KansasCity.com fails to keep up with the current news.

Kansas City Strip 

KansasCity.com fails to keep up with the current news.

A tangled Web: When The Kansas City Star kicked off a special promotion of its KansasCity.com site late last month, the big ads that started running in the newspaper didn't just showcase uninspired Knight Ridder copy ("Umbrella? No umbrella? Umbrella?"). One of the ads -- "Get the current news, while it's still current" -- also inadvertently directed readers to a weekly gay publication. Now in its 10th year, the very queer Current News is distributed throughout the region.

The paper's editor, J.D. O'Neal II, hadn't noticed the ads ("I don't read The Star") but has his own theories about the slogan. "We started using that phrase about five years ago in a couple of different forms and fashions -- 'Get current,' 'Stay current,' 'Want to be current? Get the Current News.' I would say they're using information that's been taken from me."

He's not the least bit upset, however. "I'm getting free advertising, advertising that I could not buy. What I might request them to do, since they're using something that is copyrighted and trademarked by my company, would be to add our Web site's link to KansasCity.com and give it to us for free."

Fine, says Jennifer Dalton, KansasCity.com's marketing manager, who was also surprised by the Current connotations. "No, I didn't know," she tells us, sounding genuinely befuddled. "Do you suppose there's a lot of people -- I know there's a significant (gay) population. I'm going to be at the corporate offices on Monday discussing our campaign, so I will certainly tell them about that." Dalton says "there would be no problem in them being in our directory" -- which is simply a listing of links to local organizations -- "I wouldn't think, unless it's, um, maybe too graphic -- is it just a nice newspaper?" (We'll refrain from commenting on that one.) "If there's pictures or something like that we wouldn't link there. But if it's about issues in that community, there's no problem with that."

Here, Dalton logs onto CurrentNews.com to check it out. "None of this looks particularly troubling. Most of it doesn't work. If much of the site is broken, our Web designer won't put it up." Last time we looked, CurrentNews.com's personals, gay business directory, bar map, and "club agenda" all contained no data -- so it looks as though the Current News isn't so current after all.TIF your waiter: There's finally some action at the corner of Linwood and Main, as bulldozers make way for the Home Depot and Costco that will anchor former city councilman Jim Glover's long-languishing "Midtown Marketplace." While we welcome the progress (even if it does gum up the eastern approach to Ray Lamar's doughnut shop), we can't help wondering whether the first visible sign of expansion -- a massive new parking lot for McDonald's -- was really what the Tax Increment Financing Commission meant when it told those businesses, "You deserve a break today."

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