As low as $1 for 3 months
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Challenges were met, and we look to better days

The Examiner

As we wave goodbye to 2020, please feel free to use whatever number of fingers you may think appropriate.

Which brings me to the topic of this column: my new year wishes for 2021.

Wish number one: To all of us, that we may soon eradicate this whole health threat with vaccinations, and go back to life as we knew it before we’d ever heard “coronavirus” on a newscast, if that is even possible. I sure hope so.

Ken Garten

To Chiefs fans everywhere, another Super Bowl victory, and high praise to the Chiefs organization from top to bottom, from Clark Hunt to Brett Veach and Andy Reid – you’ve brought us a team and organization that we can be proud of. Let’s win another Super Bowl.

To Jackson County Circuit Judge David Byrn, a happy return to the life of your courtroom duties, after serving a two-year term as the court’s presiding judge. In Jackson County, the 19 circuit judges serve rotating two-year terms as the “PJ,” relinquishing their courtroom for two years to pull desk duty as the administrative head of the court, dealing with docketing issues, personnel issues, facilities issues, public relations issues and security issues – all that fun stuff.

It can be a tough job.

As one circuit judge once said on the occasion of his return to the courtroom after his term as presiding judge, “If there’s a happier man than me right now, I want to meet him.”

Over the last two years, Judge Byrn has endured having a number of challenging issues that were thrust upon the court: problems at the Jackson County jail; controversy over security issues at the Courthouse after some out-of-town lawyer apparently tried to wander through court security packing a loaded firearm; a courthouse flood and pervasive elevator problems that greatly gummed up the works at the downtown Courthouse; disfunction in the county executive’s office; and not to be overlooked, the crippling of the function of the court, and pretty much every other aspect of our lives, caused by the pandemic.

Yes, it has been an unimaginably challenging two years to be the administrative head of the court, and I’m happy for Judge Byrn, a long-time Blue Springs lawyer before ascending to the bench in 2008, that his term as presiding judge is concluded and he may return to his circuit judge duties.

OK, back to the wishes:

To Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs, the very best of luck and good wishes as you begin your term as PJ.

To my beloved Kansas City Royals, a return to respectability, and perhaps even better than that, with our new ownership, a revamped roster, youth movement, emphasis on stockpiling pitching, and organizational culture and stability. Is catching lighting in a bottle in 2021 truly possible?

To my buddy and legal comrade Brando, and his beautiful wife Jessica: The best of all fortune and happiness as you welcome your first child into the world – any minute now, in fact. You will be fantastic parents, and your baby will be blessed indeed.

To those in jobs and industries that have been hit by financial disaster: survival and recovery.

To all of those who have lost friends and loved ones: comfort and healing.

To all of my friends, loved ones, and everyone else too: good health and happiness in 2021.

Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at