Author: dthompson

Moonlight Road, 56 Highway intersection to close this week

Weather permitting, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF)  will perform road and track restorations at the Moonlight Road railroad crossing located at the intersection of Moonlight Road and U.S. 56 Highway during the week of May 31. BNSF will close Moonlight Road, at the railroad crossing, from Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3. Citizens are advised to plan alternate routes during this temporary...

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Edgerton council introduces new city administrator

Mark Taylor [email protected] The Edgerton City Council hired Elizabeth “Beth” Linn as city administrator on May 26. Linn, who was one of nearly 60 persons who applied for the job, currently works as director of community development for the city of Raytown. She previously worked as neighborhood services manager for the city of Merriam. Linn has a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. Mayor Don Roberts said he was “excited” to have Linn on board. “We are pleased to have someone with Beth’s education, experience and professional...

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Gardner girls set up drink stand to benefit Joplin tornado victims

Amy Cunningham [email protected] Kayleigh Demaline and her two friends wanted to do something to help the victims from last week’s tornado in Joplin, so Thursday the group decided to set up shop in the driveway of a neighbor and sell lemonade to passersby. By 2 p.m. the trio had netted $31.66 to be sent to the American Red Cross to put toward the tornado relief effort. “We just want to raise am much money as we can raise,” said Joelle Bortz, who is loaning out her parents’ driveway on West Colleen Drive in the Fountain Gate subdivision to host...

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EDITORIAL: Council takes misstep with approval of new truck purchase

One thing is certain: The city vehicle replacement “target” needs to be re-examined, and everyone needs to be made aware that there is no policy or hard-and-fast 10-year replacement program. Gardner City Council members recently approved the purchase of a more than $20,000 half-ton truck to replace a 13-year-old Ford Ranger. According to city staff, one-third of the vehicle’s $5,664 in maintenance had occurred in the last two years. However, staff told council members the repairs included brake lines, computer repair diagnostics and routine service. This seemed like an awfully high expense for a truck simply used to shuttle employees from different wastewater sites. That money the city claims to have spent would almost pay for a new transmission and a new engine. (And if those two items were replaced, it would be silly to buy a new vehicle.) When The Gardner News requested detailed maintenance records for the truck, we learned that more than half of the truck’s total maintenance costs – approximately $2,888 –  are listed as “overhead.” Or, according to city staff, that’s the cost of salary, benefit, services, and commodities related to fleet maintenance. In other words, city staff took the number of hours used to do oil changes, replace brake lines and other general maintenance items and figured the cost of employing a staff member to do the job. The cost of that employee...

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Planning Commission preps for meeting about mini horse

Amy Cunningham [email protected] Interim Gardner City Administrator Melissa Mundt warned Planning Commissioners they may see the owners of a miniature horse before them at an upcoming meeting scheduled for June 28. “At the next meeting there should be a conditional use permit (before you),” Mundt explained. She said the horse’s owners, the Souter family were initially granted a permit to keep their pet at their Gardner residence by animal control, under the watch of the Gardner Police Department. While the Souter family believed they had completed the necessary requirements to keep their pet at their home, the governing body...

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Council member: 10-year fleet replacement target needs to be examined

Danedri Thompson [email protected] With a fleet of 64 vehicles and one fleet service employee who oversees the maintenance of them, the city doesn’t have a vehicle replacement policy, according to Interim City Administrator Melissa Mundt. “We have a target of (replacement) in 10 years,” she said. “But what we do mostly is look at a vehicle through its life and say, is it performing well? Is it having problems? What kind of problems?” Mayor Dave Drovetta told council members during a May 16 meeting that the city’s vehicle replacement program was established so officials could plan for new cars. “This process allows you to budget overtime in small bits every year,” he said. At the time, city council members approved the purchase of a new, $20,955 pick-up to replace a 1998 Ford Ranger that is used to shuttle water and wastewater employees between public works facilities. Council members Brian Broxterman, Kristina Harrison, and Dennis Pugh approved the purchase over the objections of members Larry Fotovich and Chris Morrow. However, Harrison said had the truck’s maintenance records been made available, she may have voted differently. “This stuff wasn’t presented to us, we should’ve asked for it,” Harrison said of the records that The Gardner News obtained. “I should’ve asked more questions about this specific thing.” During the meeting, city staff told council members the 13-year-old truck had 141,000 miles on...

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Traffic accident in SH kills one

Mark Taylor [email protected] One person was killed and two were injured May 25 in a three-vehicle crash near U.S. 169 Highway and 199th Street near Spring Hill. The accident happened about 6:20 a.m. Killed was Rita M. Fermyn, 44, of Lane, Kan. Injured were Kyle L. Fermyn, 20, of Lane, Kan., who was a passenger in Rita M. Fermyn’s car, and Tommy J. Nickell, 40, of Parker, Kan. Jimmy L. Brown, 61, of Paola, escaped injury. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, all three vehicles were northbound on U.S. 169. A 2002 Chevrolet passenger car driven by Rita M. Fermyn, and a 1998 Dodge pickup driven by Brown were stopped at a red light at 199th Street. Authorities say Nickell apparently had fallen asleep in his 1999 Chevrolet pickup and struck the back of Rita M. Fermyn’s vehicle. Debris from Rita M. Fermyn’s vehicle then struck Brown’s vehicle. Rita M. Fermyn was pronounced dead at the scene. Kyle L. Fermyn and Nickell were transported to area hospitals. Their conditions and the extent of their injuries were not known at press time. According to the Highway Patrol, Rita M. Fermyn and Brown were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Kyle L. Fermyn and Nickell were not. The wreck closed northbound U.S. 169  and traffic was diverted at 199th...

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Hot air balloon festival this weekend

Amy Cunningham [email protected] Thirty hot air balloons from around the region will ascend over Gardner at the 2011 Kansas City Hot Air Balloon Invitational set to launch over Celebration Park from May 27 through 30. According to one of the event’s organizers, Jason Jones, this is the only ballooning event in the area sanctioned by the Balloon Federation of America (BFA). The 2011 Kansas City Hot Air Balloon Invitational is the site of the 2011 Kansas State BFA Championship. The highest placed finisher from this weekend’s contest will receive an automatic bid to the 2012 BFA National Championship in...

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One killed, two injured in Spring Hill crash

Mark Taylor [email protected] One person was killed and two were injured this morning in a three-vehicle crash near U.S. Highway 169 and 199th Street in Spring Hill. The accident happened about 6:20 a.m., according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. The names of those killed and injured have not been released. More information will be posted as it becomes...

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Middle school students win grant for video

Amy Cunningham [email protected] Spring Hill Middle School students found out Friday that a lot can be accomplished in 60 seconds. Several eighth grade students were honored for their efforts in producing a 60 second video for Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency (HUEE). On Friday the group was invited to a luncheon reception where they accepted a $3,000 grant after being announced the contests winners. HUEE board member Mary Kay Villegas-Alitz, an energy applications specialist for Independence Power Light, helped judge the contest. “The Spring Hill video was very well put together, there was a flow throughout like it was...

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Public Notice

First published in The Gardner News, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 INVITATION TO BID 2011 HVAC SERVICES Sealed bids for HVAC Services for seven (7) City facilities will be received at the Gardner City Hall, Public Works Department, 120 E. Main Street, until 2:00 p. m., June 17th , 2011.  All bids will be publicly opened in the Council Chambers immediately following the deadline. Bid packets may be obtained at Gardner City Hall Public Works window or via e-mail at no charge, contact Cindy Weeks @ [email protected] Prospective bidders should contact Dean Kerr, at 913-856-0960, for specific bid...

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Danna Joann Giczewski

Danna Joann Giczewski Danna Joann Giczewski, 55, of Gardner, passed away Sunday, May, 15, 2011, at her home. Danna was born Dec. 11, 1955 in Kansas City, Kan., to Charles Elmer and Carolyn Sue (Arnold) Grabeal. She graduated from Washington High School in Kansas City, Kan., and attended Emporia State University. Danna married Gary Allen Giczewski on Sept. 9, 1978, in Kansas City, Kan. They lived in Paola and moved to Gardner seven years ago. She was an administrative secretary for the Johnson County Commissioners Office. Danna enjoyed watching movies and reading books. Danna loved her family and especially delighted in her granddaughter Jillian. She will be dearly missed.She was preceded in death by her sister Cindy. Danna is survived by her husband Gary, of the home; daughter Ashley Ryan Blanchard of Baldwin City, Kan.; granddaughter Jillian; and parents Charles and Carolyn Grabeal of LaCygne, Kan. Cremation. Memorial Contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Foundation in care of Bruce Funeral Home, PO Box 192, Gardner, KS, 66030. Condolences may be sent to...

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OPINION: State budgets shouldn't be created using Santa's wish list

Dave Trabert Guest Columnist There’s a lot to not like for everyone in next year’s state budget but a recent Wichita Eagle editorial failed to recognize that budgets aren’t created from Santa’s wish list. Cheerleading for tax increases to meet agency requests is akin to calling for more job losses. Two academic studies of last year’s sales tax increase said it would cost thousands of jobs, and they were right.  Kansas lost 15,000 private sector jobs between last June and March. Jobs have been migrating away from high-burden states for years. Between 1998 and 2010, the ten states with the lowest state-and-local tax burden averaged 8.8 percent increase in private sector jobs, while the ten with the highest burden are only up 0.6 percent. Kansas actually employed fewer private sector workers in 2010 and was 0.6 percent below 1998 levels.  And we’ve lost more jobs this year. Kansas isn’t among the top ten highest tax burden states but we’re rapidly moving in that direction. Kansas was ranked No. 23 based on 2008 tax burdens and is ranked No. 19 based on 2009 burdens. Kansans have since been hit with nearly $500 million more in sales, unemployment and property taxes.  State and local taxes grew at twice the rate of inflation between 2000 and 2010 according to Kansas Legislative Research and the Bureau of Labor Statistics; we’ll continue to suffer...

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USD 230 patrons to decide $39 million bond issue

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Johnson County Election Officials mailed 6,570 ballots to Spring Hill School District voters last week. And now the waiting game is on for school district staff as voters decide whether to approve a $39 million bond issue. If approved, the bonds would expand Prairie Creek Elementary School, build a new elementary near Spring Hill High School, address maintenance needs in the district like improving parking lots, and technology upgrades district-wide including wireless access in all buildings. District officials say the bond issue will not require a mill levy increase. To be counted, mail-in ballots must be returned to the Johnson County Election Office no later than noon on Tuesday, June 7. Election officials mailed ballots to registered voters on May 18, and by May 23, more than 1,400 ballots had been returned. Brian Newby, Johnson County Election Commissioner, said he expects another 1,400-or-so ballots to trickle in by the June 7 deadline. “Back in the day, you could almost be assured of a 50 percent turnout with a mail-in ballot,” Newby said. “Now it’s about a 40 percent turnout. For whatever reason, the turnout of mail ballots has dropped over the years.” Mail elections have been popular with school districts over the past several years. Spring Hill School District patrons will vote this summer, and Gardner Edgerton officials anticipate hosting a mail-ballot election in early 2012....

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County officials: Mechanisms in place to address potential local disasters

Corbin H. Crable [email protected] Although southwest Johnson County was spared from any major damage in the wake of last weekend’s storms, county officials say plans are in place to combat such an event if it were to occur here. Across the state line, in Joplin, Mo., the death toll from Saturday’s tornado – the most deadly on record since 1953 – climbed past 100 on Tuesday. Homes and buildings located along a six-mile swath of the central part of the city lay in ruins as search-and-rescue efforts continued; message boards on The Joplin Globe’s website lit up with pleas...

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OPINION: What 2011 graduates need to know

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Dear Graduate, I have some good news and some bad news for you as you prepare to collect your high school diploma this weekend. The good news: Other than the piece of paper that declares you a high school graduate, few people will remember or care what you did at Gardner-Ederton or Spring Hill High Schools. The bad news: Other than the piece of paper that declares you a high school graduate, few people will remember of care what you did at GE High or Spring Hill High. You’ll hear lots of advice as you prepare to become productive members of society. You won’t listen to most of it, including that which I’m about to offer. But, I’m going to tell you the things I wish someone had told me when I collected my GE diploma anyway. • Most importantly, following Christ will help you avoid a lot of mistakes. Reading your Bible won’t make you perfect, but it provides a pretty handy guidebook for all occasions. • What you’ve learned in school isn’t all that important. If your teachers taught you what to think, they’ve failed. If they’ve taught you how to think, you should use that skill everyday with reckless abandon. From this day forward, you get to learn what you want rather than what someone tells you need to know. • Question everything....

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2011 graduation edition on newsstands

Today’s print edition of The Gardner News features photos of graduating seniors from Gardner Edgerton High School and Spring Hill High School. Pick up your commemorative copy...

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Church quilters create for a cause

Mica Marriott [email protected] For about a year, a small group of ladies from Gardner’s First Baptist Church have been meeting the third Tuesday evening of every month for fellowship and sewing. Chair, Solene Hollingshead said, “We started the group for people who wanted to learn quilting or improve their skills and we decided our creations should benefit the community.” Nursing homes and other well being facilities always need lap blankets, also known as lap robes. The First Baptist Church’s Craft Circle double-knits the fabric of the blankets by hand, which makes them very durable. “No matter how many washings,...

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