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may 2014 editor Rachel C. Murphy | RMurphy@LifestylePubs.com
contributing writers Lisa Allen, Alexandra Bush, Pete Dulin Elizabeth Rosenberger, Trisha Drape, Susan Motley, Julie Hubble, Todd Natenberg
don’t know about you guys, but after the long, long winter of 2013-2014, I’m ready to get outside and take advantage of the glorious late spring weather in Kansas City. Luckily, Kansas City provides lots of opportunities for me to do so, not the least of which is the beginning of my favorite sports seasons—soccer and baseball. To call me a sports fan is a stretch by any estimation, but I do love communal gatherings and the energy and spirit that fans have in a stadium is thrilling. I love baseball for the lazy nostalgia that it invites, with the green of the field and the breeze through The K conjuring up a wanton patriotism that I enjoy. It’s the most American of sports, in my mind, one where I will always think of patriotic holidays and the unity and escapism that baseball has provided when strife has ruled other parts of our lives. Soccer, though, has all the raw energy that baseball lacks. As a European import, it’s only right that the Paris of the Plains should excel at soccer, and we do. MLS Champions Sporting KC have reinvigorated an already loyal fan base and drawn non-sporty types like me into rooting for something fervently for the first time. Now I’m primed for FIFA World Cup, which I plan to watch with a pint at the White Horse Pub. It’s one of the things that I love about Europe—sitting around a television with your friends and cheering for a fast paced match creates a community where none might exist other wise. Sports in general should do that. Whether it’s the Northland Sports Alliance getting kids and adults involved in athletics in their spare time, or the Kansas City Royals reigniting our hopes each season, team sports create an opportunity for camaraderie and that leads to community. So let’s play ball together and enjoy the early hopes of the season!
contributing photographers Lani Odell, Keith Gard, Jim Ferris, Bernie Concannon, Tyler Wirken, Taylor Pemberton and the KC Royals
advertising sales Annie Jennings | AJennings@LifestylePubs.com Mike Arel | MArel@LifestylePubs.com
copy editor | Kendra Mathewson Published monthly, subscriptions are also available for $22 for 1 year, $39 for 2 years by visiting NorthlandLifestyle.com
corporate team chief executive officer | Steven Schowengerdt chief sales officer | Matthew Perry chief financial officer | DeLand Shore national editor | Lisa Cooke Harrison director of marketing | Brad Broockerd national art director | Carrie Brophy advertising director | Mike Baugher production director | Christina Sandberg regional art director | Sara Minor ad coordinator | Cyndi Vreeland national copy editor | Kendra Mathewson
executive assistant | Lori Cunningham application architect | Michael O’Connell it director | Randy Aufderheide
Rachel Murphy, Editor RMurphy@LifestylePubs.com by Community ™
Want to keep up with what I’m doing? Follow me on Twitter: @RachelCMurphy or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/NorthlandLifestyle.
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7373 West 107th Street Overland Park, KS 66212 913.599.4300 | NorthlandLifestyle.com Northland Lifestyle™ is published monthly by Lifestyle Publications LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of North Kansas City’s most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Lifestyle Publications’ opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Lifestyle Publications does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Northland Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.
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16 Around Town 22
24 History 101 26 Locally Owned 30 Locals Only 44 Style Wise
46 Terrific Teacher 48 Hot Spot 51
54 Healthy Lifestyle 56
36 Pro-Athlete Proves Work Can Be Fun
57 Parent’s Corner
Local online retailer focuses on happy employees.
38 Playing in the Big Leagues
One family explores spring training with the Royals.
60 Lifestyle Calendar
40 Innovation is Expanding
66 Parting Thoughts
The Northland Innovation Campus unites Northland schools.
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Dancing with the Stars Local celebrities paired with Allegro Ballroom professionals in Kansas Cityâ€™s own version of Dancing with the Stars, a fundraiser for Cristo Rey KC High School students. A crowd of 1,800 guests enjoyed the memorable entertainment. Photography StudioHobbs.com and PhotosBringJoy.com
Cristo Rey student dancers
Judges were Ed Holland, Tara Darbyshire and Mayor Sly James. 10 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
First place and Judges' Choice winners Local celebrity dancers Valerie Chow, Ryane Delka, Chris Hernandez, Ryane Delka and Jesse Lopez Rick Jones, Jenny Murphy, Larkin O'Keefe, Kevin Ryanand and Stann Tate
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Eagle Scout Class Reception Three generations of Eagle Scouts recently gathered to continue a KC Scouting tradition. The 2013 Terry Dunn Class of Eagle Scouts Reception welcomed more than 900 Scouts and families to Municipal Music Hall.
Dan Kerling, Kenn Miller, Dawson Garcia, Jim Hayes & Jeff Wandtke
Jeff Wandtke- Scoutmaster of the Year
12 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
Equity Bank Opens At Burlington Creek Equity Bank invited friends and neighbors to its Burlington Creek office in Kansas City to officially cut the ribbon and announce its commitment to the Northland community, and also to welcome new branch manager Mary Becker, who joined the $1.1 billion bank in February.
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39 Gladstone To Get “Googled” in Next Wave of Fiber Expansion Google recently announced that it would be expanding its current 6,000-mile fiber-optic network to several Missouri suburbs, including Gladstone and Kansas City, North. Signup for residents in these two communities began in mid-March. To sign up, residents must register with Google Inc., pay a $10 registration fee and choose from three different plans. The company requires a minimum number of registrations in each “fiberhood” before it will offer service in that area. Deadlines to reach the sign-up levels are in May and June for the Northland areas. Google hopes to complete installation in these areas by the end of 2014.
Years of Improved Services for People with Disabilities Randy Hylton celebrated his 39th year with Vocational Services March 10, and he admits the anniversary is a bittersweet affair. Since 1994, Hylton has been executive director of the non-profit organization that services people with developmental and other disabilities in Clay and Platte counties. VSI was founded nearly 10 years before Hylton joined the organization in 1975, but he remembers well its first workshop in a former North Kansas City hair salon that served 15 local residents. Although VSI today operates three workshops in Liberty and North Kansas City, as well as other job-producing programs, the goals today are much the same. “Missouri workshops still operate primarily with money earned from businesses contracts,” he said. “State and county funds are important, but our business earnings represent over half of our income.” Although he’s approaching his fourth decade of service, Hylton hopes to continue. “It’s been interesting and makes you want to stay here and see what’s going to happen,” he laughed. For more information on Vocational Services and its programs, call 816.781.6292 or visit VSIServe.org. 16 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) has been recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Company by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more. Blue KC also received Community Innovation and Workplace Innovation awards from the American Heart Association. “Physical activity and employee wellness are important priorities at Blue KC. We are honored and excited to be recognized by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite,” says David Gentile, President and Chief Executive Officer for Blue KC. “We’re committed to providing the best workplace environment possible. Over the years, we know this has benefited our employees’ health and produced positive results for our customers and partners.”
Local Tree Fund is Launched Heartland Tree Alliance (HTA) has launched a digital approach to funding trees in the Kansas City metropolitan area. HTA and its city partners now give residents the opportunity to pay directly for the planting of trees in their own hometowns. With a simple click on the HTA website, donors can specify how much they would like to give to a particular city, and then watch as the tree fund for that city grows. Each time a fund reaches $1,000, HTA will launch a tree-planting event with that city, giving residents the opportunity to see their dollars go to work. A city has its own tree needs, and HTA will work with each city to determine the best way to invest the tree fund in that area. For some cities that means planting seedlings along streams and creeks; for others it means 12-foot street trees. For this reason, $1,000 pays for different quantities in different situations, from as many as 1,000 bare-root seedlings to six street trees. To learn more, contact Noelle Morris at 816.561.1061, ext. 115, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Around Town Consider Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student You can make a difference in the life of a student today. By opening your home to a foreign exchange student through Exchange Service International, your family will have the opportunity to personally shape the image of America through the eyes of your student. Host families are asked to provide a caring and loving environment for the students. Host families are also to provide room and board as well as meals and
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Liberty Public Schools Name New Superintendent In a unanimous vote by the Liberty Public Schools Board of Education, Dr. M. Jeremy Tucker has been named as the next superintendent of LPS. Tucker is currently superintendent in the Logan-Rogersville R-VIII, MO School District, where he has served since July 2008. Previously, he was a teacher, coach, and principal in the Logan-Rogersville School District dating back to 1997. He was also an assistant principal in the Dallas County R-I School District in Buffalo, MO from 2003-2005. Tucker will complete his contract with the Logan-Rogersville School District and will begin service with Liberty Public Schools on July 1, 2014. He will replace Dr. John Jungmann, who recently accepted the position of superintendent in the Springfield, MO School District. Joining Dr. Tucker in the Liberty Public Schools community will be his wife, Rebecca, and their two children.
Library Network Among National Award Finalists The Woodneath branch of Mid-Continent Public Library system is an outstanding example of the quality services available through the network—including many often-overlooked business resources such as online databases. Mid-Continent Public Library is one of 30 finalists for The National Medal for Museum and Library Service for 2014. The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, is celebrating its 20th year of saluting institutions that make a difference for individuals, families and communities. This is the first time that Mid-Continent has been nominated or has been a finalist for the National Medal. Over the two decades that the National Medal has been awarded, three other Missouri institutions have been recognized as winners. Only once has a Missouri library been recognized (Kansas City Public Library in 2008).
Entrepreneur programs live-streamed for Northland residents One of the region’s most popular entrepreneurial programs and a growing national effort will add a Northland location beginning May 7 when 1 Million Cups (1MC) will be live-streamed by internet from the Kauffman Foundation building to the Armour Loft event Space at 406 Armour Rd. in North Kansas City as a free event in North
20 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
Kansas City. Rich Groves, executive director of the North Kansas City Business Council, noted the weekly business forum is held every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Kauffman Foundation near Brush Creek Boulevard in Kansas City. Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs. They make a six-minute presentation then have 20 minutes of feedback. Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their start-up businesses and gather real-time feedback. More information on 1MC is available at 1MillionCups.org. Co-sponsor First Missouri Bank will provide coffee. Networking will be available before and after the presentations. For additional information, contact Groves at 816.472.7700 or e-mail: Richard@nkcbusinesscouncil.com.
North Cross United Methodist Church Launches Shoe Drive North Cross United Methodist Church is conducting a shoe collection drive now through June 29th to raise funds for our Children’s Ministry while benefiting microenterprise ventures in developing nations and keeping old shoes out of local landfills. Individuals can help by donating gently worn, used shoes at 1321 NE Vivion Rd, Kansas City, Missouri 64118. Shoes can be dropped off anytime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or you can stop by on our special Shoe Drive Day, May 17th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. By donating your gently worn, used shoes to the North Cross Children’s Ministry, your shoes are given a second chance to make a difference. All donated shoes will be redistributed to microenterprise partners through Funds2Orgs and used in developing nations for impoverished people to start, maintain, and grow a unique business opportunity to feed, clothe, and house their families. The goal is to collect 7,500 pairs of shoes. NCUMC is calling on everyone to clean out their unwanted, gently worn, used shoes and donate them. If you, or a local organization, are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Vickie Linch, Director of Children’s Ministry by phone at 816.452.2939 or email at v.linch@ northcrossumc.com.
Origins Montessori Offers Summer Camps Origins Montessori will be offering summer camps this season. The camps focus on the ‘5 Cs’: collaboration, character, creativity, critical thinking and communication. These camps run the gamut of creativity from learning to upcycle the contents of your recycling bin into robots, to making jewelry out of LEGOs. Each three-day camp runs from Tuesday through Thursday with outdoor play-time included. Camps are appropriate for ages 3-12. Camps begin on May 27 and registration is currently open. Spaces fill up fast, so please visit OriginsMontessori.com for more information.
Park University Student Newspaper Wins Awards at MCMA Conference
Glass-Walled Labyrinth Installed at The Nelson-Atkins Museum
Park University’s student newspaper, The Stylus, earned 25 awards at the annual Missouri College Media Association conference on April 5 in Kirksville, Mo. Competing in Division 3 (small 4-year colleges and universities) of the awards contest, The Stylus brought home two of the biggest awards from the conference — the Sweepstakes Award, given to the newspaper earning the most award points, and the Best Newspaper Award. The latter award required three issues of the newspaper to the submitted and judged on the overall quality of the writing, photography and design of the publication. Submitted entries were from the Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 semesters. Of the 25 awards won by The Stylus, Matt Rogers, senior communication arts/journalism major from San Diego, earned nine individual awards, including a first, second and third place sweep of the “Photo Page Design” awards. The Stylus’ current adviser is Ashley Vasquez, adjunct instructor of communication arts. John Lofflin, professor of journalism and photography, served as adviser during the Spring 2013 semester.
A triangular-shaped, glass-walled labyrinth designed by acclaimed artist and Kansas City native Robert Morris is being installed in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This dynamic sculpture provides visitors with an intimate experience, enticing them to interact with the art by winding through the glass maze. The installation of Glass Labyrinth in the southeast section of the park marks the start of a six-month long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. The 62-foot by 62foot by 62-foot, seven-foot-tall labyrinth, which weighs more than 400 tons, will be fully installed on May 22, when a public celebration will be held. The installation of begins a series of celebrations of the Sculpture Park that will include family activities, educational programs and special events. The 22-acre park has been championed through the years by Hall, whose keen eye and diligent stewardship have allowed the grounds to become a stellar asset to Kansas City and an outdoor destination for many. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART
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arrie Julian and Alex Brophy were married February 22, 2014 at Studio Dan Meiners. The ceremony was officiated by the Rev. Tim Brooks. The bride is the daughter of Don and Linda Julian of Parkville. The groom is the son of Dave and Sue Brophy of Leawood, Kan. Dinner and dancing followed at the Studio's event space, Pennway Place. Given in marriage by her parents and escorted by her father, the bride wore a Liancarlo silk gown with a sweetheart neckline and a trumpet train of stitched ruffles. The couple honeymooned in Saint Martin, and now resides in Kansas City. Photography Tyler Wirken
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Running with Bonnie and Clyde: The Red Crown Symposium and Road Tour Article Lisa Allen | Photography Provided
uriosity, they say, killed the cat. But for Jim Spawn, curiosity about the infamous Bonnie and Clyde shootout in 1933 prompted him to research, and eventually create, Running with Bonnie and Clyde: The Red Crown Symposium and Road Tour. A multi-faceted event that includes elements of crime, transportation, law enforcement and fashion, the Symposium features a slide and video program that educates viewers about the events of July 19 and 20, 1933. The setting was The Red Crown Tavern and Tourist Court. Ahead if its time back then, it was a landmark establishment for Northlanders and the place to come for gas and oil, food and drink. Then things changed: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and their cohorts arrived, and at least 13 lawmen from the Platte County Sherriff’s Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Jackson County Sherriff’s Department surrounded the outlaws who were hiding in two cabins. The infamous duo escaped, and spent most of the night trying to flee Platte County. In the process, three lawmen were wounded and Buck Barrow was shot in the head. He died a few days later. The Symposium also includes a 1930’s era fashion show, judged by a panel of VIP panel judges. There is also a driving tour of the back roads of Platte County in vintage and modern vehicles; the same roads, in fact, that were used by the Barrow gang as they escaped after the shootout, though they are now paved. There is also live music throughout the event. “Through research, I found that there were others who were also curious about the events that happened then,” says Spawn. “The location was near our Kansas City International Airport, and the construction of Interstate 29 spelled the destruction of the Red Crown Tavern.” Spawn says 300 people attended the first symposium, including members of the Barrow and Parker families and family members of the law enforcement community. Vintage car enthusiasts 24 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
wanted the chance to drive the same roads traveled by the Barrow gang, and when the symposium was repeated in 2008 the attendance grew to nearly 400. Spawn was asked to repeat the program this year to commemorate Platte County’s 175th Anniversary. He’s added newly discovered artifacts and new speakers, and expects to be at capacity. The symposium is free. “It’s based on Depression area gangsters, but that was only the start of an examination of life in 1933,” says Spawn. “After the Barrow affair, the Red Crown Tavern became a social meeting place and nearly every Northlander ate and drank there. There were picnics, dances and weddings receptions held there. It was a true community center.” Some of the information presented is based on a variety of different published accounts, some of which seem to disagree. There is no intention to glamorize the events or condone the actions of the criminals that instigated this time in Northland history, and is organized by volunteers with an interest in Platte County history. The event will take place on May 24 at the Improv Theater at Zona Rosa. For more information, visit Facebook.com/RedCrownTavern
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Allure Nail Supply From humble beginnings to global expansion Article Elizabeth Rosenberger | Photography Lani Odell
n a world where a lot of relationships are forged to advance business, Eric Nguyen is in business to forge relationships. A true entrepreneur at heart, he comes from the humble beginnings of a hard working Vietnamese family that immigrated to the United States when he was a young child. Today his company? Allure Nail Supply has grown into a multi-million dollar international organization, shipping supplies as far as Casablanca, Africa. “Our business philosophy is simple,” Nguyen says. “If we help our customers to be successful then we will be successful. Living that philosophy is what has made the growth at Allure Nail Supply possible.” Located at 29 W. 14th Ave in North Kansas City, Allure Nail Supply has 10,000 square feet of newly remodeled showroom with total 40,000 square feet of nail salon supplies you could choose
from (more than 12,000 sku’s in stock). Nguyen says if they don’t have something a customer needs, they can get it. Although they deal exclusively with licensed salon owners, it hasn’t hindered the growth of the operation. Nguyen says inventory management and the process they’ve set in place is the key to the success of the business. “We started out with 2,000 square feet of show room less than 10 years ago,” he explains. “Our rapid growth has been beyond our expectations.” With more than 21 employees, Nguyen says all employees are like family--in work, play and giving back to the community. Nguyen and his wife, Chinda Tav, run the business with help from his mom and dad, Cindy Tran and Sam Nguyen. When his family immigrated to the U.S. more than 25 years ago, his family could not speak English and supported themselves by sewing piece work in continued >
26 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
their apartment. With steadfast and hard work ethics (which helps keep him on track today in a fast paced industry); his family was able to purchase their own nail salon. In 2005, the family moved to the Northland where Nguyen started Allure Nail Supply. “It’s been a fun and crazy ride, as any small business with growing pains but I’ll have to say we’re so blessed to have the team that we have,” Nguyen says.
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With Nguyen’s team, he realizes the company is able to fulfill the daily quotas of orders the company receives. One to give honor where honor is due, he routinely hosts parties for employees that provides dinner and friendly camaraderie to show his appreciation of their hard work. He instills in his employees the same work ethics he grew up with: the customer is the most important thing. As long as you take care of them and make them successful, you’ll be successful. “I couldn’t do it without them,” he admits. “I lack so much, but I’ve been blessed to have smarter people around me.” In the past few years, Nguyen has added a construction company division – ANS Construction - to the business. His goal in doing so was to create a turnkey operation for immigrants who want to start their own nail salon business but lack the know-how of getting from point A to point B. With Allure, they handle everything from the lease negotiations, architectural drawings and permits to the supplies and equipment needed to stock the salon. One of the salons that Allure built is The Nail Lounge located at 8622 North Boardwalk Ave near the Zona Rosa Shopping Center. Beautifully constructed with state-of-the-art equipment, the salon is 2,000 square feet with the ambiance of a true day spa. Nguyen’s vision for the business is not stopping with the Northland. Although he gives charitably to the community, he would like to expand globally by building churches in Cambodia and Vietnam. Nguyen has a heart for his homeland to help spread the Word of God. “In the business we’re paid very poorly, and we do that on purpose so we can give back,” he explains. “A real need is in those countries for church planting. God’s will for my life is to give back through the success of this business and I’m hoping this year we can build our first church plant in Vietnam. The calling everyone has on their life is a different part of His will.” For more information about Allure Nail Supply, visit AllureNailSupply.com or call 816.210.1226.
28 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
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Cascone’s Celebrates 60 years in the Northland Northland favorite celebrates all year long Article Rachel C. Murphy | Photography Provided
hen Cascone’s opened on North Oak Trafficway in 1954, they had no idea that they would become an iconic eatery in the Northland. They were just trying to provide wholesome dinners that tasted like home. In doing so, they created a legacy that they are celebrating starting in May of this year. The location on North Oak is technically the second, with the first location opening 20 years prior in the Columbus Park neighborhood. With a combined history of 80 years, they have plenty of history to draw from for their celebratory meals. Jimmy Cascone says that the month of May will start off with bringing back some menu items from years past, including. . . fried chicken? “We’ve transcended just Italian. There’s been demand for things that were universal. We’ve mainly focused on Italian, and specifically Sicilian, but we’ve tried to include several specials each day,” says Jimmy. Some of their more popular, but less Italian, favorites have included ribs, catfish and a 30 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
chopped steak sandwich. Along with several favorite pastas, many of these will return to the menu soon. They will also reintroduce their popular beef tenderloin kabobs in May. In July, they will have their grand celebration. A date is forthcoming. In addition to several guest-oriented events, such as anniversary cake, they will also feature a ‘rollback’ menu. “Since we started in 1954, we’ll have a great featured meal for a couple for $19.54. The meal will change periodically, so that guests can try different things,” says Jimmy. All of these events are to celebrate the family that the Cascones have made beyond their own in the Northland. Three siblings are currently integrally involved in the business, Jimmy, Frank, and Lucille Hotchkiss. Frank handles everything food oriented and Jimmy takes care of the front of the house. The point that the Cascone family takes as its pride is their longevity as a family-owned business. There’s a member of their family on location at the restaurant every day of the week.
“We are probably the oldest continuously family-owned restaurant in the area. We’ve seen a lot of people come and go and we surround ourselves with great people and they turn around and become family over the years. Our most junior person in an integral position has still been here for three years,” says Jimmy. The Cascone family knows that there are a lot of dining options available. They urge their guests to frequent locally owned places even if it isn’t owned and operated by the Cascones. When their family dines somewhere else, they try to do the same, supporting other small business owners. So if Jimmy Cascone had to choose his last meal from their expansive menu, what would he have? True to his roots, he says that he would choose their spaghetti and meatballs. “If I had to carry something away with me, it would be that. Our sauce, the same one that we’ve made for so long, is what I love,” says Jimmy. The family has also delved into selling their signature sauces, but it’s more than vanity packaging. They control all the production of the sauces, down to the selection of produce and their dedication to quality is easy to taste. As this family owned business dives into their next 60 years, with updates coming to the dining room, there’s one thing that will never change. They will continue their commitment to making each guest feel like family.
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A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred By George Will Crown Archetype Press $25.00 224 pages
Reviewed by Julie Hubble
s the grass greens and days get longer, it is time to go to the ball fields. And who better to sit with in the bleachers than the rabid fan, full of facts and anecdotes and opinions on the state of the game? George Will, arguably the most famous fan of the Chicago Cubs, takes off his political pundit hat and waxes nostalgic on the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field. This is not field reporting, but an emotional and personal reflection on the history of a team, a place, of baseball. As there are few triumphs to record, Will meanders through the Lincoln Park neighborhood and reveals the oddities of personalities that stop through Chicago and leave stories that create legend. Readers will learn about America’s first female member of a President’s cabinet, about the baseball-related shooting that inspired Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, and will consider the relationship between beer and attendance at baseball games. The greatness of Ernie Banks, “Mr. Cub,” will be on display for all to see. But Will also provides commentary on the architecture of the building itself, and provides fodder for why the structure has contributed to the fortunes of the team. He suggests, despite his love for the Chicago Cubs, that historic decisions by the owners, including chewing-gum magnate P.K. Wrigley, made the stadium too successful. A less popular structure would have forced the Cubs to purchase a winning team. But in the era of Jumbotrons and product placement and concession stand apps, Wrigley Field is that bright and shining Valhalla, purposely slow to install night lights and video screens at the urinals. She is beloved, wise and full of characters that tell America’s 32 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
story of competition and loyalty, success and defeat, yesterday and today. Carl Sandburg describes Chicago as a city “with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning,” aware of those sneering at her. He must have been a Cubs fan. The writing is graceful and funny, the information is stunning, and the critique is sharp – the perfect way to spend an afternoon for any baseball fan.
Other New Baseball Titles To Consider: New Kid by Tim Green (Harper/Collins) The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It by Lawrence Ritter (Harper Perennial) Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball by John Feinstein (Doubleday) 1954: The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball by Bill Madden (Da Capo) Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy (Sports Illustrated)
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May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 33
Keepers of the Sandlot Play Ball!
Article Susan Motley | Photography Provided
pring is here. The days are getting longer and the flowers are blooming. But, for many, nothing says spring like the start of baseball season. That is definitely true for former professional baseball player Bill Severns. Baseball has always been an important part of his life. He started playing little league at an early age and never looked back. As a starter for the University of Oklahoma, Severns had the rare privilege of playing in the College World Series four years in a row. Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, he played in their farm system for six years before retiring to raise his family. Severns lives in Prairie Village with his wife of 36 years, Suzanne. They
34 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
have four children and eight grandchildren. “For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was play baseball,” Severns says. “So, when my boys came along, as soon as they wanted to throw or catch, I was ready to play.” Severns spent 23 years coaching, starting with his son’s little league teams and coaching every level from 5 years old to high school. Severns say kids start out playing baseball because they want to be with their friends and have fun. Parents like their kids to play because it teaches them how to compete, to be a good teammate, to win and lose, to fail and get back up again. It develops character. But, as Severns continued to coach, he
started seeing things that worried him. “I had concerns about the pressures, intensity, and number of games, the extreme yelling and that kind of thing,” he explains. “Baseball is supposed to be fun and you can’t play well when everyone is stressed out.” “My friend Gary LaRocque from the St. Louis Cardinals always says, ‘Tell your parents we don’t have time to scout little league!’” Severns says he often wished parents could just relax and enjoy the game. So, as his coaching days were coming to a close, Severns had an epiphany about how to stay involved with baseball. He was at a game, standing in the third base coach’s box, when the opposing coach “just lost it” and blew up
at a kid who had made an error. The boy was upset which caused his next play to be even worse. A violent confrontation erupted. The coach pulled him from the game. “I kept looking for his dad,” Severns says, “but, you guessed it, the coach was his dad.” Severns says he decided that night to write a book. He was determined to use his experiences, his resources and his connections in the baseball world to help parents and coaches relax. He wants them to protect the innocence and joy of the game for their children. He calls it the “sandlot” experience where everyone is welcome and has fun, there is no pressure to perform, and the games go on until sundown. In 2005, Severns published Keepers of the Sandlot--Coaching, Parenting and Playing For Keeps. Several years later, he wrote Sandlot Strategy, A Parent’s Manual For Coaching Kids. Both books have been enthusiastically received. They are filled with stories from Severn’s playing and coaching years as well as pearls of wisdom from some of the biggest names in baseball. They offer great insight and guidance to help parents and coaches enjoy their children during this short season of their lives. One of Severns’ favorite quotes from the first book comes from former Royal’s all-star Kevin Seitzer. “Don’t ever be the coach that makes a kid give up the game.” “I just want to help everyone understand how precious this time is,” Severns says. “Pretty soon the game is over and your kids are gone.” Although he has a day job, at the civil engineering firm of Shafer, Kline, & Warren in Lenexa, Severns now spends a good deal of this time speaking to groups about baseball, and talking with and encouraging coaches and parents who call him. “These books have been a gift. They have opened doors and given me the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with parents and coaches. And they have kept me involved in this game I love so much. Every year when the season ends, I sit around and wait for Opening Day!” For more information or to contact Bill Severns, go to his website KeepersOfTheSandlot.com,
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Conventional wisdom says
there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Article Lisa Allen
Conventional wisdom has never worked at Pro Athlete, Inc.
ot only is there free lunch every day—cooked by a full-time, on-site chef—but there are also free haircuts every Friday, massages every Monday, a fully stocked café and an assortment of fitness training sessions and group classes such as bootcamp, yoga and spin classes. There is a swimming pool and a sauna, a racquetball court and batting cages and a game room and a library. The Northland company opened in 1987 as a traditional brick and mortar sporting goods store, but is now an eCommerce company with six different brands: JustBats.com, JustBallGloves.com, SoftballBats.com, BaseballBats.com, BallGloveWarehouse.com and BatWarehouse.com. The company’s first website, BeAPro. com, rolled out in 1999, which also marked its transition from traditional store to online retailer. The products that Pro Athlete, Inc. sells are bats and gloves, but the company is about so much more than orders and fulfillment.
36 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
With core values that center on employee engagement, customer satisfaction and continuous learning, Pro Athlete, Inc. has been recognized as A Healthiest Employer in Kansas City in 2012 and 2014; as a Best Place to Work in Kansas City in 2010, 2011 and 2012; as Kansas City Corporate Challenge Champions in 2012 and 2013 and with the 2014 Quantum Workplace Employee Voice Award. “Everyone here wants to be part of something bigger. It’s more than just a job,” says Andrew Dowis. “We don’t put much stock in titles. Instead, we’re here to help every one of our employees move forward in a way that makes them happy and successful.” True to form, Dowis’ title is officially printed on his business card as ‘No Title’ though his work in operations would typically merit the title Chief Operating Officer. Now in his fifth year at the company, Dowis says that the success of Pro Athlete, Inc. is really very simple.
“We just do what’s right,” he says. “People think that it’s our amenities that make us unique, but it’s not a free lunch that truly keeps people engaged. The perks help, of course, but what really matters is that we care about every single person who works here, and we do what we can to make their lives a little bit easier.” They also love to have fun. Opening Day 2014 was celebrated with a Hot Dog Race, vendors cruising around and throwing hot dogs through the office and managers being pied in the face. There’s a video of George Brett chatting up an employee in the company sauna posted on the website, and a gallery of pictures that commemorate site visits from the likes of Frank White, Adam Dunn and Dayton Moore. “It might seem obvious, given our business, but we all love sports and we love to have fun” says Dowis. “If there’s a game on during lunch, we watch it and talk about it. We connect, whether it’s at lunch or during other activities. That’s what we’re all about.” Dowis says that employees share common goals and the company rewards creative thinking and competitive spirit. Everyone is encouraged to submit and champion their ideas, he says, and by doing so they are noticed and rewarded. “When did it become a requirement that work has to be boring and monotonous?” says Dowis. “That has a snowball effect, and it makes people dread getting out of bed in the morning and coming to work. We’re the opposite of that. We want people to enjoy being here, and we want to maintain a work environment that is just as valuable for them as their services are to us. “The magic isn’t in the pool, or in the other perks. The magic is that we care about everyone and we treat work like an experience. It’s our job to help our employees reach their goals and attain their dreams.” Not only are employees encouraged to keep striving professionally, but they’re supported in giving back to the community. Pro Athlete, Inc. is one of the largest donation centers for Toys for Tots in the Kansas City area. The company also contributes to the YMCA Challenger Program and to the RBI Program of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City. And because the company believes so strongly in giving back, it gives every employee an allotment of $1,500 per year to give to a charitable organization of his or her choice. Dowis says that Pro Athlete, Inc. recognizes that each person has different interests and different causes that are important to them. Embracing stewardship is just one of Pro Athlete, Inc.’s eleven core values. Dowis says that the values by which they live—from gratitude to creating fans through service to focusing on results,
not work—are part of every decision made at the company, and that those eleven core values form the backbone of the company. “Our core values keep us all on the same page. We want everyone to feel important and valued, and for everyone to feel as if they’re getting smarter every day they’re here; that’s a win-win. But we all have to be on the same page; if we’re not, then it’s not a good fit, and that’s alright, too,” he says. “We are employee driven. It always comes down to doing what’s right for them. Simple as that.” To learn more about Pro Athlete, Inc. visit ProAthleteInc.com
May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 37
Take Me — and My Family — Out to the
Article Trisha Drape | Photography Taylor Pemberton and KC Royals
f you dislike those sappy baseball movies, ala Fields of Dreams, The Natural, The Sandlot, et al, and you find it completely self-indulgent when people write about their children, stop reading now. I just can’t help myself this one time. Oh, and do you despise baseball fanatics who wait all year to hear those six little words: “Pitchers and catcher report for training”? If so, again, this article may not be for you. If, however, you are a soon-to-be empty-nester who can’t seem to gather your young adult children for more than three straight hours even during the holidays, and you’re looking for a possible trick up your sleeve for more family time, I can tell you what works for me. My artifice? Baseball. And this year, knowing the days of family vacations may be nearing an end, my husband and I enticed them with a trip we knew they wouldn’t refuse: Spring training in Surprise, Arizona. Our son, now in his second year of college, traded in baseball tournaments and soccer practices for guitars and girls around the time he turned 15. But if I call him up to invite him to go to a Kansas City Royals game, he suddenly has time to see me and make the 15-minute drive from his college to the stadium. Interestingly enough, the drive to Lee’s Summit isn’t much farther, but without the incentive of a ballgame, it might as well be 1,000 miles. My youngest daughter, who leaves for college in August, only peeks up from her Netflix binges of “House of Cards” and “Or-
38 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
ange is the New Black” to ask if I’ve been to the ATM. She recently changed her plans to go to college out of state, telling us she “really likes Kansas City; it has everything I need.” Is this code for “I don’t want to be far from a town that has professional baseball, football, soccer, music, theatre, art, etc.?” My oldest daughter will drive home from college nearly every weekend the Royals are in town, but once the baseball season
is over, the price of gas suddenly seems to have risen too high for her to make the 3-hour trip home. She is our family’s biggest baseball fan. Every Christmas since she was very young, she has asked for season tickets to the Royals, and every birthday she has asked us to take her to spring training — a wish we had not granted until this year. Baseball isn’t everyone’s passion, but for us there is something about the game that brings us together. Perhaps it’s the pace and the fact we can carry on conversations in between the moments of action. Maybe it’s the sights and sounds and smells making us feel nostalgic for all of those times when we spent many afternoons outside together. Maybe it’s just a love of the game itself. Even if baseball isn’t your thing, spending a day at The K with your family might surprise you as a great way to get together. And for next year, I highly recommend considering a few days away in Surprise, Arizona. If the winter of 2015 is anything like this past winter, you’ll be happy to get away to Arizona where the weather is ideal in February and
March. With 15 MLB teams in the Cactus League and 10 stadiums in the greater Phoenix area, there are plenty of ball games to catch, but there also is so much more to explore. We drove to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale and Tempe in between games. We also met up with friends from other states and unexpectedly ran into several people from Lee’s Summit — baseball seems to bring lots of people together. If baseball is your thing, there is no better place than spring training to get up close and personal with the players, who are very accessible during these games and practices. My oldest daughter insisted on getting up early every morning to watch batting practice, where she was able to speak with several players. Over the years, we’ve taken family vacations to many cities (most of them with major league baseball stadiums), and we have always tried to go some place different every year. However, I already am planning for our trip back to spring training — it’s definitely a trip worth repeating. I am so thankful to baseball for bringing my family together.
May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 39
Education and Innovation Accommodate Northland Growth
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Article Pete Dulin | Photography Provided
he proposed Northland Innovation Campus, a joint project between the North Kansas City School district and the City of Gladstone, may be an economic and educational boon for the entire Northland. The project could also be a remedy for problems stemming from steady growth in the district. According to Gladstone City Manager Kirk Davis, building plans include 150,000 - 200,000 square feet of Class A office, research and education space. The center, anticipated to open during the 2015/2016 school year, will be located on approximately six acres at the intersection of North Oak Trafficway and NE 69th Street, situated in the heart of Gladstone’s emerging downtown development.
40 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
The campus can provide much-needed classroom space to accommodate steadily growing enrollment of 250-300 new, resident students a year in the NKC School District. Economically, the partnership is a cost-effective alternative to the classroom shortage, as it lessens the district’s debt load by collaborating on a shared space. NKC Superintendent Dr. Todd White further explained the impact of the Innovation Campus partnership. “It helps address some of our crowding issues across the district,” says White. “With more open classrooms, we can hire more teachers and lighten the load on class sizes.”
Northland student participation from multiple districts is also quickly expanding in two key programs, Students in Academically Gifted Education (SAGE) and Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS). “Leasing space provides a learning environment tailored to the specific needs of these programs,” says White. “For example, moving SAGE to the new site will free up 14 classrooms in schools across the district.” Northland CAPS is a partnership with NKC Schools and five Northland school districts in which students are immersed in professional environments with industry partners that mentor students to innovate and to achieve real project results. Currently, CAPS classes are held at host business sites such as Cerner around the Northland. However, enrollment is poised to grow from 28 students to 400 next year. The new campus will house an instructional site with multiple classrooms, and in the future, the new site could serve as an academic and business incubator. The CAPS program would be a key beneficiary of the new campus. The program has proven to be a successful model adapted
The CAPS program, which borrows best practices from Blue Valley’s approach, differs in that it involves participation from six Northland school districts. The 2012-13 planning year to introduce CAPS involved meeting with seven board members in each district for sign off, establishing a CAPS board for guidance and oversight, and launching a 2013-14 pilot program. Donna Deeds, a former administrator with Blue Valley’s CAPS, provided initial consultation for establishing the Northland’s version and now serves as its executive director. With student participation rapidly expanding, it is evident that CAPS has struck a chord with students, their families and participating businesses such as Cerner and Ford. The long-term economic impact for the Northland is part of the educational vision. “Potential companies can relocate here and know they will find a strong, vibrant workforce,” Nicely says. CAPS addresses the increasing need for trained workers in high-wage fields ranging such as radiology, nursing, robotics and electrical engineering. “For our business partners, it’s a great recruiting tool. This creates a direct link from school graduates to potential employees.”
from the Blue Valley CAPs program. CAPS merges the interest of students seeking real-world learning experience with area businesses that need a future highly educated, trained workforce. “The education provided to students has to be relevant,” emphasizes Dr. Bill Nicely, superintendent for Kearney R-1 School District. “With the economy in a state of flux, there must be a strong connection between what we teach students and the job market.” The Northland CAPS focuses on information technology, advanced manufacturing, engineering and soon, medicine and global business for entrepreneurs. Students spend a half-day away from school in a real-world business setting. They gain hands-on knowledge and feedback from professionals committed to delivering a practical educational experience. During a morning session, students drive to a manufacturing facility such as Holland 1916, a high-tech manufacturer in Northtown. They meet with instructors that have industry and teaching experience. Students work directly with employees to learn skills that directly impact business profitability, such as design cost-saving measures. “It’s hands-on,” says Nicely. “They’re problem solving. What students are doing matters to them. It’s real work versus working for a grade. They learn to cooperate, communicate, debate and collaborate.”
CAPS students share their job experiences with peers and that in turn spurs more curiosity about the program. “We held two information meetings about CAPS last year. Over 250 students and adults attended,” Nicely says. Northland CAPS plans to add more teachers and business partners to meet the demand for the growing program. The planned Northland Innovation Campus will provide much-needed space for instruction and research to accommodate CAPS. “The Northland CAPS board hasn’t moved through the formal process for the campus, but we’re excited about its prospects,” Nicely explains. Metropolitan Community Colleges and Northwest Missouri State University will have a presence on the Northland Innovation Campus as well, according to Davis. “During the next several months, the partners will be working together to identify additional organizations that may benefit from the partnership,” he says. “We are seeking a significant private sector component. The space is anticipated to have education, laboratory and research space as well as office space.” The project cost, estimated between $35-40 million, depends on the partnerships created and private sector involvement. May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 41
Join us for
Presented by Briarcliff Trails of Our Community
Movie Nights U.S. Air Force BAnd 8:45/9:00 pm (dusk) Mulberry Lake (across from Briarcliff Village) 4150 N. Mulberry Drive. KCMO 64116
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Cindy Anderson Teaches Crime and Punishment 26 Years in corrections gives real life experience to Park students Article Rachel C. Murphy | Photography Provided
indy Anderson doesn’t look anything like the head warden in The Shawshank Redemption. Instead, the newest addition to the Criminal Justice program has kind eyes and a heart for teaching and learning. Her pathway to the corrections system was an interesting one. She studied social work as an undergraduate, starting with a twoyear degree. After her daughter started kindergarten, she decided to enter the workforce with the Bureau of Prisons. She finished her undergraduate while working and moved on to a master’s in counseling to pursue treatment where she excelled. She was with the prison system for 26 years. For seven years she also taught as an adjunct at Park University. “I felt like the experiences I had, in the prison system, could be of benefit to students interested in corrections.” says Anderson. The teaching position gave her an opportunity to apply for a more full time position, once occupied by Dr. Carol Getty. When Getty decided to retire, Anderson applied, but without the requisite Ph.D., she was ineligible. She began her Ph.D. Program two 46 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
years ago and has been working hard toward her dissertation. She is now a full time instructor. Anderson feels very fortunate to be working with the other professors in the Criminal Justice department, who have helped her transition into the professorial life. She says that the program’s strengths lie in real world expertise. All of the professors had full careers within their fields before starting to teach. One of the programs that Anderson is proudest of is the PEER program. The Prison Experiential Education and Reflection program takes students into the prisons to discuss current issues in criminal justice with offenders. Anderson says she takes a criminal justice focus, trying to get to the heart of the matters at hand with her students. Ten students meet with 10-13 prison inmates at the Lansing Correctional Institute. The students and inmates split into groups and then bring panel discussions to present to the class. Recent topics have included legalization of marijuana, the death penalty for juvenile offenders and whether the U.S. has the right to torture terror suspects. Anderson says that the inmates’ points of view are often surprising. “They differ very much in their opinions. For example, I expected they all would be in support of legalizing marijuana, and they weren’t. We had a very serious discussion about the overall impact of legalization on our country,” says Anderson. Another aspect of the class is looking at criminal lifestyle theory. The theory is embraced by some prison systems as the backbone of their treatment program which looks at criminal thinking patterns common to those who are living a lifestyle of criminality. Instead of presenting the theory as something that only pertains to incarcerated individuals, Anderson asks students how the theory may apply to themselves, based on the idea that even non-criminals can use criminal thinking to justify behavior.. Anderson says that she is gathering feedback throughout the course. Initially, the general feeling from the students was that of nervousness at entering the prison system and what they may find. As the course progresses, the students are feeling more confident, which Anderson believes allows them to ask questions of a deeper nature, and promotes new insights and understanding. “I’m so grateful to the Kansas Department of Corrections,” says Anderson. “A lot of prisons will say absolutely not because they view it as an unnecessary security risk. Lansing prison officials are very supportive of offering programs for inmates, and carefully consider the balance between benefits to the inmates, and the potential risks. They miminize the risk with excellent volunteers training, that all the students are required to complete, to participate in the program.” Luckily for Park students, Anderson is well trained to lead within the system and has a strong respect for the rules in place. Her years of experience and compassion for both the offenders and the students that are learning from and about them is clear. With this kind of innovative teaching, the next generation of law enforcement and criminal justice is going into the field with a more realistic perspective of prisons and the people who live there.
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KoZak’s Laketown Grill Bringing Casual Elegance Home Article Rachel C. Murphy | Photography Lani Odell
hen many people think of Smithville, they think of two extremes: grilling hot dogs by the lake or dining at upper tier Justus Drugstore. Luckily, Smithville diners and Northlanders willing to make the 10-minute drive up 169 are in for a treat as KoZak’s Laketown Grill brings attention to detail and a relaxed environment together with delicious local food. The restaurant is the brain child of Brian and Jacquie Hove. Brian served as the executive chef of the Chardonnay Room at the Omaha Marriott where he met future wife Jacquie. In 2002, Brian moved on to the Griffin Gate Resort in Lexington, Ky. In 2004, after receiving her degree in studio art, Jacquie joined him there, where they welcomed their first child, Zachary. After finding out they were expecting again, they moved to Smithville to be closer to family. In 2012, they decided to strike out on their own. The name is a 48 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
combination of the names of their two boys, Kobe and Zachary. The result is one of the most delightful restaurants that I’ve visited in a long time. The menu features locally-sourced produce and meats are provided by nearby Paradise Locker Meats, known for their quality and heritage breeds. On the two occasions that I had to visit, I was surprised and impressed by the offerings available. While there is only one menu, some selections are only available after 5 p.m. On my first visit for lunch, my husband and I started with a plate of fried green tomatoes ($7.99), a dish that typically can be faked with unripe red tomatoes. Instead, this was made with juicy, sweet, green tomatoes in a light and crispy crust, topped with shrimp in a Tabasco pimento sauce. It was a great way to start a meal. For lunch, my husband tried the formidable BBQ burger
($8.99) topped with cheddar, bacon, fried onions and BBQ sauce with a side of fries. The burger was a meal on its own, perfectly cooked and with a great balance of flavors. I decided to go a little lighter with the salmon burger ($8.99). The hoison glazed patty was moist inside and crispy outside with a topping of napa cabbage coleslaw, wasabi cream and sriracha cream sauce. I felt virtuous and satisfied all at the same time. There is a full retinue of salads as well as sandwiches, which I would be eager to go back and try after running some sort of distance race to burn the calories for it. We finished the meal with a slice of lemon cake that was fluffy and moist and as visually pleasing as it was tasty. On a second trip to try out the after 5 p.m. menu, Jacquie was our
server. When we tried to order the fried pickles ($5.99), she warned us that they were bread and butter pickles instead of dill. Then she let us in a great secret: you can order the dish made with pickled tomatoes made by her brother if you’re looking for the tang of a savory pickle. We tried them and were blown away. The flavor was tangy and tart and perfectly cut through the richness of the breading. Moving on to entrees, the 12 oz. porterhouse pork chop ($16.99) called my husband’s name, topped with bourbon glazed apples and onions on a disk of cheddar polenta. Made with heritage pork from Paradise Locker Meats, Jacquie recommended ordering it medium and she was right. It was tender and juicy and the apples added just the right punch. continued >
I’m Happy Here At The Gardens
“I’ve been here at The Gardens at Barry Road Assisted Living since April. So far it’s great. I’ve been treated great. If I need a ride, they pick me up, although I have other means of transportation too. The food is always on time. They’ve got all kinds of activities so I don’t need to be worried about that.” Dick C., Resident
Call or stop by today for a tour, then stay for a free lunch! The Gardens at Barry Road • Assisted Living & Memory Care 8300 N.W. Barry Rd., Kansas City, MO 64153-1634
(816) 584-3200 • www.BethesdaSeniorLiving.com May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 49
service is fast, friendly and more than accommodating. The space is separated into a dining area and a lounge, and a full bar and several beer selections are available. The walls are adorned with Jacquie’s art work and the overall vibe is one of complete welcoming. Smithville is too close for people to feel that it is far away and KoZak’s is too good to let a few miles of highway separate me from fried pickled tomatoes. I’ll definitely be back.
kozak’s laketown grill I went with the KoZak Sirloin ($18.99). While it is stated that it comes with a side of baked potato or fries, they easily substituted the Parmesean sundried tomato risotto so that I could try it. It was a little too much tomato for me, but the steak was a beautiful shade of pink bordering
50 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
on red, just the way I like it. All entrees also come with a cast iron pan of cornbread, which is tempting to make a meal on its own. Warning: it is sweet cornbread, so true southerners may protest, but for this Missouri girl, it was perfect. Not only is the food great at KoZak’s, the
1018 S. Hwy 169 Smithville, Mo 64089 816.873.3444 KozaksLaketownGrill.com Closed Sunday and Monday Tuesday-Thursday- 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
For The Love of the Game: Northland Sports Alliance Allows Kids and Adults to Play Ball Article Alexandra Bush | Photography provided
hether one is athletically gifted or not, playing team sports as a child often leaves an impression on the adult, and although not everyone sticks with a sport or gets the chance to be the game-winner, working with others, being active and being a part of something bigger than yourself are invaluable life lessons. The Northland Sports Alliance (NSA) has been giving children a venue to learn these lessons for more than four decades. “Everybody wants to see kids be able to have a place to play,” NSA President Chris Siebenmorgen says. “When people get to an age where they have kids, they want them to be able to learn the same lessons they learned when they grew up.” The NSA’s beginnings date back to three fathers organizing less than a handful of summer boys’ baseball teams, and the non-profit organization was incorporated in 1972, operating under the name Southern Platte County Athletic Association. By the mid 2000s, however, its reach had outgrown its name. Siebenmorgen says 250,000 visitors came through Tiffany Hills Park last year, the complex on the I-29 corridor in Kansas City, Mo., from which the NSA runs most of its programming. At least 50,000 of those visitors, Siebenmorgen says, traveled from outside a 50-mile radius from Platte County. The economic impact of such a draw for the community can’t be understated, as well as the social and physical benefit it offers its participants.
“Over the years, it just continued to grow and grow as people continued to move into the Northland. As we‘ve grown, we’ve done a lot of different things,” Siebenmorgen says. An organization that originally focused on youth baseball, soccer and volleyball has now grown to include adult softball and continued >
May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 51
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kickball leagues, Pop Warner football and recreational and competitive youth programs serving kids ages 5 to 14 and playing year-round. Siebenmorgen says the number of participants playing under the NSA banner (not including outside opponents traveling in for tournaments hosted by the NSA) exceeds 2,500, and more than 4,000 families are in the NSA database. The days where kids could run around outside until dark unsupervised may well be in the past, and sedentary lifestyles are an ever-present threat to today’s children— getting kids involved in organized sports is an easy way to keep kids safe and active. This, coupled with the constantly growing Northland community, certainly plays into the NSA’s 12-15 percent yearly growth rate. “I think more and more parents get their kids into organized sports at younger ages,” Siebenmorgen says. “To get that activity, it requires being in some kind of organized sports program.” With growth come challenges, though. The NSA prides itself on being affordable and accessible, offering scholarship opportunities and fee waivers, and accepting all levels of athleticism with no try-out system. However, in a year-round organization almost entirely run by volunteers, scheduling leagues that are competitive and mutually beneficial can be a daunting task, as well as offering affordable rates while maintaining its facilities. “One of the most difficult things as a programmer is the balance between recreational and competitive programming,” Siebenmorgen says, “and it’s always a challenge coming up with affordable rates, but we’re very open to working with people.” As the decades pass, generations of Northland children and parents have been given an opportunity to participate in their community and build lifelong skills through the NSA. With only a handful of paid positions, the NSA’s board is entirely composed of volunteers, and its continued success is dependent on the passion of the members of the community it serves. The Northland Sports Alliance allows the families of the Northland to come together, work together and play ball.
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Celebrating 60 Years in the Northland! May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 53
Keep Kids in the Game for Life Through the STOP Sports Injuries Campaign Area Business Leaders Join Forces to Help Young Athletes Play Safe and Stay Healthy
eaders at the Dynamic Athletics Research Institute (DARI) Clinic are coming together with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association and Safe Kids USA to promote the STOP Sports Injuries campaign. The campaign educates athletes, parents, athletic trainers, coaches and healthcare providers about the rapid increase in youth sports injuries, the necessary steps to help reverse the trend and the need to keep young athletes healthy. The STOP Sports Injuries campaign highlights include teaching proper prevention techniques, discussing the need for open communication between everyone involved in young athletes’ lives, and encouraging those affected to sign The Pledge to be an advocate for sports safety. The campaign website and pledge are available at STOPSportsInjuries.org. Sports injuries among young athletes are on the rise. According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high school athletes, alone, account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year. Headquartered in Lenexa, Dynamic Athletics Research Institute, DARI, is the most advanced database management company for human movement in the world and the only company capable of delivering precise human kinetics and kinematics without force plates. Under the direction of Dr. Tom Eberline, the DARI:Clinic is the premier resource for objective movement assessments in the greater Kansas City area. “The capability now exists to practically apply comprehensive human data into the decision making process when it comes to high performance, injury prevention, risk management and rehabilitation,” says Eberline. “Whether it’s an athletic analysis in our DARI:Motion Lab or on-field testing with the DARI:Impulse, the
54 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
resulting data provides an unparalleled communication tool between athletic leadership, sports medicine, and athletes.” The high rate of youth sports injuries is fueled by an increase in overuse and trauma injuries and a lack of attention paid to proper injury prevention. According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable. “Regardless of whether the athlete is a professional, an amateur, an Olympian or a young recreational athlete, the number of sports injuries is increasing – but the escalation of injuries in kids is the most alarming,” said Dr. James Andrews, former president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and STOP Sports Injuries Co-Campaign Chair. “Armed with the correct information and tools, today’s young athletes can remain healthy, play safe, and stay in the game for life.” Supporting the STOP Sports Injuries campaign are the country’s leading sports medicine organizations along with professional athletes and business leaders who have signed on as members of the campaign’s Council of Champions. This Council will help raise additional awareness about this growing epidemic of youth sports injuries. Some of the founding members of the Council include former Olympic champions Christie Rampone, Eric Heiden and Bonnie Blair, professional golfer Jack Nicklaus, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, MLB baseball player John Smoltz, NFL Hall of Fame defensive end, Howie Long, and Heisman Trophy winner and St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. “Using objective data, clinicians, trainers, and coaches are now able to proactively approach injury prevention, personalize and track rehabilitation and concussion management protocols, and maximize training results,” said Eberline. “We are excited to collaborate with other local organizations to bring awareness to all that can be done to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries and keep kids active and in the game.”
CELEBRATE 25 YEARS OF JAZZOO. GET TICKETS TODAY. An anniversary this special calls for a return to our penguin-suit roots. Literally. Join us in traditional black-tie attire to commemorate 25 years and the recent arrival of three new species of cold-weather penguins at the zoo. You will enjoy cuisine from these restaurants, plus live music and more.
12 Baltimore/Hotel Phillips 75th Street Brewery 810 Zone Affordable Catering Argosy Casino & Spa BRGR Kitchen & Bar Barley’s Brewhaus Belfonte Ice Cream & Dairy Foods Co. Big Momma’s Bakery–Café Bizz and Weezy’s Confections Bobkat Dan Gourmet Products *Brancato’s Catering Chaz Restaurant at The Raphael Hotel Chuy’s Claridge Court Cosentino’s Catering Café’ Nordstrom Cooper’s Hawk Edible Arrangements Farm to Market Bread Company Frida’s Contemporary Mexican Cuisine
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Garozzo’s Gates Bar-B-Q Gram & Dun Hiland Dairy Co. Hy-Vee Catering – Raytown Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse Kaldi’s Coffee / Latteland KC Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Lakeview Village Les Bourgeois Vineyards Lew’s Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions Louisburg Cider Mill Magnolia’s Contemporary Southern Bistro MeMa’s Old-Fashioned Bakery Mestizo by Aaron Sanchez Murray’s Tables & Tap Noodles & Company Nick & Jakes
O’Dowd’s Little Dublin O’Neill’s Restaurant & Bar RA Sushi Rusty Horse Tavern Seasons 52 St James Winery Sheridan’s Frozen Custard Snow & Company Sunset Grill Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant Taco Republic T-Rex Café The Blue Moose Bar & Grill The Melting Pot The Roasterie Café The Well Bar – Grill & Rooftop The Zebra Room at the Aladdin Hotel Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill Urban Table Westin/Sheraton Kansas City Hotels Waldo Pizza
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Credit Card Debt is on the Rise W
ith consumer confidence growing, many consumers are pulling out their credit cards once again and forgetting about their savings accounts. A recent survey by Bankrate.com found that almost 30 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in savings. Additionally, only 51 percent have enough emergency savings to pay off their credit card debt. In the last quarter of 2013, America’s debt, which includes mortgages, auto loans, student loans and credit card debt, rose 2.1 percent or 241 billion. That is the largest increase since the third quarter of 2007. “People are feeling more confident in their financial situation,” states Jana Castanon, spokesperson for Apprisen. “They have endured the struggles of the last 6 years and are rewarding themselves at the expense of accumulating more credit card debt. It seems many have forgotten the lessons of the past.” Before credit card debt gets out of control, Apprisen offers some tips to decrease debt and increase savings: Write down all of your outstanding debts. It’s important that you know who you owe and how much. Make a list of your creditors, balances, interest rates and minimum payments due. Once you look at the total, you might be surprised at how fast the debt accumulated and be more motivated to pay it off. Create a spending plan. Allocate every dollar that comes into the household, to a specific spending category. Don’t forget to include your periodic expenses, such as gifts, clothes, insurance, etc. Then, 56 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
look for ways to increase income or decrease expenses to generate additional cash flow to apply towards your debt. Create a debt snowball. Make minimum payments on all of your debts except for the one with the lowest balance or highest interest rate, whichever you decide you want to pay off first. Then apply the additional cash you have “found” in your budget to that payment. When that debt is paid off, take that whole amount and apply it to the next account. Make a commitment not to use your credit cards during this time. Transfer a set amount from your paycheck to a savings account. Increasing savings is equally important as paying down debt. Automatically transfer a specific amount from your paycheck to a savings account. Be realistic in what you are putting in. If you are putting in $50 and taking out $50, you are defeating the purpose. If you could only put $20 in and leave it in, you will be more successful in building your emergency fund. “Sometimes, it is too easy to fall back into old patterns of behavior,” continues Castanon. “Before it’s too late, make a conscious effort to get your debt under control and your emergency savings funded, so when the next life event happens you will be financially prepared.”
Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for almost 60 years.
Finding the Right Fit: Summer Nannies Article Rachel C. Murphy
s the summer approaches and kids start chomping at the bit for the school break, many working parents start wondering how to occupy their children’s time for three months. Sure camps and vacation take a bit of the summer away, but what about the rest of the time? Molly Colvin, general manager of College Nannies and Tutors, says that May is not too late to secure a summer nanny, also known as the saviors of sanity for parents and children. As the school year rushes by, many parents only realize the necessity of summer child care this month. Colvin says that hiring a summer nanny can be a boon not only to children, who can be transported to the pool, playdates and any summer schools or camps, but also to parents. Many nannies also take care of household duties such as laundry, kitchen cleanup and grocery runs. All of this may be agreed upon when the client is looking at candidates. “Household duties are a big part of their job description. A lot of our nannies are really more household managers, running the home when the parents can’t be around,” says Colvin. While a nanny is different than a tutor, nannies can also encourage kids to stay mentally sharp through the summer through programs and activities. “A lot of parents have programs that are put together to engage their kids during the summer and our nannies are perfectly capable of administrating those. If they are significantly behind
in a subject, it’s a better fit for them to seek tutoring. We have a lot of nannies that get involved in library summer reading programs,” says Colvin. Although many may only think of female nannies, Colvin says that male nannies are available, especially in the summer time. For families with boys in sports, male nannies can be a positive role model and mentor. Especially for older children, a male nanny can become a de facto older brother and friend. For some families, a summer nanny can also transition to after school care and work with the same family for a long period of time, depending on the schedule needed. College Nannies and Tutors also employs an on-call pool of caregivers that are available for school breaks and occasional babysitting services. While many may think of a nanny or babysitter as the girl or guy up the street, College Nannies and Tutors takes it a step further by vetting, training and employing all of their personnel through the company, so that parents only need to decide what they want in a nanny and then start interviewing through the centralized structure of the company. The ease of this process is a source of peace of mind for busy parents. No matter what your kids are into in the summer, from camps to cul-de-sac stickball to relaxing by the pool, a nanny can ensure that their summer is safe and profitable and that your job is just to be a parent when you get home. This peace of mind is the first step into a great summer for kids and parents.
May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 57
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May great opportunity for high school students to gain confidence with the test. Contact our office to save a seat or receive more information about how the practice test works!
MAY 17 2014 CURESEARCH WALK Community America Ballpark
Join us as we celebrate and honor children from the Kansas City area who have been affected by children’s cancer. This very special day will include prizes, music, food, and fun activities for the entire family! CureSearchWalk.org/KansasCity
MAY 17 MAY 6
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At Drink and Dabble bring all the supplies and know how to provide you with an evening of music, conversation and creative inspiration.at the end of the session you will have a finished painting on a 16”x20” canvas. Every Tuesday at 7 p.m. DareToDabble.net
Join The Global Orphan Project for a morning of fun and exercise, benefiting children in need around the world. After the race, stay for a hot breakfast and kids’ activities. Prizes will be awarded to the overall top competitors, the team who raises the most support, and the team with the most members. Grab your friends, family, coworkers or classmates and start a team! GOProject.org/5K
MAY 13 SCREENINGS FROM HEAD TO TOE NORTH OAK ROOM, NORTH KANSAS CITY HOSPITAL
Stephanie Elliott, D.O., with Meritas Health Obstetrics & Gynecology, will share potentially life-saving information about mammograms, tests and other screenings women need. NKCH.org
MAY 17 HILLCREST TRANSITIONAL HOUSING ANNUAL WALK
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This 5K run and family fun walk is an event that raises awareness and funds to support Hillcrest in its mission to transition homeless families to self-sufficiency. Register online at HillcrestTransitionalHousing.org or at the Zona Rosa Town Square on the day of the walk.
A staff member from NorthCare Hospice will discuss the stages of
MAY 17 ACT PRACTICE TEST COLLEGE NANNIES AND TUTORS LEARNING CENTER AT ZONA ROSA
With only a few weeks left before the next official test, give your student a chance to practice taking the ACT at no cost! This is a 60 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
grief, what to expect, and resources available in the Northland.
MAY 24-25 JIGGLE JAM FAMILY FEST CROWN CENTER
Returning for a seventh fantastic year, featuring national and local children’s entertainers. There will be many kids’ activities to enjoy. KCJiggleJam.com
MAY 30-JUNE 1 FESTA ITALIANA ZONA ROSA
Zona Rosa is proud to be home to Festa Italiana. This once-a-year celebration transforms Zona Rosa to “all things Italian” and features food booths, a beer garden, vendors, live Italian music, dancers, a kids’ play area and more.
MAY 31 7TH ANNUAL GLADSTONE COMMUNITY CENTER KIDS TRIATHLON GLADSTONE COMMUNITY CENTER
age groups: 6-8 year olds, 9-11 year olds & 12-14 year olds. Age is determined by the participants age on the day of the race. Kids ages 6 - 14 years old will swim in the Natatorium, bike, and run on closed course, in this up and coming popular sport. Each participant will receive a participation medal and event t-shirt.
JUNE 6 25TH ANNUAL JAZZOO KANSAS CITY ZOO
This event helps raise funds for children’s educational programs and feeds the Zoo’s more than 1,100 animals. Guests will enjoy delicious dishes from many Kansas City area restaurants, limitless libations and
Participants will be in competing in 3
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Lifestyle Calendar entertainment throughout the night on four different stages
Nominated for Small Business of the Year Greater Kansas City.
JUNE 7 PARKVILLE JUNE CRUISE NIGHT MAIN STREET, PARKVILLE
Kansas City’s premier residential and corporate picture framing source.
Find your dream ride while you listen to cool tunes, cruise hot wheels, and take in the sights, shopping and dining up and down Main Street. It’s a great trip down memory lane!
JUNE 7-8 GLADSTONE SUMMERTIME BLUESFEST OAK GROVE PARK
Come join the fun the 17th annual Bluesfest. Bands from around the region will be delighting fans over two days. Bring a cooler and a blanket and enjoy the music and open air. Admission is free, parking $5.
62 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
NursiNg aNd rehabilitatioN CeNter , LLC
Long Term Care Rehab to Home Unit Respite Care
A Passion to Serve, A Commitment to Care Wound Care/Wound Vacs • Intravenous Therapy Picc Lines • G-tubes • Bi-Pap C-Pap • Rehabilitation Alzheimer’s Locked Unit • Separate Rehab to Home Unit Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy Transportation Van • 24-Hour Nursing Care
We accept MCR/MCD, Humana, UHC and BCBS 3 VA Contracted
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f LAND li
Animals & Animal Care Wild Birds Unlimited (816) 415-4303 wbu.com/libertymo
Dentists & Orthodontics
Fashion & Accessories
Burleson Orthodontics (816) 533-7566 burlesonorthodontics.com
Financial Services & Planning
Antioch Dental Group (816) 452-9700 fredbaileydds.com
Dentistry for Children (816) 548-3400 kidsdentistkc.com
Meierotto Midwest Jewelers (816) 453-1111 mjewelry.com Citizens Bank & Trust (816) 459-4000 citizenskc.com
Community America cacu.com/high-interest-savings
Jim Anderson DDS (816) 454-3336 jimandersondds.com
Cornerstone Mortgage Inc. (816) 525-9910 cornerstonemortgage.com
Art & Frame Warehouse (816) 584-8009 afwkc.com
Kanning Orthodontics (816) 781-8585 kanningorthodontics.com
Riverâ€™s Bend Gallery (816) 587-8070
Art & Photography
Precision Collision Center (816) 781-9630 precisioncollisionkc.com
Child Camps, Care & Tutoring
College Nannies & Tutors (816) 256-5907 collegenanniesandtutors.com
Community Events & Organizations
Gladstone Area Chamber Of Commerce (816) 436-4523 gladstonechamber.com
Health & Wellness
Park University (816) 746-2579 park.edu/atomba
Entertainment & Recreation Briarcliff Trails (816) 805-6820 briarclifftrails.com
Hot Spot Pools & Spas, LLC (816) 781-8884 libertyhottub.com Kansas City Zoo (816) 513-5800 jazzookc.org
Event Planning & Space Visions KC (816) 820-2541 visionskc.com
Meyers Funeral Chapel (816) 741-0251 meyersfuneralchapel.com Jazzercise - Liberty (816) 792-4218 jazzercise.com North Kansas City Community Center (816) 300-0531 nkccc.org
Home Builders & Remodelers MM Property Management & Remodeling (913) 871-6867 mmpmr.com
Home Design & Furnishings Seasonal Concepts (913) 642-4999 seasonalconceptsonline.com
PAVERS - RETAINING WALLS - OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS - LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND INSTALLATION - POOLS AND SPAS LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE AND LAWN CARE IRRIGATION - MASONRY WATER FEATURES - POURED CONCRETE PE PERGOLAS AND GAZEBOS
CALL US NOW FOR A CUSTOM DESIGN AND CONSULTATION
816-392-7262 64 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
Medical Clinics & Facilities
Two Blind Girls (816) 505-5515 yourtwoblindgirls.com
Insight Eyecare Specialties (816) 476-4017 ieseyecare.com
Restaurants, Food & Beverage Cascone’s Restaurant & Lounge (816) 454-7977 cascones.com
All Season Roofing (816) 213-8804 asrkc.com
Liberty Hospital (816) 792-7016 libertyhospital.org
Rusty Horse Tavern (816) 746-5400 rustyhorsetavern.com
Braden Roofing (913) 341-0200 bradenroofing.com
Mosaic Life Care (800) 447-6820 mymosaiclifecare.org
Stone Canyon Pizza Company (816) 741-4444 stonecanyonpizza.com
Handyman USA (913) 534-4715 handymanusa.biz
North Kansas City Hospital (816) 691-3023 nkch.org
Salons & Spas
KC Wood (913) 422-3320 kcwood.com
Pediatric Care North (816) 587-3200 pediatriccarenorth.com
Midwest Lifetime Roof Systems (913) 393-3008 lifetimeroofsystems.com
Saint Luke’s Health System (816) 932-5100 saintlukesweightloss.com
Premier Siding, Roofing & Home Improvement (816) 436-2050 premierroofing.net
Visiting Nurse Association (816) 531-1200 vnakc.com
Rock And Wall Landscape (816) 392-7262 rockandwalllandscape.com
Senior Living & Services
Riverside Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (816) 741-5105 riversidenursingandrehab.com Senior Helpers (816) 455-9300 seniorhelpers.com
Weston Family Clinic & Medical Spa (816) 640-2762 wfcmedspa.com
Tile & Stone Warehouse (913) 432-7900 tileandstonewarehouse.com
Skin Solutions KC (816) 587-5299 skinsolutionskc.com
RE/MAX Results - Preferred Properties (816) 777-3122 preferredpropertieskc.com
Gary Wagner Insurance Agency (816) 792-2526
The Rob Ellerman Team (816) 251-1435 therobellermanteam.com
The Gardens at Barry Road (816) 584-3200 bethesdaseniorliving.com
American Pawn & Balano Gallery (816) 436-4653 americanpawnandgallery.com Cargo Largo (816) 350-6101 cargolargo.com
Wolfe Sweeney (816) 746-2777 wolfesweeney.com
Did you know this about your Eyes? • Children should have their first eye exam at 10 months old through the no-cost InfantSEE program. (InfantSEE.org) • Dr. Ryan Powell and Dr. Andrea Keele both have advanced training in Pediatric Eyecare. • New Transitions Signature lenses allow you to experience clear, comfortable and convenient vision indoors and outdoors!! • Multifocal contact lenses can give you clear comfortable distance and reading vision when fit and adjusted properly.
We recommend yearly eye exams to ensure that you have healthy sight for many years to come! Call today to schedule your appointment We proudly feature frames from
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Online scheduling at www.ieseyecare.com
Connect with us on Facebook May 2014 | Northland Lifestyle 65
Field of Dreams Still Brings the Magic to Father Words Todd B. Natenberg
“If you build it, he will come.”
y life changed forever 25 years ago. Only now at the age of 44 do I fully realize it. I have always loved baseball. As a child, the most precious memory I have of my estranged late father is playing catch on the front lawn. For as long as I can remember, I’ve painfully rooted for the Chicago Cubs of my hometown. I’ve traveled to 15 MLB parks over the years. Taking my now 3-year-old twin sons Teddy and Ari to Royals games is a sacred pilgrimage. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than teaching them how to run, bat, throw and field. I bought them each their first baseball before they were even born. But were it not for the greatest sports movie, I wonder whether baseball would mean what it does to me. Field of Dreams debuted on April 21, 1989. Unofficially, it was the second movie where men cried. (Brian’s Song was the first). Movies are magical. They enable us to dream how we want life to be. In the words of the character played by James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams, baseball, “reminds us all of us what was once good and it could be again.” Motion pictures are no different. Field of Dreams taught how to notice the beauty in the simple things, such as the love of a father and husband to his family, as well as a son to a father. For the uninitiated, the movie told the story of an Iowa farmer who hears a voice and decides to convert his land to a baseball field. He thinks that if he does, the ghost of former disgraced Chi66 Northland Lifestyle | May 2014
cago White Sox player Shoeless Joe Jackson will return to play. In the end, he brings dreams to reality for a host of others and himself. In the climax, the ghost of his estranged father returns for one last catch. I have been to the real Field of Dreams. For those who don’t know, for a long time, they kept the actual site in tact in Dyersville, Iowa. You can purchase souvenirs, play on the actual field and even see the house that the character Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) lived in with his family. For a while, the owner of the land still lived in the house. In 1999, when I journeyed, it was the darkest days of my life. I was not even 30 and divorced for a second time. I stayed five hours, hid in the corn and hit baseballs on the actual field. I was the last to leave. When the owner, told me it was time to go, I hugged him. “It was so much more than a movie,” I told him between tears. “I know,” he replied. “For you and so many others.” On a recent sunny afternoon, I played “real” catch with Teddy and Ari in our backyard. My wife, with who I am celebrating our five-year wedding anniversary with just next month in a bit of irony, looked on with joy. This was the first time, when I tossed the ball into their mitts, they actually caught it with no help from me. As their faces lit up with pride, I choked back tears one more time. I knew the ghost of my own father was watching, somewhere.
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May 2014 Issue of Northland Lifestyle