News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Council Handled Project Respectfully

clock October 27, 2010 09:31 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 One of the most important tasks of a councilman is to weigh the evidence and to evaluate how each project fits the city’s plan. The City Council recently considered and approved a change to a controversial project, Parkway Estates, a housing development originally approved when I was on the council in 2006. As I watched the meeting, I experienced a bit of a déjà vu moment, as many of the same citizens were present to express their opposition to the changes requested by the landowner.

I was proud of the entire council for the respectful manner in which they addressed the developer’s request and the citizen’s concerns. The council members invested significant time studying the issues and history surrounding this development, as well as listening and considering the points of view of the neighbors and constituents throughout the city.

Evaluating a change to an existing development requires familiarity with the city’s comprehensive plan as well as the many development ordinances. It was clear from the meeting that our councilmen did their homework. As each councilman spoke of his reasons for voting either for or against the request, their commitment to their position and to the integrity of their oath of office was apparent. Each drew from their own experience and evaluated the developer’s request based on what they believe is best for the City of Blue Springs, and I applaud their honesty and dedication.

A friend who has lived in Blue Springs longer than I have shared that when the Timber Oaks subdivision was completed, the developer came to the city for approval of an additional street, with the intent of building smaller patio homes. He stated that the neighbors came out in force, concerned that the new smaller homes would destroy property values, along with a variety of negative arguments to attempt to stop the project. Ultimately that project was approved and built. Today you would never know it was a separate project. These well-kept homes have been an excellent addition to the area, adding another choice of homes for buyers.

The Parkway Estates project will bring quality homes to the city that fit the plan for the area. While the neighbors did not get all they asked for, their input into the process was vital to improving the quality of the resulting proposed project. Citizens with concerns should always participate in the process of project review. That is the purpose of public hearings. In the end, the council effectively evaluated the project and achieved a fair conclusion to the process. Watch the meeting at

We are blessed to have a diverse and dedicated council in Blue Springs. One of them, Jeanie Lauer, has chosen to seek the office of State Representative in District 54. Jeanie has proven her leadership during her time on the council and will be a great advocate for our city and the other cities in District 54. I encourage each of you to remember to vote on November 2, and if you live in District 54, to cast your ballot for Jeanie Lauer.

Opportunity to Help Congressman Sam Graves In Blue Springs Fall Fun Fest Parade

clock September 15, 2010 10:23 by author Jeff Quibell

We are asking your help by walking with our group in the Blue Springs Fall Fun Fest Parade.

The parade begins at 10:00 am and our volunteers should arrive no later than 9:15 am.  Our vehicle number is 47C and we should be lined up on Vesper St. near Thomas Ultican Elementary.  We will have supplies including t-shirts to wear and candy and lapel stickers to pass out to children.  Your contact for this parade will be Dan Davison; Dan's cell number is 816-351-1896.

If you are available to walk in this parade please let me know and I will send any follow-up information you might need.

Chad Higdon

Campaign Manager, Graves for Congress

1900 Frederick Blvd

St. Joseph, MO 64501

(816) 749-4290 office

(816) 261-6888 cell

Late summer, early fall means many traditions

clock September 15, 2010 10:04 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Fall is a great time of year for family gatherings and community festivals. Over the past week, Wanda and I embarked on a motorcycle trip through the Midwest, participating in a family reunion in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and an annual gathering of family and friends in Coldwater, Mich., called a Wisconsin-style fish boil. You can see a video of the final cooking process at

Modern GPS technology gave us the ability to avoid highways and toll roads on this 1,428-mile loop, which took us to two family gatherings and gave us the opportunity to see parts of the Midwest that we might not otherwise see. With only three hours of rain on the entire trip, it was truly a beautiful and enjoyable ride.

Dining at Brevins Family Eatery in Churubusco, Ind., spending the night in Jacksonville, Ill., and purchasing gasoline in Salisbury, Mo., we enjoyed our visit through most of the rural Midwest.

This time of year, community festivals are all over the Midwest, and Blue Springs is no different. As we drove past the apple orchards of Waverly, Mo., on U.S. 24, my thoughts turned toward this weekend’s Fall Fun Festival in Blue Springs.

This year will be my 26th year attending the Fall Fun Festival, when downtown Blue Springs is transformed into a gathering place for all of our citizens and community neighbors. I can’t imagine fall without the opportunity to enjoy a Timothy Lutheran Burger, St. Peter walking taco, and Keck’s root beer. I can’t wait to drop by the music boosters’ bingo tent to help raise money for our school’s music programs.

I plan to visit the political booths and gather information about those people running for elected office this November in order to make an informed decision when I cast my ballot, and I encourage you to do the same. I look forward to walking in the parade for Congressman Sam Graves and future state representative Jeanie Lauer. I plan to enjoy the first-class entertainment that the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce always brings to the festival, including the Outlaw Junkies on Friday evening and Trampled Underfoot on Saturday evening.

Most importantly, I look forward to seeing friends, as we come together to enjoy the company of your fellow citizens and the hundreds of booths that I have not thought to mention. Please don’t hesitate to stop and say hi if we cross paths during the festivities.

Councilwoman Jeanie Lauer Invites You to meet Sam Graves at a Free Event

clock August 31, 2010 13:09 by author Jeff Quibell

image Councilwoman Jeanie Lauer  is inviting you to  a free event!
Congressman Sam Graves will be in the area to discuss small business legislation and provide an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Wednesday, Sept 8, 2010

12:00 – 1:00

Central Jackson County Fire District Training Facility

4715 W. 40 Hwy

Blue Springs, MO

Lunch will not be served, but you may brown bag your lunch.

Please rsvp to  
Karen Giudici at 816.392.7255 or

I hope to see you there!
Jeanie Lauer

Councilwoman, District 1, Blue Springs

In office, it’s actions that matter

clock July 28, 2010 09:33 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Once again, it’s election time, as you can tell by the proliferation of political signs, letters to the editor, and junk mailings filling up our mail boxes. There are politicians who say they represent our interests, politicians who say they aren’t politicians, and opinion column writers, current and former politicians. How do we weed out the facts from the spin and make good decisions in selecting our next leaders? It’s difficult if not impossible to effectively verify the statements made by politicians in a timely manner. We often believe what we read or hear, especially if we know or trust the source.

As I read the letters to the editor and added my own comments to several, it occurred to me that those letters have been written with the best of intentions, usually to help friends with their efforts to win an election. Letters of support to express our own individual opinion of the person, not necessarily that the person we are supporting will in the end vote the way we think they should. Our elected officials surprise us at times with their comments, and their votes not always in sync.

So how do we as voters figure out whom to cast our vote for? Whom do we believe? The answer is simple and hard at the same time. We should make every effort to learn more about the people we are supporting, and we should dig more deeply than just our personal relationship with that person. Friendship is one thing; voting is another.

I really wasn’t surprised when I read Ron Fowler’s letter to the editor supporting Sheila Solon, as they are longtime political friends with similar positions on local issues. Ron wrote about how Sheila voted against multi-family housing complexes. What he didn’t mention is that she votes for them as well. Right or wrong, she is inconsistent on this issue. Once in February 2003 she voted to put multi-family zoning on Adams Dairy Parkway and twice that I recall in 2007 while I was on the council serving with her.

Ron also talks about Sheila voting against sales taxes. Those votes were actually against the new retail development on Adams Dairy Parkway. The next time you sit down for dinner at Olive Garden or shop at Target or Gordman’s, consider that she fought hard to stop Adams Dairy Landing from coming to town. Just before she left city office, she worked very hard to scale back Missouri Innovation Park from its original 500 acres to just 100 acres. Her actions would have restricted job growth in Blue Springs at a time when we need more high-quality jobs. Again, she is inconsistent after making “real jobs” a focal point of her council campaign.

Former Councilman Solon, as pointed out by Mayor Ross in a recent article, was very ineffective as an elected official while on the City Council. I expect it would be no different in Jefferson City. Fortunately, the voters have a choice on Aug. 3. I would recommended giving strong consideration to Mike Parker. I’ve spent some time getting to know him and believe that he will best represent the interests of his constituents and will be an effective leader.

Get involved and do your part

clock June 2, 2010 10:00 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural address said “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Many paid the ultimate sacrifice, and this past weekend we honored them along with the families of the men and women who serve our country. For the husbands and wives, sons and daughters of our military heroes, every day is Memorial Day.

Living in a country that endows its citizens with many rights, we also have many responsibilities, including the responsibility to participate in the political process of electing those who represent us. We are quickly approaching another election, with the primary in August and the general election in November. As we choose our state and national representatives, the importance of choosing well cannot be overstated.
Many of the candidates seeking office this fall are visiting residents at their homes, walking door to door to meet their future constituents. I hope they are listening to the issues that are important to you and me and will learn to seek opportunities for collaboration for the good of all. With thousands of voters, most candidates use some type of system to determine the most likely voter and visit those homes first. The more consistently you vote, the higher the likelihood your name will be on the list. This process may be frustrating to some people, but consider what it really means. When you do not take the time to vote, not only are you not participating in the selection of your representatives, you are less likely to have the opportunity to express your thoughts about issues you feel are important.

If you are fortunate enough to find a candidate standing on your doorstep, do not squander the opportunity to learn about what they hope to accomplish if elected. Question them about the issues that are important to you. Do not just accept the statements they make in their efforts to convince you to vote for them. Ask questions to learn where they truly stand on the issues. Compare notes with your friends on what you learned about them, review the information on their websites, and contact them if you have more questions. Candidate committees, especially on the state and local levels, are primarily grassroots, volunteer-driven efforts. Contributing your time to a campaign is a wonderful way to learn about our election processes first-hand.

Voting in every election, regardless if it is for a local city council, school district or statewide or national, is a right and a privilege. Do not take it for granted. Get involved and get informed.

Woods Chapel work is a process

clock May 5, 2010 09:38 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 In 2008 the voters of Blue Springs approved funds to expand and improve Woods Chapel Road from Interstate 70 south to the railroad tracks.

The first step in redeveloping Woods Chapel Road is acquiring the rights of way on both sides of the road. Widening the road cannot occur until this step is complete. This is a time-consuming process that involves properly compensating the property owners and establishing easements for the new sections of roadway.

While right-of-way acquisition is under way, the traffic engineers are creating the plans for the roadway modifications. These activities take time and provide no visible progress to residents in the community. As with most projects and developments, many significant steps are required that lay the groundwork for completion. This important project has progressed normally with completion anticipated in 2013. The current anticipated schedule for each section of the road is:

* I-70 to Castle Drive out for bid in March 2011, substantial completion by December 2012
* I-70 to Duncan out for bid in March 2011, substantial completion by December 2012
* Castle to railroad out for bid in March 2012, substantial completion by December 2013

As the western gateway to our city, Woods Chapel Road is a critical north-south connection for many residents. Improvements to this area are long overdue and are likely to facilitate the retail growth and redevelopment that the residents of this area of the city have long desired.

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.