Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders stressed during his 2012 State of the County address, delivered November 2, that the county had balanced its budget without raising taxes, despite difficult economic times. He also cited ongoing efforts to "do more with less."
Looking ahead to 2013, Sanders noted that the historic Truman Courthouse would re-open after the completion of interior renovations to the landmark building, and he said expansion of the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse, also in Independence, would begin.
The County Executive concluded his address with a call for expanding mass transit throughout Jackson County and the Kansas City metropolitan region. He said, "No initiative in Jackson County has more potential to transform how our community lives, how it works, how it grows or how it moves than the effort to build a new, modern and efficient public transit system."
> CLICK HERE for the speech's text and a link to streaming video.
Independence Square Lighting Ceremony November 17
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be making a stop en route to Washington, D.C. The tree is scheduled to arrive in Independence at 4:00 p.m. and will be on display as part of the Truman Courthouse lighting ceremony that evening.
Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, joined by Independence Mayor Don Reimal and County Legislative Chairman Dan Tarwater, announced that the tree would be included in the ceremony during a news conference Monday, October 23 outside the historic courthouse on Independence Square.
"Having the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree stop in our county seat of Independence will be a great addition to this year’s holiday festivities in Jackson County," said Sanders. "We are proud to be a part of one of our nation’s great holiday traditions."
Twenty workshops focusing on substance abuse prevention and treatment, violence prevention, mental health, and ethics attracted more than 200 attendees to the 2012 COMBAT Professional Development Series Conference on September 27.
All workshops were approved by the Missouri Substance Abuse Professional Credentialing Board (MSAPCB). Jackson County COMBAT and the Missouri Department of Mental Health hosted the free conference, which was held at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.
In thanking all who attended during a luncheon between the conference's morning and afternoon sessions, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders expressed the importance of the work being done by prevention and treatment agencies to make the county a better place in which to live.
OCTOBER 2, 2012 -- Following through is essential in golf. During the County Legislative meeting Monday, October 1, County Executive Mike Sanders followed through when he presented a check to Operation Breakthrough co-founder Sister Berta Sailer for the $17,000 raised via the 2012 County Executive Golf Tournament on September 14.
"Every dollar that flows into Operation Breakthrough is going to a good cause," Sanders said. "You know it's going to go to people who need it. You know it's going to go to a great organization that has been doing good work for a very long time. Over two generations of families in great need in Kansas City have been taken care by Operation Breakthrough."
The week of August 27 marked the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Memories of that tragedy served as the background for training conducted August 27-31 as part of an ongoing effort to assure local officials are as well prepared as possible to respond to a potential mass-fatality event in the Greater Kansas City area.
AUGUST 20, 2012 -- A desperate cry for help did not go unanswered.
When the boat he and his friend Gladin Harrison were fishing in capsized May 15 on Lake Jacomo, James Bowden clung to the flipped-over boat and yelled for help. He was approximately 30 yards from the shoreline, in water about 40 feet deep.
Sadly, Harrison disappeared beneath the water's surface. Authorities recovered the retired Kansas City firefighter's remains the next day. He was 85.
Four Jackson County employees and a private citizen, Joseph Groff, prevented this mishap from becoming a double tragedy. Their actions saved Bowden's life.
AUGUST 9, 2012 -- The Charter Review Task Force that Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders appointed to focus on three issues -- term limits, campaign finance and candidate filing procedures -- submitted its final report to County Legislators during their regular weekly meeting Monday, August 6. After conducting two public hearings and four other meetings, the Task Force decided to make no recommendations that would require changing the County Charter.
JULY 24, 2012 -- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has identified 32 "food deserts" in Jackson County. To provide an "oasis" in these areas where access to healthier foods is limited, the Truman Medical Centers (TMC) and the Hospital Hill Economic Development Corporation have created a grocery store on wheels.
The TMC Healthy Harvest Mobile Market, a retrofitted bus filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, now makes stops each Tuesday and Thursday at key locations in Kansas City's urban core. The Mobile Market made its first stop at the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City on Tuesday, July 24. (Review the list of Mobile Market stops.)
Providing more residents an opportunity to purchase more fresh produce at affordable prices is part of TMC's ongoing effort "to 'think outside the bed' and bring healthy choices outside the hospital walls to the community," , according to TMC President/CEO John W. Bluford.
An exhilarating fireworks show put the exclamation point at the end of Jackson County's Fourth of July Appreciation Celebration.
Jackson County residents made bringing Major League Baseball’s 2012 All-Star Game to Kansas City possible through supporting renovations to Kauffman Stadium. This Appreciation Celebration was the county's way of saying, “THANK YOU!”
The Jackson County Truman Courthouse, located on the Independence Square, was closed Monday, July 9 so that renovation work inside the building could begin. During the renovations, the building will be closed to members of the public.
JUNE 6, 2012 -- Mike Henderson, the Chief Investigator for the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office, was recently honored for his work in the wake of the Joplin tornado and for leading the Kansas City Operational Response Group. The Mid-America Regional Council presented him a Regional Leadership Award. > MORE
MAY 17, 2012 -- Jackson County continues to play a leading role in Missouri becoming a model for other states seeking to improve their emergency preparedness efforts.
"We have the finest disaster preparedness framework in the country," Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced during a recent disaster response workshop at the Crown Pointe Church in Lee's Summit.
MAY 4, 2012 -- Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders compared all the hardships Kristie Smith and her two daughters have endured to being struck by lightning -- not once or twice but three times.
First, in 2008 lymphoma claimed the life of Kristie's husband and the girls' father, Don. A year later, Kristie underwent surgery to have a brain lesion removed, and doctors diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis.
Then in December of 2010, Kristie received even more devastating medical news, when she was told her younger daughter, Katrena, had leukemia.
APRIL 30, 2012 -- Jeremiah... Victoria... Marcus... Tonique... Aaron... Breanna... Precious Doe... Unknown...
Dozens of pink and blue tombstones lined the steps outside the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City on Wednesday, April 25. Each bore the name of a little boy or girl who had died in Jackson County due to child abuse or neglect. During the annual "Day of Remembrance," the wooden markers symbolized innocent lives lost as Jackson County joined with Operation Breakthrough to urge all who can to take action to save lives through reporting suspected child abuse to proper authorities.
APRIL 25, 2012 -- The very nature of the Jackson County Drug Task Force's work, which often entails risky undercover operations, means the unit's achievements might frequently be underappreciated. The need to protect the detectives' identities makes publicly acknowledging them a difficult proposition.
But if one organization can fully appreciate the arrests made and drug seizures by the task force, it's the Missouri Narcotic Officers Association (MNOA). Recently, the association bestowed one of its highest honors on the Jackson County Drug Task Force, naming it the Law Enforcement Unit of the Year.
APRIL 20, 2012 -- The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game ballot was unveiled during a special on-field ceremony at Kauffman Stadium, where the "Mid-Summer Classic" will be played July 10. While fans can just now begin casting votes for their favorite players, all attending the ballot unveiling Thursday, April 19 agreed the game's biggest winner may have already been determined -- the Greater Kansas City region.
MARCH 21, 2012 -- A new online tool gives Jackson County and the Kansas City region a "leg up" in promoting economic development, stressed County Executive Mike Sanders during a news conference held March 16 at the Local Investment Commission offices in Kansas City. The new mapping program, available on the county's Economic Development website, provides "the easy access to information," he noted, that entrepreneurs want when considering where to invest.
MARCH 7, 2012 -- So far, 2012 is shaping up as a year in which the threat of flooding along the Missouri River should be "typical," according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Last year, higher than normal runoff from melting snowpacks in the Rocky Mountains, coupled by record spring rains in Montana and the Dakotas, led to persistent flooding in the Missouri River Basin. As the Missouri River swelled upstream, the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to release record amounts of water from dams in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The result was prolonged flooding down river.Currently, the NWS is predicting that 2012 will not be a repeat of 2011.
FEBRUARY 17, 2012 -- Do those clouds on the horizon signal an approaching rain shower -- soggy but harmless -- or a potentially dangerous thunderstorm? That question was at the center of recent training given to 95 Jackson County employees to help them better identify severe weather conditions. The National Weather Service (NWS) conducted the training in coordination with Jackson County Emergency Preparedness & Homeland Security Director Mike Curry. The employees who participated work in the Assessment, Public Works and Parks & Recreation Departments.
FEBRUARY 15, 2012 -- The effort to develop a more extensive mass transit system that would better serve Jackson County and the Greater Kansas City region continues to gain momentum. Last week, Jackson County participated in a series of transit-oriented development (TOD) workshops that concentrated on how improved public transportation can serve as engine to get the local economy moving.
Website Provides Valuable Data For Decision Makers
JANUARY 10, 2012 -- "We are putting all this data right at people's fingertips." That is how Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders described the new mapping feature on the county's Economic Development website. The program provides easy access -- available 24/7 -- to information about real estate availability, property values, taxes and other key statistics that were once difficult to obtain quickly. Simply put: the new site puts crucial data within a few keystrokes and mouse clicks of any interested person's fingertips.
JANUARY 3, 2012 -- In their first order of business for 2012, Jackson County Legislators unanimously selected Dan Tarwater (4th District) to serve as their 2012 Legislative Chairman. He previously chaired the Legislature in 2005 and 2007. Scott Burnett (1st District) was appointed Vice Chairman, by acclamation.
> MORE DECEMBER 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.
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