Shawnee | KCUR

Shawnee

Nicholas Telep / KCUR 89.3

The line to enter Johnson County’s newest public library stretched out the door and around the building Sunday, shortly after the official ribbon-cutting.

The Monticello branch of the Johnson County Public Library in western Shawnee, Kansas, cost $18.1 million and is home to more than 100,000 books and other materials as well as study rooms, computers and public art installations. It’s the library's first new branch in two decades, and it’s been in the works for almost that long.

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The “dog days” are here, right? Hot. Sticky. Hotter than sticky.

If you can’t beat the August sauna, join it this weekend – heck, it can’t hurt to try – by doing things dedicated to hot snacks, hot music, hot comedy and other sizzling stuff.

Sweaty already? Good!

1. Heart of America Hot Dog Festival

PoolSafely / Flickr — CC

Summer’s here and the time is right for … fun.

Bet you saw that coming. Yet here we are in the midst of the summer solstice, and I wonder: Have you truly gotten your summer on? If so, good for you and don’t forget the sunscreen. If not, it’s handy I’m here to give a nudge toward weekend music, theater and recreation embodying the season.

Summer-fun things won’t wait. Get ’em while they’re hot!

1. Lucinda Williams, Steve Earl and Dwight Yoakam

Kris Kobach / Twitter

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is drawing national scrutiny after he appeared in the Old Shawnee Days parade in Johnson County on Saturday riding in a Jeep with a large machine gun replica mounted on it.

In a tweet after the parade, Kobach called the vehicle a “souped-up Jeep,” and posed with it. The gun appeared to be a .50 caliber machine gun. Kobach said the firearm was a replica.

Wikimedia Commons

As much as it goes against my desire for neverending spontaneity, even a party needs a plan.

So here’s your blueprint for a festive weekend offering special exposure to everything from celebrities to meatballs – yes, there’s a difference. Usually.

Regardless, whether you're brushing up against a famous personality or a food item, it couldn't hurt to keep a napkin or two handy. 

1. Big Slick Celebrity Weekend

715 Restaurant / Facebook

Noodles are having a moment Kansas City.

“There’s an awful lot of chefs in the city right now with small pasta menus within their main menu,” Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “It’s because they’re making it in-house and they’re very proud of it.”

Vergara, along with fellow food critics Mary Bloch and Charles Ferruzza, searched out the best noodle dishes in and around town.

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

Burgers are a classic KC menu item.

"As a steak town, Kansas City has always had a lot of good burgers, too," Charles Ferruzza told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Whether diners prefer a thin or thick patty — or something meatless — local menus have plenty of options.

Ferruzza, along with fellow Food Critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, searched out the best burgers in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Daniel Chow / Flickr -- CC

It’s the time of year when you may need to feed a crowd — perhaps for holiday gatherings or for college bowl game-watching. And what better way than with pizza?

William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

It’s time for the weekend, which means attendant smiles can’t be far behind.

Ways to get happy include a cheerful mix of music, comedy and sports designed to stir pleasant memories, tickle fancies and raise any flagging spirits.

Grin and wear it!

1. Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey

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Whether you choose to refute it or thrive in it, the world is indeed a strange place.

Even relatively common leisure-time activities can’t evade the peculiar wonder of it all, as with this weekend’s oddly tinged excursions into comedy, theatrics, music and more.

If only for the next few days, wherever it may lead, just go with the strange flow. Anyway, you can deny it all later. Well, except for that. Nice try, though.

Ralph Daily / Flickr -- CC

Summer grilling season is upon us. Over this Memorial Day weekend, we’ll be firing up the backyard grill, cold beverage in hand.

But what exactly is grilling? KCUR’s Food Critics defined it on Friday’s Central Standard.

“It’s over hot fire or coals,” Carlton Logan told host Gina Kaufmann.

“Grilling is not barbeque,” added Charles Ferruzza. “The main difference is the speed. Grilling can be pretty fast. Barbeque is a slow-cooker thing.”

Courtesy Wonderscope Children's Museum

Leaders of the Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, which is currently located near Johnson Drive and Nieman Road in Shawnee, Kansas, announced Tuesday that they plan to raise $12 million for a new building in the Red Bridge Shopping Center at 112th and Holmes in south Kansas City.

Plans are to share the building with the Red Bridge location of the Mid-Continent Public Library.

Andrea Tudhope / File photo

One person is dead and eight others were injured in two separate shooting incidents in the Kansas City metro this weekend.

Around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, a gunman fired into a crowd of people walking in Kansas City's Westport district, injuring six people, one critically. The Westport gunman used a semi-automatic weapon, Kansas City police chief Darryl Forte said in a Tweet.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

On Tuesday, voters go to the polls in Kansas and Missouri. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Kansas, and from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Missouri.

Kansas City, MO – We're in the middle of the five-day Hindu celebration of Diwali. On Saturday, some 2000 people gathered at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center to celebrate with the region's biggest-ever Diwali party.

Earlier last week, KC Currents' Alex Smith went to temple to find out more about the holiday known as the "festival of lights."

Final Alarm for Shawnee Firefighter

May 27, 2010

Leawood, Kan. – Firefighters from around the Midwest joined colleagues, friends and family of Shawnee Firefighter John Glaser today at his memorial service. Glaser was killed fighting a house fire this past weekend.

Eulogies at a Leawood, Kansas church centered on common themes: Call to duty, commitment to country and commitment to community.

John Glaser died inside a burning house as he searched for occupants. Shawnee Fire Chief Jeff Hudson came up through the ranks and knew intimately the conditions Glaser faced in the heat and smoke.