Tag Archives: Mysteries

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.

March Meeting: Practicing the Law From Both Sides

Writers fill books with lawyers and courtroom scenes, and our speaker in March will help us understand what lawyers do–whether they’re fighting on behalf of the defendant or trying to put the defendant behind bars.

Michael Dailey grew up in rural northwestern Missouri. Inspired by a grandfather who had been a roaming lawyer on horseback in his early days, Daily earned his undergraduate degree in economics and then his law degree from the UMKC School of Law. He started his career as an intern for legal aide for Western Mo. and then became a trial attorney for the court defense unit. While working as a Kansas City, Missouri, prosecutor for twenty-six years, Dailey also took private clients to defend on his own time. Since leaving the prosecutor’s office, he’s had his own full-time practice as a defense attorney.

The 120-year-old house and the 80-acre farm in Platte County where Dailey and his wife now live helped drive his decision to leave the prosecutor’s office. Because Kansas City prosecutors are required to live in the city, Daily could only visit the farm on weekends for several years. But the draw to return to his rural roots led him to become a full-time defender and a “gentleman farmer.” The farm now boasts organically-grown apple, apricot, and peach orchards, big gardens, a long house, and an old tobacco barn that has housed chickens, goats, mules, horses, geese, and tons of equipment at times.  Some of the equipment and vehicles Dailey has gathered over the years have been accepted as payment for defending people who had no other way to pay.

Dailey is a great story teller and has tales about all kinds of criminals and innocents from a long career on both sides of the aisle. He’s been a part of some of the most high-profile cases in Kansas City over the past forty+ years. This will be a fun and fascinating event for writers, readers, crime show watchers, and anyone curious about what life is like for lawyers.

Join us Saturday, March 3, 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.

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