September 2011

What's happening in south Johnson County?

Sneak Peek of Peak Performance Fundraiser

Like his equally driven, record-smashing cycling counterpart, this Lance, a local athlete, advocates the idea of living strong. On Sept. 16, Lance Darling of LKD Fitness will begin a 30-hour marathon workout to benefit the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA) and children with chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and related autoimmune disorders. In addition to Lance’s athletic feat of endurance, the Loch Lloyd Golf community will host a Peak Performance fitness fundraiser on Sept. 17, which includes a 5K fun run, a swim meet, a hole-in-one contest and a variety of children’s events. The Loch Lloyd Golf community is also home to Brian and Kenda Bamesberger, whose 12-year-old son Jacob was diagnosed with ITP in 2005 when his parents noticed unusual bruising. As a pre-teen battling the effects of an autoimmune disorder, Jacob has struggled with severe anxiety and sleep disorders due to frequent blood draws and the difficulty of understanding the gravity of an illness that has no cure. Many children with platelet disorders have undergone spleen removal, treatment with many different drugs, including steroids and excruciatingly long hospital stays. PDSA assists these families by constantly searching out the best and most knowledgeable professionals on this disease, educating and informing about ITP, offering local support groups, discussion boards, and advocating through support of current research. Since lesser-known diseases such as ITP receive very little funding, any amount of sponsorship enables families of ITP to connect with other children and their families dealing with this illness. For more information about chronic ITP and/or this event, please contact Della January (

The Bold and the Beautiful

In the place where east meets west and rolling hills meld with endless eggshell skies, a new collectable plate exclusive to the area will showcase Kansas City through fused enameled glass, capturing timeless iconic images of the state. The Kansas City Icons plate makes its debut with one of the artists herself, Peggy Karr, at Shop Beautiful on Sept. 17. The plate, commissioned by Shop Beautiful for its 75th anniversary celebration, was created in collaboration with Kansas City artist Mike Savage and Peggy Karr Glass. The collectible plate features many of the city’s most memorable and defining features interpreted in Savage’s distinctive eye for the bold and colorful and incorporated in fused enameled glass. Customers who purchase the plate may have Peggy Karr personally sign it or other new Peggy Karr plates from 10 a.m. to noon in the Brookside shop or from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hawthorne Plaza shop. Personally signed plates may also be pre-ordered by August 31. In addition to the Kansas City Icons plate, Shop Beautiful is offering limited edition prints of the original painting. More information is available at

Sculpting a Community

The Johnson County Community College board of trustees approved the naming of a sculpture park in front of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art for Marti and Hamilton G. (Tony) Oppenheimer. Not only is the naming in recognition of a recent pledge of $100,000 to JCCC, the Oppenheimers are being honored for their lifelong commitment to art: transforming the campus and sculpting the community. With extensive histories in philanthropy and community involvement, Tony Oppenheimer, a senior vice-president and private client adviser responsible for business development for U.S. Trust, Bank of America in Los Angeles, and his wife, Marti, a jewelry designer, maintain residences in both LA and Kansas City. The Oppenheimers, major patrons for art on the campus, began donating sculptures to JCCC in the early 1990s. Over nearly a 20-year span, they have acquired numerous important works for the college including sculptures by Magadalena Abakanowicz, Stephen Balkenhol, Jonathan Borofsky, Louise Bourgeois, Barry Flanagan, Do Ho Suh, Judith Shea and Huma Bhabha. The museum’s lawn will serve as an ideal site for future sculpture acquisitions, defining the museum and bringing national and international acclaim to the college. On Sept. 29, 2012, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art will host a gala and exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Oppenheimers’ support of art at JCCC and the Nerman Museum. The Oppenheimer Collection, recently valued at more than $6 million, was initiated in 1992 and currently includes 140 major works of contemporary art.

Cover the Story, Uncover the Facts

For KCTV5 News, investigative journalism is not just about what the reporters cover, it’s also about what they uncover. Dana Wright, Ken Ullery and Chris Henao were recently recognized for their fresh take on investigative reporting when the trio received the 2011 Casey Medal short-form winner for their investigative series, “Big Problem, Low Priority.” More than 500 journalists entered this year’s contest, with a “60 Minutes” piece serving as the runner-up, while a “PBS NewsHour” piece received an honorable mention. The KCTV5 investigative team hopes to bring about change in the community through their work. Their investigative work brought to light that in Kansas City, Kan., the average age of a homeless person is 7 years old, and that the city has one of the largest homeless numbers by population of any city in the United States. As a result of this investigation, budgets have been realigned to devote more money to programs assisting the homeless.

Peace, Love and Medical Care

Surprisingly, one of the wealthiest counties in the region has a growing number of people who can’t afford health insurance. Since 2007, Health Partnership Clinic—the only provider of free medical and dental care to the low-income, uninsured of Johnson County—has been a safety net to more than 38,000 visits. Since 2008 HPC’s patient roster has increased by 26 percent, with visits increasing from 8,600 to roughly 14,240. Thomas E. Barnett Jr., MD, is part of a dynamic 80-plus volunteer team that serves as a referral source for the Health Partnership Clinic through the Wy-Jo Care Referral Network. Dr. Barnett and many of his fellow physicians at Overland Park Regional Medical Center—part of HCA Midwest Health System, Kansas City’s largest healthcare network—donate their services and expertise to the patients of Health Partnership Clinic. Recently the physicians of Overland Park Regional Medical Center donated $25,000 to Health Partnership Clinic for its annual gala, “Party for Partnership: Twist and Shout,” which was held on August 13th at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel. The annual event raises money to help ensure services such as preventive, primary and acute medical care and chronic disease management will continue for vulnerable children and adults in the community. Kirk A. Duncan, MD, president of the medical staff of Overland Park Regional Medical Center, says the $25,000 from the OPRMC medical staff is a gesture of “peace, love and medical care” for HPC’s ongoing efforts.

Awards Make Kansas City Hotels Sparkle

Kansas Citians have always known the Plaza has a rockin’ hotel scene—luxurious carriage rides, romantic dinners and unbeatable views of the glittering holiday lights. Now the rest of the nation is on the same page. Following an anonymous, unannounced visit by an AAA inspector and a thorough inspection of guest rooms, public spaces and behind-the-scenes operations, the most awarded hotel in Kansas City history adds yet another jewel to its extensive vault. The Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza earned the 2012 AAA Four Diamond Award for its 20th consecutive year. In addition, The Raphael Hotel, another incredible treat for locals and travelers alike, has been recognized for the second consecutive year by being named one of the world’s best hotels by Travel+Leisure magazine. The popular international travel magazine made the announcement in its 16th annual World’s Best Awards cover feature in the August issue. The Raphael, Kansas City’s original boutique hotel, checked in at number 31 among the top 50 large-city hotels in the Continental United States and Canada for the category of Large City Hotels with 100 rooms or more, scoring an 89.3 rating.

Jazz for the Ages

Jazz music has the unmatched quality of being able to bring generations of hippies, rockers, punks, emos and new-age grungers together. There’s just something about the bluesy notes and hip-hop elements of jazz that makes it universal. Bring the whole family together for some late-summer bonding at the 6th annual Jazz Concert Series at Ironwoods Amphitheater at Ironwoods Park. The Leawood Arts Council will host the free series beginning at 6 p.m. each Sunday evening, August 14 through Sept. 4. The 2011 series kicks off mid-August with The Steve Miller KC Band, a premier musical force in the Kansas City jazz scene for decades. Performing across the region and around the world, including the World’s Fair in Spain, the combo is led by vocalist Russ Simmons. With a degree in theater, Simmons also acts in regional theater productions and can be seen regularly as a film critic featured on the “Screening Room” on Fox 4 News. The Jazz Series continues on August 2nd with Candace Evans and August 28 with Grand Marquis, and concludes on September 4 with David Basse and OJT. Some seating is available but blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. Picnics are welcomed but alcohol is not allowed within the park. For more information please call the Leawood Cultural Arts Coordinator at (913) 339-6700, ext. 157.

Saint Luke’s South Awarded Certification

After undergoing an on-site evaluation and demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care, Saint Luke’s South Hospital earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center. By achieving such certification, the hospital has proven that its effective and timely care to stroke victims will help patients reach the recovery stage faster. Each year, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. Saint Luke’s South’s stroke center is directly linked to Saint Luke’s Brain and Stroke Institute at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, an acknowledged world leader in utilizing both drug and mechanical interventions to reverse the debilitating effects of acute strokes. When patients experiencing stroke arrive at the hospital, they’re given on-the-spot care using the same methods that have earned Saint Luke’s Hospital worldwide recognition for innovative, life-saving care.

Playing Footsy

The KCFC Rangers didn’t miss out on all the fun and games this summer while preparing for nationals. The team was busy playing some serious footsy. The KCFC Rangers 92/93, five-time Kansas state soccer champions, qualified for the US Youth Soccer National Championship by winning the US Youth Soccer Region II championship in Appleton, Wis., on June 29. The team then competed to become US Youth Soccer Association National Champions in Phoenix, Ariz., on July 25 through 31 by earning an outstanding third place title. The Rangers, who where unbeaten in pool play, advanced to the semi-finals and defeated the Illinois state champion, Chicago Fire by a score of 1-0. The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides approximately 185,000 players on 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer’s 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills against the best competition in the nation, while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play. The US Youth Soccer National Championships serves as the crown jewel of competitive youth soccer as the nation’s top 56 youth soccer teams, in the Under-14 through Under-19 Boys and Girls brackets, compete for the US Youth Soccer National Championship title.

Supply the Change

For most eager kiddos, back-to-school season means back-to-school shopping: the trip where their wildest fantasies of Technicolor markers and gel pens come true. Yet there are some children in the area who will find it difficult to afford to purchase the supplies they need, including more than 100 refugee children Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) serves. Times are tough and school supplies are sometimes the last things many of these refugee families can afford. JVS is seeking donations of a variety of new school supplies for the fall including backpacks, 3-ring binders, spiral notebooks, folders, paper, scissors and pencils. JVS is also taking donations for school uniforms; items like white t-shirts or polo shirts in children’s sizes as well as socks and underwear in all sizes. These supplies will aid children who have traveled from Bhutan, Burma, Somalia, Cuba and Iraq and many who are going to school for the first time. Donations of these supplies can be dropped off at JVS offices, 1608 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo., or in a designated collection barrel at the Jewish Community Campus, 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park. Monetary donations may also be made to purchase school supplies by writing a check to JVS School Supply Drive and sending it to the agency’s office. For more information about the school supply drive, please call Jennifer Foster, manager for refugee client services at (816) 471-2808, ext. 1153.

Smallcakes Heads to the Big City

Even stick-thin A-list celebs can’t resist the sweetness that is a Smallcakes treat. Thanks to shows like Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars Season 2,” everyone from Britney to Lil Wayne sank their teeth into these award-winning Johnson County treats. Smallcakes, the Kansas City cupcakery, was an exclusive brand vendor at the TPGR’s Legacy Lounge in celebration of the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, which aired Sunday, August 28 in Los Angeles. Owner Jeff Martin served his cupcakes in the gifting suite in the Conga Room, a contemporary event space designed to reflect modern Latino culture located in L.A. LIVE, the downtown entertainment district. Smallcakes dished out its Hot Fudge Sundae, Cookies-n-Cream and Red Velvet cupcakes to the Legacy Lounge guests. A special Video Music Awards Celebration cupcake was also custom created by Martin.

Urban Growth KC: If You Have the Space, Grow It

The words ‘urban growth’ bring to mind a landscape of steel and glass skyscrapers, bereft of green space. However, a nonprofit company dedicated to the revitalization of Kansas City makes the term ‘urban growth’ sound a bit like an oxymoron. Urban Growth (UGKC) is an organization of urban farmers, local gardeners and volunteers who create community vegetable farms embedded directly into the local community. The nonprofit intends on building up the urban community by harnessing the resources of the urban environment while educating the community about organic innovation. Urban Growth grows everything without chemicals or pesticides and all garden spaces are operated with organic methods. Their Mini Farms create healthy food for the local community, markets, and food banks, like their no-till Mini Farm in Overland Park on approximately 65-feet-by-6-feet of land. This season UGKC is donating their produce to Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Mo., which then distributes it to those visiting their food pantry. Urban Growth’s unique Phantom Farmer Program was created for other local gardeners and urban farmers with extra produce to drop it off at their office location. The produce is then packaged, weighed and sent to a local food bank. Anyone who gardens and grows organically without chemicals can sign up. Interested in becoming a Phantom Farmer? Visit

On Your Mark

Celebrate Labor Day the right way with a scenic race the whole family can enjoy. Start up those engines fellow runners, newbies, veterans, and wheelchair athletes: the 21st Annual Labor Day 5K Run & Walk is almost here. Presented by the Leawood Parks and Recreation Department and Pepsi Cola, the event will find athletes of all varieties heading to the Leawood City Park on Monday, Sept. 5 for a brisk stroll, run or sprint. The race will start promptly at 7:30 a.m., with the closed course beginning and ending at Leawood City Park in front of the tennis courts. The first 500 participants will receive a Labor Day 5K Run & Walk commemorative t-shirt. Everyone who participates will receive post-event fruit, a water bottle and a ticket to the pancake breakfast provided by the Leawood Lions Club immediately following the event. Registrations can be delivered to Leawood City Hall until Sept. 2nd and late registration will be available at Leawood City Hall on Sept. 3 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. and Sept. 4 from 1 to 5 p.m. Participants may also register the day of the race from 6 to 7 a.m. at Leawood City Park. For more information please call (913) 339-6700, ext. 152.

Categories: KC Happenings, People & Places