Obama’s press secretary to speak
Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest will be in Overland Park next month for a Kansas Democratic Party fundraiser.
The Kansas City native was President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman from 2014 to 2017 and served as the principal deputy press secretary before that. He’s now a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC.
The event starts at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave.
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For tickets or more information, go to www.kansasdems.org.
Overland Park to honor local businesses
The Overland Park Economic Development Council with honor business icon Frank Thompson and present several local businesses with awards Feb. 1 during its 11th annual Honors Lunch.
Avenue Link and Go Local Interactive, a pair of local marketing companies, and Retail Success, which provides point-of-sale and inventory management software, each will receive a NOVA Award as fast-growing companies.
OptumRx — a freestanding pharmacy for United Health Group, which relocated to town in 2005 — will receive the Business Hall of Honor Award for its commitment to improving Overland Park’s quality of life through economic development.
Three other business — Hawthorne Plaza, the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center and Topgolf — will receive a Commercial Development Award.
Finally, Thompson, who owned and operated Overland Park Dodge Jeep Chrysler Ram for 31 years, will be presented with the Ben Craig Vision Award.
The Honors Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Regnier Center at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd. in Overland Park.
To register for the event, visit www.opchamber.org or call 913-491-3600.
Shawnee recognizes Good Samaritan
Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler recognized Craig Christopher for his life-saving actions last month during a Shawnee City Council meeting on Monday.
Christopher was returning from work around 3 a.m. on Dec. 23 when he smelled smoke, finding a house on fire at 10525 W. 57th Terrace after a brief search.
He called 911 then woke up a sleeping couple inside, allowing them to safely escape the house that had no working smoke alarms.
Distler presented Christopher with a service coin for his actions.
Accolades roll in for Olathe theater students
Olathe theater students returned from the Kansas Thespian Festival on Jan. 6 in Wichita with lots of positive news to report.
Olathe South High School’s Troupe 5006 is among only eight schools in the nation chosen so far to perform on the main stage of the International Thespian Festival next summer in Lincoln, Neb. Three other slots will be filled later.
Olathe North High School also will bring a show to the International Festival, a first for the school.
At the state festival, Olathe North earned the Golden Honor Troupe award, which recognizes theater troupes that actively participate in outreach, productions and bringing theater to the community. This is the highest award a troupe can receive at the state level.
Olathe North junior Emily Martin and Olathe South sophomore Anna Hastings were elected State Thespian Officers for Kansas Thespians.
Nine students from Olathe North earned superior ratings in individual events at the festival, and 11 students received excellent ratings.
Olathe Northwest, Olathe East and Olathe West high schools each had students who also received superior ratings.
Olathe blood drive Feb. 1 and 3
A community blood drive will take place Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 at the Olathe Community Center, 1205 E. Kansas City Road.
The community center is working on the two-day event with Leadership Olathe and the Community Blood Center.
The Feb. 1 drive will be inside the community center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A bus will be parked outside the center Feb. 3 to take donations from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
To register for an appointment, visit SaveALifeNow.org and enter the sponsor code: LeadOlathe.
Volunteer fair set for Feb. 2 in Olathe
Are you doing well, but not doing enough good?
Visit Olathe’s community volunteer fair from 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Indian Creek Library, 13511 S Mur-Len Road, Suite 129.
Visitors can drop by, talk with people from local organizations, and receive information to help match their interests and talents to a volunteer opportunity.
Former diplomat to discuss civil discourse
Former U.S. Ambassador Allan Katz will speak Feb. 3 about civility in public dialogue during at a meeting of the League of Women Voters of Johnson County. The public is invited.
Katz was ambassador to Portugal from 2010 to 2013 and now teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2013, he founded Kansas City-based American Public Square with a mission of bringing together people across the political spectrum for fact-based, civil conversations about national, regional and local issues.
Katz’s talk will begin at 9 a.m. at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park. It’s preceded by coffee and social time at 8:30 a.m.
Voting rights discussion
The MainStream Coalition and Indivisible KC will present a program on voting rights at 7 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the Olathe Community Center, 1205 E. Kansas City Road.
“Voters Denied: Pulling Back the Curtains” will include topics like gerrymandering, voting suppression and the interstate Crosscheck system, which is used to find duplicate voter registrations.
Speakers will include Kansas Rep. Brett Parker, Micah Kubic from the ACLU of Kansas, Davis Hammet of the Loud Light organization and Anita Parsa of Leave Crosscheck.
Melinda Lewis, an associate professor in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, will moderate the discussion.
RSVPs are requested through www.mainstreamcoalition.org.
Breakfast and bingo on Valentine’s Day
A Valentine’s Day Breakfast and Bingo event will take place Feb. 14 at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Drive.
Sponsored by the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, the event includes breakfast followed by a dozen games of bingo. Prizes range from gift bags to gift certificates. Singles and couples are welcome, as are people under 50, if space is available.
The event begins at 9:30 a.m. and costs $15 for Johnson County residents or $17 for nonresidents. To register, call 913-831-3359 or click the “Register for Activities” link at www.jcprd.com and search for barcode 41743.
Shawnee State of the City speech next month
Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler will give her State of the City speech at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 22 at the B&B Live Theatre, 16301 Midland Drive.
Residents are welcome to watch the mayor’s speech for free or buy a $20 ticket to eat at the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce luncheon. To buy a ticket, call the chamber at 913-631-6545.
Lenexa hosts pre-Valentine’s jewelry show
More than 30 Kansas City area artists will sell jewelry and hair accessories Feb. 3 at the annual Cupid’s Gems Artisan Jewelry Show in Lenexa.
The juried show accepts only original, handcrafted items — no imported or manufactured jewelry. The artists create their necklaces, rings and other pieces from a variety of materials like metals, gemstones, wire, recycled materials, glass beads and quilled paper.
The show is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Thompson Barn, 11184 Lackman Road. Admission and parking are free.
Career fairs for Lenexa city jobs
Lenexa will host two career fairs to showcase employment opportunities with the city, including full- and part-time positions plus seasonal work.
The fairs are from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 10 and 3 to 6 p.m. on March 1 at Lenexa City Hall, 17101 W. 87th St. Parkway. To learn about openings, click on the Jobs link at www.lenexa.com/jobs.
Leawood ‘Arti Gras’ to showcase creativity
About 90 artists will be represented at the seventh annual “Arti Gras” Juried Art Show next month in Leawood.
The show will take place Feb. 16-18 in the Lodge at Ironwoods Park, 14701 Mission Road.
For $20, members of the public can attend the opening-night reception Feb. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. It includes appetizers, beverages and music from Crown Jazz Band.
Admission is free during the Saturday and Sunday hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The show is being organized by the Leawood Arts Council, the Leawood Stage Company and the Leawood Foundation. Those attending can vote on their favorite piece for the King’s Choice award.
Part of the proceeds from sales will support the Leawood Stage Company and the Leawood Foundation.
Leadership seminar in Lenexa
Former Kansas City Chiefs player Will Shields will be the keynote speaker at a two-day leadership development workshop March 1-2 in Lenexa.
The workshop, “Thought Patterns for High Performance,” will be presented by the Pacific Institute at the Grand Street Lenexa restaurant.
One of its goals is to encourage individuals and businesses to meet changing demands by thinking differently and developing a growth mindset in themselves and those they lead. Shields will speak at 8 a.m. on March 1.
His 68 Inside Sports organization operates fitness and training business in Johnson County.
Tuition is $395 for nonprofit participants and $495 for corporate participants. A discount of $50 is being offered through Feb. 12.
Registration is required at http://event.thepacificinstitute.com/kansas-city.
Merriam offers rebates on utility taxes
Starting Feb. 1, Merriam families with low-to-moderate incomes may apply to the city for a rebate on the utility franchise fees they paid last year. Applications will be accepted through May 1.
The city-funded program is open to residents whose income falls within limits established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For an application, call the city Community Development Department at 913-322-5520.
Applications must be accompanied by all 2017 gas, electric and landline telephone invoices along with proof of income for all household members —including W-2 and Social Security papers as well as 1099 tax forms plus interest, dividend, pension and annuity statements.
Roeland Park community forum
Roeland Park invites anyone interested to attend the city’s quarterly community forum at 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the city’s community center, 4850 Rosewood Drive.
Among the discussion items will be the Roe 2020 Vision plan, development of the old swimming pool site known as The Rocks, capital improvement projects for 2018, and development at Roe Avenue and Johnson Drive.