KCK Street Blues Fest Saturday features local blues greats

Fans enjoyed last year’s KCK Street Blues Fest. (File photo by William Crum)

A great lineup of blues musicians is slated for the KCK Street Blues Fest on Saturday, June 23.

The annual event runs from 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Lavender’s Circle L Ranch, 3924 N. 49th Drive, Kansas City, Kansas, which is north of Leavenworth Road. The festival location overlooks the Missouri River valley.

According to Dawayne Gilley, one of the founders of the festival, any one of the performers could have been a headliner.

He said long-time blues musician D.C. Bellamy will be the “king” of the festival this year. Perennial favorite Danny Cox, known nationally and internationally, is on the lineup. And Millage Gilbert’s 80th birthday celebration is the closing act, he said.

Musicians who are scheduled to appear include Ernest James Zydeco, Danny Cox, Terry Bohner, Bob Simons, Joe Miquelon, Norm Liggins and Danita “Little Red” Oliver, Jason Vivone, Jaisson Taylor Group, D.C. Bellamy, 51% Blues Band, Mark and Sue Corbett, Allen Locke and Shannon Basham, Eugene Smiley Blues Band and special guest Millage Gilbert.

The annual festival began in 2000 to celebrate Kansas City’s blues and jazz heritage.

There might be a slight chance of rain on Saturday, but Gilley said, “We don’t use that ‘r’ word.” The festival will go on, rain or shine.

New this year to the Blues Fest will be a popup record show, Gilley said, that they have been trying to put together for years. Record stores including 7th Heaven Records in Kansas City, Missouri, are planning to have a table or booth.

The record sale area will probably be tailgate-style, he added.

Although music downloads have taken off over the last decade or so, vinyl records have made a comeback recently, according to Gilley.

“New vinyl outsold downloads this year,” he said. “The technology of it is so much warmer and richer than digital. Analog sound on old vinyl is very sought after.”

And there is a whole new generation to learn about vinyl records, to go with the older ones that understand them, he added.

Admission to the KCK Street Blues Festival is $10, with children under 12 free. Those attending may bring coolers with refreshments, lawn chairs and blankets.

For more information, visit kckblues.com or call 913-991-3451.

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Superintendent finalist meets public

Dr. Charles Foust, a finalist for Kansas City, Kansas, Public School superintendent, spoke with the public at a meet-and-greet session on Thursday evening at the Central Office, 2010 N. 59th, Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

A finalist for the superintendent position in the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, Dr. Charles Foust, met the public at a meet-and-greet session Thursday evening at the district’s Central Office, 2010 N. 59th St.

He said he has worked to improve reading levels and graduation rates in other districts.

“I believe it doesn’t matter where you come from,” Dr. Foust said, “no one gets to determine your future except you.”

He is the chief school performance officer from Union County Public Schools, Monroe, North Carolina. Prior to that, he was a school support officer for Houston Independent School District, supervising and mentoring principals and managing programs increased the number of graduates while improving reading and math scores.

He also has served as a principal, assistant principal and curriculum facilitator, besides classroom teaching experience.

Dr. Foust said he had analyzed data from the school district and has watched the school board meetings that are posted online.

Other districts are improving their student graduation rates and literacy rates, and he asked why couldn’t the KCKPS also do that? He said he had success in improving these rates in school districts where he had worked. He offered several ideas on how to do this.

“We have to do a better job of building relationships with our kids to make sure they can graduate,” he said.

Dr. Foust said he did his doctoral work on what the KCK district calls Diploma+. He said the program is great, but it would be better if they could add two years to it, allowing high school graduates to go into college as juniors.

Dr. Foust felt certain that he could have a good relationship with the school board. He said the staff should update the board in advance, in committee meetings, so that they have an opportunity to understand the issues before they come to the board meeting level.

On the question of school finance, Dr. Foust said he would encourage everyone to vote. He said he would bring legislators to the schools so they could see the classrooms, and he would convince them to support adequate school finance. In his current school district, the schools receive more than $7,000 a year per student as compared to Kansas’ $4,400, he said.

“I’ll fight for the kids,” he said.

David Smith, of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, said that the school board is expected to make its decision on a new superintendent within several days to a week.

While Dr. Foust received applause after his remarks on Thursday, Dr. Jayson Strickland, the other superintendent finalist, received more applause, with a standing ovation on Wednesday at his meet-and-greet session.

More information about the finalists is at www.kckps.org/index.php/news-releases/982-meet-the-finalists-for-kckps-superintendent-position.

To see an earlier story, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/superintendent-finalist-meets-public/.

A crowd listened to Dr. Charles Foust, a finalist for Kansas City, Kansas, Public School superintendent, on Thursday evening at the Central Office. (Staff photo)
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Superintendent finalist meets public

Dr. Jayson Strickland, one of two finalists for Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools superintendent, met with the public on Wednesday evening at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools Central Office, 2010 N. 59th St., Kansas City, Kansas. Dr. Strickland currently is deputy superintendent for KCKPS. The other candidate is Dr. Charles Foust, chief school performance officer for Union County Public Schools, Monroe, North Carolina. (Staff photo)

by Mary Rupert

One of two finalists for Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Jayson Strickland, talked about his background and his positions on issues on Wednesday evening at a meet-and-greet event with the public.

Another meet-and-greet is scheduled tonight at the Central Office, 2010 N. 59th St., Kansas City, Kansas. It is open to the public. Dr. Charles Foust, the other finalist, from Union County Public Schools in Monroe, North Carolina, will meet the public from 5 to 6 p.m. tonight.

“I am a product of this community,” Dr. Strickland told the audience Wednesday at the meet-and-greet event. He said he cares about the community, the school district and the young people.

Dr. Strickland is a former principal, as well as former assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for the district from 2010 to 2012, former assistant superintendent of secondary schools for the district from 2012 to 2017, and deputy superintendent since the summer of 2017.

Dr. Strickland talked about working at his father’s day care business when he was a child, and also talked about working at different schools in the district. He said he had good relationships in the community, and that would make it easier to partner with the community.

He said he had unique qualifications, including experience in working with the district’s Diploma+ program. He said he has seen how the program has grown to this point, and it is a critical point for the program. He also said he had contacts necessary to continue helping the program, giving young people access to jobs in the community.

He also said he was in favor of the district doing better academically, improving test scores and academics.

Dr. Strickland said he believes Diploma+ is the right direction for the district.

“It equips our students with more than that high school diploma,” he said. The students are more marketable with Diploma+, universities will recruit students, and Diploma+ can evolve into a program involving small businesses in the city, he added.

Dr. Strickland also said he believes he could work well with the school board and staff. He also supported the district’s efforts to seek more funds from the state through the school finance litigation. Several other topics were also discussed.

A large crowd attended a meet-and-greet session on Wednesday evening at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools’ Central Office, 2010 N. 59th St. (Staff photo)
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