Excelsior Springs Solar Eclipse Festival

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On August 21, 2017, the sky will darken as a solar eclipse takes place over our entire nation. In the path of complete totality is our little town of Excelsior Springs, so we are using it as a way to celebrate! The City is planning a festival in conjunction with the event and inviting vendors, artists, and entertainers to come for the viewing of this historic event!

For months we have been putting together plans for the big day. Luckily, our festival falls right on the tail end of the annual BBQ Fly-In, which features hundreds of barbecue contest vendors that will embark on our downtown. The barbecue festival committee has been instrumental in offering the solar eclipse festival with resources for our event. They’re providing electricity, amenities, and sponsoring costs for solar eclipse glasses. We are truly grateful to their sponsorship and support!

Click here for more information on the BBQ Fly-In on the River! 

In addition to the vendors that will be set up around the circle drive at the Hall of Waters, those visiting can also attend a question answer session with Jackie Beucher, Vice-President of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City on Sunday. For a complete schedule of events (that will continue to be updated as we get closer to the big date!) click here!

There are a number of different area events taking place at the wineries, Watkins Mill State Park, and in Kearney. We hear the Elms Hotel is booked but there are still quite a few other lodging opportunities for those wanting to come to Excelsior for a stay at that time. Click here to see lodging options!

My husband, Jason, designed a fun logo for us to use for the event, inspired by the Mayan tiles that adorn the Hall of Waters:

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If you are interested in participating, either by being a vendor or providing entertainment, please reach out to me and let me know! Our vendor applications can be found by clicking here.

Here’s a cool map showing the state and all the places that will be in the path of totality provided by the Excelsior Springs Museum and Archives:

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Here in Excelsior Springs, we should have a viewing time of 2 minutes and 40 seconds! That’s amazing compared to the rest of the country! We will also have solar eclipse glasses available for safe viewing for everyone! Here’s a map showing the times across the nation:

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Because school will be in session, Red Cross Pharmacy of Excelsior Springs is purchasing safe viewing glasses for all of the students and staff that day! Teachers are planning fun activities around the event to make it memorable for the students.

If you have ideas on what you would like to see for the festival, please let us know! Many thanks to Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Powell, City Councilwoman (and my Mom!) Sonya Morgan, Jim and Cheri McCullough of the BBQ Festival Committee, DEP Director Lyndsey Baxter, and the Excelsior Springs Police and Fire Department for being a part of the organizing committee for this event! It’s sure to be a great time!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Today I’ll be meeting with a small group of local citizens who are committed to working on finding solutions for our homeless problems here in Excelsior Springs. A year ago in July, a group began meeting to discuss the realities of what we’re facing when it comes to the issue. It was originally believed that there were around 12-15 a year that were homeless in our area. However, the past year we have come to have a better understanding of the true situation.

According to the Balance of State report in Missouri, that does a point in time collection of homeless figures from agencies working on the ground in the state, showed that our region (Region 4) is the second most highest in the state with homeless. In 2016, there were 235 households reported as being homeless in the region that is made up of 16 counties. The county that Excelsior Springs is in, Clay County, had by far the highest reporting number of homeless, with there being 146 homeless. The number one reason for homelessness was due to unemployment and being unable to pay rent.

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(Source: Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness, Winter 2016)

In looking at the figures of those who were sheltered during the year, compared to those who weren’t, I can see that women are being sheltered far more than men, with 68% of them being women, 31% being men, and 1% being transgender, according to the Winter 2016 report. This may be because the largest reason for women seeking shelter is due to domestic violence, which accounts for 41% of the reasons for families seeking shelter.

Of those who are living unsheltered, men make up the majority with 69% living in cars, on the streets, in campgrounds, or abandoned buildings and houses. 45% of these men are listed as unaccompanied youth and 34% show some kind of substance abuse problem.

Knowing these facts, we get a better picture of the needs that our community has when it comes to homelessness. The Missouri Housing Development Commission each year chooses a community in the state to conduct a program called Project Homeless Connect. This year, they’ve chosen Excelsior Springs, due to the high number of homeless counts in Clay County. The local homeless coalition at that time then turned their attention toward this one-day event that is designed to give direct access to services for the homeless and work to get them into stable housing. They’ve given the Good Samaritan Center of Excelsior Springs a $10,000 grant to use in marketing and service costs for individuals. That is scheduled to be at Lewis Elementary School on Friday, October 27, 2017. For more information or to volunteer, please click here.

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So while the homeless coalition’s attention has been on organizing this one-day event, our homeless are still on the street waiting. That is why today a small group of local leaders will be meeting to discuss long-term possibilities in offering solutions for our community. We plan to take a good look at the data that we have and work toward finding solutions.

 

 

Monday, June 5, 2017

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Today’s flowers feature hosta blooms in front of the Boulevard Florist on Elms Boulevard in Excelsior Springs. Thanks to owner Juree Short for planting them for us to enjoy!

There are a number of different projects that I’m currently working on here in Excelsior Springs. Aside from my role as the Educational Foundation Director, I’m also giving my time to The Good Samaritan Center of Excelsior Springs and the City, where there are never short of opportunities for getting involved.

Here are some of the current projects that I will be focusing my time on this week:
– Annual communications plan for the educational foundation
– Researching grant opportunities for both the educational foundation and Good Samaritan Center
– Meeting with the new principals for the elementary school my daughter goes to. Serving as the Vice-President for the Parent/Teacher organization and ready to plan out the new year!
– Completing a grant opportunity through the Department of Agriculture for a parking lot replacement needed at the Good Samaritan Center
– Working with a committee to conduct a Project Homeless Connect event in Excelsior Springs on October 27, 2017
– Getting ready for the Solar Eclipse Festival on August 20-21 in downtown Excelsior
– Helping my husband, S. Jason Cole, develop a business plan for his many talents

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Today was the day that it looked as though it could rain most of the day, but never actually produced any precipitation. This morning there was a gorgeous sky that looked like this:

11794385_1019990548013593_7630901340193717119_oMid-morning, I joined some of the staff at The Elms Hotel & Spa for a marketing meeting. It is our hope that by working together and partnering on different events, we can provide a great stay for any of our visitors to town. There are so many great things happening in our business community that we have to offer. Communication is key to making it work for everyone.

There are 40 new teachers to our Excelsior Springs School District this year! The past two weeks they have spent in orientation and meetings, preparing them for the school year that starts next week. Today they had a scavenger hunt in the downtown, starting at the Chamber office where we sent them off with bags to fill with downtown goodies.

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After this, I went with my husband to Price Chopper for lunch. They have a new grill and are in the final stages of their renovations of the dining area. I encourage everyone to drop by there for lunch, especially if you can catch a day when they’re having a fruit cobbler. Delish!

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By evening, the clouds were starting to roll through quicker and a nice, cool breeze began to blow. The sky looked ominous, but never produced anything to live up to its mean face.

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