Mysterious Orbs Over Excelsior Springs Area Explained!


Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No wait it’s…we don’t know!

Around noon today looking north of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, we could see an extremely bright white orb in the sky. It didn’t move for over 6 hours. Then later in the evening, a second orb appeared, not far from the first. Due to cloud coverage, we are unable to tell if they can be seen in the dark.

Multiple news services and local weather forecasters jumped into the discussion after receiving multiple calls. There have been at least three explanations, but we are still waiting for it to be confirmed. Check out the reasons given and some local posts concerning the incident below!

1. Explanation 1 – Weather Balloons

The first explanation that I heard was that they were weather balloons. After seeing the other reports, I don’t think they’re that far off with this being the case. However, when the National Weather Service was contacted, they reported that they didn’t know what they were.


2. Explanation 2 – Google Loon Project

The next explanation that was given was that it was Google with their Loon Project, which helps provide Internet to rural areas. Google, however, said that it wasn’t them. It was instead a private company called Raven Aerostar. More about them later!



Photo Credit: Flicker user: iLighter – CC by 2.0

3. Explanation 3 – DARPA

The third explanation that was given was in reference to DARPA, or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. “DARPA launched three balloons from Cumberland, Maryland, in a flight test for the Adaptable Lighter Than Air Program,” said Heather Babb, spokeswoman for the Department of Defense. “ALTA will demonstrate capability for wind-borne navigation of a lighter-than-air vehicle over extended ranges.”


4. Explanation 4 – Raven Aerostar

The fourth explanation, and the one that Google gave, is that it is a private company called Raven Aerostar. If you go to their website, you can see that they have done work with the US military in the past. They’ve been launching these balloon systems that make long duration and navigational stratospheric missions. It was later confirmed here that Raven Aerostar is who DARPA is working with on the ALTA project. They are also the ones that Google works with on their Loon Project!


It also doesn’t help those of us with anxiety that at the same time this is happening, there is widespread cellular signals out throughout the region right now. A councilman from Liberty, Missouri reported that an AT&T fiber line was cut on Mill Street downtown from construction. They aren’t the only service down though. Citizens reported Cricket Wireless and Verizon Wireless are down, as well:


It’s also weird that when I check for an outage in my area, AT&T doesn’t report there being any problem:


So all you alien-enthusiasts, such as myself, there’s nothing to fear! It’s not aliens! Just our military experimenting with advanced technology. Doesn’t make me want to find my tin foil hat or anything!!

Public Details Released From Excelsior Crash Last Night

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 12.38.07 PM


The Missouri State Highway Patrol has posted the details from the crash that happened last night at approximately 10:04pm at the intersection of Highway N and Northeast 108th Street. A 2003 Chevrolet driven by Dalton Hertzberg, 18, failed to yield at a stop sign and pulled into the path of a 2000 Volkswagen driven by Luke Rojas, 28, of Shawnee, Kansas.

In the vehicle with Hertzberg were the following:

• Dalton Hertzberg, 18, sustained minor injury and was transported to Liberty Hospital, was not wearing safety device
• Leo Burns, 3 years old, sustained minor injury and was transported to Liberty Hospital, was wearing safety device
• Skylar Eaves, 18, sustained minor injury and was transported to Liberty Hospital, was not wearing safety device
• Samantha Herzig, 23, sustained minor injury and was transported to Liberty Hospital, was wearing a safety device
• Gaetan Meredith, 17, sustained moderate injury and was transported to Liberty Hospital, was not wearing safety device
• Kaeden Turner, 17, sustained serious injury and was transported to Children’s Mercy Hospital, was not wearing safety device

For full report with details, please click here.

Now Hiring – Excelsior Springs

Hiring (1)

Here are some of the latest job postings for the Excelsior Springs area:

Opaa! – Now hiring kitchen managers, cooks, and substitute kitchen staff for the Kearney, School District. Great opportunity for anyone seeking up to 5.5 hours per day, working Monday through Friday during the school year. Must be at least 18 with a HS diploma or equivalent. Opaa! offers competitive wages, merit increases, access to 401k retirement plan, advancement opportunities, free meals, and summers off. Interested applicants, please go to to search for Kearney employment opportunities.

Orrick School District – Orrick School District is accepting applications immediately for a Substitute Custodian. Specific information regarding the position may be obtained by contacting Kyle Moyer, Maintenance Supervisor or Scott Archibald. Superintendent at 816-770-0094. Applications are available at

Lawson Police Department – Lawson Police Dept is accepting applications for full time Police Officer until Feb. 15th. Must be POST certified. $17.50/hr, full benefits after initial training period. Application at Mail resume and application to PO Box 185. Lawson, MO 64062; email

Contractors Needed to apply coatings on flat or low slope roof. No experience necessary, will train. Give a call if interested 715-447-5467.

Pizza Hut – Delivery Drivers: Pizza Hut in Excelsior Springs is hiring Delivery Drivers. Driver candidates must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, vehicle insurance, and must pass an MVR. Drivers get vehicle reimbursement, incentives for accident-free driving and tips. Excellent benefits including 401k with employer match. Apply online at

Excelsior Springs Standard – Part Time, Full Time – The ES Standard is looking for a gifted, versatile writer who specializes in local community reporting. Assignments will vary, some being assigned by Managing Editor and others developed from sources of their own. Candidates must have strong writing ability and photography skills, Part-time leading to full-time based on ability. Send resume and examples of your work to: Brian Rice, or mail information to Excelsior Springs Standard • PO Box 70 • Excelsior Springs, MO 64024.

Flexible Staffing – Warehouse and Forklift jobs available. Located in Excelsior, Orrick and Richmond. Apply today by contacting 816-630-4600.

Excelsior Springs Job Corps – the ES Job Corps is currently seeking the following positions: Culinary Arts Instructor, Registered Nurse, Career Transition Specialist, CPP Coordinator, RN Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aid Supervisor, Academic Instructor – Substitute, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), ES Safety Officer, Academic Instructor, and Recreation Specialist. If interested, visit for more information.

Lake Doniphan – Lake Doniphan Conference and Retreat Center is hiring for various part time positions. This includes Maintenance, Housekeeping, and Kitchen Staff. We are also seeking Program Staff(Lifeguards) for the summer. (We will provide Lifeguard’s with training for Certifications if required) If you have any questions please email me at : Background Checks will be required.

Tri-County Mental Health – Tri-County Mental Health Services is looking for a Prevention Specialist . Position Summary This position is responsible for coalition administrative details/oversight, program planning, implementation, and evaluation of strategies implemented under the Northland Coalition and those coalitions in Ray County, Missouri. The position is responsible for project development, community mobilizing, grant/budget management. For more information, click here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.12.20 PM

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.09.19 PM

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.09.42 PM Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.10.00 PM Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.10.18 PM Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.10.35 PM

Homes for Rent – Excelsior Springs

ForRent (1)

The following are home rental listings found in the Town & Country Leader for Wednesday, February 6, 2019

House for Rent: 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, very clean, available March 1st, must have good references and work history. Lawson, 816-721-7030

Apartments: Excelsior Springs west side location. 1 bedroom, $435, 2 bedroom $535, 3 bedroom $575. Call 816-985-1749. No dogs.

For Rent: 814 Wilhite, Excelsior Springs, 3 bedroom, 1 bath house with basement. Central air and heat, 800/800. 816-863-8315.

For Rent: Senior Property, 1 bedroom, $463, income restrictions apply. Call Mike at Excelsior Springs Properties 816-637-8711.

Senior Citizen Housing: 1 bedroom apartment homes, 24-hour maintenance service, central laundry facilities, controlled entrance, elevator, private parking, social activities, active tenants association, community room available, pets allowed (must meet certain criteria), lending library, shopping within walking distance, and all utilities paid. Call 816-630-6600. Must be 62+ or handicapped/disabled.

Apartments: Excelsior Village Apartments has 2 and 3 bedroom apartments available. Pet friendly, Easy access to transportation, shopping, and entertainment. Call 816-630-3713.

For Rent: 2 bedroom duplex in Excelsior Springs for rent. Includes all appliances. Section 8 approved. 913-909-9827.

For Rent: Apartment Unit available, 3 bedroom, 2 full baths, washer/dryer hook-up, newly remodeled. $750 per month. Call 816-332-1219.

For Rent: 2 bedroom apartment for rent. Excelsior Springs west side location. 816-838-2981

Excelsior Springs Housing Authority: Ruey Anna High Rise offers studio and 1 bedroom apartments suitable for senior residents. Filley Place Apartments is the family housing facility offering 50 apartments, and Saratoga Towers offers roomy one bedroom units. Call 816-630-7361.

Commercial Property/Office Space for Rent: One space is 950 sq ft and one space 475 sq ft. 2001 W Jesse James Rd, Excelsior Springs. Call 816-630-2520.

Contact Courtney for information to be added to this post.

Other Excelsior Springs posts:

How to Help Excelsior

10 Fav Excelsiorite Pics of Snow

Snow Saturday in Excelsior Springs

People of Excelsior: Gerry Lemmons




Today was the weekly Rotary meeting where Gerry Lemmons was the speaker. I first met Gerry when he was working with the Main Spring Art Gallery group. He was instrumental in bringing the group of artists together to create the co-op that is now the gallery. What I didn’t know about Gerry until today, though, is that he works with Private Pullman Railcar Management. His presentation today was in regard to the changes that the railroad has gone through over the years to remain a major mode of transportation for the country.

At the turn of the century, train travel was at its highest, carrying both passengers and goods across the country. The train was instrumental in servicing the rural communities throughout the country, connecting them and providing passengers with an opportunity to visit many small towns (including Excelsior!). The Pullman Company was a business founded by George Pullman, who invented the Pullman sleeper car, that advertised themselves as the largest hotel in the world. Every night, there were over 45,000 beds occupied and 150,000 that would ride in coach.

During WWI the government took over the railroads, transferring both men and material. Doing this almost ran the railroads into the ground, though, so when WWII came around, the railroads didn’t turn over management to the railroads, but continued the operation themselves. The railroads were at their greatest demand, transporting troops off to war and bringing them back home. When the war ended, many of the troops returned home to good jobs restoring the infrastructure of the rail lines.

In the 1930s, diesel electric engines were introduced, proven to be much cheaper to operate than steam had been. When the railroads began ordering the sleeker, streamlined diesels, this added a lot to the economy during the Great Depression. When World War II happened, everything was put on hold and all engines, freight and passenger cars were put into a pool of equipment controlled by the consortium of railroad companies.

After the war, troops returned home wanting their own mode of transportation. As automobiles and buses became the main mode of transportation, the railroads no longer had the demand they once did for passenger travel. At the same time, airlines started booming, allowing safer and faster travel. The railroads began to lose a lot of money, but still had their government contracts to deliver mail to communities throughout the country. They then began a fight to be let out of their contracts. Cities, fearing they would lose such a valuable service, began lawyering up. Finally the railroads realized that if they made the train ride uncomfortable and inconvenient, people would stop riding them.

It wasn’t until the 1970s when Congress enacted the National Railway Passenger Corporation, also known as Amtrak, insisting that the passenger train operation works. The act forced railroads to allow Amtrak to operate on their private lines, which they still do today. During that time, Amtrak replaced equipment and built new equipment receiving appropriations from Congress. Lobbyists work to keep the act in place but the funding has been in jeopardy in recent years, with the threat of cuts. Each time the American people have risen up to stand up for train travel, and that’s why it continues today.

My family and I had the pleasure of riding Amtrak to Chicago last year in March. We highly suggest it to all families to travel via train. It’s a great experience and is definitely something we will remember forever. Here are some fun pictures from our Amtrak trip:

IMG_3007 IMG_3017 IMG_3020 IMG_3022 IMG_3024 IMG_3025 IMG_3028 IMG_3038 IMG_3064 IMG_3072 IMG_3131 IMG_3137 IMG_3139 IMG_3152 IMG_3158 IMG_3164 IMG_3177 IMG_3210 IMG_3212

5 Places to Volunteer in Excelsior Springs

Are you wanting to get involved and aren’t sure where to start here in Excelsior Springs? I get asked quite a bit how to get involved and who to contact. That’s why I’ve put together my Top 5 organizations that could use help consistently throughout they year in one blog post for you to reference! Thanks for your interest in getting involved! There can never be enough volunteers, it seems!

20045486_1339787876090637_1661405719122049505_o (1)

Good Samaritan Center – Downtown – Contact: Martha Buckman, 816-630-2718
This organization helps those who are less fortunate.There’s a food pantry, thrift store, multiple deliveries throughout the week, landscaping, and office help needed daily.
Excelsior Springs Museum and Archives – Downtown – Contact: Kathy Duncan, 816-630-0101
Giving tours, helping research, or setting up displays, the museum could use help throughout the week and on Saturdays.
Downtown Excelsior Partnership – Hall of Waters – Contact: Lyndsey Baxter, 816-637-2811
The businesses of the downtown community came together to form a sales tax base to hire a director, provide funding for beautification, run the Visitor’s Center in the Hall of Waters, and allows downtown businesses to apply for facade grants. They also host events in the downtown every Second Friday and a festival or event each month of the year.
Chamber of Commerce – Thompson Ave. – Contact: Tosha Jackson, 816-630-6161
The Chamber of Commerce hosts Waterfest, the city’s largest festival every third weekend in June. The committee meets monthly throughout the year to organize. The Chamber also owns the trolleys and could use volunteers to give tours.
Excelsior Springs Educational Foundation – Downtown – Contact: Courtney Cole (me), 816-630-9200 x1110
The Educational Foundation works on behalf of the Excelsior Springs School District to support classroom projects that go above and beyond what is expected for our students. We are also working on establishing an alumni association. There are a number of opportunities throughout the year to get involved by helping with office work, fundraising dinner in December, and Alumni events during Homecoming.


Our First County 4-H Fair

About two years ago now I was appointed by the City of Excelsior Springs to serve on the MU Extension Council for Clay County, Missouri. I was unaware of all the benefits the extension offices around the state have to offer the counties they represent and was excited to establish those programs into our community.

Just one of their many programs is 4-H, an organization that has been providing youth with hands-on education in their field of interest since it began more than 100 years ago. Last count membership was over 6 million nationwide. Seeing that Excelsior Springs on the Clay County side didn’t have a chapter, I worked to organize one.

Now our group has over 30 parents and students participating in our monthly meetings that are held at the Good Samaritan Center’s Great Hall every second Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm.

4-H is youth led, with the chapter choosing their youth leaders as a group and then using Roberts Rules of Order to run their meetings. They all choose a topic they wish to study, with hundreds to choose from. Project leaders, parents and other adults in the community, use curriculum that is provided or their own knowledge of the subject, to help guide groups through the learning process. Each youth member then has the opportunity to work on a project that they enter to be judged annually at the county fair. If they receive a purple ribbon, they are then accepted on to a state fair.

Mackenzie’s first fair!

The Excelsior Springs 4-H Group 🍀

Mackenzie going in to be judged!

Members only for judging!

An Excelsior Springs auction basket was submitted thanks to Club Member Alisha Jack.

We were real proud of Mackenzie. She got a blue ribbon for her Cat Care project!

Day in Downtown Excelsior Springs 

When friends come to visit we like to take them downtown and show off the things we love about living here. 

We started by dining downtown at Willow Spring Mercantile 

They have the largest selection of Missouri wines and you can enjoy your meal listening to live music in the wine cellar. 

Our friends the Bellis’s at Bliss gave us this cool Royal Grill sign from the old Royal Hotel! We were thrilled to have a piece of Excelsior’s history! Thanks Amy and Kurt! 

A trip downtown wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the coffee shop, The Mug! 

Showing off the Hall of Waters is a MUST! 

For more information on our little town, go to 

7 Interesting Facts About Excelsior Springs

Here are seven interesting facts about our history here in Excelsior Springs, through the Hall of Waters building:

Fact #1

At its height, the Hall of Waters was the most completely outfitted health resort in the state and possible the region. Waters of ten main springs were piped into the longest mineral water bar in the world.

Photo by Kevin Morgan,

Photo by Kevin Morgan,

Fact #2

There are more groupings of mineral water in Excelsior Springs than anywhere else in the world.

Fact #3

The interior and exterior decoration incorporates Art Deco and Depression Modern styling with motifs of Mayan Indian tradition relating to water and Water Gods.

Photo by Kevin Morgan,

Photo by Kevin Morgan,


Fact #4

At the height of its popularity, over 10,000 people a day visited the Hall of Waters.

Fact #5

One of the most outstanding exterior features of the building is the decorative boiler stack tower for the original coal fired boilers, rising about 63 feet above the main roof.

Photo by Kevin Morgan,

Photo by Kevin Morgan,


Fact #6

Known as the ‘Great Bathing Pool’ the swimming pool in the basement was filled with saline water from the White Sulphur Saline spring.

Fact #7

Siloam Spring was the first of the mineral waters discovered in Excelsior Springs. It is the only natural supply of ferro-manganese mineral water in the United States and one of only five known worldwide.

Special thanks to Sonya Morgan for her time in research and providing this information.

Click here for more information about our history or to plan your next visit!

Photo by Kevin Morgan,

Photo by Kevin Morgan,

Political threats are real, and I’ve heard it firsthand

With the tragedy that our country has just witnessed from the shooting at the baseball game in Virginia, it has reminded me of a letter I wrote that was published in the Kansas City Star from when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot while in her district speaking at an event at a grocery store. Thirteen were shot and nine were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old child. Much of what I had to say then, I believe, is still pertinent to today.

This letter that I wrote originally ran in the January 12, 2011 edition of the Kansas City Star –

All over America, people spent last weekend in shock over the senseless murder of six people and the wounding of another 13 in Arizona. It was heartbreaking to read quotes from the family of victim 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green that said she was excited about the political process.

Unfortunately, the political process is ill.

In the last election cycle, when I ran for state representative, I received several threats of gun violence on the campaign trail. The most serious involved a municipal elected official in my area. On the day of the primary, I went to a polling location in my district where I stood and greeted individuals as they left the poll after voting. A municipal elected official heard me speaking with another individual about labor issues as he left the poll with his wife. He became very hostile with me and claimed that he would do whatever possible to see that I wasn’t elected after hearing my support for workers.

A police report on his side of the event states: “According to him they argued … until she asked if he was going to hit her. His reply was, ‘No, but can you outrun a nine millimeter?’”

To me, this was a threat and I was concerned enough to go to the police. But I didn’t draw attention to these incidents during the race. My point in sharing this story now is not to rehash the campaign. I want to offer a specific local example of violence in politics. We would like to think that the vitriol is only a part of the national political scene, however, it made its way to Johnson County, Mo.

I believe we have a responsibility to ourselves, Democrats to Republicans, conservatives to liberals, to respect our democracy and political process as well as each other. Our political environment has become more and more hostile. The unseen victims of the current chaos are all of us. Constructive debate is overshadowed by cheap slams and dishonest robo calls.

Not only does it cost us respect for our neighbors, it crowds out the reason needed to solve our collective problems and make coherent decisions about the future.

We can commit to civility. We can be an example of faith in the democracy that has guided us to being the greatest nation on earth. Just as the mother of the young girl who lost her life last weekend pleads, “I just want her memory to live on because she was a face of hope … a face of us coming together as a country to stop the violence and hatred and the evil words.”

Click here for more information, including the police report on this situation, thanks to the folks at ShowMeProgress. 

And click here for a follow up of what happened after the letter was published.