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The Platte County Landmark

Covering Platte County, Missouri Weekly Since 1865

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Between the Lines
by Ivan Foley

Off the Couch
by Greg Hall

Off the Wall
by CK Rairden



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Global warming is a lie



Global warming.

The biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people and passed to other countries. The reason other nations are on board is they want American taxpayers to pay the bill.

These people who are crying climate change have not been here very long. When they claim the four hottest years in history have been since 1990, they are either misinformed, not very old or they have a reason to push this lie.

When I grew up in the 1930s, we would go barefoot all summer. We couldn’t afford shoes. In 1934-36, when you would go out at daytime the dust would be so hot from the heat the day before that it would burn your feet. Since 1990, we have not had a year as hot as 1934-36-54-or 1980. I can remember my dad talking about the heat in the early 1920s. The only reason people like Al Gore are pushing this idea is to keep themselves in the public eye.

There is no scientific proof that climate change is happening. It has only been a few short years since these same groups of people were predicting a new Ice Age.
As long as they keep this going they will be able to keep their name before the public. There have been chunks of ice breaking off of glaciers to float in the North Atlantic since time began and will continue for the future. If you don't believe t his, ask the people on the Titanic, if there are any left.

Don’t be fooled by the cry of global warming. It is a hoax, for some people’s personal agenda.

--George Fee


Support the Right to Repair Act



The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has declared its support of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2694) and strongly urges Congress to pass the legislation in order to safeguard individual vehicle ownership rights.

The legislative intent of the Right to Repair Act is to offer protections for motor vehicle owners by making it illegal for vehicle manufacturers to withhold information necessary to diagnose, service or repair motor vehicles.

The fact is that consumers are entitled to the right to choose how their motor vehicle is maintained or upgraded. The point of Right to Repair is not to discourage vehicle owners from using the dealership for service, but to protect the freedom of American consumers to choose how they take care of their motor vehicle, be it in their driveway or at a trusted repair facility

We have formally committed to support the Right to Repair Act because we believe that safeguarding individual ownership rights is an absolute must. Access to accurate information when it comes to the repair or upkeep of a vehicle is essential to the safety and well being of the entire American motoring public.

We encourage all motorists to visit to send a letter to each of their congressional representatives, urging them to support the Right to Repair Act by adding their names to the growing list of co-sponsors.

--Jeff Hennie
Vice President
of Government Relations
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Washington DC


A musical gem locally



I love this time of year. Right here in Platte City we are fortunate to have great music.

On Dec. 4, 2007, Platte City Friends of the Arts had a community band concert. Extra special was Beverly Morales, president, greeting everyone and Lisi Stephens handing out candy canes.

December 16, 2007, Platte County High School’s Concert Band and Wind Ensemble performed at Wilson Auditorium. They were great. These kids have so much talent.
The Canto Chorale presented Season of Wonders at the Platte City Christian Church. This is a group of folks that can and like to sing and do a magnificent job.

Remaining performances include one set for Wednesday, Dec. 16 p.m. at the Park Hill Christian Church, and one on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. at the Conception Abbey.

Merry Christmas!

--Patsy Baber
Platte City



Increased funding for students



As governor I have worked to increase opportunity in our state and to plant seeds for future prosperity. Education is the most important, critical, and significant investment we can make in our future. To ensure future prosperity, Missouri students must have access to the knowledge and skills they need to compete in a global economy.

I pledged that education would be my highest priority when I ran for governor and I have kept that commitment. I have signed budgets to increase our investment in elementary and secondary education by more than half a billion dollars over the past three years, an investment which we will increase to well over $600 million this year if the General Assembly follows my budget recommendations. I have also encouraged investments in Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science – four subjects vital for economic opportunity in the 21st Century.

We have also increased funding for Missouri colleges and universities. Last year, we provided a 2.4 percent increase. This year we increased funding by 4.7 percent. Altogether, in three budgets we have increased higher education funding by nearly $62 million or 7.3 percent, and my 3 year plan will increase funding by more than 100 million dollars.

Earlier this year, we passed an historic higher education improvements bill to fund new world-class learning centers for our students, and, just as importantly, to ensure that public colleges and universities remain affordable – by keeping future tuition increases reasonable for Missouri families and dramatically increasing the number of needs-based scholarships available to Missouri students.

We created the Access Missouri Scholarship program to level the playing field for scholarship applicants and ensure that Missouri’s neediest students receive aid. Instead of having multiple complex formulas, the new Access Missouri Scholarship program has one simple formula. It is based on a family’s ability to pay for college. It provides assistance to students at all of our private and public colleges and universities. Through my budget, needs-based scholarship funding for Missouri students was increased. Across the state last year, 16,400 students received needs-based scholarships. This year, we have more than doubled that number, with 36,000 students having already received aid.

Access Missouri Scholarships are making higher education more affordable for thousands of young Missourians and their families and making Missouri a state of greater opportunity. And that is why I am recommending even more for needs-based scholarships. In next year’s budget, I will recommend a $100 million investment in Missouri college and university students through Access Missouri. Under this proposal, we will have quadrupled our investment in college scholarships for Missouri students since January 2005.

Just as we have dramatically increased our investment in elementary and secondary education, so too have we continually made significant increases for higher education. I am pleased to announce that I will recommend an additional $40 million in direct funding for Missouri colleges and universities in next year’s budget. That is a 4.4 percent increase from last year, and, since January of 2005, an increase of nearly $103 million, or just over 12 percent.

On top of these increases, I will recommend an additional $13.4 million to support expanding health programs throughout the state. The investment will help expand education opportunities for Missouri students pursuing careers in health related fields and will ultimately expand Missourians’ access to care.

The additional $13.4 million will create new opportunities for an additional 171 students at four-year institutions and 146 students at two-year institutions. Missouri students will benefit from increased access to the health related professions, and all Missourians will benefit through a greater supply of health professionals to treat and heal our state’s citizens.

Together, these new investments in Missouri students, Missouri schools, and in the health related professions will create new opportunities for Missourians, making our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

--Gov. Matt Blunt



National Home for Children



Throughout history, American military members have endured the hardships of battle in foreign lands so that their families might enjoy a future of freedom. Those who returned brought with them the dreams of those who didn’t, with promises to keep those dreams alive.

In 1925, the Veterans of Foreign Wars founded the National Home for Children so that all VFW members and its Ladies Auxiliary could help to care for the children and families of comrades left behind. This 629 acres facility stands today as a tribute to that camaraderie while protecting the treasured legacy of those who serve, and it lives on through the continued support of the VFW and its Auxiliary.

The VFW National Home for Children has evolved from its Spartan beginnings to become a multi-faceted facility which cares for the developmental, social and spiritual needs of the children and families of veterans and active duty personnel. Its mission is to provide opportunities for growth and development in a nurturing community, and by doing so serves as a living memorial to all veterans.

The VFW National Home has been a home to more than 2,000 children and families. Some have lived at the Home from infancy while others came for a respite from a life of crisis, leaving as a stronger family unit having been surrounded with caring adults where stability and loving guidance is always at hand. Each precious child or family who passes through the National Home, for whatever length of stay, is a priceless legacy from the men and women who have served our country.

The VFW and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary have pledged a solemn vow that the children and families of veterans must never be forgotten, and it is to that end that they will help to guarantee that the single most visible and effective entity in America serving that need, the VFW National Home for Children, will continue to grow and to thrive.

Annie Shaw
VFW Ladies Auxiliary
Platte City


No driver's licenses for illegals



People from all over the globe come to our great nation to share our freedoms, and Missourians embrace the contributions that lawful immigration makes to our society. But our love of freedom does not have to come at the expense of the rule of law.

Illegal immigration is a serious problem in our country and state. It is not only an assault on the sanctity of our laws but — in a post 9/11 world — a potential threat to the safety of our citizens. Missourians have been waiting on Washington to take action on illegal immigration for years. As Washington has sat idle, problems and frustrations with illegal immigration have only increased. To better protect Missouri families, I have enacted numerous directives to protect Missouri from unlawful immigration. We are now working to enact a new law to specifically forbid the issuance of driver licenses to illegal immigrants and to make it a crime to knowingly help any illegal alien fraudulently obtain a driver license.

In recent weeks, the state of New York has taken center stage on immigration policy in our country. The New York governor concocted a scheme to issue driver licenses to illegal immigrants. A plan like that might sound good to politicians in New York City or Washington, D.C., but it is not good for Missouri. As governor, I will make every effort to ensure that driver licenses are never given to illegal immigrants.

Missourians do not condone lawbreaking. Nor do we turn our head when someone tries to take advantage of others. We enforce our laws. We defend law-abiding citizens. And we reserve the benefits of citizenship for legal residents.

My plan specifically prohibits illegals from obtaining driver licenses and imposes criminal penalties for those who assist illegals in obtaining licenses through fraud. This will give law enforcement and county prosecutors the tools they need to arrest and prosecute these illegal acts.

Missouri will not become a zone of lawlessness. Rather than wait on Washington, I will continue to take active steps to enforce immigration law at the state level. It is my hope that the General Assembly will pass my plan to clearly state that illegals cannot receive a Missouri driver license and create new penalties for those who assist them. I look forward to signing this legislation into law.

--Gov. Matt Blunt


Israeli-Arab negotiations



As part of ongoing Israeli-Arab negotiations after the Annapolis Summit, hopefully there will also be discussion of compensation for Jewish refugees.

A little discussed fact is the plight of 850,000 Jews who were forcibly expelled from Arab countries, or fled after enduring persecution and discrimination. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post (11/16/2007) these Jewish refugees left behind assets, valued today at over $300 billion, and continue to hold property deeds on a total area of approximately 100,000 square kilometers — which is about five times the size of the state of Israel.

Arabs, of course, will respond by dispelling such claims, much the same as the deniers of the Holocaust. Ultimately, there will be conflicting claims by both Arabs and Jews regarding refugees and property rights.

The best solution is for the Arab countries to absorb displaced Arab refugees, and for Israel to absorb displaced Jewish refugees.

---David Raffel

On the verge of runaway inflation




Young conservatives of my generation had a hero in Barry Goldwater. He fell from favor after 1964, and yes 30 years later Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America carried the day with a few Barryisms.

This continued nostalgia for 1994 as expressed by new Landmark columnist James Thomas last week (11/21) ignores this: Has the administration of this President betrayed the messages of Goldwater, Reagan, and especially my boyhood hero, Dwight David Eisenhower?

Here’s a much more basic question. How much did a can of tuna cost just two months ago? Publicity is on “rising gasoline prices,” and the media says that’s because of “global unrest”—ignoring the dollar is worth less now than Canada’s.

I pulled 95% of my 401k monies out of the stock market last year. I’m retired now, that modest amount is in a 5.75 % CD. But for Bush’s final act this country is on the verge of runaway inflation. You can bet your bottom Peso on it.

Gold's advantage is it can be hidden in your mattress. That is a simple solution to another critical issue of these times. I’m worried about hospital collection agencies banging on our doors if my wife and I have medical issues.

Of course we have insurance, mine alone is almost $3300 for another year. But being hit with an outrageous hospital co-pay would mean we will lose everything...our house, our new Corolla, everything. But gold can be hidden.

Others have the same fears. My financial advisor (my salesman brother of a Wall Street firm) says gold is not a smart buy and at historic highs. He says go for residential mortgages—selling at a steep discount. Readers, he is a smart guy but not concerned a hoot with the prices drugstores and doctors get away with now.

Sixth district Congressman Sam Graves sounds just like my brother sometimes — both echo AM radio talkers. My vote in ’08 will go to Kay Barnes. We now more than ever need grown-ups in Congress.

--Ed Gentry
St. Joseph



Without jobs, illegals won't enter



Many of our citizens believe that we cannot get rid of the millions of illegal immigrants we now have in our country and eliminate the cost and problems they cause.

Fortunately, President Eisenhower showed us how to do it in 1954 and it worked for many years

Eisenhower appointed retired General Joseph Swing to head the program called Operation Wetback. Because some immigration officials had political connections with special interest groups, Swing transferred them away from the border. Then officials conducted sweeps that rounded up many illegals. This caused many more illegals to leave our country voluntarily.

Illegals that were rounded up were not released at our border where they could quickly re-enter our country. They were put on buses and trains and released many miles into Mexico. Many others were put on ships and released at a Mexican port more than 500 miles south of our border.

All we need is the political will to do the same thing today. This means that we must get Congress to repeat what Eisenhower and Swing did. This includes enforced penalties for those who hire illegals. Without jobs, illegals won’t enter. It can be done!
Go to for more information.

--Larry William Bradbury
Reseda, CA



The right to choose your agent



Should we have to remind ourselves that we live in a free country? State Farm Insurance apparently needs reminding.

In the past, there was only one State Farm Insurance Agency in Platte City and within the last few months, a new office has opened. Normally, this would be a positive step forward to offer their customers other alternatives and more options with their services. However, corporate has decided to take control and dictate which agents will receive what customers without ever offering a choice at all. For those who have already established a relationship with an existing agent, you mean to say you may lose that feeling of trust and stability with which you were already quite satisfied?

How is this possible you ask? Well, the only one who can answer that is State Farm’s Corporate office, which I suggest if you care about how you spend your money, you may want to voice your opinion concerning this issue so we can remind them of our rights.

It’s your money; don’t you think you should be allowed to choose your own agent?
What State Farm needs to realize is that their customers can leave at any time and if they take away their customer’s right to choose, they may be closing both their branches just as fast as they opened.

To call the State Farm Corporate office to voice your opinion, call 1-800-277-8908.

--Jill Daniels
Platte City


Help with Main Street hump



It has come to my attention that Platte City Special Road District has offered to pay half of the $13,000 to fix the hump in Platte City's Main Street by the dodge dealership.

I think that is great and thanks to Frank Offutt and the Special Road District.

I still believe that the original contractor that did the CIP work on Main Street in 2004 should really be held responsible and should be paying the $13,000 instead of taxpayers.

--Gary W. Brown
Platte City


Zero tolerance for zero tolerance



While some firearms proponents have declared the discipline of the Smithville student who carried a rifle in his truck to a football game to be an “outrage,” (, I, as an N.R.A. member, a C.C.W. holder, a former hunter education instructor, attorney at law, and firearms proponent have very little tolerance for people who “forget” about their firearms and I believe some discipline is in order.

On the other hand, I disagree with any “zero tolerance” policy because I think it takes “zero brains,” “zero fortitude,” and “zero character” to enforce such a policy. I find the adoption of a “zero tolerance” program to be a shirking of the adopter’s public duty to make substantive, and yes, sometimes hard decisions.

Nevertheless, whether, it is a local attorney, a U.S. Senator’s aid, or former NFL player that “grabs the wrong bag” going to court, our nation’s capital, or the airport, or whether it is a high school student “forgetting” about his firearm in his truck, I don’t find it acceptable to “forget” about your firearm.

As a hunter education instructor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, I taught that the first rule of firearms safety requires attention to the carrying and storing firearms. Obviously, it is hard to maintain safe muzzle control or ensure safe storage of your firearm if you’ve “forgotten” where you put it.

Leaving a firearm in plain view within an automobile at a public event is an invitation for that firearm to be stolen. While I doubt the student was a threat, anyone carrying a firearm must be aware of when, where, and how to legally and safely transport and possess the firearm.

For example, in the Kansas City area, Kansas and Missouri have two different C.C.W. laws. A non C.C.W. holder in Missouri who is legally transporting a concealed firearm in his or her car better be aware of the difference if he or she is driving down the west side of State Line Rd. where such transportation may not be legal. A simple non-descript left hand turn can change your legal status without any reminders.

The Smithville student admitted he “forgot” about the firearm, in my book that is a violation of the rules of firearms safety and some reasonable punishment is in order that will help him, and hopefully others, remember the first rule of firearms safety.

However, the punishment should reflect the totality of the circumstances and not be the result of some “zero brained,” “zero tolerance” policy.

Hopefully, decisions will be made in this case that will not unnecessarily punish this student just so bureaucrats don’t have to make decisions and shirk accountability.

--Timothy J. Thompson
Kansas City
in Platte County



Santa wants to hear from you



The Christmas season is right around the corner and the elves at the North Pole are working hard to make sure there are toys for all of the good little boys and girls. Santa Claus is excited to hear what all of the children have on their Christmas lists, so get ready to write those letters.

Mrs. Claus will be placing a special mailbox for all letters to Santa at the Platte City Post Office. Letters may be dropped off starting on Friday, Nov. 23 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays.
Make sure letters are dropped off by Dec. 19 and please include your name and address so a return letter can be sent to you. Hope to hear from you soon.

--Santa & Mrs. Claus
Way up North


What a difference a year makes



While it may only seem like 365 days to some, for me it seems like a lifetime. Last year, during this time, I was at home literally laying on my living room floor bleeding as I recovered from being wounded in Iraq. But this year, I’m trick or treating with my family and enjoying the change of the seasons, although it seems a little colder than normal to me.

As I stood on the floor of the House of Representatives when the gavel fell this past September as veto and special sessions ended, it was vastly different than those still hot days in Baghdad completing missions with my team. Looking up I noticed the sunshine through the stained glass bordering the ceiling seemed brighter than I remember. The murals that adorn the walls of the chamber are now sharper in image, and the spectacle of another session being completed more contrasting than ever before.

While I feel myself in familiar surroundings and circumstances and the view may be the same, I assure you the perspective has changed. Returning from Iraq and then back to complete the legislative session in Jefferson City, it’s only now at home for a few months that I’ve had time to reflect. With the holiday season fast approaching and there being no sand under my feet, my thoughts aren’t about tomorrow’s mission, but instead I’m focusing on being a fulltime husband and father again. Our summer at the Brown household was filled with a season of soccer, T-ball, a much needed camping vacation, a new puppy, and work on a long list my wife kept for me to complete once I returned home.

But as always, Jefferson City has that habit of causing me to remember what Mark Twain once said, “No citizen is safe when the legislature is in session.” Sometimes in our zeal to pass laws and do good, I believe that some representatives and even senators can lose track of why we’ve been sent to govern in the first place. With the passage of a new bill or even with changing simple words like “may” to “shall,” the opportunity can exist to do more harm than good.

At the end of each session as we scan with great scrutiny the numerous pages of text that accompany the omnibus bills, laws like remote ticketing always jump out at me. As citizens I believe that none of us should give the authority to our government for issuing remote tickets to the owner of a vehicle proving guilt simply through a picture sent via the mail.

Protecting the rights of citizens from our government is an important part of being a legislator. The unjust and overtaxation of citizens by our government is another area that demands constant attention. The taxpayer should beware of and watch closely governing bodies that talk about surpluses and rolling back levies. What this usually means is that individual citizens were overtaxed from the beginning. Government isn’t supposed to be operating to make money, but instead only to break even and provide the necessary services.

Two pieces of legislation that I was happy to support were House Bill 444 (HB 444) and House Joint Resolution 7 (HJR 7). HB 444 was the Social Security tax cut that caused our state to finally join 35 other states that don’t tax Social Security benefits. Over the phase-in period, this old and unjust double taxation will be no more. This bill also provided tax relief for teachers, firefighters, police officers, military personnel, federal employees and railroad workers.

Another piece of legislation that received a lot of coverage for being so decisive and partisan was HJR 7. This proposed constitutional amendment with voter approval will make English the official language of Missouri. Why is this so important? I believe and agree that a common language is the cornerstone of a cohesive and united country, and by clarifying that English should be that language here in America, and also in the state of Missouri, just makes common sense to me. What I don’t understand is why so many of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate were opposed to this measure and were upset by having to vote on the issue to place the amendment before the citizens of this state.

The ebb and flow of political ideology will continue in the capitol complex, but I hope the rights of citizens and the common sense our creator gave us will prevail.

So I do find myself back home after a year that was filled with challenges and experiences, working in the Capitol and at home in the district. I remember during the past year while deployed in Iraq how nice it would have been to see my family. I have been extremely blessed with that ability now. Regardless of what we want, we should all strive to do our best under the circumstances we find ourselves in. I try to always remember that no matter how bad we may have it, there is always someone else that has it worse.

While there were times when I honestly didn’t know if I would be returning to Jefferson City or even home for that matter, I can honestly say I feel blessed more now than ever before. There is nothing quite like home and being with your family. Big or small we all have problems and challenges to face, but we live here in America and that alone gives us a head start. It’s what we do with our opportunity that I believe matters the most.

As I have heard in the district and even been asked by family and constituents concerning my future, I’ll tell you the truth here and now. If I’ve learned nothing else over the past year, I’ve learned this: I don’t think anybody knows absolutely what the future holds, but I’m extremely thankful for all the support that my family and I have received. I’m your state representative, I’m home, and I will continue to work for a better Platte County and a better state government.

Through my experiences, my belief in God, country, and family are stronger than ever before. I look forward to seeing everyone at home and in the district. During this holiday season as we celebrate and give thanks, I hope and pray for all those who continue to stand in defense of our country and especially for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we as a nation can enjoy our lives and our liberties.

Until next time, be safe and God bless.

--Jason Brown
State Representative
District 30



Do traffic laws apply to police?



I am wondering if the traffic laws in Platte City are just for the civilians that live and pass through Platte City and not for the police officers.

I live on Bello Mondo and see the police speed up the street and not stop for the stop sign. When I followed them (at the legal speed) I found that three patrol cars had one car pulled over.

Does it really take three police officers to write one traffic ticket? And is that one person that much of a threat to one officer that the other two officers have to break the law themselves to get there?

I hope that they don’t kill someone before they actually start obeying the laws themselves.
Are they here to protect and serve?

--Robert Shibley
Platte City




Let's hold someone accountable



Whoa! Wait a minuet! I just read in the paper that the aldermen just approved to spend $13,189 of our tax money to repair Main Street by Tony Martens Dodge.

There is a very large hump in the street there. I admit it must be corrected, but this was created when the city did the CIP project on Main Street a few years back (2004).
The hump was in the street and the people that laid down the asphalt just covered it over. I was there and watched it happen. I wondered why the street was not graded properly before the asphalt was laid down. The asphalt people asked the same question but they were told to just do their job and lay the asphalt.

I also know that the city pays big dollars for a person to watch over the quality and to make sure that the city is getting their money worth on the CIP projects. At least that is city administrator Keith Moody’s argument for this position. I do not know who that person was at the time this street work was done.

Why do we taxpayers have to pay so dearly for a job that was not done properly the first time? Why isn’t someone who was supposed to be responsible for this poor job held accountable?

Where is Keith Moody in all of this? Why isn’t the contracting company that did the street work being held responsible?

We taxpayers are the losers in this. We should not have to pay this again. That money could go into a pot for other things, like getting a decent street to the main park that we have in the city now (Riverview), and not a new sign for Platte City. That’s another story for another time.

Gary W. Brown
Platte City



Hike in tobacco tax not answer



It’s no surprise Congress can be misguided at times—take the ongoing debate to reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by increasing federal tobacco taxes about 150 percent.

Representatives Akin, Blunt, Graves and Hulshof voted against the measure, which reflects the attitudes of a majority of Missourians when it comes to increased tobacco taxes. An amendment to raise state taxes on tobacco products failed in 107 of 114 counties last November.

Missouri Farm Bureau policy opposes tax increases targeting agricultural products including tobacco. The crop provides significant income for some Missouri farm families. Almost 3.5 million pounds were harvested in the Show Me State in 2006.

The expansion of SCHIP entails many issues; however hiking tobacco taxes to fund programs requiring mandatory annual outlays is short-sighted. A legitimate long-term funding solution should be considered instead of stop-gap political fix.

--Charles E. Kruse
Missouri Farm Bureau



Iraq farmers work through chaos



You can cover a soldier with night vision, Kevlar, GPS tracking systems, advanced infantry weapons, put him in a Bradley fighting vehicle, and send him in to battle but without his or her personal force and motivation the equipment reveals itself for what it is: lifeless machinery. If I tell you of my experience in combat surely you will be able to read a story with more bravado, more blood, more adrenaline, and more pain.

I can tell you that to kill you have to shut off a piece of your heart, and to see another soldier die will shatter what is left of it. To function you have to become immersed in the machine that is killing you and keeping you alive at the same time. You have to bring life to the machine.

Rather than thinking of Iraq as the place where my heart was broken and my mind was controlled I prefer to think of Iraq as the place where I discovered the key to my freedom.

I witnessed many unforgettable things in Iraq but the aspect that changed my life more than any other was the way the farmers kept working and selling their produce through the chaos.

Farmers have a quiet power that made me realize that I could not accomplish anything good for the world with my M16 in hand. It was in Iraq eating fruit that I realized that I needed to find a new way to think. It was also in Iraq that I learned to hide how I felt.
I returned to Fort Hood, Texas and spent the next seven months training kids how to kill. At night I would find myself in my room listening to anti-war music as I prepared for the next day of training.

When my time was up and I left, I had no clue what to do. After many trials, I found myself in Pahoa, Hawaii. I came to volunteer on a five acre permaculture farm owned by a friend of a friend. It was there that I stopped being a soldier.

I learned about the concept of sustainability and how to compost. I saw so many beautiful plants and learned so much I was almost overwhelmed. I was secretly still afraid of getting mortared or running over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as we would drive into Hilo.

It was there that I applied for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Because of my lack of experience and formal education I really had no idea if they would let me into their six-month apprentice program, but in April 2006 I found myself setting up my two-person tent on the edge of one of the fields.

It took about three seconds for me to realize that I had found a very special place. I spent the next six months with the smartest group I have ever worked with and ended up in a heated discussion about every day. My most frequent debate partners were the people I loved the most. Just about everyone knew more about horticulture than me. Everybody taught me something.

I would still go to sleep afraid of mortars but the joy of the present and anticipation of the next harvest made the past seem to loosen its grip on my life. I learned more from six months on a college farm in Santa Cruz than four years in the Military.

Sometimes I feel that the torment that has plagued me during and after my time in Iraq was just the plowing of the field of my heart before the deep rooted seed of peace and sustainability could grow within my soul.

The quiet power of farming has overtaken me and I no longer live in fear.

---Matthew McCue
an Iraq War veteran turned farmer and member of Farm Not Arms. He is now teaching agriculture for the PeaceCorps in Niger, Africa.



Bring back the Applefest charm



Seeing that I was a Weston resident for years, and a graduate of West Platte High School, I feel a connection to the town.

I love the small town feel and support town activities. I brag to friends who have never been to Weston that they need to visit the Bed & Breakfasts, go to a wine tasting at a local winery, visit for the amazing annual 4th of July fireworks and to attend Applefest for some family fun. Anyone who has done what I suggested has been pleased and usually will go back again and again, except for Applefest.

The past few years that I have attended Applefest I have been let down. Where is the small town feel? Where’s the fun? Where’s the charm that I love about Weston?

My biggest complaint is why are we allowing people to drive down Main Street? I feel that it is extremely dangerous and unnecessary. Why aren’t we diverting traffic down the side streets, and blocking off Main Street for the vendors and merchants? This is how it was done in the past and worked extremely well. There wasn’t enough room for people to walk down the sidewalks, especially with a stroller, because the street was blocked off for traffic.

When tourists come to Applefest they expect to see apples. Where were the guys stirring the apple butter and all the apple- themed foods? They were replaced with out of town commercialized vendors selling outrageously priced food or hidden way off the beaten path. Weston Applefest should be a time for local merchants to shine and make an impression on visitors. Why were there 3 vendors selling candles, when Weston has an amazing candle store of it’s own? Again, this should be a time for Weston vendors to showcase their wares.

The parade was a let down this year, lasting about 10 minutes. Where was the firetruck, local law enforcement, or other Weston organizations? It’s kinda sad when the biggest groups in the parade aren’t even from Weston, but were the Shriners from St. Joseph and the NJROTC unit from Shawnee Mission North High School.

The one thing that I thought was great was the childrens’ area. It is nice to have such a wide variety of activities for the kids all in the same area. From pony rides to pumpkin and face painting. I just wish there had been more advertising or direction on where the activities were being held. Kudos to the people who organized the Childrens’ Area.

Let’s bring back the charm to Weston’s Applefest by focusing on Weston and it’s merchants. Let’s make tourists want to come back year after year because they love the small town charm and local involvement. Let’s not let Applefest become commercialized, and focus more on embracing why we love Weston, because it’s a small town where you know everyone’s name.

From a concerned Weston supporter.

--Holly (Neven) Cayer
St. Joseph



Applefest experience turns sour



My wife and myself came over to Weston to enjoy our day for the Apple festival on Sunday, Oct. 14. We have heard it was a lot of fun and good memories. But there is one memory that turned us sour.

As we were looking for a place to park in or close to downtown
business district. Our dog became sick and vomited all over us and the
car. We did not know where we were, so we found this little road called ”something” circle. Sorry we do not remember the name of the street, just the last name of the street. Like I said it was “something” circle which we figured was a ways from downtown.

But we do remember seeing a street named “Humes Blvd" or something like that. Well we saw this older lady out walking her dogs, so we pulled over to clean ourselves up and the car.

We had our dog on a leash. I walked away from our car over into the grass by what looked like an old warehouse or garage or something.

My wife was cleaning the car up and herself, as I walked the dog just
a small ways into the grass not even 6 ft. This older lady starts yelling
at us from a distance saying we were on private property. And she kept walking back toward her house yelling and screaming at us.

We tried to explain we would pick up any mess the dog or us made, since we both were covered in vomit. She was really rude, saying it was her property which we understood. But she kept getting ruder and ruder. We were yelling back and forth a couple hundred of feet. She was back in her house. We were not being rude, like I said we told her we would clean everything up.

But this woman was real hateful. She was going to call the police for trespassing. We continued cleaning ourselves up as she was yelling "you people are not from around here, are you?" We said nope. And she continued her threats on us.

This one nice local woman in a blue Ford van came by and saw what kind of mess we had, and told us that older woman was very hateful. The nice lady in the van told us to clean up all the while this older woman we guess she was in her 60’s or so kept yelling at us.

Well I followed our dog into a ditch to see if she had to go to the bathroom. I know enough about city law that ditches are city property. Plus like I said we were going to clean it up. I was an old Boy Scout and was told to leave something as good or better than it was.

Well, lucky we had extra shirts with us, well I did. My wife told me to
take a sweat shirt, cause my thin shirt may not be enough. So I went
behind the car where no one could see me changing shirts.

We thought heck she had her dogs in the yard and that might be a good place (warehouse or garage) to stop and change and clean up I finally yelled back at this older lady and told her we were leaving and go into the house. I said to my wife I was tired of listening to her.

Well because of this we will never come back to an apple festival. The
parking was terrible. Why would you have no parking zones with a big crowd like that? There was plenty of room to park on both sides of the street in most no parking zones.

We know it was the older woman's property or so she said and had every right to tell us to leave but not in a rude way.. But like I said if it was me I would have studied the problem to see what the mess was and told them as long as they cleaned up their mess it was fine.

We had the car parked in the road, not in anyone's grass. . . cleaning it up and my wife cleaning us up too. Just had the dog what I call in the ditch. Was not her property. The ditches here where we live are city property.

Anyway, we hope not all the people in Weston are as rude and uncaring as this woman was.

--Dennis and Myra Moore


Input needed on county plan



Attention Platte County residents, particularly residents of the
unincorporated county:

Please make note of this important date: Wednesday, Oct. 24. On
this date from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Platte County will be holding an open house to allow citizens to review the recent work on planning our
county’s future. This will take place at the Platte County Administration
Building in Platte City, 415 Third Street, Platte City.

Information will be available regarding the work done by the steering committee, a citizen planning team and various focus groups.

Your comments are what are missing. This is your chance.

Please understand that if you will not take the time and energy to
provide your input, others will make decisions regarding the growth and
future of our county. Whether you like what they decide or not, you will
have to live with the results.

It is your responsibility to get involved and to get your neighbors
involved. Form a carpool and go to this open house. Everything you like
about the county could be at stake.

--Sue Lange



Hunger problem can be solved



Today in the United States one in ten men, women and children don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.

Federal nutrition programs such as the Food Stamp Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), are the first line of defense for millions of low- and fixed-income Americans. It is critical that significant investments be made in these programs to ensure they reach the people that need them most.

That is why the Farm Bill, currently being drafted in the U.S. Senate, is so vitally important. These programs are the core of the bill’s Nutrition Title, and millions of hungry Americans depend on these support systems, coupled with local food banks like Second Harvest of Greater St. Joseph, to put meals on their tables.

It seems unbelievable in this land of abundance, but the fact is right here in Northwest Missouri, over 20,000 people depend on our emergency food assistance services to get through the month. Second Harvest of Greater St. Joseph is proud to service 19 counties in Northwest Missouri and we want to be able to meet the needs of those we serve.

The combination of fewer federal commodity donations, rising energy and facility costs, and high transportation and operating expenses have made it increasingly difficult for food banks such as Second Harvest of Greater St. Joseph and local feeding organizations across the country to meet the rising demand for food assistance.

Further, food stamp benefits, income deductions and other qualifications for assistance have not kept pace with inflation, nor do they accurately reflect rising household and living expenses, such as the price of gasoline, electricity or medicine. More working poor than ever live at the margins of poverty.

Hunger is a solvable problem. America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food Bank Network and Second Harvest of Greater St. Joseph are doing everything we can to help feed people who need a helping hand. The Federal Government has an important leadership role to play in ending hunger. Achieving a strong nutrition title in the Farm Bill this year is one of the most important things Congress can do to help ensure no one in America goes to bed hungry.

--Scott Tomhave
Executive Director
Second Harvest
of Greater St. Joseph



Graves' vote is 'deplorable'



I find it deplorable that Congressman Sam Graves recently voted against the State’s Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill.

This legislation would have added an additional $35 billion over five years to the SCHIP program, and would have provided health insurance to tens-of-thousands of uninsured children in Missouri.

Graves was the only Kansas City area congressman or senator who voted against this legislation. This legislation received wide-ranging support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, including Republican Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas. Senator Roberts was quoted in the Kansas City Star saying that “low-income children will ultimately pay the price” for the lack of additional SCHIP funding.

There are now over 46 million uninsured Americans, and this number is growing. Many of these folks are employed by companies that do not provide health insurance. A huge part of this number is uninsured children.

The health care issue in the United States is at a critical threshold, and threatens the success of our economy. President Bush is now proposing an additional $190 billion in funding towards the war in Iraq. This is on top of the $450 billion already been spent on this war. Yet, we cannot find the funding to help our own children.

We need to elect candidates next November who care as much about our own citizens, especially children, as they do about funding a questionable war in Iraq. We need leaders in Congress who are willing to fund solutions to the crises that we have here right at home, including — health care, Social Security, public education, collapsing bridges, and storm-ravaged communities.

Congressman Graves clearly demonstrate that he is not one of these leaders.

--David Raffel


High quality ambulance service



We voted in 2006 to establish our own ambulance district to guarantee that the best possible emergency medical services would always be available to our communities and our families.

Since then, I am pleased to report on behalf of your elected board of directors, we have gotten exactly what we voted for: A high-quality ambulance service staffed by experienced personnel, complete with an ambulance stationed in the heart of our district 24 hours a day, at the lowest ambulance district tax levy in the state of Missouri.

Because there has been discussion in the community, I want to give you the facts about just how good – and affordable – a service we have protecting us.
Although the original vote for this district authorized a tax levy of 21 cents on each $100 of assessed value, the levy was set at 14 cents for our first year of operations.

Now that we have had a year of experience with the service, your board recognized that even 14 cents – which is very much on the low end for ambulance district levies – was higher than needed. That’s why your board quickly lowered the tax levy to 8 cents.

That rate, as I said, is the lowest rate for such a district in the state of Missouri. Compare it, for example, to other area ambulance districts that have levies of 40 cents and above.

Decreasing the levy from 14 cents to 8 cents will save our residents $11.40 a year on each $100,000 of home value. And at that levy, not only will we continue to have the professional emergency service we have traditionally received from MAST, but even better we have a 24-hour ambulance assigned within the district.

Again, we are fortunate to be able to retain one of the best emergency medical services in the region, indeed, the country. Consider:

•MAST was named the Best EMS System in Missouri in 2006 by the Missouri Emergency Medical Service Association.

•MAST is one of only two ambulance services in Missouri to be nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services.

•MAST’s Communications Center has been named a Center of Excellence by the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatchers – one of only 100 such centers in the nation, and the only one in Missouri or Kansas.

•And this year, MAST’s executive director, Douglas R. Hooten (a Platte County resident), has been named EMS Administrator of the Year for Missouri.
In short, our families are assured of the finest protection available, at the lowest cost in the state. Your board of directors believes that we have achieved everything we could have hoped for when the voters of Southern Platte County established our own ambulance district.

--Bob Kincaid
President of the Board
Southern Platte County
Ambulance District



Parking at new Sprint Center




Sprint Center will hold its Grand Opening Oct. 10. In addition to the opening performance (Oct. 13) by Sir Elton John, there are free public concerts and activities the week of Oct. 10 to usher in the area’s premier entertainment venue.

It’s a great time to visit Sprint Center and the downtown area. Activities include free concerts, the American Royal Cattle Drive, outdoor family entertainment, and the opening of the College Basketball Experience, an interactive basketball fan experience, housing the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

With all the action going on, there are plenty of reasons for your readers to head downtown. But before they get in the car, they’ll ask the inevitable question: “Where do I park?” Below is some key information to help answer this question for your readers:

•Fifty parking lots available in the immediate downtown corridor.

• Parking garage prices range from $3 to $20. By comparison, it costs $22 to park at Arrowhead Stadium for a Chiefs game.

• Stay up-to-date on the most recent street closings and construction downtown, visit the current street closing map at

Some of your readers may be used to coming to the downtown area for other events. If they’re used to parking for Lyric Theater or Folly Theatre productions, both are only .63 miles from Sprint Center. Or, if they’ve been to Crown Center, it’s only 1.13 miles from Sprint Center.

Your readers may have tickets to upcoming shows, and will want to find out about downtown parking before they head to Sprint Center. They will be grateful to learn the options.

--Joshua H. Brewster
Trozzolo Communications



Family-oriented events needed




I have been giving a lot of thought to the recent controversy regarding the End Of The Trail motorcycle rally, and I have to agree that what is really needed are more activities that will be more family-oriented for those who live in Platte City and the surrounding area, but which would also bring in people from outside the immediate area.

I would like to suggest that it be considered having perhaps at least one larger festival and several smaller events throughout the year.

Among other things, the idea of a Sunny Summer Sunflower Days Festival in September or a Harvest Home Festival in October for the larger event comes readily to mind with local and outside vendors to bring sales and revenue into the city.

Activities could include such things as different “make and take” nature crafts geared to both adults and children, hayrides, local reenactor groups, performances by a theater group, old-fashioned games such as horseshoes or board games, cooking competitions, and Blue Grass bands, among other things.

Smaller events throughout the year could include a judged quilt show with quilts made by adults and children to be held in the Community Center, weekend “bring your lawn chairs” days with music performances on the courthouse lawn, a Country Christmas Fest featuring local area artists and crafters as vendors with food available and entertainment provided, and a Welcome Spring Fest, as well as other ideas.

These are just a few concepts I offer for consideration by the citizens of Platte City and its elected officials. I would also suggest appointing a small year-round committee to accomplish the task of implementation.

Platte City is such a great place to live, and it can be even greater if there are more events of interest to make it known as “Platte City, The Family Friendly Town.”

—Annie Shaw
Platte City



Help this festival become great




I have been reading all of the opinions of you and our city officials and just wanted to express my feelings about what has been said.

This rally could grow into something more than just something to complain about. I think you need to say something good about what has happened in the past four years with this rally.

When we moved here in 1979 there was a tobacco festival at the fairgrounds, not enough people to help so it was discontinued. Then in the 1990’s some of us tried to start the Zed Martin Festival. It had a part that was for children and was very family-friendly but not enough people came to help, or support it financially.

Now we have the End of the Trail Rally and it has been more successful than any of the others because of lots of volunteer hours on the part of people that live here, and never get recognized for their work.

The support of city funds, which is $15,000, is just $3 per person for the census of Platte City proper. Let's get out of the always-wrong attitude and help this festival become great. I think we have found something that could be altered slightly to better meet the needs all families. We have to think outside of the box and not get tied up in the old town politics. Let’s give Dave Brooks and all of the other volunteers a great big thank you.

Some say it does nothing for us as a city to have the End of The Trail Rally here in Platte City. It has been said that it is not family-friendly. Let me tell you what it has done for our B & B, “A Planter’s Wheel Bed and Breakfast," that is located here in Platte City on Fourth Street.

The first year we had a guest from England. He came for the 100th Anniversary of the Harley Davidson bike. He had a wonderful stay because of all the great people that live here in our city and drive Harley Davidsons.

Bill and Jody Knighton came to our rescue to help our houseguest when my brother passed away the day Colin arrived. They took Colin places and filled in for us. I thank them for that because we were in Westmoreland, Kansas.

Then Bill and Nancy Peek made sure that Colin knew Platte City and the people that drive the Harley Davidsons. They entertained Colin and took him places and made sure he had come to a wonderful town. Wilbur and I want to thank them for their generosity.

Colin and now his wife Karan returned for the third and fourth rallies staying with us at A Planters Wheel Bed and Breakfast. They even rented Harleys and went on a trip through Missouri and into Arkansas with Bill and Nancy Peek.

They have enjoyed the rallies and have gotten to know much about our area. These are wonderful English visitors; hardly what some of our city people think of as not a family friendly environment.

I think several people on our city council are being extremely short-sighted.

--Karon Roberts
Platte City


UAW endorses Barnes




The Greater Kansas City UAW CAP Council has endorsed Kay Barnes for the 6th Congressional District seat currently held by Sam Graves.

The Greater Kansas City UAW CAP Council represents approximately 30,000 active and retired UAW members in the western half of Missouri from UAW Local’s 31, 93, 249, 710, 1021 and 2366.

We are proud to give our support to Mayor Kay Barnes for Congress. We are confident that she will be a representative for all the people of the 6th district, that she will support the working men and women of the 6th District and she will work to maintain and increase good paying jobs for Missourians. She will work to bring more business and fair trade policies to this country while protecting the American workers.
Kay Barnes will take her experience, compassion and dedication of serving the people to Washington DC where it is so desperately needed.

--Jim Stoufer
President of Greater Kansas City UAW CAP Council and
UAW Local #249
Pleasant Valley, Mo

'Wrong message' notion is silly



In response to Lee Roy Van Lew’s letter to the editor (9/5/07 edition of The Landmark) and recent discussions at city hall regarding the motorcycle rally.

I would like to applaud those aldermen on our city board that take the time and effort to speak to their constituents and make the effort to find out what the citizens want in respect to the growth of this city and community events. It is their job to represent us and that includes questioning the use of our tax dollars and whether or not certain events are really what the community wants as a whole.

I see no reason for anyone to be threatened by the suggestion of a survey to find out what the residents want in the way of a festival or other community activity, nor do I see any reason to ridicule any suggestions that are made by any citizen or alderman. To say that considering other options than the motorcycle rally is sending the message that we don’t like bikers is as silly as saying that by having a motorcycle rally we’re sending a message that we don’t like families. Neither is true.

If the wish of the people is to continue with the bike rally, then by all means the city should do so. If a different type of festival is indicated, then that should be pursued (even if it means setting aside any blatant discrimination against clowns).

During the years of the Zed Martin Day festival, it was nearly impossible to get any cooperation from city hall, much less any money. A $15,000 budget from the city would have been a godsend and could have greatly improved the caliber of the festival and provided similar economic benefits to the community.

As citizens we do need to take a good hard look at how we want the city to progress. There has been tremendous growth in recent years, however small town appeal does not equate with stagnation. Many of us came here for the quality of life our town offers. And we do need to make our wants and wishes known to our board of aldermen. After all, they’re supposed to be working for us.

--Beverly Knoll
Platte City


Playing to a diverse crowd



Platte City, thank you for hosting the “End of the Trail Rally”...and... thank you for letting FBP (Fair Based Productions) be a part of the 2007 "End Of The Trail Rally."
FBP enjoyed being a part of the “End of the Trail” Event.

FBP is a community theatre that works these type of events to support the arts in Platte County.

I had a chance to speak with several vendors, sponsors, and Platte City residents who found this year’s rally to be an excellent event; FBP is proud to have been a part of it, and hope we can help you in the future. As always, if you had any problems with what FBP provided, let me know (at 587-1080), and we will solve them.

Comments I heard at the stage were that the Friday band appealed to the biker crowd, and the Saturday band appealed to the Platte City resident crowd. Congrats to the committee on playing to a divergent crowd. (I’ve been at the Platte County Fair for 20 years, and know how important it is to play to various crowds; the bike rally did it this year).

From the stage area, I found the bikers to be a great group to be around; and the Platte City crowd to be what FBP has always expected and seen in Platte City (at Christmas, 4th of July, Veterans Day...etc): a great crowd to play for.

While FBP does make money for our Community Theatre through these type of events, much of that money is reinvested into Platte City: rental of transit vehicles (thanks to Eggen’s for letting us stow their U-Haul truck and stage Thursday night), fuel for all vehicles, and meals for our staff (FBP was offered free meals during the festival, but chose not to accept those free meals for our staff--meals were purchased from local support the city and the event--we loved the pizza from Pizza Shoppe and Cheese Dip from Rancho Grande.)

FBP is proud to have been a part of the “End of the Trail ’07," and we hope to work with the City of Platte City (and the ‘End of the Trail Committee’) again on this venture and all other Platte City ventures.

We found “The End of the Trail’ Committee to be one of the most professional groups we’ve worked with, and that includes many “bigger" festivals.
Again. Thank you, for being Platte City.

--Howard A. Prost
(CEO / Owner)
Platte County’s
Dinner Theatre

Wind energy becomes reality



In Northwest Missouri, when you drive down Highway 136 you would expect to see corn, soybeans, cattle, picturesque farm houses and a lot of hills. However, these days something else is being harvested along this corridor. The wind.

Giant wind turbines have popped up all along the highway. The American Wind Energy Association lists Missouri as one of the top 20 states with wind energy potential. It’s no secret that this part of Northwest Missouri has plenty of wind to spare. It’s a natural spot for wind energy.

This is another example of using the resources we have to make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy. In 2005 and 2006, Congress extended the Production Tax Credit of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity.

This credit has helped get wind power off the ground. It expires in December of 2008 and I believe that we should extend it in order to encourage more wind power. I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 197 which extends the tax credit for another five years.

According to AWEA wind energy is expected to account for six percent of our energy by 2020. Wind energy also has the ability to create jobs in our rural communities without consuming natural resources or emitting pollution. The United States is the leading producer of small wind turbines, the vast majority of which are manufactured on U.S. soil.

Promoting renewable fuels like wind, ethanol and bio-diesel will be key in weaning our country off of foreign sources of energy.

--Congressman Sam Graves
Sixth District


Make your wants, wishes known



Platte City citizens and voters need to look around the city and pay attention to the negative attitude of the presiding board of alderpersons and their votes on almost all subjects presented to them.

Now they want to do away with the (motorcycle) rally. According to them, it ties up Main Street, prohibiting business operation. Also, they believe it does not create enough interest to continue the investment of city money to sponsor the event.

One alderman states that not all Platte City people ride motorcycles. Not all Platte City people drive Cadillacs, either. Not a lot of justification for the statement, in my estimation.

Shortly after the April election, they voted to change the time of the twice monthly board of aldermen meeting to 7 p.m. This move was to allow a later attendance of citizens at the meetings. This has turned out to be a bust. Outside of local press members, city staff members and organization members who are on the agenda, the attendance has been practically non-existent.

Over the last 10 years, the city has prospered and grown with street, stormwater and sanitary sewer improvements which has made the city more modern and up-to-date in appearance and property value. This improvement enhances the appearance of the neighborhoods and gives the residents a chance to boast a little about the city.

Platte Valley Plaza has been a huge addition to the city and will continue to be of even greater value in the future as further development continues. It is rumored that one alderman stated that Timber Creek Sewer Co. should not be utilized when construction and development east of I-29 is undertaken. If so, what is the reasoning for this statement?

One alderman suggests free movies projected on the courthouse wall for evening entertainment. Yes, that was popular 70 years ago in the park in a lot of small towns. Kind of foolish in today's world.

Continued development and growth in Platte City cannot continue without the input from concerned property owners, citizens and above all voters. The negative attitude of the board of alderpersons will not change unless the voters make themselves heard and diligently express their opinions.

As citizens, property owners, business people and voters we need to take a good hard look at how we want the city to progress and the ultimate goal to be achieved. It is time to get out of the stagnation mode that we seem to be in and make our wants and wishes known.

--Lee Roy Van Lew
Platte City



Will we become Flat County?



We must take a different approach to economic development in Platte County. We need quality economic development, but we must protect existing neighborhoods and our beautiful natural resources. If we continue to ignore existing neighborhoods we sacrifice the quality of life of our residents. If we continue to flatten our beautiful hills and culvert our streams, we might also will become known as Flat County instead of Platte County.

Most of us love Platte County for its rolling and forested hills. But our county’s zoning and master plan follow planning created for more level land providing for more dense neighborhoods the closer the land is to higher population centers such as Parkville, Riverside, and Kansas City. Our zoning and master plan do not factor in topography and encourage developers to flatten our beautiful hills to achieve the density prescribed in the zoning.

Recently some of us walked the woods and rolling hills on Union Chapel Road to look at 20 acres owned by the Platte Land Trust (a charitable organization to conserve some land here in Platte County) to review an easement request. The county has zoned the land in this area R-7 (5.8 homes per acre). To place 5.8 homes per acre on these rolling hills would require a developer to flatten the hills and remove most of the trees. This would drastically change the character of the existing homes and neighborhoods built more accommodating to the natural terrain.

Blinded by the fervor for economic development, many of our elected officials and developers fail to adequately protect existing neighborhoods. We must become more selective in our economic development, both commercial and residential, and encourage developers to maintain the natural beauty. We must also give much more respect to existing zoning and, when changing zoning, require large buffers that truly protect our neighborhoods.

Quality economic development will grind to a halt if Platte County becomes a mere average place to live and work. Quality companies more than ever consider the residential needs of their employees when considering where to locate or relocate. Platte County will become undesirable if we do not retain our beautiful neighborhoods and breathtaking natural resources. Abundant parkland will also be necessary for the quality economic development needed to keep people and attract new quality businesses. Our main goal should be to preserve the quality of life in Platte County and leave our extraordinary county for future generations in better condition than we found it.

I strongly believe in all of the protections provided by our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. We must protect the property rights of the developing property owners, but we must begin to respect the economic property interests of the owners of homes already here and the interest of the public to retain our quality of life. The test is a reasonable balance. The scale of reason needs to swing much more toward the residents that already live here and in preserving our beautiful county. If we act now to change our zoning regulations and economic development policy we can preserve our beautiful county and the quality of life we enjoy in our neighborhoods.

--William M. Quitmeier


Garage sale musings



Platte City's communitywide garage sale is coming up. And I’m getting ready to have a garage sale. Again.

Garages are made for parking things. Vehicles, really, not the multitude of things I have parked in there. And I know I will be angry with myself if another Missouri winter arrives and I can’t fit the truck into the garage.

Digging through the boxes of junk the other day, I ran across a funny little vintage toy, two really, tucked in their original box with the ten cent price sticker still attached. My toys are a couple, she in her bright blue plastic skirt and yellow blouse and he in his brown trousers and red shirt, looking much like Dick and Jane from the old elementary readers.

The cuties stand about two inches tall, have bobble heads, and here’s the kicker - magnets. In their heads! The box says “Kissing Couple," and yes, they are. Stand them just close enough together, and “SMACK” (well, being plastic, it’s more of a “Clack”). You could spend hours, days maybe, standing these two around on counter tops, tables, your boss’s desk, judging just how far apart they have to stand to not show a public display of affection. Countless hours of nonsense to distract you from the pesky chores that are piling up or that assignment you need to finish (okay, start) and turn in.

I picked this perky pair up at a yard sale years ago. I was dating Mark at the time, so I called my toys Deb and Mark and thought it awfully cute to show them to anyone who would look. As time passed we (Deb and Dick and Jane) learned that Mark was truly cheaper than a ten cent toy and also had no tolerance for children, so he had to go.

Then Dick became John, and we all considered moving in together and becoming one big happy family until we discovered that John had a serious gambling problem and my mother loved him. Run, Deb, run.

Dick was soon renamed Eddie. Now here was a keeper kisser. Eddie was 10 years younger than me and had two adorable children that I could play with whenever I wanted. This relationship went pretty well until one of my neighbors became intoxicated, had some sort of weird war flashback, and nearly beat Eddie to death. It just wasn’t safe for him to come around anymore. I am not kidding.

As I prepare to tell you about Jeff, I’m sure you’re thinking there must be something wrong - that such a witty, well educated (well, I read a lot) woman can go through so many men, discarding one after another, like cheap broken toys.... so I want you to know that I am old. I did not date 47 men back-to-back and dump them all over their piddly little addictions or what-had-they. It took many years. Unless the six month episode of online dating counts. I dumped that too.

By choice, I am not dating now. You see, I am perfectly content with my job, my friends, my child, my writing, and my toys. I’ve put Dick and Jane back on permanent display in the house, as an amusing reminder to self: If it makes you happy, keep it. If it’s just taking up space, throw it out.

Make room for the truck.

--Debbie Simorte
Platte City


A safe learning environment



Missouri has a world-class higher education system that attracts students from around the world to become tomorrow’s leaders. To help today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders we have taken action to help our campuses provide the safest environment possible.

Earlier this year we all watched in horror as the students of Virginia Tech endured a terrible shooting on their campus. In the aftermath of the senseless shooting, my prayers went out to all those affected by the Virginia Tech shooting. And my thoughts turned to Missouri and what we could do to help prevent a tragedy like this in our state.

Almost immediately I created the Campus Security Task Force to evaluate our current campus emergency response plans and to improve communications between our higher education and public safety communities. I placed the task force under the direction of Public Safety Director Mark James and Higher Education Commissioner Robert Stein. We wanted to learn about what went wrong at Virginia Tech. We also wanted to collect best practices from campuses across the state to help protect the students and educators. All of our colleges and universities were doing something to stop such violence, and the task force was charged with helping them learn from one another.

The vast majority of colleges and universities have already developed emergency plans. But everyone agreed that we could do more to improve campus security. This month the task force issued its report with 33 recommendations for making every Missouri campus a safer learning environment.

One of the task force’s recommendations is the establishment of multi-disciplinary teams with members from faculty, law enforcement, and the mental health community to share and review information about members of the campus community who are perceived as exhibiting behavior causing concern. We know that the events at Virginia Tech were perpetrated by an evil young man who had exhibited signs of potential violence on several previous occasions. These multi-disciplinary teams will be charged with helping students with these problems, and, in the process, protecting others. Overall, the task force recognized the important role that mental health services play in campus security and emergency planning.

The task force recognized that it is equally important that adequate police protection is available on campuses across our state, and they recommended increased collaboration between campus and local emergency responders in the development and practice of emergency plans.

Another recommendation is that every campus should have a designated official to coordinate emergency and homeland security operations, and all colleges and universities should use the Emergency Response Information Program (ERIP), an Internet-based tool, to construct their all-hazard plan. Missourians may view the entire report and recommendations by visiting

I commend the task force for producing good recommendations to make our campuses safer learning environments for our students.

--Gov. Matt Blunt



Ambulance board needs tax increase



I would like to make a response to the editor's comment about the Southern Platte County Ambulance District rolling its tax levy back to 11 cents from 14 cents, which he says is actually an increase in the amount of taxes the district will realize.

As a resident of the ambulance district, I am aware of what the board has done by operating on the present levy, response times have been lowered dramatically from what was previously available. I am much more interested in a quick response time to a medical emergency for my family or me than I am about a few more dollars on my tax bill.

It is touching that the editor is more concerned about my pocketbook than he is about me if I should have a medical emergency. I am glad that the ambulance district puts lives above money.

--J.E. Pierce
Waldron, Mo.




Making rail crossings safer



Since 1869, the United States has been tied together by the railroad. The golden spike at Promontory Point, Utah made it possible to travel from one ocean to the other by rail. In the history of our country the railroad played an important part of moving people westward. It played a vital role in trade, travel and commerce in our country for much of the 20th Century.

Today, railroads still play a vital role in commerce. Kansas City’s position as a transportation center rests partly on the number of rail lines that come into the city. Railroads, though, cross over major and minor roads throughout the Sixth Congressional District.

Railroad crossings have been dangerous ever since automobiles became the preferred method of travel. In 2006, there were 362 fatalities at Missouri railroad crossings in Missouri. I do not believe that every railroad crossing is the same though. Some railroad crossings are more dangerous than others.

Earlier this year, I added language to the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act that allows immediate help to upgrade railroad crossings that suffer multiple fatalities. Right now, states are forced to upgrade crossings based on their order on a list. States should have the flexibility to address problem railroad crossings without delay.

My amendment does not require states to address those crossings immediately. Instead it gives them the flexibility should they determine it’s necessary. Railroads are an important part of commerce in our country, but we need to do a better job of addressing problem railroad crossings immediately.

--Sam Graves
Sixth District


Another tricky day for you, me



As I sit here on Sunday afternoon enjoying our Kansas City paper, I am amazed at our governor taking the time to repair some of the damage he has done to our beloved State of Missouri.

The picture is of him assisting in repairing a house for a person in need. Quite ironic to me, considering that his budgets have almost always completely cut, if not totally eliminated, funds for the most needy persons in our state.

Now, I must confess my prejudice, as I just left my crying 79-year-old mother confined to a wheel chair after a horrific fall. She is currently rehabbing in a facility in Liberty. She was quite upset this morning when she found out my brother and sister who are mentally retarded and reside in the State School in Higginsville were not going to be able to visit her because of a lack of staff funding at the institution.

This is not the first time that my mother has been denied a visit from my youngest siblings since Mr. Blunt has become governor. I have a feeling that it certainly will not be the last.

Our sitting governor has shown a callous disrespect for those in our society who need and deserve the best from us, not just lip service or some photo opportunity. My mother and father have been commended by our state legislature for the many years of voluntary service they provided to the State School in Higginsville where my bother and sister reside.

She has devoted much of her free time and money to ensure her children and the children that reside with them celebrated every holiday, birthday and many other “just plain days” in style.

Yet, as soon as she was not able to visit them, our current governor’s fiscal policies have left her with no option to see her children. In all fairness, I commend the school's staff for working around this tightening of the budget to at least afford some visits for my mom and other parents like her. Yet, they should not have to put up with this bare bones approach to social services that the current administration seems to think is so fair.

Governor, I extol you for taking the hammer to repair some of the damage your policies have caused. I can only ask you now to grab a wheel and drive my brother and sister to see my mom if that is your only response to our social crisis.

Pete Townsend once wrote “This is no social crisis; it’s another tricky day for you and me.” I pray your tricky days are soon to end and we see a more compassionate and considerate government to replace yours.

--Jim McCall



No confidence in Obama



After reading state auditor Susan Montee's letter in your paper (Aug. 1 issue of The Landmark), I was really taken aback by her endorsement of Mr. Obama.

Though I do agree with Ms. Montee that we need unification in our government, we desperately need a president that is well versed in all aspects of governmental issues, foreign policy, and a total grasp of world affairs. The office cannot be used as “training ground” for the next president.

Mr. Obama's recent comment that if Pakistan had terrorist training camps and if Pakistan failed to act on destroying them, then Mr. Obama (as president) would invade Pakistan and do it himself. Now that is the remarks of a man that needs more time on his present job, not the words or understanding of someone wanting to be our president.
Pakistan is “presently” (I use that term loosely) our ally, with need I point out, nuclear capabilities. The next president will inherit a massive mess thanks to our current administration.

Ms. Montee, I voted for you as state auditor based on your experience and shall do so for the Democrat of my choice for the office of president in the upcoming election. I cannot share your enthusiasm regarding Mr. Obama. He needs more time to hone his leadership skills coupled with attaining the knowledge that I feel he presently lacks concerning our nation as well as the global problems and potential problems.
We need someone that has some answers, not “ear tickling” ideas that play well to a crowd, we have had too much of that already from the Republicans and President Bush.

I will be voting Democratic, as I feel presently their field contains our best hope for the future of our nation. I shall name her at a later date (wink).

--Tim Moore


Rove's departure could be good



The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) calls for the Bush Administration to reconsider its priorities regarding physical border security now that Karl Rove, who encouraged the President to support amnesty measures, will be departing his White House post this month. It is generally acknowledged that Rove, otherwise known as the President’s policy “architect,” wanted to use the “Amnesty Card” as a political carrot to increase the registration of Hispanics within the Republican Party.

“Mr. Rove’s departure will give the President the ability to change course, and finally leave a positive legacy that demonstrates the importance of border security first,” states Chris Simcox, MCDC Founder and President. “It is deplorable to think that vulgar calculations of partisan politics would continue to be given a higher priority than national security.”

Current administration policies already raise concerns that our porous borders serve as an open pathway to an ever-increasing illegal alien migrant invasion. MCDC believes that last week’s withdrawal of troops on the southern border will exacerbate a worsening situation of border intrusions and coyote violence, which has been fed by irresponsible “amnesty” talk from Washington. Withdrawal of the National Guard presence also sends the wrong message to international drug dealers, career criminals and terrorists with designs upon America.

The Minuteman message of “border security first” has provided a growing impetus for the creation of 92 MCDC nationally-sponsored chapters, organized at the state and local levels. MCDC has been stalwart in advocating that border security be implemented immediately with funds already allocated to the Department of Homeland Security’s treasury through the 2006 Secure Fence Act, and with the placement of 20,000 National Guard troops stationed on the U.S.-Mexico border. MCDC rejects on-going Bush administration and Congressional calls for massive spending from hypothetical billions of new dollars for unproven “virtual” border security in exchange for amnesty programs, and the removal of border security personnel—including already deployed National Guard.

Unlike the U.S. government, the Minutemen have already been implementing a plan for border security that is more than “virtual” and that includes an effective material barrier—by volunteering their time, energy and personal funds in order to build highly effective demonstration security fencing on private ranch land, expensed through private donations obtained from thousands of citizens nationally. To educate the public and force federal government attention to the realities of border security, Minuteman volunteers have taken steps to build this fence along the border utilizing state of the art technology with the fiber optic mesh produced by FOMGuard, USA, also currently in use on U.S. military installations, the DMZ in Korea and the West Bank in Israel, and recently featured in National Geographic magazine.

Simcox continues, “It is far past time for the Bush Administration to close our borders to illegal migrants and organized foreign penetration with a physical barrier, and to keep and expand our troop commitments at the border until our national security objectives there are achieved. Only then can we focus on new strategies for interior enforcement and thereby ensure the safety of our citizens, and of future generations of Americans.”

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) is a peaceful, law-abiding and citizen-led initiative organized to stand watch at our borders and in our neighborhoods, report illegal activities to the proper authorities, and aid in the construction of border fencing on private lands using private donations. Additionally, MCDC seeks to urge local and federal officials to enforce our immigration laws in order to keep our families and country safe. MCDC conducts border watch operations that assist the activities of the U.S. Border Patrol, reports employers of illegal aliens, and advocates to keeps tax dollars from being used for illegal alien benefits.

For more information, visit

Bryan Rudnick
Minuteman Civil Defense Corps
National Media Office

Increased fuel efficiency needed



At county fairs and festivals all over Missouri this summer, you can count on two things: watermelon and car shows. I’m always amazed at the classic cars that look like they rolled off the assembly line yesterday.

A lot has changed with our automobiles since Henry Ford invented the moving assembly line. One thing that has not changed is fuel efficiency. The 1908 Model T Ford got 25 miles per gallon according to research. That is not to say that we have not made strides in fuel efficiency.

You need to look no further than the Ford Escapes and Mercury Mariners made at the Ford Claycomo Plant in the Sixth District. These hybrid vehicles are a part of the solution to increasing our gas mileage and decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.

We haven’t updated our general fuel efficiency standards in this country in over 20 years. The time has come to put our technology and innovation to work by raising fuel standards. That is why I’ve signed on to the Hill-Terry bill that will increase fuel standards by as much as 40 percent by 2022. I believe that this bill sets an achievable, but reasonable goal for our auto manufacturers.

This legislation is a win-win situation. Americans will get cleaner running cars, while protecting the thousands of good-paying jobs right here in Missouri. This bill enjoys broad bi-partisan support in the House and I hope that we will act quickly in the House this fall.

---Sam Graves
Sixth District


This ethics reform is strong stuff



Have you ever been up late at night watching television and one of those infomercials about a certain amazing cleaning solution comes on?

You know the one. They show you the most impossible stains – wine spilling on a table cloth; mustard dripping on a pant leg; ink leaking on a shirt pocket. Then the host applies this special cleaning product and it all magically disappears. But still you wonder if it really works.

That’s how I felt earlier this year when we passed the Senate Ethics Bill.

We’d seen the stains left on Congress for years – some members of Congress and their staff receiving lavish trips and gifts paid for by lobbyists; secret earmarks for bridges to nowhere tucked away at a Senator’s special request; Congressmen leaving office one day to turn right around to lobby their former colleagues the next; executives and lobbyists trying to influence the law by whisking members of Congress away on their corporate jets; lobbyists collecting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to sitting members of Congress.

Most Americans don’t have special friends just handing them bundles of money. Most Americans don’t have special friends to take them on vacation in a corporate jet. Most Americans don’t get to make promises with a wink-wink, nod-nod to the friends who want expensive projects.

So the American people sent a few new people to the Capitol who share their desire for meaningful change. You could call us the clean-up crew.

It sure looked good when the 10 of us freshmen senators arrived. The Senate leadership made ethics the very first priority of the new Congress. It zipped right on through the process and passed overwhelmingly. But there were still a few more hurdles in our democracy to jump over before it could be signed, sealed, and delivered, and already the rumbling of discontent had begun among some of the folks out in Washington who haven’t exactly walked on the ground for a while, if you know what I mean.

Months went by. The cleaning solution that had shown so much promise wasn’t getting the stain out. Senators were unhappy with this and that. Some complaints were weak, but some were legitimate. So we waited, and waited and waited.

Last week, the clean-up crew had heard enough. I took to a stage with the rest of the freshmen senators and called for “ethics reform now!”
This week, we got our wish. The U.S. Senate passed the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate, and let me tell you it’s strong stuff.

We’ve seen some dirty days in Washington, but I’ve seen this product up close, and I’m proud to say that I believe it’ll help do the trick.

Now if I could just get that gravy stain out of my tablecloth.

--Claire McCaskill
U.S. Senator



An endorsement for Obama



As one of four Missouri Democrats elected statewide, it is my responsibility to help ensure that the Democratic party nominates a candidate for president who will best represent all Missourians.

Today, I announced my endorsement of U.S. Senator Barack Obama. I encourage all Missouri voters to join me in supporting him.

America needs a leader who can inspire us to be better in every way. Barack Obama is a once-in-a-generation leader who will bring this country together like we haven't seen in over 40 years. Obama is running a campaign that is about more than Democrat or Republican - listen to him and you'll hear a message of coming together as a nation to solve our common problems. Look at his record and you'll see a history of working with people of all kinds, focusing on common purpose instead of perceived difference.

Electing barack Obama is about more than race or gender or class. I'm endorsing Barack Obama because he represents America as it can be, America as it should be.

After nearly eight years of partisan politics trumping good government, the stakes are too high for any of us to sit on the sidelines.

—Susan Montee
State Auditor


Dealing with an addiction issue



Thank you for taking the time to do your part in helping to fight one of our society’s greatest problems. The people reading this article most likely know someone dealing with addiction issues this very second.

Did you know that there are over 23 million Americans considered to have substance abuse problems right now? Did you know that there are over 1 million people in this country receiving substance abuse treatment right now? Did you know that the United States has the highest jail/prison population in the world and that roughly 80% of that population is incarcerated either directly or indirectly for issues involving substance abuse?

My name is Emily Milburn, I am 19, and I used to be a statistic. I was 13 years old when I first started using drugs. My substance abuse problems finally landed me in jail.
My family was devastated. They did not understand why I was making such poor choices. They did not know what to do or where to turn. They were confused, they were disappointed, but more than anything they just wanted to get me some help!

Fortunately for my family and ultimately for me, there are avenues readily available for people to get help in our great country. Newspapers, television stations, radio broadcasts, the internet, all of these outlets made it possible for my family to do their research and find the right program for me. And it worked!

I graduated from the Narconon program and have been doing great since. My family chose this specific program because of its unique and non-traditional approach that specialized in my type of addiction and because it has a success rate of over 70%.

I want your readers to know that there is always hope and there is always something that can be done about addiction issues. If you are tired of watching someone you love lose everything in life that matters then do something about it now!

Narconon provides free addiction counseling, local referrals, and residential treatment and can be reached at or 1-800-468-6933.

Thank you for this opportunity and together we can make the world a better place.

Emily Milburn
Narconon Graduate


Old-time memories of the fair



I was reading the supplement about the Platte County Fair that came with The Landmark last week (July 11 Landmark issue) and couldn't help thinking about all the changes that have taken place over the years. The only thing that hasn't changed is the statement "Meet me at the Fair."

After we moved to Kansas in 1936, I got to come to Platte County and spend the Fair week with my grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Claude George. Then the fair was held in the last week of August and the week before school started. Another major difference was that all activities at the fair closed down between 5 p.m. and sundown as there were no electric lights at the fairgrounds in 1938.

My granddad like to take me to the fair and show me off to all his relatives. It seemed like he was related to everybody in the county. People met that hadn't seen each other since the last fair.

The Floral Hall was in bad shape in 1938, but a lot of people including my mother had jellies and jam on display. The front part had the things that that women did while the back part had the garden products. You could see in the back park
watermelons, eggplant, tomatoes, sweet corn and many other garden products. In the front part were the jams, jellies and canned products. Also there were knitted items and crocheted items. A lot of the women met in the Floral Hall to talk and
discuss what had happen in the past year.

Near the Floral Hall was the dance hall. It became a lively place every evening so I was told. My grandparents took me home about 5 in the afternoon. My uncle, Kendrick George, did not miss a night at the dance hall. I am not sure how the dance hall was lighted.

There were some attractions in front of the grandstands. Most were political speeches by the politicians running for office.

One of the biggest attractions were the new farm implement displays. You could see the latest in tractors from all manufacturers.

Things have changed at the fair, now much of it is at night, more horse shows, 4-H displays. Items shown at the Floral Hall are not all the same.

The biggest thing for the kids were the vendors that brought in the things like the ferris wheel, the merry go round and other things. Also the venders that sold the cotton candy and soft drinks.

The last fair that I attended was in 1949, when I was stationed at Fort Leavenworth.
All I can tell you was that it was a very enjoyable week.

James R. Hopkins,
Diamondhead, MS


The Korean War cease fire



July 27th marks the anniversary of the signing of the cease-fire which ended the fighting in 1953 of the Korean War.

Only one thing ultimately brought success to the United States in the Korean War- the American soldier, airman, Marine and sailor. They suffered and persevered and by the time the war came to an end, U.S. troops had sustained 33,651 battle-related deaths and 103,284 wounded. America had drawn a line and held it- and continues to hold that line today.

Those men and women made history and the world is a better place today because of them. The country should never forget the 1.6 million Americans who served in the Korean War.

The members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 4055, Platte City, recognize and honor all veterans, both living and dead, who served and sacrificed in the Korean War to defend the lives and liberty of others.

--Annie Shaw
Publicity Chairman
VFW Auxiliary #4055




We need 700 miles of fence



The old adage of putting the ‘cart before the horse’ seems pretty relevant to the on-going debate about immigration reform in Congress.

No plan for immigration reform will work until we control the border. The fact is, though, we don’t control our own borders.

Just last week authorities found a 600 foot tunnel under the border from Mexico into Nogales, Arizona. I have to wonder why someone would go to so much trouble when there are still places where you can walk across the border.

This is not just an immigration issue; it is also a national security issue. We have to know who is crossing our border and why.

In October of 2006, Congress passed and I supported the “Secure Fence Act of 2006” which calls for 700 miles of fence on the U.S./Mexican border. Congress has provided over a billion dollars to start the project, but I don’t believe we are doing it fast enough. The fence creates an actual border for our border patrol to guard as opposed to an imaginary line on a map.

In this year’s Homeland Security, bill we fully funded 3,000 new border agents. By the end of 2008, we will have doubled the number of border patrol agents since I came to Congress. The bill also expands the vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting, all of which deters illegal entry into this country.

Offering amnesty to illegal aliens is exactly the wrong thing to do and I will never support such a plan. Instead we need to regain control of our borders and enforce the laws on the books.

Until we control our own border, any other plan is simply putting the cart before the horse.

--Congressman Sam Graves
Sixth District



Five steps to a 'greener' car



It doesn’t matter if the car you’re driving is new or old, big or small. There are preventive maintenance steps every vehicle owner can take to make sure their car is as “green” or environmentally friendly as possible.

By following five simple preventive maintenance steps, you can help protect the environment by improving gas mileage, which in turn saves money at the pump.

1. The first step is to keep your car properly tuned for optimum performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions. A 21st Century tune-up for modern vehicles includes the following system checks: battery, charging and starting; engine mechanical; powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks); fuel; ignition; and emissions. A 21st Century tune-up can improve gas mileage by an average of four percent. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.

2. The second step is to regularly check and replace dirty air filters. An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture - too much gas being burned for the amount of air - that wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.

3. The third step is have the spark plugs checked - if they haven’t already been checked as part of the tune-up - and replaced if necessary. A vehicle can have four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles. This results in a lot of heat, electrical, and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug also causes misfiring, which wastes fuel.

4. The fourth step is to maintain the cooling system of your vehicle. A cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold will lower the fuel efficiency of a car by as much as one or two mpg. There also are improved radiator caps on the market today that allow the cooling system to operate at a higher temperature before boiling over, increasing the system’s efficiency and reducing emissions.

5. The last step toward keeping a “green” car is to properly maintain and repair your car as outlined in the council’s Car Care Guide. The guide helps drivers understand their car, the care it needs, and when it needs it and why. Single copies of the free guide may be ordered on the Car Care Council Web site,

In addition to proper vehicle maintenance, vehicles can be more fuel-efficient if tires are properly inflated and if drivers observe the speed limit, avoid aggressive driving and excessive idling, and adhere to an errand list to eliminate extra trips to the store for forgotten items. For a free copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or to learn more about how to maintain your vehicle, visit

--Rich White
Executive Director
Car Care Council



Short bus reference 'hurt'



For quite some time now, I have enjoyed and even appreciated the majority of your comments in your Between The Lines column. You appear to call a spade a spade and “tell it like it is"-or at least how you truly perceive the situation to be.

My writing this evening is not intended to disparage all the good that has been done. Many positive actions have occurred in Platte City and the area as a result of your stance and willingness to address the wrongs or areas that could and should be improved upon.

Now that dreaded “however." However, your lead (second sentence) last week inferring that anyone that did not recognize July 3rd as Fourth of July Eve, must be one of those “who rode the short bus.” Dear friend of the community, please know that there are many of us parents, grandparents, and /or guardians who put our child on a “short bus” every morning. Daily as we do this, we get a little chocked up and somehow wish our little fellow or young lady had a better quality of life.

Those precious people we just led to the bus, in many instances, do not wish for a better quality of life or a bigger bus, or fancy clothes or anything other than to make it through this day. They are so very proud of their bus and the excitement of being independent enough to ride that bus and be with their friends for that day. Because of their individual mental and/or physical challenges, many of them don’t wish for anything--because they can’t.

Those precious bus drivers and the caretakers, teachers, therapists, and others that deal with the sullenness, uncontrollable outbursts, crying, soiled undergarments, and several changes of clothes during the day at “school” also have that same longing in their heart to somehow make this a good day for Johnnie, Sally, Daniel, Michael, Jessica. . . the list is endless.

Precious gifts from God ride the short bus all across this wonderful world of ours every day. I do not know their longings or aspirations, I cannot feel their pain or understand how confusing and weird we must appear in their minds. I do know they are precious and they are the love and life of someone else. They should not be used or implied as a comparison or measurement to which we attach or judge “normalcy."

You are an extremely intelligent person so I will not attempt to belabor the point. Also, please know I hold no bitterness or anger toward you or your statement nor do I feel that you are insensitive. I do believe that it is my duty as a friend and reader of your thoughts, to say to you, Hey Ivan, you meant no harm or insensitivity, but—that hurt.

Thanks for listening. Give me a call, I’d be proud to take you to breakfast or lunch anytime. Best wishes in all your endeavors.

--Reuben H. Siverling
Kansas City in
Platte County



About Medals of Honor



On July 12, 1862, Congress established the Medal of Honor as the highest United States award given to anyone who, while serving with the armed forces in action against an enemy, had distinguished themselves conspicuously by an act of bravery above and beyond the call of duty and at risk to their own life.

Since that date, more than 2,650 Medals of Honor have been awarded by succeeding Presidents.

The members of the Ladies Auxiliary Post 4055, Platte City, recognize and honor all past and present recipients of this, our nation’s highest award for heroic action; and express eternal and heartfelt gratitude for their sacrifice for America and freedom.

--Annie Shaw
Publicity Chairman
VFW Ladies Auxiliary
Post 4055


Treating life with dignity and respect



All life is precious and needs to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. I commend the General Assembly, and especially Rep. Therese Sander and Sen. Delbert Scott, on their work to protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of our society.
When I campaigned for governor, I promised that I would work to further the cause of life and reduce the number of abortions in our state. In August of 2005, we took a big step towards that goal when we passed legislation prohibiting the transportation of a minor across state lines for an abortion without parental consent. That same month we passed a bill prohibiting physicians from performing abortions unless they have clinical privileges at hospitals located within 30 miles from the location where the abortion is performed.

Signing House Bill 1055 into law is another big step and is one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation in Missouri history. This bill includes three major provisions to further the cause of life in Missouri.

The legislation places Missouri’s Alternatives to Abortion Program in statute to help ensure ongoing support to organizations that help meet the needs of pregnant women and new mothers. This program supports agencies across the state that offer services and counseling to assist at-risk pregnant women in carrying their child to term rather than having an abortion.

The second major provision of this legislation changes the definition of “ambulatory surgical center” to include nearly any facility that performs abortions. This change will require most abortion clinics to apply for a license to operate as an ambulatory surgical center from the state Department of Health and Senior Services. The reason is simple: an abortion is a serious medical procedure. Accordingly, abortion clinics should be subject to the same regulations as other medical facilities offering similar services. These regulations ensure the safety of patients, and there is no good reason why abortion clinics should be exempt from them.

The final major provision of this legislation deals with sex education in public schools. This bill gives school districts the option to provide abstinence-only education. More importantly, it prohibits schools from providing abortion services or purchasing any sex education course materials from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. It is good public policy to allow decisions on sex education to be made by families. Parents do not want politicians in Jefferson City mandating how schools teach sex education to their children. It is far better to allow local school boards to gather input from actual parents in making sex education policy.

As a state, we should do all we can to encourage young mothers and young parents to choose life. I will continue working with your elected representatives to pass strong pro-life legislation that respects the sanctity and dignity of all human life.

--Gov. Matt Blunt


Keeping our commitments



Sixty-three years ago last month, our nation woke up to hear that one of the great battles of our time had begun. Operation Overlord, the landing of 150,000 allied troops on the coast of Normandy, would ultimately succeed. However the war was far from over. On July 4th, 1944, one U.S. Division gained only 200 yards while suffering almost 1,400 casualties. I am reminded that we only succeeded because of the courage and dedication of those men and women who fought that war.

This week, American forces are stationed around the world. They are engaged in training Iraqi police and army units, hunting down terrorists, working with local tribal leaders to bring peace to their villages. They are doing a terrific job under difficult circumstances.

In Congress, I have voted to raise their pay. There is no doubt they deserve it and that is why I have voted for a permanent pay increase for all of the brave men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces every year that I have been in Congress.

Our commitment, though, does not end there. Once they return to our shores as heroes and veterans we have a duty to make sure they get the care they were promised. Since 2001, funding for veterans' health care has increased by almost 80 percent with my support.

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday this week, we must never forget those brave men and women who are serving their country. We have a commitment to them now and when they return. It is a commitment that I intend to keep.

--Congressman Sam Graves
Sixth District of Mo.



Save the Todd Creek Bridge



Articles have told many times the story of the electric rail systems from 80 or 90 years ago in Kansas City. The “Interurbans” were also a thriving industry nationwide, from New England to southern California. This nation’s dependence on gasoline, cars, trucks and even the demand for tires, batteries, and parking spots is a story journalists and historians will write one day with reports of vanished species like the Arctic polar bear.

On NW Interurban Road, Kansas City, Mo., a new two-lane bridge is being built alongside the existing one-lane railroad bridge used for general traffic over Todd Creek since 1933. This double arched concrete bridge “of the Luten design” itself dates from 1911-12 with the construction of the Kansas City, Clay County and St. Joseph railroad. The enterprise was built to Class 1 railroad specifications, with heavy steel rails, ballast, and the finest equipment available.

Todd Creek at Interurban Road is one of the most scenic spots remaining in rural Kansas City, Missouri-The Northland. This beautiful waterway is not well known because road traffic narrows down to one lane. Nearby roadside parking is impossible.

To construct the new bridge at Todd Creek, Kansas City public works purchased nearby property for the expanded right-of-way. If someday KC Parks and Recreation creates a park or nature preserve at Todd Creek, which should be done, farmland will also have to be purchased.

As long as the old bridge stands, a public foothold exists for any future park. If it is just routinely destroyed, the former railroad right-of-way will be private property again. “Movers and shakers” of the Northland, take action now.

The brand new bridge over Todd Creek is now in place. At present, work on the new roadway realignment is preliminary, the majestic old arched bridge is still in use. The bridge itself should be treasured just as the legendary covered “Bridges of Madison County” are today.

To repeat, the practical reason not to destroy the bridge is to “inventory” it as the basis for a Todd Creek Park.

In retirement, and in use only by bicyclists and strollers, the bridge can be prettied-up at some future time. But when its destroyed, this opportunity is lost forever.

--Ed Gentry
St. Joseph



Seal the Mexican border



Twelve million plus undocumented immigrants live in our country. They came through our border as unwitting guests of the federal government.

Over 40 years, our elected government, the House, the Senate and the Presidency have not enforced laws meant to stop people coming into our country illegally. Now that they are here, the paramount question is, “what to do with them?” Bus them back to their countries? Give them immediate legal status? Give them access to Medicaid, Medicare? Enroll them in Social Security? Do nothing - leave illegals in a legal limbo? What would be done with those found to be criminals?

To make matters more complicated, illegals have children who were born here and thus are U.S. citizens. Families are mixed with citizen children and non-citizen parents.

The effort to begin to solve this problem should be conducted in two parts. The first part is to seal the Mexican/American border. We’ve got to get a grip and know exactly who wants to come into our country. This is will be a difficult task and will take a while to accomplish.

After this is done, then the status of illegals living in the U.S. must be dealt with. It's very important that the border problem be taken care of before the status of America’s illegal immigrants is tackled.

And clearly, there should be no “amnesty.”

--Robert M. Shettles


Editor's advisory panel checks in



Tips for The Landmark editor/Between the Lines columnist from his volunteer readers advisory panel.

Tip 1—Remember their names, especially when they love you. I think your wait would have been much shorter if you had remembered her name!

Tip 2—Don’t edit the paper at 3 a.m. after riding around with the cops!! Could lead to the same story appearing twice under different headlines!

Don’t you love correspondence from readers? We never write to say good job, just when we notice an error. Actually, I think the paper does a good job and am a devoted reader.

Also, DJ Hedrick is a good guy and Platte County is fortunate to have him on patrol. I met him a couple times during my police career.

--Tom Robinson


Republican debates are scary



I have never been a fan of horror movies and usually keep my eyes closed during really unnerving scenes in TV shows but I did watch several really scary spectacles in the last couple of weeks. They were called the Republican debates.

To begin with, I hadn’t seen less diversity on TV since watching the 1957 version of Twelve Angry Men. I watched as 10 old white men stood answering questions being thrown out by more old white men like Chris Matthews of MSNBC and Brit Hume of Fox, and Wolf Blitzer of CNN. At least Fox let an African American ask a couple of questions; otherwise anyone watching from another country would think the only people who inhabit America are old white men.

In a multi-racial, multi-gendered, multi-cultural society, isn’t it a little creepy that the Republican Party only has white men running for President in their party? David Letterman said, “They looked like the evil law firm in a John Grisham movie.”

Now I have to admit most of the debate hours were boring beyond belief, but the scary parts were horrifying beyond belief, too. I watched as at least nine of the 10 opined that a woman should not have control over her own body. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, also made by men (Justice Ginsburg dissented) that a woman and her doctor do not have the right to choose the safest form of late term abortion if her health would be severely damaged by carrying a child to term, any woman should be alarmed by those nine men.

It was also quite chilling listening to nine of the ten talk about their belief in “enhanced interrogation technique” a pretty Republican term for torture. Rudy Giuliani endorsed water boarding. Mitt Romney declared that he wants accused terrorists at Guantánamo, “where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil ... My view is, we ought to double Guantánamo,” he said.

With the end of Habeas Corpus and the fact that any American citizen could be deemed a terrorist and sent off to Cuba with no recourse for redemption, those words should horrify all Americans.

Tommy Thompson declared that employers should have the right to fire homosexuals and then took it back the next day saying he hadn’t understood the question. Since I do not know what he truly holds in his heart, I will take him at his word, but his first answer was quite frightening.

But the thing that left me with nightmares was when three of the candidates raised their hands when asked who didn’t believe in evolution.

--Sondra Snapp
St. Joseph




Take a look at Barnes' record



The opinion column by Dave Kinnamon (May 23 issue of The Landmark) that speaks of Kay Barnes "bringing balance to the Sixth District" is, to say the least, ludicrous.
The only thing she ever balanced was her own bank account and more than likely that was done by someone else, possibly like everything else she did, at taxpayers' expense.

After eight years as mayor of Kansas City, she left a bill for taxpayers to pay which will take at least 30 years. All the "great things" she did for KC will be like "Union Station," a citizen burden into the foreseeable future with no end in sight.

I don't think the people in the Sixth District need this kind of "balance."

The only way you could have gotten a more liberally-biased reporter would have been to get Ted Kennedy or Dan Rather or maybe Hillary.

Take a good look at Kay Barnes' record and see how lucky we are to have Sam Graves. Let's keep it that way.

--George Fee



The freedom to use midwives



The citizens of Missouri, especially those who love freedom, should laud John Loudon. Senator Loudon is the architect of the recently enacted substitute legislation that will permit midwifery in Missouri.

While I can’t speak to his methods, which have been made much ado by members of both sides of the Jefferson City political aisle, I do believe that his accomplishment would make Thomas Jefferson, whose statue stands at the entrance to the capitol, proud.

Much of the discussion in the last few days, including that of the
press, has been focused on the political maneuvering that gave birth to the legislation. Most of us, myself included, will never be able to sort out or understand all of the political motives that give rise to voice or vote in government; however, we should all be able to understand the principle of an issue if and when it’s separated from the rhetoric of the moment.

The underlying question of the subject principle is this: Are
governments established to “secure rights," as explained by Mr.
Jefferson in the ‘Declaration of Independence’; or, are “governments
instituted among men” to prevent competition from alternative services?
The real right to medical care, be it from a physician or from a midwife, should rest with the individual and not with government.

Missouri laws, that deny the rights of its citizens by preventing the practice of midwifery, should be recognized as (to borrow a phrase from George Reisman, author of the 1000 plus page treatise, ‘Capitalism’) a “….perversion of the individual’s actual, rational right to medical care.”

Senator Loudon, during recent Senate debate, challenged his Senate colleagues, by asking: “Are we going to vote for freedom here or are we going to let a narrow special interest in the hall stand in the way of compromise?”

We should all be thankful that the freedom to use midwives in Missouri was secured by the 2007 session of the Missouri General Assembly and that attempts for countermanding legislation failed.

Bruce Hillis
Missouri First



A small part of many lives



I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to everyone who contributed to the 27 successful years of Children's Academy Preschool. I have enjoyed every minute of it. Working with children and their parents has truly been a joy. What a wonderful career I have had.

Thanks to all who participated in my retirement celebration after our graduation. I was overwhelmed by the gifts, the attendance and the thoughtfulness of everyone. Seeing my former students from very early days to not so very early days was very rewarding. They gave up a beautiful evening because of their memories of preschool. Cards and notes from students and parents have meant a great deal to me. I love hearing what my "alums" are doing. Thank you for sharing your children with me.

I will still continue to follow the progress and achievements of "my" students- whether it is sports, scouts or other events in the local paper as well as accomplishments in their careers and families. I am very proud of being even a small part of so many lives.
Thank you Platte City, Weston, Smithville, Dearborn, Camden Point, Edgerton and Parkville.

— Peggy Swaney
Platte City


Arabs don't want peace



Ongoing violence from Arabs in the territory of Gaza towards Israel demonstrates the reality that Arabs really do not want peace. Israel has not “occupied” Gaza for almost two years, yet Arabs from Gaza still attack Israel. Arabs in Gaza continue to unleash an unabated barrage of rockets towards communities inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel.

If Arabs truly want to seek peace, then they should halt their onslaught of rockets towards Israel and should concentrate on developing their own economy and governmental infrastructure.

However, the reality is that Arabs do not want compromise or peace with Israel. The reality is that Arabs want to kill as many Jews in Israel as possible, and ultimately destroy Israel.

--David A. Raffel


Potential disaster averted



Even though we did not have a disaster with the Platte River flooding the Farley-Stillings area, we found that communities and entities do work together for the benefit of the citizens.

The Farley Beverly Drainage District Board and the Village of Farley Board of Trustees want to take this opportunity to thank the following for their help in preventing the Platte River flooding at Farley: the Emergency Preparedness Center, the Platte County Sheriff’s Department, the Platte County Health Department, the South Platte Fire Department, the Platte County Public Works Department and all sand bag volunteers. With the cooperation of all of the above, along with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, a potential disaster was averted.

These entities and volunteers are assets to our community, and we again thank each of them for their help.

--Keith Kisker, President
Farley-Beverly Drainage
--Teresa Bing, Chairman
Board of Trustees
Village of Farley

More American energy needed



I’ve heard from many of you this past week as gas prices have once again risen sharply. I too am frustrated by overnight jumps in the price of gas. I support legislation that authorizes the state’s Attorney General to investigate any price gouging. Anyone who is taking advantage of higher prices should be put out of business.

The long-term solution to lowering gas prices is a three-pronged strategy. We need to increase the use of renewable and alternative energy, we need to increase the number of refineries and we need to keep exploring for energy in America.

That is why I cannot understand why Congress has yet to pass legislation to allow energy exploration in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I have supported this legislation every time it has been brought up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

ANWR is an area the size of South Carolina with billions of barrels of recoverable oil. New technology means that we could explore the entire region while leaving a footprint the size of Kansas City International Airport.

In addition, I have supported legislation that allows us to explore for energy between 100 and 200 miles off our shore. We are the only developed country in the world that does not allow for exploration that far off our coast.

As world demand of oil increases, the price of gas will only continue to increase. We need to take advantage of our own resources. It’s dangerous and expensive to depend on foreign sources of oil.

-- Congressman Sam Graves
Sixth District


A perfect chance to fly the flag



Patriotism. . .by definition, love and loyal support of one’s
country. Flying of our United States flag is the most visible way of
showing this. With this in mind, the flag should be exhibited
correctly according to flag etiquette.

The Ladies Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United
States suggests each of us to be mindful of proper flag etiquette.
Patriotic holidays in May, which we should honor by flying the
flag, some past and some to come, are Loyalty Day, May 1st; Armed Forces Day, May 19th; and Memorial Day observed, May 28.

June 14, Flag Day, will be celebrated as the 230th Anniversary of
the American Flag, along with that instruction in the Pledge of
Allegiance would be appropriate. The original Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1885 by Francis Bellamy.

It read: “I pledge allegiance to
my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (*”to”) added in
October, 1892. In 1954, Congress added the words “under God”,
following ‘one nation," in the Pledge.

--Marcella Cannon,
Patriotic Instructor
Ladies Auxiliary
VFW #4055
Platte City



Aldermen doing stand-up thing



It was with great joy and a sense of relief that I read about the recent
attempt of Mayor Dave Brooks to appoint Lee Roy Van Lew to the Planning and Zoning Commission Board.

Also the attempt to allow himself, Mayor Brooks, and Keith Moody to the CID over spending of the 5/8 special tax. While I have no personal gripes or issues with these two men, I have lived here a long time and try to keep up on what is going on in town.
It looks like we finally have aldermen who are not afraid to stand up for what is right. The citizens of this town overwhelmingly elected our new board members, that should have sent a clear message that we no longer want business as usual from city hall. Mayor Brooks does not seem to get the message.

It sounds like Mr. Moody may suddenly realize he works for us, not the other way around. Kudos to Kenneth Brown, Ron Stone, Aaron Jung, and the others for having the courage to stand up for the citizens of Platte City.

At the same time, I’m sorry to hear that Bill Knighton is resigning his
seat. I know there has been some controversy over conflict of interests concerning Bill and his business. I have known Bill for many years and firmly believe he is honest and above board in his dealings with everyone.

Thank you for your service, Bill.

--Carol Gregory
Platte City



Protect the family farms



Susan Brown's letter to the editor in The Landmark dated April 25, 2007 stated "The importance of local control cannot be taken for granted." That was about the only part of her letter that was correct.

From my perspective, I would say local control is having a negative effect on agriculture in our state and hurting family farms right here in Platte County.

Today Platte County has one 1200 hundred sow unit that was in operation before the local health ordinance was established. Many of you have probably driven by this operation and never known it was there. To my knowledge, there has never been a complaint about this operation even though there are many homes in the area.

There is another pork producer in a less populated area that would like to expand so his son could join the operation. Local control restricts this family farm from being as large as the other local producer. If this smaller farmer were allowed to build a new larger operation today under Senate Bill 364, he would face greater restrictions and more regulations than the existing facility.

Ms. Brown wrote about the need to keep corporate agriculture out of Missouri, protecting the environment and helping 100,000 family farms by opening new markets. If she had studied Senate Bill 364, Ms. Brown would have known the three largest sized feeding operations are prohibited. That there are greater restrictions and more regulations for any operation built today.

As a member of the coalition, I can assure you that family farmers and those organizations that represent family farms make up the coalition. I hope legislators will work to help the 100,000 family farmers Ms. Brown noted by passing Senate Bill 364. Then when new markets open, our family farmers would have something to sell in those new markets.

I hope all parties involved join together in a way that protects the family farm so there is profit for many, not just a few.

--Hal Swaney
Mo. Council for
Burley Tobacco
Coalition Member


Distancing themselves from Bush



A new strategy has emerged among Republican candidates for president who appeal to the party’s huge conservative base.

Frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, as well as several lesser candidates, have chosen to hearken back to the Reagan era. Identifying with the man whose name is virtually synonymous with conservatism evidently makes a lot more sense than tying oneself to either George W. Bush or his father.

The current occupant of the White House, of course, is adamant in his continuation of the increasingly unpopular Iraq war. Now four years old with no end in sight, the struggle has already cost 3,200 American lives, wounded over 20,000, and destroyed whatever positive attitude for our nation existed in the Muslim world. Instead of deciding that the U.S. goals have been accomplished and ending the conflict, Mr. Bush is pouring more troops into the fray, even sending some units back for a third tour. No GOP political aspirant wants to be identified with such a record.

I think that any candidate who says forthrightly that it’s time to bring the troops home would receive strong support.

--Matt K. Davis
Henderson, NV



County justified in ending park deal



As a former seven-year Platte City Park Board member, I was there when the park and recreation director (Dannie Stamper) was hired in April 2001 (EDITOR'S NOTE: Landmark archives show Stamper was hired in March of 2002).

Myself and another board member voted against hiring Mr. Stamper for this position, as he had no park and rec degree. Other applicants did, but were dropped in favor of Mr. Stamper, who lived "close by."

While I'm sure Mr. Stamper is a hard worker and did a lot of work for free for the parks board, I'm not so sure he was the right candidate to manage the six parks, the park programs and the thousands of dollars coming into the parks department.

The county was justified in ending its relationship with the city. The taxpayers and citizens deserve to have well-maintained, clean parks with programs and recreation for all ages.

Perhaps the city could send Mr. Stamper to the park director program at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. It is a four-year program with 15 hours per semester. The cost is around $5,200 per year. I'm sure the $21,000 tuition would be just a drop in the bucket for the city.

--Susan Higgins
Platte City


Bad experience at Union Station



Recently my family and I traveled from Omaha, NE to Kansas City to enjoy a weekend at the Westin Hotel and to view the Dead Sea Scrolls at Union Station. Being a native Missourian and never having had the chance to visit Union Station, I was very excited about our holiday.

The viewing was a pivotal moment in our lives as we knew that it was a once in a lifetime screening. It was all the more important because my three-year-old daughter was starting to understand the concept of God.

The exhibit was, as you could imagine, very crowded and we had to wait nearly an hour. You can envision how frustrated my little girl was by the time we started the tour. She was a little fussy and cried at one point. Many of the guests looked on with sympathetic eyes.

Having completed less than 1/4 of the exhibit I and my daughter retired to a corner of the display to work out her distress. A security guard approached and told me that: “if I could not quiet my daughter . . . I, and she, would have to leave.” I thought the man was joking and I asked, “I’m sorry, are you serious?” He immediately took an aggressive posture with his hand on his mace canister and told me I had to leave.

Under these circumstances, we of course left. During the trip back home to Omaha I pondered over what had happened to my family. I asked myself, why would an employee of The Union Station act in such an aggressive manner? “How could this person see a father holding a crying child as a threat?”

When a crying toddler and her father become a threat at one of our museums it is time to stop supporting that museum. You can be sure that when my family and I have visited the Durham Western Heritage Museum located in Omaha’s old Union Station we are treated as honored guests and friends of the museum. Your museum on the other hand . . . does not!

--Michael Elias
Omaha, NE


CAFO debate over for now



Last week, the Missouri Senate voted to end debate about eliminating local control of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and form a committee to study the issue after the session ends. Hallelujah. Senator Charlie Shields offered this suggestion after the bill’s sponsor, Chris Koster, and Farm Bureau devised a false “compromise” that did not include all parties involved.

The importance of local control can’t be taken for granted. Their plan would have eliminated Platte County’s health ordinance and given the state the exclusive power to regulate large animal feeding operations. Our local rules ensure that CAFOs can’t be located close to private residences or endanger water wells. The state has a dismal record of protecting rural residents from these types of factories.
We hope the committee will work toward legislation to help the 100,000 family farmers in Missouri, not just corporate CAFOs (that make up less than ½ of 1% of farms) with policies that open markets and promote true rural economic development. We hope all parties are involved in a consensus that protects our health and property values – not just the profits of a few.
Concerned Citizens would like to thank Sen. Charlie Shields for his leadership and also Commissioners Betty Knight and Jim Plunkett for their firm support of local control.

--Susan Brown
Concerned Citizens
of Platte County, Inc.


The Platte attraction



What do you suppose draws the people here to live? Most work outside the city. People have bought a lot of homes here in recent times because why?

Let’s see? Was it because they didn’t like what they saw? Was it because it was “ small town “ atmosphere? Or, was it because everyone who chose Platte City to reside and raise their children saw a challenge to see how much they could change it?

It is hard to imagine people moving into a community and then saying “now let’s change everything and make it more like Johnson County.”

Wow. My thinking is, love it or leave it. Better yet, why did you come here in the first place?

--Jan Emerson
Platte City


America needs to be self-reliant



The first European settlers into Missouri were fur-traders and trappers, missionaries, and fortune seekers. Different as their professions may be, one thing was the same: they were all self-reliant. They depended on no one else for their needs and wants. That pioneer spirit is still a part of Missouri life today.

Fast forward to the present day and an America that gets over 60 percent of its oil from foreign sources. Not only is this an economic issue, but it is a national security issue. In the 2005 Energy Bill we boosted the standard for renewable fuels to 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012.

In the 2007 Farm Bill we will have the opportunity to increase that standard. Agriculture is now in the energy business and that’s good news for Missouri farmers. We will have an opportunity in this bill to go even farther.

Here in Missouri we are helping lead the way in ethanol and bio-diesel production. Currently there are four ethanol plants up and running in the state with at least four more on the way. Ethanol is good for the consumer, its good for the producer and its good for the environment.

In the upcoming Farm Bill, I will be working to increase the amount of renewable and alternative energy used in our energy supply. I would much rather be dependent on Missouri farmers and producers for our energy than foreign countries, many of which are not friendly.

It will not be easy, but America needs to be self-reliant for its energy needs.

--Congressman Sam Graves
Sixth District

Remembering David Scheetz



As the date of April 15th approaches, we will mark the anniversary of our son and brother’s death.

We would like to take this time to thank this awesome community for everything they have done for us this past year. You have supported us and helped us through our darkest hour.

We would like to give a special thank you to Young Life, Platte County High School Football, Baseball and Wrestling Teams, Pirate Youth Football, and Platte Valley Bank. You have all done something to help us keep David’s memory alive and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

We would also like to thank the Holy Trinity Church, friends, family and neighbors for all of your concerns, calls, prayers and good gestures.

We hope that everyone will take the day of April 15th and remember David with a random act of kindness, and also remember to buckle up for David.

With Love and Memories of David.

--Bill, Paige and
Angela Scheetz



Pact with KCPL is a good deal



After reading The Landmark last week (Brian Kubicki's column entitled "Concerned Citizens fall short vs. KCPL"), it looks like we need to explain the KCPL/Sierra Club/Concerned Citizens of Platte County (CCPC) agreement a little.

This agreement is a win for both the company and the community. It allows KCPL to continue construction of their Iatan 2 power plant without the uncertainties of litigation and it addresses the concerns CCPC had about pollution levels, global warming and water supply. It even goes beyond our expectations by setting up collaboration among the parties to work on legislation to reduce energy usage statewide, support KCMO’s climate protection plan, and improve pollution monitoring.

Pollution levels in our area will be lower. Even with two power plants at Iatan, the level of pollution will be lower than with just one plant. Lower emission limits at their LaCygne, KS power units should improve air quality in the entire KC Metro area.

Global warming gas (CO2) emissions will be reduced. 100% of the CO2 emitted by Iatan 2 will be offset with more wind, energy efficiency and possible older plant closure. The offsets will not be “ set amounts of money given by the power company toward generation of so called ‘green energy,’” as Brian asserts. These are actual wind farms and energy efficiency programs that reduce demand for coal power.

In addition, rural communities welcome wind as a new source of revenue for their schools and struggling farmers. KCPL’s overall goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% from 2006 levels by 2020 is unprecedented for any utility.

Our water supply will also be better protected. The City of Weston will receive funding for water infrastructure upgrades and KCPL has agreed to work together with us to resolve any landfill concerns.

Finally, KCPL has agreed to pay $86,000 for technical analysis (not “technical studies” as Brian stated) – this is to compensate Sierra Club and CCPC for legal expenses. This type of agreement is not unusual with any settlement. CCPC is donating our share back to Sierra Club.

KCPL has truly addressed our health, global warming, water supply concerns and more. This agreement lays the groundwork for policies in both Missouri and Kansas to reduce energy usage, better utilize renewable energy, and improve our economy with new technologies and investments.

The Board of Concerned Citizens of Platte County, Inc.
Susan Brown
Byron Combs
Debbie Woehrman
Antonio Cutolo-Ring
Debie Asher
Sarah Hoffman
Jackie Stevens

Local control is vital in CAFO's


Missouri Farm and Food Preservation Act, Senate Bill 364, is being promoted as a bill to protect our family farms but in fact it will do the opposite. Under current laws, third class counties have a right to use health ordinances to protect the health and safety of their communities. SB 364 will take away the control of the local counties to enact health ordinance to protect their communities against the environmental impact of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and big farm associations have decided that corporate farms will be the future of farming in Missouri. They feel that the family farms are not in Missouri’s agricultural future, and that corporate farms will dominate even though presently there are 106,000 farming operations and only 451 are industrial facilities. Because they have this vision for the future of agriculture in Missouri, they have decided that now is the time to open the doors for corporate farms by removing more restrictions.

To promote Senate Bill 364 they are telling farmers the purpose of this legislation is to protect them from government regulations. In truth state law (Chapter 537.295) protects the farmers right to farm. Only industrial or corporate farms are regulated by the state because of their volume of animals for an example a hog farm would have to have over 17,500 hogs. Another talking point being promoted is to have the same county regulations across the state, but because of varying geological conditions in our counties this is not a good argument.

Other states are finding out that these corporate farms are more of a hindrance than a benefit. States like South Carolina are restricting these operations because of the negative economical and environmental impacts they have on areas that were previously nice rural farming communities. Corporate farms put family farms at a disadvantage, by controlling the markets, by volume buying of farm supplies and by causing the closing of local farm supply stores.

The only way the corporate farms can get overwhelming support for their bill is to scare small farmers into believing that government is attacking their livelihood. No one is attacking the family farmer, except the corporations. The corporations want to take over the control of agricultural activities in Missouri and force others to work for them or go out of business. They are the ones killing the family farms. Look how the chicken and hog industry has changed in recent years. If people fall prey to corporate propaganda promoted by the Department of Agriculture and big farm associations, then they will be the ones that will be forced out by industrial agriculture.

The true intention of this bill is to let corporate farms take over Missouri’s agriculture. The purpose of this bill is not to protect the family farm. Do we want Missouri to be a state controlled by corporate farms or do we want the independently owned and operated family farms to prevail?

--State Rep. Belinda Harris
District 110


No terrorists wanted here



Guantanamo Bay is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base and was secured as a part of the settlement of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since 2001, Guantanamo Bay has also been home to a military prison for enemy combatants of the United States. It is heavily fortified, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and over a hundred miles from the United States’ shore.

In a recent Committee hearing there was some discussion about moving the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. I oppose moving those terrorists into the United States.

I think that is a bad idea. The prison holds some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists from across the globe. They have threatened Americans and in some instances they have killed Americans. Having terrorists held so close to Americans would pose a significant risk if they were to escape or if the prison were to become a target for other terrorists.
There is a hard-core group of terrorists there who will have to be locked up over the long-term. For instance, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of the terrorists who is currently being detained there. He has admitted to masterminding the 9/11 attacks on this country. Clearly we cannot let him simply go free.

I am confident our military can safeguard these terrorists in America if given the order, but I do not believe that is necessary. Guantanamo Bay is the best place for those terrorists and I see no reason to move them from that facility.

--Congressman Sam Graves


Afraid Byrd will think on his own?



It looks like development attorney, Jim Bowers, is trying to buy a seat on the Kansas City City Council.

In the 2nd District race between Chris Byrd and Russ Johnson, Jim Bowers, his partners and the clients he controls have contributed $11,625 to Russ Johnson’s campaign. The odd thing is that Chris Byrd is a real estate attorney and the Chairman of
the Platte County Economic Development Council. Common sense would dictate that Bowers would want another attorney on the council that understands the issues related to economic development.

Why is Bowers supporting a computer network programmer that has no experience in real estate or economic development so heavily?

Maybe Bowers is offering to “guide” Johnson through the complex issues of real estate development and is afraid that Byrd will think on his own.

--Jamie Walker
Kansas City



Cutting taxes will work



After reading several criticisms from opponents