Tag Archives: Kansas

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.


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.

January Meeting: Still missing: The 1988 disappearance of Randy Leach

randy-leach-missingTwenty-eight years ago, Linwood (Kansas) High School student Randy Leach went to a party and never returned. For nearly three decades, his disappearance and the lack of answers have haunted his family and the small Leavenworth County community.

Our January 7 speaker is Channel 4’s Lisa Wade McCormick, who has continued to investigate Randy Leach’s disappearance and the efforts to determine what happened to him. You can watch video of her broadcast here: “Nearly 30 years after his disappearance, Randy Leach’s family still seeking answers and closure.”

For more information, here’s the 2014 Lawrence Journal-World piece, “Randy Leach still missing after 26 years, KBI file remains sealed.

This program will be an opportunity to understand how an unsolved missing persons case can affect both the family and an entire community. It will also provide insight into the challenges of investigating an old but still-open case.

Join us on January 7 at 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.

December Meeting: Welcome to Bloody, MO

Click on the image to learn more about Bloody, MO!

Our speakers on December 3 are coming to us from Flatland KC, which airs on KCPT, Kansas City’s PBS station. Investigative Reporter Mike McGraw and Vice President for Digital and Multi-Media Content Carla McCabe will be speaking to us about Flatland KC‘s digital series, “Bloody, MO,” a Civil War-through-modern day video peek into Kansas City’s bloody past–starring equally notorious and unknown gunslingers, fire-starters, and godfathers. The series, which airs on KCPT, has done programs on Willie “The Rat” Cammisano, Sharon “La Pistolera” Kinne, Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and Silas M. Gordon. They’ll be talking about how they selected and researched their subjects and how they chose to develop the stories about their subjects.

This will be a great program and one that will appeal to writers, readers, and fans of true crime movies/documentaries. Please spread the word!

Join us December 3, 2016 at 11 a.m. in the Carmack Community Room at Johnson County Library’s Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park, Kansas. This meeting is free and open to the public!


Source: Welcome to Bloody, MO