June 20, 2014

Inter-City News Makes History!

Who was Winner Road named after?  How did Van Horn High School get its name?

   Welcome to the first edition of the Inter-City News, published by historians and other citizens who know that a newspaper not only brings you events of the day, but also serves as an historical record of what life was like when the paper was printed.

   The goals of the Inter-City News are to inform readers and create a record of events happening now, to celebrate the history of the area, and to give residents and businesses a voice in their community.

   Every mid-month we will highlight area businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and everyone else helping to grow the economy of this community and working to make it a better place.

   We want to connect you with the local politicians who represent you, along with services that can help you in times of need.  We will highlight community organizations and volunteer opportunities, and introduce you to people working to improve this area and protect its history.

  We invite you to share your news, events, stories, tributes, photos, history, and anything you’d like to see in your new neighborhood newspaper.  We encourage you to contact us by phone at (816) 388-0628, visit our website, inter-citynews.com, and our Facebook page.  We look forward to keeping the First Amendment alive in the Inter-City!

Acclaimed Chef Ray Kattan Opens “Grampa’s Cafe” on 24 Highway

   Renowned chef Ray Kattan, now known as “Grampa” has come out of retirement to open his new restaurant, also known as "Grampa’s Café" at 9517 US 24 Highway .  That’s the place older generations will remember for Theresa’s Italian steak sandwiches and Jim’s Tamales.
    Now Grampa is there, bringing with him the same Italian and Mediterranean dishes and sandwiches that have been winning him acclaim from coast to coast for decades

   "Nothing comes out of a can, nothing comes out of a microwave,” he tells us about his kitchen, and his menu.  “All of our food is fresh and prepared from scratch.  100% homemade."

  Kattan started in the restaurant business in the 1980s, selling Fruit Smoothies and Health Food at a spot in San Diego, California.  He went on to become a chef at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, after which he brought his culinary talents to Kansas City, opening the famed Papagallos restaurant on Broadway during the 1990s. 

   Now he’s back at a classic Inter-City eating location, giving customers the convenience of grabbing a quick sandwich or sitting down to a full gourmet meal, ranging from a 10 oz KC Strip to his famous Italian and Mediterranean specialties.     "Feeding people is doing the Lord’s work," he said, explaining his desire to come out of retirement.

   Grampa’s menu features classic Italian foods like Spaghetti with Meatballs, Lasagna, Chicken Angelo, and his famous Fettuccini Alfredo, which was loved by the late Walt Bodine.  His Mediterranean specialties include Gyros made with a choice of fresh ground lamb, fish, chicken, or beef, Falafel Momtaz, Hummus Delight, Salmon Kabobs, along with his soups, salads, and unique appetizers.  Sandwiches include the Italian Steak, thick ¼ pound burgers, and the Eggplant Sandwich.  Grampa’s 3-Egg Omelets are served all day.

   And more than 30 years after opening his first Smoothie shop, Grampa Ray Kattan still takes pride in his fresh, all natural Smoothies.

   Grampa’s Café is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and is closed on Sundays.  The café is also closed on Fridays between 12:30 and 2 p.m.

Double Take

Sugar Creek recording artist Rob Pinter has teamed up with vocalist Kristian Boeth to form a new musical act, calling themselves Double Take.  They’ve been performing around the area with an eclectic sound that ranges from modern rock to pop and classic rock. Double Take will be performing June 26 at the Indigo, next to the Midland Theatre in Kansas City. 

Mayor Weir Spoke to Inter-City News

Last Spring the publishers of the Inter-City News sent the following question to the candidates who were running for Mayor of Independence:

"With all the development and improvements along the 39th Street and I-70 corridor, citizens in the northwest area of Independence (Fairmount, Mt. Washington, Maywood, and Englewood) tend to feel left out and neglected.  If you are elected mayor, what is your vision for improving the "Inter-City" district with respect to economic development, public safety, social services, and historic preservation?"

   The only candidate who took the time to reply was then City Councilwoman, now Mayor Eileen Weir.   This is what she wrote:

   "As a citizen of Independence I have volunteered with organizations including the NorthWest CDC, Englewood Business Association, Maywood Merchants Association, and Truman Gateway to support appropriate residential and commercial growth. I have participated in fundraising, publicity, strategic planning, and public policy. I was very involved in the school district boundary change, allowing the annexation of Kansas City schools into Independence, working directly with Sen. Callahan on this initiative.

   "For more than a decade, I have been personally involved in supporting the neighborhoods and commercial districts of northwestern Independence. This has been an important crusade for me because I have a strong desire to preserve the unique, authentic character of western Independence, and I believe this area of town provides great opportunities for the type of ‘new urbanism’ that I envision.
   “This vision, which has been fostered through my years of involvement with residents and business owners, includes neighborhoods that are diverse in use and population, designed for pedestrian and transit as well as cars, and aesthetically defined as a place that celebrates local history through architecture and landscaping.

   "To recapture the vibrancy that once existed in the city’s northwest, balanced development of jobs and housing must be planned. This plan should include a supply of affordable housing, increase in home ownership, historic preservation, safe streets, and the redevelopment of brownfield land.
"As Mayor, I will continue the work I have begun in northwestern Independence, engage the community in clearly defining the vision and goals, and execute strategies to meet these goals. I will also utilize the knowledge and experience I have gained through my volunteer efforts in the northwest to encourage investment in the other areas of the city that are also worthy of preservation and redevelopment."

ROBERT VAN HORN: Father of Kansas City

The place where Van Horn High School sits today was at one time a large home called “Honeywood,” built by Col. Robert Van Horn for his wife, Adela, at a place that was then called Evanston Station.

   If there any one man who could be called “The Father of Kansas City,” that man’s name would be Col. Robert Van Horn.

   In the early days of Kansas City history, no man or woman did more to build Kansas City into the major metropolis it would become than Mayor, Colonel, Congressman, and newspaper publisher Robert T. Van Horn. 

   As Mayor during the Civil War he brought troops from Leavenworth to secure Kansas City and protect the town from Quantrill’s Raiders and Confederate troops.

   He commanded a regiment of Volunteers and attained the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel serving in the Twenty-Fifth Missouri Volunteer Infantry.

   While serving as United States Congressman, he brought the first railroad and the first bridge to span the Missouri River to Kansas City, ending the hopes that St. Joseph and Leavenworth had of being the great railroad hub and metropolis that Kansas City would become. 

   Besides serving in uniform and in Congress, he served the city as postmaster, alderman, and state senator.

   From the time he arrived in Kansas City in 1855, his ambition was to build the river outpost on the bluffs into one of the most important cities in America.  He bought the local newspaper, “The Enterprise,” and changed the name to the Western Journal of Commerce.  As an editor he used his optimism and printing press to convince the world of the greatness of the City of Kansas.  He spread the newspaper boosting Kansas City far and wide, with subscribers in states all around the country. Van Horn’s newspaper would eventually be called, “The Kansas City Journal,” and would be Kansas City’s most trusted newspaper for more than the next half-century. 

   Robert Thompson Van Horn was born in East Mahonig, Pennsylvania, on May 19, 1834, and was only able to attend school when the weather did not permit farm work. At the age of 15 he became an apprentice at the Indiana County (PA) Register. After wandering around New York, Indiana, and Ohio as a “travelling typesetter” for a dozen years, he settled down in Meigs County, Ohio, where he studied law and married Miss Adela Honeywood Cooley in 1848.  He was 31 years old when he brought his wife and children to Kansas City.

   The Van Horn family had four sons, Caleb, Charles, Robert, and Dick.  Dick Van Horn was their only child not to precede them in death.

   Adela Van Horn passed away at Honeywood on July 24, 1910.  Robert Van Horn continued to live to the age of 91, passing away on January 3, 1915.

 Learn more about the life of Col. Robert Van Horn in our book “Vintage Kansas City Stories,” available at Amazon.com.

100 Years Ago at Fairmount Park

 From the book “Kansas City’s Fairmount Park” by John M. Olinskey

   Improvements had been made at the park in 1914, like a canvas cover over part of the beach to create some artificial shade.  The bathing beach was enlarged and re-sanded again, and thousands of new bathing suits were available.  A pavilion was built adjacent to the beach where ladies could get their hair dried and combed by pros. 

   Tubs of iced spring water and new picnic tables dotted the picnic area.  A large stage was built in the German café, and higher-class acts were promised.

   The first act to try and fulfill that promise was “Miss Myrtie Howard and her International Trio in Society and Novelty Dances,” singers of the latest hits and dancers of the latest dances.

     The opening day crowd at Fairmount Park numbered 10,000.  A special gate had been added to the entrance so autos could now enter like at a drive-in theater, at 10 cents a head.

   Prizes were given away every Wednesday in the Dance Pavilion, with a diamond ring for the lady and a gold stick-pin for the gentleman who could most gracefully interpret the many new dances of Myrtie Howard and her trio.

     Myrtie was making a great impression on the park crowds.  During the band’s 4 week stay, they had changed the way people in Kansas City danced, all now doing the latest dances.

   Myrtie’s last day was a Sunday, June 7.  Attendance was 20,000, the largest crowd so far this season.  2,500 people went swimming.  Lines were long at concessions, with some people just giving up. 250 autos parked practically anywhere they wanted. 

   The new feature in the German Café was A Night in Old Heidelberg, a musical with seven women and five men.  Altitude balloon racing, diving contests, and free vaudeville on the open-air stage provided entertainment to park guests.

   For the second year Montgomery Ward employees held their picnic at Fairmount and 20,000 employees along with their families, friends, and moochers turned out. Over $5,000 was spent on this year’s picnic. Next up were the Railway Passenger Agents and Proctor and Gamble company picnics.

   The Fourth of July the park was so crowded people were turned away at the Dance Pavilion and for the first time that year all the boats and bathing suits were rented out.  A fireworks display that night was called “The Earth on Fire.”
 To be continued…

New Neighborhood Improvement Organization

   The staff of the Inter-City News is happy to be involved in forming a new neighborhood activism group called the Fairmount-Mt. Washington Improvement Association, with a mission to beautify and bring commerce to the area along U.S. 24 Highway between Interstate 435 and Sterling Avenue.

   This stretch of 24 Highway, while rich in history, has been ignored by city planners and developers in both Independence and Kansas City for decades.   Parts of this roadway, which brings visitors from all over the world to the Truman Library, is looked upon by many to be a disgraceful eyesore that cannot be allowed to deteriorate further.

   By organizing volunteers to tackle improvement projects and by using political activism tools  to demand the attention of local elected officials at every level, the group hopes in the very near future that the “Road to Harry’s Library” will become a source of pride for the entire Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

   If you are interested in becoming involved in this new neighborhood association, please sign up for the mailing list at www.fmwia.org.

Sergeant Charles R. Long Memorial Bridge

This bridge in Fairmount is dedicated to a local war hero who gave his life serving in the United States Army in Korea in 1951, Sergeant Charles R. Long.

Charles Long grew up in Mt. Washington and during his youth he was a paperboy for the Kansas City Star and worked for the original Inter-City News.  After graduating from Northeast High School he joined the Army in 1941.  He served in Europe during WWII and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war he remained a Reservist, and during the Korean Conflict he was recalled and served as a Sergeant in Company M of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.

On February 12, 1951, as Sgt. Long’s platoon was being overrun, Sgt. Long voluntarily held his position, throwing hand grenades until he was killed by enemy fire.  He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military honor that can be awarded. A scholarship in his name is presented every year at Northeast High School by Class of 1949 graduate Bill George.

In Memory: Tammy Josephine Strutton

Tammy Josephine Strutton, beloved mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, passed away on May 27, 2014.     

She was born April 13, 1964, in Jefferson City, MO, and moved to Sugar Creek in her childhood.  She graduated from Van Horn High School in 1982.
Growing up, one of her greatest joys was riding the horses on her grandmother’s farm.      

Tammy loved working with children, and raised four sons on her own that she was always proud of, and who will never stop missing her.

Her family will forever appreciate the special care and nurturing she provided for her handicapped brother.

She also had a lot of fun going to “the boats”  :)

Tammy was preceded in death by her sister, Peggy Lee Strutton, and all of her grandparents.

She is survived by her sons, Michael and Steven Strutton, and Chris and Jason Bonar.  She is also survived by her parents, Carl and Judy Strutton, her sister, Stacey Young, and two brothers, Scotty and Corey Strutton.   The special loves of her life are her granddaughters, Jayden Strutton (Neigh Neigh), and Adeline McNeil (Addi Boo).  She will also be sadly missed by her many nieces and nephews, along with many friends and relatives, to whom she will always be remembered as a loving, caring, and wonderful person.

Sammy Coffman: Sonic Life in Englewood

Massage Therapy Englewood, at 10906 E Winner Road, is the only place in the KC Metropolitan area where you can try and have regular sessions on the Sonic Life Total Body Vibration fitness machine, thanks to Sammy Coffman, the area’s exclusive dealer for Sonic Life.

   A wide range of health and fitness claims have been made about the benefits of sonic vibration, which is different than mechanical vibrating devices.

   “Sonic vibration produces no friction and causes no stress,” said Sammy, comparing the Sonic Life machine to the kinds of mechanical vibrating fitness platforms that have been used for more than a century.  The Sonic Life machine produces vibration through sound waves, with frequencies that can be adjusted to fit a particular need or desired outcome.

   Sonic Life’s manufacturer boasts that the machine can improve health and fitness, accelerate healing, improve circulation and bone density, as well as offering a wide-range of anti-aging effects “by stimulating all of the 100 trillion+ cells in your body with naturally resonant sound waves,” according to the company’s literature.

   For more information about the Sonic Life Total Body Vibration machine or to schedule a free trial, call Sammy Coffman at  (816) 383-1232.


   There are plenty of events and activities for seniors going on at the Fairmount Community Center this summer.  Every Monday through Friday "Walk to the Beat" each morning at 8 a.m., with lunch for Seniors served at 11:30 a.m. 

   Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday brings a Low Impact Exercise class at 9 a.m.

   Every Tuesday there are Line Dancing Lessons at 9:30 a.m., or Knitting Class at 10 a.m., and Game Day at 12:15 p.m. 

   On Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. they have a non-denominational Prayer Gathering, with Bunco and an Open Jam on alternating Wednesdays beginning at 12:30 p.m.

   Every Thursday there’s a Blood Pressure Check at 10 a.m., Mobile Market at 10:30 a.m., with the Summertime Hustle Wellness Program beginning at the same time.  Thursday also features Bingo at 12:30 p.m., and Golf at 1:30 p.m.

   Besides the usual Friday activities, there will be Beginners Line Dance lessons at 10:15 a.m.  Check their calendar at nwcdc-mo.org/activities-events or call (816) 254-8334 for more information and for volunteer opportunities.


Construction is almost completed on two new health care facilities that will bring medical and dental services to area residents regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Fairmount Family Medical Care Center
The Truman Medical Center’s Fairmount Family Medical Care Center, currently operating at a temporary facility on Ash, will be moving into its permanent, 8,000 square foot home at the corner of US 24 Highway and Hardy. 

Swope Health Independence
The new Swope Health Independence clinic at 11320 East Truman Road will provide family medicine and dental services, with a goal to “provide quality health care to residents of Independence, Missouri, regardless of ability to pay.” and will open this summer.