The Hilton Garden Inn in Independence has a new owner, and a renovation is planned.

Hawkeye Hotels said Tuesday it will keep the Hilton Garden Inn name at the 13-year-old franchise hotel. Hawkeye, based in Iowa City, Iowa, owns more than 40 hotels – including ones in Hannibal and Columbia – in 13 states from Colorado to Virginia.

On Monday, Hawkeye announced that it had brought the 201-room hotel, which had been in receivership for more than a year, at auction. It did not disclose a price but said the bidding was competitive.

The hotel has 11,330 square feet of meeting space, including a ballroom, and can handle gatherings of up to 1,400 people. It’s also attached to the Hereford House restaurant. It got a $4 million upgrade in 2010 – lobby, guest rooms – and Hawkeye also plans lobby and guest room upgrades.

The price of driving

Gas. Grr.

It happened again a couple of days ago. The price of gasoline, for no immediately apparent reason, jumped a couple of dimes.

So where do we stand? The price of the average gallon in Missouri on Tuesday was $3.09.8, according to That’s 21 cents lower than the national average.

And it’s rising. The statewide price is a couple of cents higher than a week ago and about four cents higher than a month ago – but it’s 33 cents lower than a year ago.

Missouri continues to enjoy some of the cheapest gasoline in the country. Drivers in parts of New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, and, of course, most of California, are paying $3.60 or more per gallon.

New owner

Gambino’s Pizza in Grain Valley has a new owner/operator. Michael Caley took over Feb. 1. Gambino’s is at 1430 S.W. Eagles Parkway.

The company, based in Wichita, Kan., has 49 locations in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, including five in the metro area.

This is Caley’s second site. Caley, who for years owned several Waffle House restaurants in the area, has had the Gambino’s on Woods Chapel Road in Lee’s Summit since December,

“I love the pizza,” Caley says. “It’s a great business.”

Tax tip time

We’re in the midst of tax-filing season, and the Missouri Department of Revenue has some suggestions:

• The IRS began processing individual tax returns on Jan. 31, and the sooner both state and federal taxes are filed, the sooner a refund will go out. Waiting until the April 15 deadline will stretch out the time for your refund.

• Eight out of 10 Missourians files electronically, and the Department of Revenue says that’s a good idea. Many people qualify for free electronic filing through the Federal Free File Alliance. Check that out at

• Even if you want to mail in your taxes, the department suggests printing off electronic forms and mailing those. The agency says that saves times and cuts down on errors. Forms for the 2013 tax year are available at The forms include a bar code that helps speed processing. The forms with the bar code also allow for direct deposit of refunds.

• If you’re using a public computer, such as one at a library, don’t save drafts of confidential returns.

• Ask questions. Call the department at 573-751-3505 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, or send an email to To see someone in person, go to one of the department’s tax assistance centers. The nearest is at 615 E. 13th St. (13th and Cherry), room 127, in downtown Kansas City.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’ s business reporter and editor. Reach him at or 816-350-6313. Follow on Twitter @FoxEJC or @Jeff_Fox.