Midwest Voices

Meet The Star’s 2014 Midwest Voices panel members

Updated: 2014-01-12T00:04:36Z

By MIRIAM PEPPER

The Kansas City Star

Anyone look familiar? After more than 100 contributors to the Midwest Voices panels since 2003, we have gathered 10 alums for 2014.

You helped us make these choices by responding in strong numbers to their previous columns. They bring a variety of backgrounds: farming, architecture, teaching, home-schooling, marketing, writing, military and more.

For others who would like to contribute, please consider submissions to the As I See It column of 550 words, or 200-word letters to the editor. We welcome a variety of views daily. Join the conversation in print and online at kansascity.com/opinion.

All the best for 2014.

| Miriam Pepper, editorial page editor

Carol Dark Ayres

Residence: Leavenworth, Kan.

Work experience: She has retired from education where she taught music. She was an academic librarian, grant writer and director of the Leavenworth Schools Education Foundation.

Interests: She enjoys gardening, tennis, politics, piano, KU basketball and is the author of “Lincoln and Kansas.”

Blake Hurst

Residence: near Tarkio, Mo., in Atchison County.

Work experience: A farmer, he and his extended family grow corn and soybeans. They also operate a wholesale greenhouse, selling bedding plants. He is president of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Interests: He follows the St. Louis Cardinals and Missouri Tigers, and reads at least one schlock novel a week.

Dale Irwin

Residence: Kansas City

Work experience: A lawyer with the law firm of Slough Connealy Irwin & Madden in Kansas City since 1982, his practice is devoted to consumer protection law. He has taught consumer law as an adjunct faculty member at the UMKC School of Law. He has also been a volunteer lay counselor at Welcome House since 1986.

Interests: His main hobbies consist of an occasional day at the auto race track, with an instructor struggling to stay calm in the passenger seat; sporadic camping and canoeing adventures; reading a book now and then; and acting as chief taster and head of pie quality control at the Irwin household. He hopes to get back to running soon.

Zoltan Krompecher

Residence: Fort Sam Houston, Texas, formerly stationed at Fort Leavenworth.

Work experience: After baling hay, bartending, and working as a dishwasher in a truck stop, he determined that there might be something else out there and joined the Army for a hitch. That brief stint turned into 28 years. He earned his Green Beret, lived in foreign countries, taught in academia and, like most, deployed to war. Now a lieutenant colonel, when he does grumble, his wife reminds him that he has a job and to “quit complaining.”

Interests: He enjoys being outdoors and being with his family.

G. Joseph McLiney

Residence: Kansas City

Work experience: He specializes in public finance throughout the U.S., currently working as president of his family’s Kansas City municipal bond firm.

Interests: He is passionate about economics and finance. Outside of his profession, his greatest joy is spending time with his wife and family. His favorite pastime is having heated discussions with friends over politics, religion and economics.

Aimee Patton

Residence: Fairway

Work experience: She works in marketing.

Interests: Writing her blog — pleasantlyeccentric.

wordpress.org — and a column for the Platte County Landmark, regular guest on the Darla Jaye KMBZ show, tweeting, and spending time with her daughter.

Hampton Stevens

Residence: Kansas City

Work experience: He is a freelance writer, and has contributed to The Atlantic, ESPN the Magazine, and many other regional and national publications.

Interests: He enjoys photography, live music, the Chiefs, Jayhawks and Royals, and playing with his red-nosed pitbull, Ginger.

Teresa Williams

Residence: Kansas City

Work experience: Entering the final stretch of 12-plus years home educating her two sons. Recently trained in conflict mediation through the Community Mediation Center, she is honing these skills in real-life (not solely with her testosterone-driven teens). An occasional freelancer, she writes when energy and inspiration chance to meet.

Interests: Avoiding grocery shopping. Also, nonfiction and poetry, Grant Snider comics, Kansas City’s art museums, cross-cultural missions and absolutely anything to do with God.

Cindy Frewen Wuellner

Residence: Leawood

Work experience: An architect and urban futurist in Kansas City, she teaches at the University of Houston graduate program in Strategic Foresight. She was the chief architect for planning and design of the Kansas City downtown government center and Ilus W. Davis Park, and now consults, speaks and writes on the future of cities. She’s on the board of directors for the Kansas City Design Center and chairs the board of the Association of Professional Futurists. Online: www.urbanverse.net

Interests: She travels extensively looking for elusive design details for better living, fights rabbits, birds, and squirrels for her garden bounty, runs and meditates for health, owns several thousand books, and swats little white balls around golf courses.

Melvina Johnson Young

Residence: Kansas City area

Work experience: She is a former university lecturer and writer specializing in United States history, U.S. women’s history and gender studies, and African-American history and cultural studies.

Interests: When she isn’t busy spousing for her partner of 25 years, mothering her 16-year-old daughter or writing the occasional social justice or humor piece she is busy chasing the perfect slice of Dutch cheese — usually with a nicely chilled and cheap German wine.

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