlerThinks by submitting ideas for logo designs and slogans that will be printed in a future issue. A $25 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to the most amusing submission, with two $10 Amazon Gift Cards to be awarded to the runners up! Send your ideas to editor@inter-citynews.com .

Election Gambling

   Gambling on election results used to be legal in the state of Missouri and in the early 20th century elections were made even more interesting by the amounts of money being wagered in pool rooms, taverns, and anywhere a bookmaker could be found that would give odds on the candidates. Hotel clerks handled thousands of dollars bet by wealthy residents and travelers, especially during national elections, but municipal races never failed to bring out local gamblers with a "lot of heart."

   Even the candidates got in on the action with a peculiar tradition that played out over and over again each election cycle back in the day, as this 1908 article from the Kansas City Journal shows about the race for Independence City Marshal:

April 12, 1908 
WEARING HIS NEW STAR.
Independence Marshal Given Wheelbarrow Ride
by Defeated Candidate.

     J. J. Hammontree, a defeated candidate for city marshal of Independence, wheeled Robert Combs, the successful candidate, around the square yesterday morning. The new marshal had on his new uniform and a very large star of authority. After the trip around the square, which was enjoyed by a large crowd, the wheelbarrow was placed on auction and purchased by Colonel Moses Hanton for $4.50.

From Vintage Kansas City.com

February 26, 2018

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. 

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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.