Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Edge of Hell and The Beast are open late--P&L Royals fans can visit after games Sat and Sun nights--support our World Class home town haunted houses too

I used to do the advertising for The Edge of Hell and The Beast--for several decades.  And I know how hard it was on Monty Summers' family owned business, back in 1985--when the Royals were in the I-70 World Series.

These are world class operations--the Summers family, including Monty's brilliant niece, Amber Bequeaith, (yep, she used up all the vowels in Scrabble) have taken the haunted house industry to new heights of technology and psychological thriller entertainment.  They are the best operators of the undisputed best haunted houses in the country.  Just like our Royals team.


When you operate a seasonal business, and your target market is glued to the TV--and even the streets of Kansas City are deserted--it's very hard to survive.Fortunately, Halloween is not the biggest night of the year for haunted houses.  Many families are trick or treating, going for the free candy.

That said, I note that The Edge of Hell and The Beast--plus Macabre Cinema, the third haunted house owned by Full Moon Productions, are all open both this Sat. and Sun. nights.

They do not LIST how late.  (That saves you a phone call.  Trust me, they will keep the doors open as long as there are customers in line.)

I have been down there with Rat Man and BeetleJuice and all those screaming teens until 1am--so if you want some fun, and being scared really IS fun, well, just head from the P&L down the 12th St. Bridge, and show up.


Friday night's game was over at a very reasonable time--gosh, just 9 innings!  And win or lose, it's not like you can just go to sleep.  Royals fans have pent up energy.

Now personally, The Beast has long been my favorite, because getting lost in that Werewolf Forest for 20 minutes really drives up my abandonment anxiety.  They do finally send it staff to escort you to the next path.  And at the Edge of Hell, those vertigo bridges freak me out every time.

Live giant anacondas, hauled here from the Amazon.  Oh and that squeezing tunnel--a real heart-pounder.

Tell the Rat Man that Tracy sent you...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Queen Elizabeth in her Royals suit--and hat! I wonder which grandson got her into social media and baseball?



This picture is worth 1000 treaties.  
I love her special chair, her circle pin with real diamonds.
Her gloves.  Her smile.  Her body language.
We are so fortunate her Canadian subjects in Toronto didn't prevail.
But wait!
There's no way the milliner could have appliqued the KC logo 
atop the bow
on her Phillip Treacy hat.
And that Royals logo splashed across her chest.

Is it remotely possible this was Photoshopped?

And do we care?

Heavens, no.

Go Royals.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

KC’s Worst HOA President Ever: Meet Miss October, Krista Turner! From Shawnee. (Unbelievably, her day job is compliance attorney for a company named after the color of the sun…)

Meet Krista Scholes Turner.  Miss October.  Worst Home Owners Association President ever.

This coy neighborhood Nazi is living large.  Famous for shaming folks in public, and this week, calling an illegal executive session, at an undisclosed location, because this “Leona Helmsley” doesn’t want to ever hear from ‘the Little People’. 

Now most HOA’s are known for being bossy but Krista Turner has taken it to new depths.  Critics are ignored.  Forced to wait to the end of the meeting to speak.  Volunteers are never thanked. Approvals are arbitrary and capricious.  That goes for architectural changes and budget items.  And at the meeting I just attended, I was cursed at by her Treasurer, Ed Bernica, for making a statement of fact.   She just smiled like a Cheshire cat.   


Being a high dollar compliance attorney, it’s alarming that this PUTIN OF THE PLAINS exhibits no working knowledge of or respect for Roberts Rules of Order.  Is that how she operates at work??  To wit, that you must only go into executive session coming OUT OF a regular board meeting.  One that has been properly noticed up to the membership, not in four days.  At a time that corresponds to a clock.  Not just “7”, since the clock strikes 7 TWICE a day!  So is it 7AM or PM?  And the board must have a quorum.  And the address of the meeting must be published, whether or not Ms. Turner actually WANTS to hear from any of the 136 homeowners in Turner’s kingdom.

No wonder the state of Kansas was forced to update and trump all the outdated and outlandish HOA bylaws.  In 2010.   Turner seems not to care.  She continues to scold.  She belittles people in her minutes, which she doesn’t even bring to the meetings.  Her half-assed minutes are without attribution or detail that might be useful legally, down the road—the whole purpose of minutes.  Despite being told to at the annual meeting, she refuses to document addresses of Architectural Approvals—nope, she just names names and scolds.  Two months ago, she quoted colorblind and dyslexic bully, Hank Bednar, her Architectural Control Director, who misses most meetings, as saying, “I approved some  paint color for a gal somewhere in Lenexa”.  No address, no sample.

These arrogant, arbitrary and capricious fools have power over our biggest investment: our homes.

As for meeting notices,Turner just warned us little people how we aren’t really welcome to attend meetings, because the board is “there to conduct business”.      
Yeah, as if some Girl Scout troop working on their HOA badge is gonna visit, and serve Thin Mints while they grill Turner on where she learned her celebrated bullying tactics. 

In typical fashion, Turner  threatened to sue the former secretary who resigned.  That was in February.  We have no directory.  She hasn’t found one na├»ve newcomer  to accept that position since.  Imagine that.

Trust me, this is not Adele.


So if all HOA’s are bad, how did Attorney Krista Turner win the crown as Miss October?  It wasn’t the Swimsuit Competition.  She was the Biggest Loser for Miss Congeniality.  And she can’t twirl a baton, at least she doesn’t mention that on Facebook.  My HOA may be the ONLY HOA Board of Directors I know of that is burdened with TWO lawyers!  The VP is a real estate attorney for the GSA—planning to move out the minute he can build his cabin in the woods. 

OK, readers. This is our first winner.  Now tell me about YOUR HOA.  Can you top this??!   Send your nominations.  You can remain anonymous.  I found these dreadful pics on Krista Turner’s Facebook.  Can you imagine?  It looked like campaign meister Jeff Roe had startled her in a paparazzi  ambush, (like he did Cathy Reinhardt 15 years ago when she ran against Roe’s boy Blunt  for Congress up north.) 


Friday, October 16, 2015

Deffenbaugh customers: save $1.50 per week by reading this one post! Instead of buying paper bags, just label a trash can with YW, one per week allowed

I hate paying for those paper trash bags.  So I was thrilled to learn I can put all my twigs and a few leaves in my ratty old trash can, max. 30 gallons, and the third Deffenbaugh truck--the one just for Yard Waste will empty it and leave it.  (So not the black lid bin for trash, and not the yellow lid bin for some recyclables but not glass).  This is the third truck: YW.



That saves any smart homeowner $1.50 per week.  At least during what they call "yard waste season" which is everything except January thru March.  Nine full months, same as a full term baby!

Now you might wonder, why not January thru March?  Don't we all have brush and twigs from winter winds?  Of course we do.  But a little know fact I gleaned when I was on the Shawnee City Council for five long years, was this:  Many workers at Deffenbaugh are Mexicans, not US citizens.  They are allowed to come here on temporary visas.  They live in very bare bones communal housing, often small homes, ten workers to a home, ringing the landfill which is in Shawnee.

And their visas are stored in the company safe.  That was all set up by Dennis Moore, when he was Ron Deffenbaugh's attorney, long before he became the Congressman representing Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.

And the Mexicans must return home for three months, and then return, like monarch butterflies.  So, they go home January through March each year.  (And who wouldn't like a vacation in a warmer clime?)



So Deffenbaugh's staffing is down, every year in first quarter.  And that is the secret reason why no yard waste pickups, other than their special Christmas tree collection.  If there is an ice storm, cities make extra provisions for a special "drag it to the curb" pickup.

Of course, it depends on exactly what contract you or your HOA have with Deffenbaugh.  Forget the website, save time and just call and they look up your address.  913/631-3300.  

I am grateful for Deffenbaugh's Yard Waste trash can policy.  It keeps some people from cheating--eg hiding yard waste in a black bin.  The supervisor explained, you can even use a little five gallon bucket for twigs--but if you don't use a marker to write YW on the side, for YARD WASTE--then you won't get your bucket back.

This is in fact my happiest trash time of the year.  From October thru December, here in Shawnee I can leave a total of 10 yard waste items, rather than the usual eight.  So, nine bundles of limbs (I am a champion lopper) plus my dependable turquoise YW trash barrel.

Life is good.  Thank you, Deffenbaugh.  Miss you Ronnie...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Greatest movie in 30 years, the hit of OmFilmFest.com, one final showing this year: 7:30pm Thursday Oct 15, Standees in PV: the Slumdog/ET/GodsMustBeCrazy/BeingThere/Bollywood extravaganza comedy adventure for thinking people. Thank you Jerome van Wert for wrassling Disney to allow just one more encore showing.

"PK" has emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film of all time.  No wonder Disney bought the US rights. "PK" was the first Indian film to gross INR 6 billion worldwide.  It took heroic efforts by Hyde Park's Jerome van Wert to wrangle the rights to show it one last time this year in KC.  Don't miss it: Thursday 7:30pm, Standees in the Prairie Village Shops, $10.  OMFilmfest.com

This movie is Hindi with English subtitles.  But worth it!!  Riotously funny and engrossing and moving.  If you loved Slumdog Millionaire, or The Gods Must Be Crazy, or Being There, or ET, this is for you.“A stranger in the city asks questions no one has asked before. Known only by his initials, P.K.'s innocent questions and childlike curiosity take him on a journey of love, laughter and letting-go.”


“PK (PeeKay) movie is a political satire, hitting out at corruption in the country.”
“P. K. is a comedy of ideas about a stranger in the city, who asks questions that no one has asked before. Innocent, child-like questions, but they bring about catastrophic answers. People who are set in their ways for generations, are forced to reappraise their world when they see it from PK's innocent eyes. 
---
I saw this in September at OMFilmFest, on the Plaza--and am going again--have never visited Standee's in PV, I hear it's special.  You can't buy PK as a DVD and it's not on Netflix, to my knowledge.  Disney has the rights all locked up like one of their princesses. So hooray for Hyde Park's Jerome van Wert (of the famed art patron duo 'Steve and Jerome') for negotiating this encore.    KC is so blessed to have the OMFilmFest each September, plus KIFF, with its 80 docs, narratives and shorts, which is Nov. 6-12 at Glenwood Arts.  (kansasfilm.com).  And now this encore final airing of PK.  
If you see only one movie the next two years, make it PK.

Hooray for Chris Kemper--first in the nation to use school ID for access to the public library

Chris Kemper set an example for the nation.  Hooray!  And it took three years, but as director of the Kansas City Public Library, he finally got the library's log-in system changed, so kids in the Kansas City Public Schools can do their homework, online, and just log in with their school-issued and verified ID number.  

No need for a stupid and easy to lose library card!  Thank you to Tonyskansascity.com for alerting me to Michael Mahoney's story on KMBC.com.




We can send Matt Damon to Mars, in four years.  But it only took three years for Kemper to be first in America to let school kids into the library without a separate card.

Of course, Chris Kemper is super smart.  He didn't attend KC Public Schools; he went to Pembroke.  And beyond, Yale I believe.  As R. Crosby Kemper III.  The scion of United Missouri Bank wealth.  Now serving out the rest of his life as Kansas City's modern day Medici-in-residence.
 


Kemper also weighed in on the crazy downtown hotel issue, attempting to get the city's secret report showing that it will never pay for itself.  To date, that project is still incomplete, but at least he is leading!  Good for you, Mr. Kemper.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Did SM Schools use Ouija boards to secretly violate Open Meeting Law re Meadowbrook? Why do their lawyers claim they are broke, when they just walked on $1 million in taxes?

The Shawnee Mission School District needs to learn from the Kansas City School District--you can't lie to the public and the legislators about your finances.  Because when your district starts to slide downward, homeowners will vote with their feet.  That's why many families, especially whites, originally fled decades ago to SM.  And are now migrating south to Blue Valley.  Not just for the "children", but for the resale value of their homes, even retirees.


So this week, SMSD got caught talking out of both sides of their mouths.  On Wednesday, they failed their elected duties to protect the finances, by refusing to VETO the goofy "reverse TIF" for Meadowbrook, PV's free Recreational Welfare Rec Center.  They walked away from over a million dollars of property taxes the next 20 years.  Saying in essence, "We don't really need the money."

The very next day, their lawyers filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in Kansas, claiming that the state funding formula has unfairly tied their hands, canceled important classes and increased class size.  "We need millions more in money!"

Shawnee Mission honchos: you can't have it both ways.  Either you're too rich to need the money, or you are broke.  Chocolate or vanilla: choose.

  Click to read PVPost and amicus brief

Hats off to Cindy Neighbor and Patty Mach on SMSD who at least TRIED to force a veto vote on the Recreational Welfare.  But they must have read the tea leaves, or received a ration of crap calling them out, so when the Wed. 7:30am meeting bell rang, they'd been muzzled.  Put in Time Out. Silenced.  And I do mean silenced, since the public was not allowed to speak.

My question is, was KOMA violated?  By whom and how often?  How many secret conversations ensued in the last week?  District Attorney Steve Howe would be inundated if he had to review all the emails and texts from elected officials from BOCC, Ed Eilert, Hannes Zaccharias, to the commissioners, Mayor Laura Wassmer (who was reportedly so gobsmacked at any hint of opposition to her free community center that her page boy came uncurled), the lawyers for the VanTrust car dealers who snagged the TIF, and then the SMSD staff and school board members.

My guess?  Of course there were violations.  Or else how would the district folks have known, walking into the meeting, that they HAD the votes to defeat the proposed veto?  Unless they had secretly counted the votes in the back room and over their I-phone 6's???  (of course they have 'em.  They gave tablets and laptops to every kid in the district this September.  Trust me, these folks have Frequent Flier Miles at the Apple store.)

On second thought: I bet Superintendent Jim Hinson just discerned the vote using ESP!  (The Ouija boards are hidden behind the librarian's desk at every Shawnee Mission SD library.)


Monday, October 5, 2015

Not every greedy mayor lives in KCMO. Now PV Mayor/Welfare Queen Laura Wassmer is in bed with developers, hurting SM schools and property values.

Over in JoCo, the county and now the City of PV have learned from Sly James, in KCMO, how to deliver the bacon, to their friendly developers.

Remember Van Chevrolet?  They turned developer.  First they failed to invade the Plaza, when Polsinelli got a better deal around the corner, when they convinced Sly to bail out both Bob Bernstein and Terry Dunn--and lease it to them.  Now VanTrust has become a JoCo developer. So they bought Meadowbrook Country Club, 9101 Nall.  And in classic car dealer style, they took it as a "trade in" and are now double dipping profitably on TWO deals!

We at VanTrust keep the good land, and sell off the rest to JoCo,
who must build us a free detention pond.
BOCC then gives the clubhouse away for free to PV,
in return for approving this deal instead of building a new courthouse!
(plus it rewards Ron Shaffer being swing vote on King Louie...)
Would you like a free hotdog?

Now VanTrust wants to build upscale senior housing in PV--but waaaaaahhh--- they don't want to pay their property taxes!  But not even JoCo voters would fall for a TIF giveaway to a car dealer.  So,VanTrust is "parting out the car".  Parcelling off the interior half of the land, and foisting it off on JoCo government, with the first ever "reverse TIF".  Instead of jamming that property tax money into their own pocket, they used the three shell game trick.
  


VanTrust is stuffing the abated taxes into the pocket of JoCo Parks and Rec.  To cover the taxpayers' cost for the back half of this trade-in.  But ONLY if the SM Schools fall for this game.  And the big vote is this Wed.

So how does JoCo then pay off the swing voter, new Commissioner Ron Shaffer, former mayor of Prairie Village?  Brilliant!  JoCo Parks & Rec is gonna turn an aging Meadowbrook Clubhouse into the first city to receive a FREE community center, at the expense of ALL the county's taxpayers.  For the win: Prairie Village! 

But Cindy Neighbor on the SM School Board is opposing the TIF.  Wants to veto it Wed. night. How dare she!!!   Welfare Queen Mayor Laura Wassmer is furious!  She is trotting out Kay Barnes, the giveaway queen of KCMO,  and former Mayor Roe Talliaferro, everyone except Bernie Sanders. 

Roe Taliaferro, flanked by former Kansas City, Mo., mayor Kay Barnes (left) and
Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer at a presentation earlier this year,
is encouraging PV residents to contact their representatives on the SM School Board.
 Wassmer is calling SM Schools need to collect property tax to keep competitive with Blue Valley Schools a "short term concern"!   Who is Wassmer's speechwriter?  Sly James??? 

The fact is this: The citizens of Prairie Village are now being lobbied by BOCC Commissioner Ron Shaffer, their former mayor who is trying to deliver the bacon, millions of dollars of JoCo tax dollars, to provide PV with a FREE community center. That is RECREATIONAL WELFARE. No other community got a free community center paid for by ALL of JoCo taxpayers. Not Shawnee, not Lenexa, not even the big dog, OP.  (They are getting one mold-filled room for yoga classes inside King Louie.  By one vote, the BOCC paid $4.5 million for the ugly asbestos filled building. A year later it appraised at $430,000, before pouring $32 million into rehabbing that pig. King Louie is smack dab between Matt Ross Community Center and the vacant Metcalf South.) 

Your home is often your single biggest asset.
Your public schools protect your property values.
So it doesn't matter if you have kids.
Bad schools, eg KCMO, equals lower resale value.

A rec center with subsidized day care COMPETES with private industry, which is well capable of offering yoga or pilates classes and day care. 
If you want the economy to improve, (so your kids and grandkids can get a job and move out of your back bedroom) then stop allowing your governmental lackies to transfer private tasks to public tax financed efforts.

SM Schools should STOP allowing businesses to demand TIF's.
The Meadowbrook TIF is a shell game.  Pretends the tax is for the county not the car dealer, when it is just an account transfer.
By one vote, the JoCo Commission refused to negotiate, and let a car dealer set the inflated price, sans appraisal.And because the car dealer is building things that don't generate much property tax, 
the TIF is a fake: it will likely never be paid off.
It's a gift disguised as an incentive.

This is a Trojan horse.  VanTrust is sneaking into NE JoCo to build what they want,
on the GOOD land, while sticking the county with the worse half, the interior in need of a giant detention pond, and then using Kay Barnes and Welfare Queen Laura Wassmer to hustle for it, 
and now trying to guilt trip the SM Schools into taking it in the yoga shorts.



If PV wants a community center, they should pay for it, and not demand RECREATIONAL WELFARE from every resident in Johnson County.
The SM School Board, led by Cindy Neighbor of Shawnee, should demand their property taxes. Period. VETO THE TIF.  

JoCo, did you learn NOTHING from KCMO???  When you go to sell your home, you don't want to have to lower your selling price by $20,000 to compete with a homebuyer who might not even have kids but wants to move to the Blue Valley School district...for the RESALE VALUE.

What is more important? Resale value of your home? Or putting on your lycra yoga pants and going to the Meadowbrook Welfare Rec Center?