2011 News

Anti-Drug Billboards Seek To Raise Awareness
COMBAT BillboardDECEMBER 28, 2011 -- Cosmetic Dentistry by Crystal Meth… Auto Detailing by PCP… Social Networking by Ecstasy… These “taglines” aren’t being used to sell, but to serve as a warning about the real-life consequences of drug abuse. They are being featured on new, dramatic COMBAT billboards that should capture the attention of thousands of passing motorists every day.

County Executive Tournament Raises $16,500 For Operation Breakthrough
Operation Breakthrough With ChildrenNOVEMBER 23, 2011 -- During the weekly meeting of the County Legislature Monday, November 21, County Executive Mike Sanders presented a check to Operation Breakthrough co-found Sister Berta Sailor for $16,500. The money was raised through  the County Executive Charity Golf Tournament held September 9.

First Nationwide Test Of Emergency Alert System Set For November 9
Emergency Alert SystemFor years, local television and radio stations have periodically tested the Emergency Alert System with familiar tones followed by “This is a test…,” but on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, for the first time ever, a nationwide test of the alert system will take place.

NOVEMBER 3, 2011 -- Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders delivered his State of the County address, focusing on the county's finances, improving public safety and setting "generational goals." CLICK HERE for the speech's text and links to the video. 

Emergency Operations CenterCounty Played Key Role In Award-Winning Exercise
OCTOBER 20, 2011 -- The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, an elaborate drill simulating the response to a devastating earthquake with an epicenter in the Missouri "boot hill," has earned a major award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Jackson County played a key role in the multi-state exercise, which was conducted earlier this year and has now won the "Outstanding, Drill, Exercise or Event" category of the 2011 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.

20 Confirmed Heat-Related Deaths During Summer Of 2011
OCTOBER 18, 2011 -- Twenty heat-related deaths occurred in Kansas City during the summer of 2011, according to recently concluded investigations conducted by the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office. Those 20 heat-related deaths are the most in the city during the last dozen years, reported William D. Snook, a program manager with the City of Kansas City Health Department. The previous high in the past six years had been 11 confirmed heat-related deaths in 2007.

KC Area 'Well Positioned' For Potential Federal Transit Funding
OCTOBER 11, 2011 -- If federal dollars become available because Congress passes either a jobs bill or a transportation bill, the Greater Kansas City area will be "well positioned" to receive assistance for a wide-array of projects. Those projects could employee thousands of people.

United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood delivered that good news in person during a round-table discussion Friday, October 7 at the Truman Library in Independence. LaHood was joined by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill as they received input about transportation-related issues from Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, five area mayors, Missouri Department of Transportation Director Kevin Keith, railroad executives, union leaders, transit agency officials, urban planners and others.

Commuter Rail TrainPublic Input Sought Regarding Transit Options
OCTOBER 5, 2011 -- The public's input was sought last week regarding future mass transit options along the Interstate 70 and Rock Island corridors in eastern Jackson County during three meetings conducted by the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternative Analysis Project Partnership Team.

Picnic Focuses On Safety &
Creating Drug-Free Communities

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011 -- Gray skies and some rain failed to put a damper on the COMBAT Drug Awareness Picnic held Saturday, September 17 at Jarboe Park in Kansas City. The inclement weather didn't stop families and community
members from coming out to support COMBAT's mission.

MayorsCounty Hosts Forum, Bringing Together State &
City Officials TO Discuss Development Strategies
AUGUST 30, 2011 -- They came together to discuss economic development strategies that will benefit both Jackson County and the entire state of Missouri. Five Missouri State representatives and five eastern Jackson County mayors participated in the forum Friday, August 26 that quickly evolved into a brainstorming session with one dominant topic -- topics.

Checks Presented To Domestic Violence Shelters
Domestic Violence SheltersAUGUST 11, 2011 -- As Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders observed, the numbers are "sobering." According to the FBI, approximately 1,500 women each year are killed in the United States by either their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence accounts for an estimated 2.3 million physical assaults every year, which means on average one domestic violence assault occurs every 13.7 seconds. Many assaults are never reported to law enforcement officials so the actual number of domestic violence-related incidents may be substantially higher.

All-Star LogoAll-Star Logo Unveiled
AUGUST 4, 2011 -- Fittingly, Major League Baseball's 2012 All-Star Game logo is topped with a gold crown, duplicating the signature feature of the stadium where the mid-summer classic will be played -- Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. The logo was unveiled at "The K" Tuesday, August 2, prior to the Royals taking the field against the Baltimore Orioles.

Missouri River Updates

 August 12, 2011: The Missouri River continued its slow but steady drop since the first of August. Near Sibley and Levasy, the river's water level was down to 27.5 feet Friday, August 12, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The water level was expected to remain around 27.5 feet through the weekend and into the early part of the week of August 15.

 AUGUST 1, 2011: The Missouri River was remaining steady near Sibley and Levasy this morning. According to the latest figures from the National Weather Service (NWS), the river level near Sibley had dipped about three inches in less than 48 hours, down to 29.1 feet at 7:01 a.m. today. "The river will fall to 28.9 feet this afternoon (August 1)," the NWS projected, "then remain near 28.9 feet through Friday (August 5)."

 JULY 18, 2011: After falling below 30 feet Friday, July 15, the Missouri River "will drop slightly today (July 18) then become nearly steady around 28.8 feet" as it flows past Sibley and Levasy this week, according to the latest National Weather Service (NWS) projections. The NWS listed the water level at Sibley at 29 feet as of 7:40 a.m. today.

 JULY 13, 2011: Two inches of rain fell in and around Levasy on Tuesday night (July 12), causing increased flooding in the area from the Fire Prairie Creek. The creek has now swamped hundreds of acres of farmland, but the flood waters are not yet threatening any homes or commercial buildings. Flooding in eastern Jackson County from the creek won't let up until the Missouri River drops substantially -- to about 28 feet -- and stops backing up into the tributary.

 JULY 11, 2011: The Missouri River dipped back below 31 feet as the National Weather Service predicted a slow drop throughout the week to around 30 feet even. Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Curry remains concerned about levees breaching as they hold back the high water.

 JULY 8, 2011: The levees near Sibley and Levasy in eastern Jackson County continued to hold back the Missouri River, despite water levels rising to beyond 31 feet. In a warning update issued Friday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) anticipated "major flooding" in the Sibley and Levasy area as the river was expected to crest at around 31.2 feet Sunday, July 10, "then begin falling."

County Officials On Hand As IBEW Raises Wind Turbine
JULY 6, 2011 -- Officials from Jackson County and Kansas City joined members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 124 (IBEW 124) to observe the raising of a 90-foot wind turbine on the IBEW 124 Union Hall grounds last Friday, July 1. The wind turbine, one of the first commercial wind turbines to be erected in the Greater Kansas City region, will provide approximately 400 kilowatt hours of energy per month.

Missouri River Updates

 JULY 6, 2011: Despite rising to 30.8 feet near Sibley and Levasy on Saturday, July 2, the Missouri River did not top the primary levees in eastern Jackson County this past weekend. The Missouri River was expected to rise to 30.6 feet Wednesday, July 6, then dip back below 30 feet by Sunday, July 10.

 JULY 1, 2011: The Missouri River was expected to be on the verge of topping the primary levees in eastern Jackson County as water levels continued to rise heading into the Independence Day weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) projected that the river would crest near Sibley and Levasy at 30.4 feet early Saturday, July 2, bringing the water level up to -- if not over -- the brim of the 30-foot levees.

 JUNE 28, 2011: A levee breach near Atchison, Kansas was suspected of causing inaccurate measurements in gages at Atchison and Leavenworth, Kansas. Once more data could be reviewed, the National Weather Service anticipated that river-level projections for the Missouri River and the Kansas River would be revised "upward."  

 JUNE 27, 2011: Thunderstorms that swept through the area Sunday night into Monday morning (June 26-27) had little impact on the Missouri River as it flows through eastern Jackson County. At 7:02 Monday morning, the water level near the Sibley and Levasy levees was at 26.8 feet, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

 JUNE 24, 2011: The National Weather Service (NWS) did not anticipate the Missouri River's water level near Levasy and Sibley to rise Saturday, June 25. Due to levee breaches Thursday, June 23 in two northwest Missouri counties, river levels fell between Brownville, Nebraska and St. Joseph, Missouri, prompting the NWS to reduce its previous river level projections for June 25. However, the NWS noted any relief down stream from Atchison and Holt counties would only be temporary.

 JUNE 20, 2011: Jackson County officials have been anxiously monitoring conditions along the swollen Missouri River for weeks. Volunteers filled 6,000 sandbags in preparation for potential flooding. On the morning of June 20, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood warning that included parts of Jackson County (near Sibley), as well as parts of Platte and Clay counties.

County Officials Keeping Close Eye On Swollen Missouri River
JUNE 20, 2011 -- Jackson County officials are anxiously monitoring conditions along the swollen Missouri River. Parts of the County and the Greater Kansas City region are at risk of being flooded. This morning the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood warning that includes parts of Jackson County (near Sibley), as well as Platte and Clay counties.  "We will be keeping a watchful eye on the situation," said County Executive Mike Sanders.  

Reassessment MeetingMeetings Focus On Reassessment Process
JUNE 20, 2011 -- How does market value differ from assessed value? That is just one of the frequently asked questions the Jackson County Assessment Department is addressing in a series of meetings to help inform citizens about the reassessment process. Two meetings have already been held, but more are being planned. (Return to jacksongov.org as meeting dates and locations will be posted when they are finalized.)

COMBAT Joins With KC Housing Authority To Open New Drug Prevention Center
COMBAT Prevention Center OpensJUNE 20, 2011 -- About 60 children were expected to step through the doors of the new COMBAT Drug Prevention & Resource Center when it opened this morning inside the Clymer Community Center at 1301 Vine Street in Kansas City. The Jackson County COMBAT program and the Housing Authority of Kansas City joined forces to develop this unique program through which information and services about housing as well as drug prevention services is now available all under one roof.

Volunteers Needed To Prepare For Potential Sibley-Levasy Flooding
JUNE 13, 2011 -- The call is going out for volunteers to assist with potential flooding in the Sibley-Levasy area. Fifty volunteers are being sought to fill and move sandbags this Thursday (June 16) as flooding in the area along the Missouri River becomes increasingly probable due to the release of water from the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, South Dakota. Those interested in volunteering should call the Independence Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at (816) 806-9559 for more details.

Little Blue Trace Trail Extension Opens
Little Blue Trace BicyclistJUNE 6, 2011 -- Walkers, runners and bicyclists were all anxious to get on the trail last Friday (June 3) as Jackson County and the City of Independence officially opened a three-and-a-half-mile extension of the Little Blue Trace Trail.The eastern Jackson County trail now stretches nearly 15 miles, but County Executive Mike Sanders vowed that the Little Blue Trace will continue to grow. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday, he announced a partnership between the County and City of Kansas City, Missouri to complete a one-mile extension of the trail into the city limits of Kansas City.

Legislative District Maps Redrawn
MAY 27, 2011 -- The committee tasked with redrawing the Jackson County Legislative districts has completed its work. The Reapportionment Committee presented maps outlining the new district boundaries to the County Legislature during its regular weekly meeting Monday, May 23.

Response To The Joplin Tornado
MAY 24, 2011 – The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) continues to work with Missouri state and local agencies to deploy all available response resources to Joplin following the deadly tornado that ripped through the city Sunday evening, May 22. Search and rescue and other emergency operations were expected to continue through the night.

New Madrid Quake Response Exercise
Earthquake ExercisesMAY 13, 2011 -- A modern repeat of the 1811 and 1812 New Madrid earthquakes is generally considered among the worst possible natural disasters that could occur in the United States. Next week (May 16-20), the Jackson County Emergency Preparedness & Homeland Security Department will be participating in an eight-state exercise simulating the response to such a quake.

Peters-BakerPeters Baker Appointed Jackson County Prosecutor
MAY 6, 2011 -- Jean Peters Baker is the new Jackson County Prosecutor. Declaring her to be the "absolute best person for this job," County Executive Mike Sanders announced Peters Baker's appointment during a news conference held this afternoon at the courthouse in Kansas City.

"My role was to pick the individual I believe who best serves the Prosecutor's Office at this time -- who can lead that office and move it forward in a positive direction," said Sanders. "Jean is the person to do that."

2011 PERD Award Winners
MAY 6, 2011 -- Jackson County honored 21 employees during the 18th Annual Public Employee Recognition Day ceremony Wednesday, May 4. Sheriff Mike Sharp presented the awards.

Interim ProsecutorInterim Prosecutor Named
APRIL 29, 2011 -- Calling her a "consummate professional," Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders named Melissa Mauer-Smith interim Prosecuting Attorney on Thursday. She'll serve in that role briefly as the process for appointing a new Jackson County Prosecutor is expected to be completed during the next two weeks.

Day of Remembrance'Day Of Remembrance' Raises Awareness Of Child Abuse
APRIL 27, 2011 -- Wooden tombstones, painted either pink or blue, were aligned in the lobby of the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City last Friday (April 22). Each marker represented a little boy or girl who had died in Jackson County during last decade due to child abuse or neglect. There were 75 of the symbolic memorials. Rather than a name some simply read, "Unknown."

Economic Development Director Robbie MackinenCounty Executive Hosts Economic Development Tour
APRIL 8, 2011 -- Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and other County staff led local and state elected officials on a tour of key economic development sites within the county this morning. Major stops on the tour included sites that already are or will soon become focal points for economic development in Blue Springs, Independence and Lee's Summit.

Advisory Committee Appointed For County Prosecutor Appointment
Jim Kanatzar, who was elected Jackson County Prosecutor in 2008, will be leaving the office to accept an appointment to become a Missouri 16th Circuit Court judge. In accordance with the Jackson County Charter, County Executive Mike Sanders will be appointing the new County Prosecutor to serve out Kanatzar's term, which expires January 1, 2013. The next election for Jackson County Prosecutor will be held in the fall of 2012.

County Honors Senator Yvonne Wilson For More Than 50 Years Of Public Service
Senator WilsonMARCH 25, 2011 -- Jackson County Legislators joined County Executive Mike Sanders in honoring retired Missouri State Senator Yvonne Wilson for her more than half century of service to the community -- first as a teacher, then as a Kansas City School District administrator and finally as a state representative and senator.

Disability Services BoardCounty Executive Appoints Three New Members
To Board Of Developmental Disability Services
MARCH 25, 2011 -- The Development Disability Services of Jackson County mission is "to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families with services that respect their choices, increase their opportunities, encourage their independence, and assist their inclusion in all aspects of the community."

Missouri 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week March 7-11
Missouri Severe Weather Awareness WeekMissouri’s 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week has one goal: to save lives as the threat for severe weather across the state transitions from snow and ice to severe thunderstorms and flooding. The National Weather Service, the State Emergency Management Agency and local emergency management offices will conduct the 37th annual state tornado drill on Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m., as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs March 7-11.

County Gives Truman 'Maquette' New Home In Kansas City Courthouse
Truman StatueFEBRUARY 8, 2011 -- The ultimate goal remains the same: some day unveiling a larger-than-life statue of Harry S. Truman. To raise awareness of the ongoing effort to honor America's 33rd President with a statue to be erected at a place of prominence in the Kansas City area, Jackson County is displaying a "maquette" of Truman on the second floor of the Courthouse in Kansas City.

Jackson County Crews Work Around The Clock To Clear Snow Off The Roads
Snow plowFEBRUARY 7, 2011 -- Strong gusts, exceeding more than 40 miles per hour, whipped up a foot of snow blanketing Greater Kansas City area Tuesday, February 1 and sent wind chills plunging below zero. Most people sought shelter, getting inside -- out of the bitter cold and away from all that snow -- was what most people did during and in the wake of this blizzard. However, crews from the Jackson County Public Works Department had to do just the opposite. They headed outdoors, first to prep for the storm and then to clear the roads.

Medical Examiner's Office Honored For Tissue Donations
FEBRUARY 1, 2011 -- When Dr. Mary H. Dudley became Jackson County's Chief Medical Examiner in January of 2007, implementing a tissue donor referral program was among her top priorities. She knew that the Medical Examiner's Office could play a vital role in the life-saving and life-changing work of the Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) through contacting the federally certified not-for-profit "Organ Procurement Organization" about all possible tissue donor cases. The efforts of Dr. Dudley and her staff have not gone unnoticed. MTN presented the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office its "Outstanding Achievements in Tissue Donation" award during the organization's annual Medal of Honor Hospitals and Donation Champions Celebration on January 19.

State Of The County Address
County Executive Stresses Raising The Bar Of Expectations
State of the County SpeechImmediately after being sworn in to serve a second term as Jackson County Executive, Mike Sanders emphasized raising "the bar of expectations for County government," making that government "more open and accessible than ever before," and developing more regional cooperation on a wide range of issues, including mass transportation.

Dennis WaitsDennis Waits Named County Legislative Chair
JANUARY 5, 2011 -- Within minutes of taking their oaths of office and convening their first meeting of 2011 Tuesday (January 4), Jackson County's Legislators selected, by acclamation, Dennis Waits to serve as the 2011 Legislative chairman. Waits, the 3rd District Legislator, most recently served as chairman in 2008.

2011 Jackson County Inauguration
After the nine County Legislators are sworn in and conduct their first meeting of 2011 -- at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 4, 2011 in the Legislative Chamber on the second floor of the County Courthouse (415 E. 12th Street in Kansas City) -- Mike Sanders will step forward and be sworn in for a second term as Jackson County Executive. After taking his oath, Sanders will deliver his "State of the County" address.

Federal Government Shows Support For Regional Transit
DECEMBER 22, 2010 -- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced on Tuesday, December 21 that Jackson County, in coordination with Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and the Mid-America Regional Council has received $1.8 million in competitive federal grants to study a regional transit system.

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