Buzz Briefs

The New Queen of Golf

Sandy Queen

Since 1984, Sandy Queen has aced his job as manager of golf operations for the city of Overland Park. Queen hit a hole-in-one March 2, when he was elected president of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) at its annual meeting in Las Vegas. A GCSAA member for 34 years, Queen is a member and past president of the Heart of America GCSAA, a member of the Kansas Turfgrass Association, and The First Tee of Greater Kansas City. In addition to supervising the 54 holes at the Skyes/Lady and St. Andrews golf courses, Queen also oversees operations for the award-winning Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead and the Overland Park Soccer Complex, regarded as one of the top facilities of its kind in the nation. GCSAA provides education, information, and representation to 19,000 members in more than 72 countries, while aiming to enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. For more information, visit GCSAA at


Teaching Master

Sandy Gonsher, Sunrise Point Elementary second grade teacher, is not only popular in the classroom, but is a favorite outside the schoolroom. Gonsher has been recognized at the state level for her excellence in education and has been named a 2012 Emporia State University Kansas Master Teacher. Established by Emporia State University in 1953, the annual Master Teacher award is presented to teachers like Gonsher who personalize the learning environment and are enthusiastic and earnest about teaching. The 18th Blue Valley teacher to earn the recognition to date, Gonsher is one of seven teachers in the state honored with the award this year. An educator for 30 years and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Gonsher has been teaching in the Blue Valley School District since 2004. She will be honored on April 4 as part of Master Teacher Day in Emporia and will participate in several activities including a seminar, a social, and an awards dinner where she will receive her well-deserved Master Teacher plaque.



With spring poking its head around the corner and summer close on its heels, it’s time to start thinking about those camps and activities that make summertime a great time. Camp WIN is WIN for KC’s flagship youth event and is designed to empower girls by introducing them to more than 14 new sports and fitness activities. June 4-7, 2012, girls age 9 to 12 will feel the thrill of high-energy sports with volunteer instructors and coaches from local universities, colleges and other area sports organizations. High school athletes serve as team leaders and role models throughout the week. The week also includes WIN for KC’s LIVE ACTIVE program that invites guest speakers to address topics such as leadership, teamwork, goal setting, and resiliency. Running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, the camp has two sessions for separate age groups: June 4-7, St. Teresa’s Academy hosts ages 9 to 12, while Rockhurst University sponsors girls ages 6 to 8 June 18-21. The cost is $200 per camper. To register for the camp or to apply to be a high school Team Captain, visit


Canning Hunger

Nearly 39,000 cans of food were used recently in Harvesters’ 2012 Canstruction® competition. A global anti-hunger project, Canstruction was founded 20 years ago by the Society of Design Administration, an affiliate organization of the American Institute of Architects. Held in more than 100 cities across North America, the event’s primary goal is to “construct” a world without hunger. Eleven Canstruction creations illustrating innovative sculptures comprised entirely of nonperishable food items were displayed following the competition. The food items were donated to Harvesters, a regional food bank serving a 26-county area of northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. This year’s top Jurors Favorite award went to “Bridging the Gap on Hunger” by Black & Veatch. The amazing sculpture incorporated ingredients for a “Bi-Coastal Corn Chowder” and showcased cans of tuna, salmon, beans, and tomatoes in the likeness of the Brooklyn and Golden Gate Bridges spanning a Midwestern bounty of corn. For more information, visit


An A+ Check Up

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City was awarded a much-deserved No. 1 ranking in a recent annual survey for its tireless philanthropic efforts over more than 53 years. Out of 16 large intermediate cities including Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix and San Diego, The Jewish Community Foundation proved to be the best at ensuring the future of Kansas City regardless of economic conditions and changing needs. The survey, “The Endowment Health Check,” was conducted by the Department of Planned Giving and Endowments of the Jewish Federations of North America and based its ranking on seven different measures, including the number and size of various types of funds with which the Foundation works. During the past 20 years, Kansas City’s Jewish Community Foundation has had a positive impact on the not-for-profit landscape providing funds to support local, national, and international charities in excess of $173 million. During the same period of time, charitable contributions to the Foundation have exceeded $221 million. During fiscal year 2011, The Jewish Community Foundation distributed more than $17.2 million in 2,800 separate grants to different Jewish and secular charitable organizations. For more information, visit


Crème of the Crop

The Sixth Annual Crème Brulee Music Festival promises to be a sweet event with sweet treats and sweet music honoring the memory of a very sweet musician. Kansas City’s finest musicians gather on May 6 to perform three hours of exceptional music in memory of bass player Kerry Layton and other late members of the musical community at Wil Jenny’s restaurant in Overland Park. The music festival was inspired by Kerry Layton, who died of leukemia in April 2007 at age 53. “We invite the elite of Kansas City’s performers to participate in Crème Brulee because they rarely get an opportunity to hear each other or play together since they’re usually working in different venues at the same time,” says Vickie Bottiger, event coordinator at VPR Creative Group. In addition to providing great music in a fun atmosphere, Crème Brulee also serves as a fundraiser to help ensure that music continues to flourish for the next generation. A scholarship has been established and is awarded annually by the Blue Valley Educational Foundation. The event runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at the restaurant, 6700 West 135th St., Overland Park, with Lupe Munoz of Lupe serving as master of ceremonies. As part of the celebration, Wil Jenny’s will serve an assortment of crème brulee, which was Layton’s favorite dessert.


Derby Day

Don your favorite outlandish Derby hat and place your bets on the underdog as the New Theatre Scholarship Foundation holds its 2012 Derby Day event May 5 at the Peeper Ranch in Lenexa, Kan. Guests will spend a lovely afternoon at the exquisite southern-style ranch enjoying southern cooking and mint juleps, a live Dixieland Band, the Kentucky Derby televised live, and a silent auction. A hat contest judged by area costume designers will also be held for those who dare to dress to impress. Joyce Fox, “Queen of the Roses,” is honorary chair of the New Theatre Guild Scholarship Foundation’s 2012 Derby Day. Local actress Dodie Brown formed The Guild in 1994 to promote and encourage the growth of live theater in the Greater Kansas City area. All proceeds go toward providing scholarships for outstanding students studying theatre arts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Kansas, and the University of Central Missouri. Tickets are $50. For tickets or additional information, please contact event chair Linda Khan at (913) 636-8200 or e-mail at


Blue Valley Senior Proves to be a Mathlete

Allen Zhu, a senior at Blue Valley High School, recently proved his advanced knowledge of what most consider “Greek” when he was named a Siemens state winner in The Siemens Foundation’s Advanced Placement honor program. The foundation recognized 101 students nationally for exceptional performance on the AP exams in the areas of math and science. Zhu was one of two students honored from Kansas in the annual awards that honor America’s top performers in Advanced Placement Program science and math courses. A $2,000 college scholarship is awarded to one male and one female student in each state, and Zhu is one of those recipients in Kansas. This year, 101 high school students in 50 states—including 96 seniors, four juniors and one sophomore—were recognized. Established in 1998, the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation and is administered by the College Board. For more information about the award, go to


Teens Shine in SuperStar Auditions

The stars are out and practicing their best rendition of do-re-mi for the KC SuperStar Auditions. In an American Idol-esque competition, Kansas City is on the hunt to select the best high school singer in the area. Finalists will compete for thousands of dollars in scholarship funds including $7,500 for first place. Preliminary auditions are free and scheduled for two dates: April 22 at Union Station and April 29 at the Jewish Community Campus. Semifinals will be held June 11 in the White Theatre of the Jewish Community Center campus. The teens with the most talent will compete in finals on Aug. 26 at Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College. University of Kansas Basketball Coach Bill Self will be honored at the event. To register for auditions, visit


A Nod from the Governor

With an unprecedented career in teaching and coaching spanning more than three decades, the late Greg House was granted the highly coveted Governor’s Award. The Kansas State High School Activities Association presented the annual award in honor of House, who passed away unexpectedly in the fall of 2011, in recognition for his outstanding contributions in the field of secondary education. House’s exemplary teaching and coaching career in the Blue Valley school district in Overland Park began in 1983, and he taught psychology, social studies, and prelaw classes at four of the district’s high schools during his tenure. A native Kansan, House graduated from Argentine High School in Kansas City, Kan., and Emporia State Teacher’s College. House was highly respected by students and his professional colleagues for his passion and commitment in helping others pursue excellence. He pioneered many innovative teaching and coaching techniques and led his boys and girls swimming and diving teams to an unparalleled 20 KSHSAA state championships combined in his 30-year career. As an assistant coach, he was also instrumental in helping Blue Valley High School attain multiple state football championships. An inspirational teacher and professional peer, House is described by former students and colleagues as a man who was “caring, who listened, who held high expectations of himself and others and who worked hard to bring out the best in others.”


Reuse, Recycle, Restore

You can recycle that? On April 28, Overland Park, Leawood, Prairie Village, and Mission Hills will sponsor a Recycling Extravaganza that will open up your eyes to a whole new world of reuse. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the campus of Black & Veatch, residents can bring in old cell phones, used carpet, clothing, bicycles, and furniture and let the experts take care of the rest. Cell phones will be collected by Sprint and benefit charities such as Boy Scouts and Girls Club of America. Clothing and housewares will be collected by Goodwill, while usable building material will be donated to Heartland Habitat for Humanity ReStore and may be tax-deductible. Give an unwanted bike a new life and donate it to a kid or adult in need. The Overland Park Police Department will be on hand to accept old or unwanted medications for safe disposal and ProShred Security will be there to shred confidential documents. Benefit the earth and the people on it by attending the Recycling Extravaganza. Please see for event details and a complete list of what’s allowed.


Char-i-Tee Off

Golfers are chipping in to support homeless men and others in need at the 31st Annual Ben and Betty Zarda Family Golf Classic benefiting Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas. More than 150 golfers will gather at Lake Quivira Country Club May 14 for a light lunch, tournament, dinner reception, and awards ceremony. Proceeds from this tournament will support Catholic Charities’ programs and services that benefit more than 85,000 people of all faiths in need annually. Golfers will also raise funds to support renovations at Shalom House, Catholic Charities’ homeless men’s shelter in Wyandotte County, which welcomes 25 men daily. One individual entry fee could provide a year’s worth of over-the-counter medication and first-aid supplies to the approximately 200 men who stay at Shalom House annually. One Supporter Sponsorship could help provide a year’s worth of bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies to support a safe, dignified environment for guests at Shalom House. Register or learn how to support the tournament at