So Boulevard Beer of Kansas City Sells to Belgian Brewer

Today comes news that Boulevard Beer of Kansas City has been purchased by a Belgian brewer: Duvel Moorgat. As first glance, the reaction is one of: disappointment; horror; Oh My God The Damn Foreigners Are Buying Up Our Precious Boulevard.

All those reactions are understandable, seeing as how Boulevard customers don’t think of Boulevard as a company that makes beer: they feel that they have a stake in the success of the brewery. The relationship between Boulevard and Kansas City beer drinkers has been a sweet marriage. One day, rising from the ashes, comes this company that speaks to me. To my sensibilities as a beer drinker. To my sensibilities of community. To my sensibilities of: “Holy shit. Kansas City has something that is really cool. And it’s ours!”

John McDonald gave us all a gift. He gave us another notch in our belts of why Kansas City is one of the greatest unknown treasures in our country. He made us all feel invested in a small way, and created one of the great success stories in American brewing history. And today, why does this news feel like it’s being taken away?

Because we love Boulevard. We own it, in our own emotional way. And it’s ours. And in Kansas City, we defend what is ours. We guard it and cherish it because we know we have something special in this community. Not only in beer, but the feeling it creates when you sit with your buddies on the deck listening to the Royals game drinking a Pale Ale.

Today is an interesting day in Kansas City, and we are scared of what the future of Boulevard brings. There will still be Boulevard to drink, and there will still be jobs at the Boulevard Brewery. Heck, there will probably end up being more. But if you’re John McDonald, and you make a decision like this, you don’t make it because you are trying to sell your soul. You make it because you want Boulevard to live on in this city, and keep providing jobs for his family and friends in that building.

We may find, after all, that this sale is another gift from John McDonald to Kansas City, much like another community leader who gave the city a great gift many years ago.

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Because of You – A Song For Our Military

This is a song written for the soldiers who are out there fighting for our freedom. It was written while a neighbor was sending her boy back to his ship after leave.

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Quilting Supplies Available At New Shop in Wausau, Wisconsin

There is a new quilting store that has recently opened in Wausau, Wisconsin called Grant’s March Quilting Mercantile. Located at 1220 Merrill, this quaint store carries a wide variety of quilting patterns and fabrics that lend themselves to times seemingly more simple.

Opened by Melissa Young, this quilting store features civil war reproductions, as well as patriotic themes and seasonal fabrics. Melissa, who is also the area Silpada Jewelry rep in Wisconsin, has always had a creative side and it manifests itself in the beautiful quilts she has produced. This store is a culmination of an idea to supply unique and historic fabrics to help customers craft their own piece that can be passed from generation to generation.

Grant’s March also carries notions, kits, patterns, gifts, and even has gift cards available for your favorite quilter. There are also classes available for beginners and intermediate quilters.

The quilting store is open on Monday through Wednesday from 10-5, on Thursday and Friday from 10-7, and on Saturdays from 9-4. For any questions, Melissa can be reached at the store by calling (715) 298-1112. You can also check them out on the Grant’s March facebook page for specials and events.

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Story – The Restaurant in The Kansas City Area

Sometimes you get lucky when you stumble upon a restaurant like Story in the Kansas City area. Or, to be accurate, Story in Prairie Village. This little restaurant seems to be tucked in within the warm embrace of a little area that tries to position itself as way cooler than any other locale in the Kansas City area.

Kansas City has these little pockets within the city limits: little town centers that define a neighborhood and a lifestyle. For those willing to explore, most times you uncover a store or a bar or a restaurant that makes you want to support them because you know it helps a local owner and it just feels right.

This is how all of our towns used to feel, because you knew the owner of the general store or the coffee shop and understood that every dime you spent there supported a family. You helped clothe their children, put food on their table, and provided extra money so they could support their neighbors store. This circle of commerce helped towns grow and create the communities that are trying really hard these days to hang on. Because hanging on is the best they can do with every chain and mega store that suffocates the very breath that brings life to our neighborhoods.

So when you find a restaurant like Story, you talk about it. You tell your friends. You make sure people know about it because you understand the food you have just eaten was created from a place that isn’t defined by someone who just wants to serve food. You taste a dream, and the agony of designing the perfect dish, and the culmination of a lifetime of experience that brings a chef to a certain point.

Story is a restaurant in Prairie Village. It is one of many locally owned restaurants that serve Kansas City. Which means that when you receive your bill, you know the money you spend helps to clothe the backs of your neighbors family, and the service you receive is so good that you just now realize your waiter exchanged your wine glass when you decided to go with red  instead of white.

And appropriately, the name of the restaurant serves many purposes. It’s not only the owners personal tome of his life, but also another chapter in your life’s journal.

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The Ewing Kauffman Curse of the Kansas City Royals

So another season goes by, and the Kansas City Royals fail to make the playoffs. Heck, they fail to finish .500. It has now been 27 years since the Royals have made the playoffs, but you can at least argue they made the most of it the last time they were there. That year was the crowning achievement for a team that spent many years trying to get over the hump to win a world championship. The beauty was that Ewing Kauffman was able to see the fruits of his labor manifest itself for the benefit of all Kansas Citians.

Ewing Kauffman arguably is the most important Kansas Citian of all time. He was a provider for this town: he had an extremely successful company that provided jobs and tax revenues for this city. He owned a baseball team that provided the entire city with joy, some pain, and then the ultimate in success. He had a foundation that was designed to live longer than he and provide opportunities for many organizations and individuals in this city. The foundation was one his final great gifts to our city. He made sure that his family’s legacy lived on in continued contributions to the fabric of this city. His other great gift was the Royals.

Kansas Citians had no idea when Mr. Kauffman died that every single one of them were in his will. He created a succession plan for the Royals that stipulated that the next owner of the Royals had to meet 2 conditions:

  1. The team had to remain in Kansas City
  2. The proceeds of the sale had to go to charities in the Kansas City area

Every citizen of Kansas City benefited from his generosity. They all received a major league baseball team, and charities around town received money to help them operate. This was his crowning achievement: that the Royals were a fundamental part of his philanthropy. But they were only a small part.

The real gift to this community was his spirit of giving. A spirit that exists today with the Kauffman Foundation. And the gift of the Royals seems to have been forgotten, because while Mr. Kauffman knew how important the Royals were to the community, the community has spit on the memory of Mr. Kauffman by demanding and expecting that the Royals will be what he delivered while he was alive.

In death, he delivered his team, but he didn’t expect to have to deliver his expectations. His hope was that Kansas City would appreciate and support his team…their team…while continuing to be the Kansas City he wanted to support to perpetuity. At some point, the people of Kansas City forgot this gift, and now feel entitled to victory and championships because it was their birthright while he was alive.

But Ewing Kauffman is dead, and his spirit lives in so many areas around Kansas City except in the fan base that goes through the turnstiles at the stadium he built. At some point, Kansas Citians need to take a step back and realize how lucky they are that a man with a vision gave them a team to watch 20 years after his death.

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Corbin Brennan and Pine Terrace Resort in Minnesota

Pine Terrace Resort in Crosslake, Minnesota offers more than just a respite from the chaos of everyday life. It offers something different for every person that ever visits her doors. Located on the shore of Star Lake, Pine Terrace Resort in Minnesota is the picture of the perfect family resort. There are lots of activities for kids, and parents, and fisherman, and hikers. If you like to watch bald eagles, this place has a growing population of our national bird. The thing is, Pine Terrace offers more than that for people. It offers rest, and relaxation, and excitement, and hope, and passion for things that only exist in each person’s mind.

In the mind of Corbin Brennan, Pine Terrace offered fish. And plenty of fish. From bass to bluegill to crappie to northern pike, Star Lake and her adjoining brothers and sisters offered what Corbin knew, and what he hoped he would find. Each lake that feeds to or from Star Lake brings different challenges. And Corbin was bound and determined to discover, attempt, and catch as many fish as possible during his time on Pine Terrace.

His true moment of glory came on the final day of his vacation. The week had been filled with countless catches of bluegill off the dock, bass in the boat, and crappie from unknown origin. On the last day, Corbin fished with his father and brother at Beaver Lake, which is a short walk from the envelope of Pine Terrace.  Fishing on the far end of the lake, Corbin decided to throw a 6″ blue Rapala lure against the weed beds, hoping to entice something, anything to grab his bait. He didn’t care about the size, or type. He wanted action.

And action he received. He told his father something was on his line, though his father glanced quickly, expecting a lure full of weeds that reached from the bottom of the lake searching for daylight. But on this occasion, the line moved. And weeds do not move fishing line from side to side.

Corbin’s father told him to reel fast, and keep the rod tip high. Corbin complied, and after a few minutes the line came close to the boat. The fish was still deep, and straining for the protection of the weeds at the bottom of Beaver Lake. Corbin pulled the rod tip high, and up came a beautiful 24″ northern pike. Dad netted the fish, put it on the scale, and snapped a picture.

Corbin Brennan - Pine Terrace Resort

The last fish of Corbin’s vacation weighed 4 pounds. It was a fish of a lifetime, especially when your lifetime hasn’t been very long. You see, Corbin is 4 years old, and it’s somewhat appropriate he caught a 4 pound fish. But that’s not all he caught that day. He caught his lifetime memory of Pine Terrace Fishing Resort in Minnesota. He caught the admiration of his father and his brother.

And, he caught his passion.

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The 2012 MLB All Star Baseball Game in Kansas City

Well, the time has finally arrived for Major League baseball to bring the All Star circus to town. The Kansas City Royals and citizens of this city have been counting down the days, and it seems like all the preparations have been made to welcome many visitors to our town. We all know the theme of the next few days will be:

  • It’s hot here
  • Everything is so spread out
  • It’s humid

The people of Kansas City will welcome all star game visitors with open arms, because that is what we do here. We have this jewel of a city that nobody knows about, and that’s the way we like it. We may get hot in the summer, but conversely we can also get the beautiful 80 degree day in July. We are lucky to get those 65 degree days in the middle of winter: the days that give you hope that something is about to change. We like that our city is spread out: we have great little pockets of neighborhoods splashed here and there to explore and discover with their own little idiosyncrasies and personality.

And that really is the contradiction that is Kansas City. We are always a city that experiences change, but at it’s core the people that live here really don’t want it to. We love our open spaces here. We love the weather. We love the highways that during rush hour actually move traffic at a decent pace. We love that we can experience the seasons, and professional sports, and great schools, and friendly people. Yet Kansas City always moves.  We have a world class performing arts center. We have excellent music and cultural opportunities. We have great food and a counter-culture of eating great smoked meats and being the best in the world at it. We love our town.

So while we welcome our visitors to the 2012 MLB All Star  baseball game, and want them to enjoy Kansas City and all she offers, we all secretly think the same thing: go back home when the game is over. We like our little jewel, and we don’t want outsiders moving here and mucking it up.

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Silpada Sterling Silver Jewelry in Wisconsin

Silpada Designs is a jewelry company that started in Kansas City. Two women who were best of friends started this company as a way to make a little extra money and sell high quality sterling silver jewelry at a reasonable price. To say that they are an American success story is an understatement: a company they started with $25 from each of their grocery budgets has turned into a company with annual revenues of over $230 million dollars.

The formula for generating this success has been with the thousands of independent representatives who do business the old fashioned way: they sell silver jewelry one-to-one at parties and gatherings. They work hard talking to friends, friends of friends, and family. And the beauty is that the Silpada jewelry is high quality sterling silver pieces.

For the state of Wisconsin, Melissa Young is an Independent Representative who is the local expert for Silpada Designs. She can handle your Silpada orders through Home Parties, Book Parties, and even independent orders. Whether you need a piece for a birthday, an anniversary, or a holiday, Melissa can handle any orders for anyone in the Wisconsin market. Based in Wausau, she will be glad to answer any questions and provide any ordering information.

So the next time you need a piece of sterling silver jewelry, give Melissa a call.From Green Bay to Wausau to Madison, she covers the whole state of Wisconsin for Silpada Jewelry. She will recommend the best Silpada pieces that fit your budget, and can even host jewelry parties in your home. She will make sure that you and your friends will be happy to become part of the Silpada family.


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Pine Terrace – Minnesota Fishing and Family Resort

There’s a rumor going around that Minnesota has a lake around every corner. And because of that, there are many fishing and family resorts for vacations that grace the shore fronts of these lakes. But there is one that is at the end of a mile long stretch of road, hidden amongst the pine and birch trees that dot the landscape. This resort is called Pine Terrace Resort.

Pine Terrace fishing and family resort is located outside of Crosslake, Minnesota, and lays on the shore line of Star Lake. It is a great place to plan your next family vacation, especially if you want one that not only provides peace and quiet but also a memorable time for your family. It’s easy to describe the particulars of the resort:

  • 34 acres of beautiful woods, walking trails, and green space
  • 13 cabins that vary from a honeymoon cabin for two to large family sized cabins
  • Access to 7 lakes which feature great bass, pike and bluegill fishing
  • Sandy beach and plenty of water toys for kids of all ages
  • Incredibly friendly ownership who will do anything for your comfort
  • Peace and quiet

What is hard to describe is the feeling you get when you vacation at this Minnesota family resort. It’s as if you are transformed into an era where families talked, and played games, and ate supper outside. It’s a place where there isn’t a phone in your cabin, and there’s no cable TV beaming non-stop interference into your life. It’s a place where you hear the water, and the wind, and the sound of a loon on the lake. It’s a place where the bald eagle flies overhead and makes you smile to yourself that this is a part of Americana that just won’t die.

Pine Terrace is a fishing and family resort in Minnesota that will help you completely unwind within 24 hours of walking her shores.  There are also many amenities close by, including shopping, good restaurants, and lots of family activities. For a great vacation at one of the most beautiful places on earth, give Pine Terrace a call at 1-800-950-1986.


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The Biggest Ego in Kansas City

If you drive along Metcalf this time of year, you run across at least one atrocity. It’s not the 119th Street area, which is woefully short of retail outlets. It’s not Metcalf South mall, which still stands to prove that malls can be relevant in a world where we want to drive up, buy something within 14 steps of our car, and drive home.

No, Metcalf is absolutely blessed and honored to be graced by the Vince and Associates building that borders this hallowed road just north of 103rd street. If you drive by at Christmas, you can be both astonished and horrified at the lighting abortion that graces every square inch of the property. It’s pretty safe to say that this is not what God envisioned when he sent his only son to be born in Bethlehem.

But if you drive by this property at other times of the year, you can understand the need for Vince to have this sort of display. After all, the building itself is hidden by nothing except the exposed craving of someone looking for recognition. The original Vince and Associates was located on the back side of a nondescript strip mall and sat next to nameless and faceless offices and storefronts. Vince obviously had had enough.

So he built a shrine. A building located on the busiest stretch of road in the Kansas City area. He built a rock water feature that looks as natural as the Statue of Liberty would look on that piece of property. Vince also was kind enough to give himself the best parking space that runs parallel to the building so passers by could see his collection of Maserati’s and other various sports cars. And to top it off, as if his insecurities started to eat him alive, he decided to pollute the property with an obnoxious collection of Christmas lights and other holiday assortments.

Think about the money spent. The cost of the electricity to prove a point. When the point should be to bury the ego and spend the money on hungry kids or the freezing elderly. But the money feeds an ego instead, and freezes this human from seeing humanity.

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