Excuse me if my thoughts ramble a bit this week. I’m typing this with a little more than 24 hours left before I sojourn to the wilds of south-central Missouri for a much-needed break. Yes, with election season over and a bit of a lull before the start of the spring sports postseason, I plan to escape away and try not to think about this county.
I’ll be spending about four days canoeing and camping along the Jack’s Fork River, and frankly, I can’t wait.
I’m not much of an outdoorsman, but at least once a year, I try to find time for a float trip with old friends. Man, do I look forward to those short vacations.
Not often anymore can you go where you can’t be reached. No cell phone, no computer, no internet. Heck, no smoke signals can find me this weekend.
But never fear. You will receive a paper again next week. How big it is will hinge on how much work gets done while I’m away. Feel free to stop by the office and check on the productivity.
I’ll expect a full report when I return Monday.
I did mention the election, right?
Boy was that thing intense right down to the end. I didn’t have any idea what to think when the margin for the Platte County R-3 tax levy sat at two votes with one precinct left to go.
I think that passed for actual election excitement, which I didn’t know existed outside of Presidential campaigns.
Of course, the measure went on to pass by a comfortable margin and just how comfortable is important.
Opposition to this tax increase and a similar one in 2012 liked to point out what happened in that previous election. There were always fancy adjectives and adverbs used as descriptors like “handily” and “overwhelming” to describe the 2012 proposal defeat.
That was with 56 percent against, so the tide certainly shifted in a span of three years.
A lot of that probably had to do with participation. Nearly 30 percent of voters in the R-3 district cast a ballot, and that’s impressive, even if it doesn’t sound impressive because you wish more of your neighbors cared enough to vote.
Certainly, the result is interesting as Park Hill, Smithville and other area districts likely consider re-trying their own tax levies after recent failures.
Speaking of school taxes, the North Platte R-1 District also made a big statement with its vote.
Obviously, there are financial issues or there wouldn’t have been the cuts made. Approving the ability for the district to have a full Proposition C waiver could pay huge dividends, but incoming superintendent Karl Matt and the board of education must continue to be smart with the money.
Some of the cuts could be undone with the additional revenue from this waiver, which doesn’t have a sunset clause, but probably not all of it. Hopefully, they continue to explore all options and can find a way to be creative to help the kids of that district receive the appropriate services.
The Park Hill Board of Education received a slight shakeup that seemed inevitable because of the election and then was blindsided by superintendent Dr. Scott Springston’s resignation. I’m not sure when, or if, details of the 44-year-old’s health issues will become public, but I’ll assume that this is very serious and should be treated with respect.
You can read more about that move and the immediate future for the district starting on page 1 of this week’s edition.
Back to the board shakeup.
Matt Pepper won a second term, while Karen Holland took the second vacant spot. Only a bit awkward because Holland was featured in an ad attacking Pepper and Lathem Scott, another of the four candidates who did not win election.
This is interesting because the board was split on its recent vote for a long-range facilities plan, so I’m guessing that healthy disagreements might be a part of the future.
Also in news of aggressive political tactics, Jeff Roe continues to receive a lot of publicity for his consultant work. And it’s pretty much all negative.
Founder of Kansas City-based Axiom Strategies, Roe worked for four candidates up for election to the Kansas City City Council. And all four lost, further calling his name into question.
By the way, Roe has been linked to negative radio ad against former Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, who committed suicide last month as rumors swirled of a “whisper campaign” against him.
Not all has been down for Roe, though. He did work with the Platte County R-3 School District on its successful levy campaign, which could be the only negative that comes from the approved tax increase. If the investigation into Schweich’s death continues to draw out Roe’s name, Platte County officials probably won’t be thrilled to have the school’s name attached to his brand.
As most of you know, I’m a pretty big Royals fan.
As most of you might not know, I am also the credited creator of former Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler’s widely used nickname: Country Breakfast. Well, you might have heard that Mr. Butler returns to Kauffman Stadium on Friday with the Oakland A’s to face the red-hot Royals — 7-0 entering Wednesday’s game at Minnesota.
Billy will be receiving his American League championship ring in what promises to be an emotional return home. I’m guessing my phone will be alight with messages and tweets directed toward me. I’m kind of bummed to miss the moment while on this trip because he’s always been one of my favorite players.
But I’ll catch back up when I get back in range.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.