don’t want to overstate this, but Platte City Police Sgt. Mike Mand is a walking/talking/living/breathing hero. At least that’s how we view him here in Between the Lines. If you’ve met him, you likely remember him because of his personality. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better local law enforcement officer but on top of his law enforcement skills, the man is personable, enjoys interacting with people and has a great sense of humor, which you’ve noticed if you’ve seen him the two times he has appeared with us on Landmark Live.
He said he became a Landmark fan several years ago when he noticed the use of the word “douchebaggery” in this column. So that gives you a look inside his mind. And I can tell you he’s a big fan of the Renaissance Festival, which also gives you another peek inside the Mind of Mand. He also enjoys an occasional craft beer.
Anyway, Sgt. Mike Mand has had a busy couple of months serving and protecting downtown Platte City. A couple of weeks ago he was the first local responder to arrive on the scene of the fire at Hopshop Antiques on Main Street. And earlier this year when a staff member was suffering a medical situation inside The Landmark office that prompted me to call 911, Sgt. Mike Mand was the first to arrive on the scene and tend to the patient until the EMTs arrived. It has an immediate calming effect when the first face you see in a potentially stressful moment is someone you know, like, and trust.
The guy is damn downtown superhero. Without a cape. Let’s get him a cape.
By the way, if you missed our story on the Hopshop Antiques fire in last week’s Landmark, here’s a review. As mentioned, Sgt. Mike Mand was the initial responder to arrive after the 911 call had come into the dispatch center. Some assistance at the fire was already being administered by off-duty police officers from Ferrelview, Mand told me.
“Prior to my arrival, the antique store employee and officers/chief from Ferrelview, who were eating at Las Cabanas (the Mexican restaurant two businesses down from Hopshop) assisted in attempting to extinguish the fire. Las Cabanas and Cohen’s Art and Framing (next door to Hopshop) provided fire extinguishers to them,” Mand said.
Mand grabbed the fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle and assisted until Central Platte Fire Department arrived. Later that day, when he was done running around in smoke and had time to reflect, Mand told me this: “That fire was a good example of why I love working for the city. You had all these people come together and pool resources. They were just handing out fire extinguishers and helping out because they all know each other. They all care about each other. It’s nice.”
Platte City has a good one in this Mand fellow. We need to keep him around.
Best wishes to Judge James Van Amburg upon his retirement. We put him on the front page this week even though it is widely known, and has been for some time, that the man does not enjoy fanfare or attention. His humble and calm demeanor is among the reasons why I believe he is the best judge to serve on the bench in Platte County over the course of my 39 years paying attention to such things. He’s right up there with the retired Abe Shafer in that department.
One of my favorite Van Amburg moments came while he was presiding over the matter of Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Lew Bush attempting to get an order of protection against a woman who worked in a gentleman’s club. Actually, let me clarify, while some sources said she was an exotic dancer the court testimony that day disputes that notion, as the testimony described her as a bartender at an exotic dance club.
It was Oct. 24, 2000. The guy working as the Platte County Courthouse facilities manager called me with a potential news tip: he said there was a court hearing involving a Chiefs player about to take place inside the courthouse. The maintenance man had no other details for me. Curiosity piqued, I walked up to the courthouse and eventually found myself on the front row in Judge Van Amburg’s courtroom as Lew Bush, who was 30 years old and lived in Platte County at the time, testified that he needed a restraining order against a 22-year-old female, whom I didn’t know but am sure she was a fine young lady as well as a fine bartender and perhaps a fine dancer.
Anyway, as the fascinating, conflicting and occasionally awkward testimony rolled on, I remember at one point very briefly making eye contact with Van Amburg. I’m pretty sure I noticed the judge doing his best to hold back a sly grin. He nearly succeeded. That’s when I knew this judge was cool.
By the way, Van Amburg denied Bush’s request for a restraining order against the female, saying that whatever relationship Bush and the female had “needs to stop. If it doesn’t cease, you’re both going to be back here in court.”
As for me, when The Landmark hit the streets the next day (this took place a few months before The Landmark had developed a web site) my exclusive story–shout out to the former facilities manager, I’m still grateful–landed me an interview on Sports Radio 810 with Steven St. John and Danny Clinkscale. Then the next day the infamous Jason Whitlock read the entire story on his morning radio show, and at one point asked me to call in if I was listening. I was listening but I was in my car at the time driving to another commitment so I didn’t call in to Whitlock’s show, which seemed to make Big Sexy a little butthurt. This day seemed to be the beginning of the end of the up-till-then cordial relationship between Whitlock and yours truly. Some of you know other stuff happened between us–with an assist to the late Greg Hall–a couple years later that had the Kansas City Star’s lawyers faxing me cease and desist orders that were ignored. I can assure you Whitlock hasn’t forgotten, as to this day he still blocks me from his Twitter account even though Twitter was five or six years away from being invented at the time we got sideways.
By the way, according to court records Lew Bush’s real name was Lew Kellybush, which helps explain how the court filing had stayed on the down-low until a courthouse facilities manager and an intrepid local newspaperman teamed up to bust this scoop wide freaking open.
Though the court filing listed his name as Lew Kellybush, when he was asked in court to state his name for the record he responded “Lewis K. Bush.”
I remember asking Bush’s lawyer, Rod Murrow, about the name discrepancy. “That’s probably not a topic we would address. We did file under his legal name,” he said.
Lew Bush died of an apparent heart attack in 2011. A former Charger before coming to the Chiefs, he had moved back to the San Diego area by that time.
I should let you know there used to be a time when exotic dancers were more commonly known as strippers and facilities managers were more commonly known as janitors. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
(So much to talk about. You’ll want to come back next week. In the meantime, email Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org)