A cantankerous neighborhood activist's influence Grows.

The Grow Show 

A cantankerous neighborhood activist's influence Grows.

The only time we see cantankerous neighborhood activist Jim Grow on TV is when we're lulling ourselves to sleep watching Channel 2 at night. Recently we saw him on the government channel railing against any change whatsoever to the city's liquor laws.

Last week, though, Grow called to brag that KCPT Channel 19 had offered him his own show. Grow as a star pundit for the metro area? What was KCPT thinking?

"When Jim Grow asks for a TV show, I say, 'How often do you want it to run? And when do you want it to start?" producer Nick Haines tells us. "Alrighty. Seriously, we've not offered him a television show."

Haines merely asked Grow to appear on this week's Kansas City Week in Review (7:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Sunday). Haines is interested in Grow's latest power move: The midtowner plans to circulate a petition calling for a vote to dissolve the Kansas City, Missouri, School District.

Under normal circumstances, the scheme would be the stuff of folly. (When we told School Board President Al Mauro about Grow's plan, he laughed.) But because of low voter turnout in past elections, Grow will need only 1,200 signatures (10 percent of the last vote) to get his proposal on the ballot. So Grow has a newsworthy chance of at least making things interesting in Kansas City come election time.

Besides, crusty straight talkers add variety to Haines' staid show. "I like to look at the virgin voices," Haines says. "[Grow is] a thorn in the side of many people, and I like that."

He might live to regret the invitation. Grow has been calling him often, asking about the prospects for a show called The Grow Encounter.

"He said, 'Now Nick, about this TV show.' I said, 'What TV show?'"

"Am I on somebody else's show?" Grow asked him, apparently confused.

"I told him radio might be a better forum for him," Haines says. "I tried to be supportive."

But Grow says Haines plans to have him on ten episodes of Week in Review. ("I haven't gone that far," Haines says. "I'm living day-to-day.")

As for The Grow Encounter, Grow says, "It's going to be all over the Midwest."

Which would be fine with us. That way, our far-flung relatives can see just how goofy our town is.

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