In the Loop



Another patch of Kansas City history is, well, just that. History.
Benjamin Ranch, also known as Benjamin Stables to generations of metro area riders and revelers, went on the auction block Dec. 27. Everything from basic ranch stuff to the iconic stagecoach were up for bids, all remnants of the second-oldest continuous business in Kansas City.
Morris Benjamin and his family created the ranch as a dairy farm in 1885 after emigrating from Russia. It evolved into an entertainment mainstay in the area, until economics, bad karma from the neighboring Bannister Mall and the needs of the adjacent Cerner complex sealed its fate.
Bob Faulkner, whose family leased the ranch from the Benjamin family 25 years ago, said several revivals never had staying power. It was popular for weddings, and the Hispanic community provided steady patronage for Sunday horse races, concert rodeos and other cultural events. But it was never enough.
“The area is coming back,” he says. “If (the ranch) could have been upgraded, it could have been perfect with all the synergy for Cerner in the area — all the site meetings and events related to that business.”
But Cerner has other needs for the land, so the barn on the hill east of I-435 on 87th Street and everything tied to it had to go.
The events portion of the business is now handled at Faulkner’s Ranch a few miles south on Raytown Road. Lost forever is the experience of riding docile horses with young friends along tranquil trails and stopping on the ridge to savor the view of pastoral land as far as the eye could see.
That, like the ranch, is history, too.
Call for cutest pet entries
Do you have the cutest pet in KC? Enter 435 Magazine’s fifth annual Cutest Pet Contest to give your adorable animal a shot at his/her 15 minutes of fame. Enter by visiting 435mag.com. Voting will take place through Jan. 15 on 435 Magazine’s Facebook page and website. Our March issue will feature the top dog (or cat) and the top five voting selections win valuable prizes provided by our local sponsors.
Wil Jenny’s hosts Battle of the Bands
Sunday, Jan. 26, Wil Jenny’s at 135th & Metcalf will once again host the annual Battle of the Bands. From 2 to 5 p.m., area bands, whose members are mostly Blue Valley school parents representing several schools, will take the stage. Guests will vote for their favorite performance by an unscientific applause-o-meter. Proceeds benefit the Blue Valley Education Foundation. Tickets are just $10 at the door.
Esquire magazine blogs the positive aspects of Boulevard’s sale to  Duvel
With many devout beer lovers crying over foamy mugs about the recent sale of their beloved Boulevard Brewery to Europe’s Duvel Moortgat, Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb spins a different take on the transaction, identifying three main benefits local beer lovers should consider.
First, Goldfarb asserts, “For a company like Boulevard, their owners (like founder/CEO John McDonald) who have slaved over heavy grain bags and hot wort for the last 25 years now make some serious bank. How can we be mad at hard-working people we admire being rewarded, especially when current employees and the local community get to benefit as well?”
“Even better, “ Goldfarb continues, “more selfishly for me — now Boulevard will almost certainly become available in places it’s never been distributed before, like say, New York City, where I live.”
Lastly, “Just because big breweries have long been bastions of watery crap doesn’t mean they always have to be. They’re clearly starting to realize this as they acquire quality craft brewers.”
Children’s Mercy expands services in southern Johnson County
On Dec. 12 Children’s Mercy Blue Valley opened the doors of a brand new 15,000-square-foot location offering urgent care services, sports medicine clinics and sports physical therapy. The new facility includes 16 exam rooms specifically designed to serve urgent care needs and sports-related injuries, and a state-of-the-art, 3,500-square-foot sports medicine gym which includes a track lane, small basketball court and exercise equipment for sports physical therapy.
Typical conditions seen in urgent care may include abdominal complaints, minor allergic reactions, minor cuts and burns, respiratory conditions, simple fractures, strains and sprains, seasonal illnesses, and uncomplicated skin rashes and lesions. Children’s Mercy Blue Valley also features radiology services, with plain film X-ray and lab testing including CBC, BMP, rapid strep, mono, influenza and RSV, as well as glucose, hemoglobin and urinalysis.
Patients requiring emergency services will be referred to the pediatric emergency departments at Children’s Mercy South, 5808 W. 110th in Overland Park, or the Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and Emergency Department at Children’s Mercy Hospital Adele Hall Campus, 2401 Gillham Rd., in Kansas City, Mo.
Children’s Mercy Blue Valley recently recognized The Trent Green Family Foundation, Nick and Jake’s “Fore the Kids” golf tournament and George Shaw Construction for donating combined gifts of almost $250,000 to assist with the opening of the facility.
With the opening of the Blue Valley facility, Children’s Mercy Urgent Care College Boulevard, 5520 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan., will no longer offer urgent care.
Urgent Care at Children’s Mercy Blue Valley is offered every day, noon to 10 p.m.
Schlitterbahn to open world’s tallest, fastest, most extreme water slide
Schlitterbahn Waterpark recently received national recognition after announcing the construction of the world’s tallest and fastest water slide. Aptly named “Verrückt” — or “insane” in German — Meg-a-Blaster, the slide will open in Spring 2014.
The proposed structure will reportedly reach a height equivalent to a 17-story building with riders experiencing speeds reaching 65 mph.
There are 264 steps to the deck at the top of the slide’s tower. The soaring structure is not for the timid and is being designed as a four-person ride using an inflatable raft as the vehicle. It is not a straight shot from top to bottom. There will be an uphill component near the end of the slide to slow the rider before splashing into a pool at the bottom, giving riders more of a roller coaster experience.
The current world-record holder for tallest slide is held by Kilimanjaro at Aquas Quentes Country Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Visit Schlitterblog.com to watch the construction progress.