News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

City Considers Allocation of Block Grant Funds

clock May 30, 2012 16:21 by author Jeff Quibell

When the Federal Government provides funds to local government, there are always strings attached and requirements that must be met to receive those funds.  

When the population of Blue Springs reached 50,000 residents we met the eligibility requirements to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the federal government.  The 2012-2013 budget that begins October 1st includes an estimated $211,866 from this program.   Following a presentation by city staff regarding previous use of CDBG funds at the most recent council meeting, the City Council began the discussion regarding the best use, as allowed by the program, of those funds.

From the time when Blue Springs began receiving CDBG funds we have received nearly one million dollars from the Federal Government and have allocated those funds in the following manner:

  • Parks - $65,000
  • Streetlights - $166,884
  • Sidewalks - $563,299
  • Programs
    • Minor Home Repair - $84,093
    • First Time Home Buyer - $46,837
  • Administration - $5,556

This year we are considering the following opportunities:

  • Historic District Sidewalks - $50,000
  • Main Street Lighting -$75,000
  • Main & 15th St Crosswalks - $50,000
  • Missouri Main Street (Downtown Alive!) - $5,000
  • Downtown Commercial Façade Grant Program - $50,000
  • Historic Building Restoration - $100,000
  • Minor Home Repair Program - $60,000
  • First Time Home Buyer Program - $39,000
  • CDBG Administration Funds - $6,000

As you can see, there are substantially more opportunities than anticipated funding would support, requiring the council to evaluate each opportunity and decide the best options for our community.  This is one of the responsibilities of the city council and, with input from our constituents, the council is able to direct funding to the programs and infrastructure enhancements that meet the goals of the residents of Blue Springs.

Councilman Fowler’s comments Monday evening raised the issue of the importance of balancing the funds between commercial and residential uses.  Balance is a word we frequently hear in politics today, especially at the federal level.  Balance is important, but to be meaningful it must be clearly defined both on the federal level and locally.   Finding the appropriate balance for all funds the city administers within its budget is a complex and lengthy process, as we carefully consider all aspects of balancing the needs and wants of government and residents.  

Utilization of CDBG funds can provide benefits to our residents and businesses both directly and indirectly.  As the council evaluates and decides on the best use of these funds, I am confident we will find an appropriate balance, and your input is an important component in the process.  Please share your thoughts with your city council representatives; contact information is available at http://bit.ly/BSCouncilContacts

You may subscribe to AboutBlueSprings.com blog and newsletter at http://bit.ly/SignupAboutBlueSprings.


New emergency alert system can deliver warnings directly to cell phones

clock May 30, 2012 15:47 by author Jeff Quibell

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CENTRAL JACKSON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

PRESS RELEASE

CJCFPD Training Facility, 4175 US 40 HWY, Blue Springs, MO P: 816.229.9118 eoc@cjcfpd.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:              May 30, 2012

CONTACTS:   

Kim Nakahodo, Public Information Officer, 816.655.0497, knakahodo@bluespringsgov.com

Andy Bailey, National Weather Service, 816.540.6134, andy.bailey@noaa.gov

Todd Farley, Emergency Management Director, CJCEMA, 816.229-9118, tfarley@cjcfpd.org

New emergency alert system can deliver warnings directly to cell phones

CENTRAL JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. – Emergency management officials know that in weather emergencies, such as tornados, warnings can save lives. But they can’t always rely on traditional warning methods — television, radio and outdoor sirens — to reach everyone. Beginning in June, through a partnership with FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, officials will also be able to send warnings directly to cell phones.

Using the new Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, the National Weather Service will send warnings for tornados, flash floods, blizzards and ice storms in the Kansas City area to cell towers that serve affected counties. The warnings will go automatically to any newer-model cell phones within range of the towers.

“While these warnings may look like text messages, there won’t be any charges on your phone bill,” said Todd Farley, Emergency Management Director for the Central Jackson County Emergency Management Agency. “This is just one more way to be alert for imminent dangers, whether you’re at home or on the road.”

The short messages will provide very basic information, such as the type of warning, affected areas and duration. “When you get this warning message, we encourage you to turn to other sources for more detailed information about what to expect and what actions you should take,” said Farley.

Whether and how you’ll receive the alerts depends on your cell phone and service provider. About 10 percent of the cell phones in use today are already capable of receiving the alerts; others, such as newer iPhones and Android models, will soon receive software updates that add this feature. The wireless industry estimates that by 2014 nearly all phones on the market will be WEA-capable.

The alerts are delivered directly from cell tower to cell phone through a one-way broadcast. The system will not track or locate individual cell phones or phone numbers — it simply broadcasts to all phones within range. Unfortunately, in some cases, this may result in overwarning.

“For example, if we issue a warning for Jackson County, it will go to all towers that serve that county. If you live in an adjacent area, such as Cass or Clay counties, you may get the warning, too,” said Andy Bailey, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill. “Towers in urban areas generally serve a radius of two to five miles, and in rural areas up to 10 miles, so the warning message may reach a little beyond the warning boundaries.”

The alerts will include a unique ring tone and vibration. They will not interrupt any phone calls or downloads in progress. If you’re on the phone when the warning is issued, you’ll get the message after you end your call.

In addition to weather alerts, the system can broadcast AMBER alerts and presidential alerts for national emergencies. On newer phones, these alerts will be turned on by default. Procedures for opting out of the alerts will vary by carrier.

“Like any new system, we’ll no doubt have some issues to work through,” said Farley. “We hope people will be patient and not opt out of these potentially life-saving messages. The system will get better with time, but it’s too important to wait any longer.”

To learn more about preparing for emergencies, visit www.preparemetrokc.

To find out if your phone is capable of receiving the alerts, visit your cell phone carrier’s website.

Verizon: http://support.verizonwireless.com/faqs/Wireless%20Service/emergency_alerts_faq.html

AT&T: http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB410692&cv=820&title=A+Guide+to+Wireless+Emergency+Alerts%2C+or+CMAS+(Commercial+Mobile+Alert+System)#fbid=sh9s9iaa-QL

Sprint: http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Learn_more_about_Wireless_Emergency_Alerts_and_how_they_work/case-gz982789-20111108-232218/?ECID=vanity:wirelessemergencyalert

T-Mobile:

http://www.t-mobile.com/Company/CompanyInfo.aspx?tp=Abt_Tab_CompanySafety&tsp=Abt_Sub_WirelessEmergencyAlerts

Cricket Wireless: http://www.mycricket.com/support/topic/commercial-mobile-alert-system-cmas

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Kim Nakahodo

Communications Manager

City of Blue Springs, Mo.

903 W. Main Street

Blue Springs, MO 64015

Phone:   (816) 655-0497

             (816) 651-6449

Fax:       (816) 228-7592

Email:    knakahodo@bluespringsgov.com

www.bluespringsgov.com

Twitter:  bluespringsgov

www.facebook.com/bluespringsgov


Stuff to do this weekend from Parks & Rec–May 25-28

clock May 24, 2012 13:01 by author Jeff Quibell

Blue Springs Farmers Market – Saturday, May 26 from 7 a.m. to noon in downtown Blue Springs.  Home grown fruits, vegetables, meats and other items for sale that are locally grown or made by hand. The University of Missouri Extension Office will be giving a ‘Cooking of the Day’ class.

Centennial Pool – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, May 26-28. Blue Springs Centennial Pool-Plex outdoor pools and waterslides open for the summer season. Open daily from noon to 7:30 p.m. through Labor Day. The pool is located at 2401 NW Ashton Drive.

Let’s Move! Saturdays – Saturday, May 26 from 10-11 a.m. at Burr Oaks Woods Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Road. Join us for a “Freeze Frame Hunt” in the woods.  Camera required.

Music in the Park Concert – Sunday, May 27 from 4-6 p.m. The Mighty Moe Joes! take the stage and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Candymakers will play the gazebo at Rotary Park at Railroad Lake, 600 NW Vesper Street.  Bring your lawn chairs or blanket and enjoy this free concert event.

Adams Pointe Golf Club – 1601 NE RD Mize Road. 18-hole championship course and a practice facility. Call (816) 220-3673 for daily fees and a Tee Time.

For additional information visit www.bluespringsgov.com/parks or call the Blue Springs Parks & Recreation Department at (816) 228-0137.


Local Leader’s Curious Choice–Why Single Out Our City For Legislation?

clock May 23, 2012 10:13 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResWhy would a state representative propose legislation that would only apply to Blue Springs?

I’m talking about trash hauling, an issue the City Council resolved nearly seven months ago. Representative Sheila Solon of Blue Springs tried to attach an amendment to House Bill 701 one day before the 2012 session ended, an amendment that by its narrow demographic definition, out of all of the cities in Missouri, would only apply to Blue Springs. If it’s fair, beneficial and appropriate legislation, shouldn’t it be applicable to more than just one city within the state?

Earlier this year Rep. Solon began discussing a bill to require a vote of the people prior to any change in trash collection mandated by city government. While on the surface this may sound like a protection for residents and for free enterprise, it presents a number of challenges. In Blue Springs, our voter-approved home rule charter assigns the responsibility for these decisions to the City Council, and it is then the duty and obligation of the council to research the issue and seek input from residents and interested parties. The council met those responsibilities in resolving this issue.

Additionally, requiring special elections on specific non-tax issues creates an additional unnecessary expense for our residents. Our council, through recommendations by the mayor’s task force, successfully concluded this issue months ago. While I respect the voice of the voter, our system of government is a republic. We elect people to represent us and make decisions on our behalf. Just as our state government desires autonomy from unfunded federal legislation and mandates, our local government must have the same autonomy from state government.

As I reviewed the proposed amendment, I kept coming back to the same question. Why? What possible explanation would there be for this amendment, focused just on Blue Springs, regarding an issue resolved nearly seven months ago?

Was the decision to file this amendment related to campaign contributions from trash-hauling companies? It’s not unusual for industries to contribute to candidates or representatives in the hopes of having their concern or issue receive a higher level of attention. While most campaign finance reports include contributions from individuals, political action committees and businesses, when you start to see a preponderance of one type of industry, questions emerge as to the motivation for the contributions. Campaign finance reports are available online at mec.mo.gov. See the campaign finance report at http://bit.ly/SolonCF20111015 for details on the contributions that have been made by trash hauling companies or their employees to Rep. Solon.

The amendment to HB 701 was defeated. While I applaud Rep. Solon’s desire to protect the residents of Blue Springs, I disagree with her methods. If more focus was placed on effective and appropriate statewide legislation and less on attempts to micromanage local government and keep campaign contributors happy, the result would be a higher level of success for an elected official who represents a significant portion of our city.


Stuff to do in Blue Springs Weekend of 5/12/2012

clock May 11, 2012 10:19 by author Jeff Quibell

Blue Springs Farmers Market – Saturday, May 12 from 7 a.m. to noon in downtown Blue Springs.  Home grown fruits, vegetables, meats and other items for sale that are locally grown or made by hand. The University of Missouri Extension Office will be giving a ‘Cooking of the Day’ class.

Free Kids Fishing Derby (ages 5-14) – Saturday, May 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Rotary Park at Railroad Lake, 600 NW Vesper Street.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Catfish, Sunfish & Bluegill.  Lots of contests and prizes.

Let’s Move! Saturdays – Saturday, May 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. Free bowling at Lunar Bowl, 2001 NW Highway 7.

Centennial Pool – Saturday, May 5 – Swimnastics Up! (Intermediate to Upper Level Fitness) from 10:45-11:45 a.m. or Aqua-Aerobics 11 a.m. to noon each at $4. Lap Swimming from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. for $3. The pool is located at 2401 NW Ashton Drive.

Adams Pointe Golf Club – 1601 NE RD Mize Road. 18-hole championship course and a practice facility. Call (816) 220-3673 for daily fees and a Tee Time.

For additional information visit www.bluespringsgov.com/parks or call the Blue Springs Parks & Recreation Department at (816) 228-0137.