Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Missouri Court of Appeals reinstates potentially massive asbestos lawsuit against Jackson County, others

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 1:03 PM

300px-Jackson_County_Courthouse_KC_Missouri.jpg
Judges for the Missouri Court of Appeals gave new life to a lawsuit that could expose Jackson County and a contractor to millions in damages for claims that it improperly handled asbestos during renovations of the courthouse in downtown Kansas City more than 30 years ago.

The appellate court on Tuesday said that a lawsuit filed in 2010 should proceed as a class-action lawsuit, reversing a Jackson County judge's decision last year.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of potentially thousands of county employees and others who spent considerable time at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City since 1983. It was that year when the county contracted with U.S. Engineering to remodel the courthouse's air-handling systems, which were wrapped in asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that, if left undisturbed, poses little risk to humans. But if asbestos fibers are dispersed, say, during construction, the material has been shown to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, among other diseases. Removing asbestos from buildings during construction requires specialized and expensive remediation.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

After St. Pat's Day, St. Joseph takes over with lots and lots of sweets

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 3:43 PM

Look, but don't touch. This edible tableau is only for show.
  • Look, but don't touch. This edible tableau is only for show.


In Kansas City, St. Patrick's Day has very little to do with religious veneration (although there are almost always spirits involved). Things are a bit more circumspect two days later, when many churches in the metro celebrate the patron saint of Sicily: St. Joseph.

For well over 100 years, Sicilian immigrants living in and around the Columbus Park neighborhood practiced a custom that they had brought with them from their homeland, the tradition of honoring St. Giuseppe. No parades, concerts and revelry are associated with this saint. Legend has it that he answered prayers during a brutal drought. For centuries, Sicilians honored the saint with a lavish feast. Over the years, the feast has been transformed from an eating celebration to a more visual-art form: a St. Joseph's Table is now more about viewing a display of food than eating it.

But in Kansas City, St. Joseph's Day festivities have theatrical visual displays (you might call them over-the-top tabletop tableaux) as well as a significant culinary component, with many area churches serving a free (or very inexpensive) pasta dinner on the actual feast day - this year on Thursday, March 19 - and selling a variety of foodstuffs and pastries. It's a good way to fill up the freezer for nights when there's a cookie drought in the larder.

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Mission Gateway developer is prepping a new plan (it still involves a Wal-mart)

Mission Gateway developer is prepping a new plan (it still involves a Wal-mart).

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 3:20 PM

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In the border-warring Kansas City metro, developers enjoy a nearly inexhuastible supply of leverage, patience and goodwill from elected officials eager to someday cut the ribbon in front of a successful project. City councils and state legislatures rarely call a bluff when the latest player asks for taxpayer money or begs for more time when a deadline has been missed. Public leaders instead bend over backward to ensure that developers don’t take their projects elsewhere.

For an object lesson in just how bottomless that leverage, patience and goodwill can be, look at Mission. Leaders of that Kansas suburb have let New York developer Tom Valenti — hapless shepherd of the Mission Gateway project — string them along for nearly a decade.

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  • Mission Gateway developer is prepping a new plan (it still involves a Wal-mart).

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St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow. Here are some places to party

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 2:34 PM

Holy cow! - KCIRISHPARADE.COM
  • kcirishparade.com
  • Holy cow!

The official Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins tomorrow at 11 a.m. It'll run south from 33rd Street and Broadway to 43rd Street and Broadway. The grand marshal is Gone Girl author and KCMO native Gillian Flynn, who is in possession of an impressively Irish name. 

Looking to have a tipple before, during or after the parade? Many joints in town are happy to serve you. Here are some spots likely to draw green people: 

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Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear to release debut full-length in May

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 12:18 PM

BARRETT EMKE
  • Barrett Emke

Since it was announced in October that local mother-son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear had signed to Glassnote records (home of Mumford and Sons, Phoenix), we've been anticipating the band's full-length debut album. At last, we finally have a date we can scribble into our calendars. On Tuesday, May 19, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear will release Skelton Crew.

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Stockyards Brewing Co. signs lease to take over half of Golden Ox space

Stockyards Brewing Co. signs lease to take over half of Golden Ox space.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Bill Haw Sr., Greg Bland and Kerry Amigoni say Stockyards Brewing Co. is taking over the Golden Ox space.
  • Bill Haw Sr., Greg Bland and Kerry Amigoni say Stockyards Brewing Co. is taking over the Golden Ox space.

Stockyards Brewing Co. is taking over part of the former Golden Ox space in the West Bottoms, with early October targeted as the beermaker's opening day.

Last October, The Pitch published a sneak peek of six new breweries set to open in late 2014 and throughout 2015. Greg Bland's Stockyards Brewing Co. was among them. 

Bland, director of environmental services at Travois, knew then that he wanted to take over the historic West Bottoms steakhouse space, but he didn't want to talk about it until the lease was officially signed. The ink is now dry.

"It's the Golden Ox," Bland says. "It's the history of the West Bottoms ... so I feel really great that I can come in and work in this space and the environment that was created here, to bring something new and exciting to what was the old Stockyards and the West Bottoms, which is now sort of a cool revitalized area."

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  • Stockyards Brewing Co. signs lease to take over half of Golden Ox space.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Where to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Kansas City this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Snake around in downtown NKC this weekend.
  • Snake around in downtown NKC this weekend.

St. Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Unfortunately, not all employers will allow their workers to slip out of work at 11 a.m. to attend a parade and sample Irish whiskeys all day. It's bad for productivity on March 18 when you go to bed like:
drunk.jpg

We'll have a post early next week about where to celebrate on March 17, but for today, here are some ideas for St. Patrick's Day festivities happening over the weekend.

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Mark Gilstrap edges out Nathan Barnes by one vote in recount for WyCo 1st District At-Large

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 11:01 AM

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Mark Gilstrap will advance to the general election for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, Commission next month by the thinnest of margins.

A recount and vote canvass that wrapped up Friday confirm that Gilstrap finished second in the March primary by one vote over Nathan Barnes, the third-place finisher among seven candidates vying for the 1st District At-Large seat.

Barnes, a longtime politician, had requested a recount after initial vote tallies showed that he missed the cutoff by 10 votes for advancing to the general election. The recount tightened up that margin by a single vote.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Johnson County commissioners vote to commit $30 million to convert King Louie into an arts and heritage center

Johnson County commissioners vote to commit $30 million to convert King Louie into an arts and heritage center.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 12:09 PM

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Earl Long recalls spending hours at the King Louie West building, at 8788 Metcalf, teaching his kids how to ice-skate.

Ice skating ceased at King Louie years ago, replaced by little more than political theater on how Johnson County should proceed with the beat-up husk of the building it bought in 2011.

"You paid too much for it," Long told Johnson County commissioners on Thursday. "Maybe you didn't know it."

If commissioners didn't know that they paid too much ($1.95 million), and then spent more money fixing it up ($1.6 million) for a building appraised at far less (between $550,000 and $850,000), it's because they didn't order an appraisal before the purchase. The commission relied instead on the advice of a real-estate agent. (Typically, the higher the price of a real-estate transaction, the more the agent gets paid in commission.)


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  • Johnson County commissioners vote to commit $30 million to convert King Louie into an arts and heritage center.

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Former IHOP member explains why he left the church

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 11:32 AM

Blaise Foret no longer feels the IHOP spirit.
  • Blaise Foret no longer feels the IHOP spirit.
Blaise Foret is a 32-year-old Christian speaker and author who has been preaching since the age of 16. He currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina, but from 2008 until 2013, Foret lived in Kansas City and was an active member of the International House of Prayer. 

Foret is not involved with IHOP anymore, and in a recent post on his website, he explains some of his reasons for distancing himself from the Grandview, Missouri-based church, which has long been dogged by accusations that it is a cult. 

Upon arriving in Kansas City, Foret quickly became enamored of IHOP leader Mike Bickle's end-times theology, known as the "prophetic history." Foret refers to it as "10 hours of stories about supernatural visions, experiences, and prophetic words that were given to Mike Bickle from a number of prophets back in the 1980s."

He goes on: 

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