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.

April 2, 2021

Independence Election April 6: On the Ballot

OPINION: ON THE BALLOT: No tax increase bond?? 
By Giovanni Antonio

   If it sounds too good to be true... it probably is right? 

  Let's take a closer look.  On the ballot for Independence residents on April 6th is what ISD is touting as a 43 million dollar NO tax increase bond.  

   The specific ballot language says, "Approval of this question is expected to result in zero increase of the District’s debt service tax levy of $1.2145 per $100 of assessed valuation."

   On face value one might instantly notice "expected" isn't a guarantee.  However I believe that language is for the most part straightforward.   According to a spokesperson from ISD.  "If a circumstance occurred in which assessed valuation dropped dramatically within the boundaries of the ISD, this would necessitate an increase in the levy. We do not anticipate nor have we ever experienced a situation in which this has occurred."  

  So it indeed seems unlikely this would lead to a tax increase,  maybe not impossible, but unlikely. 

  What I think is more questionable is what's not on the actual ballot language, but rather in the FAQ on the ISD website regarding the matter. 

   It clearly states....

   Q: What will happen if voters do not approve the no tax increase bond issue?

   If the no tax increase bond issue is not approved, the outlined projects will not be completed and taxes will not decrease.

   This is where I have serious doubts.  And received what I think is conflicting information from an ISD spokesperson.   It seems what the ballot language, the FAQ and ISD isn't saying is.... If we do not approve this bond *and pay off the current debts*... our taxes will decrease. 

   According to the ISD spokesperson, "...we anticipate the levy will decrease as the existing debts are paid off."

 I don't think we can't get 43 million dollars for free,  or without interest for that matter.   These projects will cost money, someone has to pay for them. 

   If you're in favor of voting for the bond, by all means please do so.  If you think it's a sound investment, vote for it.  If you're considering voting yes because you think it won't cost taxes, that may not be true, and you deserve an honest explanation.   Not what might be twisted ballot language and possibly misleading FAQ on the ISD website. 

   Just be aware that in passing this, your taxes may not increase....they also may not decrease. 



March 30, 2021

Sugar Creek Election - The Candidates Speak

 On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, voters in Sugar Creek will head to the polls and decide what the future of Sugar Creek will be like for the next four years. The Inter-City News offered the candidates a chance to reach out to our readers, and we are publishing the responses that we received in the order in which they arrived. Our thanks to the candidates who responded.

CITY MARSHAL RACE

CANDIDATE: Tom Butkovich

  Hello, my name is Tom Butkovich, and I am running for the Sugar Creek City Marshal.  This position is essentially the chief of police for Sugar Creek. 

   I was born in Sugar Creek and lived here until I was 8 years old.  I moved back to Sugar Creek in 2017. 

   I was hired by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in 2008.  I started the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in April of 2008 and graduated in November of 2008.  I graduated the class valedictorian.  I was assigned to the South Patrol Division for the first 5 years of my career.  

   During my time in South Patrol, I became a Field Training Officer (FTO).  An FTO’s job is to train a recruit for the first 10 weeks of their new career.  An FTO observes and evaluates the new recruit to make sure they are doing the job safe and are staying within the laws and policies of the department.  I also was assigned as a Detective to investigate property crimes within South Patrol.  While assigned to South Patrol I was named the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Officer of the Year for arresting 90 impaired drivers in one year.  

   After 5 years in South Patrol, I transferred to the DWI/DUI Unit where it was my primary responsibility to patrol Kansas City and proactively look for impaired drivers.  During this time, I arrested more than 500 impaired drivers.  During my 8-year career with the Kansas City Police Department I received numerous awards to include, Good Conduct (no substantiated complaints), Safe Driving (no vehicle crashes), Firearms Marksmanship, Physical Fitness, Special Unit Citation, Life Saving Award and the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriff’s Associations Gold Medal of Valor, which is the highest award a Police Officer can receive.  I also received numerous letters of appreciation from citizens and numerous supervisory notices.  

   In 2015 I left KCPD to go into the private sector as an investigator.  After a short period of time, I realized I missed Law Enforcement and was hired by the Sugar Creek Police Department in July of 2016.  Since being hired I have served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Detective and am now a Sergeant.  I am assigned to the Metro Squad which is activated to investigate murders throughout the Kansas City Metro Area.  I am assigned as a Task Force Officer (TFO) with the FBI’s Violent Crimes Fugitive Apprehension Task Force.  The primary mission of the Fugitive Apprehension Task Force is to locate and arrest anyone with a violent (murder, robbery, rape, assault, etc.) felony or federal arrest warrant.  

   As a TFO I am deputized by both the FBI and the US Marshal Service.  I am also a hostage negotiator as well as an academy instructor at the Blue River Public Safety Institute and I operate the departments FLIR (night vision) Drone.  In January of 2021 I was assigned to the Jackson County Drug Task Force to investigate state and federal drug cases throughout the Jackson County area.  

   I welcome anyone with questions to contact me either though my website at www.tb4scpd.com or through Facebook at Facebook.com/tb4scpd

CANDIDATE: CHRIS SOULE

I am Christopher Soule, your candidate for City Marshal. I am currently the Police Chief-City Marshal for the City of Sugar Creek. I am a lifetime resident of Sugar Creek and have proudly raised my family here. I am married to my wife of 24 years, Valerie, who owns and operates the longest operating family business in Sugar Creek, Kross Lounge and Restaurant. Our two sons, Blake and Hunter, are both fine young adults and make us proud to be parents.

I started my career with Sugar Creek Police in 1993, as a part-time Police Dispatcher. In 1995 I was hired as a full-time Police Officer and served as Patrolman where I started the police department’s first School Resource Officer program. In 2003, I was promoted to Sergeant and ran day-to-day operations and started doing the administrative paperwork for the department. I was instrumental in writing numerous grants on behalf of the Police Department, which provided a Livescan fingerprinting system, equipment for officers and patrol vehicles, overtime grant enforcement and a COPS grant which has funded officers for over 8 years. While acting as Sergeant, I was assigned as the Detective Sergeant also. In 2013, I was promoted to Staff Sergeant taking responsibility for all administrative training, payroll, scheduling, grant writing and day to day operations.

In 2015, with the unfortunate vacancy of the Chief of Police-City Marshal position, I was appointed by the Mayor with unanimous votes from the Board of Alderman and the support of all of my fellow officers to the position and was re-elected as Marshal in 2017. I have made it my goal to make the department the best for the citizens of Sugar Creek.

I have since began networking and joined the boards of the Western Missouri Regional Police Academy, Jackson County Drug Task Force, and serve as Chairman of the board for Jackson County Youth court and began relationships that have blossomed. I have also become active in the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, as well as the Missouri Police Chief’s Association which has created relationships to members local and state-wide Police departments, FBI agents assigned to the metro as well as DEA agents and members of the U.S. attorney’s office.

During my time as your Marshal many improvements for our city are evident. Updated vehicles were approved and purchased, the implementation of computers in the vehicles has allowed use of mobile ticketing and an automated license plate reader. A new digital radio system was purchased and has been an integral part in keeping all city employees and citizens safe. To date Sugar Creek continues to experience a drop in crime. I have worked with the board of Aldermen to obtain competitive salaries for all staff. Since taking office, our department has made public safety and education a priority by sending two officers to D.A.R.E. and School Resource Officer training, applied for and received a grant from Jackson County COMBAT to help fund our D.A.R.E. Officer for the past 3 years. Community outreach is important to me, supporting Coffee with a Cop, neighborhood watch meetings, and numerous local school programs makes our community stronger. The department has worked hard to enhance policing of violent criminals and crime, which includes working with the courts by putting those headed down the wrong path into diversion programs in an effort to help them and society.

As Chief, I have made it my goal to have a more proactive approach to policing the City of Sugar Creek. The community is seeing the results. In a two-year crime review a 22% reduction in crimes was recorded and the best response time in the area. An increase in positive community relationships has helped support these reductions.

I am committed to running a positive campaign, focused on the goal of keeping our community safe and our crime low. I will continue to host meetings where our department listens to the concerns of our citizens and makes this a great place to live.

Please feel free to email or call me if you would like to talk or want more information:

Souleformarshal@gmail.com

816-729-4995

I will continue with the positive changes our city needs and I am asking for your vote for City Marshal on April 6th.


MAYORAL RACE

CANDIDATE: Mike Larson

Goals for the next 4 years:

   Continue to build and expand on the successes we have had in the last four years.

   Attract new businesses into Sugar Creek at the corner of US 24 Highway and Sterling. Continue to market available store fronts along Sterling Ave.

   Build new homes in the City to attract families that want to live, work and play in a safe, secure community.

Continue working on our infrastructure, especially our aging sanitary sewer system by repairing or replacing damaged sections.

   Support our Sugar Creek volunteer organizations; CDC, Business & Civics Club, Sugar Creek Heritage Center, Go Sugar Creek, Sugar Creek Downtown.

   Create a Sugar Creek Gateway that welcomes visitors into our city.

   Continue to build and promote the Sister City agreement between Sugar Creek, Mo and Independence, Mo., and Martin, Slovakia. Student exchanges, fund raisers and cultural exchanges are at the top of the list of activities.

   In 2021, promote and emphasize the 100-year heritage of Sugar Creek. Because of Covid, all monthly activities for 2020 had to be postponed. Most importantly, the time capsule opening and closing ceremony MUST be done in 2021.

   Promote existing City events; BBQ Contest, Slavic Festival, Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks show, Fall Festival and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting. Create and promote new City events; Disc Golf Tournaments at the new 18-hole Disc Golf Course at LaBenite, celebrate the new year-round facility at the Sugar Creek Gymnasium by showcasing exercise classes, BB practices and tournaments, VB practices and tournaments and Pickleball lessons, practices and matches.

   Create healthy, safe living spaces for individuals to walk or bike.

Successes in the last 4 years:

   As Mayor, I feel I can only take responsibility for four things that have happened in the first 4 years. The rest of the achievements were only accomplished through partnership and teamwork.

   The four I take credit for:

   On St. Patrick’s Day 2020, a back hoe began removing fill material from a sink hole in the parking lot of Best Buy Car Lot. When all of the rock, gravel, asphalt, trees, and limbs were removed, the swamp on the south side of US 24 drained all the way to the Missouri River. The site of road closures, rerouted traffic and property damage due to flooding, did not flood again the entire year of 2020.

   One campaign promise was to put the Board of Aldermen Council Minutes back in the monthly Sweet Talk. This allowed every resident to know what the Board talked about in the previous month.

   Another promise of communication became known as This Week in the Creek. For three years, this was a weekly email blast going out to 300 subscribers. Any current issue of importance was in the email. Many upcoming events were advertised in the weekly message. When Covid hit, many residents were sheltering in place. They had no way of knowing what was going on outside of their homes. There was room for a daily joke. There was room for the national day that day. This became an honor and privilege to serve my constituents in this incredible year. 

   The fourth promise I made was to improve economic development. To do this, the City needed an Economic Development Committee (EDC). The City used to have one, but it stopped meeting. The EDC was reformed under my urging with the former Mayor, Stan Salva, taking on the role of Chair. As time passed, the mantel of leadership was transferred to Ms. Shannon Hesterberg to take on the role of Chair of the EDC. 

   The number of successes in the last four years is unprecedented. The team I worked with deserves the credit for coming up with these ideas and following them through to the end. There is room to list only a few of the highlights. The 80-year-old gym received a makeover; a new roof, a new HVAC, new ADA doors, electrical upgrades, new paint and with the savings, the floor was sanded and refinished. A new 50-foot by 60- foot steel roof pavilion was installed at Mike Onka Hall immediately after all of the exterior concrete was replaced. All of the City buildings are now fitted with LED lights. New businesses were added: Dollar Tree (twice), Deal Thrift Store, and a business that serves the mentally and physically handicapped. Monthly activities were planned by the Centennial Committee for the 100-year Anniversary and will be resurrected during 2021, especially, the time capsule opening and closing.

CANDIDATE: GEOFFREY JAY

   I would like to thank the Inter-City News for this opportunity to introduce myself to the citizens of Sugar Creek, MO. My name is Geoffrey Jay and I chose to move to Sugar Creek in 2017. When my work transferred me to the area I looked all around and decided Sugar Creek would be the place I would be happiest starting the next chapter of my life. There are many of you that have meet me over the years, however, I also know there are many of you I have not had the pleasure to get to know yet. So where to start, life has led me on many journeys and to have many experiences. One thing that has been consistent is a career in environmental consulting and Industrial Hygiene, doing my best to protect the environment, as well as worker health.  

   In addition to growing my career I have performed volunteer work in some form for almost 40 years. I started young helping my mom with various things around town to as an adult going from just volunteering at a nature center to joining their board, then becoming vice-president and finally president. This love for my community led me to look for opportunities to volunteer in Sugar Creek as soon as I bought my house, which led me to joining the Sugar Creek Downtown Organization and being elected vice-president and acting executive director until we get to the point, we can hire someone to take over that position. 

   My vision for the future of Sugar Creek is to give all our residents a place to be proud they call it home. Now this is not going to be easy or fast. In fact, at times, it may be hard and complicated. But I feel if we all work together, we can make it happen. One of the first things we need is to develop a Master Development Plan for the city. We can not continue to move forward with no idea of where we are going. We need to focus on the revitalization of Sterling Avenue to find businesses that will compliment what we have so far. In addition, we need to make Sugar Creek more attractive so we can have people from out side of the city come in and patronize our businesses, attend our events and share our love for our community. 

   I also want to improve the communication between City Hall and our residents. There is so much information that in not passed through to let our citizens know what is happening in their city. This also includes marketing our to people outside our city. Personally, I have observed many times where the city plans an event, but no advertising occurs until if we are lucky one week prior to the event. Then it is not understood why there is poor turnout. If we do not tell anyone about how great Sugar Creek is then they will never know to come visit.

   Well, I could go on and on, but I do not want to bore you. I would much rather hear what things you would like to see and make you proud to say you live in Sugar Creek. So, feel free to e-mail at geoffreyforsugarcreek@gmail.com. Thank you for your time and no matter who you vote for just please come out and vote April 6th.

February 25, 2021

BBQ Rib SmokeFest for Charity – March 27, 2021

Grab some slabs of ribs and help the Harvesters Food Network at the Mike Onka Community Hall. Orders must be placed online by clicking the link below:

BBQ Rib Slabs for Sale in Sugar Creek to Raise Money for Harvesters

"On March 27, 2021 members of several Competition BBQ teams will gather in Sugar Creek’s Mike Onka Community Center to smoke more than 250 rack of ribs. This year’s fund raising effort will help us continue the mission of serving as a beacon of hope to end hunger in the Kansas City Community by providing food assistance through fun, laughter, and a lot of smoke."

February 22, 2021

Farmers to Families Resumes in Fairmount

The Fairmount Community Center, at 217 S Cedar Ave., will resume the Farm to Families food boxes and bread on Wednesdays through April.

This is a COVA funded program by the USDA.

Boxes include produce, some protein, and we have milk and bread to distribute. 

Distribution starts at 9 am and all is distributed by 11-ish, depending on the volume of boxes they receive.

The supply does vary each week.


February 2, 2021

Vaccination Center Planned for Independence Center

 By Giovanni Antonio

Perhaps lost in the excitement amid the passage of Resolution 21-713 allocating $200 rebates to IPL accounts, the Independence City council also approved Resolution 21-712.

In doing so they paved the way for a site at Independence Center to be turned into a mass vaccination center.


Independence Center Management offered the 13,000 sq. ft. space, rent free, to the city to host a mass vaccination and testing site. 

 Their one stipulation is that the city would have to cover the cost of utilities.

  Estimated to be around $1,000 a month, at a length of  5 months, the city had to approve where this $5,000 would come from.  

Alternate sites, like the Cable Dahmer Arena,  (formerly the Independence Event Center) were suggested and seemed promising.  Using that venue as a host wouldn't have carried the additional price tag attached for taxpayers.  The city already owns it and thus already pays the utilities.

   However city leaders, including Fire Chief Douglas Short worried that having to take down and reassemble the vaccination clinic when events needed the space would prove to be too big of a detriment.

 After a bit of debate of where to pull the funds from, and 2 failed amendments, the resolution in it original form, passed 4-3.

No word yet on when the clinic will be staffed and up and running.

February 1, 2021

Independence Utility Customers to Get $200 Rebate

  RESOLUTION 21-713 PASSES IN 5-2 VOTE

By Giovanni Antonio

  In what turned out to be a bit of a contentious vote, Independence City Council passed Resolution 21-713 in a 5-2 vote. In doing so they approved returning approximately 11.2 million dollars, breaking down to around $200 to each IPL account.
 
 "Citizen speaker" Laura Dominik took the opportunity to video conference in to urge the council not to pass the resolution. Citing several reasons she was against it, reasons ironically enough later repeated by the 2 dissenting votes cast by Council members Karen Deluccie (At-Large) and Dan Hobart (District 4).
 
 Councilman Steinmeyer spoke of the pandemic and having compassion for the citizens who are in need.
 
 Deluccie and Hobart expressed concern that issuing a rebate as opposed to a rate reduction might violate the city charter. It was suggested perhaps paying off bonds that would come due soon, in hopes to save the city money. However there weren't any concrete plans laid out as how that would in turn be transferred into a rate reduction for the ratepayers, as the charter directs.
 
 Mr. Hobart incorrectly stated that this wasn't endorsed by the PUAB, which Mayor Weir later corrected, causing him to issue an apology.
 
 In the end, after the dust settled, and after cleaning up the language of the Resolution, Deluccie and Hobart voted against returning the excess funds to the ratepayers.
 
 Mayor Eileen Weir, Council Members Brice Stewart (District 2), John Perkins (District 1), Mike Huff (At-Large) and Mike Steinmeyer (District 3) voted in favor doing so.
 
 No time-line has been given, but with the approval of Resolution 21-713, around 56,000 IPL accounts should receive approximately a $200 rebate in the near future.

January 29, 2021

ACTION ALERT - Contact Independence City Council ASAP

Independence City Council will be voting on Resolution 21-713 Monday, February 1st.

If approved it will return 11.2 million dollars to IPL ratepayers. With approximately 56,000 accounts that will equal out to approximately $200 per account.

The resolution was brought forth by Councilmen Huff and Steinmeyer. If you'd like these funds returned to you, please reach out to your council members and urge them to vote in favor of resolution 21-713 regarding the IPL funds. Read the resolution in it's entirety by clicking here.

Contact Information for City Council

Mayor Eileen Weir
EWeir@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7027

District 1 John Perkins
JPerkins@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7022

District 2 Brice Stewart
bstewart@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7220

District 3 Michael Steinmeyer
msteinmeyer@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7022

District 4 Dan Hobart
dhobart@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7022

At-Large Mike Huff
MJHuff@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7022

Citizen Concerns (816) 915-1286

At-Large Karen DeLuccie
KDeLuccie@indepmo.org
Phone: (816) 325-7022

January 14, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Waiting List Survey

 To get on the waiting list for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Jackson County, please fill out the information at the survey below:

COVID-19 Vaccination Waiting List

Arrest Warrant Amnesty in Sugar Creek

 If you have an active warrant for arrest in Sugar Creek, here's a chance to clear it up without risking arrest. If you know anyone that would find this information helpful, please spread the word!