“My 103 year-old grandmother Margaret Giblin was going to christen the busses but she has a cold and can’t make it,” says co-organizer Bill Nigro. “So I got Dutch Newman to do it.”
Name ring any bells?
“Westport Road was renamed Dutch Newman Drive a couple years ago,” Nigro says. “She was a waitress at Kelly’s during World War II. That’s when it was called the Rustlers Inn and her father owned it. She’s 82 now and her great grandfather was a marshall in Westport and was gunned down in Westport during the Civil War era.”
Hold it, they had shootings in Westport that far back?
Let me get this straight. They named a street in Westport after a cocktail waitresses whose grandpappy got murdered there?
“Well, she’s also the female version of Jim Nutter in Kansas City,” Nigro says. “If Jim Nutter is the political kingpin of Kansas City, Dutch is the political queenpin of Kansas City. She’s been in charge of the political voting booths in the midtown area for quite a few decades. And she’s backed just about every mayor since H. Roe Bartle. She usually backs the same people as Jim Nutter – she and him have worked together since the early ’60s.”
On Friday, Dutch will break a bottle of Pabst – Nigro’s grandmothers beverage of choice as it turns out – on the bumper of the lead trolly at a 6 p.m. ceremony in Westport outside the Dark Horse Tavern.
And KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser will reportedly do similar honors with a bottle of Boulevard Double Wide. Boulevard, because it’s a KC biz and Double Wide to harken back to Funk’s infamous doublewide campaign headquarters trailer during his election campaign.