It being Labor Day and nowhere to go and nothing to do this morning, I sat down with my ice tea for a good reading of The Kansas City Star.
Now, you’d think that with a 16-page paper — yes, 16 pages, front to back, side to side, top to bottom — it wouldn’t take long to blow through Kansas City’s paper of record.
Ah, but that was not the case, at least for me. About an hour later I had come the closest in years to reading the paper from front to back. And if you didn’t read it yourself, I’m here to report that the paper contained news that was interesting; news that was uplifting; news that was deflating; and news that was just plain strange.
Interesting and/or uplifting
:: The intersection of 27th and Prospect, historically one of Kansas City’s most dangerous and low down, has been undergoing radical change for the better. Among other things, the KCPD’s crime lab and new East Patrol station have been built on one corner, and the ATA is planning to start a new MAX route on Prospect. Then Sunday came the ceremonial opening of the Morningstar Youth & Family Outreach and Career Development Center. The center was the brainchild of the Rev. John Modest Miles of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, next door at 27th Street and Wabash Avenue.” Congratulations to Rev. Miles, as well as the late banker and civic leader Bill Nelson, for this invaluable contribution to a part of town that had to get better.
:: One of the two front-page stories was about the canonization of Mother Teresa in Vatican City yesterday. The woman spent the majority of her life working with and helping people in the slums of India. (She died in 1997 at age 87.) How does a person do that? Sometimes I toy with the idea of working at a soup kitchen for a few hours, and I have actually put in a couple of shifts sorting food at Harvesters. But dedicating your life to working with the poor? How do you do that? Thank you, St. Teresa, for the an inspiration you are and will always continue to be.
:: How many of you felt the Saturday morning earthquake? I didn’t learn about it ’til I got to the barbershop and my barber said, “Where were you at 7:02?” Of course, the quake was not on the front page today, but a story on A-5 (second to last page of the “A” section) said 37 wastewater disposal wells would be shut down in north-central Oklahoma, epicenter of the quake. With about 4,200 wells statewide — for holding wastewater from oil and natural gas production — closing 37 wells probably won’t make much of a difference. But you know what the official sentiment is in Oklahoma: Frack on!
:: Reporter Joe Robertson had an eye-opening story about people who line up at northeast Kansa City convenience stores to draw cash on their freshly banked Social Security benefits. A lot of these down-and-out people spend the cash in a matter of days, sometimes splurging by renting motel rooms before heading back to the streets and shelters. Some are preyed upon. Robertson quoted the program director at a nearby social services ministry as saying, “Nothing really good happens at 12 a.m. or 1 a.m.” Didn’t we all learn that in our 20s and 30s?
:: The Royals…Oh, fuck it. Suffice it to say, the magic is gone.
:: Thirty-year-old Brandon Johnson, a father of two young children, was shot and killed Friday morning in the 2800 block of Mersington. Police received a report of gunshots about 5:45 a.m. It seems that Brandon, his fiancee and a few friends had tailgated at Arrowhead and attended the Kansas City Chiefs’ exhibition game Thursday night. So, what the hell was he doing out at 5:45 a.m.? To quote from the aforementioned social services director, “Nothing really good happens at 12 a.m. or 1 a.m.” Or later.
:: An “in brief” item on A-4 said two people were shot — apparently late Saturday or early Sunday — at the Empire Room, 334 E. 31st Street. A shooting at 31st and Gillham is not that common, but even stranger is that the victims showed up at Shawnee Mission Medical Center about 2 a.m. Sunday. Shawnee Mission Medical Center is 12 miles away from 31st and Gillham. My advice to the victims: Next time consider Truman Medical Center, a five-minute walk from 31st and Gillham.