Our Top 5 Kansas City Parks To Visit!

We’ve found ourselves outside more lately because the weather has been so nice.  We thought it would be fun to do a roundup of 5 of our favorite parks in Kansas City!  Let us know if you have a favorite park of your own.

If you want to find a park close to you that’s not on this list, be sure to check out the Johnson County Park and Recreation District website, or the Kansas City Parks website.  There are hundreds of parks in Kansas City!

Parks in Kansas

Antioch ParkAntioch Park – 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam, KS

The forty four acre Antioch park features new or updated amenities such as two fishing lakes, walking path, tennis courts, picnic shelters, basketball courts, restrooms, playground, paved parking, and cook out grills. Antioch Park attracts up to 700,000 visitors each year.

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park – 87th Street and Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS

The 53 acre Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park has one swimming pool, a three-acre lake, a gazebo/bandstand, five picnic areas, six reservable shelters, four jogging/walking trails, three soccer 1/2 fields, five playground areas, six open play areas, two sand volleyball courts, four lighted tennis courts, a basketball court, a baseball field, community garden, Legler Barn Historical Museum, railroad caboose and a restored railroad museum.

Shawnee Mission ParkShawnee Mission Park – 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS

Shawnee Mission Park is home to a number of fantastic amenities as well as a beautiful 120-acre lake. The beautiful scenic lake is a very popular spot for boating, fishing, sail boarding, and much more. The park also has eleven spacious shelters, numerous picnic areas, nature trails, play areas, an archery range, a 53-acre dog off-leash area, a disc golf course, and is a great place to enjoy mountain biking and horseback riding.


Parks in Missouri

Loose Park – 5200 Wornall, Kansas City, MO

At 75-acres, Jacob L. Loose Park is one of Kansas City’s most popular, beautiful and historical parks. It’s well known locally as being a major site for the Battle of Westport.  It’s where Confederate forces were routed by Union forces in the area in which the park is now located.  The 75 acre park features a playground with a sand pit and small rock wall, a beautiful pond, fields perfect for kite flying, frisbee, or ball games, spraygrounds, tennis courts, paved trails, and a beautiful rose garden.

Penguin ParkPenguin Park – North Vivion Road and North Norton Avenue, Kansas City, MO

Vernon Jones, the Kansas City North parks district supervisor, created and built figures for Santa’s Wonderland in Gillham Park. After another employee made a miniature penguin for Santa’s Wonderland, Jones decided to build a large penguin in 1964. The penguin was placed on the northern area of Lakewood Greenway and was a hit.  The park has a shelter house with picnic tables, restrooms, and playgrounds for all ages (swings, slides, climbing equipment, merry-go-round, spring animals, and more). The 1.88-mile Lakewood Greenway Trail runs through the park.


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Natural Gas Leaks : Here’s What You Need to Know

Natural Gas – The Basics

Did you know that natural gas provides a quarter of all the energy used in the United States?  It’s amazing to think about the fact that natural gas travels through more than 2 million miles of underground pipe to get to your home or business.  Gas utilities serve more than 68 million residential customers and more than 5 million businesses.

We rely on natural gas for heating and cooking.  It’s an important part of our lives.  But if not maintained properly, natural gas explosions can cause serious injury and death.  Here’s an example of a residential natural gas explosion that happened in September of 2014.  Also, you might remember the explosion at JJ’s on the Plaza in 2013.

How To Detect a Gas Leak

Natural Gas is odorless; therefore, an additive that causes a “rotten egg” smell when the gas is in the air is mixed with the methane before the natural gas is delivered to the general public.  In the event of a leak, you should be able to smell this distinct odor.  Another way to detect a gas leak is if you notice dead or discolored vegetation near a natural gas source.


(Photo by Midwest Natural Gas, Inc.)

What To Do If You Discover a Gas Leak

Natural-Gas-Today-NewsThe Today Show recently did a report on natural gas leaks, and had a great list of what to do if you discover a natural gas leak:

  • If you notice something obviously wrong like sparks or flames, evacuate your house immediately and call 911. “You want to make sure that you’re at a safe distance,” Altman advised. “You want to make sure you’re across the street somewhere that you feel safe, and once you get there, you want to make sure you dial 911 from there.”
  • If you don’t notice anything obviously wrong, make sure all the burners on your gas stove are turned off.
  • If the stove is off and you suspect a leak, don’t turn on the lights. “That could lead to a spark, which causes an explosion,” Altman said. “You want to make sure you have a flashlight handy.”
  • Open all the doors and windows. “You want to make sure you ventilate the house,” Altman said.
  • If you suddenly notice your grass or shrubs have changed color, looking more brown or rusty, that could be a sign of a leak: the gas pouring out of the pipes. If you see any of these things, make sure to call 911 immediately and then call the gas company.
  • If you have turned the gas off in your home, do not try to turn it back on yourself; call the gas company to do that for you.

If you are one of our renters, please get the situation under control using the tips above and then let us know what happened.  Everyone should know how to detect and respond to a natural gas leak!

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Our Staff Weighs In – Top 5 BBQ Joints in Kansas City!

We asked our staff the question, “What is your favorite BBQ joint in Kansas City?”  It was interesting to find that this wasn’t necessarily the easiest question to answer.  Many struggled with naming one specific place.  They like the ribs at one place, the sides at another, and the pulled pork at a completely different place.  It’s obviously a good question because it sparked some real debate.

For those that enjoy BBQ, there are plenty of great option in Kansas City.

Top 5 BBQ Joints in Kansas City

  1. Joe’s KC (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s)
  2. Arthur Bryant’s
  3. Jack Stack
  4. Haywards Pit BBQ
  5. Q39 (fairly new, but really good.  Near KU Med.)

Joes-KC-BBQThe winner: Joe’s Kansas City.

For those of you that don’t know, Joe’s KC was formerly called Oklahoma Joe’s.  Their first restaurant was in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  But that location is closed.  And the owners moved and opened multiple locations in Kansas City.  The re-branding was done in an effort to better represent their location in the country.  There’s a great article in the KC Business Journal about this re-branding effort and why it was potentially risky.

What’s your favorite BBQ place to eat at in Kansas City?

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Our website is going to have a new look!

HRS-Coming-SoonWe are pleased to announce the upcoming release of our redesigned website! It’s not live yet, but it will be soon.  We wanted to give you a heads up before it happens so that you aren’t surprised when you see the new look!

We’ve spent many months working with our website team to create the new site. We hope that you will find the design easy to use, informative and helpful!  Once it launches we will be spending even more time improving the content we provide on our subpages as well.

In the next few weeks you will see the changes go live.  If you have any problems using the new site, please do not hesitate to let us know!

One of the main goals of our redesign was ensuring that you can find what you need quickly and at the click of a button.  Our home page will provide even better shortcuts to get you where you need to go.  We’ve tried to make our new site a great tool for information regarding the rental market in Kansas City.

We wanted to share this exciting news with all of our clients and friends first.  Thank you for your continued business.  We look forward to sharing our new look with you very soon!

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Home Rental Services Featured in 25 Smart Companies to Watch Magazine!

Thinking Bigger Business LogoThinking Bigger Business Media produces a list of 25 Smart Companies to Watch annually, and we were excited to be featured in the 2015 edition.  Our story is on page 6 of the digital edition.

Click on this link to open the digital edition of the 25 Smart Companies to Watch and navigate to page 6 to see the full story.

Here is the full list of companies featured in the 2015 edition:

Ecco Select
Home Rental Services, Inc.
InStore Design Display
Richardson Communications Group
Square One Interiors

Alight Analytics
AnswerPro Limited
City Gym KC
EAG Advertising & Marketing
Express Scale Parts & Manufacturing
Grantham University
Infinite Energy Construction
Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry
Maggie’s Farm Ltd.
Notes to Self LLC
On Call Surgical
Russell-Hampton Co.
Springboard Creative
Staffing Kansas City
Team Drive-Away
The DVS Group
Think Viral
Twin Financial

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New Energy Efficiency Laws Could Make Your Next Water Heater Cost 25% More

2015-02-05-Water-Heater-001We wanted to make you aware of upcoming changes in regulations that could affect the cost of your next water heater replacement.

We were recently made aware of the U.S. Department of Energy requirement for improved energy efficiency for water heaters law that goes into effect as of April 16, 2015. This change will have a substantial impact on the cost of new water heaters AND even more importantly the installation.

The water heaters will likely be taller AND wider than current models in order to achieve the required energy efficiency. Some manufacturers are suggesting that the retail price could increase upwards of 25%.

This is especially important for older, smaller homes with limited space in the utility closet where the water heater is located. The new tank designs may require structural changes during installation.

You can read more about the new regulations here:
U.S. Department of Energy – Standards for Residential Water Heaters

If you know your water heater is getting old, or it’s located in a confined space, it might be a good time to replace it!

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Tuesday Meetings and Treat Fridays. This stuff matters.

Tuesday Meetings

Did you know that our staff gets together every Tuesday morning for an hour to connect and focus on ways to improve? We’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s become an integral part of our company culture.

We start off the meeting with conversation that is “positive, happy news.”  We learn more about each other personally and professionally.  Today, one of our team talked about a renewed commitment to exercise with a personal trainer for 13 weeks.  We heard from someone else about a couple of recent wins in the business.

These conversations are a great way to strengthen relationships between the people that work together every day.

Next, we move into an open discussion about what is working and what needs improvement.  Businesses have new challenges to face every week, and our Tuesday Meetings are a good time to bring up things that we really need to work on.  The entire staff is present, so we get lots of great feedback from people in different areas of the company that have fresh insight or ideas.  It’s also a great way for everyone to learn about and appreciate the work done in each functional area of the company.

Consistent, open communication is an important part of our company culture.


Treat Fridays

2015-01-27-CompanyCulture001WebAnother fun way we come together as a team is the practice of “Treat Fridays”.  Credit goes to Paul for starting this tradition a few years ago.  There is a signup sheet in the kitchen for people to bring in treats on Fridays.  It’s a great way to start the day together.  And it’s definitely missed when things get a little hectic and we miss a few Fridays.

The funny thing is that Paul keeps us in line.  See the picture to the right… we missed a few Fridays recently and Paul put “sad” faces on the missed days on the calendar.  It came up in our staff meeting this morning and Joshua signed up for next Friday to get us back on track.

What Are You Doing With Your Team?

Tuesday meetings and Treat Fridays are a couple of ways for us to impact the company culture.  Are you doing anything with your team to improve communication and have fun?  We would love to hear your ideas and best practices!

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Kidde Recalls a Million Smoke and Combo Smoke/CO Detectors Due to Potential Failure

We recently learned that Kidde has recalled more than a million smoke detectors because they could fail to alert consumers of a fire or a CO incident in the event of a power outage. While power remains out, an affected device will sound if it receives a signal from an alarm in the same interconnected system. Once power is restored, an affected device will sound an alarm regardless of the presence of smoke and/or carbon monoxide.

We wanted to spread the word so that you could check to see if you have these kinds of detectors in your home.  Please click on the “Recall Notice” link below for a full description on how to tell if your detectors are part of the recall.  If you find that they are, you should call Kidde product support at 1-800-880-6788  regarding a free replacement. (Kidde recommends to leave the affected detector in service until the replacement is received.)

The affected alarms were sold at Home Depot, Menards Inc. and other retailers, electrical distributors and online at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and shopkidde.com from January 2014 through July 2014 for between $30 and $50.

Recall Notice (PDF) | Removal and Installation Instructions (PDF)

KiddeI12010SLARGEThis recall involves Kidde residential smoke alarm model i12010S with manufacture dates between December 18, 2013 and May 13, 2014, combination smoke/CO alarm i12010SCO with manufacture dates between December 30, 2013 and May 13, 2014, and combination smoke/CO alarm model KN-COSM-IBA with manufacture date between October 22, 2013 and May 13, 2014.

These alarms are hard-wired into a home’s electric power. The i12010S and i12010SCO come with sealed 10 year batteries inside. The KN-COSM-IBA model has a compartment on the front for installation of replaceable AA backup batteries. The alarms are white, round and measure about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Kidde is engraved on the front of the alarm. Kidde, the model number and manufacture dates are printed on a label on the back of the alarm. “Always On” is also engraved on the front of alarms with sealed 10-year batteries.

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Kandy Receives Stevie Lifetime Achievement Awards for Women in Business!

Stevie Awards Reception in New YorkWe wanted to let you know that Kandy recently received a lifetime achievement award from the international Stevie award program that was founded in 2002.  It was a wonderful experience for Kandy who was able to go to New York for the honors and awards reception.  She said that it was awesome to be surrounded by women from all over the world that had made a real difference in their businesses and in their communities.

Please join us in congratulating Kandy on this prestigious award!

She also received awards for “Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Services” and “Company of the Year – Consumer Services.”

There was a reception held in Kansas City on January 14th at the Prairiebrooke Arts Gallery in Overland Park.  It was a wonderful event at a great venue and we really appreciate all of our friends and clients that were there to celebrate with Kandy!

The following is the press release with all the details:

Kansas City area entrepreneur Kandy Meehan, founder and president of Home Rental Services, has been honored with a“2014 Stevie Silver Award” for “Lifetime Achievement in Business” from the international Stevie Awards for Women in Business.  Meehan received her honor at the 11th Annual Stevie Awards gala in New York City, Friday night, November 14, 2014. The award was presented in recognition of Meehan’s twenty-five years of leadership, innovation and achievement in residential property management. Meehan also received a “2014 Stevie Bronze Award” in the small business categories of “Company of the Year – Consumer Services” and “Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Services.”

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business program annually honors outstanding female entrepreneurs, woman executives, and women-owned businesses throughout the world. Award honorees are chosen by judges from the international business community and based on applications submitted by entrants in specific categories.

Kandy Meehan founded Home Rental Services, Inc. (HRS) in 1989. Today, HRS is a full-service residential property management, listing, and leasing firm based in Overland Park, Kansas. HRS offers solutions for two specific segments of clientele. The first segment is in property management. The HRS staff helps homeowners, who are seeking to lease their homes rather than sell them, to find the optimum renters and maintain the property.  In the second segment, HRS assists individuals or families who are seeking to lease a residential property, either for a year or two or possibly even short term. HRS does not sell homes or manage commercial or multifamily property. HRS is the largest business of its type in Kansas and the metro Kansas City area.

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Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

Frozen PipesThis week we thought we would share some tips to help prevent damage from frozen pipes when away from your home for more than a day or two.

Determine where the water shut-off valve is in the house and how to use it in case pipes freeze and break.

1. Shut off the main water supply before you leave.
2. Have someone you trust check your home about once per week if you are away.
3. Have the Home Rental Services number handy in case something does go wrong.
(During our normal business hours, call our office at (913) 469-6633.  After hours, call (913) 469-6633, then press 3 and then 1 for reporting emergencies.)

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Freezing weather may be uncomfortable, but having water lines freeze and break is no fun at all.  Frozen water pipes can be avoided with a little planning and a few simple steps.  Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing. (What is a hose bib?)

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain and carefully store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose taps to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes that are near exterior walls should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze. If water is not running through the pipe, and the water temperature becomes cold.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
  • During extreme cold, keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.  If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

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