Main Street group honors Liberty
Missouri Main Street Connection honored two Liberty residents, as well as an Excelsior Springs art studio, with Downtown Revitalization awards at its recent statewide conference.
Historic Downtown Liberty, Inc. (HDLI) nominated both Jonna Wensel, who was given the Missouri Outstanding Public Official Award; and Gordon Hadden who received the Missouri Volunteer of the Year Award. HDLI nominee Steve Meirowsky was also a semi finalist for the Best Facade Rehabilitation over $10,000 for his property at 14 E. Franklin Street.
Molly Roberts Studio of Excelsior Springs tied for the Business Excellence Award with Cape Girardeau’s Thomas R. Higgins Accounting. Robert’s Studio offers painting and crafts classes. Roberts is active in the Excelsior Springs business community and partners with the city’s parks and recreation department to offer art classes.
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Wensel is the community development manager for the city of Liberty and has served as preservation planner. She is an active volunteer with HDLI and a liaison between the city of Liberty and the downtown association.
“For Jonna to win the outstanding public official for the whole state and for Gordon to win as volunteer, we were really proud of that because they deserved it,” said Vicki Vance, executive director of HDLI.
Wensel called the award an ‘incredible honor … I told them the real reward is getting to work with their organization,” said Wensel
Hadden is an active volunteer with HDLI and helped establish scholarships for volunteers to attend Missouri Main Street Connection’s (MMSC) downtown revitalization conference. He is also a property owner who has invested in the historic downtown.
“Gordon is such a role model for anyone involved in historic downtown Liberty,” said Wensel. “He’s been involved for so many years. His generosity knows no bounds. Not only is he a cheerleader for HDLI but he shows up and does the work as well. He’s exemplary.”
Other nominations by HDLI which received local recognition were Aimee Gray, owner of A3G Architects, who was awarded the HDLI Stick Out Your Neck Award; and Charles Small, who received HDLI’s under $10,000 façade renovation award.
Liberty breaks ground for utilities center
The city of Liberty held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Utilities Operations Center and Wastewater Treatment Facility Aug. 19 on the building site southwest of Birmingham Road near the city limits.
The facility, which is expected to be finished in 2017, will include a wastewater treatment facility, administration offices, a testing laboratory and maintenance facility on a 25-acre site.
The $95 million project is the result of years of research and planning by city staff, a citizen-based utility task force and the city council. In 2013 city voters approved a no-tax bond for improving the sewerage system in Liberty which will be paid through sewer system user fees.
The city is using a design-build process with contractor Goodwin Brothers. The city worked with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to secure necessary permits and well as a State Revolving Fund low interest loan which officials estimate will save the city $40 million in interest expenses compared to conventional bonding sources.
“This is the largest single investment to the City’s infrastructure to date,” said Mayor Lyndell Brenton, in a press release. “With this facility, we are able to make long-term wastewater treatment costs more stable and predictable for Liberty residents while ensuring capacity for the City’s future growth in the coming decades.”
For more information about the project, visit www.ci.liberty.mo.us/WWTF.
Hike at nature sanctuary
A family hiking group, sponsored by Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary (MLTNS), will meet weekly through October to hike the trails of MLTNS and other parks in the city of Liberty.
The next hike is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the nature sanctuary. The group meets at the picnic shelter.
Registration is required by calling 816-781-8598. Fees are $5 per hike or $15 month. Hikes are held on Thursday evenings.
The nature sanctuary is at 407 N. LaFrenz Road, Liberty.
NAMI Education Program
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering a free 12-week course for families and friends of those who are dealing with conditions such as bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia and ADHD.
“It gives people an opportunity to get a real good idea of what mental illness is, some of the struggles that go along with it, and some of the solutions to help family members. This is a class taught to family members by family members,” said Ken Dawn, Peer Coordinator with NAMI.
A session begins Sept. 8 at Tri-County Mental Health Services, 3100 N.E. 83rd Street, Kansas City, North. Classes will be held 6-8:30 p.m. each Thursday.
NAMI is also offering classes at Rediscover in Lee’s Summit, beginning Sept. 14; Research Psychiatric Center in Kansas City, beginning Sept. 1; and Truman Behavioral Health in Kansas City, beginning Sept. 9.
Some of the topics which will be taught are family responses, diagnosis, problem-solving, medication review, understanding the inner experience of the mentally ill, self-care, advocacy, and fighting stigma.
While the course is free, registration is required by calling 816-931-0030 or emailing Ken Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kearney smoking ban
Kearney residents will have to wait until Aug. 31 to find out if the smoking ban voters approved in an Aug. 4 election will be upheld by the city board of alderman.
The board was set to vote on the smoking ban which would prohibit smoking in public places during an Aug. 17 meeting, but due to the absence of the mayor the vote was tabled until Aug. 31.
The four-man board of alderman will have the last say on whether the smoking ban becomes official in the city.
Of the 652 votes cast Aug. 4, 420 favored a broad smoking prohibition indoors.
Northland Giving Circle to donate $30,000
The Northland Giving Circle (NGS) is accepting grant applications for its annual $30,000 gift to a Northland charity.
Interested charities in Clay and Platte counties should submit applications by Oct. 8. The winning charity will be announced at the beginning of 2016. Applications are available at: www.gkccf.org/grant/northland-giving-circle.
NGS was established five years ago. Past recipients are Harvesters’ Feed Northland Kids; Assistance League of Kansas City’s Operation Child in Need; Northland Assistance Center’s Family Support Program; and Shepherd’s Center of the Northland’s Outreach Services for Seniors.
Members of NGC make an annual donation of $302.50 each. They attend one annual meeting and vote on the charity.
“It’s an easy way for people to pool their money and make a significant difference. So instead of giving your $300 you can give $30,000 and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Judy Spinner, grant chairman with NGS.
The organization welcomes new members.
For information contact Spinner at email@example.com or 816-741-7131.
Victor & Penny at Corbin
Entertainers Victor & Penny will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Corbin Theatre in Liberty.
The duo presents “hot prohibition style jazz” with modern voices, according to their website, and has toured 35 states in the past three years, covering 140,000 miles.
The couple was mentioned by Kansas City Mayor in his 2015 state of the city address who said, “What Victor & Penny did creating their own musical style, building a band and a small business around it is what Kansas City is all about.”
The couple was named “Stand-out Concert of 2014” by The Joplin Globe.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased through corbintheatre.ticketleap.com.
The Corbin Theatre is at 15 North Water Street, Liberty.
Tri-County awards banquet
Seven individuals and organizations will be honored at the annual Tri-County Mental Health Services banquet Aug. 31 at Courtyard Marriott at Briarcliff.
Six of the awards have been announced. The Consumer of the Year Award will be announced that day.
Announced awards are:
▪ Liberty School District, Outstanding Commitment to Prevention
▪ J.D. Pettey of the Kansas City Police Department, Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year
▪ Charles Ray, The Phoenix Community Achievement
▪ Keith Schafer, Outstanding Professional Achievement in Behavioral Health
▪ Amie Attebery, Outstanding Provider Achievement
▪ Talina Canon, Outstanding Employee of the Year
Keynote speaker at the event will be author Kevin Hine,s who will speak about his suicide attempt from the Golden Gate Bridge and his work as a suicide prevention advocate.
The Tri-County celebration begins at 6 p.m. with a reception. Dinner follows at 6:45 p.m.
Tickets are $75. Courtyard Marriott is at 4000 N. Mulberry Drive Kansas City, North.
For information call 816-468-0400; email Vicki Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.tri-countymhs.org.
| Norma King, Special to The Star