Kansas City Missouri

0
Members of the 3 Trails West Cowboy Band from Wyandotte County played in the lobby of a Kansas City, Mo., hotel during the Folk Alliance International conference this week. (Photo by William Crum)
Members of the 3 Trails West Cowboy Band from Wyandotte County played in the lobby of a Kansas City, Mo., hotel during the Folk Alliance International conference this week. (Photo by William Crum)

by William Crum

It is estimated that roughly 100 people volunteer for the Folk Alliance International conference held at the Westin Crown Center and the Sheraton at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The international Folk Alliance brings an estimated more than $50,000 to $75,000 to both Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., however these figures are not completely in as of yet, according to the officials. The figures will be available later.

On Saturday, the third day at the event at the Sheraton, the music festival has performances from all over the world scheduled, including the legendary Victor and Penny, the Howlin’ Brothers from Nashville, Tenn., and Alferd Packer Memorial String Band from Lawrence, Kan. The cost for this event is $25 a session. There’s no better way to spend a cold winter Saturday evening than listening to great folk music.

Volunteers come from the area, including Wyandotte County, to assist in the festival. This is the third year of the conference and next year should be bigger.

For more information, including a schedule of events, go to the website www.folk.org.

Members of the 3 Trails West Cowboy Band from Wyandotte County played in the lobby of a Kansas City, Mo., hotel during the Folk Alliance International conference this week. (Photo by William Crum)
Members of the 3 Trails West Cowboy Band from Wyandotte County played in the lobby of a Kansas City, Mo., hotel during the Folk Alliance International conference this week. (Photo by William Crum)

by William Crum

A lot of people really enjoy folk music, otherwise known as the common man’s music.

One of the biggest events in Kansas City music is currently underway. The event is the International Folk Alliance conference in Kansas City, Mo.

Some of the best artists from around the world are currently here in Kansas City. People come from all over the world just to be at this conference and the public has an opportunity to hear them. This event only happens once a year.

Recently Rita Coolidge, a nationally known singer, was at the conference. Coolidge reached the top of the music charts with several songs, including a remake of “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” in 1977. Among her many other hit songs were “The Closer You Get,” “We’re All Alone,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “All Time High,” and “I Stand in Wonder.”

“Folk music is organic, it is about people and things that are going on,” Coolidge said. “It truly sets it apart from any other type of music.”

The Three Trails West Cowboy band is based here in Wyandotte County and was part of the annual conference last year. This band is playing again at the conference this year.

This year the event is even bigger and better than last year and the people of Wyandotte County are playing a major role. Many volunteer for this annual event, giving not only Kansas City, Mo., but also Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County international recognition. A lot of people who are attending this major event come over here to shop and eat as well as in Kansas City, Mo.

The International Folk Alliance conference is at the Sheraton Crown Center, 2345 McGee in Kansas City, Mo., and for $25 the public can see some of the best internationally known folk music artists. Or they may go to the website at www.folk.org for more information.

Joe Reardon (File photo)
Joe Reardon (File photo)

Former Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Reardon was named the new president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority today.

Reardon was selected because of his unique qualifications to bring different areas together, according to officials, who made the announcement at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo.

“Joe Reardon is uniquely qualified to take this organization forward,” Robbie Makinen, chairman of the ATA board, said. “We intend to realize our vision of becoming a fully integrated, regional transit system and Joe has demonstrated an ability to cross state lines and build coalitions to advance important issues. We are honored and privileged to have a leader of Joe’s caliber at the helm.”

Reardon is currently an attorney with McAnany, Van Cleave and Phillips. He will become the full-time president and CEO of the ATA in mid-March, according to the announcement. Reardon served as mayor of Kansas City, Kan., for eight years. He did not seek re-election in 2013.

The KCATA currently is undergoing some changes.

According to the KCATA staff, as of Feb. 1 the KCATA is managing and administering the Jo Transit in a partnership with Johnson County, which will include fuel purchasing, scheduling and other administrative tasks.

The KCATA also is currently involved with a regional branding effort, RideKC, that will be launched with its streetcar effort, said Bridget Moss, ATA public affairs manager. A streetcar line is being added in the future in Kansas City, Mo.

“The big push for the ATA in the coming years will be increased regional cooperation,” Moss said. “The roads don’t stop at county or state lines and we need to design a transit system that works for the entire region, with investment from the region and benefits for the region. It really creates a strong community when there is strong transit.”

Several of Reardon’s achievements during his two terms as Kansas City, Kan., mayor and CEO included the opening of Sporting Park soccer stadium, the Cerner office project, Village West Luxury Apartments Complex and the Sunfresh grocery store at Prescott Plaza.

Reardon also is an advocate of public transportation, credited for the introduction of Sunday bus service in Kansas City, Kan., the only community in Kansas to provide any regular bus service on Sundays. Under his leadership as mayor, the first major transit center in the history of the city was built, and a strong partnership with KCATA was forged to support several other significant transportation projects through an FTA TIGER grant.

In addition to being a strong supporter of public transit in the Kansas City region, Reardon has been a proponent of bi-state, regional cooperation. Reardon negotiated the first Google Fiber development agreement in the country, successfully competing against over 1,100 municipalities that had submitted proposals to Google for the project. He then worked with Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James to create the bi-state innovations team to bridge the gap between the two cities and states to look for creative ways to leverage Google Fiber across the region.

Reardon currently teaches an MBA class on regionalism and has partnered with Rockhurst University, the Greater Kansas City Chamber and others to support a regional forum for chief elected officials from across the Greater Kansas City area.

“I am honored by the trust the KCATA Board of Commissioners is placing in me,” Reardon said. “Regional transit faces a good many challenges in the days and years ahead, but I can’t think of a more worthy mission. Public transportation is the glue that holds communities together. I look forward to working with our partners throughout the region to secure public transit’s financial sustainability, and to build a more dynamic and integrated regional transit system.”

The national search for the president and CEO was conducted by EFL Associates. The selection process included input from transit customers and regional stakeholders. The selection panel consisted of a bi-state committee of KCATA board commissioners.

Reardon succeeds Mark Huffer, who resigned as general manager of the KCATA last August.

STAY CONNECTED