‘Celebration’ is a tribute to America. It’s now on display at this Merriam gallery

·4 min read

The Tim Murphy Art Gallery in Merriam recently unveiled a new oil painting, “Celebration” by local artist Michael Walsh. The piece is now part of its permanent collection.

The work was commissioned by former City Council member Nancy Hupp, who has served on the Flags 4 Freedom committee since the flag display began in 2006. The display started with 1,200 flags in Merriam and now extends into Shawnee each summer around the Fourth of July.

With subtle shades of red, white and blue, the piece shows people gathered on folding chairs for an indoor concert in front of a large American flag. Several flags can be seen through the window as well.

The gallery is inside the Merriam Community Center, 6040 Slater St. It is named for 15-year Merriam Parks and Recreation official Tim Murphy, who was instrumental in establishing the gallery and associated events.

Mail ballot envelopes redesigned

Election officials hope that redesigned envelopes are reducing the angst that some voters feel when casting advance ballots by mail: Did I do it right? Will a mistake invalidate my vote?

“A lot of the language on the ballot envelope is set in stone by state law, so we got creative with the design and used best practices to give voters a bigger, bolder signature box and better instructions,” Johnson County Election Commissioner Fred Sherman said in a news release.

Every ballot also includes an instruction card that should help voters sign the envelopes correctly.

Advance voting by mail began on Oct. 13 for the Nov. 2 election, when residents choose mayors and fill seats on city councils, school boards, the community college governing board and other smaller elective bodies.

Bradford pears begone

Roeland Park has removed six Bradford pear trees that lined the street on the southern end of Cooper Creek Park.

The idea is to keep the invasive species from choking out native vegetation.

“The Callery Pear was introduced from China in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the ‘Bradford’ cultivar, thought sterile, was widely planted,” the city said in a recent newsletter.

“As more cultivars were introduced, different cultivars cross-pollinated and, suddenly, the ‘sterile’ trees began producing prodigious amounts of viable seed. With the help of birds, seeds entered our native woodlands and prairies, and dense thickets of Bradford Pears emerged, crowding out native plants and damaging local habitats.”

The trees are being replaced with seven large native trees and three smaller flowering ones, each of a different species. The new trees are funded by the Tom Savidge Memorial Fund, named for a man who was active in restoring Cooper Creek Park, at 5730 Roeland Drive, and was passionate about trees.

Olathe administrator elected to national post

John Hutchison, Olathe Public Schools deputy superintendent for business and operations, is the first person from Kansas to be elected vice-president of the Association of School Business Officials International.

He will take the post on Jan. 1 and then become president of the organization the following year.

Country concert to benefit JCCC

If you like country music, you can be entertained next spring while supporting scholarships for students at Johnson County Community College.

That opportunity is a concert on April 30 by country star Scotty McCreery, which is part of the college’s Cohen Community Series. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. at Yardley Hall in the Midwest Trust Center.

Tickets start at $25, and all proceeds will go toward scholarships. Buy them at jccc.edu/Scotty.

McCreery’s career took off a decade ago when he won season 10 of “American Idol.” The 28-year-old North Carolina native recently released his fifth album, “Same Truck,” which includes his new single, “Damn Strait.”

Garmin Olathe Marathon is Nov. 6

Anyone who drives in Olathe should be alert on Nov. 6 for runners participating in the 18th annual Garmin Olathe Marathon, which begins and ends at Garmin headquarters, 151st Street and Ridgeview Road.

Intermittent road, trail and intersection closures will take place from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find routes, parking and spectator information at OzRun.org. Late registration closes Nov. 1.

Lenexa coat drive

Lenexa is collecting gently used coats through Oct. 29 for people in need. They should be clean with functioning zippers and buttons.

Donations can be dropped at City Hall; police headquarters; the Lenexa Rec Center, Senior Center or Community Center; the fire station at 9620 Pflumm Road; and the Municipal Services facility at 7700 Cottonwood St.

Need help with Medicare?

Medicare’s yearly open-enrollment period has begun, and the Johnson County Extension Office can help people make sense of the many options available.

The office, at 11811 Sunset Drive in Olathe, also has informational publications regarding the best and least expensive option available for Medicare Supplements, Advantage or prescription drug plans. The 2022 open enrollment ends Dec. 7.

Personalized information is available through a mailed worksheet comparison or in-person counseling by trained volunteers. Residents should request a worksheet and return the completed form. Then they can receive a comparison of the top three drug or Advantage plans based on annual cost. The service is free of charge for Johnson County residents.

For more information, contact Denise Dias at denise.dias@jocogov.org or 913-715-7000.

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