December 2015 Around Town 2

Special Police Training Helps Northlanders of All Ages

For up to one in four area residents, a small pin on the uniform of a law enforcement officer could be a life or death issue.

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) pin worn by increasing numbers of police officers represents specialized training to work with people who have a mental illness or are in crisis. In any given year, that can mean up to one-fourth, approximately 87,000, of the residents of Clay, Platte and Ray counties. Others who may need help include people with Alzheimer’s or autism.

Master Police Officer Aric Anderson of the Kansas City Police presented details of CIT to the Aging and Mental Health Coalition of Kansas City North during their meeting September 24 at Tri-County Mental Health Services. Anderson said 500 Kansas City officers are now trained and increasing numbers are also working in area police and sheriff’s departments.

“The officers are now armed with knowledge,” Anderson explained. “They know about various mental illnesses and medications. We’ve learned to de-escalate a situation rather than do something that might cause stress or add to anxiety.”

He stressed several things the public can keep in mind, starting with the 24-hour mental health line, 1.888.279.8188 (TTY or Voice: 1.800.380.3323). For older individuals or others dealing with dementia, wristbands that allow tracking are a good strategy. And if 911 needs to be called for a mental health related issue, ask the dispatcher to send a CIT officer if available.

Rainen Begins Construction on Liberty at Shoal Creek

Rainen Companies, LLC announces plans for a $31-million apartment community designed for adults who want to free themselves of the burdens of home ownership. Liberty at Shoal Creek – located at 8800 NE 82nd Terrace in Kansas City, Mo. – will offer 185 one- and two-bedroom leasable units ranging from 754 to 1354 square feet.

“This will not be your typical ‘apartment complex’ where people come and go without really getting to know each other nor will it be a dependent retirement-style community,” says Mike Rainen, president of Rainen Companies.

Part of the neighborhood component of the larger Shoal Creek Valley master-planned community, Liberty at Shoal Creek will be situated in close proximity to numerous retail, dining and service options found in nearby Liberty, Mo. In fact, the new community will be within walking distance to the Sprouts Farmers Market-anchored retail center, Mosaic Life Care at Shoal Creek and Clayview Country Club. Additionally, the top-rated Shoal Creek Golf Course and Liberty Hospital are just short drives away.

Construction on Liberty at Shoal Creek began in early August and is expected to take approximately 14 months to complete.

Local Realtor Honored           

Ashley Emmons, part of the team of realtors at Wolfe-Sweeney and Associates, was recently honored by Ingram’s Magazine as one of its 20 in their 20s award winners. The honor highlighted young professionals who are pursuing entrepreneurial dreams.

This is not the first of Emmons' honors, only the most recent. Emmons is one of the Harvest Ball Society’s 2015 VICTORY honorees and sits on the board of the Northland Young Professionals, among other distinctions. She generated $40 million in revenue for Wolfe-Sweeney last year alone and prides herself on personalized service for her clients.

Unique Holiday Gifts Help Local Charity

Looking for that perfect gift for the animal lover in your life? The Friends of the Parkville Animal Shelter believes it has the perfect idea. Its 2016 Fabulous Feline Calendar features homeless cats that are available for adoption at the Parkville Animal Shelter. 100% of proceeds go to the shelter to help both cats and dogs.

Staley High School Counselor Nominated for Counselor of the Year

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is pleased to announce the six finalists for the 2016 School Counselor of the Year awards program (#scoy16). The award honors professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for the nation’s students, helping them achieve success in school and in life.

Robert Lundlen, school counselor and department chair at Staley High School is one of the six finalists. If chosen, Lundlen, his principal and a representative from his state school counselor associations will travel to Washington, D.C., in January 2016 for three days of celebratory and educational events. The honorees will have meetings with their members of Congress, attend a congressional briefing, be honored in a ceremony at the White House and be formally recognized at a black-tie gala.

Save the Date: Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games, a fun family event, will be held at Linden Baptist Church, located at 611 NE 69th Street in Kansas City, MO on December 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.. There will be crafts, games, pictures with Santa and a Small Mall where children may shop for parents and siblings. All activities (including shopping at the Small Mall) are free. A light lunch will be served. Parents must accompany their children (birth through grade 5.) For more information on this event, call 816.436.3660 or visit

Local Youth Seek to Make a Difference in the Lives of People in Weston and Beyond

Crossroads Student Ministries has been busy as students seek to make a difference in the lives of people in Weston and beyond. Over the last 6 weeks, Crossroads has fed the football team, collected 195 pairs of jeans and pants for the homeless in Kansas City, and fed the faculty and staff of West Platte schools lunch during a recent teacher work day.

“Students (teens) of today want to live out an authentic faith through serving others and making a tangible impact in people’s lives,” says Director of Student Ministries John Birkhead. “They don’t want to wait for God’s kingdom to come, they want to help make it a reality today in people’s lives. It’s the whole ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ thing. Students desire to see that happen. At Crossroads, we want to help facilitate that.”

While Crossroads Student Ministries is a ministry of Weston UMC, participation is in no way exclusive to Methodist students. Students who attend other churches or no church at all are welcome to any and all of our ministries. The easiest way for students to connect is through Sunday Night Youth Group. They meet at 5:00 p.m. at the Crossroads for dinner and a program.

If you would like more information about how you can support Crossroads, contact John Birkhead at or 816.640.2900.