South KC Perspective
Suspect Charged in Indian Creek Trail Murder
But Are Our Trails Still Safe?
By John Sharp
Gibbons suffered a single gunshot wound to the back of his head on August 13 and died shortly afterward due to his injury. Palmer’s body was found on August 19, 2016, in a wooded area just off the trail where it apparently had been dragged to from the trail, according to a probable cause statement by Kansas City police. He had been shot in the back several times.
The probable cause statement said Scott admitted shooting Gibbons but claimed his gun accidentally fired when he was removing it from his pocket. The statement said he also admitted shooting Palmer and dragging his body away from the trail.
Scott also is a suspect in three other homicides that took place on or near south Kansas City trails, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker said at an August 29 press conference at the South Patrol Police Station that I attended. She said these cases are under “very active investigation”.
Those homicides include the slayings of Mike Darby, popular co-owner of Coach’s Bar & Grill whose body was found with a single gunshot wound in the back of his head on Indian Creek Trail near 373 W. 101st Ter. on May 18; Timothy Rice, a homeless man whose body was found in a shelter in Minor Park with multiple gunshot wounds near the Blue River Trail on April 4; and David Lenox who died of a single gunshot wound to the back of his head in a parking lot of the Willow Creek Apartments where he lived on Feb. 27. Both Darby and Lenox were walking their dogs when they were killed.
“I want to beg for the public’s help,” Baker said at the press conference. She said her office and police are particularly interested in any information about Scott’s acquisition and disposal of firearms and ammunition and any statements he has made regarding these homicides. However, she added any information about Scott would be helpful.
Scott was not mentioned at the press conference as a suspect in one other homicide that recently occurred on a south Kansas City trail. Another victim, Chase Hardin, 31, was found slain by the Trolley Track Trail near 86th St. and Woodland on May 29. The cause of death in his case has not been released.
So even with increased police patrols, many more surveillance cameras and the trails being closed to the public between midnight and 5 a.m., I would still urge residents to be vigilant whenever using the trails.
Persons with information about Scott who is in custody with bond set at $500,000 awaiting trial or about any of these homicides can remain anonymous and are urged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
City Passes Flood-related Resolution
The KCMO City Council has directed City Manager Troy Schulte to engage regional and federal partners to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce or eliminate the destructive results of flooding along the Indian Creek and Blue River corridors, Brush Creek, Town Fork Creek, Line Creek and its tributaries and other flood prone areas of the city.
The resolution directing Schulte to develop such a comprehensive strategy was sponsored by Councilmen Kevin McManus and Scott Taylor and co-sponsored by nine of their colleagues. It was approved 12-0 at the August 31 council session.
It directs the city manager to report recommendations, resources needed to implement them and a time line for completion of the plan within six months.
Speaking during council discussion of the resolution, McManus said the two recent floods along Indian Creek set historic records, and flooding throughout the city caused fire and police personnel to respond to hundreds of emergency calls.
McManus said flooding is not only a citywide issue, but it is also a regional issue that requires area governments to cooperate and seek federal assistance to develop a regional solution.
He praised recently approved federal funding that will pay most of the cost for the long awaited completion of flood control projects to protect the Dodson Industrial District around 85th St. from U.S. 71 Highway west to Prospect and the Swope Park Industrial Area around 75th Ter. east of Cleveland from Blue River flooding and to protect the 31st St. & Roanoke area from Turkey Creek flooding.
But he noted much more remains to be done.
Taylor said he has been working with KC BizCare and the Economic Development Corporation to encourage flooded businesses along 103rd St. to relocate to other areas in KCMO and not move out of the city. He said two (The UPS Store and Tavern on 103rd St.) were relocating further west on the south side of 103rd St. and a barber was relocating in the 18th & Vine area.
Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City has already reached 40 percent of its $12 million capital campaign goal announced in February to pay for its new shared facility with the Red Bridge Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.
Current plans are to break ground for the new facility which will be built at the Red Bridge Shopping Center sometime in early 2018 with a targeted move-in date of mid-2019.
“We are extremely grateful to the Regnier Family Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation for their generous support as well as all donors who have contributed to the capital campaign,” said Roxane Hill, executive director of Wonderscope.
The museum’s new home will feature leading-edge exhibits housed in interactive spaces with a more fluid floor plan than its present smaller facility in a former school in Shawnee, Kan.
Advocacy & Action
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, will be the morning keynote speaker, and Jason Kander, president of Let America Vote, will be the luncheon speaker at the Advocacy & Action Progressive Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, September 9, at Penn Valley Community College.
South Kansas City neighborhood leader and visiting professor at Avila University, Dr. Lawrence Marsh, will speak at the conference on economic inequality.
I will moderate a breakout panel discussion on how Kansas City and Missouri residents are participating in direct democracy by enacting and repealing laws through the petition process.
Panelists will include leaders in the recent drive to increase the minimum wage in Kansas City, the current drive to repeal Missouri’s recently enacted “right-to-work” law, and the recently started Clean Missouri drive to enact state election and ethics reforms.
These reforms would include limiting lobbyists’ gifts to state legislators to a value of no more than $5 in a single occurrence, limiting the amount of campaign donations to state legislative candidates and creating bipartisan citizen commissions to reapportion state legislative districts to try to stop political gerrymandering.
Other breakout sessions will discuss accessible housing and building family wealth through home ownership, and the quality of local education systems.
Onsite registration for the conference begins at 8 a.m. at the Education Center Building at Penn Valley. Persons attending should enter the campus from 31st St.
The conference includes continental breakfast and box lunch, and registration is $20. Preregistration is required at https://kcadvocacyandactionconference.eventbrite.com.
Hosted by State Representative DaRon McGee, the conference is sponsored by nonprofit Ellis Care Community Outreach, 11233 Hickman Mills Dr. Persons may contact Linda Spence in McGee’s office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-751-9469.
Mayor to Speak at South KC Alliance Meeting
Mayor Sly James will speak about the proposal for a new passenger terminal at Kansas City International Airport that will be on the November ballot at a 6 p.m. meeting of the South Kansas City Alliance Monday, September 11, at the South Patrol Police Station.
Councilmen Kevin McManus and Scott Taylor will speak on their recently approved flood reduction resolution.
Darwin Pennye, director of the Urban Youth Baseball Academy being constructed north of the Negro Baseball Museum, will discuss the academy’s plans.
Damion Alexander, the new executive director of the Community Assistance Council, will discuss that agency’s efforts to provide emergency assistance to struggling south Kansas City families.
KC at the Capitol
Activities at the 2nd Annual Kansas City Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City will begin at noon Tuesday, September 12, with a free lunch with area legislators in the rotunda of the state capitol building.
The trip, sponsored by State Representative DaRon McGee and several of his colleagues, will feature a tour of the capitol building dedicated in 1924 which includes the Missouri State Museum on the first floor and the historic supreme court building which opened in 1907.
A highlight of the trip will be a trolley excursion to the now closed Missouri state penitentiary originally opened in 1836 which has become a popular tourist attraction for history and paranormal tours. The oldest building still standing at the penitentiary was built in 1868, and the penitentiary closed in 2004. The discounted charge for the penitentiary tour is $5.
The day’s activities will also include an overview of how the Missouri Senate operates conducted by Senator Shalonn “Kiki” Curls in the Senate chambers followed by refreshments in her office.
Over 200 of us went on last year’s trip, and many of us went by train from Lee’s Summit, which was a lot of fun, although participants are welcome to take their own vehicles.
Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner is scheduled to leave the Lee’s Summit Amtrak station at 217 SW Main St. at 8:51 a.m. and to arrive at the station in Jefferson City which is just a short walk to the capitol at 11:18 a.m. The return train is scheduled to leave Jefferson City at 6:22 p.m. and arrive back at Lee’s Summit at 8:50 p.m.
To take advantage of Amtrak’s current discount go online to Missouri River Runner, go to Hot Deals, click on Savings Start on Tuesdays in Missouri, and then click on Book Now. Roundtrip prices at press time were $51.85 for seniors 62 and over and $55.25 for other adults.
There is no cost to participate in the trip other than transportation costs and the charge for the optional penitentiary tour, but persons should RSVP online by Friday, September 8, at https://kcatthecapitol.eventbrite.com.
Persons may contact Linda Spence at email@example.com or 573-751-9469 for more information.
Journey Through Grief
Area parents of murdered children including me and our friends and loved ones will be participating in the 5th annual Journey Through Grief memory walk at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 23, at the Kansas City Regional Police Academy, 6885 NE Pleasant Valley Rd.
My beautiful stepdaughter, Candice Richie, a 1996 graduate of Hickman Mills High School, was murdered on February 20, 2000, just a few months before her graduation at the University of Missouri. I think about her every day.
The one-mile walk followed by a lighted balloon release is sponsored by the Kansas City Area Wide Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children & Other Survivors of Homicide Victims.
Registration for the walk is $25 per person and includes a tee-shirt. Persons may go to kcpomc.com to register online, and registration begins at 5:30 p.m. the day of the walk. There is no charge for children to participate. Strollers are welcome, but no pets are allowed.
The event will include a raffle with numerous prizes to raise funds for chapter activities.