We went looking for disturbing activity at the Pleasant Valley skatepark, and found it: suspicious plugs for Fox 4 News.

Kansas City Strip 

We went looking for disturbing activity at the Pleasant Valley skatepark, and found it: suspicious plugs for Fox 4 News.

Paint the town: Former (and, she promises, future) mayoral write-in candidate Mary De Shon has big problems with the Pleasant Valley skate park. Since the park opened in December, its concrete slopes and sidewalks have proven irresistible to graffiti artists, so on August 5 City Councilwoman Teresa Loar collected paint from Northland businesses and let the taggers have at it. "Graffiti art is part of the skaters' culture," Loar said in a statement announcing the party. "So we decided rather than fight it we would go with the flow and let them paint."

But when De Shon went to check out their work, she found, among other things, "lots of devils, lots of skulls, a swastika, something resembling a burning cross, the chalk outline of a murder victim," and such troublesome phrases as "Need for weed," "Suck my cock," "Pee on me," and "Rules suck."

"I think that the graffiti is just terribly poor on the city's part," De Shon tells PitchWeekly. "In one part of town it's vandalism; in another part of town it's okay because it's blessed by a councilwoman." De Shon also objects to parents' "dumping their kids there" when there's no pay phone. "It's so hot out there, they can't even call for help if anyone should get hurt or pass out from heat exhaustion. Some kids were smoking, and you know if they're smoking they have to be doing pot."

But no one was "doing" pot when we went out to investigate. Instead, a dozen or so kids were blissfully riding bikes, boards, and Rollerblades up and over the cement hills. A couple of parents had set up lawn chairs to watch, and the only harm we could see already had been done to the shin of 15-year-old Luke Cirricione, who was being a very responsible teenager and treating the scrape with Bactine. Luke and his buddy Jim Calhoun, also 15, said objectionable graffiti usually gets painted over before too long. And they pointed out their favorite painting, just next to the "Food not bombs" slogan: a black and white figure resembling Walter Matthau, surrounded by yellow and purple halos and holding a sign that said, "Ferrets." They didn't know the significance of "Ferrets," but, they said, "he looks cool."

That was just before Luke's dad, 43-year-old Doug "I'm A Bowler, Myself" Cirricione, showed up to take the boys home. The park is great, he told us. "The kids love it. It gives them a good place to work on their stunts."

We did, however, finally discover some disturbing graffiti: a sophisticated, four-color representation of the Fox 4 News logo, along with the suspicious phrases "Fox 4 Rock" and "Fox Rock."

Had Fox 4 News, in an attempt to capture viewers in the up-and-coming youth demographic, planted the graffiti? Or had Fox 4 PR types scribbled the logos as part of the station's coverage of Loar's painting party? "We did cover that on the 5 o'clock news on August 5," says WDAF Channel 4 News Director Mike McDonald. But, he says, the graffiti "wouldn't have been painted at the behest of the news department. There's no indication that there was any involvement by anyone at the station."

Hmm. In any case, the Fox 4 tags fit right in, among such nearby pearls as "Poop is smelly."

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