Things Going on in July

On the Fringe

An 11-day festival, jam-packed with live theater, dance, performance art, visual art, spoken word, puppetry, storytelling, film and fashion, the 8th Annual KC Fringe Festival is a celebration of Kansas City’s cultural arts. July 19-29, 20 venues are slated to host more than 360 live performances with two new elements added to this year’s festival: the KC Fringe Experimental Music Showcase and Teen Fringe. YOUth Fringe submissions alone have almost tripled this year—from nine in 2011 to 25 in 2012—and the festival recognized the need for the integration of teen culture, art, and music. Award-winning teen playwright Zachary Weaver will work with Jeff Church of the Coterie Theater to create a Young Playwrights Group, a teen mentoring program linking teen artists to established artists in the Kansas City community. Fashion on the Fringe will open with a Teen Fashion Show. Submissions in this year’s Teen Fringe range from the Hip Hop Academy to a youth artist in the Arts in Prison program to several Olathe’s Got Talent youth participants. As an established festival with a good reputation on the U.S. Fringe Circuit, the KC Fringe features local and regional artists from Missouri and Kansas along with national artists from an additional 11 states. YOUth Fringe will be held July 20 and 21 at the Plaza Branch Library. KC Fringe is launching a new ticketing option this year with a $100 Festival Pass for $90 and an All-Access Pass for $250. A $5 Fringe button is still required for entry to all performances to help pay for festival operating costs. Visit for more info.


Angel Gala

The largest single fundraising event benefiting the Kansas City Hospice House, the 9th Annual KC Hospice Hop, will take place August 25 at the Overland Park Convention Center. Re-branded the Kansas City Hospice House Angel Gala, the event will benefit the 32-bed inpatient facility that offers expert medical and nursing care in a homey and welcoming atmosphere. Broadway star Teri Bibb will perform at the gala that includes a silent auction, cocktail hour and dinner.


Pioneering a New Path to Excellence

Pioneer Trail Middle School is one of two finalists for the National Middle School of the Year. The two finalists, Pioneer Trail Middle School in Olathe and Piedmont Middle School in North Carolina, were chosen from the original five contenders of the best of the best. Earlier this year, Pioneer Trail received the Lighthouse Blue Ribbon Award. The designation lasts for five years and the school had to meet or exceed criteria in nine categories. Pioneer Trail is part of the Olathe School District, the largest school district in the Kansas City metro area.


Christmas in July

Santa may be on vacation this summer, but the Johnson County Christmas Bureau (JCCB) will host its “Christmas in July” Pancake Fundraiser and Open House. Bring the entire family to Merriam Christian Church from 8 to 11 a.m. July 16 for a pancake breakfast from Chris Cakes. Games, face painting and fun will also make this a family-friendly event, with all proceeds going to support the 13,000 clients JCCB plans to serve at the 2012 Holiday Shop later this year. Also tour the newly renovated JCCB office, the oldest home in the city of Merriam, and join the organization in thanking the Shawnee Tomorrow Leadership Class and Rebuilding Together Shawnee for donating their time, talents and materials to make this project a reality. Adult tickets are $8 for an all-you-can-eat breakfast; kids are $6. To purchase tickets in advance, contact the JCCB office at (913) 341-4342 or e-mail You can also visit


The Digital District

Blue Valley once again has been ranked in the top 10 of the Digital School Districts national survey. The honor was announced by the Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association and Converge, an online magazine. Blue Valley placed 10th among large districts in the 2011 survey. The purpose of the survey is to showcase exemplary school districts’ use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community and to improve district operations. The district was also recognized in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 by the Digital School survey. Blue Valley is committed to using technology to help further the strategic plan goals of unprecedented academic success and unparalleled personal growth for every student.


The Stuff of Champions

Julia Misemer

Julia Misemer of Johnson County has earned a scoring exemption into the U.S. Kids Golf 2012 World Championship. The event, in its 13th year, will take place August 2-4, in Pinehurst, N.C. The seventh annual World Cup will be held on August 5 featuring top 12-year-olds in a match-play team event on Pinehurst No. 2. The U.S. Kids Golf World Championship is the world’s largest and most prestigious event for kids ages 12 and under. This three-day tournament, held in the setting of tall southern pines and Donald Ross greens, attracts more than 1,200 participants from across the United States and more than 30 countries abroad. Players, ages 5 to 12, qualify for the World Championship through World Championship Qualifiers, Local Tours, European and Regional Championships, and performance in previous World Championships. The 2011 field featured participants from 47 states and 39 countries. The World Championship will be held on several courses throughout the Pinehurst and Southern Pines area. For more information, visit


Leading the Way to a Legacy

Unbeknownst to Overland Trail Middle School eighth grader Destanè Doughty, a skilled dancer, Starlight President and Executive Producer Denton Yockey, along with Overland Park residents Greg and Rebecca Reid, surprised her at school with a $2,500 Vincent Legacy Scholarship. Since 2006, Starlight and the Reids, local community leaders, have awarded 11 Vincent Legacy Scholarships. The Reids have also organized a generous $50,000 endowment fund for the scholarship “to provide youth who show performing arts promise the opportunity to further refine and improve their skills through professional instruction, but who otherwise might not be able to secure additional training.” To learn more about the Vincent Legacy Scholarship, visit


Got Milk?

Employees at Saint Luke’s Heart of America Mother’s Milk Bank.

Human milk dramatically boosts the chances for sick and fragile newborns to thrive. In June 2010, Saint Luke’s Hospital opened a collection depot for nursing mothers to donate their excess breast milk. The hospital has expanded its services by establishing a milk bank where donations are collected, screened, processed, pasteurized, and dispensed to babies in the region whose mothers are unable to supply the milk to meet their babies’ needs. Previously donations collected at Saint Luke’s depot were shipped on dry ice to the Mothers’ Milk Bank in Denver for pasteurization and distribution to infants in need across the country. With this new development, donations will stay in the area to benefit high-risk and premature infants who are hospitalized in one of the many existing neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in the Kansas City area. Milk donations are accepted at Saint Luke’s Women’s Center at the corner of 43rd Street and Wornall Road in Kansas City, Mo. To become a milk donor or to learn more about Saint Luke’s Heart of America Mother’s Milk Bank, call (816) 932-4888, e-mail or visit


Smokin’ Out the Competition

Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz.
photo: Bill Milne Photography (

Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz of PB&J Restaurants and The Burnt End BBQ in Overland Park competed with some of the nation’s best chefs at Navy Pier in Chicago, on May 6 and won big—as in first-place big. As part of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry™ campaign, Schwartz went head-to-head with premiere chefs and won with his burnt ends bowl, which is on the menu at The Burnt End BBQ. Proceeds of the event benefited the national nonprofit connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. The all-day competition featured top chefs, including Chris Pandel of The Bristol in Chicago and Todd Gray of Equinox in Washington D.C. Schwartz is back home, dispensing his winning ‘cue love to customers.