Spring Dumpster Day rescheduled for May 23rd

IMGP1873The news is that there was a bit of a mixup with the city in reserving dumpsters.

We’ve been doing this for years, but over time the word got out and now there is high demand for the dumpsters at events around the city.

The soonest we could reschedule was for May 23rd.

So, mark your calendars for a work day, bring us your trash, and we’ll look forward to seeing you.

The WTHA volunteers apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience!

Get real-time updates on Facebook by “joining” our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/612100885591489/

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Damien McNearney




Damien is a long-time Waldo resident who joined the board in 2014. Damien can be found working around his house or playing live music. He advocates for high quality educational institutions as well as events that bring neighbors together.


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Catherine Dobson


Catherine Dobson


Catherine is a relatively new Waldo resident. She jumped right into neighborhood participation by joining the board. Catherine spearheads the distribution of new member welcome bags and coordinates our new and popular neighborhood Happy Hours that occur every other month at locations through the neighborhood.

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Simon Moeller

Simon joined the WTHA board following the 2014 merger of Tower Homes Association and Waldo Homes Association. Simon previously served as the President of Waldo Homes Association, which served neighbors east of Wornall to Oak, and from 79th Street south to 85th StrSimonMoellereet. We are so pleased to have him in a leadership role on the board to ensure that we understand the needs of residents in south Waldo.

Simon is an advocate for neighborhood beautification efforts, including park cleanups and coordination with the City for the planning and upkeep of our neighborhood. He’s also known for being tech-savvy, and an amazing host of block parties!

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Save the Date: Dumpster Day; Annual Picnic

Save the date for these upcoming WTHA neighborhood events:

Saturday, May 9, 8 a.m. – noon Dumpster Day South Broadland Presbyterian Church, 7850 Holmes Road. It’s time for Spring cleaning! Bring your rubbish and yard waste. Must be an active WTHA member. No tires, appliances, tvs, or hazardous chemicals.


Saturday, May 30, 2 – 5 p.m. WTHA Annual Picnic in Tower Park Join your neighbors for free food, music, and children’s activities at the large shelter of Tower Park, 75th & Holmes Rd.



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March Meeting Recap & Info About the 7540 Washington Apartments Project

Waldo Tower Homes Association Neighborhood Meeting

March 14, 2015, 10:00 a.m.

Karol O’Brian, WTHA Vice President

WTHA board members introduced themselves. There was a reminder about the recent merger with Waldo Homes Association, extending the boundaries of WTHA to include a significant portion of Waldo east of Wornall.

ReStart Transitional Housing Project, Diane Botwin, 7540 Washington Street

Diane Botwin, owner of Botwin Commercial Development, has been a long-time property owner in Waldo. Botwin Commerical Development owns and operates a number of well-known commercial buildings in Waldo, including the Westmoreland Building at 7445 Broadway (Kokoro restaurant), The Botwin Building (Summit Grill and Bar, formerly Kennedy’s), 75 Waldo (Pickleman’s Deli), and the building that houses 75th Street Brewery. Ms. Botwin has been a volunteer for ReStart for more than 30 years. When she learned that HUD had set aside funds for permanent supportive housing, she worked with ReStart to begin this project.

The project is a 14-unit apartment building with 1 bedroom for an in-house program manager and a community room. This property is meant to provide permanent housing for teens aging out of the foster care system. More than 800 young adults aged out of foster care in Jackson County last year alone. The projection is that 20 percent of them will become homeless. Research Medical Center, Rediscover, and Truman Medical Center have partnered to do research and focus groups about the kind of permanent housing that was needed in the area. El Dorado architects and A.L. Huber Construction worked on the garden-style apartment design. There is an open, secured, interior courtyard. The project was awarded a 2.2 million dollar grant for the project, which was the only award of its type in the state of Missouri.

The project was chosen to be in Waldo because Ms. Botwin owned a property that was the right size for the project. Waldo is situated with good access to transportation, a library, a grocery store, and everything that a young person would need to get started. As an urban mixed-used community, Waldo has all the amenities needs in close proximity to the property. Ms. Botwin hopes that the Waldo community will embrace these young people.

This project started as an idea in 2009, but took until 2014 to start construction. Residents will be screened and selected through the Rediscover project and Kim Wilson Housing as the property manager. All of the residents will be seeking work, employed, or going to school. The 18-25 year old residents will likely reside in the property for three to five years. Construction is expected to be complete August 2015, and occupancy complete by September 2015. ReStart Housing Services is the board that will oversee the property.

Questions from the room:

What can be done to address the potential concern for increased crime? Jean with Rediscover noted that they have operated supportive housing for ten years with very few issues. The on-site project managers are able to address issues and ensure that the residents are engaged in work and school activities. One of the units is for a permanent live-in staff member. A staff member will be onsite 24 hours a day. The courtyard allows the residents to spend their outdoor time in a controlled environment.

Do the residents have any income? How do they pay rent? Due to the HUD restrictions, residents will pay no more than 30% of their income from their job or from their college Pell grants.

Have there been discussions with Waldo businesses so the residents could work close to the property?  Ms. Botwin has worked with three different business owners who are interested in providing services or employment to the residents, including free haircuts for job interviews and perhaps even a free bicycle. There are plans for a job fair for the residents.

A resident within a block of the property supported the need for the property, but raised concerns that he was not aware of the development until a sign went up?  What are future communication plans for the property? Until the property received funding from HUD, it was not clear that the project would be moving forward until November 2014. In respect for the privacy of the residents, the programs waited until the project was moving forward. Ms. Botwin apologized for any confusion that may have been caused. A web landing page is being set up for the property to contact the property owner and management firm. The onsite resident manager will have a phone number posted in case there are questions or anyone wants to be involved with the project.

Will this building meet any LEED standards or have green design elements? No, due to the HUD regulations, it will meet the energy regulations but budget restrictions are very strict and don’t allow for the design features needed for LEED certification.

How do the residents move on from the property? What are the milestones for them? As long as residents abide by the rules and regulations of the lease, the lease may be renewed annually in perpetuity. There are no age limits. The owners anticipate residents will stay three to five years due to the size of the unit. The units are not large enough to accommodate families. Due to the high need, it will be highly competitive to be selected for each unit. They expect at least four applications per unit.

What conditions would results in a resident to be dismissed from the property? Each resident signs a lease with program guidelines. The facility will be tobacco and alcohol-free. Each young adult has a case manager.

Is there a plan for a mentorship program? The new website will include information about establishing a mentorship program.

Who is the ongoing property manager? Kim Wilson Housing will be overseeing the property. They are experienced with permanent supportive housing. Diane Botwin will remain the community liaison for the project.

An experienced foster parent commended the project and the experience of strong nonprofits involved in the project.

Will the residents be guaranteed employment? Transportation will allow for access to many jobs, and many residents will be completing school work.

Will the parking be on-street? There is off-street parking, though many residents are unlikely to have a car.

Will there be an open house? Yes

Is the onsite manager a counselor? Yes, the role is a combination property manager and program supervisor.

State Representative Jeremy LaFaver and City Councilman John Sharp spoke briefly in support of the project and to hear the community’s feedback. Councilman Sharp noted that this project did not require rezoning, so there were no public hearings required by the City.

Where does the funding come from to maintain the project? HUD supports the costs of management and maintenance.

Is there a recreational facility? The community room could have yoga classes, but there is not a gym.

Are units inspected? Yes, that is the role of the project manager.

The project is two stories high. The neighbor expressed concern about the safety of the intersection of 76th and Washington, which is currently a two-way stop. The resident encouraged it becoming a 4-way stop due to visibility? The project team will follow up with the City.

Are any of the units handicapped accessible? Yes

Are there concerns about federal funding cuts? This funding will go on 40 years

Any concerns about loitering? The lease will allow for visitors, but they must sign-in and are not allowed to stay. The live-in manger will see what is going on. There will also be electronic security, including cameras and key-fob access.

7540WashingtonApartmentsFactSheet (click to view)

City Council Elections

Ms. O’Brian provided a recap of the 6th District City Council candidate forum co-hosted by the South Kansas City Alliance and Waldo Tower Homes Association March 9. The primary election is April 7. Incumbent Scott Taylor is running unopposed for the 6th District at-large seat. The in-district council member for the 6th District has three candidates: Terrence P. Nash, Henry Klein, and Kevin McManus. The current 6th District Councilman, John Sharp, has reach his term limit.

Waldo Tower Restoration

Ms. O’Brian and the attendees reflected on the progress toward the restoration of the Waldo Tower in Tower Park. The structure is now sound, the antennas removed, and a fresh coat of paint was added. PIAC funded the project again. So far, the Waldo Tower Historic Society has raised $17,000 in private funds for the project. By June, it is expected that construction on Phase II will begin.

The planned lighting would be up-lighting, perhaps with seasonal changes. There were questions regarding the current construction to the water department building.

Other comments and questions

Marty Hatten recognized Councilman Sharp for his eight years of service on the council. He’s has reached his term limit.

A resident suggested that the Association pro-actively establish a committee to work with Rediscovery to serve as mentors.

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Join Us March 14 for the Next Waldo Tower Homes Meeting

THA_General_Meeting_Event_CoverWaldo Tower Neighborhood General Meeting
Saturday, March 14, 10am – 11am
Waldo Library
Diane Botwin will be speaking about the new 14-unit transitional housing apartment complex at 7540 Washington.
The City Council primary election will be April 7. We will discuss the candidate forum.
We will also be planning upcoming events, including the Annual Neighborhood Picnic at Tower Park, May 30 and a movie night in Tower Park
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Join us for a 6th (in) District Kansas City Council Candidate Forum

THA_Forum_Event_Cover Monday, March 9, 2015 at 6:00pm

The Crossroads Church at 7917 Main Street, KCMO 64114

The parking lot is behindimage002 the church and on 79th Terrace, just east of Main Street.

All candidates have confirmed their attendance: Henry Klein, Kevin McManus & Terrence Nash.

Geoff Gerling, Moderator & SKCA Government Affairs Committee Chair.

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Waldo Tower Homes Association Board Meeting Minutes

Waldo Tower Homes Association Board Meeting

February 10, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

707 E. Gregory


Mary Cary, WTHA Administrator, reported that the response rate for the mailings to the residents of our new boundaries that include the former boundaries of Waldo Homes Association, yielded 45 new members. This more than covers the costs of the mailing. However, the renewal rate for existing members is lower. Renewing members were sent an email, but not a postal mailing invoice.

The Well

Chris and Andy Llewelyn, owners of The Well and Lew’s, joined the meeting as guests to update the association on their request for a 3 a.m. liquor license for The Well. They recently purchased Charlie Hooper’s in Brookside and now own three total bars and restaurants in total. The application to the City for the 3 a.m. license for The Well stalled due to the owner’s recent purchase of Charlie Hooper’s. The Llewelyns will be again moving forward with this proposal to the City. The Llewelyns would like a new letter from WTHA reflecting a 2015 date. The Llewelyn’s have not yet presented to the Waldo Area Business Association. Customers are confused about different closing times for The Well, which closes at 1 p.m., while surrounding bars close at 3:00 p.m.

Action Item: Kurtis will find the 2014 letter, update the date, and send to Chris Llewelyn

Candidate Forum

Stacey Johnson-Cosby with the South Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance would like Waldo Tower Homes to co-host a city council candidate forum for the 6th District. A venue is needed.

The primary election is April 7. Incumbent Scott Taylor is running unopposed for the 6th District at-large seat. The in-district council member for the 6th District has three candidates: Terrence P. Nash, Henry Klein, and Kevin McManus. The current 6th District Councilman, John Sharp, has reach his term limit.

Action Item: John Bozarth will contact Marty Hatten, a member at South Broadland Presbyterian Church, to inquire about using their facility.

Transitional Housing Construction, 7540 Washington Street

A HUD-funded 14-unit transitional housing project is under construction. The site will be operated by reStart, and provides housing for kids aging out of the foster care system. This is outside of the WTHA boundaries, but the homes association for that area, Here’s Waldo, is not currently active. Councilwoman Jan Marcason contacted us because she was contacted by a resident nearby, David Stevens, who was interested in starting a neighborhood group for the west side of Wornall. The building is owned by the Botwin family and has been a parking lot. Since a rezoning was not required, the neighbors were not notified and not aware until construction began. The land owner, Diane Botwin, will come to the March WTHA general meeting to speak about the project. John Bozarth suggested writing a letter to the editor of support for the project.


New Neighbor Welcome Bags

Catherine has more welcome bags if you are aware of any new neighbors who need one.

Community Policing Advisory Committee

John Bozarth reported from the CPAC meeting. Three of the five houses on John’s block, 77th Street near Tower Park, were burglarized in the last three months. The burglars knock on doors and kick in doors or crawl in windows where people aren’t home.

Adjourned at 7:40 p.m.


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Minutes from the December 9, 2014 WTHA Board Meeting

Waldo Tower Homes Board Meeting

December 9, 2014, 6:00 p.m. home of Safia Gray, 707 E. Gregory

Membership Update: Mary Cary asked Elizabeth Hollins to get Neighborhood Services newsletter contact info for residents of new geography to notify them of the new merged entity. Mary Cary asked Angie Lile to modify the Paypal form to collect more contact info.

Angie Lile suggested district reps host block parties to get better cohesion

Rebranding for Merged Entity: Elizabeth Hollins suggested a DBA as Waldo Tower Homes to register with the Secretary of State to avoid renaming the entity for the checking account, IRS, etc. Kurtis and Elizabeth will reach out to Jeff (Treasurer) to consult.

Elizabeth Hollins to send South Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance contact info to board to see if we can send a delegate to the meetings

Mike Lile will redirect the new web address to the old web address. Elizabeth updated the site for the new name. Angie shared the updated logo including the new web address, waldotowerhomes.org

Holiday Light Contest: The Board reviewed seven nominations for holiday lights. 632 E. 71st Terr. with color-changing house lights and walkway lighting was selected as the winner.

Candidates Forum: This event was suggested for 2015. The city council race for 6th District may be more contentious than the mayor race. The election is April 7. We tentatively slated a candidates forum it for March. Candidates must file by January 20. Elizabeth to reach out to Marty Hatten re: South Broadland as a venue and any recommendations. We need to choose a date and secure a venue, possible partnering with surrounding neighborhoods.

June movie night: Angie tentatively agreed to take the lead on a June movie night and will call Hyde Park contacts to learn more about the logistics. June 20 was slated as the potential date. Angie will also research whether Parks would allow for food trucks. Kurtis will send an email to the board to see if anyone would be willing to assist Angie. Kurtis will contact Parks about reserving the space, whether food trucks are acceptable, and ask for any advice about companies to work with for the movie logistics.

Rezoning proposal for Larry’s Wholesale Tires at 8101 Wornall, which is near the trail. Angie noted that once an address is zoned commercial, it is unlikely it will revert back to residential. There were concerns that junk cars could be parked on the lot. The fence goes along 79th Street. WABA is against the proposal and is generally against encroachments into residential areas. Southtown Council notified WTHA about the proposal. The Country Club Right of Way Committee, which advises management of preservation of the Trolley Trail, could be an ally on this issue.

John updated the board about the CPAC committee meeting tonight and his personal experience with a burglary at his home. There are a couple of gangs of robbers breaking into houses during the day, and John reminded us to be wary of those scoping out potential homes. Make sure and call police for suspicious activity. Two groups have been arrested.

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Name Change! Tower Restoration! Minutes from the November 2014 Meeting

Waldo Tower Homes Association General Meeting Minutes

November 8, 2014, 10:00 a.m. Waldo Library, 204 E. 75th Street.

Attendance: 15

Board members present: Kurtis Marinez, Elizabeth Hollins, Karol O’Brien, Jeff Highfill, Garth Stocking, Mary Cary

Waldo Tower Restoration

The meeting was called to order by President Kurtis Marinez, who introduced speaker Bob Lawler, project manager with the City of Kansas City, MO. Mr. Lawler is managing the restoration of the Waldo Tower in Tower Park. After years of fundraising and PIAC funds from the City, the Phase I of the tower restoration was completed in 2014. Phase I included concrete repair, painting, and roof replacement, and historic lighting along the sidewalk.

Phase II is currently out for bid. Bids are expected by spring. Work will include cutting a door in the base of the tower, adding an interior ladder for maintenance that adheres to OSHA requirements, redoing the sidewalk, adding a wrought iron fence, and adding lighting at the top and base of the tower. The lighting was discussed extensively, including options for “pure white” lighting, as well as season color-changing LEDs. Kurtis said that fundraising is underway for the color-changing lighting package, which is an add-on to the other work up for bid.

Mr. Lawler answered numerous questions from the audience.

Merger of Tower Homes Association and Waldo Homes Association

Last spring, the Tower Homes Association (THA) board approved a merger with the Waldo Homes Association (WHA). After declining membership and no volunteers for officer positions, the Waldo Homes Association approached THA to merge the entities so that WHA residents would be represented by a homes association. Approximately 25 active members were added to the membership roles. The geography of Tower Homes now extends south, beyond the original 79th St. boundary to a new 85th Street boundary. Generally, WHA’s borders extended from Wornall to Oak, but includes one neighborhood east of Oak, extending to Holmes Rd.

Members in attendance were asked to vote a new name for the merged entity of THA and WHA. The names in consideration were:

  • Waldo Tower Neighbors
  • Waldo Tower Neighbors Association
  • Waldo Tower Homes
  • Waldo Tower Homes Association

There was discussion regarding perceptions related to “homes association,” as no one wanted to give the impression that only homeowners were involved. Renters are welcome. The term “community” was added to the discussion, as the neighboring association, Marlborough Community Coalition was noted as a positive term describing the work of THA/WHA. Garth Stocking moved to adopt the name “Waldo Tower Homes Association” to keep it simple and recognizable for all residents. Carol Gibson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.  Mike Lile will explore use of the web domain names “wtha.org” and “WaldoTowerHomes.org” so that these could redirect members to our current web address, www.TowerHomesAssociation.org

Upcoming Events

December 11, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Happy Hour, 75th Street Brewery. RSVP to info@TowerHomesAssociation.org

Holiday Decoration Contest: Residents are invited to nominate winners of a holiday decoration context by December 8. Nominations can be sent to info@TowerHomesAssociation.org The winner will be chosen at the December 9 WTHA board meeting. If the winner is not a member of WTHA, they will win a free membership for 2015 ($25 value) and a $25 gift card to the Well. If the winner is a member, they will win $50 in gift certificates for The Well.

Membership Drive for 2015

Mary Cary noted that membership invoices will be sent the week after Christmas. The documents are currently being designed and will include the new naming and website as discussed previously. The membership discount card still has two open slots for businesses, and suggestions were given.

There was a discussion of the 2015 meeting and event calendar. Attendees discussed the pros and cons of Saturday vs. week night events, and all agreed that it was good to continue a mix of the two.


Kurtis noted that Kathie Kerr, our long-time newsletter editor, would no longer be producing a hard-copy newsletter, but may be a contributor to an online blog. Kurtis asked if there were any volunteers for a new newsletter editor. Kathie would be willing to train the person. No meeting attendees volunteered. Kurtis asked for the opinion of members about doing a blog on the website vs. a hard copy newsletter.

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Join Us! Saturday, Nov. 8 10 a.m. Waldo Library

neighborhood meeting

Join us Saturday, November 8, 10 a.m. at the Waldo Library for the last neighborhood meeting of 2014!


  • Updates on Phase I of the Waldo Tower Renovations and plans for Phase II
  • Discussion of the merger of Tower Homes Association and Waldo Homes Association, including brainstorming on our new name and combined branding.

We will ask attendees to opine on possibilities for a new name for the combined Tower Homes Association and Waldo Homes Association:

  • Waldo Tower Neighbors
  • Waldo Tower Neighbors Association
  • Waldo Tower Homes
  • Waldo Tower Homes Association

We will also discuss a Holiday Decoration Contest! Anyone can nominate a home, but you must be a member to win $50 in gift certificates to The Well. Submissions must be emailed to info@towerhomesassociation.org by December 8, and judging will occur December 9.


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Minutes from the Oct. 2014 Board Meeting

Tower Homes Association

Board Meeting

October 28, 2014 6:00 p.m.

Home of Kurtis Marinez


Kurtis Marinez (President), John Bozarth, Catherine Dobson, Mary Cary (Administrator), Elizabeth Hollins (secretary), Cat Larrison, Damien McNeary, Karol O’Brien

Absent: Angie Lile, Cassi Neff, Jeff Highfill, Garth Stocking, Safia Gray

At the September 2014 General Meeting, attendees elected the following officers:

President: Kurtis Marinez

Vice President: Karol O’Brien

Secretary: Elizabeth Hollins

Treasurer: Jeff Highfill


  • Annual Membership Drive: Mary Cary spoke about our annual membership drive and discount card. She asked for input on businesses to approach for the discount card, including representation of businesses in the Waldo Homes boundaries (79th to 85th). Chelly’s, Garza’s Goodies, KC Bier Company, Tropical Snow, and others were mentioned. She suggested an initial targeted email to past members before a mass mailing. The board decided to create a postcard highlighting membership and the upcoming events for 2015. The board agreed to hold dues at $25 per year for now until we can gain greater visibility.

November 8 General Meeting Agenda: Provide more information about the merger and brainstorm on the benefits of membership. Kurtis suggested providing updates on Phase I of the Waldo Tower renovations and the plans for Phase II, which include year-round lighting for the Tower. Kurtis will invite a special speaker. Mary will send a meeting reminder along with a survey regarding our organization’s new name based on the merger with Waldo Homes Association approved by the board earlier in the year. We will ask attendees to opine on possibilities for a new name for the combined Tower Homes Association and Waldo Homes Association:

  • Waldo Tower Neighbors
  • Waldo Tower Neighbors Association
  • Waldo Tower Homes
  • Waldo Tower Homes Association


  • Holiday Decoration Contest: It was suggested that the organization host a Holiday decoration contest. Kurtis has 5 – $10 gift certificates to The Well for a prize. Any neighbor can nominate, but the decorated house must be a member to win. Entries must be in by December 8. Winners will be voted on by the board at the December board meeting.


  • Holmes Rd. Traffic Safety: Kurtis Marinez shared security footage from his home showing a severe auto accident at 75th and Holmes caused by fast speeds and reckless driving.



  • 2015 Scheduling:

Board meetings on the second Tuesdays: Dec. 9, Feb. 10, April 14, June 9, August 11, Oct. 13

General meetings on the second Saturdays: Jan. 10, March 14 (Local Election Special), no May meeting in lieu of Annual Picnic, July 11, September 12 (WTHA board elections), November 14

                Mayoral Forum w/ Marlborough and KCPT: TBD

                May Annual Picnic: May 30 2-5 p.m. Tower Park

                Movie Night in the Park: Saturday, June 20


                2015 Happy Hours to be determined


Thursday, December 11, 2014: Holiday Happy Hour, include a fun Christmas sweater contest

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Move out the old, make room for the new!

dumpster day photoIt’s that time again, time for the Annual Fall Dumpster Day this Saturday, October 25th, at the South Broadland Presbyterian Church. CLICK HERE to get more info- http://towerhomesassociation.org/?p=16

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Join us for another THA Happy Hour at the KC Bier Company

Happy_Hour2Tower Homes Association is hosting another fun Happy Hour at the KC Bier Company. The event is free to attend, but an RSVP is required. Please email info@towerhomesassociation.org to let us know you will be joining us!

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Tower Homes Association General Meeting Minutes

Big thanks to Cassi Neff for her service the past year as Secretary of Tower Homes Association. Cassi has done a great job of keeping our minutes among other really great works.

This last meeting was on Saturday 13 September 2014, at 10:00 AM in the Waldo Library

Angie Lile convening.


  • Waldo Fall Festival – Great success last year. Come join us at the THA table. WABA will be interviewing residents and recording their Waldo stories. There will be many activities.
  • Fall Dumpster Day – Saturday 25 Oct 2014 8:00 AM to noon
  • Rain Garden Work Cleanup – same day – in Tower Park on 75th Street side. Come help.
  • Happy Hour coming up Wednesday 15 October 2014 at KC Bier Co from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

How you can volunteer – Sign up sheet in the back of the room.

Waldo Tower –

Kurtis Marinez introduced Frank Perez – CEO of Falcon Contracting: A pleasure to work on the project. Too often monuments are torn down. Tower was built in 1919 in 14 days (before Union Station). 134 feet tall, capacity over one million gallons. In use until 1957. Another company had repaired the concrete. Falcon cleaned, primed and painted. 10 10-­hour days, heat sometimes over 100 degrees F. Messy antennas removed, new roof. 100 gallons of primer, 200 gallons of paint. Same paint used on space shuttles. Compared significance to Mount Rushmore. The work was started by another contractor who did a little at the top but not a good job. Frank was not eager to clean up someone else’s mess, but Kurtis convinced him that it needed to be done and done right.

THA Elections

President – Kurits Marinez
Vice-president – Karol O’Brien
Secretary – Elizabeth Hollins
Treasurer – Jeff Highfill
Carol Gibson moved, Larry Roth seconded slate be accepted. Motion carried.
Others wanting to be board members? No one came forward. Carol Gibson moved, Larry Roth seconded retaining other board members. Motion carried.

Help us pick a new name for combined Tower Homes Association and Waldo Homes Association.

Some possibilities:

  • Waldo Tower Neighbors
  • Waldo Tower Neighbors Association
  • Waldo Tower Homes
  • Waldo Tower Homes Association

We will need to revise bylaws to either add districts for former Waldo Homes Association residents, or do away with districts and go with committees instead.

We are looking into yard signs to increase awareness of meetings.

Volunteer needed to put together a printed newsletter, while Kathie continues on the digital version.

Picnic was fun – combined with birthday celebration that was already set up in shelter we had reserved. Very neighborly.

Adjourned about 11:00 AM.

Board members in attendance
Kurtis Marinez – Vice-president / Tower restoration
Cassi Neff – Secretary
Garth Stocking
Karol O’Brien
Marty Hatten
Angie Lile

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7 September 2014 Board Meeting

Tower Homes Association Board Meeting
Saturday 7 September 2014
4:00 PM

7604 Mary Belle Lane

Letter needed from THA okaying zoning change to senior care for 7850 Holmes. We have already discussed this and agree, now just need to draft and send a letter.

General meeting next Saturday. Need officers / board members for elections. Things generally going well in neighborhood, so no specific issues to bring folks in. (Tower looking good – have dedication in spring when done?) Easier to be an officer when there are no big problems, but nothing to drive people to want to lead.

We need a president to be the point person to see that meetings are organized, receive contacts for neighborhood. Kurtis could be president if he gets lots of backup. He is still very involved with the restoration of the Tower. Damien offered to take phone calls. Elizabeth volunteered to be secretary and help with communications. Karol will be vice president. Angie will call Jeff to see if he will continue as treasurer.

We should contact other board members to see if they still want to be on the board.

Table at Waldo Fall Festival
all day: Kurtis
10 – 12: Cassi
12 – 2: Karol
3 – 5: Garth / Safia

September General Meeting:
Waldo Fall Festival Announcement
Waldo Tower Update
General suggestions on name for new association combined with Waldo Homes: Waldo Tower Neighbors or what other possibilities?
Circulate card to thank painters for their hard work on the Tower in the summer heat.

Upcoming happy hour: 15 October 2014

Communications: Do we want to do a phone call for elections and fall festival? Only three people on current list, so maybe not. Will do email and social media.

October board meeting:
Calendar for year.
Organize mailing for membership renewals.
May not need to have districts within neighborhood association, but need to have enough board members to make things happen.

How to encourage new members? Maybe a news story about what good neighborhood associations do in their areas? Get quotes from other neighborhood associations too. Get people to look for us. Put signs around neighborhood for general meetings?

Rain garden needs maintenance. We need a fall work day – same day as dumpster day? Pull some weeds, plant some new things? Will Chad still work on this? Garth will check with him on this and curb appeal grants.

Garth moved we budget $300 towards plants for rain garden. Elizabeth seconded. Motion carried. Other expenses coming up: October happy hour, dumpster day. Maybe collect money at fall festival for plants?

Kurtis moved THA reimburse the Tower Historical Society $200 (half the cost) for the table at the Southtown Council Beautification Awards. Garth seconded. Motion carried.

Maybe set up grants to reimburse people ($50) for setting up a block party.

Adjourned about 5:25 PM.

Board members in attendance
Josh Hemberger President
Kurtis Marinez x Vice-president / Tower restoration
Jeff Highfill Treasurer
Cassi Neff x Secretary
Elizabeth Hollins x
Charlotte McCloskey
Garth Stocking x
Karol O’Brien x
Marty Hatten
Chad Potter
Catherine Dobson Newsletter
Saphia Gray
Mary Cary Administrator
Angie Lile x
Michelle Bailey
John Bozarth x Dumpster day
Patrick Allen
Damien McNearney x

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Meeting this Saturday!

Dear Neighbors,

We’re excited to announce our upcoming Neighborhood Meeting this Saturday, September 13, at 10:00 a.m. in the Waldo Library, Room A.

Please join us for light refreshments, meet some of the folks responsible for sprucing up our beloved Tower, and find out more about the restoration process.

We’ll also be taking name suggestions for our new “association of neighbors” now that Waldo Homes Association and Tower Homes Association has merged.

Finally, we will be holding elections for the new Association’s Officers.  We are always looking for neighbors who would like to get more involved and this is the time to join a committee, or volunteer for a more serious role.

At this time the nominations for officers are as follows:

Kurtis Marinez for President

Karol O’Brien for Vice-President

Elizabeth Hollins for Secretary

Jeff Highfill for Treasurer

If you or someone you know would like to run for one of these positions, please email us so we can get your name on the unofficial ballot. We’ll hold the official election by show of hands during this meeting.

Please join us in giving our former President of Tower Homes Association, Josh Hemberger, much gratitude for his service over the past year. Josh is stepping down due to increased responsibilities in his personal life and will be greatly missed! Be sure to wish him well when you see him next!

Coming up on our Calendar of Events:

September 13, Neighborhood Meeting

September 20, Waldo Fall Festival

October 15, Neighborhood Happy Hour (TBA)

October 25, Fall Dumpster Day and Rain Garden Cleanup


Tower Homes Association



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Who was Bill Dooley?

Thanks to Dr. John Horner at the Kansas City Public Library, the mystery of Mr. William “Bill” Patrick Dooley is a little closer to being resolved. Many letters were written to Bill in 1935 and found in the attic of a Waldo home.  (See following post.) Dr. Horner writes, ” I have attached a PDF of page 46 of the 1933 edition of Southwest High School’s yearbook, the Sachem, which shows Bill posed with a group of several other students. He is in the front row, third from the left. You can see that he wore a uniform for the picture. He was in the ROTC program. In the 1934 yearbook I only found him mentioned once, as a member of the ROTC, with no picture of him in the senior section. It is very possible that he left school before graduating, based on what you wrote in your blog.”

Bill Dooley junion class0001

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Letters in the Attic

By Kathie Kerr, Editor “Tower Talk”

(Some examples of photos and letters found in our attic are interwoven in this article and at the bottom of the article.)

If only the walls in these old Waldo houses could talk, what secrets they might share. In our case, it wasn’t the walls, but letters from the attic that told a tale of the Great Depression and the hopefulness of youth.
Shortly after we started renovating our almost 90-year-old home near 75th & Oak, we found letters from around 1935 tucked hazardously between the attic rafters and covered with insulation. They are yellowed and crumbling memories of a young man who used to live here, William “Bill” Patrick Dooley.

Thanks to Dr. John Horner, researcher/writer at the Kansas City Public Library, we know that Bill was the son of William and Florence Dooley, and was three years old during the 1920 census. His sister, whose name was Florence, was 9.  In 1935 when most of the letters were written, Bill would have been 18 years old. Bill Jr. would be about 97 today if he is still alive. I don’t know how to reach any surviving family members, so maybe this article and the names it mentions will ring a bell with someone.

The letters reference the Great Depression and how hard it was for these young folks just graduating from Southwest High School to find work and how their families were getting along. The letters also vibrantly pictured teenagers who were still being kids—going to dances, going on dates, gossiping, and attending events in places in Waldo long ago gone.

Letter after letter written to Bill was, with a few exceptions, from teenagers from Southwest High School, and from young people attending the new St. Elizabeth Parish Church. For this reason, I believe Bill was a recent graduate himself. Our house was built in 1925; if Bill had indeed been living here since childhood, he would have been 8 years old when he and his family built the house and moved in.

The profile of Bill Dooley isn’t hard to piece together from his letters. And, I will call him Bill because the man I see in my head is young, handsome and self-assured. Bill doesn’t seem like a typical teenager, after all, he took the time to saved all these many letters from his days in New Mexico.

From the dates on the letters, he appeared to have left Kansas City sometime in the winter of 1934 and ended up in Artesia, New Mexico, a very tiny town.  We don’t know why. A letter dated Feb. 21, 1930, presumably addressed to Mr. Dooley Sr., mentioned  mineral rights in Artesia, so there might have been a family business or connection to the town in that regard. We do know from the letters that Bill Jr. was active in leading a Boy Scout Troop there.

We also know from the letters that Bill was missed when he left Kansas City to go out West. From the gentle chiding of his friends back in Kansas City to some rather insistent young ladies begging him to come home and go to dances, you get a sense of an easy-going, trusted confidante who didn’t let the nation’s economic disaster knock him down. In fact, all the letters from these young people were bright and sassy and filled with hope.
Could this be Bill? This photograph was found with the letters.

could this be bill0001croppThe first letter Bill received while in New Mexico was dated December 10, 1934 from Josephine “Jo” Hecht whose returned address was 7345 Walnut. “I went to the Waldo on Sunday and saw The Count of Monte Cristo,” she wrote. “I think that was its name but anyhow it wasn’t any good.”

1934_Count_of_Monte_Cristo*Picture of movie poster found on Wikipedia.org.

She probably saw the movie at what was then called the Westmoreland Theater at 7428 Washington Street. When it opened in 1924, the theater offered silent films, vaudeville and burlesque during its first 15 years in business. By 1939, the theater was solely a movie house and had changed its name to the Waldo Theater. It remained a movie house until it closed in 1972.

Ms. Hecht went on to write in that same letter, “I think the church dinner was a success, at least Father Kennedy hasn’t asked for money again.” This reference is to Father Peter Kennedy, who served as pastor at St. Elizabeth from 1924-1957. He passed away in 1958, shortly after his retirement.

One of the most entertaining letters is not signed, but was written on Jan. 8, 1934. “The Nash still eats as much gas as ever. We ran out of gas yesterday at 51st and Ward Parkway and pushed the car to 48th Street where we forged Brush Creek by foot and bought some gas. Neil and I are seriously considering buying or trading for a Austin. … We asked Mr. Taylor the code price on a ‘31 Austin and he said $81 sounds like a good buy. They get 48 miles to a gallon of gas.”

1931-american-austin*Picture of 1931 Austin found on Wikipedia.org.

According to a description in Wikipedia, they really did get that much per gallon, but I can’t believe it. That’s better than some hybrids today! The coupe was billed as a sedan, and sold for $445, slightly less than a Ford V8 roadster. The Great Depression made the cheaper secondhand cars more appealing, so sales dropped off.

A final piece of correspondence in 1934 was a postcard picture of two ladies in hats. The names appear to be Mrs. Hepworth and Doris, according to the back of the postcard.
two ladies0001

Bill received his first letter in 1935 on Jan. 9 from Lois. She wrote: “I suppose you are having a grand time in New Mexico. But I hope you’ll come back to K.C. once in a while as I really miss your cheerful telephone calls. I was surprised to hear that you’ve become a “Boy Sprout” leader. I just can’t imagine it. Do you blush when you have to give orders to the boys?”

Ms. Josephine Hecht wrote to Bill again on May 23, 1935 with news that “The towers are now on St. Elizabeth Church only there are no bells in them. They had a real nice dedication and Father Kennedy didn’t get mad at someone in the middle of mass. Your sister sang.”

The timing would have been right. By the time the church was dedicated on April 22, 1935, the exterior also had two stone towers (one with bells) added, and the faith community had grown to 265 families. It was a vibrant part of the Waldo community.

Several letters were sent to Bill in May, 1935. Ms. Flynn (no first name that I could find) lived at 5730 Forest Ave. She sent Bill homemade fudge with her letter. In her letter dated May 27, 1935, we get a glimpse of how hard the times were back then as she described a special dinner with guests.

“We had stewed chicken, noodles, Popeye’s favorite dish, salad, and ice cream. Best we’ve had since the depression!”

Ms. Flynn mentions that Kansas City had been caught up in the “dime chain letter gang.” “Golly, KC certainly went crazy! At least it was a change from the everlasting talk about the depression. I got in on one of them, and so far all I’ve gotten is 50 cents.”
Chain letters began to circulate in 1935 promising the poor that they could become rich quickly.

The origin of the chain letters is still not known. But the post offices of that time had to hire people to get extra help as the chain letters were too many in number to handle by the normal staff.
This chain letter below was found among Bill’s letters. It is a typical Send-a-Dime money chain letter.

chain letter jpeg0001Also on May 27, 1935, Bill received a letter from Leroy. Leroy was hopeful that he would be getting a job with American Products in Cincinnati, although he wanted the Kansas City dealership. “If I get the agency I should make about $40 a week; but if I could have gotten the dealership, I could have made $60 and up (not too bad).” It is an excellent possibility that this is same Leroy F. Magee who later that summer sent Bill an invitation to attend his high school graduation at Southwest High School on June 5, 1935.

southwest hs0001 croppedfin

Some letters raised some intriguing questions, like the unsigned letter dated June 6, 1935, presumably from a young woman that reads, “Dearest Bill, I want to tell you that I had a wonderful time last night and I am honest and truly sorry for the way I acted … ”

Ken “Dagger” Davis from 7128 Jefferson typed a letter to Bill on June 21, 1935, addressing him comically as “Senore William.” Mr. Davis talked about his romantic conquests on the dance floor, and then the dialogue turned a little sad.

“Say old pal do you think that if I come down there I could find something to do. As you probably know there is nothing doing here. I have been going out on the road with my cousin while he sells shoes. In fact I just got back from Atchinson with him. … My birthday is next month you know and I was just wondering where in the devil I’ll be. I might try to come down to New Mexico there if you think I could find anything to do. Do you?”

It’s interesting to me how many young men wrote Bill as well as young ladies. One unsigned letter from a young man confesses to Bill, “I had another enjoyable evening and this time brought her home (in cousin’s truck). I did not kiss good night maybe because I am too bashful or perhaps I thought it better to be a gentleman. I told her to be sure to wash behind her ears and she told me to be sure and changed my socks.”

One letter is from Des Moines in August, 1935 from Ruth who is on her way to California to find work. “I’ll have an address when we get there so you can write to me then.”

Sometime in the summer of 1935, Bill moved back to Kansas City from New Mexico. It seemed as though Bill left a string of broken hearts wherever he lived. One letter dated August 1935 has “Avis” writing, “I miss your bright and smiling face. Why don’t you take another sudden notion and rush back to this beautiful city of Artesia—no, don’t. I like you too much to wish that misery upon you even for selfish reasons.”

So many references in the letters were about dancing and going to dances. The letters didn’t mention dance marathons by name, but it would have been the right time in history. Dance marathons spread from New Orleans to Chicago to Kansas City to Harlem. Dance marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money.

And, Bill must have been a very good dancer.

Ruth writes on Aug. 4, 1935, “If you go to a dance tomorrow night I’ll pretend that I’m dancing with you every dance!”

A few things strike you about these letters. They are beautifully written and they are long. Thank goodness there was no 140-character Twitter max back in those days. Another is just the feeling you get from those youthful voices who are talking about going to business school, or becoming hair stylists and secretaries.

I don’t know how long the Dooleys lived in our house, but I can say one thing. Sometimes I smell cologne and can imagine a handsome young man shining his shoes and whistling, combing his hair and smiling, getting ready to trip the light fantastic with a bevy of Waldo beauties.

Did Bill marry Lois or Ruth or Jo?  Do they have grandchildren still living in Kansas City?  If anyone reading this knows of this family or any of the others mentioned here, please let me know at towertalkwaldo@gmail.com.  And, if you, too, have found treasures in your attic, I would like to feature your finds.
Kathie Kerr

Here’s a postcard we found with the letters.

old car postcard0001back of car postcard0001

Wonder who these children were?  Photo found with letters.

group shot of kids0001

motor vehicle0001 Traffic code booklet from 1932

Letter from Lois0001


Lois letter 2 & 30001

Letter from Ms. Flynn0001

dickinson secretarial school 20001Dickinson secretarial school0001

letter spread 20001

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