For this New Year’s Day, the whole newsroom fanned out to ask sources what they’re looking forward to in the coming year, personally as well as professionally. Here’s what we learned:
Kansas City Mayor Sly James: “I’m looking forward to several really frosty things in 2017. I’m looking forward to the opening of the Urban Youth Baseball Academy.” (It’s under construction in Parade Park next to the 18th and Vine Jazz District.)
“I’m looking forward to Hilary Stuver’s wedding.” (She is a senior adviser for communications in the mayor’s office.)
“I’m looking forward to mini-ME growing up into adulthood.” (That is the little look-alike in his office, a gift from a relative for James’ birthday, created by Kansas City artist Taylor Triano of Lil Bits Textile Arts.) (Lynn Horsley, email@example.com)
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Donald J. Hall Jr., CEO of Hallmark Cards Inc. (and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Kansas Citian of the Year): “This has been a year when so many people are feeling fearful or not heard. We all sense an ‘empathy deficit.’ For 2017, I’m hopeful more of us will reach out to others and express caring more powerfully. It will make our world a better place and each of us more fulfilled.” (Diane Stafford, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Joyce DiDonato, opera star and Prairie Village native: “I am elated to be debuting my next Rossini role, Semiramide (Queen of Babylonia) in Munich and then taking it to London with my ‘Grammy partner,’ maestro Tony Pappano. I am certain it will be music-making at the very highest level, which will likely rock my world.”
Any events DiDonato is looking forward to attending as a spectator? “Game 7 of the World Series, again, at Kauffman Stadium.” (Patrick Neas, email@example.com)
Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City defender and Blue Valley West grad: “In 2017, I’m looking forward to playing in front of our fans at Children’s Mercy Park. I’m also looking forward to watching my newborn daughter, Parker, walk for the first time.” (Sam McDowell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, on the Sprint Foundation: “2017 will be an incredible year as we will start providing free internet access to underprivileged kids, and because of this they will have a fair chance to compete with privileged kids — and that will make my year.” (Mark Davis, email@example.com)
Josh Earnest, White House press secretary (and KC native): “After 2 1/2 years in a job I often describe as the opportunity of a lifetime, my schedule will be driven less by world events and more by the ‘domestic’ agenda at home. It won’t seem as glamorous, but it will still be demanding (my wife and I have a 2-year-old and one on the way).
“I am excited about having more time with my son and hopefully more regular trips to the gym and home-cooked meals. Starting on the 20th of January will be a year of transition for me, and I am looking forward to capitalizing on it.” (Colleen McCain Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford: “I’ll be starting my foundation, so what I want to give back to is the kids. I personally care about kids’ upbringing, and with my foundation, I want to do seminars. A lot of people want to be successful, but they don’t know how to. But it’s the same formula you want to apply to anything you want to do.
“So I want to start self-help deals, where I’m working with kids and just teaching them different ways to think about life. It’s hard to break bad habits once you get older.” (Terez Paylor, email@example.com)
Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor: After a hectic 2016, what is she looking forward to in 2017? “Many things. But I am most looking forward to my commitment to eating lunch (and) breakfast every day, and exercising.” (Donna McGuire, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rapper Tech N9ne: “I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction to this wonderful album.” (He released his 17th studio album, “The Storm,” on Dec. 9 and will tour on the album in 2017.) “When you’re writing these songs, you can only hope your fans feel the same way you do when you listen to every song. My very first album was ‘The Calm Before the Storm.’ To wait 20 years to get to ‘The Storm,’ I hope and think people are going to say it was worth the wait.”
And one more thing: “Big plans in 2017? I’m going to lose more weight so I can take off my shirt onstage.” (Timothy Finn, email@example.com)
Secret Santa, the anonymous local businessman who hands out hundred dollar bills each Christmas season. After spending a recent day with families in Kansas City, Kan., he offered this: “My wishes for the new year? For the family of the little girl who died today at 10:02 a.m. of brain cancer in a poor home, that the family heals and that they have enough money to carry on.
“That the mother of two small children (about 1 and 2 years old) finds a place to live with a roof over their heads. (KCK police officers put the family up in a motel, after learning that the mother was going to buy a tent for a home.)
“For the 12 homeless veterans I met today, that this New Year’s they will have places to live and that they will have better lives in 2017.
“That every police officer in the Kansas City area is safe this year, and that none experiences what happened to Capt. David Melton and Detective Brad Lancaster (who were killed in 2016 in Kansas City, Kan.).
“That the little mother we met today in 20 degree temperatures carrying a little boy who had no socks — who one of the officers bought clothes for — that she will sleep in a warm bed with her children.
“That the elderly grandparents who are raising seven children, who have nothing, will have a good Christmas and that their new year will be filled with blessings and stability and peace.
“That every American will commit one random act of kindness, and if they do, their spirits will light up the world.” (Donna McGuire, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Julian Zugazagoitia, director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: “We have been preparing for the opening of the Bloch Galleries that will house the Henry and Marion Bloch collection of impressionist art along with our collection.
“Thanks to the Bloch Family Foundation, we have been restoring almost a quarter of our museum inside so that when we open this in the spring, you will discover many works that you’ve already known that were jewels of the museum collection — like our ‘Water Lilies’ or our van Gogh — but then joined by the great works of art that are coming from Henry’s collection. So that is going to be the highlight of 2017 for us.” (David Frese, email@example.com)
Morgan Dameron, filmmaker and assistant to J.J. Abrams: “Happiness in 2017 for me means finishing my film, ‘Different Flowers’ (shot here this summer). To sit in the back of a dark theater as an audience watches it for the first time and to see Kansas City on the big screen will be a thrill.
“I can’t wait to cheer on my littlest sister as she graduates from high school. And a new puppy would be great too.” (Sharon Hoffmann, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chiefs receiver Chris Conley: “I’m looking to get back into some filmmaking. I’ve taken a year and a half to two years off from that, just getting settled up here and focusing on Kansas City football and getting established. Now is the time to start getting my mind on some stories and trying to formulate some of those. You never know, there could be countless things I come up with.
“I’m real interested in working with my sister; she’s about to graduate college with a film degree, so she’s really smart. She’s a lot better than me. If I can get her to work on some of my projects with me, she’s got the ideas, the technical know-how and stuff like that, while I kinda have the foot-in-the-door thing, where I can get locations, equipment and people. I want to find a way to open some doors for her.” (Terez Paylor, email@example.com)
Mark Holland, mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.: “In 2017, I plan to work toward my goal of reading every 20th century work of fiction that received the Pulitzer Prize. I am also going to recommit myself to balancing work with my spiritual and family life. Getting more exercise will be an important part of achieving that balance, especially since 2017 will be a re-election year.” (Steve Vockrodt, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eric Rosen, artistic director, Kansas City Repertory Theatre: “It’s going to be a big year for Clay (husband Claybourne Elder) and I. We’re trying to have a baby in the next year. That’s going to change our lives an awful lot. We’ve been trying for a long time. We’ll hopefully find out some good news soon. We’re going through a surrogacy process, and we’re hoping to be pregnant soon.
“I’m also at a point where I hope to focus more on writing. The Rep is very stable right now. I’m working right now on a pilot for a television show. An idea I’ve been kicking around for a long time. Stuff from my childhood. Now it’s time to actually get it down on paper. It really feels good to have gotten the Rep to a very secure spot so I can think more about art and less about business.” (David Frese, email@example.com)
Randy Wisthoff, executive director of the Kansas City Zoo: “I always take a look at our bucket list and see if there’s anything we’ll be able to cross off this coming year. Barb and I always try to tackle at least one biggie, and with luck, a few of those not so biggies. We’ve been trying to plan a visit to the Tuscany area of Italy for a few years; maybe 2017 is finally the year we get there. Or do we just watch ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ again?
“We look forward to playing golf, at least once a week if possible. I’d like to say I look forward to lowering my handicap a stroke or two, but that’s probably the ‘Impossible Dream.’
“I always look forward to enjoying a little quiet time, maybe finding a new restaurant or just spending time in our backyard doing a little amateur gardening, cooking on the grill or bird-watching. Whatever comes our way we’ll enjoy; we always do.” (Matt Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shirley Helzberg, philanthropist: “I work diligently on behalf of many areas of the community that are of the utmost importance to me personally, as well as (holding) a premier position in the region. May they all continue to achieve even greater success in 2017. Several of these are University Academy, the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, redevelopment and greater density in the Crossroads, continued artistic growth for the Kansas City Symphony and greater relevance of our beloved Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.” (Diane Stafford, email@example.com)
Eric Zahnd, Platte County prosecutor: “I’m an optimist by nature, so I’m excited that 2017 will be a great year. I’m especially looking forward to my oldest son’s senior year of high school and my youngest son’s sophomore year. I can hardly believe they will turn 18 and 16 this year. I now know what my mom meant when she said time moves more quickly every single day. For that reason, I intend to focus on appreciating the moments my wife, Tracy, and I have left with our boys before they move on to college and their own lives, hopefully not to return to our basement.” (Glenn Rice, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sophie Cunningham, star sophomore guard for Mizzou and reigning SEC women’s basketball freshman of the year: “In 2017, I think I’m most looking forward to continuing this fun season with my teammates, especially alongside my sister, who’s a senior (point guard Lindsey Cunningham). It’s been such a blessing playing with her at the highest level.” (Tod Palmer, email@example.com)
Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the Kansas City office of the FBI, looks forward to continuing to build strong relationships with community youth. Jackson is also eagerly anticipating a Super Bowl LI matchup between the Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys. He’s a lifelong Cowboys fan and a transplanted Chiefs fan. “I’ll always cheer for the Chiefs,” he said. “Until that game.” (Tony Rizzo, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts, owners of Bluestem in Westport and Rye in Leawood: “We’re excited about expanding our business next year,” Colby says.
“Personally,” Megan adds, “we’re looking forward to remodeling our home kitchen. We’ve never had a chef’s kitchen in our house.” Initial plans include a butcher block island, quartz or marble counter tops, professional appliances, a hidden cocktail bar and more space for their kids Madi, 10, and Colin, 6, to learn to cook.
“They’re getting more interested in making pastas and doing prep work,” Colby says. Adds Megan: “They’ll taste everything, which is great.” (Sarah Gish, email@example.com)
Susie DeRouchey, counselor and rider of Chiefs spirit horse Warpaint: Her professional goals include expanding her therapy practice and taking Warpaint to the Super Bowl. Personal goals: “1. Practice mindfulness. Live in the moment, enjoy and appreciate it. Slow down! 2. Pray every day. Pray for the hopes and dreams of others and myself. Give thanks to God for the blessings he has given us. 3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Work out five times a week. Prepare healthy meals at home. Get eight hours of sleep at night. 4. Donate as much time and do as many good deeds for people as possible to make our community a better place. 5. Have neater handwriting. This is a recurring goal, but I always want to work on it!” (David Frese, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: “I’m looking forward to 2017 bringing continued growth for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with an emphasis on two key projects: the opening of the first floor of the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center at the site of the Paseo YMCA (birthplace of the Negro Leagues) and the call to ‘play ball’ at the new Urban Youth Baseball Academy in Parade Park,” behind the museum.
“Both projects are transformative in nature and will have a positive, long-lasting impact on the NLBM and those who reside and play at historic 18th & Vine.” (Aaron Randle, email@example.com)
Stephane Scupham, film and media manager at Visit KC: “In 2017 we look forward to the NBC show ‘American Ninja Warrior’ filming (they came first in 2015), we look forward to a KC-based TV series filming 12 episodes for DIY Network (produced by Reality Road from KC and Conveyor Media out of L.A.), we look forward to a film tourism section of the Visit KC website, we look forward to representing KC at Sundance, Locations Tradeshow and our L.A. and NYC industry meet-ups this year.
“Personally I am focusing on gratitude! And I will take the time to see more music in 2017 and go dancing.” (David Frese, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Chiefs defensive tackle: “Actually I’m going back home (to Belize) for the first time in many years. I’ve actually got time, and everything is looking good right now. I plan to do a couple things back home as far as my charity goes. Marcus (Peters) wants to donate, and (Dustin) Colquitt wants to do some dental hygiene with his Cool Smiles (Foundation) when I go back.” (Terez Paylor, email@example.com)
Jason Chanos, Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s associate artistic director: “I’m looking forward to two things in the next coming year more than anything: spending some time with my four boys — Deuce, Cooper, Max and Gabe — and their newly retired grandfather and going on a wonderful summer vacation with my wife, Jessica. And a role at the Kansas City Rep in their upcoming production of “What Would Crazy Horse Do?” (Sharon Hoffmann, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Danny Clinkscale, sports journalist for 810 AM WHB: (In 2016, his book, “Leaving Cancer for the Circus,” detailed his recovery from cancer that included a trip through the Midwest.) “I am not someone who makes New Year’s resolutions, but I am very resolute in making each year a good one. That was the case even before I was diagnosed with cancer in late 2014, but it perhaps came into sharper focus following my surgery, radiation treatment and eventual recovery.
“2017 will have a special event personally as my wife, Jayne, and I in June will be replicating the (Black Hills) trip I took solo after recovering from cancer. … It will be a thrill two years later to share something similar with the woman I trusted to understand my whimsy. (Blair Kerkhoff, email@example.com)
Frank Byrne, executive director, Kansas City Symphony: “I always look forward to the upcoming concerts, which we plan more than a year in advance, and the realization of plans we made a year or two ago — whether it is to have a guest conductor we’ve never had before or a Kansas City premiere that we’ve not performed before. Seeing all of our plans realized and come to life in Helzberg Hall is a tremendously exciting thing on an ongoing basis.” (David Frese, firstname.lastname@example.org)