Mayor’s concert a Christmas tradition in Independence
Again this year, fourth-graders from the Independence area will stir up the holiday spirit at the annual Mayor’s Christmas Concert, which benefits the Community Services League.
The 29th annual event, which includes an audience sing-along, will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut St. There is no admission fee, but a free-will offering will be taken.
The concert, which was started in 1985, features fourth-grade students from the Independence School District, Nativity of Mary School, Center Place Restoration School and Messiah Lutheran School.
The Spirit of Independence Band and the Truman and Van Horn high school choirs also will perform. Ushers are members of the Van Horn High School Junior ROTC and the William Chrisman ACE Club.
Since its inception, the concert has raised more than $285,000 to assist the needy through the Community Services League.
Criminal justice scholarships
The Missouri Sheriffs’ Association offers $1,000 scholarships to 16 students throughout the state who plan to study at a Missouri college or university and pursue a criminal justice career.
Applicants need to have a grade-point average of at least a 2.0 and a reference from the school counselor. They also need to be involved in extracurricular activities and submit a paragraph with the application about their goals 10 years after high school graduation.
To apply, visit www.mosheriffs.com, and click on "Scholarship Info" in the lefthand column. Applications are due by Jan. 31.
Utility help available
Low-income Missourians now can apply for help to pay their heating bills.
The Missouri Department of Social Services says the application period for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program has opened.
Assistance is available through March, in amounts that vary depending on household size and income.
To apply, applicants must have an income at or below 135 percent of the poverty level, or about $27,000 a year for a family of three. Applicants must also have less than $3,000 in bank or retirement accounts and investments.
For information, go to http://dss.mo.gov/fsd/liheap.htm.
UMKC Foundation names new leader
The University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation has appointed Steven P. Norris as its new president, effective Jan. 5. Norris will replace Murray Blackwelder, who has been president since the foundation was founded in 2009.
Since 2005, Norris has been executive director for development at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Norris earned his master’s degree in public administration from UMKC.
Blackwelder, who is retiring, will remain in a consulting role through the fiscal year, which ends June 30, the university said in a press release.
Thanksgiving Day run/walk in Hyde Park
Runners and walkers are invited to midtown’s Hyde Park neighborhood at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning for the annual Hyde Park 5K Pilgrim Run/Walk.
Proceeds will benefit children’s programming sponsored by Pilgrim Center, including the Hyde Park Spring Frolic and the Hyde Park Children’s Film Festival.
The certified 5K Pilgrim Run course will begin and end at 38th Street & Gillham Road, culminating in front of Pilgrim Chapel with music, food and drink. Medals, and in some cases pumpkin pies, will be awarded to top performers in various age and gender categories as well as for best costumes.
A Pilgrim Dash will take place for children 8 and under.
The $30 entry fee for individuals will go up to $35 on race day. The fee is slightly lower for teams. The Pilgrim Dash is $12 per child. Details and registration are at www.pilgrimrun.org.
Bicycle event benefits St. Peter’s pantry
For the fifth straight year, local bicyclists are invited to an Alleycat race through the city on Saturday, stopping at grocery stores along the way to buy items for the food pantry at St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
The ride will start and finish at St. Peter's Legacy Center, 815 E. Meyer Blvd.
The first such “Cranksgiving” event was organized in New York City in 1999, and has spread to other cities. Saturday’s schedule calls for cyclists here to gather at 12:30 p.m. and start riding at 1 p.m. Riders pay no entry fee and register the day of the event.