Northeast Johnson County morning roundup

Merriam_Park

Merriam will party in the park tonight. New playground equipment will be dedicated at Brown Memorial Park, 5040 Booker Drive, in Merriam tonight in a celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The annual party in the park will include a free concert plus refreshments. The park has all new playground equipment and the Merriam Parks and Recreation Community Center Foundation has paid for two new benches in the park. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the new playground.

Kansas City Star lauds Prairie Village Jazz Festival lineup. The Kansas City Star previewed Saturday’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival, calling the lineup “stellar.” [This year’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival gets it right with stellar lineup – Kansas City Star]

KU professor takes issue with premise of SM East grad’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Visiting adjunct University of Kansas professor Alexander Smith recently launched a research project that sets to challenge to arguments made by Thomas Frank, the SM East graduate who gained national recognition for his 2004 book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Smith believes that Frank failed to account for the influence of political moderates in the state. “I was interested in exploring how these conflicts were working their way out on the ground and in relation to ordinary activists trying to make a difference,” Smith said. “And that’s actually what brought me to Kansas, because contrary to Thomas Frank’s thesis, I thought Kansas looked pretty interesting because there was a struggle on the ground in which moderates are capable of doing better than they’re often credited for.” [In moderation: Project rebuts Thomas Frank’s ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas?’ — The University of Kansas]

County Chair candidates to address Northeast Johnson County Republican Women Monday. Johnson County Commission Chair candidates Ed Eilert, the incumbent, and Patricia Lightner are scheduled to appear Monday at the monthly meeting of the Northeast Johnson County Republican Women. The meeting starts at 11 a.m. at Johnny Cascone’s Italian Restaurant, 6863 W. 91st St. in Overland Park.

Metcalf South Mall to close Friday, Sept. 19. LANE4 Property Group announced Thursday that Metcalf South Mall would be closing for good later this month. The Sears, which is independently owned, and the Glenwood Arts Theatre are the only two businesses on the property that will remain open. LANE4 is in the process of devising plans for the redevelopment of the site. “We are currently conducting feasibility studies and talking to potential tenants with the goal of zeroing in on a plan that is realistic and exciting for the community,” Buckley said.

Ice cream social for grandparents scheduled for Sunday in Roeland Park. The Roeland Park Community Center will hold an ice cream social Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m. for grandparents and their grandchildren. The event costs $9 per person.

SM East to host clinics for college-bound theatre students. SM East will again this year host a series of clinics focused on helping students interested in majoring in theatre in college prepare at the high school level. The first of this year’s two events will be Wednesday, Sept. 17, and will focus on what high school students can do to prepare for the application process. The second session will be Dec. 15 and will feature current college students sharing tips on auditions. The clinics are open to high school students and their parents from across the metro.