The best quotes come when I’m least expecting them. Except for major news stories or in-depth features, I stopped writing out interview questions in advance a long time ago. This was mostly because of time constraints, but also I prefer to make interviews as conversational as possible.

I’ve never been a “just give me a quote and we’ll call it good”-type of a reporter.

Sure, I call people and ask for comments to fill out a story, but I’m not looking for “a quote,” a sound bite in print, just to beef up a story.

That’s because I’m a firm believer that the best quotes come when I’m least expecting them. Except for major news stories or in-depth features, I stopped writing out interview questions in advance a long time ago. This was mostly because of time constraints, but also I prefer to make interviews as conversational as possible.

And it is in casual, daily conversation that the best, truest words are spoken.

That said, I do love a good quote. It has the ability to move a story forward, to make a strong transition from one idea to the next, and I try to be as picky as possible when selecting which direct quotes I use in each story.

But what is a good quote to me might seem ordinary or boring to others. And, that’s OK, because direct quotes, like anything else in the English language, are open for interpretation.

I know it’s the end of the year, and everyone is probably burned out on “best of” lists, but I thought I’d try something new in 2011 as I recap 10 memorable quotes spoken this year on my city beat.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but as I was scrolling through file after file, recapping the stories I’ve written in the past 12 months, these immediately stood out.


10 Mayor Don Reimal, Jan. 13.

“That’s what we ask ourselves sometimes, too,” Reimal told the Independence Ministerial Alliance during his annual address before the group. He was referring to a question that leaders of other area municipalities often ask him and Independence officials: “How do you guys keep it going?”

9 Jennifer Clark, Feb. 24.

“Growth is always a good thing,” said Clark, director of the city’s Community Development Department, in response to the 2010 Independence population count of 116,830. “It’s certainly a positive increase, and we’re always happy to see continuing growth in the community.”

8 Will Swoffer, Feb. 28.

“Whether it’s the City Council or someplace else, I’ll be there doing what I can do,” District 2 Council Member Swoffer said of trying his best to attend council meetings regularly despite his ongoing battle with cancer. Swoffer died June 21 of bone and prostate cancer. He was 72.

7 JimSchultz, March 7.

“I’m grateful to live in a country where they have an opportunity to come up and share their views, even if they do disagree,” At-Large Council Member Schultz said of two citizens, former council member Jason White and Bill Wagner, who publicly disagreed with several of the council’s actions.

6 Diane Brockman, March 15.

“One question people asked was, ‘Are all your caves underground?’” said Brockman, who retired after 34 years of employment with the city, most of which was with the Tourism Department. “People also wanted to know ‘Where can I get married in Independence if I don’t want to get married in a church?’”

5 Byron Constance, March 18.

“We’ve been victims of the economy, along with a lot of other people and a lot of other businesses. It slowed us down substantially,” said Constance, a well-known Independence lawyer and attorney who is part of Crackerneck Creek LLC. Constance was referring to the ongoing struggling nature of The Falls at Crackerneck Creek, which is anchored by Bass Pro Shops.

4 Myron Paris, May 5.

“You know, we’re going through some tough times. Everyone knows that, and everyone realizes that,” District 3 Council Member Paris said at the first in a handful of budget meetings for fiscal year 2011-12.

3 Larry Jones, June 6.

“We are overflowing with cats. We have them everywhere we can possibly put them,” Jones, the Independence Health Department director, said at the Independence Animal Shelter. June was National Adopt-A-Cat Month, and the City Council approved special rates to encourage the adoption of cats.

2 Bill Gaither, Oct. 12.

“I love Independence,” the legendary Southern gospel musician Gaither said prior to a three-performance run at the city-owned Independence Events Center, his second appearance at the venue since December 2010.

1 Tom Dailey, Dec. 5.

“We have squeezed all of the efficiency we’re going to squeeze out of this police department,” the police chief told the City Council as he unveiled a new strategic policing plan highly contingent upon the passage of a property tax increase in April.