In two more days, 2014 will be behind us. Here’s a look at the last 12 months, through the words of newsmakers from in and around the Northland.
“Lee Hull represents integrity. He obviously is very intelligent. … He has a marvelous reputation. I’ve never heard anything but praise for Judge Hull and how he handles himself and the courtroom.”
Platte County Commissioner Beverlee Roper, speaking when the county courthouse was named for Owens Lee Hull, a retired circuit court judge.
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“What we do is try to give the award to someone who is really fighting for social justice and equal rights. ... Susan McCann is working, leading marches and demonstrations all over the city against payday loans and to increase the minimum wage.”
Cecelia Robinson, describing the Invictus Award for Social Justice, given this year to McCann, pastor of Grace
Episcopal Church in Liberty.
“The question is very simple. Should we expand or not? Do you want to buy this?”
Kansas City Councilman Russ Johnson, talking about the proposed expansion of the city’s streetcar system. Later in 2014, residents south of the Missouri River rejected a new taxing district for the
“There’s a need for it right now, but with further development there will be a greater need.”
Sheila Tracy, president of the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, talking about
$2 million in improvements
to Englewood Road.
“I want to sincerely apologize for what happened during the football game between our two schools. ... I apologize that your season came to an abrupt end. I do hope that you are doing better and your concussion has finally subsided and any other trauma you might have endured ... has also gone away.”
Platte County High School football player Colin Byrd, 18, speaking to Winnetonka High School player Jake Rosebaugh after Byrd pleaded guilty in court to misdemeanor assault. The previous October, prosecutors alleged, Byrd twisted off Rosebaugh’s helmet and struck Rosebaugh in
the head with it.
“Bullying is bullying no matter what the age, and it doesn’t go away when people get out of high school.”
Deb Babbitt, a Kansas City, North, social worker who has given more than a dozen
presentations on bullying against older adults.
“I think we saved taxpayers money, and anytime you can do that, that is good.”
Gene Owen, Clay County’s western commissioner,
commenting on approval of the county budget.
“It is unfortunate for the taxpayers ... that their county commissioners are cutting the office that is charged with alerting the citizens of government waste, inefficiency and impropriety.”
Clay County Auditor Sheila Ernzen, whose budget was cut severely by commissioners, They were also criticized for
cutting the parks budget.
“We have never had a conversation with them as to why they wanted to go into a different direction. It is unfortunate.”
Tony Reinhart, board
chairman of the Clay County Economic Development Council, saying the council was caught off guard when the County Commission ended a
relationship with the council that dated to 1967.
“For me, it’s made in heaven.”
Northland resident Steve Elliott, commenting on the new Flintlock Flyover overpass at Missouri 152 and Interstate 35.
“We think the court will determine that the decision of the commission was proper.”
Mike Keleher, an attorney representing Platte County, after opponents sued over the County Commission’s approval of plans for Chapel Ridge, a 351-lot residential development on 143 acres near Missouri 45 and Route K. The litigation is continuing.
“Whatever it takes, we’re going to do it. We’re not going to tolerate this.”
Clay County Presiding
Commissioner Pamela Mason, after a second violent incident at the Kansas City Zoo
involving crowds of rowdy youths on one of the zoo’s free days. Mason was speaking as chairwoman of the Kansas City Zoological Tax District
“I’ve done just about everything else for the county. I figured I might as well be county counselor for a change.”
Former county prosecutor and associated circuit judge Don Norris, upon his
appointment as Clay
“My daughter really gets a kick out of it, because she gets kind of queen-of-the-day status.”
Bob Howard, a volunteer for the Watch DOGS — Dads of Great Students — organization at Chinn Elementary School in Kansas City.
“It was an appalling waste of the taxpayers’ money.”
Luann Ridgeway, Clay
County’s eastern commissioner, after the county dropped a lawsuit to recoup money spent on removing a wall built in 2006 between workers for the county clerk and auditor.
“There have been times when Democrats were definitely in the lead, and right now Republicans are, but we feel very sure that we will be back.”
Pauli Kendrick, chairwoman of the Platte County
Democratic Central Committee, when her party fielded no candidates for county posts in the November election.
“We have to remember that all of our buildings are public buildings. It’s important for us to have space for people like the Boy Scouts, civic groups or others.”
Kansas City Police Maj. Roger Lewis, speaking of the Police Department’s desire to replace the decades-old North Patrol Division headquarters.
“We built what the people wanted, and I firmly believe the Platte County population wants to be fit and healthy.”
Platte County Parks and Recreation director Brian Nowonty, talking about an $8.4 million upgrade to the Platte County Community Center South in Parkville.
“We still face an uphill climb to convince the public that we need a new terminal.”
Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford, after a citizens task force recommended a new single terminal to replace the three-terminal arrangement at Kansas City International Airport.
“They didn’t listen to the public who showed up at the meetings.”
Dan Coffey, a member of a political action group called Citizens for Responsible Government. He opposes the single-terminal airport concept.
“I tell my story to all types of people to give them a better view. To look at me, you may not think I have schizophrenia. I’m a person first. It’s no different than having diabetes.”
Elizabeth Wilson of Kansas City, North, one of many people in the area who are working to remove the stigma of
“Our sunsets and sunrises are incredible, and the view of the river is picturesque. The new park is in a perfect location.”
Tom Hutsler, chairman of the Main Street Parkville Association, about Platte County’s first off-leash dog park in Parkville.
“There are probably thousands upon thousands of cases (nationally) every year that police and prosecutors never learn about.”
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, talking about “sextortion” crimes after charging a 22-year-old Kansas City man with threatening to post nude photos of a 16-year-old girl if she didn’t have sex with him.
“The district apologizes for any inconvenience that this may have caused those affected.”
Park Hill School District Superintendent Scott Springston, announcing that a data security breach may have compromised the personal information of more than 10,000 people.
“In other cities the mood changes the day it opens. ... You build the first line, and the demand for it accelerates.”
Kansas City Councilman and Northland resident Dick Davis, speaking about streetcars after voters nixed a taxing district to build upon the city’s starter line. He formerly led the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
“There was a guy charged with fighting at the casino. He bit one of the police officers. And when he actually discovered (in court) that he was in Clay County, he started to cry.”
Kevin Baldwin, a defense attorney in Liberty, commenting on sentencing disparities between more lenient Jackson County and its northern
“Law enforcement should be thinking beyond the home front. We want to feel safe and secure.”
Parkville Police Chief Kevin Chrisman, speaking about a new Missouri law that, if Kansas agrees, would allow area law enforcement agencies to forge mutual aid agreements with their Kansas counterparts.
“We were in awe of them. They had the tightest horn section in town.”
Winnetonka High School graduate Charles Cottitta, talking about the 1970s-era band Blackwater Junction, which held a reunion concert at Paul & Jack’s Tavern in North Kansas City.
“It’s gone from being an eyesore to a place where people walk their dogs and take their children to play. It’s completely changed the landscape, literally and figuratively.”
Anna Hazen, speaking about the new Chouteau Parkway, which replaced Chouteau Trafficway from Missouri 210 north to Interstate 35. The parkway includes a landscaped median, rain gardens, landscaping and
“The shore is bold and rocky immediately at the foot of the hill. From the top of the hill, you have a perfect command of the river.”
Platte County Parks and Recreation director Brian Nowotny, who portrayed explorer William Clark at one of the county’s 175th anniversary events. The words came from Clark’s journal.
“(He) had a big pile of manure in his hands, and he thought the jail committee was the way to deal with it.”
James Roberts, the onetime chairman of the Platte County jail committee, alleging that an unnamed county commissioner tried to use the committee to solve a funding problem with new police radios. The committee, formed to address potential crowding in the jail, recommended diverting money from the parks department to fund the radio system, but county leaders raised taxes instead.
“I wouldn’t call it a logical process.”
Platte County Commissioner Beverlee Roper, speaking of the jail committee’s work.
“If you’d told me at the end of junior year that I would have gotten this, I would have told you you were crazy.”
Liberty High School senior Mary Mwaura, who was crowned homecoming queen.
“I’m so disappointed in the leadership and how this matter was handled.”
Former Smithville City Councilman Todd Justice, commenting on the suspension of Smithville High School Principal Rudy Papenfuhs, who eventually resigned after being accused of crossing boundaries with students. His supporters said he was unduly punished for caring about students and trying to help them.
“I love to lower taxes as much as anybody. I also like to balance budgets.”
Luann Ridgeway, Clay County’s eastern commissioner, who voted against cutting the county’s general fund property-tax levy. She was outvoted.
“It’s always difficult to defeat an incumbent. But there’s also an old saying that friends come and go, and enemies accumulate. That’s doubly true for prosecutors, who naturally pick up foes by prosecuting members of their own community.”
Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd, talking about the defeat of longtime Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley.
“Our motto is ‘A place where exceptional farmers live, work, play and grow.’”
Peaches Cunningham, one of the founders of the Farmer’s House Market, a nonprofit Weston area farm where young adults with disabilities
“It is mediocre at best.”
Clay County Sheriff’s Lt. Will Akin, saying coverage can be spotty with the new public safety radio system. County officials say they need to spend about $600,000 to
replace older equipment.
“There is nothing more disappointing than waking up Christmas morning and finding very little.”
Platte County Sheriff’s
Capt. Mark Holland, about the annual Shop With a
“The world was different in 2006.”
Banker Bob Regnier, talking about land at Missouri 45 and Interstate 435 in Parkville that’s burdened by yearly bills for road and sewer improvements conceived in 2006. He said the costs are scaring off