Author: dthompson

GEHS, SHHS Graduations set for this weekend

GEHS Graduation Date: Saturday, May 21 Time: 10 a.m. Location: Football field at the GEHS District Activities Complex •In case of inclement weather, graduation ceremonies will be moved inside to the gymnasium.  Each graduate has been given six tickets to distribute for admission to indoor commencement, admission by ticket only.  A live broadcast of graduation ceremonies will play in the GEHS auditorium for attendees without a ticket. SHHS Graduation Date: Saturday, May 21 Time: 4 p.m. Location: Spring Hill High ...

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Diener to address graduating 2011 class

Mark Taylor [email protected] Marvin Diener, GEHS football coach, will address the Class of 2011 during this year’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 21 at GEHS. Diener, who was selected by students to speak at graduation, said he will encourage this year’s graduates to take risks in life. The speech is entitled, “Get in the Game”. “It is so much better to work hard and be involved in the big arena than to sit on the sidelines and watch,” Diener told the Gardner News. “I just really believe life can be so great if you are willing to take a risk to fail. When things don’t go right it’s awfully tough, but the risk is so worth the value of the game.” Diener said his speech was inspired by one of his favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt. “I carry it (the quote) with me all the time,” Diener said. “I am paraphrasing, ‘It is far better and so much more satisfying to experience victory, even though it will be checkered with defeat, than to sit on the sidelines and never know the true joy of winning or pain of failure.” Diener added, “There is no question there will probably be a football metaphor” in the speech. He said he was “honored and excited” to have an opportunity to speak at graduation. “I think one of the real unique...

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Police ask couple to leave vacant property

Amy Cunningham [email protected] A homeless couple was asked to leave a site they had been squatting on at the intersection of Clare Road and 175th Street in Gardner on Wednesday morning. The home, long vacant, was destroyed by the property owner more than a week ago, but the couple remained on the property with several vehicles packed full of all of their belongings and their dog. According to the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, the couple was given until the end of the week to vacate the area or face possible prosecution for criminal trespassing. Wednesday morning the woman remained at the site, unsure of what to do – her companion was arrested earlier in the day for outstanding child support payments. “I’m-I’m just not sure what to do,” she said, shell-shocked. She said that prior to his arrest, her husband’s  was able to secure a small storage unit, but they had almost filled it completely full. The woman wasn’t sure how she was going to move the rest of her belongings because the tags on couple’s vehicles weren’t current. The woman said that the year had been difficult for her and her husband – culminating with a lost house in the Pumpkin Ridge subdivision. While Gardner isn’t a haven for the homeless, according to Gardner Police Department spokesperson Ilena Spalding, the city does occasionally see passers through...

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Family horse may be evicted

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Not everyone is a Blazer fan, and that’s turning into a problem for Ryan and Flower Souter, Gardner. Blazer, a mini-horse, is being evicted from the couple’s home, courtesy of the Gardner Police Department. Ryan and Flower received a notice on May 17 that the special permit allowing them to house Blazer in the Parma subdivision is being revoked. The pair doesn’t know how quickly they need to find Blazer a new home, or even if they’ll need to. The Gardner Planning Commission will consider granting the family a variance that would save their pet during...

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Lions Club updates GEHS wall in memory of former member

Mica Marriott [email protected] When Vic Vervynck, an active member of the Gardner Lions Club, passed away last April, club members were on the hunt for a way to find a way to honor their late fellow comrade. His family donated funds to the club toward a memorial in his honor. Lions Club member Butch Freund took on the project to find a way to memorialize his good friend. “He was a dedicated Lions Club member and Gardner citizen, so I wanted to find something that he would really be proud of,” Freund said. “I wanted to find something special.”...

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OPINION: Kansas Legislature promoted partisian agenda in 2011

Every day, Kansas families make budget choices based on priorities. How much to spend on groceries, how much to save in a college fund, where to take a summer vacation, or whether to take a vacation at all. Many Kansas families are faced with difficult choices these days, trying to make ends meet. Kansas government is no different. The Governor and legislature’s priorities are reflected in how they balance the budget. Last fall’s election left Kansas with the most conservative government in modern history. And if there was any question about the priorities our newly elected officials would bring to office, the recently completed legislative session should remove any doubt. This government, led by Gov. Sam Brownback, did not prioritize economic issues and job creation. Instead they chose to promote a partisan agenda which they scarcely mentioned in last year’s campaign. The best example of their priorities is their de-funding of public schools. When our children return to school in the fall, parents will be faced with higher student fees, teacher layoffs, fewer after-school programs, larger class sizes, and school shutdowns across Kansas. The $232 per pupil cut the legislature finally agreed to is the lowest level of funding in almost two decades. The Governor and legislature will tell you we are in difficult times, and difficult choices must be made. I agree that choices need to be made....

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Meadowbrook Rehab to open expansion May 19

The construction dust has finally settledat Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital in Gardner with completion of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit. The new addition will officially be dedicated with a grand opening, open house and public tours, and ribbon-cutting event from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the hospital located at 427 West Main Street. The program will include a celebration and recognition of Gardner’s beloved hometown doctor –Dr. Adelbert S. Reece. The featured speakers will include Johnson County Commissioner Calvin Hayden, De Soto, who represents the Sixth District that includes Gardner and western Johnson County. Hayden knows firsthand about Dr. Reece. He was among 2,247 babies delivered by the doctor during his 47-year medical career. “He was a great man who exemplified a small town doctor,” Hayden said. “He loved doctoring, and he loved people. He was a gentle gentleman, a one of a kind, a humanitarian dedicated to medical service to his community.” Dr. Reece began practicing medicine in Gardner in 1930, retired in 1977, and died in 1980 at age 78. He opened the oldest hospital in Johnson County in 1934 in downtown Gardner at the corner of Elm and Shawnee streets. Gardner Community Medical Center, then known as Reece Hospital, opened in 1961 at its West Main location. Research Health Service of Kansas City bought the medical center in 1981. Meadowbrook, a rehabilitation hospital with emphasis...

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UPDATED: Resident questions pony permit in Gardner

Editor’s Note: According to officials with the Gardner Police Department, the permit was revoked as of May 17. The miniature horse’s owners have a reasonable amount of time to find Blazer, the horse, a new home. In the meantime, the planning commission will consider issuing a variance to allow the family to keep Blazer. The Gardner News will introduce readers to Blazer and his family in a story for the May 20 edition. Danedri Thompson [email protected] Jackie Gonzales told city council members the smell keeps her from opening the windows at her home on Valerie Street. “It smells like a stable,” the Gardner resident said during the public comments segment of the May 16 council meeting. Gonzales said she’d heard a pony was moving into her Parma neighborhood last January. At the time, she figured maybe the horse was staying in town during the winter. “Come to find out, the pony is a family member,” she said. She later learned that the neighboring family received a permit from the city, and she said she watched as a stable began taking shape beneath the neighbor’s deck. “Can I have a pig or chickens in my yard? The cost of groceries is going up,” she told council members she was joking, as she expressed her surprise that a pony was allowed within city limits. “I grew up in Chicago and if...

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OPINION: Time to slow spending in Washington

Sen. Jerry Moran R-Kansas When President Reagan delivered that call to action during his second inaugural address, our national debt stood at $1.8 trillion. Today – 26 years later – that number has soared to $14.3 trillion, and the federal government has reached its debt limit. Congress will soon vote on whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling for the 11th time in the last decade. Our country is at a crossroads; the time to heed Reagan’s warning and right our nation’s fiscal course is now. President Obama has confidently stated, “We will raise the debt limit. We always have. We will do it again.” If only it was that simple. The hard truth is our country is broke; in the last two years, government spending has grown nearly 25 percent and  we currently borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend. This year alone, the federal government will spend $3.7 trillion and collect $2.2 trillion. That is a shortfall of $1.5 trillion. Common sense – Kansas common sense – tells us this pattern  cannot continue. The fact is our national debt is the responsibility of several Congresses and presidents – from both political parties – who have allowed us to live well beyond our means for  far too long. And simply raising the debt limit, as President Obama has asked Congress to do, is a nod toward continued...

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Council approves new truck over objections of member

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Council members Larry Fotovich and Chris Morrow asked that two items be pulled off the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are typically considered general business items that don’t merit discussion, but Morrow requested that an item to approve the purchase of a new city truck be moved to new business, and Fotovich requested members discuss the standing approval of the city’s expenditures over the last several weeks. City staff requested to purchase a two-ton full-size pick-up for $19,055 for the public works water treatment division. The new truck would replace a compact pick up truck with 141,000 miles on it. The truck is used as a shuttle vehicle to take employees between water treatment sites. “One-hundred and forty-one thousand miles give or take… That seems gently used,” Morrow said. David Greene, city public works director, said council members approved the purchase in this year’s budget. He explained that in the last two years, the existing truck has had more than $5,000 in maintenance cost including work on its brakes, diagnostics system and routine maintenance. “We’re anticipating more issues,” Greene said. “You can always delay, but you’re looking at more issues. This one’s tired.” He said city trucks are typically replaced after 10 years in service, but the current truck is 13 years old. Mayor Dave Drovetta said the city’s vehicle-replacement program allows council members...

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Electric utility board discusses long-term strategy

Amy Cunningham [email protected] As part of a long-term plan to move the city’s electric forward, Gardner Electric’s Director Bill Krawczyk has identified five main components that he believes will be critical to the organization’s success: rate stability, outage responsiveness, service reliability, public safety and succession planning. Krawczyk told members of the Gardner Utility Board there is still work to be done on the plan. “This is a skeleton and I need to put some meat on the bones,” he said.  “We’re talking about long-term strategy and how we’re going to accomplish this.” According to Mark Baldwin, the newest member of the board, the plan will help the board identify where the utility is today and where they want to go in the future.  He wondered how the electric stacked up against other players in the same arena. The director explained that the city has implemented several programs to keep the electric viable.  One area that he pointed to is the utility’s four-year program to trim back trees that are in close proximity to power lines.  Krawczyk said by cutting back those trees, in the event of an ice storm, Gardner would fare better than other cities without a similar program. He also told the board that, as far as rates were concerned, the utility is able to compete with larger utilities such as Kansas City Power and Light. Krawczyk...

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Auxiliary set to sell poppies to benefit veterans

Amy Cunningham [email protected] Loveta Medlin knows how important it is to support veterans, she’s hoping that Spring Hill residents will feel the same way this Saturday when her group, the Cole Smith Unit 350 Legion Auxiliary, and area school children will be out at local businesses offering to exchange poppies for a donation. Red crepe paper poppies are constructed by veterans, the very group who will benefit from their sale.  According to the American Legion Auxiliary veterans benefit from the project by earning a small wage for their efforts as well as participating in a physical and mental activity that can be therapeutic. Money generated by their distribution also goes back to the group. “The distribution of poppies is a way to say thank you to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Medlin said.  “We’re asking everyone to wear a poppy, to represent all those boys who were killed.” She explained that the group first became associated with the poppy as a symbol for young men who gave their lives during World War I – pointing to a poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields.  McCrae wrote the poem as a tribute to his friend who was killed in action as he prepared to offer the eulogy.  The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary adopted the flower in 1923. While Spring Hill residents...

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Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital to host ribbon ceremony for expansion

Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital will host an open house and ceremonial ribbon cutting on Thursday. The rehab hospital is opening new, state of the art, private room rehabilitation wing. The acute rehabilitation program is an intensive program to help individuals who have suffered injuries or illnesses regain the highest-possible level of independence and return home in the shortest amount of time. The ribbon cutting will be at 2 p.m. on May 19 at Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital, 427 W. Main St. An open house will follow from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the hospital. For more information, call...

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EDITORIAL: Kansas Legislature gets one right

The Kansas Legislature got at least one thing right during the 2011 legislative session. They re-wrote municipal annexation laws allowing property owners to have more say in the process. The move should satisfy property owners in unincorporated parts of Johnson County – especially those near Overland Park and Olathe. The recently passed legislation allows homeowners to vote on whether to allow a city to annex their property. The change to annexation laws, which have been stagnant since 1987, comes on the heels of longstanding complaints from southern Johnson County residents. The most recent land grab Overland Park swallowed eight-square miles into its city limits over the loud objections of property owners in 2008. While critics called the bill anti-development, saying it would stifle growth and job creation, we heartily disagree. When land owners are ready to sell their property to developers, developers will happily cede to becoming part of nearby municipalities. The sole sour note of the legislation is that it passed too late to help the dozens of landowners whose residences are now part of the big, beige Overland Park machine. But we’ll take late over...

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Edgerton hiring process winds down

Mark Taylor [email protected] The city of Edgerton is nearing the end of its search for a new city administrator. The council interviewed the final round of candidates on May 15 and has set June 6 as the target date for naming a new hire. Fifty applicants submitted resumes for the job, and the top five were interviewed. “Things are going well,” Mayor Don Roberts said . “We’ve had some just outstanding applicants. We’ll see how it goes from this point forward.” The council has been searching for a new city administrator since David Dillner resigned the city’s top staff post earlier this year to take a job in Abilene, Kan. Mike Press, retired Johnson County administrator, has been filling in on an interim basis. Council members have said during recent meetings that they are searching for an “innovative” administrator who “thinks outside of the box.” The new administrator will be responsible for guiding the city through residential and commercial growth that is believed will accompany the intermodal logisitics park planned to be built within city limits. In other business, the council: • Discussed the city’s fireworks policy. Resident Shelly George asked the council to expand public notification of the city’s fireworks ordinance, which restricts the use fireworks to July 3-4. “The last several years it has gone from a couple of days of fireworks to a week, all day and all night through the...

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Grant would fund sewers, manholes in SH

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Slow and steady gets the job done, that was the consensus during a Spring Hill City Council meeting on May 12. Council members discussed an ongoing project to upgrade old sewer lines and replace worn manholes in the city. To date, they’ve used a county grant – the Community Block Development Grant – to gradually improve the sewer system. Rory Hale, public works director, told council members that the project to upgrade older lines and manholes started in 1999. “It’s taken 13 years to get halfway through the project,” Hale told council members. “It will take at least another 10 years to complete.” Using the annual grant program since 1999, city officials have modernized 21,000 feet of sewer lines. They still have 20,000 feet to go. At the same time, they’ve re-aligned 32 manholes and still have about 95 left to complete the project. Hale said public works officials will apply for $100,000 in this year’s competitive CBDG process. If successful, they’ll use the funds, which require the city to match $5,000, to re-align 50 more manholes and upgrade several thousand feet of pipe. Council members will vote on moving forward with the city’s CBDG program during a May 26 meeting, but the grant has the mayor’s support already. “Obviously, this is something that’s going to benefit us down the road, Mayor Mark Squire said. Council...

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Grant funding would make walking in SH safer

Amy Cunningham [email protected] The city of Spring Hill wants parents to feel a little bit more at ease about letting their children walk or bike to school in 2012 and beyond, so the city is applying for a grant that will help do just that. Spring Hill City Planner Jim Hendershot said that he believes the Safe Routes to Schools grant would benefit families and encourage Spring Hill kids to lead more active and healthy lifestyles. He pointed to national statistics that say thirty years ago 60 percent of kids who lived within two-miles of a school walked or rode their bikes.  Hendershot isn’t sure what the statistics are for Spring Hill children today, but he believes that they might follow a national trend that shows only about 15 percent of kids get to school by walking or riding. “The national trend is that there aren’t nearly the amount of kids walking or biking to school as there used to be,” Hendershot explained.  “The goal is to provide safer routes to school so kids can do just that. The end result of that is less impact on the environment, and there’s so much information now on childhood obesity, this is an overall health and safety issue for the kids. This could help encourage healthier lifestyles for kids by providing them safer routes to get to school.” Lideanna Laboy from...

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USD 231 to offer online enrollment

Corbin H. Crable [email protected] Starting June 13, USD 231 families will have a new option to enroll their students online for the upcoming academic year. Educational Services Director Christy Ziegler made a presentation to the Board of Education at the board’s May 9 meeting in which she outlined how online enrollment will operate. Before going online, the student’s parent or guardian must go to the school their child attends or will attend and sign up to receive a login name and password. The parent or guardian must take a form of photo identification along with them in order to receive the information. They then can go to www.usd231.com and click on to the “online enrollment” button on the left side of the school district’s home page. After entering their assigned Family Access login information, the adult will be taken through a nine-step process in which they list information about their student, including contact and medical information. The nine-step process also includes a media release form, an Internet use form and a permission form by which the parent allows the school’s staff to administer over-the-counter medications in the event their student falls ill while at school. If they enroll their child online, parents must also pay tuition fees online, Ziegler said, although the school district will waive all credit card fees during the open enrollment period. USD 231 Superintendent Dr....

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Construction slated to begin on 'green' county buildings

Johnson County’s two newest green buildings for the Public Works Department’s complex in west Olathe are moving from the drawing board to the start of construction after more than two years in planning. The project will utilize many recycled and regional materials, and will also focus on construction waste management. It will use the earth in its heating and cooling system and the sun for light. And, the Public Works facility is designed for future certification for green construction by the U.S. Green Building Council through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program. A ceremony is...

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When is the last day to register for USD 230 bond issue election?

When is the last day to register to vote in the Spring Hill USD 230 school bond election? According to the Johnson County Election Website, www.jocoelection.org, district voters have until May 23 to register to vote in the mail-in ballot election. Ballots for the $39 million bond issue, which would include financing for an addition to Prairie Creek Elementary School, a new elementary school, as well as technological upgrades at other schools, will be mailed on May 18. Physical polling stations will not be opened for this special election. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote for the bond issue. A ‘no’ vote declines. Voters can request replacement ballots through June 3. To be counted, ballots must be returned to the Johnson County Election Office no later than noon on June...

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