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Unified Government Mayor Mark Holland will kick off a Listening Tour next week consisting of stops in each of the eight UG Commission districts across the county.

In 2017, the STAR bonds used to finance the Village West area will pay off and the UG will receive a windfall of sales tax revenue totaling around $12 million. Holland intends to use the Listening Tour to ask residents for their input on how to spend the new revenue.

Mayor Mark Holland
Mayor Mark Holland

“These additional funds provide us an opportunity that doesn’t come around often, and we need to work collaboratively to make sure we put these resources to use thoughtfully and efficiently,” Holland said, in a news release. “We are experiencing a growth in our population after 40 years of decline, and in 2014, of all the new jobs created in the Greater KC Metro area, 40 percent of them were in Wyandotte County. But, there is a lot of work to be done and our residents should have a say on how we continue this progress.”

Each meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a brief update from Mayor Holland and the UG Commissioners who represent the district.

Then attendees will break in to facilitator-led discussion groups to give feedback on the budget. Facilitators will be available to lead discussions in Spanish. The first stop on the tour will be next Tuesday, and the Mayor will be joined by 1st District Commissioner Gayle Townsend and 1st District At-Large Commissioner Melissa Bynum.

May 26 – 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Northwest Middle School
2400 N. 18th St.
Kansas City, Kan.

The complete schedule for the 2015 Listening Tour:

District 1, May 26*, Northwest Middle School, Commissioner Gayle Townsend.
District 2, June 23*, McKinley Elementary, Commissioner Brian McKiernan.
District 3, July 7, Rosedale Middle School, Commissioner Ann Murguia.
District 4, Aug. 25*, Wyandotte High School, Commissioner Harold Johnson.
District 5, Sept. 8*, Piper High School, Commissioner Mike Kane.
District 6, Oct. 13, Turner High School, Commissioner Angela Markley.
District 7, Nov. 17, Bonner Springs High School, Commissioner Jim Walters.
District 8, Dec. 8*, Schlagle High School, Commissioner Jane Philbrook.
*Indicates 1st District at-large Commissioner Melissa Bynum will be in attendance.

All residents are encouraged to attend, according to a spokesman. For updated information during the tour, visit


A California man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., to operating an Internet fraud scheme that cost more than 200 victims a total of more than $1.6 million, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Anthony Renfrow, 57, Folsom, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In his plea, he admitted he made fraudulent claims to entice people to pay to become “autosurf investors” with

Investors paid a membership fee and were promised a 14 percent daily return on their money for clicking on advertisers’ Web sites for a certain period of time each day. To achieve that rate of return, purportedly pooled the capital investments of members and purchased advertising units on the Internet with Fortune-500 type companies.

Renfrow held regularly scheduled conference calls with investors via telephone and Internet to lull them into believing the program was legitimate and returns on investments were being paid as promised. In truth, there was no investment vehicle and the promise of a 14 percent daily return was completely unrealistic.

Renfrow founded in March 2006. Co-defendant William Fox, 46, formerly of Olathe, Kan., allegedly was a promoter and recruiter for in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He is awaiting trial.

Sentencing will be set for a later date. Renfrow faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Grissom commended the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, the California Attorney General’s Office and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask for their work on the case.