January 22, 2022

Meet the Candidates: Brice Stewart

INDEPENDENCE MAYORAL RACE: 
BRICE STEWART

Personally, I am the father of two beautiful daughters Ollie & Emeline. Their mother Misty and I could not be prouder of them.

Professionally, I am currently on the City Council representing the 2nd District. I work fulltime for Jackson County in the Information Technology Department. I also work part-time as a Police Officer and have for many years. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and an Associates Degree in Network Administration.

When elected my first areas of focus will be:

#1. Reduce crime and disorder
#2. Lower Utility Bills
#3. Clean up blight
#4. Homelessness

To reduce crime, we must start with hiring more Police Officers. Currently, it is not an easy task to hire quality Police Officers due to many reasons. Independence is not the only agency struggling with Police Officer recruiting and retention. As Mayor I will ensure we offer the best salary and incentives to come and work for our department. Financial benefits are not the only thing that needs to be done, our city needs to ensure the Police Officers who work here have good morale and that starts with a leadership team that must have the right qualities to lead. Our current Police Officers are truly our best recruitment tool, if they are satisfied with their employment, they will be more likely to recommend our department.

Lowering of utility bills will require more commercial businesses to ease the financial impact on the residents. I will focus on bringing more commercial businesses to Independence without a negative impact on homeowners.

Cleaning up blight and the negative impacts of it will require more budgeted money. I will look for grants and any other funding mechanisms at my disposal if this cannot be paid for out of the General Fund.

Homelessness, we more need funding for services and programs. This will need to be a community response since this problem exists across all cities in the metro. I will work with my counterparts in other cities and solicit funding from the state or federal government to try to alleviate this issue.

PLEASE VOTE IN THE CITY ELECTION ON FEBRUARY 8!

January 5, 2022

DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR CITY ELECTION JANUARY 12

To vote in the Mayor and City Council races on February 8 you MUST BE REGISTERED BY JANUARY 12. It only takes a few minutes to register online. Please make sure you're registered, and spread the word! Use the online form at the link below:
Register to Vote for the Independence Mayor's Race

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

December 3, 2021

Still No Arrests in November Drive-By Shooting

So far there have been no arrests made nor suspects named in two separate drive-by shooting incidents on 24 Highway in Independence that happened in the early morning hours of November 20. 

The first shooting occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. at a house on a block sandwiched between the Army Reserve center to the west, and a CVS pharmacy to the east. Five shots were fired at that time.

Two and a half hours later the assailant or assailants returned with an AK-47 and fired at least 50 rounds of ammunition into the two houses less than 30 footsteps away from the Army Reserve center. The house on the left sustained the most damage, with more than 40 shots hitting the exterior and interior of the house. Bullet holes riddle the siding, windows, interior and exterior doors, walls, framed pictures, the garage, and the owner's automobile. Shots fired through the front door lodged bullets into the wall at the back of the house. The occupant of this house was in bed during the attack, and was not injured. Police recovered more than 30 shell casings when they arrived at the scene. 

The house to the right was hit with approximately 15 bullets, which also sailed through the windows and were lodged into walls. The family that owns the house had recently moved away. Had they still lived at that residence, their seven children who occupied the rooms that were fired upon could have been in grave danger.

Police who were called to the scene questioned the homeowner whose house sustained the most damage, a 76-year-old man who felt that the officers were skeptical when he insisted that he had no enemies or quarrels that would cause somebody to spray his house with bullets from an automatic weapon. He has contacted detectives several times since the incident but has been told that no further information is available regarding possible suspects.

The resident, along with many others, are having a difficult time understanding how an attack of this magnitude could occur on a city block with such extensive surveillance, yet no clues have been offered nor have the police asked for the public's help in identifying the attackers. 

If anyone does have any information regarding this incident, please contact the Independence Police Department Investigations Unit at (816) 325-7330.

October 21, 2021

The Loss of Paul Wrabec

'A good person, period': Paul Wrabec, chair of the Jackson County Democrats, has died

Paul J. Wrabec, chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party, died Wednesday. He was 64. Kansas City Democrats paid tribute to him on social media. "Paul loved his family. Paul loved Sugar Creek and Jackson County. And, even in lean times, Paul loved being a Democrat," Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote.

October 7, 2021

Atherton Quarry Cancelled -- For the Time Being...

Sugar Creek limestone quarry plan dropped - 'back to the drawing board,' says mayor

Central Plains Cement and its partner companies have pulled back their proposal for a limestone quarry in Sugar Creek, a project that drew much citizen backlash at crowded public hearings. Residents said they were worried about noise, dust and heavy truck traffic.

September 26, 2021

Upcoming Gas Tax Increase & Refund

State Representative Ingrid Burnett sent us a communication that she received from Missouri's Director of Revenue regarding the upcoming fuel tax increase, and how Missouri consumers can receive a refund for this. Start saving your gasoline receipts after October 1! Please read carefully, and many thanks to Representative Burnett for sharing this with our readers! (Emphases added)
Dear Members of the General Assembly,

On behalf of the Missouri Department of Revenue, I respectfully request your assistance in sharing the following information about the motor fuel tax increase with your constituents.

On Oct. 1, 2021, Missouri’s current motor fuel tax rate of 17 cents per gallon will increase to 19.5 cents per gallon. Under Senate Bill 262, your constituents may be eligible to receive a refund of the 2.5 cents tax increase they pay on Missouri motor fuel in vehicles weighing less than 26,000 pounds for highway use on or after Oct. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Refund claims for this period may be submitted on or after July 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022.

Although customers may not apply for a refund claim until July 1, 2022, they will need to begin saving records of each purchase occurring on or after Oct. 1, 2021, that they intend to include in their refund claim next year.

A refund claim form will be available on the Department of Revenue’s website prior to July 1, 2022. A claim must be filed by the customer who purchased the fuel, and records of each purchase must be maintained by the customer and available for inspection by the Department for three years.

The following information will be required when submitting a refund claim:

1.       Vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle into which the motor fuel was delivered;

2.       Date of sale;

3.       Name and address of purchaser;

4.       Name and address of seller;

5.       Number of gallons purchased; and

6.       Number of gallons purchased and charged Missouri fuel tax, as a separate item.

The Department will be developing an online system so that customers can electronically file a claim and receive an approved refund.

Please note: Missouri’s motor fuel tax rate will increase by 2.5 cents per gallon annually on July 1 until it reaches 29.5 cents in July 2025. Under SB 262, your constituents may request a refund of the Missouri motor fuel tax increase paid each year: 2.5 cents in 2022, 5 cents in 2023, 7.5 cents in 2024, 10 cents in 2025, and then 12.5 cents in 2026 and each year after.

Please refer to our FAQs - 2021 Senate Bill 262 for additional information. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our legislative director, Zachary Wyatt, with any questions or concerns you may have. You may reach Zach at 573-751-0191 or Zachary.Wyatt@dor.mo.gov.

Sincerely,

Ken Zellers, Director
Missouri Department of Revenue


September 16, 2021

Zoning Hearing about Atherton Quarry Thursday, Sept. 16

From the Stop the Atherton Quarry group on Facebook:
The continuance of the Planning and Zoning meeting is tonight at 7 pm at Mike Onka Community Hall, 11520 E Putnam St Sugar Creek, MO 64054.
Masks are required. 
If you have a yellow shirt, please wear it to show a united front. 
Sugar Creek officials were very impressed with how respectful we were last time. Let’s show them that same respect and courtesy tonight. Questions tonight should be geared towards just the rezoning of these parcels. There will be no zoom link tonight, and we can’t guarantee a live stream because the cell service is not great. If you can’t come, please call or email the Aldermen. Their contact info is listed below. We will see you tonight!

August 27, 2021

Atherton Quarry Zoning Hearing: Was Anybody Heard?

More than 150 residents of Sugar Creek, Atherton, and Jackson County attended the Sugar Creek's Planning and Zoning Hearing last night. The hearing had been moved to the Mike Onka Community Hall when it became obvious that citizen input would be heavy, as word spread that the hearing involved granting a special permit that would allow the Central Plains Cement Company of Sugar Creek (using their more environmentally friendly name, "Audubon Materials, LLC") to operate an open-pit mining operation. 

This quarry would cause extreme disruptions in the quality of life and property values of the citizens and businesses this mining operation would impact, not to mention the health and environmental dangers common in areas where such mining operations already exist. By the company's own admission 40,000 truckloads of limestone gravel a year would be making their way from the mining site to the company's cement plant on Courtney Road in Sugar Creek. 

Around 30 citizens, many wearing yellow shirts as a show of solidarity against the proposed mining project, spoke before the committee and the company's representatives. All spoke in opposition of the plan, and were disappointed to find out that questions would not be answered during this hearing. There was no citizen input in favor of the proposed mining operation.  

Besides the obvious disturbances of air quality and noise pollution from the blasting, speakers also shared concerns about damage to housing foundations and water-wells, wildlife habitats, wastewater run-off, and more. Independence residents are concerned by the fact that the open-pit mine will be located above the aquifer that supplies more than 250,000 citizens with water that's been rated internationally as being among the top five tap waters in the world.

Mrs. Ivey Zoellers, who moved to Sugar Creek with her husband in 2020 to escape the disastrous health effects of living close to an open-pit mine in Greenwood, Missouri, was the first citizen called to the microphone for questions and comments, with five minutes allotted to each speaker. After she asked questions for about two minutes and 30 seconds City Administrator Pat Casey told her that her time was up, and that no questions would be answered at that time. Today she said,

"Of the 20 people who I spoke with face-to-face during my time canvassing on my own street, 18 of those people informed me that they had not received any prior notice of this quarry or the rezoning meeting. It should be noted that all 18 of those people who were not notified were adamantly against a quarry existing in their town and signed the petition to show their support with their nearby neighbors, who also do not want it in their own neighborhood. The 2 people who I did speak to who did know about the quarry were the only 2 who were interested in having it in their town. And while I could wildly speculate a conclusion about that fact I do not think it was by cosmic fate, but I do think it was by intelligent design."

She continued, "Honestly my most vivid take away within the last 48 hours from my experience canvassing my own street and listening to the town's people vent their frustrations is about the institutions that have made them feel powerless and ignored. No one deserves to feel that way."

Mrs. Zoellers' exasperation is shared by many others as can be seen on the Facebook page, "Stop the Atherton Quarry." The online petition urging the City of Sugar Creek not to grant a special use permit for the open-pit mine has already received over 1,000 signatures.

Last night's hearing was shared with online citizens via the Zoom meeting platform. After announcing that another hearing would take place at the same time and location on September 16, a motion was made not to make the next hearing available on Zoom. The motion was passed without objection.

August 25, 2021

"Down Here" - New Video by Remorsefully Numb

Here's a brand new music video from our area's very own Remorsefully Numb. Please "Like," "Subscribe," and help support local talent!

August 21, 2021

URGENT - ACTION NEEDED TO STOP OPEN PIT MINE

The City of Sugar Creek's Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on August 26, 2021 at 7:00 p.m., at the Mike Onka Community Hall, 11520 Putnam Street in Sugar Creek, to consider a Change in Zoning Application put forth by the Central Plains Cement Company of Sugar Creek that would allow them to operate an Open Pit Mining operation. Please sign the petition below, attend the hearing if you can, and help spread the word! Follow the "Stop the Atherton Quarry" page of Facebook for more information.

Sign the Petition

There is a quarry being planned on Courtney Atherton Rd. here in Sugar Creek, Missouri. Central Plains Cement is attempting to pursue a change in zoning which would allow them to operate an open pit mine within city limits.

August 16, 2021

Free Limb and Brush Drop-Off (Sugar Creek and Independence)

The cities of Independence and Sugar Creek are offering free limb and brush drop-off due to recent storm damage. 

Independence

Brush and limbs will be accepted on Aug. 21. The Drop-off Depot is located at 875 Vista Avenue. Citizens will need to provide proof of residency and no contractors will be allowed.

Sugar Creek

The City of Sugar Creek will have a limb drop off location at Sterling & Elizabeth, drop limbs & brush in the southeast corner by where the orange cones will be. This is for Sugar Creek residents only and no commercial haulers will be allowed to dump, also it will be monitored for illegal dumping. Dumping will be allowed till August 31, 2021. 7 am to 7 pm.

July 21, 2021

Free School Supplies and Shoes August 14 - Sign Up Now!

Free Shoes and School Supplies

 From Community Services League:
CSL invites you to our annual Back to School Fair for Independence! The event is 8/14/21 at the Community of Christ Auditorium parking lot from 8am-12pm. Students will receive a backpack filled with school supplies and a new pair of shoes as long as sizes are available! Each student must be registered separately. 
If you live in Independence, follow the link to sign-up for this event:

May 24, 2021

Scam Alert Warning

 


FROM THE INDEPENDENCE, MO POLICE DEPARTMENT:
It has come to our attention customers in the Independence area are receiving threatening phone calls demanding a utilities bill payment or they will be shut off in the next 30 minutes. The caller I.D. states these are from the City of Independence, they are not. The City of Independence Utilities does place phone calls to past due accounts but will not demand immediate payment and generally calls the night before a shut off would occur. 

Further, the City of Independence will never demand a specific type of payment such as over the phone, via gift card or credit card. If you receive a call regarding any bill you pay, please be cautious. Spoofing scams are becoming more common and may come from numbers you are familiar with. If you have questions about your utilities account and are a City of Independence Utilities Customer, please call 816-325-7930. 

As a reminder, there are many utility related scams seeking to collect personal or banking information occurring across the country. Please take precautions to protect your information and if in doubt, please call Customer Service. If you believe you have fallen victim to this scam, please report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov. You can also file a police report with the Independence Police Department by calling 816-325-7300.

April 27, 2021

Sugar Creek War Memorial Gets a Makeover

 Thanks to VFW Post 3976 for helping to beautify the War Memorial in Sugar Creek, with some new mulch and new paint on the WWII Pack Howitzer. 




April 11, 2021

Englewood Arts partners with Metropolitan Community College to offer hands-on learning

INDEPENDENCE, Mo - It was all hands on deck at the Englewood Arts Center on Friday. The 30,000 square-foot facility is getting a major makeover after previously being a former medical building in town. Staff hopes the brand new building will provide art studios and serve the community as a safe space for budding artists to share their work.

April 6, 2021

APRIL 6, 2021 ELECTION RESULTS

CITY OF SUGAR CREEK

SUGAR CREEK MAYOR
⭐️ MICHAEL LARSON 392
GEOFFREY JAY 154
WRITE-IN 6
CITY MARSHAL
⭐️ CHRISTOPHER D. SOULE 331
TOM BUTKOVICH 224
WRITE-IN 5
ALDERMAN WARD 1
⭐️ J.C. "CHUCK" MIKULICH 204
NANCY GRIEGONANCY GRIEGO 140
WRITE-IN 2

ALDERMAN WARD 2
⭐️ JOI HAZELRIGG 175
WRITE-IN 7
CITY OF INDEPENDENCE
INDEPENDENCE SCHOOL DISTRICT - QUESTION
⭐️ YES 5,208
NO 937
AS OF THIS WRITING THE RESULTS ARE UNOFFICAL, AND 100% OF THE VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED.