Be Grateful For Another Day

It’s Monday in April and the weather has turned cold and it’s snowing – are you complaining? Will you go about your routine day, slightly bored with the monotony of everyday life: tackling the daily to-do list, bugging the kids to get homework done, annoyed that your boss doesn’t appreciate your hard work? Stop…now… and be grateful because you have another day.

 

The shootings in Overland Park, KS yesterday have shocked everyone. It was a normal day, with normal people going about their business of living everyday life. Was it a normal day for the alleged shooter, a man who must be so filled with hate that he is compelled to shoot innocent people? A man who must so hate his everyday world that he feels he has to end the lives of others? A man who feels no remorse for his actions?

 

I am not going to rant about the need for more gun control and mental health counseling. Nothing will change. Not today, not a year from now. There will be more massacres and more people killed. This is practically a daily occurrence in our country.

 

Credible sources tell me the third person murdered yesterday was a Brookside resident. She and her family are members of St. Peter’s Church as we are; she coached my daughter’s volleyball team for a year. Her son and my daughter were in the same class at St. Peter’s School. She was visiting her mom at the time of her murder. Just a normal day for her, until the actions of one man ended it all…forever.

 

So, be grateful for another day and everything that comes with it: the wet snow you see falling on the spring flowers; the exasperation you feel when your kid is annoying; the extra project that just plopped on your desk; the comfort of the blankets on your bed at night. There is no time to complain about the small stuff…you could be dead tomorrow. Right now, you are alive.

 

 

KCUR and 90.9 The Bridge Need Your Support!

Friends, family and many of my clients know that once upon a time…I used to be a disc jockey  (is that still a term used today??).  Those were fun times,  playing actual vinyl records, making live appearances at nightclubs, going to concerts and interviewing bands.  Most of my broadcast career was in the late 70s/‘80s, as groups like U2, The Police, Elvis Costello, The Clash, New Order, REM, The Cure, etc were becoming famous.  And even though I’m  older now, I will always  listen to a great rock song really loud…still get those inner thrills and tingly feelings from the music.

 

A couple of times a year I revisit my DJ days when I volunteer during the membership drive at KCUR…and this year, I’m also helping 90.9 The Bridge with their on air fundraising.  Every day, I listen to KCUR, punching it on through my radio, phone or laptop.  Like so many other KC residents, it’s regular  part of my routine–and every day, I hear some type of interesting news story or special feature.  KCUR feeds my brain, and if you are a KCUR listener, you should help support the station by donating this week during the Spring Fund Drive.  I’ll be on today from noon-2pm–call 816 235 5287 when you hear my voice or  donate online.  

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KTBG The Bridge is also having a fund drive this week–have you been listening to  this great adult oriented station since it signed on in January?  The Bridge is a commercial free station that focuses on new music, some classics and has a strong emphasis on playing songs from local bands.  Their website is fantastic if you want to keep up with the local music scene–you can hear interviews with the bands and live performances.  Tune into 90.9 The Bridge and donate -  I’ll be on the air 10am-12:30 on Thursday April 10.   


KCUR and The Bridge 90.9 are two excellent radio stations that are vital  to the Kansas City metro area–you hear national news, local music and intelligent discussions regarding important local issues (streetcar expansion; a new KCI, etc).  If you listen….show your appreciation by making a donation this week during their on air fund drives.  Both of these stations broadcast 24 hours a day for you, the listener.  The money you donate will come back to you tenfold, through music, news and entertainment every single day.  Thank you!

Brookside Home Prices Rise in Feb 2014

It’s the last day of March 2014..and I am just squeaking in to report February 2014 home sales for Brookside!  The year is getting off to a strong start with average prices rising.  Here are the stats for single family home sales in the Brookside zip code of 64113, using median average pricing:

 

In February 2014, 11 homes sold.  Average list price was $305,000 and average sales price was $298,000.  Average days on market:  31. The highest sales price was $657,000 for a home on Morningside Drive; the lowest sales price was an Armour Hills home at $199,900.  

 

In February  2013, 14 homes sold.  The average  sales price was $293,000. Days on market: 135.  

 

You can see the average sales price is higher, and the average days on market is lower.  

 

Checking year-to-date figures:

 

Total homes sold in Jan/Feb 2014 was 24 and at an average sales price of $289,000 and 69 days on market.

 

Total homes sold in Jan/Feb 2013 was 31 and at an average sales price of $265,000 and 99 days on market.

 

It’s true that fewer homes were sold, but average price is up. This reflects the lack of inventory we have so far this year.

 

As of this writing, there are 78 single family homes for sale in the Brookside zip code of 64113 with an average list median price of $450,000. Buyers are actively looking for updated, well maintained homes in the $200-$300K range in our neighborhood.  It will be a busy Spring home buying season!

(All figures taken from Heartland MLS and deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

 

Brookside Shops Sold to Out of Town Company

Brookside_003_AA_HR[1]The Kansas City Star reported this week that a large section of the Brookside shops have been sold to an out of state company. The area includes the commercial strip of the north side of 63rd St from Wornall to Brookside Blvd, plus Cosentino’s Market and other nearby locally owned businesses. My first reaction to the news was ‘oh no, there goes the neighborhood’.

I’ve lived in Kansas City long enough to see how the Country Club Plaza has changed since Highwoods Properties purchased it several years ago. There aren’t as many locally owned places as there once were, and the majority of the establishments are the same national chain retail and restaurants you find in just about every shopping mall. The Plaza is still a huge draw for tourists and residents, and Highwoods has done a good job maintaining the original charming architecture, beautiful landscaping  and popular events such as the Plaza Art Fair. I  enjoy walking around and shopping there.  So what changes can we expect when Washington Realty Inc, based in Bethesda MD, owns a majority of the prime real estate in Brookside? No one knows, as the company is not commenting.

For now, George Gilchrist of BKS Real Estate  will continue to manage the properties for Washington Realty. When I was shopping in Brookside yesterday, I asked Casey Simmons, co-owner of Stuff if she had any comments about the sale. She said when she and her sister moved Stuff to Brookside from Westport, their building was owned by (North Carolina based) Highwoods Properties. There may be some changes several months from now; eventually management may be switched to the Bethesda location and rents/lease terms could be altered. Like everyone else, she found out about the pending sale by reading it in a news report.  She invited me to ‘come back in a year’ and ask then how things have changed under the new owners.  Looking at the Washington Realty website, you see a list of the places they own properties, but you can’t tell if there is a mix of smaller, local businesses with the larger chain stores.

I’m going to be optimistic and believe that the new owners won’t eventually kick out the locals and bring in generic businesses. Brookside has succeeded and thrived for years specifically because of the unique, locally based shops and restaurants and popular, family oriented, community events. Isn’t that what attracted the out of town buyers in the first place?

Welcome to Waldo: Second Best Coffee

How many coffee shops does it take to satisfy our craving for a cup ‘o joe or a creamy latte? Another locally owned coffee cafe opened January 31 called “Second Best Coffee” at 328 W 85th St–in the strip mall with Corner Cafe and Chelly’s. Owners Nathan and Leih Anderson felt other parts of KC are already saturated with many types of coffee shops and decided on Waldo for their location (and they live nearby). The space is cozy and comfortable, featuring an exclusive Slayer Expresso machine to prepare the drinks. They also offer breakfast burritos and Mexican Coke.

Nathan Anderson, co-owner of Second Best Coffee in Waldo

Nathan Anderson, co-owner of Second Best Coffee in Waldo

I asked Nathan what distinguished his shop from others in the area, and he said “Second Best Coffee is an espresso centric café that makes every drink to order. We focus on quality, yet value approachability. As we move forward, we will be offering coffee classes with varying topics from home brewing to coffee cupping.” His wife Leih added the espresso selections rotate daily, and Second Best Coffee focuses on bringing out of town blends to their shop as they feel local brews are already well represented. Indeed, a friend of mine stopped by their shop recently and was surprised to recognize a coffee from Michigan on the menu–where he is from! A couple of other unique things about Second Best Coffee: they make their own flavored syrups (including a lavender honey and chocolate) and offer whole and soy milk only, no 2% or skim. Hours are 6:30am-1pm Mon-Fri, and Sat 7:30am-2. One of my favorite aspects of this shop is the easy parking…you can always find a spot in the large lot!

Welcome to Waldo, Second Best Coffee…it’s the locally owned shops and businesses that make this neighborhood unique and special. Stop by and try a cup of Second Best Coffee soon!

February 2014 Home Sales Stats – Armour Hills, Brookside

How many people showed up for the Brookside St Patrick’s Day Warm Up Parade on Saturday?  Hard to tell…thousands for sure, as it was a beautiful day!  I saw so many neighbors and friends while walking around, watching kids pick up tossed candy and older adults comfortably seated on the sidelines to watch the festivities. This event shows off the diversity of Brookside residents and how we all come together for a good time in support of our neighborhood.  Special thanks to Marti Lee and her team at Southtown Council for their hard work in pulling this event together every year, whatever the weather.

It’s that time of the month where I check monthly home sales stats for the Brookside area.  This blog will focus on my neighborhood of Armour Hills–below see a summary of February 2014 sales with a comparison to February 2013:

Three  homes sold in February 2014, with an average list price of $226,450 and an average sales price of $223,800.  Average days on market:  32.

Four homes sold in February  2013, with an average list price of $261,238 and an average sales price of $257,375.  Average days on market:  79.

Although we had one less sale last month than a year ago–look at the days on market.  Less than half compared to  Feb 2013.  The average sales price was significanltly higher in 2013 because one home sold for $390K–an unusually high price for AH which skewed the numbers up.

Looking at year to date figures:

For the first two months of 2014, seven homes have sold at an average price of $239,333 and 22 days on the market.  For the first two months of 2013, six homes sold at an average price of $245,250 and 62 days on market.  Again, the $390K sale upped the 2013 average price, with days on market much shorter this year.

Currently there are 13 homes for sale in Armour Hills, with a median average list price of $244,000 and 98 days on market. I am using the median price as the house at 6625 Brookside Road is priced at $450,000–on the high end for our area.

Below I posted a few pictures from the parade on Saturday.  Be safe today as you celebrate St Patrick’s Day! Watch for wobbly pedestrians.  I’ve decided on a U2 music marathon today as I work at my desk.  Turn it up!

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed)

Mark house 2014

Roasterie 2014

album cover 2014

Stuff 2014

Stumpy 2014

Brookside St Pat’s Day Celebrations 2014

It’s not officially Spring until March 20, but I always think of the Brookside St Pat’s parade as the real kick-off to the warmer weather season.  And as of today, the weather is forecast to be partly cloudy and in the upper 50s for the big day!  Here are the details:

PrintThe 34th Annual Brookside St Patrick’s Day Warm Up Parade is this Saturday, March 15 at 2pm.  The route:  parade vehicles will line up along Brookside Road, and the starting point is 65th St and Wornall; turning north on Wornall to 63rd; east on 63rd to Main;, south on Main to Meyer; West on Meyer back to Brookside Road. Bring your lawn chair early to grab a  close in spot along the route, and watch for road closures and heavy pedestrian traffic  in the afternoon.

And if you plan to celebrate all things Irish on the official St Patrick’s Day, two Waldo bars make it easy for you to party all day on March 17.  One ticket gets you access to both Lew’s and The Well for the St Patrick’s Day Irish Hooley. Enjoy drink and food specials  plus live music at both locations.  And thankfully both spots  are close enough to walk back and forth!  Advance tickets are $5 online at www.waldowell.com or www.lewsgrillandbar.com.

Have a fun celebration with friends and family…and be safe!