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State audit shows sheriff’s office performance ‘good’

County officially stops audit objection

CLAY COUNTY — After years and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on lawsuits, Clay County leaders put an official end to its fight against the citizen-petitioned state audit of county operations. The news was announced in an open commission session held in commission chambers Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the Liberty County Administration Building in front of residents in the chambers and those watching via a livestream online.

County appeal fails in state audit case

CLAY COUNTY — The Western District Court of Appeals upheld a ruling made last year confirming Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s legal authority to conduct performance audits of Clay County government. The move is another blow to the repeated legal opposition from the county to the citizen-petitioned state audit.

County extension in state audit case granted

CLAY COUNTY — The ongoing legal saga that has become the state audit of Clay County continues as the county was granted an extension it sought from Clay County Circuit Court to turn over records court-ordered to be released in late October to the state auditor’s office.

County collector's office gets 'good' state audit rating

CLAY COUNTY — A state audit of Clay County Collector Lydia McEvoy’s office gave her office an overall rating of “good.” The ranking is the second highest possible. The report is the fourth released as part of an ongoing state audit of Clay County that was initiated by citizen petition. Previously released audits of the clerk, recorder and public administrator’s offices were given the same rating.

UPDATE: Slew of Independence Day events on tap for Northland
  • Updated

CLAY COUNTY — In the days leading up to and on the Fourth of July, the night sky above the Northland becomes aglow with colors from red, white and blue fireworks as communities gather to celebrate the nation’s birthday. While not exhaustive, the following is a list of many community events and firework displays coming in time for the holiday.


Sounds on the Square Concert Series with Silver Bullet & Petty Thieves

When: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 2

What: Summer concert with performances from Kansas City’s most respected Bob Seger tribute band, Silver Bullet KC; and the area’s best Tom Petty tribute band, Petty Thieves. Outside food and nonalcoholic beverages allowed, but coolers subject to search.

Where: Linden Square, 602 NE 70th St., Gladstone

Cost: Free, but adult beverages will be available for purchase as outside alcoholic beverages prohibited

Gladstone Fireworks Celebration

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 4

What: A performance from Jillian Riscoe and The Suburbans KC, presentation of the Colors and fireworks at dark. Parking available at Oak Park High School.

Where: Oak Grove Park, 7600 N. Troost Ave., Gladstone

Cost: Free

Kansas City

Kansas City Zoo’s Red, White & Zoo

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 3 and 4

What: Animals at the zoo will be receiving special patriotic enrichment to celebrate. Coloring sheets and crayons will be available in the lobby near a themed backdrop. If guests take a patriotic photo and post it to social media tagging the zoo, they could win a zoo-themed prize pack.

Where: 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City

Cost: Daily admission price


Free Frozen Treats

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Friday, July 2

What: Frozen treats from Ice Ice Baby will be given out at First Missouri Bank ahead of the city’s fireworks display.

Where: 455 S. Sam Barr Drive, Kearney

Cost: Free

Kearney Fireworks Celebration with Noe Palma

When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 2

What: Concert featuring regional country artist Noe Palma starts at 7:30 p.m. with fireworks around 9:30 p.m. Event also includes inflatable air toys for children until 8:30 p.m. Free cotton candy will be given out at the amphitheater and playground. Vehicles in park for fireworks display should be parked by 9 p.m.

Where: Kearney Amphitheater in Jesse James Park, 3001 N. Missouri Highway 33, Kearney

Cost: Free, but concessions available for purchase


Liberty Fest

When: Saturday, July 30

What: Liberty and Liberty Area Chamber of Commerce present an evening of family fun and fireworks. Live music from 8 to 10 p.m. with fireworks starting at 10 p.m.

Where: Capitol Federal Sports Complex, 2200 Old Missouri Highway 210, Liberty

Cost: Free, but concessions available for purchase

North Kansas City

Friday in the Park

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 2

What: The Blue and Gray Brass Brigade will bring patriotic music to Friday in the Park.

Where: North Kansas City’s Festival Pavilion in Macken Park, 1002 Clark Ferguson Drive

Cost: Free


Nellie’s Mini Parade

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, July 3

What: A chance for children and their families to decorate and show off their wagons, bikes, strollers and/or selves in honor of Fourth of July. All participants will receive a treat. Winners in a variety of categories will receive prizes.

Where: Courtyard Park, Bridge and Main streets in downtown Smithville

Cost: Free

Smithville Fireworks

at the Lake

When: 7 to 10 p.m. July 4

What: Fireworks over the water of Smithville Lake

Where: 1600 block of Missouri Highway DD, Smithville

Cost: Free

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Watch out for water over roads
  • Updated

Heavy amounts of rainfall that has fallen in a short period of time are producing flash flooding in areas around the state, including parts Clay County, not normally known for flooding.

Travelers in Missouri are advised to remain alert for the possibility of flooding as heavy rainfall is forecast for much of the state throughout the weekend and into early next week, according to a press release.

Flood warnings have been issued for most of the state and flash flooding could occur during heavy downpours.

The Missouri Department of Transportation urges motorists to be alert for flood waters as they can cause road conditions to change. Experts say if a driver encounters flood waters, turn around.

“Our crews have been working diligently to keep up with barricading flooded roads,” said Natalie Roark, state maintenance director. “We’re seeing flooding on roads where we’ve never seen flooding before. Please be alert for rapidly changing road conditions. If there is water over the road, turn around, don’t drown.”

Flood waters can be deeper than they appear and can hide hazards like sharp objects, electrical wires, sewage and chemicals.

Flooding can erode roadways and/or cause a vehicle to loose traction, states a release.

“Even the best four-wheel-drive vehicle will lose against rapidly moving water,” states the release.

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Hallmark distribution center expanding in Liberty
  • Updated

LIBERTY — Liberty Heartland Logistics, under Opus Development, will be adding three industrial buildings totaling almost 1.66 million square feet of build-to-suit/speculative industrial development space near West Heartland Drive and Shepherd Road.

The Liberty City Council approved tax abatements for project developers to help fund the project Monday, June 28. Brandon Smith, the city’s economic and business development manager, said the build-to-suit building will house more than 847,000 square feet for an expansion of the Hallmark distribution center.

The other two buildings are being constructed with tenants yet to be determined.

Hallmark’s Liberty Distribution Center opened in 1972. The original 1.7 million-square-foot facility is located at 2101 N. Lightburne St. According to the corporate website, the center is the U.S. distribution hub serving Hallmark Cards, Inc. The facility fills and ships orders for Hallmark retail customers throughout the United States. The facility also serves about 100 countries internationally. About 96% of all Hallmark products — from greeting cards to gifts to party products — ship from Liberty to stores across the country.

Erin Brower, government and community affairs director for Hallmark, said the company is committed to Liberty.

“With the expansion into the second building, we will be able to bring in $13 million in projected manufacturing capabilities to the first building,” she told the city council earlier this week.

At the meeting, Mayor Lyndell Brenton said he appreciates the city’s partnership with Hallmark. Councilman Gene Gentrup asked what sorts of products will be produced.

“We are looking at card distribution and production as well as the variety of other items such as bows and wrapping paper,” Brower said.  

With the expansion, Hallmark plans to add more employees, both full-time and part-time, eventually tallying around 1,250 full-time employees and 150 part-timers.

“I really believe this is a win-win for us,” Smith said.

Rita D’Agostino, director of real estate development at Opus Development Company, L.L.C., said Opus is thrilled to be in Liberty and specifically in the Heartland Meadows development.

“We are going to call out Liberty’s truck ordinances and make sure signage is up so that there aren’t left turns onto Lightburne,” she said in regards to questions about increased truck traffic when the expansion opens. “We want to offer some positive directional signage. The only move would be if a delivery needed to occur that way.”

D’Agostino said there will also be a connector street constructed between the first and second buildings.