January 9, 2013
January – City manager’s proposed budget cuts to fire department draws fire: Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte proposes eliminating 162 city employee positions, 105 of which are firefighters. Schulte says Kansas City is feeling the lingering effects of the recession and that the fire department comprises 57 percent of the General Fund. Kansas City Fire Department officials say eliminating that many positions could compromise safety and violates national standards. KCFD and the city later reached a compromise, allowing KCFD to keep the 105 positions by offering early retirement incentives and making other changes to save money.
February – NEHS students question value of their diploma: Following the Kansas City Public Schools’ loss of state accreditation, students begin to question the value of their diploma. Northeast News interviews several students at Northeast High School to get their perspective. One junior says, “I’ve already worked so hard. For it to come all the way to this point, for people to say your diploma’s not even going to matter, that scares me because I want to make something out of my life.”
March – Curbing car use on Cliff Drive Scenic Byway: President of the Cliff Drive Scenic Byway Corridor Management Committee Adam Schieber proposes closing Cliff Drive to vehicle traffic five days a week, citing the need for improving safety and making the byway more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. His proposal draws opposition from neighborhood residents and from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Cliff Drive is the only urban scenic byway in Missouri. Forest Decker, superintendent of parks, says he worries the drive could lose its state scenic byway status if it’s closed for most of the week.
April – Truancy ordinance still not resolved; Wagner enacts Rule 28: For nearly two months, the proposed city ordinance to combat truancy has been held in committee and is held once again April 18. The ordinance, which builds upon the Missouri Compulsory Attendance Law by adding penalties for parents and guardians who fail to keep their children in school, continues to draw opposition from homeschooling families and the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee. As a result of the proposed ordinance being held in committee for more than 20 days, City Council member and sponsor of the ordinance Scott Wagner enacts Rule 28 which allows him to bypass the committee and introduce the ordinance to the full council. The City Council approved the ordinance on May 3.
May – Snyder’s Supermarket turns the Big 4-0: Synder’s Supermarket in Historic Northeast celebrates its 40th anniversary and shares its history.
June – Don Bosco tightens purse strings, lays off employees: The Don Bosco Community Centers, which have served Historic Northeast for 70 years, faces financial uncertainty. Three key personnel resign, including Executive Director Ben Cascio, and four are let go due to financial reasons. “Financially, we needed to cut back,” explains Joe Privitera, incoming chair of the Don Bosco Board of Directors. Several sources tell Northeast News that Don Bosco is on the verge of collapse.
July – New soccer complex stands to unite Northeast community: Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation Department hosts the grand opening of the 9th and Van Brunt Athletic Fields. Sitting on a 12.4 acre site, the athletic fields include a new artificial turf soccer field, two natural turf practice fields, decorative and stadium lighting, an amphitheater/event plaza that seats 360, concession building with restrooms, paved parking lot, a 1/2-mile walking trail surrounding the fields and landscaping. “I never thought we would have amenities like this in the area,” says Sheffield Neighborhood Association President Mark Morales.
August – Kansas City goes gaga for Google: More and more Kansas Citians go gaga over Google, including those in Northeast. Strings of Facebook posts and video clips from Northeast residents encourage fellow neighbors to pre-register for Google Fiber. Google Fiber boasts it will provide Internet speeds 100 times faster than today’s average broadband. Most of the Northeast neighborhoods meet the pre-registration requirements for obtaining Google Fiber.
September – Area residents flock to Northeast Taste and Tour: Area residents flock to the first-ever Taste and Tour Sept. 8 sponsored by the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Bobbi Baker-Hughes estimates at least 200 people attended the event. Approximately 100 people rode the tour bus, visiting Historic Northeast gems like the Kansas City Museum, historic homes, the international market place and others. More than 20 Northeast area restaurants participated in the event, serving up delectable and one-of-a-kind samples. Other activities include a jazz and blues band, swing dance performances and more. The chamber says it plans to host the event again.
October – Traffic light changes spur neighborhood backlash: Kansas City’s Public Works crews begin altering traffic signals to flash red and installing stop signs in Historic Northeast and throughout the city. A total of 37 intersections are affected. City officials fail to inform residents of their plan which results in a citywide backlash. Public Works officials say they plan to eventually remove the traffic signals, since the signals are no longer warranted according to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. As a result of neighborhood protests, the city agrees to temporarily halt the removal of the traffic signals and says it will host public meetings to garner input.
November – NEHS Vikings football honored for outstanding season: Northeast High School Vikings varsity football tackle the losing mentality that followed them around for years. Last year, they won one game and the year before that, zero. This year, they end the season with a 7-4 record, the first winning season in years. Their biggest feat this year, however, is winning the Interscholastic League Championship outright for the first time since 1952. The NEHS N Club honors the team with a reception.
December – Saint Paul leaves behind indelible legacy: Northeast News interviews neighborhood residents about Saint Paul School of Theology’s plan to leave Historic Northeast. Saint Paul has resided in Northeast for 47 years. Beginning in the fall of 2013, Saint Paul will relocate its campus to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. Saint Paul cites a dwindling budget and decreased student enrollment as reasons for the move.