Authors Posts by Mary Rupert

Mary Rupert

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Opinion column: Window on the West

by Mary Rupert

The Unified Government Commission is poised to discuss the $250,000 cost of the mayor’s and officials’ bodyguards at a closed meeting on Thursday at City Hall.

The topic came up earlier during a UG budget session on July 20. The Aug. 27 meeting where security will be discussed is a closed one at 5 p.m. The regular UG meeting starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

The Wyandotte Daily has asked why this meeting is closed, as it concerns elected officials and is about how much money is spent. UG Attorney Jody Boeding said there is an exception in the open meetings laws for topics about security.

When Police Chief Terry Zeigler was discussing the Police Department budget on July 20 at a budget meeting, Commissioner Mike Kane brought up the topic of the mayor’s bodyguards.

Zeigler said, in answer to a question, that this security detail costs about $250,000 a year with salaries, benefits, vehicle and overtime. Although it was said to be available for commissioners, some commissioners said they have not been using security when they go places. The detail also is available for other UG officials.

“Are you aware of any serious threats against the mayor?” Commissioner Kane asked at the July 20 budget meeting.

“Any elected official this day and age has the potential to be involved in a violent encounter,” Zeigler said. He cited incidents in other cities where some elected boards have been targeted by persons who walk in with guns.

So far, no one has publicly cited any direct physical threats to the mayor.

“I am aware of incidents on the ninth floor where things got out of hand with citizens getting on ninth floor and it would have been nice to have an officer there on hand to intervene,” Zeigler said at the July 20 meeting.

Currently, there is an officer now posted on the ninth floor of City Hall, which is where the mayor’s and commissioners’ offices are located.

After Mayor Mark Holland made a speech at the NCLR convention in Kansas City, Mo., his remarks were picked up by white supremacists who criticized him widely in messages circulated on the Internet, leading to a lot of critical email and messages being received by his office.

Kane, however, said that he views the bodyguards as mostly unnecessary, perhaps valuable on the ninth floor and at the commission meetings, but he questioned some other places.

“It’s frustrating that the mayor goes to soccer games, and takes a detailed person with him, Sporting KC. I think that’s unnecessary,” Commissioner Kane said.

“He takes them to church on Sunday, that’s frustrating,” Commissioner Kane said. “I think there’s no need.

“And the icing on the cake is, I don’t go down to the bar very often after the commission meetings, but the mayor takes the security guard down there with him,” Commissioner Kane said. “These are things we need to look at, that we need to re-evaluate, and perhaps even hire this outside. At $250,000 that’s a lot of money, we’re short-handed, that leaves us two officers short. I believe there’s other businesses in town that could do this at a cheaper price, and I think people need to know that we waste a lot of money.”

The Kansas City, Mo., mayor has bodyguards, according to some Wyandotte County officials. The Topeka, Kan., mayor and council does not have bodyguards, according to a spokesman.

Some of the mid- to smaller-sized cities do not have bodyguards specifically assigned to public officials, but will assign a person from the police department from time to time if they feel there is a need.

Security could be handled in a variety of different ways, some less expensive than others. My opinion is this discussion of it and its costs should be in public.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottepublishing.com.

Fuddruckers restaurant opened Aug. 11 at The Legends Outlets.
Fuddruckers restaurant opened Aug. 11 at The Legends Outlets.

by Mary Rupert

We went to Fuddruckers restaurant, which opened Aug. 11 at 1705 Village West Parkway, The Legends Outlets in Kansas City, Kan., for our first time recently on a Friday night.

The restaurant opened at the location of the former Cheeseburgers in Paradise. The two restaurant chains are both owned by Luby’s. It was getting toward 8:30 p.m. or so when we decided to try out the new place and see what it was like.

Never having been to the Fuddruckers at 87th and Metcalf before, I had no idea of what to expect. We drove through The Legends Outlets, past the Five Guys Burgers and Fries location, which is visible from the new restaurant, and there were not too many people in Five Guys at that moment. Then we pulled into the parking lot near Fuddruckers and it took a while to find a parking space.

I entered the restaurant and looked around and stood for a short while at the front desk area. Then I realized how much it had changed from Cheeseburgers in Paradise. There were no palm trees, no tropical decorations located around the room. There was no bar in the middle of the room serving margaritas. In the corner where musicians had played, there was now a kids’ play area.

No one was going to come forward and wait on us, I realized, and tell us to take a seat and wait 15 minutes. No, instead, we walked up to a counter at the back, ordered our hamburgers and side dishes.

I looked at the menu board and ordered The Fudd, the least expensive hamburger, costing around $5. It was a quarter-pound hamburger. My mind was sort of on keeping cholesterol low, and keeping the cost low, and I felt I might be able to eat one of these a month, maybe. Adding bacon and cheese and other items will raise the price of the hamburger a few dollars. I did not order the Double Stack, which is two quarter-pounders and cheese. There were alternatives including chicken on the menu.

Something familiar about the name The Fudd – it reminded me of Elmer Fudd, the cartoon nemesis of Bugs Bunny. Fudd, who pronounced his R’s as W’s (much as I did when I was in the early years of grade school), carried a gun and frequently chased after Bugs. Fudd’s famous phrase was “Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.”

Next I moved on to one of those new soft drink machines, which operate a little like a video game. I was going to get a Coke, but root beer was the first image I saw and I decided to try that. Then the image changed before I could hit the button, and I was looking at diet root beer and vanilla root beer as choices. Unwilling to wait until the images circled around again, I nailed the vanilla root beer button and left to find a table.

There were no open tables visible, I realized. We walked around the restaurant, looking for somewhere to sit and wait. Then someone got up near the door and left, and we sat there. There were also open patio tables, where lots of people were headed.

The atmosphere definitely was a high-energy, busy, buzzing place, filled with the sounds of young families. As we sat at our table, there was somewhat more than the usual restaurant traffic from people walking around trying to find a seat.

After a while, our number was called and we received our food. There was another trip back for fixings for the hamburger – a row of condiments, pickles, lettuce and tomato. The lettuce was bigger than the hamburger bun. The thought going through my mind as we used tongs to get these items was that hundreds of hands had already touched the tongs earlier in the evening. Perhaps it would be good at this point in the meal to return to the front of the restaurant and use the hand sanitizer provided near the entrance.

Then, the meal. The hamburger was as good as any other at Village West, I thought. It was cooked the way I had ordered it. I really liked the onion rings I had ordered, they were freshly prepared, not the frozen variety, and they had a light, not greasy texture. The vanilla root beer, something new to me, was pretty good.

The last time we visited Five Guys Burgers and Fries, there were a lot of teens and college-aged students there. I asked a 30-something, “Do you like Five Guys or Fuddruckers hamburgers better?” The reply was “Five Guys.”

As we left Fuddruckers, three employees stood near the door with huge smiles on their faces. They said “thank you” as we left. That was the best part about going there, and reason enough to return.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries is within eyesight of the new Fuddruckers restaurant at The Legends Outlets.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries is within eyesight of the new Fuddruckers restaurant at The Legends Outlets.

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Window on the West

by Mary Rupert

I was saddened last Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the news that my uncle, Bob Winsky Sr., had died. He was 93. Services were last weekend.

He was the oldest of three siblings who were born in Kansas City, Kan., to parents who were from Croatia, and he was the longest lived of the three. Survivors included his wife, Betty, and his son, Robert Winsky Jr.

Truly a member of the Greatest Generation, Uncle Bob served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II in the Philippines.

Growing up in a family where Croatian, the language of the old country, was often spoken at home, Uncle Bob graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 1939.

After the war, he started his own trucking company. He was able to attend college on the G.I. Bill, and he studied business at Rockhurst College, where he graduated in 1953. He was one of the hardest workers I have ever met.

He raised his family in a couple of different cities in the metropolitan area. He could be an authoritarian, and also the life of the party. He had an infectious laugh and loved to tell jokes, while being very serious at other times.

He was uniquely able to help send relief items to Croatia during a time of desperate need. He provided for the shipping, in the United States segment of the trip, of clothing and other items that had been donated by a company for an orphanage in Croatia. He was very generous in many other ways, as well. He will be missed.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottepublishing.com.

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