Saturday events

Help provided with enrolling in health care
The Rosedale Development Association will have a health care enrollment event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at 1401 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kan. There will be certified application counselors available to assist persons with enrolling.

Enroll Wyandotte event today

There also will be an Enroll Wyandotte event held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the South Branch Library of the Kansas City, Kan., Public Library, Meeting Room A, 3104 Strong Ave., Kansas City, Kan. Assistance will be available in signing up for health care coverage.

Blood drive scheduled Jan. 9
Turner Recreation Commission, 831 S. 55th St., is scheduled to hold a Community Blood Center blood drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, in the community gym. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 816-753-4040 or visit www.savealifenow.org.

Learn how marbles are made
A marble-making demonstration is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Moon Marble Co. store, 600 E. Front St., Bonner Springs. Demonstrations begin around 10 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. and end at about 3 p.m., provided a glass artist is available.

Learn sewing and quilting at the library

Sewing and quilting for beginners or for those who want to learn more will be offered from 10 am. to noon Saturday, Jan. 9, at the West Wyandotte Library, Kansas City, Kan., Public Library, children’s craft room, 1737 N. 82nd, Kansas City, Kan. The class is for adults, and for those ages 10 and older. There is a limit of 15. Advance registration is requested to the library.

Music panel planned

Kansas City Kansas Community College is hosting Instor3 Management & Branding’s “New Year, New You #ItStartsWithAVision” Music Panel this weekend. The event is from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Upper Jewell Center, 7250 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan. Registration begins at noon, with the panel starting at 1 p.m. The panel features Kansas City’s Grammy-nominated songwriter and music executive Ericka J. Coulter. In addition, UK Grammy-nominated Producer Harmony “H-Money” Samuels will sit on the panel. A variety of topics will be discussed such as writing, producing, understanding the international music industry, marketing and branding. Admission is $5 for students and $10 for adults. Proceeds will be donated to the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools’ Back to School Fair, which services more than 5,000 students each year. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Aspiring artists can also bring their materials on a USB to enter to win a trip to Los Angeles, Calif., where they will be able to work in studio with Coulter and Samuels.

Wine-tasting planned
The Wine Barn Winery and Vineyard, 2850 N. 119th St., is scheduled to hold a wine tasting of local handcrafted wines from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9. For more information, call 913-721-5577.

Program planned about Mexican-American leader
The American GI Forum is scheduled to present a program, “Justice for My People,” from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the South Branch Library, Kansas City, Kan., Public Library, Meeting Room B, 3104 Strong Ave., Kansas City, Kan. The program will be about Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Mexican refugee, medical doctor to the barrios, decorated war veteran, civil rights activist and presidential confidante, who fought to bring attention to the Mexican-American civil rights movement.

Live music planned at Jazz
The Lonnie Ray Blues Band is scheduled to play live music at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, at The Legends Outlets, 1859 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan., (at I-70 and I-435).

Wyandotte County Museum
The Wyandotte County Museum, 631 N. 126th St., Bonner Springs, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and holidays. For more information visit the website www.facebook.com/wycomuseum or call 913-573-5002.

Strawberry Hill Museum decorated for holidays
The Strawberry Hill Museum is open on weekends only. For more information and hours of The Strawberry Hill Museum, 720 N. 4th St., Kansas City, Kan., visit www.strawberryhillmuseum.org/ or call 913-371-3264.

In the event of inclement weather, call the sponsoring organization to see if the event will be held. Send your community events to news@wyandottedaily.com.

Opinion column: Looking at a more expensive 2016

Window on the West
by Mary Rupert

Let’s face it – 2016 might be a more expensive year than 2015, for many of us.

I had a phone call earlier this week from a woman who lives in Wyandotte County who was very worried about high property taxes and other taxes, and who wanted to do something about it. She was trying to live on a fixed income. Her idea was to cut government waste.

I was told that this year, there was no raise for people who live on fixed incomes and are receiving Social Security payments.

But there will be increased costs, we know, from several areas, including Board of Public Utilities’ bills that are increasing to reflect the more expensive pollution equipment at the local power plant required by the federal government. Other costs, such as the price of gasoline, could stay somewhat low this year, experts are saying.

There are some national and world economic forces that are having an effect on our budgets. I am never confident that our costs will decrease – if one government program cuts our taxes, another will probably increase it, or economic forces will require us to come up with more. Personally, I think of myself as the opposite of a tea-partier, with a belief that usually there are good reasons for government expenditures. Every now and then, I’ll notice a few examples of bad government spending decisions, however.

Sure, I support higher wages for jobs that currently don’t pay a living wage, and I support an increase in Social Security payments to those on fixed incomes. But until we get there, maybe we’re forced to go back to our humble roots.

What to do? There’s really not much an individual can do to change the overall picture. Some people, such as a pastor who gave the invocation at the Unified Government Commission meeting last night, are praying for tax relief, and that’s as good a solution as any.

The Rev. Artrell Harris of Roswell Church of Christ included a divine request for tax relief at the invocation for the UG meeting, praying “That you will continue to bless Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County. We thank you for all the industry you’re sending our way, Lord, we thank you for all the new development you’re sending our way and send us more, Lord, for we need to expand. Hopefully Lord, when we expand, Lord, selfishly speaking, Lord, maybe our property taxes will go down, just a little bit, Lord, just help us Lord, we’re just praying now, because we know if we ask anything, you’re able to do it.”

It’s good for elected officials to be reminded every now and then that the decisions they make affect the lives of everyday people.

There is a chance that the UG’s portion of the property tax could decline a little this coming year or in 2017, if an expected windfall from the sales tax revenue (STAR) bonds at The Legends maturing takes place. At that point, some sales taxes collected from purchases at The Legends will stop going to the Legends project and will go to the UG. We’re hearing some cautions from UG officials, however, that the state’s property tax lid actually is a disincentive to lowering property taxes, because if they are lowered because of a windfall one year, the next year they cannot be raised if needed.

Some people this year, who are able to do so, may seek a second job or a part-time income, such as mowing lawns, babysitting or running errands for people. Some may seek a better-paying primary income. Some may move to a lower cost home; others may take in a relative who could pay rent.

We all know what to do to cut costs – first, see if you can trim some of your discretionary spending, such as cutting items you don’t really need, entertainment or dining out. Some will cut out their daily coffee expense, or start brown-bagging their lunch at work. Some will shop around more for better prices on items they need. Some people will be like their grandparents and will plant a vegetable garden in their back yards or in containers on their porch this year and reduce their food expenditures. Another smart thing many of our grandparents did was to spend what money they had with people who were in small businesses in their own community. That way the profits often remained in the community, where they were spent again, helping the local economy.

Some people will choose to trim their gift expenditures in the coming year. While I continued to buy gifts this past holiday season, I also enjoy occasionally making a gift as a hobby, taking a cue from the way our grandparents lived. In my case, it’s not to save money, but because I enjoy the feeling of making a gift, of doing something different such as a craft project, walking around, or reading a book after several hours of looking at a computer screen. This year, with little time for making gifts, I embroidered an initial on a few handkerchiefs and gave them as inexpensive little gifts to some family members.

This is a fairly inexpensive, personalized gift. If you are making the item for yourself, you may recycle old fabrics you already have at home, but if you are making it for a gift, it’s better to use new fabrics. Another time-honored traditional gift made by some of our grandparents, especially in the Depression era, was to embroider a picture of flowers or a message on a cloth napkin, tea towel or pillow case. While I’m not completely convinced that using cloth instead of paper products will save you money, it might be worth a try for some households.

When woodworking was more widely taught, people would make small household gifts from wood. I would recommend to those who are thinking of trimming their gift budget this year to get started now on their favorite hobby. Others may find the same savings from compiling a budget and looking at where their dollars are going to find out where they can save.

I’ll have to admit that I don’t always practice what I preach when it comes to budgeting, but in a new year, there is always hope for the future.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottedaily.com.

Kansas Supreme Court upholds Wyandotte County conviction

The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld a first-degree murder conviction from Wyandotte County District Court.

Tarlene A. Williams pleaded no contest in 2008 to first-degree murder in exchange for the dismissal of one count of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson, according to court documents.

Williams had been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a fatal arson in 2007 near 9th and Quindaro.

Williams filed a motion to withdraw her plea before sentencing, alleging the plea agreement was not in her best interest. That motion was denied, and Williams appealed. The Kansas Supreme Court previously ruled that Williams did not show good cause for granting her presentence motion, court documents stated.

She later filed four motions attacking her conviction, and the motions were denied. Next she filed two postsentence motions to withdraw her plea, which also were denied.

Today the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a motion to withdraw a plea must be brought within one year of the final order of the last appellate court in Kansas to exercise jurisdiction on a direct appeal or the termination of the appellate jurisdiction; or the denial of a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court or issuance of that court’s final order following the grant of the petition.

Time limitations can be extended upon an additional affirmative showing of excusable neglect by the defendant, according to the Kansas Supreme Court ruling.

In this case, the Kansas Supreme Court said it affirms the district court because there was no showing of excusable neglect and because the motion was successive.