Northeast Johnson County morning roundup

Bishop Miege students Hannah Long, Manion Kuhn, and Andrew Gleason with Dr. Joe Passantino (left) and teacher Randy Salisbury
Bishop Miege students Hannah Long, Manion Kuhn, and Andrew Gleason with Dr. Joe Passantino (left) and principal Randy Salisbury

Three Miege students receive National Merit Commendation. Three Bishop Miege students this month received word that they had earned National Merit Commendation status. The students performed among the top 50,000 high school students on the PSAT/NMSQT to earn the honor. The students are: Hannah Long, Manion Kuhn, and Andrew Gleason.

Several groups plan for political rally together Saturday. A broad coalition of groups are planning a rally at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Matt Ross Community Center in Overland Park. The rally is organized by a coalition of organizations who have come together to encourage Johnson County to vote on or before November 4. Included in the coalition are the MainStream Coalition, Kansas Families for Public Education, True Blue Women, Johnson County Eduction PAC, Johnson/Wyandotte County NOW, Game On, Johnson County Democratic Women, Women for Kansas, and the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus. The “Take Back Kansas” rally has several invited speakers, including Paul Davis and Greg Orman. The rally is to stand together on public education and health care services. More information and an RSVP site is here. UPDATED: The Orman campaign contacted us this afternoon to say that while Orman is an “invited speaker” at the rally, he won’t be attending.

Star focuses on impacts of payday-loan practices. A story in today’s Kansas City Star details how some of the payday-loan schemes that have led to federal lawsuits against a number of men with northeast Johnson County connections operate. [Kansas City-based payday lenders’ practices leave borrowers scrambling — Kansas City Star]

MainStream dinner honors Bert Berkley. Mission Hills resident Bert Berkley, along with Kansas Insurance Commisisoner Sandy Praeger, received the Rober Meneilly “Stand Up, Speak Out” award from the MainStream Education Foundation Sunday night. In his acceptance speech Berkley made a strong plea for support of public education and boosting early childhood reading skills. The dinner was attended by a large number of elected officials and candidates for office including Paul Davis and Greg Orman.

Why we don’t have coverage of Pat Roberts’ and Paul Ryan’s appearance in Mission Hills. We have made it our policy to essentially limit coverage of statewide and national political campaigns to candidates’ appearances in northeast Johnson County — but when such candidates do appear here, we make every effort to cover their remarks and get photos. So when Ron Paul came to SM East in 2012, we covered it. And when Paul Davis came to Harmon Park last month, we covered it.

As such, when we received the invitation sent to Johnson County Republican Party members for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Friday appearance with Pat Roberts at Mission Hills County Club, we planned on covering it as well. I attempted to RSVP to the invitation and confirm it was okay to attend and cover the event, but the RSVP email address included in the invitation was bad.

So on Tuesday I called the number for Roberts’ campaign office listed on the invitation. I explained to the woman who answered that I wanted to see if it was okay to attend the event at Mission Hills in my capacity as a member of the media. She said she didn’t know, but that she would have someone get back to me. I never heard back. So on Friday morning I called the number again, and explained the situation to the man who answered.

“I just want to make sure it’s okay to attend the Mission Hills Country Club event as a member of the press,” I said.

“Yeah, that’s fine,” he replied.

“Do I need to get my name on a credentials list or anything like that?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “It’s fine. Just show up.”

So on Friday afternoon I did as instructed and showed up at Mission Hills Country Club just before the reception was set to begin. At which point it became clear fairly quickly that there had been some sort of miscommunication… One of the Mission Hills staff people got a very stern look on her face shortly after I passed through the doors and made it abundantly clear that this was a PRIVATE CLUB that WAS NOT OPEN TO THE PRESS. I told her I had spoken to someone from the Roberts campaign that morning and he had told me it was okay. She took me to the event check in table where the Roberts campaign staff was stationed. There, I spoke to a woman named Annie Harper who informed me that this was a PRIVATE CLUB that WAS NOT OPEN TO THE PRESS.

I won’t quibble too much here with the idea of having campaign events that are closed to the press (though it has often struck me as odd that candidates, regardless of political party, would make appearances where they say things they think aren’t fit for general public consumption…). When Chris Christie visited Mission Hills in August to stump for Sam Brownback, the event was held at a Mission Hills couple’s residence, and we certainly wouldn’t have expected to be allowed in to that. But it does seem somewhat incongruous that you would hold an event open to every member of the county party and consider it “private.”

My larger issue, though, is that for some reason they felt the need to literally escort me from the building. The only reason I showed up at the event was that I had been assured by Roberts’ campaign office that it was okay to do so. Perhaps an, “I’m sorry, there was a misunderstanding,” would have been more a more appropriate response than siccing some young staffer on me to make sure I didn’t cause any trouble?