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Frances Van Hooser
Frances Van Hooser

Frances Louise Van Hooser, who lived almost all of her 100 years in Kansas City, Kan., will celebrate her 100th birthday with a private reception on Sept. 27 at the historic Grinter House in Kansas City, Kan.

Van Hooser was born in Harrisonville, Mo., in her maternal grandmother’s home on Sept. 27, 1914. Her parents brought her home to Kansas City, Kan., shortly after her birth.

She lived in Wyandotte County almost all of her life, moving to the Tonganoxie Nursing Center in March 2013.

Her parents were James and Fannie Matthews, and she was the youngest of three children. She had two older brothers, Sam and Ernest Matthews.

Frances attended Bryant Elementary in Kansas City, Kan., Northwest Junior High, and graduated from Wyandotte High School in May of 1933. She started attending Immanuel Baptist Church of Kansas City, Kan., at the age of 7, and gave her life to Christ in baptism at the age of 14. Immanuel Baptist has been her lifelong church home.

She married Richard Thomas Van Hooser Dec. 16, 1933. Frances and Richard had four children; Richard (Dick), Carol, Gary, and Connie. All four children attended the same schools as Frances: Bryant Elementary, Northwest Junior High, and Wyandotte High schools.

Frances and Richard were married 40 years until she became widowed in 1973. Her priority has always been her faith and family. She was an active member of the PTA, Cub Scout Leader and Girl Scout leader. She supported her daughter in dancing, attending many performances through the years. She also supported her sons in various sports, especially baseball, swimming and diving. Frances has 12 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren, with one great-great grandchild on the way. Frances also has several nieces and nephews. Her family continues to grow.

Frances is an avid fan of the Kansas City Royals and has attended games throughout the years. She was honored for her 90th birthday at Kauffman Stadium while attending the game with her grandson. She is also a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, and is a huge fan of the University of Kansas basketball team.

Frances lived in Kansas City, Kan., until she moved into Tonganoxie Nursing Center in March of 2013. She welcomes visitors and loves conversation. She knows a lot about the history of Kansas and especially the history of Wyandotte County. Friends and family will be gathering with Frances, at a reception by invitation only, to celebrate her 100th birthday on Sept. 27, 2014, at the historic Grinter House visitors’ center in Kansas City, Kan.

Frances continues to bless many with her life, her daughter said.

by Dale Garrison

A new emphasis on “financial literacy” and the opening of a Wyandotte County location at the old Kansan building at 8th and Ann are among several changes in Metro Lutheran Ministry’s Learning to Earning program.

“Since its inception, MLM has been a leader in rent and utility assistance in Kansas City,” said Jim Glynn, executive director. “We’ve always been one of the largest players in that arena. But, in writing a check to the landlord or to the utility company, we’re very aware it’s a short-term stopgap. However, we have not had the case management expertise and ability to go beyond that. Currently, we are repositioning our resources to do more of that.”

The focus on financial education is designed to address some of the most widespread issues facing MLM clients, said Learning to Earning manager Jacob Bosch.

“A lot of it relates to clients’ need to access credit,” he said. “The poorest of the poor struggle not only to make money, but to access the money they make. It’s difficult, even impossible, for them to get credit or bank accounts. And, every step they make takes a bite out of their money. Handling your own money if you’re poor is a job in itself.”

Bosch said some studies estimate that fees and other hurdles rarely seen by those not in poverty can amount to $40,000 over a lifetime, a huge amount given the low income. Just as troubling is the time they may lose that could be used working or seeking employment.

“Payday loan companies are a fairly visible issue, but there’s a lot more than that,” Bosch said. “Even just getting a check cashed can take half a day. Those are massive burdens that many of us don’t see. It’s literally more expensive to be poor.”

The solution starts by explaining how some practices are disastrous and then showing a better way. The Wyandotte County addition is also significant, adding to the current site at 3031 Holmes, Kansas City, Mo. The former Kansas City Kansan newspaper building is being remodeled to serve as a “Learning to Earning-Wyandotte” office.

The changes are part of a notable shift in focus for MLM that also includes longer-term priorities for emergency assistance and the Family Empowerment Initiative.

“We’re trying to focus on things that will target causes as much as possible,” Glynn said. “We’re also recruiting partners who work in these areas and can bring their expertise. It’s very exciting.”

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by Kelly Rogge
Mike Ning, nationally renowned jazz pianist and adjunct music instructor at Kansas City Kansas Community College, kicks off the first ever “Artist’s Series” at the newly launched “The Gallery.”

“The Gallery,” which is located in what was previously known as the Private Dining Room in Lower Jewell on the KCKCC campus, opened in early May. Pieces of fine art have been donated to KCKCC over the years and have been stored in the closets of the Intercultural Center. “The Gallery” now offers a venue to display some of this art and is open for students, faculty, staff and community members to come view it.

Ning will host an artist’s reception from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at KCKCC’s “The Gallery,” 7250 State Ave., where he will play piano and speak about his work.

Many Kansas City residents know Ning for his five-decade career as a jazz pianist, but few know he is a schooled artist who worked for years at Hallmark Cards Inc. Ning studied art at the University of New Mexico after emigrating from China in the 1950s.

His show, “Celebration of Life! Coming to America /Goin’ to Kansas City!” is open from Sept. 22 through Oct. 3, and is a retrospective of his 50 years in Kansas City. The works encompass a variety of styles and include two- and three-dimensional pieces.

In addition to the artist reception, Ning, and his brothers Jimmy Ning and Jack Ning, will hold a discussion from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 29 at the KCKCC Intercultural Center. Jimmy Ning is an actor best known for his role as “Chow” in the award-winning cable series “Breaking Bad.” The discussion, exhibit and reception are free to the public.

For more information about “The Gallery” or about the Artist Series, call 913-288-7504.