Hi Clinton Smyth,
An example showing the first issue will greatly help us pinpoint the cause. Otherwise it is unclear why this is happening on your side. In this sense, could you open a support ticket and send us a reproducible sample there?
Regarding your final question, using the client-side Load event to pre-populate some Items in the control is a completely valid approach. Does it fit in your requirement?
the Telerik team
Do you want to have your say when we set our development plans?
Do you want to know when a feature you care about is added or when a bug fixed?
Telerik Public Issue Tracking
system and vote to affect the priority of the items