Tag Archives: Border Crimes

May Meeting: Alarms, Locks, and Outmaneuvering Home Security

Ever wonder how the bad guys get into places most people consider well protected? Or how that expensive lock failed to fortress your home? Join us for a discussion lead by Tom O’Connor.

For the past seven years, Tom has turned his focus to residential and commercial security, and currently works as a Senior Alarm System/Home Automation Consultant with Central Security Group. He knows a great deal about the bad guys and their tricks. But there’s more. Tom had top security clearance with the DOE and had his own consulting business with clients like the DOD. Ask him about his top client — A personal bodyguard. Count on an hour filled with interesting and fun topics that will inspire a great scene, prompt a new thriller, or work into a rich mystery.

Join us Saturday, May 5, 11 a.m.! This program is free and open to the public. This meeting will be held at the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas.

Advertisements

April Meeting: Reporting On the Crime that Shakes a Community

Some crimes are news for a day. Some crimes are talked about for decades. In 1983, Sandy Bird, wife of Missouri Lutheran Synod minister Tom Bird, died in a suspicious car wreck near Rocky Ford Bridge southeast of Emporia, Kansas. Just a few months later, Marty Anderson, the husband of Lorna Anderson–Tom Bird’s secretary–was gunned down in front of his family on a quiet rural highway in central Kansas. (Read more about the murders here.) The sinister and juicy story conflicted Emporians who knew the families and caught the imaginations of reporters all over the country, and the people of Emporia found themselves the subject of a made-for-television miniseries called Murder Ordained.

Trooper John Rule (played by Keith Carradine) talks with reporters Bobbi Birk (played by Kathy Bates) and Nancy Horst (played by Margot Rose) of the Emporia Gazette in Murder Ordained.

When Bobbi Mlynar (Bobbi Birk back then) began reporting on the Bird/Anderson murders, she had no idea the case would span her entire career, or that she’d find herself played by Kathy Bates on the small screen. During our April 7 meeting, Mlynar will talk about the case, reporting, and be available to answer other questions.

More about Bobbi Mlynar, in her own words:

Annoying children — forever tugging on a sleeve and asking, “Why? Why?” — sometimes carry over their annoying habit into adulthood.  The most obnoxious among them probably become reporters. I did.

While working part-time as a keypunch operator at The Emporia Gazette and attending classes at the College of Emporia, the newspaper’s editor and publisher William Lindsay White convinced me to forget about history and political science and to go into journalism instead.

It was good advice where job satisfaction was concerned.

During my first 31 years at The Gazette, I also was a stringer for The Kansas City Star, The Topeka Capital-Journal, and United Press International. The Associated Press had free access to any of my stories because of The Gazette’s AP membership, so I’ve been published — but not paid — by numerous newspapers across the country.

I’ve received a few citations from the AP for my work, but have never submitted any stories for competitions through news organizations. However, my friend and fellow Gazette reporter Nancy Horst and I were nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes — which we did not win. (One went to a Kentucky newspaper for a university basketball scandal and I really don’t remember who won in the other category.)

I was co-writer on two books about Kansas storms and was a ghost writer for a book of vignette feature stories.

The Gazette forcibly promoted me to city editor in the late 1980s and, after a few of the most boring years I’d had in journalism, I left my career in 1994 and ended up in public relations, marketing, and fundraising.

I worked in the international department of a web press company and was public affairs supervisor for a statewide child-welfare agency, and for a time in-between, helped my son in his business.

After retirement in 2010, I was elected to the Emporia City Commission and now am serving my second 4-year term. I continue to do limited freelance writing and am gathering material for a book about some scandalous and murderous affairs in and around Emporia. I also am gathering anecdotes for a humorous look at menopause and the female aging process.

Join us Saturday, April 7, 11 a.m.! This program is free and open to the public. This meeting will be held at the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas.

December Meeting: Writers and Libraries

Helen and her dog, Max.

Helen Hokanson has worn many hats at Johnson County Library over the past 18 years. She has most recently landed in the Reference department, focusing on Readers Advisory. She loves connecting readers to writers, but her passions lean toward helping writers develop their craft and finding a home for every dog.

Her work projects include planning a yearly writers conference, bringing authors of interest to the KC Metro area, and hosting a monthly writing contest.

Johnson County Library is proud to support writers in our community. Helen Hokanson will talk about current initiatives, like our annual Writers Conference and writing contests; her hopes for future programs, and answer questions. Suggestions are also welcome!

Join us Saturday, December 2, 11 a.m.! This program is free and open to the public. This meeting will be held at the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas.

November Meeting: The History of Your Home and the People Who’ve Lived There

Houses are full of mysteries (and maybe even a ghost or two). Every building and piece of land has a story. Whether you’re researching your own property or searching for places to hide clues in your latest mystery, understanding how to research homes, businesses, and land can be a fascinating hobby and helpful skill.

The Register of Deeds will become your friend.

In this fun and information-filled program, Diana Staresinic-Deane will walk you through how to use deeds, maps (Diana loves maps!), newspapers, photographs, legal documents, and anything else you can find online and on the hard-to-reach shelves of your local archives to build a narrative for your house and the people who called it home.

Although many of the examples will hail from Franklin County, Kansas, researchers will find similar documents available for properties anywhere in Kansas or Missouri.

Diana Staresinic-Deane is a writer, local history junkie, cemetery tourist, guinea pig fanatic, former library assistant, and county museum manager. She is the author of Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder and blogs about Kansas history and Kansas places.  Her own love for house history began when she and her husband discovered their Emporia home had once been owned by Marty and Lorna Anderson of Emporia’s famous Bird/Anderson murders. She is a member of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Join us Saturday, November 4, 11 a.m.! This program is free and open to the public. This meeting will be held at the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas.

August Meeting: Playwriting: Writing for the Stage

Novels are not the only form of storytelling! Earlier this year we discussed turning your novel into a screen play with Nancy Pickard, whose book Scent of Rain and Lightning has recently been made into a movie.
In August, we will learn about playwriting with local playwright Christie Kennard, who has had several scripts produced and staged.

Join us August 5, at 11 a.m. at Johnson County Library’s Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park, Kansas. This meeting is free and open to the public! NOTE: This is a different location from our usual meeting spot at the Antioch Branch.

July Meeting: What Makes a Book Good?

As writers we are always learning our craft. During this month’s meeting, we’ll talk about books that do a great job teaching craft–both nonfiction how-to books as well as fiction works that are excellent examples of craft.

Please bring lists and ideas of books that you feel do an exceptionally good job in one or more particular areas of writing: character development, setting, dialogue and description, conflict, planting clues and excellent writing guides. Our goal is to compile the lists so everyone can have a research bibliography.

Join us Saturday, July 1, 11 a.m.! This program is free and open to the public. This meeting will be held at the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas.

Book vs. Movie: Nancy Pickard and Scent of Rain and Lightning

This spring, Nancy Pickard’s Scent of Rain and Lightning leaped off the page and onto the big screen, debuting at the Atlanta Film Festival on March 24 and winning Best Narrative Feature at the Kansas City Film Fest in April.

During Border Crime’s May Meeting, SinC member Nancy Pickard will talk about the process of turning a book into a movie and discuss how the filmmakers maintained the essence of the story while changing other elements for cinematic purposes.

Watch a film clip here: http://video-cdn.indiewire.com/players/AVHEoKeD-esN1lzYh.html

Join us Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m. for this program, which is free and open to the public! This meeting will be held at the Antioch Branch of the Johnson County Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kansas.