News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Volunteers make a strong community

clock April 28, 2010 07:23 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 In November, Business Week magazine announced its list of the “Best Places to Raise Your Kids,” naming Blue Springs the number one city in Missouri to raise a family, with Lee’s Summit and Joplin listed as runners-up. This unsolicited honor speaks volumes about the great community in which we live.

What is it that made our community rise to the top of that list? Criteria included school performance, number of schools, household expenditures, crime rates, air quality, job growth, family income, museums, parks, theaters and diversity, with the greatest weight given to affordability, safety, and school test scores.

However, there is much more to this story than just the statistics. Our citizens, not only in Blue Springs but also throughout all of Eastern Jackson County, are actively involved in their community. Volunteers are the heart and soul of community service, and many local non-profit organizations rely on their commitment and generosity. People serve their communities as elected officials and on the many boards and commissions that are integral to local government. Parents and other volunteers support sports activities available to our youth. Community service organizations such as the Community Services League, Rainbow Center, Hillcrest Ministries and StandUp Blue Springs provide services to those in need within our communities.

Foundations such as Truman Heartland Community Foundation and Eastland Community Foundation provide opportunities for philanthropists to concentrate their resources and provide funding to the many non-profit organizations throughout the area.

The Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce’s annual leadership class, in conjunction with Home Depot, Haldex, Randy and Jan Castle, MarKirk Construction, the Blue Springs School District, Hy-Vee, Betty’s Restaurant, Costco, Adams Dairy Bank, Sonic, Lamar’s, MAC Corporation and Architectural Ornaments, joined forces this past Saturday morning to renovate the patios at St. Mary’s Manor. Individuals and businesses working collaboratively make our community a special place to live.

Each year the Heritage Philharmonic holds a competition for local young musicians. The winners will perform with the philharmonic this at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Blue Springs High School performing arts center. The members are volunteer musicians from our community, and the orchestra provides opportunities for these musicians to hone their skills and share their talents with the community at large. Led by a volunteer board of directors, the orchestra provides the community a cost effective opportunity to enjoy a diverse variety of fantastic music.

These organizations, and others like them, are the lifeblood of our towns. By investing our time in these organizations, and making a commitment to the success of our communities, we continually set the bar a little higher, and we strive to reach it. By participating in the process, by giving of your skills and passions, you will reap benefits tenfold.

What does Leadership Mean in Blue Springs?

clock April 24, 2010 15:34 by author Jeff Quibell

Press Release by the Blue Springs Chamber (Updated as provided by Lara Vermillion)

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Lara Vermillion, Blue Springs Chamber 229-8558

What does Leadership Mean in Blue Springs?

Chamber Leadership Volunteers 002 Leadership means something in Blue Springs.  The Leadership Blue Springs class of 2009-2010 has taken the word seriously and is putting leadership skills to work

As a part of their class this year, the group has decided to renovate some patios at St. Mary’s Manor.  St. Mary’s Manor is an assisted living facility in Blue Springs.  During one of the class sessions on Health Care group members toured the facility.  They were touched by the residents of the facility and wanted to make things a little brighter for them.

The group began forming a plan.  Group members met with staff members from St. Mary’s Manor and learned that residents enjoy outside planting and gardening, but are sometimes unable to plant because they cannot get their wheelchairs close enough to planters.  They also learned that there are never enough places for residents to sit with family members and enjoy the patio areas. 

With those challenge in mind, the Leadership class started immediately working in the community to secure donations for the facility.  Home Depot offered to help with the project and has been instrumental in selecting and obtaining furniture for the two patios and wood to make the planters.  Not only were they willing to help with materials, but they wanted to beChamber Leadership Volunteers 003 an active part of the project as well. 

Christel Flores, Operations Manager at the Blue Springs Home Depot said, “Community service is one of the core values of Home Depot.  We have Team Depot, which is a group of our employees that are all about giving back.  We have not had a lot of opportunity to be involved with a project in Blue Springs.  We are excited to be doing this”. Haldex and other sponsors including Randy & Jan Castle, MarKirk Construction, Blue Springs School District, Hy-Vee, Betty’s Restaurant, Costco, Adams Dairy Bank, Sonic, Lamar’s, MAC Corporation and Architectural Ornaments have donated money or items to help with the project. 

Other than the Home Depot team, a group of local Webelos from Pack 604 took an interest in the project.   The scouts are working on their Citizenship badge which is a part of the Arrow of Light requirement.  They have been learning about how to be a good citizen and must participate in a service project.  “This seemed like a great way to teach scouts how to be involved in their community”, said Chad Vermillion, Den Leader.  “We are hoping that by teaching them now how to be a good community member, it will carry through for the rest of their lives.”

On April 17th, starting at 8:30 a.m.  the first phase of this project will take place in two different locations.  A group who is building and assembling planters for the residents of St. Mary's Manor will meet at Home Depot.  Another group will also meet at St. Mary's Manor to move bricks and dirt from an existing planter and recreate a garden area with the materials.

Chamber Leadership Volunteers 005 On April 24th the entire group will meet at St. Mary’s Manor.  On that day, group members willChamber Leadership Volunteers 007 power wash all patios, move in the planters and new furniture and spend some time planting to beautify the area.  A formal presentation of the patios to the residents will take place around 2 p.m.

The Leadership Blue Springs Class is a program of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce.  In 1991 the Blue Springs Chamber established the Leadership Blue Springs program.  The idea of the program is to develop a community leadership pool that will develop skills and knowledge of our community through a series of workshops focusing on business, government, quality of life, volunteer service and local history. 

Class members are Tim Stephenson (Community America Credit Union)  Tom Alderman (Blue Springs High School)   Karen Findora (City of Blue Springs) Cheyanne Reed (Adams Dairy Bank)  Suzanne Dell-St. Clair (St. Mary’s Medical Center)  Charles Weber(Blue Springs R-IV School District)   Sheryl Morgan (City of Blue Springs)   Mark Briscoe (Central Jackson County Fire Protection District)  Ralph Habben (Community Volunteer) Gregg Lehenbauer (Haldex Brake Products)   Lori Turner (City of Blue Springs) Dan Hood (City of Blue Springs)  Steve Decker (Blue Springs Police Department)  Lara Vermillion (Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce)  Amanda Meyers (Blue Springs South High School)  Anna Cole (Blue Springs High School).  They are scheduled to graduate at the June 17th Chamber luncheon.  Call 229-8558 for more details about the project or the Leadership Class.

Chamber Leadership Volunteers 008 Lara Vermillion, IOM


Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce

816.229.8558 Office        

816.204.5048 Cell

1000 W Main Street

Blue Springs, MO 64015

The mission of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce is to develop, promote and facilitate a strong economic environment in which the business community can grow and prosper.

Share your thoughts with city leaders

clock April 21, 2010 12:19 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Honored Monday evening for their service to the Blue Springs community, outgoing Councilmen Sheila Solon, Lyle Shaver and Sissy Reed each received a clock commemorating their service, along with proclamations from the city, the county and the state legislature.

Each councilman spoke briefly, remarking on the positive and negative aspects of public service. Sissy Reed, who leaves after 17 years on the council, expressed her gratitude to city staff and to the many friends she made while in office. These transitional City Council meetings are a wonderful opportunity to honor those leaving office, while welcoming the newly elected.

Former Mayor Grounds spoke briefly about each outgoing councilmen, commenting, “Sometimes when you vote, everybody is not going to like you.” It takes special people with a passion for our community to serve, knowing that the decisions they make will not always be popular. I would like to join with Mayor Ross and County Legislator Grounds in thanking former Councilmen Lyle Shaver, Sissy Reed, and Sheila Solon for their service to our community.

The city clerk, Kathy Richardson, then swore in the three new councilmen. They join with the remaining councilmen to represent the citizens as they govern our community’s future. We have an obligation to communicate with them, keeping them informed regarding our thoughts and opinions on important issues they will face. Mayor Ross reminded everyone Monday evening that, “You never learn anything by talking.” Our new councilmen are ready to listen, learn and take action to achieve the desired results.

Following the meeting, I spoke with each of our new councilmen and found them to be excited about their opportunity to serve. Dale Carter spoke of his desire to encourage a pro-business attitude and to continue to work on bringing tax revenue back into the city. Chris Lievsay spoke of his passion to improve public safety and to focus on Woods Chapel and downtown redevelopment. Grant Bowerman spoke about the humbling experience of meeting the citizens in his district and visiting with them at their homes. He is eager to work on developing new business opportunities and ensure that our police officers have the best and most current technology available.

The potential of this new council is exciting. Such a diverse group will bring an expansive range of ideas, while working collaboratively and positively. Contact information for all of the Blue Springs City Councilmen is available at It is an honor to have the opportunity to know these new community leaders, and I encourage you to communicate with them on issues of importance to you.

Blue Springs South Students Place Well in Competition

clock April 3, 2010 14:18 by author Jeff Quibell

Please announce:

Congratulations to Darrin Kraft, Mackenzie Callaway, Becca Gilbert and Nathan Weber for placing 6th out of 42 teams at Central District Horse Judging Competition and qualifying to participate at State in Columbia on April 15 and 16th. It was a tough day and the represented South very well!

Thank you,


...the most wasted of all days is one without laughter ~ e.e. cummings

Jay Craven

Agriculture Education / FFA Advisor

Blue Springs SOUTH High School

1200 SE Adams Dairy Pkwy

Blue Springs, MO 64014

816-224-1315 Phone

816-224-1324 Fax


Agenda of Progress in Blue Springs

clock April 1, 2010 10:43 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, Chipotle, Panera, Sonic, Panda Express, Taco Bell, Planet Sub. The addition of these eight restaurants, along with new retail shops like Petco, Gamestop and Maurices in the developments surrounding Coronado and Adams Dairy Parkway have provided opportunities for residents and visitors alike to have greater options for shopping and dining.

How very different this area looked just five short years ago. The area along R.D. Mize consisted of deteriorating homes, with the majority of the area along the parkway largely undeveloped for well more than a decade.

These developments have not come easily or without conflict. Our District 3 City Councilmen have continued to look for ways to stop these developments from progressing, in spite of the overwhelming support for new retail development in our citizen surveys. As I drove through the area after lunch at Olive Garden, I observed the restaurants and shops, all teeming with customers, and I simply could not comprehend why anyone would want to impede such progress.

Our council members must continue to open their minds to the opportunity inherent in these developments and look for ways to encourage the refurbishment of older shopping and business districts throughout our city.

New restaurants have recently opened in both the northern and southern areas of Blue Springs; we have seen progress in our downtown district; and the redevelopment of Woods Chapel Road is under way from Interstate 70 to the railroad tracks. The majority of our council members are eager to continue the positive momentum of the past several years. They understand the commitment they are making to finish what began and reap the benefits for our community.

Much work remains. On April 6, each district in our city will elect a council member. This is a privilege and a sacred responsibility. Those whom we choose to represent us will influence the future of our city.

Over the past several weeks, I have encouraged each of you to be an informed voter. Citizens willing to serve are a blessing, and we are fortunate to have two candidates to choose between in each district. The following are my endorsements for City Council:

District 1 – Dale Carter will listen to his constituents, consider the facts and ramifications before making a decision, and seek collaborative solutions on the important issues facing our city.

District 2 – Sissy Reed has served our city well for many years and will provide an experienced voice of coherent reasoning. Her calm leadership and respectful decision-making will guide the rest of the council members and facilitate support for continued development of all areas of our city.

District 3 – Grant Bowerman has a clear understanding of the issues facing our city. His positive demeanor, his passion for the community, and his intelligent evaluation of the challenges facing our community will serve the citizens of District 3 well.