Parks director honored
Kansas City Missouri Parks Director Mark McHenry was honored for his 40 years of service to the city during an awards breakfast May 20 at the Swope Park Bandstand.
More than 200 employees surprised McHenry with T-shirts feature his caricature.
“He’s an amazing director,” said Heidi Downer, marketing director with the Parks Department.
Kansas City Parks and Recreation is a finalist for a 2015 Gold Medal Award by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.
“That is a big deal and clearly is a result of his leadership,” Downer said.
McHenry started with the city as a summer intern and helped build the original animals at Penguin Park, according to Parks Deputy Director Terry Rynard who spoke at the awards breakfast. He was also responsible for the construction of the new zoo, eight new community centers, the Village at Shoal Creek and improvements to Brush Creek.
“He averages 75 hours of work a week so in man-hours he has really worked 75 years,” Rynard said.
“That is what is super cool about him,” Downer said. “He has really worked his way up in the department. He’s been with the department longer than he’s been married — but just by a few years.”
Twenty five employees were recognized at the breakfast for their 390 years of continuous service to Kansas City Parks.
Outdoor theater in Independence
A new outdoor theater in Independence will open with the production of “Frontiers” July 11-Aug. 1.
“Frontiers” tells the pioneer stories of 30 women during the westward expansion into Missouri and Kansas.
“This whole play, in my opinion, is paying honor to those women who lived lives which we do not understand,” said Nancy Eppert, who was in the Southern premier of “Frontiers” in Louisiana in the 1980s. Eppert directs and acts in this production.
The play is based on stories taken from diaries, journals and histories in the Lila Day Monroe Collection at the Kansas State Historical Society, the Rendle Family History and the Recollections of Essie Stallworth McGowin.
“It is a celebration of women and the spirit of those who settled Kansas and Missouri,” Eppert said.
The cast and crew are almost all women, with the exception of one man, Eppert said.
Actresses who portray the stories of the 30 women told in the 100 minute production are Stephanie Flanagan, Mary Masterson, Hannah Eppert, Felisha Caldeira and Nancy Eppert. Allie Dunlop is the stage manager.
The production is a series of vignettes of the lives of real women of the past told by “some very talented woman that are very, very gifted at interpreting,” she said.
“We have come to appreciate each other in knowing that we can lift one another, we can mourn together and celebrate together,” Eppert said.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1 on the grounds of the National Frontier Trails Museum, 318 West Pacific Avenue, Independence, with the backdrop of the Chicago-Alton Depot.
Admission is free. Those attending should bring lawn chairs and blankets. Picnics are welcome. Alcohol is not permitted.
For information, call the museum at 816-325-7575.
| Norma King, Special to The Star