Annual Grinter quilt show today and Saturday

The Quilters at Grinter Barn, 1400 S. 78th St., Kansas City, Kansas, are holding their annual quilt show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 28, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

Barbara J. Eikmeier will be the guest speaker at a program at 1 p.m. Saturday. She is a well-known pattern and fabric designer who will present a trunk show and a look into how she started her line of fabrics. Admission to hear Eikmeier is $3 for adults and $1 for students. Children 5 and younger are free.

Admission to the quilt show at the Grinter Barn is free.

T-Bones sign three players, trade Gallas

The Kansas City T-Bones recently signed pitcher Rich Mascheri and infielders Chase McDonald and Avery Romero to contracts for the 2017 season.

Mascheri, 27 (08-07-89), is a 5-foot-10 and 190-pound left-handed pitcher from Wauconda, Ill.

He split time last season between Southern Illinois of the independent Frontier League and Somerset of the independent Atlantic League. He went 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 appearances. In 17 1/3 innings, Mascheri struck out 21 and walked four.

Mascheri started his professional career in the New York Yankees’ organization in 2012. He reached high-A Tampa in 2012 and ’13. In four professional seasons, Mascheri is 5-2 with 12 saves and a 2.45 ERA in 63 games, all in relief.

McDonald, 24 (06-02-92), is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds out of Greenville, N.C. He has spent the first four seasons of his professional career in the Houston Astros’ organization.

Last season, at double-A Corpus Christi, McDonald hit .227 with 89 hits, 17 home runs, 53 RBIs and 40 runs scored in 109 games.

The previous season, at high-A Lancaster, McDonald hit 30 home runs. In four seasons, McDonald is a .259 hitter with 69 home runs and 233 RBIs.

Romero, 23 (05-11-93), is 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds from St. Augustine, Fla. He has spent the first five seasons of his professional career in the Miami organization, after the Marlins selected him in the third round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft out of high school.

Romero split the 2016 season between high-A Jupiter and double-A Jacksonville, batting .236 with 87 hits in 111 games. Romero is a career .271 hitter with 457 hits, including 86 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs, 189 RBIs and 196 runs scored in 460 games.

Additionally, the T-Bones traded Anthony Gallas to St. Paul in exchange for a player to be determined. Gallas hit .221 with 48 RBIs and 59 runs in 91 games for Kansas City last season.

The T-Bones open the 2017 regular season at home on May 19 against Lincoln.

– Story from T-Bones

Kansas Senate GOP leader proposes utility fee to help fund schools

by Sam Zeff, Kansas News Service

A Republican leader in the Kansas Senate says he’ll propose a fee on all utility bills in the state to help fund education.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, says his plan calls for a $3 monthly fee on residential electric, gas and water bills in the state. Those with all three utilities would pay $9 more a month. For commercial customers, the monthly fee would be $10 per bill.

The whole package would raise $150 million a year, Denning estimates.

“I guess it is regressive, but on the other side it is very broad,” Denning said. “Everybody wants to pay for their schools. I’m convinced of that.”

The Legislature returns to work Monday with every big issue, including school finance, still unresolved. Lawmakers have to close a projected $900 million budget gap over the next two fiscal years and find millions more for public education to satisfy the state Supreme Court.

Denning says a utility fee is not only broad but manageable and stable.

“Schools take well over 50 percent of our budget,” he said. “So I want something that’s consistent, and the utility fee would be very consistent.”

While Denning said he’s fine with the regressive nature of the fee, other lawmakers are not.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Democrat from Topeka, said the fee will be a “difficult sell” in the Legislature.

“To put a surcharge on utility bills would be a hardship for the elderly on a fixed income,” he said.

Hensley said he would rather raise income taxes “to not only balance our budget but put an extra $150 million a year” into K-12 public education.

While the Senate has no school funding plan on the table, the House is working on a bill that would add $150 million a year into school funding over the next five years for a total of $750 million.

Details of Denning’s utility fee plan are just beginning to dribble out. Many senators say they haven’t heard about the idea.

Sen. John Skubal, an Overland Park Republican who serves on the Ways and Means Committee with Denning, said the utility fee is regressive, but with the state’s budget issues lawmakers need to consider all ideas.

“I’ll have to study it,” he said.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR and the Kansas News Service and is co-host of the political podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KCUR.org.

See more at http://kcur.org/post/kansas-senate-gop-leader-proposes-utility-fee-help-fund-schools.