News & Notes

Walkabout KC

In July, we’ll head over to Corporate Woods Founders Park and then go south along the greenway linkage. A greenway linkage is a wonderful open space of land that is set aside for public use and which connects two or more locations via a course through natural or man-made features. The point-of-beginning address for us is given as 9711 W. 109th Street, but the parking lot is actually in the 9400 block of Indian Creek Parkway (about halfway between Antioch & College Blvd.) on the north side.

Ethnic Eats

Ethnic Eats is face-to-face again. In June, despite enduring some bumps in the road, about half a dozen of us enjoyed mucho Mexican cuisine at K-Macho in Olathe. It was great to catch up and chat in person instead of via Zoom. ~ Karin Miller, Ethnic Eats Coordinator

Ad Astra Mensa via Zoom

Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met Monday, June 14th, via Zoom. Various topics were discussed including considerable conversation about COVID-19 and the related guidelines. Discussions have taken place about returning to in-person meetings. One disadvantage of meeting only in-person would be that we would lose some of our participants from outside of the Topeka area. Options being considered are a hybrid meeting (in-person and via Zoom simultaneously) and also going to two meetings per month — one that is in-person and another via Zoom. We also have to keep in mind the American Mensa COVID-19 policy and the CDC guidelines, and we’ll continue to function within their recommendations. Therefore, Ad Astra Mensa will meet again next via Zoom on Monday, July 12th at 7:00 pm. ~ John Scheirman, Ad Astra Mensa Coordinator

Scholarships Awarded

Mid-America Mensa (MAM) is very proud to announce the results of this year’s Mensa Education & Research Foundation scholarship competition. A STEM Scholarship for Women award worth $7,000 was given locally. Also, a Diana Mossip Memorial Scholarship worth $600 was awarded. In addition, MAM is awarding four $300 local scholarships this year. All of the scholarship winners will be reported in the July Mension along with publication of their winning scholarship essays. We wish to thank all of the applicants from our area who participated, as well as give thanks to our local judges.

News & Notes

Theodore Talks

We closed out May activities with our very first lecture in MAM’s new Theodore Talks series. Dr. John Laudun <> gave a very interesting, thorough, and complete discussion of Vernacular Knowledge: Looking for Intelligence in Unexpected Places with his speech based upon the concept of genius loci, or the spirit of a place. He explained how folklore has evolved from a philosophical matter to something more akin to anthropology in its study. We looked at examples of this trend by exploring: 1) the amazing crawfish boat of Louisiana; 2) a country Mardi gras near Mermentau Cove (in Louisiana); and, 3) the pirate and treasure legends which still exist today. He concluded his remarks and storytelling with a very helpful summary and some practical advice. First, folklore opens up our minds and helps us to learn about our place in the world. In this way, storytelling creates community, it gives us a thrill in the acquisition of knowledge, and assists in the documentation of history. Finally, stories have the power to connect all of us and they teach us to practice listening to others. Our oral traditions and the preservation of memories offer a creditable and confident variable for a high level of curiosity and change in our lives.

Ad Astra Mensa Zoom Meeting

Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom on Monday, May 10th. Topics discussed included books we have read or plan to read, TV shows we have watched, what else people have been doing, what the new normal is going to be, education, liberal arts, humanities and what “humanities” means to different people, engineering, mathematics, computer science, connections between computer science and musical abilities, connections between computer science and mathematics, people who have both developmental disabilities and phenomenal memories, puns, travel plans, the Bible as literature, the fact that the King James version of the Bible was written by poets, the differences between different versions of the Bible, vaccinations, language, and possible formats for future Ad Astra meetings. If you would like to discuss these topics, or others that interest you, please join us virtually on Monday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m. Look in the June Mension for all of the details about this event.

Ethnic Eats

In June, we are meeting in person. Bonito Michoacan, 1229 E Santa Fe, in Olathe, KS, has an outdoor dining area and we have reservations for six. If more want to attend, we can add to the number, but six-tops is the largest ‘together’ seating. Please RSVP if you’re interested.


Something to look forward to – MAM’s Paul Hough has volunteered to host Games at his home in August. He intends to host four times per year — in August, November, February, and May.

Mask Wearing at MAM Events

As you may know, since the start of the pandemic, adhering to CDC and local guidelines precluded scheduling nearly all of our in-person get togethers. On May 13th, the CDC revised their guidelines, so that fully vaccinated people can now gather in small and large groups whether or not social distancing is an option. (Masking, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings continues to be recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated.)

While this change in the guidelines only affects those who are fully vaccinated, it means you will likely start seeing more in-person events in the very near future. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Should SIG coordinators choose to host an event in their home, it will be up to the host to specify any restrictions for their home. They could, for example, state that all attendees must either show proof of vaccination or wear a mask, or they may ask that everyone wear a mask to accommodate those who are not vaccinated.
  • For any activity in a public venue, restrictions will be based on the venue’s policy at the time of the event. For example, some restaurants may continue to require masks when not seated and some venues may not accommodate social distancing.
  • If you have any concerns about whether or not to attend an in-person event, check with the coordinator about what restrictions, if any, will be in place and make a decision based on your specific circumstances.

As we have witnessed this past year, we cannot forecast when other changes may be coming, so please check with the event host or coordinator to confirm expectations before attending an activity.

MAM/CDC Guidelines as of May 13, 2021


 Type of Event


Basic CDC Guidelines as of 5-13-21


Will masks be required for a MAM event?



Can the coordinator require attendees to provide proof of vaccination to attend?


In-home gathering with people outside your bubble



• No mask required if vaccinated.

• Wear mask and socially distance if not vaccinated


Up to the host.


Restrictions are up to the host. (Ex. You might be given the option to either show your vaccine card or wear a mask.)


Public indoor venue



• No mask required if vaccinated.

• Wear mask and socially distance if not vaccinated. Avoid large gatherings.


Must follow the venue’s requirements.




Public outdoor venue



• No mask required if vaccinated.

• If not vaccinated, wear a mask around others if not socially distancing.






News & Notes

Have you gotten the jab? May is the unofficial start of summer and new seasonal activities and changes to our schedule(s) are gradually ramping up. If you have gotten your COVID-19 vaccination and/or you will be graduating in May, oh the places you’ll go! Likewise, Mid-America Mensa is seeing an uptick in its activities & events as well.

First, Walkabout KC in May heads out to Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Rd., Merriam, KS, on Saturday, May 1st at 10:00 am. We had a big turnout enjoy the MAM comradery, warmer weather, and light exercise last month at Leawood Park. Hopefully more MAM members and friends will meet up with us in May for another casual & enjoyable walk about a local park.

Ad Astra Mensa (via Zoom)

Ad Astra Mensa (Topeka, Lawrence, and environs) met virtually via Zoom on Monday, April 12. Topics discussed included Covid-19, places we would like to visit when travel restrictions are lifted, vaccinations, masks, the freedom to see people in person for those who have received their shots, movies, TV shows, books, Genghis Khan, the evolution of warfare, awareness (or lack thereof) of consequences of one’s actions, gardening, and haircuts. If you would like to discuss these topics, or others that interest you, please join us virtually on Monday, May 10 at 7:00 pm. Please check out the May Mension if you are interested in learning more about this upcoming MAM event.

Salon with a Double Twist — Saturday, May 15th, at 2:00 pm via Zoom

The usual way to have a salon is to select a topic and ask that everyone be prepared to offer their two cents’ worth on the subject. Well, that’s still true, but the first twist is this: In order to allow everyone time to speak and not have the salon be dominated by a particularly lengthy speaker, comments will be limited to one minute at a time. Everyone will have multiple opportunities, in turn with everyone else, to offer their wisdom and insights. The second twist is having a Salon via Zoom instead of in-person. The focus will continue to be intelligent, witty, insightful dialog. The Salon topic: What will be your new normal in life after Coronavirus?

Theodore Talks – Sunday, May 23rd, from 2:00-3:00 pm via Zoom

Vernacular Knowledge: Looking for Intelligence in Unexpected Places — Dr. John Laudun

Join us for this MAM event (which is the very first lecture in MAM’s new speaker/talk series). Please look in the May Mension for more information about this MAM speaker event and how to make your reservation to attend!