Author: Gardner News

Racketeers take 3rd last week

Coach David Stueve The varsity tennis team finished third at the tennis meet last week. Carson Williams ended with a fourth place finish, playing number one singles for the first time. Max Clark played number two singles; he put up a good battle and also finished third . Senior Ryan Sherman and Holden Bennett played number one doubles and finished fourth. This was their first opportunity to play 1’s,  and they represented the team well. Senior Kole Nhingsavath and Cooper Hart played number two doubles. They had some great matches and ended the day in first...

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Memories of Dr. King, Panthers 50 years later

Rhonda Humble Publisher April is a month chock full of important dates in my life. Birthdays, deaths, anniversaries and milestones. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, Kansas City, Mo., is hosting a remembrance of the events that took place as a local reaction following Dr. King’s death. I remember that day. My junior high class was rushed out of a downtown concert. As our school bus headed thru Kansas City we saw burning busses and overturned cars, people in the streets, and a militaristic line of Black Panthers dressed in black, with tilted black berets and holding rifles. They were standing at attention in front of a local church. There were also police, and eventually the National Guard. That day has had a major influence on my life. I attended a predominantly African American elementary school – Mark Twain – and Southeast Junior High School, both located near 63rd and Swope Parkway. It was a time when words such as red-lining, and block-busters were common. I remember discussions as our Brownie troop and the local PTA were integrated. I remember my parents standing firm not to move at a time now called “white flight,” which was about the same time bussing was introduced to the KCMO school district. I remember Mark Twain elementary going from a majority white elementary to predominantly black. My...

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Randell enters guilty plea in GEHS vandalism

Dustin Michael Randell appeared in Johnson County court April 6, 2018, and pled guilty to charges stemming from the vandalism of Gardner Edgerton High school in February 2017. Randell was one of three suspects in the February 2017 burglary incident. The other suspects remain at large. Pam Stranathan, USD 231, declined comment regarding the plea agreement and referred all questions to the Gardner Police Department. An exact damage estimate has never been released by the district. “I’m pleased we were able to identify and arrest one of the three suspects in the GEHS burglary and that he’s pled guilty to a felony count of criminal destruction of property,” said Jim Pruetting, Gardner Police Chief. “I am, however, disappointed the suspect wasn’t required to identify the other two suspects as part of the plea agreement to drop the felony burglary charge in exchange for his guilty plea on the lesser charge.  The case does remain open and we are hopeful the remaining suspects are eventually identified.  We ask that anyone with information about the crime contact us immediately.” Randell was arrested Oct. 3, 2017, in Taney County, Mo., on a Johnson County burglary. He was originally held in Johns on County jail on $25,000 bond charged with three counts: burglary, not a dwelling; criminal damage; andmisdemeanor theft. His court date was Oct. 10, 2017. He made a $7500 surety bond and was...

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Thomasson pleads no contest in death

Lindsey Thomasson, Gardner, on April 13 entered a no contest murder plea at Johnson County courthouse for the death of two year old Presley Kay Porting. Porting was her fiancee’s daughter. The no contest plea was agreed to on the condition charges were reduced from first-degree to second-degree murder. No contest indicates there is enough evidence to be convicted; however, Thomasson does not admit guilt. Prosecutors say two year old Presley Kay Porting was beaten to death and that Thomasson put makeup on the girl to cover up the bruises. They also say Thomasson did not call 911 or any medical help for the girl, which could have experts said could have saved her life. Her sentencing is set for July...

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Sports Potpourri

Mac Stevenson Kansas University’s athletic department is in a precarious situation that could develop into a catastrophe for KU’s fans and everyone associated with the Jayhawks’ basketball team. Last week the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York brought further charges against Adidas marketing director Jim Gatto; KU players were mentioned along with problems at North Carolina State, Miami, and Louisville. That’s not very good company for Kansas to be keeping. This all stems from a confusing investigation by—of all people—the FBI. What in the world is the FBI doing investigating the recruiting behavior of college basketball teams? Isn’t that what the NCAA is for? It would seem from the national news that the FBI has enough problems without becoming embroiled in college athletics. Evidently some of the players’ parents have been paid cash by Adidas for the promise that their sons would give their endorsements to that company when they joined the NBA. Two prominent names mentioned in connection with Kansas are Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. Preston was under a hush-hush investigation at KU concerning a car he was driving and never played a regular-season game for the Jayhawks. De Sousa played for KU during the second semester and the NCAA Tournament. One thing is certain: nothing good is going to come from this mess. It sounds as if the NCAA hasn’t been—at...

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GEHS students ‘walk out’ of class

A news chopper hovered overhead as students at GEHS participated in a walkout to protest gun violence on Apr. 17. Matthew Brittain, 17 year old GEHS senior, was interviewed by the metro TV news prior to a student organized walkout . Staff photos by Rick Poppitz About 75 Gardner Edgerton High School students “walked out” of class as part of an ongoing, nationwide recognition of the tragedy in Parkland, Fla. where 17 students died and 14 were injured in February as the result of a teen gunman. According to a message sent home to GEHS parents April 16, a...

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Gardner Edgerton Chamber hosts Governor candidate, Greg Orman

Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce hosted a informal coffee with Greg Orman, candidate for Governor, on April 12 at Groundhouse Coffee. The informal event, called “Coffee with a Candidate,”, offered to any candidate wishing to come to the community to meet Gardner Edgerton  residents. Staff photo by Rick...

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Blazers fall to Lawrence Free State

Ryan Plankenhorn The Blazers traveled to Lawrence Free State on April 12 to take on the Firebirds. This game was dominated by good pitching from both sides. Unfortunately, the Blazers could not provide enough run support to win the game.  The final score was 3-1 in favor of the Firebirds. Leading the Blazers offense was Dayvin Johnson who went 2-3 with a single and a triple.  Johnson also drove in the lone Blazer run.  Other players collecting hits were Colton Cassida, Tyler Henry and Isaiah...

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Batters begin spring season, come out swinging versus Olathe West

Hilary Hinderliter Although the weather was not ideal for spring softball, the JV girls began the season with a bang against Olathe West. To begin the first inning, Lauryn Karr, Mackenzie Minea and Makenzie Sumner walked with one out. Karr and Minea scored on wild pitches and Jaidyn Andrews also reached first base to welcome Mia Vallery to the plate with two runners on base. Mia had a big two run RBI triple. Bailey Bias knocked in 2 runs with an RBI in the bottom of the first. Maddie Steed found a way on in the first along with Caeley Billings who got her first RBI of the season. Lauryn Karr walked, but scored on Mackenzie Minea’s RBI triple, who also scored to make it 10-0 in the first inning. In the first defensive appearance, Bailey Bias started on the mound. With the first two batters reaching base, the defense rallied to hold the Owls to only two runs. Lauryn Karr made a fantastic catch in left field to find the first out. They had a great hit which scored their first two runs of the game. Bias continued to work to get out of the inning by finding her groove on the mound. She forced two back to back ground outs for a 10-2 lead. Jaidyn Andrews walked to begin the second inning, scoring on Kylie Lee’s RBI triple. JV...

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I-35, Gardner Road interchange could cost up to $20 million

Howard Lubliner, Burns and McDonnell engineer, answers questions from patrons Larry and Donna Pearce at an open house/public meeting regarding the I-35 & Gardner Road Interchange Project. The event was hosted by The City of Gardner at the Gardner Library on Apr. 3. The materials displayed can also be viewed on the city website. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News The city has been exploring options for improvements to the I-35 & Gardner Road interchange and has narrowed 12 proposed solutions down to three. The interchange was discussed at the April 2 work...

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Utility funds may be used for fiber cable

Mayor Steve Shute was serious about campaign promises, and he has taken the initiative to bring a municipally-owned fiber optic cable to Gardner. In February, Shute and Cheryl Harrison-Lee, city administrator, travelled to Ammon, ID, to discuss that city’s fiber optic utility. Shute said the trip to Ammon was part of his due diligence to follow up on his promises, “so I took the city administrator and we went to Ammon,” he said. The trip cost about $2,000, according to expense reports. Shute said Ammon was the only model of this type in the country, and that most fiber companies, such as Google, won’t come to Gardner because it isn’t cost effective. The possibility of Gardner building a fiber optic cable network was mentioned by Shute during the State of the City address and also in discussion at one council meeting. Shute stressed that he is still gathering information, and staff is crunching numbers as they look at the Ammon model. He expects a more definitive plan to be on the council agenda in May. He estimates building the fiber optic network – “backbone” – would cost about $2 million. “That’s a projection, a very large ballpark projection,” he said. He anticipates using electric utility funds to finance the endeavor and says currently the city has about $12 million in electric utility reserve funds. “We’re healthy,” he said. “Way...

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Team Trivia

Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Gardner co-hosted ‘Team Trivia’ night at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Apr. 7 and filled the Parish Hall. Attendance about tripled from last year. Event proceeds benefit community initiatives sponsored by the Gardner Rotary Club and Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce. Photos courtesy of Rick...

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Chamber to develop Convention, Visitors Bureau

Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News The Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce proposed establishing a Gardner Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to city council at the April 2 council meeting, and the council endorsed the concept by pledging $135,000 once projected fees are received from the Hampton Inn – probably 2019. It’s estimated the first year transient taxes will be about $275,000. Council approves The catalyst for the idea of a CVB is the development of the Hampton Inn, a five story, 82-room hotel with an attached 8,200 square foot conference center, scheduled for a fall 2018 opening. At the April 2 council meeting, Jason Camis, chamber president, suggested that the city devote half of what comes in as transient guest tax in the future for a tourism marketing and a convention and visitors bureau. He said right now was an opportunity to build it from the ground up, rather than waiting until Gardner has four or five hotels and playing catch up. The City of Gardner and New Century Fieldhouse already host a busy schedule of multi-day soccer, baseball and softball tournaments every year at their sports facilities, and bring many visitors to Gardner. Camis mentioned the potential Warren Place project that, if approved, will bring wedding congregations to town, many of whom will look for a place to stay overnight. Also, the conference center at Hampton...

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Recommendation: ten years of annual rate increases for water, sewer

Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director, at the podium explaining a “power swap” proposal to the Utility Advisory Commission at their April 5 meeting. Staff photo by Rick Poppitz Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News Water and wastewater rates may go up, if approved. A presentation detailing results and recommendations from a Water and Wastewater Rate Study was given to the Utility Advisory Commission at the regular meeting on April 5. Suggestions included a 3 percent annual rate increase for water and 6.5 percent for waste water. Rates were last raised in 2012. It was an information-only presentation, no action...

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Sports Potpourri

Mac Stevenson Kansas State’s football team is completing their second week of spring practice, although the players may not agree with the “spring” description of the weather. Coach Bill Snyder is leading the Wildcats through these practices for the 27th time during his iconic career. K-State’s spring game will be at 1:10 on April 21 at Snyder Family Stadium. K-State’s offense appears to be set for a big year; the offensive line returns almost intact and Snyder has two QBs that are experienced and talented. Skylar Thompson took over the starter’s role in the second half of the 2017 season and played superbly in leading the Wildcats to crucial late-season wins against Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State. And then in the bowl game against UCLA, Thompson had an uncharacteristically poor first half and was relieved by Alex Delton, who played a terrific second half and led the Wildcats to their Cactus Bowl victory. Delton is the better runner of the two and rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns in the second half against UCLA. Thompson was a sophomore who had redshirted last year and he’s a run-pass threat for opposing defenses. It’s essential that college teams have two QBs; K-State is well-set at QB with Thompson and Delton. As far as which of the two returning QBs will be the starter, that will be one...

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Lady Blazers softball team wins a nail biter against Olathe North

Submitted photo It was a beautiful night to be on the ball field April 5.  The varsity softball team traveled to ODAC to take on the Olathe North Eagles.  It was an exciting game. Olathe North came out in the first and put two runs on the board.  Not a problem, in the top of the second, the Blazer’s rallied through the line up scoring 6 runs.  In the 3rd, Emma Crouch (1-3), Carly Gragg (2-4), and Gabby Schult (4-5) strung doubles together to put two more runs on the board. Olathe North would put four runs on the...

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Ribbon Cutting at Dollar General

Pictured, left to right – Jody Brown, Edgerton council; Ron Conus, Edgerton council; Mike Brown, county commissioner District 6; Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor; Valerie Griffin, store manager; Chris Ammerman, district manager; Josh Lewis, Edgerton council; Calvin Hayden, Johnson County Sheriff. Staff photos by Rick Poppitz The Dollar General store in Edgerton had an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:45 a.m. on Apr. 7. The first 50 customers got a $10 gift card as they entered the...

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Remembering Vietnam event at Eisenhower Presidential Library

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum at 200 SE Fourth Street in Abilene, Kan., is hosting a gathering to honor Vietnam veterans and their families titled “Remembering Vietnam” on Saturday, April 14. The event begins at 10 a.m. with a keynote address by Chris Lovett, Vietnam veteran and professor at Emporia State University, presenting an overview of the Vietnam War. A panel discussion about federal policy will follow at 11:15 a.m. At 2 p.m. there will be a panel discussion with Vietnam veterans. At 3:30 p.m. Rick Williamson, a Vietnam veteran who returned to Vietnam for a 19-day tour in 2015, will present “Vietnam: Then and Now.” Vietnam veterans and their families are encouraged to attend and share their experiences with others who understand. They can learn how to participate in “Kansas Stories of the Vietnam War,” an oral histories and memoir writing project. Oral histories will be filmed April 17 and 18 and the memoir writing workshop will be held on Armed Forces Day, May 19. “Remembering Vietnam” is presented in part by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AARP, and the National Archives Foundation. Project is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, in partnership with the Veteran History Project at the Library of Congress and the Veterans Voices Writing Project. For more information, visit:...

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Car chase leads to arrest, auto accident

About 20 reported Gardner car burglaries may all be related to suspects arrested April 5 after eluding police and eventually rolling their car. One Gardner officer received minor injuries. “We have 20 car burglaries reported in the city thus far and one stolen auto,” said Jim Pruetting, Gardner police chief. “We believe they are all related to this incident.“ “The auto stolen in Gardner was one of three vehicles involved in the burglaries, but it was not part of the chase, and we believe it was abandoned shortly after it was stolen because it had a flat tire,” Pruetting continued. “The vehicle we chased was stolen out of KCK and the third vehicle was stolen from Edgerton.  We arrested two individuals, one adult and one juvenile.” As of April 9, Emmanuel Cortez-Valdez, Gardner, is the only one officially charged.  Pruetting said the investigation is still going on, and there may be others charged later after DNA comes back.  Cortez-Valdez’ bond is $50,000 for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Other charges include a DUI with $2500 bond, and first possession for $4,000. According to the GPD press release, on Thursday morning April 5, 2018, at approximately 0112 hours, Gardner PD units were dispatched to the area of 173rd and Walter regarding a suspicious occupied vehicle parked in front of a residence. When the first officer arrived, the vehicle fled the...

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Residents invited to budget forum

The City of Gardner encourages citizens to attend its upcoming Citizens Budget Forum on Thursday, April 19, from 5:30 – 7 p.m., in the City Hall Council Chambers. The city is holding this forum to provide residents an opportunity to offer input on budget initiatives and priorities for the subsequent years. Contact Finance Director Laura Gourley at 913.856.0978 or [email protected] for...

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