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It was politics, crime and zoning in '08

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

In the second of two installments reviewing the news year of 2008 in Platte County, The Landmark takes a look at the stories from July through December. It was a time filled with political events, crime stories and continued planning and zoning controversies.

JULY 2: Senate Bill 711 was signed in Platte County by Matt Blunt, Missouri governor, to limit the tax increases through reassessment.

The Platte City Board of Aldermen proposed a 30-day extension to the contract for City Administrator Keith Moody. Moody had been fired by the board in January, but allowed to continue working for six months.

Talk of a new smoking ban started in Parkville. A special committee was formed to look into the issue and began receiving input from citizens. Citizens on both sides of the issue showed up to voice their opinions and concerns to the committee.

JULY 9: Bill Hankins was announced as an inductee to the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame for 2008.

Platte County R-3 Head Coach Chip Sherman was selected for the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Sherman had been the coach at Platte County for 20 years before leaving in 2008.

Kansas City woman Cassie Parson, 25, died in a 4-wheeler accident near Camden Point on July 9.

JULY 16: Two men from Platte City paddled down the Missouri River in a canoe during a 340-mile canoe race from Kansas City to St. Louis. Kenneth Brown and Scott Schieber shared a canoe in a race lasting nearly 100 hours.

The proposed development Lake at Tomahawke Ridge was presented to the county again after being withdrawn by the applicants. The development reduced the number of homes from 686 to 655 to conform to the current zoning.

Platte City aldermen made an offer to another candidate for the position of city administrator.

JULY 30: Stephanie Massey, 40, of Kansas City, was accused of stealing more than $16,000 from American Consultants in Riverside.

Opponents to the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge began preparing themselves for a hearing on the development in August before the county planning and zoning commission.

Teachers in R-3 received a three percent pay increase which was approved by the board of education.

AUG. 6: Both Kathy Dusenbery, republican, and Bill Quitmeier, democrat, won the primary election for the seat of first district commissioner. Republican Kenny Hulshof, congressman, beat Sarah Steelman, treasurer, in the primary race for governor.

Platte County's planning and zoning staff recommended denial of the Lake at Tomahawke citing the proposal as not conforming to the development in the area.

Flash flooding damage in Parkville was the topic of the evening for the board of aldermen. The aldermen heard from residents about the damage and discussed improvements that could be made.

AUG. 13: The Tomahawke development proposal was denied by the planning and zoning commission with a vote of 6-2 against.

A Kansas City man was arrested after allegedly attempting to rape a Weston woman. Keith Robinson, 48, was arrested and charged with first degree burglary, attempted forcible rape, and forcible sodomy.

Several lawsuits against the county started moving forward. A lawsuit were filed after the denial of the Beverly Plaza at the intersection of 92 Highway and 45 Highway. Another was filed by James Owens over the denial of the Bridle Parc development near Weatherby Lake.

AUG. 20: A party in Parkville resulted in the arrests of several people and between 12 and 14 police cars responding to the scene at the Parkville Athletic Complex.

Platte City officials announced there was more than two million gallons of water being lost in the water system in a month. Officials cited a possible faulty water meter as the source of the discrepancy.

Residents in Weatherby Lake and people living to the west along Barry Road had to deal with the closure of a bridge near the community. The Barry Road Bridge to the north of Weatherby Lake was closed because the bridge was deteriorating.

AUG. 27: Presidential candidate Barack Obama visited the American Airlines overhaul base in Platte County days before being declared the Democratic candidate for president.

The Platte City Chamber of Commerce got in hot water after the developer of the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge proposal distributed literature about the development to members before a meeting. The chamber would not allow opponents to the development to distribute information.

About $3,000 worth of athletic equipment was stolen from sheds near the R-3 high school in Platte City.

SEPT. 3: Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser held a press conference at the site of the closed Barry Road Bridge to pressure city staff to work on the project and get the bridge open faster.

Parkville reduced its ethics ordinance by repealing some sections following an ethics complaint against Kathy Dusenbery, former mayor, and Gerry Richardson, mayor, in the April municipal election.

Frederick Guthrie, Missouri State Water Patrol officer, and Daniel Romig, civilian detention officer for Platte County, received the Medal of Valor from Governor Matt Blunt during a special ceremony at the courthouse.

SEPT. 10: A man was found dead from a gunshot wound in the restroom of the rest area south of Dearborn.

Park Hill began interviewing candidates for the open board position at the district office, after a meeting at the Corner Café in Riverside earlier.

The Tour of Missouri again passed through Platte County in the second annual event.

SEPT. 17: Two Platte County Sheriff's Department vehicles were damaged in a pursuit. The suspect managed to get away from the officers and fled on I-435 Highway.

The Landmark won five awards during the 2008 Missouri Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest.

Janice Bolin was chosen by the Park Hill board to fill a vacant position on the board.
The death of Valentin Kirilchuk, 39, of Springfield, at a rest stop near Dearborn was ruled a homicide.

SEPT. 24: Bill Mann, developer, proposed a housing development east of Platte City and petitioned to be annexed into the city for the 158 home development called Windmill Creek.

The Missouri Highway Patrol issued notice of a person of interest in the death of Kirilchuk at the rest area near Dearborn.

The Platte County Commission reduced the county property tax from 3-cents per $100 assessed valuation to 2-cents.

OCT. 1: Park Hill halted a proposed sewer line project near Union Chapel Elementary after complaints of increasing costs to neighbors associated with connecting to the sewer.

The graduation rate at North Platte dropped from 94.1 percent in 2007 to 85.7 percent in 2008. The minimum required by the state is 85 percent.

Parkville is again facing a potential water rate increase from Missouri-American Water. The water company is proposing an increase of 33 percent in the price of water.

OCT. 8: An appeal for the Tomahawke development was denied by the county commission with a vote of 2-1. The developers say they plan to file a lawsuit against the county because of the decision.

The trail of Webber Gilmer began in Platte County. Gilmer is accused of killing a tenant's husband in a dispute over rent. Gilmer was recorded calling 911 before the death and promising “somebody's going to get killed.”

Platte City begins considering an annexation of the proposed Windmill Creek development and officials request more public input on the issue.

The Platte Valley Bank on Barry Road was robbed by a man around 9:30 a.m.

OCT. 15: Former county employee Joshua Ellington was arrested and charged with making threats against employees after being terminated from his job.

A man was struck and killed in downtown Parkville by a train after intentionally walking in front of the train.

Gilmer was found guilty of murder by a jury after his trial the week prior.

Ground was broken on the Kansas City Intermodal BusinessCentre near Kansas City International Airport on property owned by Kansas City.

OCT. 22: A proposed annexation for the proposed Windmill Creek development was delayed after a clerical error was found in the paper work.

The Parkville aldermen began discussing a proposed smoking ban for all businesses and restaurants in Parkville.

Bill Hankins was inducted into the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame.

The death of Stephen Pfaltzgraf, 54, was ruled a suicide by the Parkville police after he was struck by a train.

OCT. 29: Developers of the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge proposal began discussions about possibly being annexed into Kansas City after being denied by the county.

Financing for road improvements in the Platte Valley Plaza was not found and the improvements were halted until perhaps spring 2009.

Ellington pled guilty to making threats against other county employees and was sentenced to two years probation and 20 days in jail.

NOV. 5: Five people were arrested after a disturbance at the Waffle House in Platte City. The dispute started between two employees and ended with several broken items and threats against a patron.

Kathy Dusenbery won election to the first district commissioner seat. Winning reelection were Jim Plunkett, second district commissioner, Jason Brown, state representative. Jay Nixon was elected governor, and Sam Graves, congressman.

Parkville hired a new city administrator from Illinois. Shannon Thompson will replace Joe Turner, after Turner took a position in Fort Scott, Kan.

NOV. 12: Kansas City staff began discussing a possible annexation of the Lake at Tomahawke Ridge development into the city.

A proposed annexation of highway right-of-way by Weston was questioned by James Farley, attorney, saying legal action may be taken against the city.

Financing was secured for improvements in the Platte Valley Plaza; however improvements were officially delayed until spring.

Settler's Park at the foot of Main Street in Platte City was officially opened during a ceremony by the city.

NOV. 19: Platte County R-3 narrowed their search of applicants for the superintendent position to five candidates after several executive sessions were held.

The annexation proposal of the Windmill Creek development remained stalled awaiting the developer to resubmit the paperwork.

County Auditor Siobhann Williams released a proposed budget for 2009 with a salary increase of 2 percent included.

Parkville held an open hearing for input from citizens on a proposed smoking ban.

NOV. 26: Former Chiefs player Louis Aguiar was arrested in Platte County on charges of driving while intoxicated.

R-3 officially opened its new District Education Center in Platte City along Platte Falls Road. The new center features a bus barn, early childhood education and district offices.

The Platte County Commissioners expressed their disappointment in the proposed county budget during their regular meeting because of an included pay raise and using county carry-over funds to fund the budget.

DEC. 3: The proposed smoking ban in Parkville was voted down by the board of aldermen. Several aldermen expressed their disagreement with there being no exemptions in the ordinance.

An R-3 executive session meeting may have violated the Missouri Sunshine Law after the doors to the new district building were locked during the meeting preventing patrons from having access inside the building while the meeting was taking place, and preventing the public from sitting in on the public portions of the meeting.

Todd Sloan resigned from the Platte City Board of Aldermen after he got married and sold his home in Platte City to live in Leawood, Kan.

DEC. 10: A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) employee was struck by a train north of Weston and flown by helicopter to the hospital.

Platte County Sheriff's Deputies participated in the Shop with a Deputy program at Wal-Mart to help underprivileged children have clothes and some toys for Christmas.

Weston's proposal to annex highway right-of-way was put on hold after a request by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

DEC. 17: The home of Woody Grutzmacher was destroyed by a fire in Tracy. It appears the fire started from a space heater that was left turned on.

Platte County's government released numbers showing that sales tax revenue for the county was slowing for the last month in 2008. The revenue had a decrease of 11.9 percent.

The BNSF employee, Edwin Agnew, 56, of Parkville, hit by a train died at a hospital in St. Joseph.

DEC. 24: The R-3 board of education voted to hire Mike Reik as the new superintendent to replace Mark Harpst after he retires. Reik was previously an assistant superintendent and has worked for the district since 2001.

Water and sewer rates are increasing in the city of Tracy after the board voted for the changes.
The Missouri Highway Patrol is still investigating the death of Valentin Kirilchuk at the rest area near Dearborn.


12/24/08: The year that was


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