MAY 24, 2013 -- Memorial Day is frequently described as marking the "unofficial start of summer" -- an extended weekend during which swimming pools open, children celebrate the end of another school year, and family and friends gather for picnics.
But officially Memorial Day is a day of remembrance to honor those who perished while serving the nation. Its origins can be traced to May 30, 1868, when on what was called "Decoration Day," the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were adorned with flowers at Arlington National Cemetery.
To honor those who have died serving the country, Jackson County will, throughout the entire holiday weekend, adorn the grounds at the courthouses in both Kansas City and Independence with American flags.
Get your 2013 summer off to great start with the opening of the county's beaches on Memorial Day weekend, Children's Day at Missouri Town 1855 on June 1, National Marina Day on June 8 and the Jacomo Day Camp.
And, of course, enjoy our campgrounds or rent a boat any day of the week.
MAY 22, 2013 -- During its annual luncheon today at Union Station, the Kansas City Metro Chapter of the American Public Works Association presented two "Project of the Year" awards to the Jackson County Public Works Department.
The new Regional Animal Shelter garnered the award in the Structures category for projects costing between $5 million and $25 million. Meanwhile, the MyARTS facility now open in Independence earned the award in the Historical Restoration/Preservation category (less than $5 million).
APRIL 30, 2013 -- Great Plains SPCA Executive Director Courtney Thomas estimates between 200 and 250 people attended the grand opening of the new Regional Animal Shelter in Independence on Saturday, April 13.
People were literally lined up to get inside the brand new facility. Great Plains SPCA, a non-profit "no-kill" animal welfare organization, has been contracted to manage the shelter for the next five years.
During the first two days the shelter were open, 64 pets were adopted. Great Plains SPCA also operates a shelter in Merriam, Kansas.
Reporting Child Abuse To The Proper Authorities Prevents Tragedies
APRIL 16, 2013 -- Pick up a phone. Dial the hotline number. Report suspected child abuse. And you can do it anonymously.
"It's that simple," said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. "If you suspect a child is being abused and you act by calling that hotline, you could save a life."
Tragically, on an average day in America, five children die due to abuse or neglect. No other nation in the industrialized world has a worst abuse-related death rate, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
MARCH 25, 2013 -- In the wake of a disaster, the new Independence/Eastern Jackson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will, Independence Mayor Don Reimal declared, "save many lives." Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders joined the mayor, United States Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (Missouri 5th District), as well as other local, state and federal officials for a March 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the EOC, housed inside Independence Fire Station No. 1.
In addition to weather radar equipment and links to information directly from the National Weather Service, the 5,000 square foot facility features a state-of-the-art radio system that would be utilized to coordinate responses to a regional disaster.
MARCH 1, 2013 -- Heavy snowfall shut down much of the Greater Kansas City region February 21 and 22. Before that snow could melt much, a second front dumped an additional foot in some parts of Jackson County on Tuesday, February 26.
The storms prompted Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders to issue a rare state of emergency. County offices were closed. Citizens were encouraged to stay home.
But some Jackson County employees still had to brave the hazardous conditions and report to work. The public safety obligations of the Sheriff's Office and Corrections Department could not be put on hold until the weather blew over. Deputies still needed to be on patrol; corrections officers had to keep the Jackson County Detention Center running smoothly.
For the Jackson County Public Works Department the top priority was getting out into the thick of the snow to plow roads around the clock.
To solve most crimes law enforcement officials need someone to talk. If witnesses remain silent -- if they don't share what they know or suspect -- the perpetrator will probably remain at large, able to victimize others.
Because tips are so vital to investigators, getting citizens to call the COMBAT hotline at (816) 881-3662 and anonymously report criminal activity is the focal point of Jackson County's new anti-violence initiative. County Executive Mike Sanders joined Sheriff Mike Sharp and Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker in launching the campaign to curb violence during a news conference February 15.
JANUARY 29, 2013 -- Cathy Jolly has a long record of public service, including working as an Assistant Jackson County Prosecutor, Missouri State Representative and Kansas City Councilwoman. Currently, she serves on the Center School District Board of Education.
And now she is returning to the Jackson County courthouse as a Senior Advisor to County Executive Mike Sanders.
"Cathy's talent, experience and knowledge are a great addition to Jackson County government," said Sanders. "Throughout her career, she has been a tireless advocate for the citizens of Kansas City and Jackson County, and I have no doubt that she will continue to do so in this new role."
Fred Arbanas Honored For His Leigslative Service
JANUARY 23, 2013 -- Fred Arbanas retired from the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970. He'd had a stellar career, becoming a driving force behind the Chiefs rise as one of the American Football League's greatest teams. He earned a spot as the tight end on the AFL All-Time Team, which was selected January 14, 1970 -- three days after the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV, the last-ever meeting between AFL-NFL rivals before the two leagues merged.
In 1973, Fred Arbanas joined a new team. One he's been a part of ever since.
JANUARY 14, 2013 -- During his decades of public service, Jim Nunnelly has humbly accepted many awards. Soon, someone else will be receiving an award that bears the former COMBAT administrator's name.
Last week, the Jackson County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution establishing the James T. Nunnelly Award "to recognize the outstanding dedication and perseverance of a graduating member of the Jackson County Drug Court."
JANUARY 10, 2013 -- The chairman's gavel has peen passed to 5th District Legislator Greg Grounds.
In their first order of business for 2013, Jackson County Legislators unanimously selected Grounds to serve as the 2013 Legislative Chairman. Meanwhile, Theresa Garza Ruiz (1st District At-Large) was appointed Vice Chair by acclamation.
Truman Courthouse Expected To Be Open For Business Later This Year
JANUARY 3, 2013 -- The goal is to put this building back to work.
Three years ago, the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse was restored to its full glory -- on the outside. Now work is underway to remodel the interior, with the objective being reopening the national landmark on Independence Square as a "working courthouse" later this year.
When open for business, the Truman Courthouse will space allotted for the offices of various county departments currently located in the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse (formerly known as the Independence Annex), including staff members from Recorder of Deeds, Collection and Assessment Departments. The building will also house the Jackson County Historical Society and the Independence Tourism Department.
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