February 13, 2016

After the storm

By Mark Taylor
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner and Edgerton utility workers, police and tow truck drivers were kept busy during two
blizzards that dumped about 20 inches of snow on the area within a period of five days.
The storms hit on Feb. 21 and Feb 26.  About 12 inches of snow blanketed the area during the first storm and about seven inches during the second.
According to most accounts – other than power outages in Gardner and Edgerton on Feb. 26 – the second storm was far less problematic than the first.
No injury accidents were reported in the area.
Ilena Spalding, public information officer for the Gardner Police Department, said the most recent storm “was much calmer than the one before. Less people were out on the streets.”
Spalding said Gardner police responded to 94 calls within a 24-hour period during the first storm.
Of those, three were non-injury accidents, and 73 were motorist assists.
Motorist assist calls include vehicles that are stuck at intersections or that have slid off the roadway.
During the second storm, police responded to 29 calls during a 24-hour period.
Those included 10 motorist assists and one accident that occurred on private property.
Spalding said overtime was “minimal” during the storm.
Dep. Rick Howell, of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, said public agencies were able to provide more warning to the public ahead of the second storm.
He said the public deserves credit for “heeding the message” and staying home during the second storm.
“The first storm hit so hard, and most people were already at work when it hit,” he said.
Howell said the sheriff’s office utilized “all our resources” regarding personnel during the storm.
Deputies from all the department’s divisions were called upon for patrol.
“We wanted to stay ahead of the curve, if you will,” he said.
Brandon McCollum, distribution supervisor for Gardner Energy, said the majority of Gardner was affected by a power outage that lasted for about eight hours during the second storm.
He said crews were dispatched at 3 a.m. after receiving reports of “flickering lights.”
The first outage was reported at 6:22 a.m., and power was fully restored by 11 a.m.
McCollum said the flickering and outage resulted from Kansas City Power and Light switching feeds into the Gardner area.
An estimated 94,000 customers lost power in the KCPL service area.
McCollum added that Gardner Energy had some ice on its lines but had no issues with fallen trees due to its “aggressive” tree trimming program.
Beth Linn, city administrator for the city of Edgerton, said crews put in about 95 hours clearing snow during the first storm and about 104 during the second.
Six tons of salt/sand was used during the first storm and 1.5 tons during the second.
Edgerton residents experienced a power outage from mid-morning to mid-afternoon on Feb. 26, due to density of the snowfall, Linn said.
Edgerton customers are served by KCPL.
“Most residents experienced approximately six hours without power,” Linn said.
Mica Marriott, of Marriott’s Garage, said the company’s tow trucks were kept busy during the first storm.
“I had people stranded in their cars for three to four hours,” Marriott said. “There was a long list of people to get to.”


  1. Good story with details on how public entities coped with the storms. I think another reason why our second storm wasn’t quite as detrimental in terms of accidents and traffic problems was that it arrived overnight rather than during the morning rush hour.

    A few weather-related fact checking though. Where did you get your snow totals from? Per National Weather Service local storm reports our first storm was reported as 11 inches across Gardner while the second storm was a reported 10 inches in Gardner. Also, please keep in mind that neither of these storms were actually blizzards. Perhaps you can say they had blizzard-like conditions, especially the second storm, but by definition were not blizzards.

  2. Gardner did a great job! I was impressed. Olathe did too. Some of the other places not so much. Missouri was horrible! I will say even now I think they should take the snow plows and open all the traffic lanes so they are not blocked by snow. Difficult to maneuver and make room for our vehicles going down the road when its narrow and covered with snow. Like on Moonlight going north by the railroad tracks. Its blocked with snow. Otherwise Gardner did fairly well.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Citizens of Gardner are paying dearly for that snow removal since they, Edgerton and Spring Hill have the highest mill leviies in the whole county. Compare Overland Park’s mill levy of 12.769 to Gardner’s mill levy of 31.140 or to Edgerton’s mill levy of 36.935. You are paying around 2 1/2 times higher city taxes than Overland Park – think you are in living in paradise here in Gardner compared to the people of Overland Park??

    Then look at your school dist. mill levy. USD 231 school district mill levy is 82.406 – THE HIGHEST MILL LEVY IN JOHNSON COUNTY! They are followed by Gilhaus’s former home of Desoto which has a school mill levy of 82.262. You might want to question those candidates for School Board positions closely as to whether they will retain Gilhaus as Superintendent. Shawnee Mission school district carries a mill levy of 55.766. Olathe has a mill levy of 69.618. Think those people’s kids in Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, etc. who are in that Shawnee Mission school district are getting a cut rate education and their kids are having a harder time of getting into college than kids from Gardner? And to think citizens of this area voted themselves an even high debt for what I consider more and more to be a sports education and know that USD 231 mill levy will be going even higher. Then put the cherry on the top of the hat when your city and school dist. want to charge you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to answer citizens’ questions about their own governments – if citizens don’t recognize this as stonewalling and government entities not wanting to be upfront and forthcoming with their citizens, then they never will. Yeah, there is a price to pay for that good snow removal and taking care of the thieves…….

    You put Gardner’s sky high city mill levy along with USD 231’s sky high mill levy and you are living in the highest taxed area in Johnson County. You might want to be thinking about the leadership that has brought you these sky high tax rates and try to find some people who will do a better job and not some candidates for office who will bring you the same ole thing but I highly doubt if that is going to occur. And just think you will will be living in a hell hole surrounded by trucks, trains, increased crime, pollution, increased medical costs, disability, etc. and politicians and bureaucrats ready to rock and roll with the thieves to bring you even more servitude to the big boys.

    You get and deserve the adverse affects of rotten government due to your enablement and support by drinking and eating the progaganda fed to you on a daily basis. The people of this area have themselves to blame for going along with all of the crud that transpires daily – that is my opinion.

    Snow removal should be one of your least concerns. Good ole Red State Kansas is eating average citizens’ lunches on a daily basis and even worse, the citizens are paying the politicians and bureaucrats dearly to do so. You reap what you sow and the wheat crop gets better and better every year for the thieves.

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