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A LOOK BACK: 2003 have many local news highlights

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Zoning disputes. A road tax election. Loads of crime news. A stream of local political issues. An annexation attempt.

Those are just some of the stories that may jog a reader's memory as The Landmark takes its annual look back at the year in local news. In this issue, the first six months of 2003 are reviewed week-by-week. Next week the months of July through December will be revisited.

JANUARY

Jan. 2: Seven elected officials are sworn into office during a ceremony at the Platte County Administration Building. Taking the oath were Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, Recorder Ida Cox, Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight, Circuit Clerk Sandy Dowd, Auditor Sandra Thomas, Collector Donna Nash and County Clerk Sandy Krohne.

Jan. 9: Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes appears in Platte County to endorse the county's $65 million roads master plan. The plan goes before voters in April; Platte County's proposed budget shows some cuts made in the general fund, with the funding of the Shiloh Springs Golf Course being moved to the parks fund.

Jan. 16: Platte City Aldermen reverse earlier decision and decide to keep some property in Williamsburg Plaza zoned commercial instead of multifamily; Platte City Aldermen also vote to remove the city's proposed stormwater tax off the April ballot so that the county's road proposal would stand alone; Dearborn announces plans to sell the Dean Park and city lake area.

JAN. 23: Illnesses causing higher than normal absentee rates in area schools; Dearborn decides to put a half cent sales tax issue on its April ballot; Linda Collins, 38, of Parkville, gets five years for assaulting a law enforcement officer by driving while intoxicated; Brenda Williams convicted of first degree murder in death of her son-in-law, Thadd Mize.

JAN. 30: Pocket park proposed by Platte City Area Development Association for end of Main Street in Platte City; County crime rate rising, statistics show; Platte City aldermen increase cemetery fees and approve a salary increase for City Administrator Keith Moody from $62,056 to $63,500. Alderman Ron Porter votes against the raise.

FEBRUARY

FEB. 6: Boy bitten by neighbor's monkey gets $150,000 in settlement approved in Platte County Circuit Court; A large KC-based church is seeking a permit for a retreat/day amp near Platte City; Humphrey's Access Bridge will get replaced in 2005.

FEB. 13: Jason Hendrix, former firefighter, is given 12 year sentence for arson and property damage after reaching a plea agreement with special prosecutor. He won't stand trial for murder; Controversial church day camp zoning issue tabled by Platte County Planning Commission; Sharp's Station Bridge still under construction.

FEB. 20: Shots fired at two state troopers in Platte County. Neither trooper is injured; A proposed deal between Platte County R-3 and a nationally acclaimed private summer school company falls through and R-3 indicates it will continue to operate its own summer school program; County commissioners and Recorder Ida Cox engage in lively debate during commission meeting over microfilming expenses.

FEB. 27: It's announced Kansas City's portion of the Platte County proposed road sales tax could be used to help alleviate traffic congestion at Barry Road and I-29; Platte City aldermen pass a resolution to oppose the Harvest Church's rezoning request at the county level unless certain conditions are met; Two KC men are charged with firing at state troopers; Reserve funds will help North Platte R-1 deal with funding cuts from the state.

MARCH

MARCH 6: Shops at Boardwalk under construction near I-29 and Hwy. 152; Defibrillator machine sought for use by R-3 school district; U.S. Attorney Todd Graves will be roasted at event sponsored by Platte County Optimist Club.

MARCH 13: Controversial zoning issue ends when Harvest Church withdraws its request that would have allowed a retreat/day camp to go in just east of Platte City along HH Hwy.; Notice of real estate value increases will be issued to taxpayers by assessor.

MARCH 20: New library facility planned on seven acres in Platte City, near where the northern Platte County Community Center will be built; land for pocket park donated to Platte City by Dora B. McDonnell; a planned anti-war rally in Platte City fizzles out as less than 10 people show up for rally.

MARCH 27: Platte City Aldermen vote themselves 133% pay raise, giving aldermen $350 per month and mayor $750 per month; Soldiers with local ties involved in war in Iraq; Mayors Council shows support for county road tax.

APRIL

APRIL 3: Write-in candidate John Kurtz announces he'll challenge for Platte City alderman seat; Alleged shoplifting incident at Leo's Country Mart precedes a triple fatality accident in Leavenworth; Jimmy Jack Benner found dead in cattle pen on his farm near Platte City; Prosecutor focusing on alcohol use by minors.

APRIL 10: Voters approve county road tax by 58% to 42%; Planning steps for Platte Ridge Park near Platte City moving ahead; Incumbent Jim Palmer narrowly edges write-in John Kurtz, 51-48, in race for Platte City Ward 3 alderman.

APRIL 17: R-3 teacher Rebecca Stallard gets to meet the brother she never knew; Carpet bandit ordered to repay 11 customers.

APRIL 24: I-29 crash kills three; Platte City takes steps toward TIF commission.

MAY

MAY 1: Pictures show junk appliance items from Platte City's clean-up day had been dumped/stockpiled by city workers in the Riverview Park; Landmark starts its 139th year of publication; Platte Ridge Park planning meeting scheduled.

MAY 8: Former employee at Roberts Auto Plaza charged with embezzling from dealership; Tornadoes hit portions of Platte County
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MAY 15: A battle over public records heats up between Assessor Christine McQuitty and Platte County Commissioners; George Brett among the celebrities taking part in pro-am golf event at The National Golf Club in Parkville; Platte County R-3 senior Tara Gutshall wins The Landmark Award for English, a $250 scholarship sponsored by the newspaper for more than 20 years.

MAY 22: MoDOT says it will grind roadway to aid traction at spot of numerous accidents on I-29 near Platte City; Mike Marshall, general manager of Shiloh Springs Golf Course run by Platte County, resigns position; county commissioners hire special counsel in open records dispute with assessor.

MAY 29: Assessor says she'll hand over the open records; Aldermen get preview of northern Platte County Community Center plans; State completes grinding of I-29 stretch.

JUNE 5: Platte City announces it plans to involuntarily annex 1,500 acres south of current city limits; Platte City swimming pool opens for season; Platte City checks its options on health insurance.

JUNE 12: More than 50 people show up at city hall with concerns over Platte City's annexation plans; Platte County Commission completes purchase of Resource Center along I-29, the building that formerly housed the National Federation of State High School Association.

JUNE 19: After one month away, Platte City Postmaster Mike Barnes announces he will return to his position; Neighborhood groups organize to fight Platte City's annexation plans; Damage total from May tornadoes in Platte County listed at $33 million.

JUNE 26: Platte County man hit with monkeypox disease; Camden Point prepares to host Freedom Festival; Two men sentenced for making meth in Platte County.