Home Columnists

Wyandot Inc. will hold a special reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, for Pete Zevenbergen, who recently retired as the organization’s president and CEO.

During the program at 5:30 p.m., speakers will recognize Zevenbergen for his visionary leadership in the mental health field locally, across Kansas and the country. The reception will be held at Savior Pastoral Center, 126th and Parallel, Kansas City, Kan.

Guest speakers will include Mayor Mark Holland, Unified Government of Wyandotte County-Kansas City, Kansas; Mayor Jeff Harrington, Bonner Springs; and Mayor John McTaggart, Edwardsville.

The Rev. Ken Nettling, chairperson of the Wyandot Inc. Board of Directors, will welcome and introduce other guest speakers: Rita Hoag, chair, Western Wyandotte County Citizens’ Advisory Council; Denise Baynham, member, Wyandot Center Board of Directors; and Randy Callstrom, the new president-CEO of Wyandot Inc. Staff will make special presentations to Zevenbergen.

Zevenbergen was named Wyandot Center executive director in 2000. In 2010, he restructured the organization to create separate entities under the umbrella of Wyandot Inc.

Today, these include Wyandot Center, serving adults with mental illness; PACES, addressing emotional and behavioral health concerns of children and adolescents, and their families; Kim Wilson Housing, developing innovative housing solutions; and RSI, providing crisis stabilization services.

“Over the past 14 years, Pete transformed Wyandot Center and created our Wyandot, Inc., a family of organizations to meet needs of persons with mental illness and those who are homeless,” Callstrom said. “Most importantly, Pete put our consumers at the center of all efforts, and fostered compassion and innovative services to respond to the Wyandotte County community’s needs.”

Zevenbergen grew the organization from:

· A staff of 253 (full- and part-time) to 555 employees (full and part-time).

· An annual budget of $6.4 million in 2000 to $31.2 million in 2014.

Today, Wyandot, Inc. provides mental health services at six locations in Wyandotte County and offers housing programs across Kansas and into Missouri.

- Story from Wyandot Inc.

A new Price Chopper store opened Wednesday, July 16, at 7600 State Ave. at Wyandotte Plaza.

Window on the West
by Mary Rupert
There’s a new “best” among the grocery stores in Kansas City, Kan. A new Price Chopper that opened at 7600 State Ave. at Wyandotte Plaza on Wednesday, July 16, is clearly the best.

With its greater space, new building, and new features such as a pharmacy, Starbucks and deli, the Wyandotte Plaza grocery store tops the competition, at least for now. It has dine-in space for the deli and coffee shop. It continues to have a bakery, a floral area, a butcher shop and a savings and loan office. There is a larger section for health and beauty products, a larger produce section, and some specialty areas such as ethnic foods aisles, an everything for $1 aisle, and a gluten-free aisle.

The store has a high open ceiling giving the feeling of even more space than the 68,000 square feet it has. The building on the east side of Wyandotte Plaza replaces the Price Chopper formerly on the west side of the shopping center, which is undergoing a complete renovation.

I might have earlier said Hen House at 82nd and Parallel Parkway was the best grocery in Kansas City, Kan., but now the prize goes to the Price Chopper that opened Wednesday.

Like almost all other big grocery stores constructed in the past several years in Kansas City, Kan., the store had help from a mix of economic development programs at the local government level.

The grocery store business has been highly competitive in Wyandotte County, especially in the past several years. Just recently, the Lipari Thriftway at 800 Kansas Ave., in the Armourdale area of Kansas City, Kan., for more than 50 years, closed. And not too long ago, a grocery near 46th and Parallel Parkway closed. The downtown Kansas City, Kan., area has been termed a “food desert,” without a full-service grocery, and there have been plans under discussion for some time to bring a grocery store there. Another former “food desert,” the Argentine area, constructed a grocery store last year and soon will have another one.

Not only are grocery stores competing against each other here, they’re also competing against large discount stores selling groceries, convenience stores and gas stations that have groceries. Besides high-quality food, selection and excellent customer service, location has been very important for grocery stores in recent years, especially with higher gasoline costs. At the same time, some stores that were close together did not survive. The location of a former grocery store at 46th and Parallel, for example, was only about 1.5 miles from another grocery and 2.2 miles from a third grocery store.

A former Armourdale resident who liked to shop at the Lipari Thriftway, Patty Dysart, said recently that she thought the competition was too much from the Sunfresh store at Prescott Plaza near 18th and I-70. She also noted that the Thriftway had tried to expand the size of its store some years ago, but that it was not approved. The location of the Armourdale store was around 2.5 miles from the Sunfresh store, and around 2.5 miles from the new Argentine groceries.

Dysart kept coming back to the Armourdale store for years because she liked the people who owned the store and worked there. Customer service will continue to be the key to retaining customers long after the newness of grocery stores wears off.

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

by Ashlee Lamar

Going green is a new trend when it comes to smoothies. “Green smoothies” are a new method people are using to increase vegetable consumption.

These power smoothies incorporate some form of green vegetable, such as kale or spinach, collard greens or Swiss chard. The green vegetable is usually combined with a fruit, and often times milk, yogurt, or seeds to create a cool and tasty drink.

What makes these smoothies so popular? These smoothies discreetly pack a serving of vegetables into each drink, perfect for picky eaters or young children. The smoothies are easy to drink on the go, and are increasing in popularity to people of all ages.

How do these smoothies really rank nutritionally?
- These smoothies are packed with fiber: this helps regulate digestive processes. Fiber can also help lover cholesterol levels.
- The greens used in these smoothies (usually kale and spinach) are superstar vegetables. Kale is filled with high levels of vitamin A, K and C. It is also full of carotenoids and flavonoids (45 total). These have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
- Fruits provide a variety of nutrients including vitamin A and C.
- Low fat milk or yogurt adds a good source of protein.
- Word of caution: adding items such as canned fruits, fruit juice or large amounts of fruit can quickly add excess sugars to these smoothies

Check out these green smoothie recipes listed below. Feel free to substitute your own ingredients.

Ashlee Lamar is a registered dietitian at providence Medical Center.

Banana berry smoothie
- 2 cups spinach
- 1.5 cups vanilla almond milk
- 1 frozen medium banana
- ¾ cup frozen mixed berries
- ¼ cup flax seed
- Combine spinach and almond milk, blend until smooth.
- Add fruits and flax seed, blend to desired consistency.

Apple banana smoothie
- 1 ½ cups spinach leaves
- ½ cup milk
- 1 banana
- 1 cup grapes
- 1, 6 ounce container vanilla yogurt
- ½ apple, chopped

Combine spinach and milk in blender. Blend until smooth.
Add in fruit. Blend until smooth.
Serves: 2