Around Town 5

Food Equality Initiative Leads the Way

Food Equality Initiative, Inc. (FEI) is the nation’s leading non-profit focused solely on increasing access to gluten free and allergy friendly food for those who are food insecure, but have a medical need for these foods.

The organization is best known for opening the ReNewed Health food pantry. It is the only pantry in the nation that offers allergy friendly and gluten free food to those who struggle with food insecurity and celiac disease or food allergies. Without consistent access to these foods, many people and families struggle with malnutrition on top of their diagnoses.

Advocating for inclusion of allergy friendly and gluten free foods in the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program, the non-profit is working with the National WIC Association to realize how that can be accomplished.  The WIC program was designed to help those who are most nutritionally vulnerable, low income children who are under age 5.  However, a child with multiple food allergies, misses out on many of the foods offered in the program, creating a huge nutritional gap for that child.

A medical advisory board consisting of doctors and other medical practitioners from Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas University Medical Center and more, guide the organization in their efforts.

Area Homebuilders Post Best November in Eight Years

Kansas City area homebuilders had their best November since 2007, with 15 percent more single-family permits issued than in November of 2014. The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City reports 360 single family permits were issued last month, compared with 312 permits issued in November 2014.

“The November housing permit report for Kansas City offers fresh evidence that the housing recovery is in full swing. The HBA expects homebuilders in the region will continue to build inventory throughout the winter months, weather permitting,” says Sara Corless, HBA executive vice president.

NAHB Chairman Tom Woods says, “The November gains in both single- and multi-family starts show that the overall market continues to move forward. As builders anticipate more consumer demand for housing, they should continue to add inventory.” Johnson County led the region with 123 single-family housing permits issued in November, followed by Jackson County with 72 permits issued and Clay County with 51 permits.

Power The Tower

An effort is underway to put lighting back on the KCTV tower located at 31st Street and Grand and to reestablish it as a notable Kansas City landmark. Since it debuted as the tallest free standing tower in the world in 1955, it has served as the centerpiece of our skyline, yet many feel it is under-appreciated as an icon.

The new lighting would include 5400 LED bulbs. A group is seeking to raise $100,000 to complete the project and fund raising efforts are underway. Read more at​

Your Child’s Party Needs Rose

Parties by Rose is now available for birthday parties and other special events in the Kansas City area. Rose brings lovable characters from familiar stories straight to your event, with elaborate shows, music and magical interactions with children. From Elsa and Anna in Frozen, to your favorite superheroes, you will not be disappointed. Her most famous character is Laguna, the mermaid who will entertain and swim with guests, tell stories, play games and act as magical ambiance. Kids love it!

Rose has a lifelong background in theatre, from acting and singing to dancing, stage design, costume design, makeup and hair and more. She manages all elements of the business and can be contacted at or 913.963.4241.

Heart of America Council’s Patron Luncheon

Friends and supporters of the Heart of America Scout Council are invited to the annual Patron Luncheon on Thursday, March 3, at the Kansas City Marriott Muehlebach Hotel. The Patron Luncheon is a fundraising initiative and integral part of the Heart of America Council’s “Investment in Character” campaign that raises the much needed funds to support quality youth developmental programs that teach leadership skills and values. This investment in Scouting ensures that more than 33,000 youth in the 19 counties served by the Heart of America Council will receive a life-changing program.

The featured speaker for the event is U.S. Army master pilot and best-selling author Michael Durant, whose story as a captured POW was the inspiration for the book and the film Black Hawk Down.  Stephen Hooley, CEO, DST Systems, serves as the Patron Luncheon Chairman.  To learn more about the luncheon contact Kristan Townley at

New Bus Service Connects OP 
to KU Med Center

A new expansion of bus service will give Johnson County residents more options when commuting to the University of Kansas Medical Center complex.

The new weekday service began in early January and provides more trips from the Mission Transit Center on Johnson Drive to the medical center. Route service will continue north into downtown Kansas City, Kans., from the medical center.

Morning northbound service from Mission to KUMC will operate hourly from 5:39 a.m. – 8:38 a.m. Afternoon southbound service from the medical center to Mission will operate hourly from 2:45 p.m. – 5:44 p.m. The expanded schedule will offer four roundtrip options for morning and afternoon rush hour. Previously, there were only two, one-way northbound trips in the morning to the medical center from Mission and two, one-way southbound trips in the afternoon.
The area serves an estimated 10,000 employees, staff and students every day, many who live in parts of northeast Johnson County. Parking can be difficult since there are only 5,000 parking slots in the medical center area.

For more information, visit

Nothing Bundt Cakes Now Open in Mission

Nothing Bundt Cakes in Overland Park has recently expanded to an additional location. Their second store is now open at 6850 Johnson Drive. They opened their doors a few months ago and love being a part of the fantastic growth in Mission. To reach the Bundt cakes team at the Mission location, email them at or give them a call for your next party at 913.384.2707.

Blue Valley Teachers Recognized for Excellence

In their first year of teaching, Stefanie Hagemann and Andrew Hulse impressed students, parents and colleagues, and awed a few Kansas state officials as well. These two teachers were honored for their first-year teaching talents and their commitment to academic success for every student. The Kansas Department of Education named Hagemann, fifth grade teacher at Prairie Star Elementary, and Hulse, science teacher at Blue Valley High, as recipients of the 2016 Kansas Horizon Award.

A Note From Our Editor

We mistakenly listed the wrong phone number for Dr. Michael Barnthouse in our January article. Dr. Barnthouse’s  office, offering SottoPelle® Therapy can be reached at 816.941.0700. Our apologies for any confusion this may have caused.