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Training Camp welcomes over 15,000 fans

Chiefs Training Camp is back in action and giving many fans several opportunities to see the team in action before the upcoming season.

This weekend was a record-breaking weekend with over 15,000 fans visiting the camp the first two days. The first day broke an opening day record with over 8,000 fans and the second day had over 7,000 fans visit, which was the second largest crowd to watch practice at the Mosaic Life Care Training Fields. For most fans, their main goal was to get an autograph from MVP Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

9-year-old Eden Comeau had a sign she carried around all day with Mahomes’ face on it. This was Comeau’s first time at Chiefs camp, and she said she enjoyed the day, but more importantly, she enjoyed everything Mahomes did.

“We got snow cones and we got to see Patrick Mahomes,” Comeau said. “I liked watching Patrick Mahomes go down the hill. I love him. It’s really fun here.”

Many fans enjoyed the camp experience as a whole. From the food, the merchandise, the practice and much more, the sea of red and gold had many satisfied fans.

Chris Nicholson has been a Chiefs fan his whole life, but this was the first year he got to experience the camp.

“I like the environment, you know,” Nicholson said. “I mean, to see all the fans come together, you know what I mean, and make a really nice training day, it’s awesome.”

Several fans not only enjoyed seeing the team, but also the amount of support the team had.

Daniel Baker is 19 years old and has enjoyed watching the Chiefs his whole life. He also enjoyed getting to see a crowd of people who loved the team as well.

“It’s an awesome event,” Baker said. “It’s like, this isn’t an everyday thing and to see all these people come out here, all the way to St. Joe just to see our team is really good. I don’t think there’s a lot of NFL teams that would have this kind of a turn out, so it’s really good to see.”

The crowd had a wide variety of fans. From newborns to an older generation, there was something to do and see for everyone.

Chuck Jansen has been a fan for over 35 years, but was the camp for the first time this weekend.

“Oh we love it up here in St. Joseph,” Jansen said. “We’re tickled how you guys have opened your arms to the Chiefs and really helped us out. We’re a family.”

After the last season, Chiefs fans have high hopes and expectations for what this next year will bring.

Nicholson encourages everyone to come watch the team this year, because he believes the team can win it all.

“People should come out this season because we’re gonna be in the super bowl,” Nicholson said.

The Chiefs have many more practices scattered throughout the rest of July and early August as they continue to prepare for this fall. More information can be found at https://www.chiefs.com/trainingcamp/schedule.


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City takes step toward new water feature

The approval of a design contract by the St. Joseph City Council is the first step toward a new phase of major improvements at Hyde Park.

The Council voted on a $191,468 contract with Ellison Auxier Architects to perform design services for a splash park on the city’s South Side.

Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities Jeff Atkins said this contract is the start of a multiphase project that has been a long time coming.

“It’s happening,” Atkins said. “It’s no longer that we’re talking about it, things are actually happening now.”

In 2017, the public was invited to several meetings to tell City Staff what they would like to see happen at Hyde. That same year, the baseball complex at Hyde was completed, marking phase one of a master plan to upgrade the entire park.

Citizens we’re interested in a water feature to replace the now demolished Hyde Pool. Out of 1,064 who were surveyed, 609 were interested in a combination splash park with a pool.

Atkins said this phase will focus on the splash park, which will be built in the main parking lot at Hyde. A second water feature, possibly a pool, could be built during the next step.

New parking spaces will be built around Hyde beginning this year with the goal of ending up with more spaces than what will be lost for the splash park.

Construction on the splash park will begin in July of next year. The exact features that will come with it are not yet known, but Atkins said they plan to use a recirculating system in order to take advantage of more water.

“It’ll have play features kids will be able to get on to with a couple of slides probably coming off from it,” Atkins said. “There may be water gun type things where kids can shoot each other. They’ll be water coming from above, water coming from below. It’s just whatever you can imagine with a great big water park.”

The next phase of the Hyde Park improvement plan will likely involve upgrades to the old pool house, though it has not been decided yet how that building will be used. A second water feature could tie in to that structure.

Eventually the area where the horseshoe pits are will also be improved as well.

The splash park is expected to be open by spring of 2021.


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East Hills stays relevant by focusing on community

More than half of consumers prefer to do their shopping online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores, according to a report by Business 2 Community.

While many malls and shopping centers across the country suffer the consequences, the marketing team of East Hills Shopping Center in St. Joseph said the local facility is doing just fine, partly due to efforts to offer more than shopping.

“I think as people we like an experience,” marketing director Tyson Huff-Garza said. “And I think that that’s what we want it to be, an experience.”

Community is one aspect East Hills focuses on when planning events in order to stay relevant and offer shoppers a richer experience, according to marketing coordinator Kaitlyn Doolan.

“Not a lot of people want to just come and shop, they want to do other things while they shop, they want to eat, they want to play, they want to see their family and friends. It’s more than just shopping,” Doolan said.

The food court at East Hills recently suffered water damage that forced the temporary closure of the area. Work on the mall’s roof allowed water to leak through the food court ceiling, according to Huff-Garza.

“The work is finished now, so we don’t anticipate this happening again,” he said.

East Hills currently has an open spot in the food court and a few empty stores, but Huff-Garza expects to fill them quickly.

“We have a whole list of people who are interested in coming to the mall,” he said. “It’s a long list that we’re excited about. So I think that that’ll help hopefully fill those spots, make a change and get us back to occupancy quickly.”

Shopper Debby Comstock said she’s not a fan of online shopping and instead comes to East Hills for her needs, often with her grandchildren.

“Anything you need or want you can get here,” Comstock said. “I have three of my grandchildren out here with me today and it feels safe. There’s always security on duty and I always know where they are.”

Huff-Garza said shoppers can look forward to more fall and winter events this year, as well as a special promotion marking the fifth anniversary of East Hills’ “terrible mall commercial” that landed Huff-Garza on the “Ellen Show.”

“This August will be five years of terrible best mall commercial, and so we’re going to do a reunion marketing,” Huff-Garza said.

Fans of the commercial will have to wait a bit longer for details, Huff-Garza said.


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Ice cream shops benefit from recent heat wave

Ketchup and mustard, salt and pepper and peanut butter and jelly are some iconic duos. You cannot have one without the other. Now to add another one of those to the list: summer heat and ice cream.

The months of June and July equal nonstop lines for indoor and outdoor ice cream shops. With a recent week being the hottest this summer, it would seem to make sense for ice cream sales to be up.

“Oh yes, we were slammed last week,” Haylee Manson, a Dairy Queen manager said. “We had both foot and drive-thru traffic non-stop all day, specifically with ice cream.”

Manson has been working at this Dairy Queen for eight years. She doesn’t think any previous summers have been busier than this one.

“I just had been talking with my co-workers about this. This has seriously been the busiest summer we have had since I have started working here,” Manson said.

Her Dairy Queen has the advantage of being indoors with air conditioning for the dog days of summer. Outdoor ice cream shops don’t see quite the traffic when it’s particularly hot outside, but things remained pretty normal in terms of sales.

One new ice cream shop in town, Holy Cow Creamery, is one of those outdoor shops. The owner, Sawyer Crandell, commented on whether the heat impacted his business at all recently.

“Not particularly actually,” Crandell said. “I think we have had people not coming out in the middle of the day. People wait until the sun goes down usually.”

Outdoor ice cream shop sales don’t decrease in the heat, but many don’t necessarily see a big spike either. Dairy Queen staff were not able to say the exact amount that ice cream sales increased in the hottest week of the summer, but they had a good estimate.

“Twice as much ice cream at least, compared to the first weeks of the summer,” Manson said.