KSHB Channel 41 is reporting this afternoon that the company laying cable outside JJ's Restaurant last week, Heartland Midwest LLC, did not have a city permit to conduct such an excavation. A gas line that was struck last Tuesday led to an explosion, which destroyed the 28-year-old restaurant and took the life of popular JJ's waitress Megan Cramer.
KSHB, citing an open-records request, reported: "Heartland Midwest LLC...did not have an approved Kansas City permit for excavation."
The Kansas City restaurant community has rallied behind JJ's workers by creating several fundraising events to aid the staff who survived the tragedy.
A group called Friends of JJ's KC is holding a benefit concert and silent auction for JJ's staff on March 5 at the Uptown Theater. The event will be hosted by former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Eddie Kennison and KCTV Channel 5 personality Kelly Jones. Bands and artists scheduled to perform include the Latenight Callers, Megan Birdsall, the Grisly Hand, Victor & Penny, Loaded Goat, Shellac Attack, DJ Rico, and Ron Megee and Missy Koonce. Tickets cost between $10 (general admission) and $500 (VIP tickets) and go on sale February 27 through Ticketmaster.
"We've had a terrific response for donations to our silent auction," says Tara Tonsor, an art educator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. "Many visual artists are donating their work, as well as jewelers and local theaters. Wine lovers are donating rare vintages from their private cellars. We have many, many gift certificates, ranging from salon and spa services to restaurants."
The cutoff date for donations to the silent auction is March 2; all auction items must be cleared by Tonsor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An April 7 fundraiser - "Sabre! A Celebration of JJ's" - is also being planned for the American Restaurant by a committee that includes chef Debbie Gold, Terry Mille, JJ's bartender Kevin Fossland, and Joyce Angelos Walsh.
According to Mille, the event - priced at $60 for general admission and $25 for service industry personnel - will "be a collaboration of local restaurants and chefs re-creating the most popular dishes on the JJ's menu." This event also features a silent auction.