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Jeff Fox: Always on the lookout for opportunity

Staff Writer
The Examiner
The Examiner

Jackson County Legislator Tony Miller, D-Lee’s Summit, raised a revenue opportunity the other day.

County beaches are closed and the golf course opened late, both thanks to the pandemic. It means less revenue coming in for the Parks + Rec Department.

“On the flip side, I have never seen more people on trails and engaged in those outdoor activities,” Miller said. “I wonder if, thinking forward, if we’re brainstorming about revenue opportunities that could be attached to those trails.”

“I mean it seems like,” he said, “that would be low-hanging fruit to have amenities available, you know, somewhere to get a drink, somewhere to go to the restroom, somewhere to, I don’t know, have a meal or something. … Because there’s tons of people out there.”

Having done some bicycling over the years – and knowing the sting of disappointment when the next trailhead does not have the cold drink or other simple amenities that the map promised – I say why not? On a hot day, shade, Gatorade and a banana are a welcome respite.

Paying at the pump

Gas prices continue to drift lower. A year ago this week, gas was approximately $2.40 a gallon in the Kansas City area and $2.65 nationwide, according to

Then prices rose a bit after Labor Day, declined modestly through fall and winter, then dropped dramatically as COVID-19 took its grip this spring – hitting $1.42 in Kansas City in early May – then recovered in June and have declined slightly week by week since then. As of Tuesday, the Kansas City area average was $1.91, and the national average was $2.18.

AAA says demand for gas continues to fluctuate and prices will likely do the same.

Lake City changes

XPO Logistics Supply Chain has announced 70 layoffs at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, taking effect in the last two weeks of September. Oct. 1 is when the new Lake City operator, Olin Winchester, takes over for Northrop Grumman, which has used XPO as a subcontractor. Those laid off include drivers, clerks, managers and others.

Quick hits

Aldi is moving one of its Independence stores. The store that has been at 11605 E. 23rd St. for 42 years is closing Aug. 18 and being replaced the next day by one at 11004 E. U.S. 40, just west of Sterling Avenue. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. … Laser, No Razor at 609 N.E. Woods Chapel Road in Lee’s Summit has a ribbon-cutting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. … Classy Canines, 17601 East U.S. 40, Suite F (the strip of stores behind Salty Iguana) in Independence, has a ribbon-cutting starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. … Blood remains in short, short supply. The Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce is involved with a blood drive planned for noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 at Blue Springs Christian Church, 7920 S. Missouri 7. Go to to sign up. … The Ennovation Center, a business incubator run by the Independence Economic Development Council, has a new client, Tamaleon KC. It sells Mexican food at a food truck at U.S. 40 and Interstate 70, and it does catering.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at He’s on Twitter at @FoxEJC.