As a cub reporter in 1969, I left my Kentucky roots to seek fame and fortune in what I considered The West. After watching a matinee showing of “True Grit” at the Towne Cinema and then seeing the beautiful women pour out of downtown office buildings at 4:30 p.m. on a fine September afternoon, I decided that Kansas City was the place for me.
The late Donald D. (Casey) Jones, night editor at The Kansas City Times (morning edition of The Kansas City Star) agreed, and thus began a nearly 37-year engagement at 18th and Grand.
As a general assignment reporter, I interviewed Janis Joplin four months before she died of a heroin overdose in Hollywood; tried to interview Sly and the Family Stone, but they were too stoned; and tried to interview Stephen Stills, but he was too busy with a parade of groupies.
After leaving the exciting life of G.A. (general assignment) reporting, I got “serious minded” about journalism and became a political and government reporter. In 1995, I was promoted to assistant city editor, which gave me insight into middle-to-upper level decision-making at The Star.
I retired in June 2006, the same month McClatchy finalized its purchase of The Star from Knight Ridder. I now work part time as a substitute teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District. For fun, I play golf, follow women’s college basketball and write.
My wife Patty and I live in KCMO, to which we are fiercely loyal. We have a 26-year-old son, Charlie, who is a graduate student at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and a 27-year-old daughter, Brooks, who graduated in 2010 from Knox College in Galesburg, IL.