Only when I sat down at this keyboard did the ripples of 9/11 hit me again. I stopped moving, and the events of that day caught up. They came with the faint taste of bile and the realization that, on its 11th anniversary, 9/11 is both squarely in the past and something I'm still processing.
A history of the Liberty Memorial Association says the organization "raised" $102 million for the restoration and expansion of the monument that recognizes the sacrifices of World War I veterans. But given the level of public support, "received" might be a more appropriate verb.
Researching this week's feature story, I identified more than $87 million in funding from the city, the state and the U.S. government. The most substantial burden fell on taxpayers in Kansas City, Missouri.
Last weekend, we followed St. Jo's Little Kato and the Half-Pint Brawlers into the gritty world of midget wrestling (see the feature "Little Bastard" for more on that). It's a tough way to make a living, to put it mildly. Promoters try to screw you; sometimes you have to drink your own urine; and, if you're lucky, you get cash stapled to your tongue. Because we're professional journalists, we put ourselves in the center of it, but there's only so much that can be conveyed by the written word. Click on the pic of the wee brawlers for a ringside seat to the midget bloodbath, and may God have mercy on your soul.
St. Jo's Little Kato (or Chris Dube, as it says on his birth certificate) has been to the top of the wrestling world. At the height of his career as a midget wrestler with the WWE, he performed before thousands of people in Madison Square Garden.
Kato didn't stay with the company long. In this week's feature ("Little Bastard"), Kato claims that one reason he and his father, Lord Littlebrook, left the company was because they complained about inappropriate advances from WWE matchmaker Pat Patterson. The WWE didn't respond to the claim before this week's edition went to press, but company representatives are now denying Kato's story.
The recent Pitch feature story about the life and death of John Uhlmann provides a glimpse of Knobtown, a section of the Kansas City area between Lee's Summit and Raytown. Cut by the Little Blue River and a state highway, the sparsely populated area gives tattoo artists, drag racers, quarrymen and exotic dancers a place to operate. Photographer Sabrina Staires captured images of a portion of the city that doesn't appear in Zagat guides. Click here for a slideshow.
What the Airline History Museum lacks in profile it makes up for in drama. Last fall, former Executive Director Paul Sloan admitted to stealing from the museum, which displays vintage aircraft in a hangar at the airport in downtown Kansas City.
At around the time that Sloan was being charged, a court case involving past and present museum members came in for a landing. One aspect of the case that was omitted from this week's feature story was the apparent attempt by one side to use a Trojan horse to keep the lawsuit from being dismissed.
John Travolta appeared at a benefit for the Airline History Museum in 2007. Questions arose about the handling of the money not long after the star left town.
This week's issue of The Pitch describes how the suspicions about Paul Sloan, the museum's former executive director, eventually developed into a prosecution for felony stealing. Before the jig was up, Sloan told the museum's supporters that proceeds from the Travolta event were used to buy aviation-related books and CDs that were distributed to schools.
After nearly two years on the shelves, synthetic weed is finally going away for good. State lawmakers failed to stem the tide, and now the federal government has stepped in, issuing a temporary emergency ban on all fake pot that will start at the end of the month and run at least a year -- or as long as it takes for them to figure our just what the long-term effects of the chemicals might be.
So with one month left to stock up, is it worth your time an money to invest in Syn? Currently the most popular of dozens of variations on K2 (the faux-reefer that started it all) Syn racks up thousands of dollars in sales every day for metro shops, including the subject of this week's feature, the Coffee Wonk ("Buzz Factory") Can thousands of stoners be wrong, or should you get a bag of Syn while the getting is good? For the last time, The Pitch Action News Team smokes up for you.
Not a lot of people see Broadway as a great investment in the best of times, let alone the last few years in this economy. If you did somehow find a way to make money, you'd be forgiven for just pocketing the cash. And there's Micah Riggs, owner of the coffee Wonk and the subject of this week's feature ("Buzz Factory") taking the money he's made from K2 and Syn incense and trying to build up Midtown by investing his own money in new businesses.
But it looks like Riggs, and at least half-a-dozen other Kansas City businesses, are going to lose a lot of sales very soon. The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued an emergency ban on five chemicals used to create the various strains of fake reefer.
Garrett Webster searches online news stories for echoes of his father, NFL great Mike Webster, who died in 2002.
Webster works for the Brain Injury Research Institute, a group trying to advance the understanding of concussions and neurological disorders. Webster spends part of his day reaching out to the families of deceased football players and military personnel. He asks the relatives if they might be willing to donate their loved one's brains to science. "It's not easy," Webster says of his delicate work.
I'm freaking excited!
"It's a cold day for pontooning."
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