Johnson County Christmas Bureau is ‘neighbors helping neighbors’

first_imgThe Johnson County Christmas Bureau has planned this year’s pop-up event at 9701 Metcalf Ave., in Overland Park, the same location as last year. Photo by Johnson County Christmas BureauEvery year at the beginning of the Christmas season, the Johnson County Christmas Bureau helps low-income neighbors in the county. Here’s how the nonprofit organization operates and how people can get involved.The Lenexa-based nonprofit will operate a holiday shop from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8 at 9701 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. This was the former Sears store and the same location as last year’s pop-up shop.Larry Bigus, executive director of Johnson County Christmas Bureau, said the nonprofit’s cause is important to him because of its local impact, with residents helping their neighbors “who fell on hard times,” such as getting laid off from work or having a medical emergency.He said 34,000 Johnson County residents live below the federal poverty level. These people cannot afford a lot of life’s necessities.“They have to make choices every day such as whether to put gas in the car or buy food for dinner,” Bigus said. “They don’t have the money to buy coats for their kids. They don’t have the money to buy enough food for the month. And they need help.”Bigus said low-income neighbors are “people just like you and I,” but something went wrong in their life and they’re unable to earn enough to pull themselves up. Most people are below the poverty level for two or three years “and then manage to pull themselves out,” he added.After applying to participate, residents with low incomes receive an appointment to visit the holiday shop, where they can receive winter coats, new children’s clothing, personal care items, books, hats, gloves and scarves, food and other items.Johnson County Christmas Bureau is accepting donations at any of the 31 donation barrels located across the county, including this one at Merriam City Hall. Photo by City of MerriamBigus said the people who need help are the people we see every day: The clerk at the store, the pizza delivery guy, the fast food worker and the employees at the convenience stores.“When you come to the shop and you volunteer and you meet the clients — our neighbors — it is a very warm, positive holiday feeling,” he said. “You get to know our low-income neighbors as human beings, not as numbers or statistics. You don’t realize the challenge they face because they aren’t earning enough.”Bigus said 30 percent of jobs in Johnson County pay less than $15 an hour, and “it takes more than $15 an hour to pull a family above the poverty line.”The second impetus pushing Bigus to be involved with the nonprofit is the countywide impact of poverty.“It lowers educational achievement, it increases crime rate, it increase health care costs and premiums,” he said. “So by helping our low-income neighbors, you’re also helping all of the community by alleviating the problems caused by poverty.”Visit the nonprofit’s website to sign up to volunteer or find a donation barrel. The nonprofit accepts monetary donations as well; these can be arranged by calling 913-341-4342, or [email protected]last_img read more

Carlson’s 24-minute 8K paces men to fourth at Big Tens

first_imgCarlson’s 24-minute 8K paces men to fourth at Big TensRyan Malmin was close behind in 10th place. Both earned All-Big Ten honors. David McCoyNovember 1, 2004Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintAndrew Carlson is on a roll.For the third-straight race Sunday, the senior captain on Minnesota’s men’s cross country team set a new personal-best time.Carlson’s new mark of 24:00 earned him a fourth-place finish and first-team All-Big Ten honors. This, combined with junior Ryan Malmin’s 10th-place finish, propelled the Gophers to fourth place at Sunday’s Big Ten Championships at Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa.Carlson’s time is the fourth-best 8K time in school history.“We’re lucky to have a guy like Carlson,” coach Steve Plasencia said. “But Ryan Malmin shouldn’t go unnoticed.”Malmin, the second Minnesota finisher, earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.“He showed a lot of people what he’s capable of,” Plasencia said.Minnesota finished 20 points out of second and three ahead of sixth – one less than fifth-place Michigan and three less than sixth-place Ohio State.As expected, Wisconsin dominated the race, taking the top three places as well as having all five scoring runners finish in the top 11 en route to its sixth-straight men’s title with a score of just 23.“What they did was really no surprise,” Plasencia said. “I’m sure everyone else in the Big Ten is envious (of their program).”Badgers junior Simon Bairu won the individual title for the second-straight year with a time of 23:45 – 10 seconds ahead of second-place teammate Chris Solinsky.Indiana finished second with a score of 104.Ryan Ford, who was Minnesota’s third-best runner the whole year, suffered cramps early in the race and struggled the rest of the way.But senior Mike Bialick stepped in nicely for Ford and was the third Minnesota finisher, in 29th place. Plasencia called it Bialick’s best race ever, but warned about the team’s need to improve for the Midwest Regional Championships in two weeks.“It was a mixed bag of results,” Plasencia said. “To have two guys in the top 10 is a real accomplishment. But we need to follow up with better running from the guys down the line.”Women fourth as wellAs she has been all season, Minnesota women’s cross country junior Lauren Williams was the Gophers’ top finisher in the women’s race. She earned second-team All-Big Ten honors by taking 14th overall in a time of 21:41.Freshman Ladia Albertson-Junkans was right behind, taking 15th five seconds later to drive the Gophers to a fourth-place finish with 133 points.Minnesota finished just two points ahead of fifth-place Indiana and nine ahead of sixth-place Penn State.“I couldn’t have been happier,” coach Gary Wilson said. “I told the team before the race that every point counts.”Minnesota’s fourth-place finish was in large part because of the way it finished the race.A number of Gophers pushed ahead several places in the final 600 meters. Albertson-Junkans was one of them, moving from 21st to 15th.Michigan State’s Danette Doetzel continued her spectacular freshman season, winning the women’s 6K race with a time of 20:33 and helping the Spartans into a tie with Illinois for second place.“For a freshman to win the Big Ten race is pretty unbelievable,” Wilson said. “I don’t know much about her. But I know she’s good.”Michigan won its third straight team title with 45 total points. The Wolverines were led by last year’s individual winner, junior Rebecca Walter, in second.With Michigan the favorite to win, Wilson said he was pleased with the outcome. He directly attributed Minnesota’s success to the team’s chemistry, which he said was a major issue last year.“This team, they just love each other,” Wilson said. “When you have that, anything’s possible.”last_img read more

Argos Picked Third in GSC East

first_img BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of West Florida softball team was picked third in the Gulf South Conference East Division Preseason Poll, it was announced today by the Conference office. The Argos received 15 points in the preseason poll, eight behind both Valdosta State and Alabama-Huntsville, who share the top spot in the GSC East.The Blazers were voted as overall preseason GSC favorites, receiving six overall favorite votes while UAH received five. Arkansas-Monticello, the preseason favorites in the GSC West, received the other two preseason overall favorite votes.Two Argonauts earned spots on the preseason All-GSC East team. Senior Karri Bisbee, a Panama City, Fla., native, earned one of the GSC’s 2nd base positions, while Pensacola native Amber Ingram, a junior, earned the lone 3rd base spot. Bisbee was a 2nd team All-GSC pick in 2010, while Ingram was named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American team and the All-GSC 1st team.Three Argonauts were named to the GSC Top Newcomers list. Ashliegh McLean and Tiffany Duncan join the UWF roster from the junior college ranks, while Elizabeth Nugent is a freshman who will compete for playing time at 1st base.West Florida posted a 40-16 record in 2010, including a 16-11 mark in GSC play. UWF advanced to both the GSC Tournament and the NCAA Division II South Regional tournament last season.Following Valdosta State, Alabama-Huntsville and UWF in the preseason GSC East poll are West Alabama, North Alabama and West Georgia. Behind Arkansas-Monticello in the West division are Ouachita Baptist, Henderson State, Delta State, Arkansas Tech, Christian Brothers and Southern Arkansas.UWF’s 2011 campaign starts on February 11, when they host Saint Leo as part of the GSC-SSC Crossover.COMPLETE GSC RELEASEPrint Friendly Version Karri Bisbee (Photo by Jim Hogue) Sharecenter_img Argos Picked Third in GSC Eastlast_img read more

Rockets rally past Warriors in fourth to even series

first_img(REUTERS) – Eric Gordon’s first 3-pointer of the game gave Houston a late five-point lead, and the Rockets held on from there to defeat the Golden State Warriors 95-92 in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday night to even the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.James Harden scored 30 points and Chris Paul 27 for the Rockets, who regained home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series that returns to Houston for Game 5 tonight.Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of his players, “They found a way. They’ve done it all year, and they’ll keep doing it.”Stephen Curry had 28 points and Kevin Durant 27 for the Warriors, who had their NBA-record, 16-game home playoff winning streak snapped.The victory was the Rockets’ first on the road against Golden State in the playoffs in franchise history.In a see-saw affair in which both teams led by double figures, the Rockets got the better of the finish after Curry converted a three-point play to get the Warriors within 91-89 with 3:18 to go.After Harden and Curry traded missed 3-point attempts, Gordon, who was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc to that point, buried a 27-footer for a five-point cushion with just 2:25 to play.The Warriors got back within 94-92 and had possession of the ball in the final seconds, but Klay Thompson misfired on a heavily pressured 16-footer.“I wanted the timeout,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the decisive possession. “Draymond (Green) was trying to call one around four seconds, once he got trapped, and at that point the officials weren’t looking and they’re not going to look down at our bench. So I saw Draymond trying to call it, and I was hoping they’d give it to us, but we didn’t get it.”D’Antoni said of the Rockets’ defence on the play, “Just guys doing what they’ve been doing the whole quarter. They got into people. That’s where Trevor (Ariza) got on Klay (Thompson) really in the corner and locked him down. You know they have a lot of movement, and we switch it, and guys just read it and played as hard as they could. They knew that one stop, the game’s over more or less, and came up large.”Paul, fouled on the rebound, made one of two free throws with a half-second remaining to make it a three-point game, and the Rockets then sweated out a missed desperation 3-point try by Curry at the final horn.Harden credited the Rockets’ defensive intensity for changing the game in the fourth quarter.“Third quarter, Steph was getting too free, stepping out and making long threes,” Harden said on ESPN. “We put the pressure on him to make him drive a little bit. Great team win!”Harden hit 11 of his 26 shots and Paul 10 of his 20 for the Rockets, who have won four of six road games in the postseason.Gordon finished with 14 points while PJ Tucker contributed 16 rebounds and Clint Capela had 13 boards for Houston, who have rebounded from all four losses this postseason with a win.Durant hit just nine of his 24 shots and Curry 10 of his 26 for the Warriors, who had been 4-0 in Game 4s during the Kerr era when up 2-1 in a series.Green recorded an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double while Thompson chipped in with 10 points for the Warriors, who played without Andre Iguodala, sidelined due to a sore left knee.“Our normal sub pattern obviously was skewed with Andre’s absence,” Kerr said. “I felt like in the fourth quarter, we just ran out of gas, scored 12 points. Tried to buy a little bit of rest for our guys, but, yeah, they just outplayed us in the fourth and they earned it.”Both teams made big runs in the first half, with the Rockets’ lasting longer and producing a 53-46 halftime lead.With all five starters scoring, the Warriors put up the game’s first 12 points, holding the Rockets scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting for more than five minutes.However, the Rockets got much the better of the rest of the half, outscoring Golden State 53-34 to build the seven-point edge.Harden had 15 of his 30 points in the second quarter, during which the Rockets went up by as many as 10.“They’re a really good team, especially at home,” Harden said of the Warriors. “You knew it wasn’t going to be easy. They started out 12-0. We kept fighting, kept fighting. I kept telling the guys, ‘We can win this game.’ And now it’s a best-out-of-three.”last_img read more