New president-CEO assumes role at Wyandot Inc.

Randy Callstrom

Randy Callstrom assumed his new role today as president-CEO of the Wyandot Inc. family of organizations.

Callstrom most recently was executive director of PACES, the Wyandot Inc. agency serving children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral issues, and their families.

Other Wyandot Inc. agencies include Wyandot Center, providing mental health services for adults; Kim Wilson Housing, creating innovative housing solutions; Rainbow Services Inc., providing 24/7 crisis stabilization services; and City Vision, developing urban Kansas City, Kan.

The Wyandot Inc. agencies have a combined annual budget of $31.2 million and 555 employees, full- and part-time. Based in Wyandotte County, the organization dates its founding to 1953. It was subsequently designated the county’s community mental health center in the late 1960s. In 2010, restructuring into different agencies occurred under the umbrella of Wyandot, Inc., to better meet diverse needs of the community.

Callstrom succeeds Pete Zevenbergen who led the organization for the past 14 years. Zevenbergen is consulting on special Wyandot initiatives during the leadership transition through August.

Callstrom joined Wyandot in 1993 as a therapist and advanced into management roles with increased responsibilities. From 2001 through 2010, he was director of Community-Based Services, the precursor to PACES. Callstrom has his master’s degree in social welfare from the University of Kansas and his bachelor’s in communications from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

He is a graduate of the Leadership 2000 program and an active member of the Kiwanis Club, KCK West, and the KU School of Social Welfare Advisory Board. He is past chair of both the Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board and the Wyandotte Children’s Coordinating Council.

– Story from Therese Horvat, director of communications, Wyandot Inc.


KCKCC faculty member appointed to advisory committee of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Ewa R. Unoke, associate professor of political science at Kansas City Kansas Community College, has been appointed to the Kansas State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Unoke holds a doctorate degree and is the author of the book, “Africa in a World of Mendacity: Understanding the African Condition.”

He was one of 12 members appointed today. The others included Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Lawrence, chair; Michael J. Abrams, Overland Park; Janell N. Avila, Overland Park; Mildred A. Edwards, Topeka; Marsha L. Frey, Manhattan; Steven P. Gieber, Abilene; Laurie M. Johnson, Manhattan; Robert L. Mandel, Prairie Village; Phyllis E. Nolan, Louisburg; Kirk P. Perucca, Prairie Village; and Charles S. Scott Jr., Prairie Village.

State advisory committee members conduct reviews and produce reports and recommendations concerning local civil rights issues, including justice, voting, discrimination, housing and education. Congress mandates that the federal Commission appoint volunteer members to advisory committees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Appointees to the federal State Advisory Committees serve two-year terms.


One of KCK’s best experiences: Movies at the Boulevard Drive-in

The Boulevard Drive-in’s proprietor, Wes Neal, once had a dream of a gyro-monorail, and calls the drive-in its “birthplace.”

by William Crum

Remember the days when things were simple, sock hops, poodle skirts, hot rides and, of course, rock-and-roll music?

The Boulevard Drive-in, Kansas City, Kan., has got to be one of the best-kept secrets in Wyandotte County. It is a place where you can take your family, relax, and watch a movie. There is a playground for the kids and a concession bar that has the best food I’ve ever tried.

However, there is more to the Boulevard Drive-in than one would think. Wes Neal, the proprietor of the Boulevard Drive-in, said the drive-in was the birthplace of one of the first monorails developed. It used a Chevrolet 350 engine and a gyroscope.

An inventor, Lou Swinney, came to Neal with the idea to build a monorail using a gyroscope in 1962. It had never been done before, Neal said. He decided to invest in it.

“My granddad likes inventions,” said Brian Neal, Wes’s grandson. For many years, a remembrance of the monorail was at the front of the drive-in near the gate. Swinney, the inventor of the monorail, died five years ago.

When you meet Wes Neal you will see for yourself a true visionary. In fact, his grandson Brian is a lot like his grandfather in a lot of ways and is currently being shown the ropes of the drive-in itself.

The Boulevard Drive-in today has some the most highly technological advanced projection and sound equipment ever made. This is mainly due to Brian Neal.

The food at the Boulevard Drive-in is some of the best food ever. I love a good hotdog and believe it or not they’ve got the best I’ve ever had not to mention the popcorn and everything else on the menu. This is mainly due to Brian’s wife Clarissa. A lot of people come here for the food, Brad said.

Boulevard Drive-in has got to be one of the best kept secrets in Wyandotte County.
For more information go to the website The drive-in is located at 1051 Merriam Lane in Kansas City, Kan., or call them at 913-262-2414.

Visitors to the snack bar at the Boulevard Drive-in on Merriam Lane pick up some snacks. (Photo by William Crum)

The Boulevard Drive-in opened in 1950 in Kansas City, Kan., and is one of a dwindling number of drive-ins still open in the United States. (Photo by William Crum)

Preparing the popcorn for the Boulevard Drive-in theater in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by William Crum)

Memories of the past 64 years are posted at the Boulevard Drive-in in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by Wiilliam Crum)