Author: Gardner News

Proposed bill would stop universities from creating free speech zones

Brianna Childers KU Statehouse Wire Service There were strong opinions expressed during a Federal and State Affairs Committee meeting Feb. 15 regarding a proposed bill that would create the Campus Free Speech Protection Act and stop universities from creating free speech zones. The bill would reinforce that postsecondary educational institutions, including state universities, municipal universities and technical universities are not exempt from the First Amendment and would require them to accept a commitment to the freedom of speech and expression for students and faculty. Senate Bill 340 also states these institutions would not be allowed to require students or faculty to indicate their loyalty to certain beliefs or orthodoxies on any specific political, philosophical, religious or social subjects. Sen. Ty Masterson (R-Andover) supported the bill, saying the country is divided and on campuses today, the right is trying to suppress speech from the left. “We must learn from both sides, none of us are purveyors of all knowledge or all wisdom and we all have something to gain,” Masterson said. “Whether you gain from listening to someone who is completely offensive, you gain the knowledge ‘this is an idiot’ and you don’t want to go this direction, but that is valuable knowledge.” In addition, the bill states that universities would not be allowed to designate free speech zones, implement vague or overboard speech codes, or disinvite speakers because of...

Read More

Freshmen boys host Olathe Northwest Ravens

Feb. 12, the freshman boys’ basketball team hosted the Olathe Northwest Ravens. The A-team would struggle offensively in the opening game, going into halftime down 11-23.  An outstanding defensive effort would allow the Blazers to outscore the Ravens 22-10 in the second half, and we headed to overtime, tied at 33 point each. Overtime saw the Blazers down a single point, with 4 seconds left, but the boys finally ran out of steam, failing to get a shot up in the final seconds. The final score was 38-37, in favor of the Ravens.  Hayden Dyer led the Blazers with 16 points, while Drew Cassida came off of the bench to spark the defensive effort in the second half.  Both deserve recognition for their efforts. The B-team started slow, but went into halftime up 25-23.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the scoring going in the second half, mustering only 16 total points, while the Ravens were able to get hot from the floor, scoring 27.  The final score saw the Blazers fall 50-41  against the Ravens.  Hunter Meyer paced the Blazers in scoring, with 12 points, while Cayden Elder chipped in 9. The losses cause the A-team to fall to a 13-3 record on the season, while the B-team falls to...

Read More

Looks like bad bureaucracies are fraying the social safety net

Jill Richardson Guest Columnist I’ve always believed in government. That is, I believe there are roles in society that can be best performed by a government — to serve the people, rather than a profit motive. But I’m fed up. It’s like a crisis of faith. I’m trying to believe the best about the government, but the local bureaucracy seems determined to disprove all of my lofty ideals. Anyone who’s ever visited a DMV knows what I’m talking about. In this latest go around, I’m attempting to apply for unemployment. Here’s the scenario. I worked one semester teaching community college in the state of California. I was hired to teach a second semester — and then all of my courses were eliminated the Friday before they were supposed to start. I’d already put several hours into setting up online quizzes and writing my syllabus, and I was out of a job. Since the semester started this week, there’s no hope of getting another teaching job right now. No school waits until classes already start to hire the teachers. So I filed for unemployment. California has two methods of calculating your unemployment benefits, which they call “standard” and “alternate.” The standard version looked at my teaching income from September 2016 until September 2017. The alternate method would have included all of my wages through December. Since I started teaching last...

Read More

Edgerton progress: mill levy drops, infrastructure improves

Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News Edgerton’s 2018 Annual State of the City Address was presented on Feb. 15 at city hall by Don Roberts, mayor. Seating for about 50 was filled, with a dozen or more standing. Area officials in attendance were Ron Conus and Clay Longanecker, Edgerton city council members; Mike Brown, District 6 county commissioner; Randy Gregorcyk, Gardner city council member; and Dennis Meyer, FD1 assistant fire chief. Jason Camis, president of Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce and two former Gardner mayors, Chris Morrow and Carol Lehman, also attended. Roberts began the 39 minute address...

Read More

GPD, district have plans in place to deal with school disturbances

The Gardner Police Department has a plan to deal with any USD 231 on-campus situation. “Gardner PD has a comprehensive plan in place to deal with any active shooter or on-campus situation in our schools.  The PD trains annually on the plan,” said Jim Pruetting, Gardner Chief of Police, “ For obvious reasons, the plan is not open to public view. “ Pruetting said that Gardner police work closely with USD 231 officials, and are aware of the district’s policy regarding guns on-campus. “Yes, we are very familiar with their policies,” Pruetting said. “I do not want to comment specifically on...

Read More

Sports Potpourri

Mac Stevenson Kansas gained some breathing room in the Big 12 championship race last Saturday when Baylor edged Texas Tech in Waco 59-57. The Jayhawks came from behind and beat West Virginia (77-69) on ESPN’s GameDay in Allen Fieldhouse; that moved KU into a first-place tie at 10-4 with the Red Raiders. KU plays at Texas Tech this coming Saturday (Feb. 24) in a 3:00 p.m. game that will be nationally televised by ESPN. It’s showdown time. Even if Kansas were to lose to Oklahoma in the Big Monday game (Feb. 19), they could still tie Texas Tech with a win at Lubbock Saturday. KU’s been winning games that could have gone either way and the main reason for the closeness is the Jayhawks have been shooting poorly from the three-point line. That was a strong point for Kansas in the first half of the season, but for the last three weeks the long-range jumpers haven’t been falling. On the positive side, center Udoka Azubuike (7-0, 280) has been improving with every outing; he had a terrific game against West Virginia that included 21 points on 7 of 8 field goals, 7 of 10 free throws, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. Coach Bill Self is stingy with his compliments, but after the game he said, “I told him if I was the famed boxing referee, Mills Lane, and...

Read More

Gardner native returns home with U.S. Navy Band

Senior Chief Musician Ruth Keehner is coming home to Kansas while on tour with the United States Navy Band. The Kansas City area was chosen to host two of the 21 concerts in 12 states by the U.S. Navy Band during its 2018 tour — one of the Navy’s signature outreach programs. The U.S. Navy Concert Band performances in the area are scheduled for March 5, 2018, at 7 p.m. at McCain Auditorium of Kansas State University in Manhatten and March 6, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. Keehner, a native of Gardner, began studying the oboe when she was nine years old. She is a graduate of Gardner Edgerton High School. While completing a Bachelor of Music from Wichita State University, she played with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Palmer. In 1992, she earned a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and performed a recital with the Amphion Woodwind Quintet at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her teachers include Paige Morgan, Linda Strommen and Elaine Douvas. Keehner joined the Navy Band in 1997. Before enlisting in the Navy, she was an active freelance musician in the Washington, D.C., area and performed with the Alexandria, Annapolis, Harrisburg, Fairfax and Maryland symphonies as well as the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. She attended the Bay View and Chautauqua Music Festivals...

Read More

Americans hate the tax bill because it wasn’t written for them

Jim Hightower Guest Columnist It’s odd that Washington Republicans are so loudly crowing about their passage of the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax law. Odd because the people outside of Washington hate that law. Yes, hate. With a public approval rating of only 30 percent, the GOP’s trillion-dollar giveaway to multinational corporations and multimillionaires turns out to be Congress’ second-most disliked domestic law in the past quarter-century. Second only to the multiple attempts by Trump, McConnell, and Ryan last year to take away the healthcare coverage of 23 million Americans — a move so mingy that 77 percent of the public opposed it. Why do these doofuses keep trying to shove such wildly unpopular measures down people’s throats? Because, as columnist Michael Tomasky succinctly explained for the New York Times, “They are serving their megarich donors and the most extreme elements of their base.” Yes. In today’s rigged political system, the special interests of a tiny minority trump the will of the great majority. Since the GOP’s tax bill drastically reduced corporate taxes and increased many of ours, a few corporations are trying to dodge public fury by pulling a trickle-down trick on us. They’re awarding a tiny portion of their bonanza to workers — not as pay raises, but as one-time “bonus” payments. Bank of America, for example, is doling out $145 million in worker bonuses, while pocketing $2.6 billion it...

Read More

Eighth grade JV Jaguars lose at Millcreek

The eighth grade JV Jaguars trailed by 8 at the end of the first half but then put on a half court pressure exhibition to start the second half tying and then leading the game for most of the third quarter – only to let the Mustangs to go on an 11-6 run in the fourth quarter in a “one that got away” loss last week at Millcreek, 29-36. Avery Pillow and Jacob Dillon led the Jags in scoring with 6 points each. Carter Dewey added 5 points. Carson Sander scored 4 points. Kameron Koetters hit a 3 pointer. Josh Hunter hit a field goal. Isaac Meili buried two free throws and Isaac Pittman connected on one free...

Read More

Huskies fall to Mustangs

The Huskies played hard all game and got the Mustangs flustered at times but came up a bit short. Huskies fell 38-33. Leading scorer was Billy Bottcher with 14 points followed by Derek Toomey with 9 points.  The Huskies play Wheatridge again on the Feb....

Read More

Bill to require law enforcement to release camera tapes within 24 hours

Brianna Childers KU Statehouse Wire Service For nearly three months, Dominique White’s family was denied access to body camera footage that was taken when White was shot and killed by a Topeka police officer. “For 11 weeks, our family should’ve been grieving, instead we were still looking for answers, still trying to comprehend why,” said Heather Joyce, White’s sister-in-law. “I’m here today because I don’t want another family to go through what we are going through. Part of preventing that is regulating access to body cam footage.” Joyce spoke during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Feb. 13 in support...

Read More

Excelligence Learning Corp

Work has begun on Excelligence Learning Corporation, the 646,400-sq. ft. facility housing manufacturing, distribution and call center operations that was first introduced to the public as “Project School.” Excelligence Learning Corporation, headquartered in Monterey, Calif., is a leader in the childhood education industry, providing learning tools and solutions to early childhood and elementary teachers and parents. Excelligence offers these amenities through three main divisions: supplies, equipment and services. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on the building site located at the Midwest Commerce Center, 17001 Mercury St., across from the Coleman building. The project’s anticipated completion date is December 2018. Staff photo by Rick...

Read More

Area policies differ with KORA, taping

In a bid to promote openness and transparency at all levels of Kansas government, Gov. Jeff Colyer signed four executive orders last week. Although the Governor’s office can’t mandate local government entities to promote open government, Kara Fullmer, press secretary, said “It is hoped we can lead by example.” Although both Gardner and Edgerton have a policy allowing copy charges for Kansas Open Record Requests, the charges are sometimes waived and information is supplied electronically. “The City of Gardner does not currently charge for KORA requests under 100 pages,” said Amy Waller, city clerk. “There has been no discussion of changes to the City of Gardner’s KORA policy.” USD 231 requires written KORA requests, charges for copies, charges for staff time, requires personal identification and does not accept payment electronically. There are currently no plans to change it. “Regarding your question on Public Records requests and fees associated with, below is a link to our current Board Policy. USD 231 Board Policies are aligned with the Kansas Association of School Boards and approved by the USD 231 School Board. At this time, no changes to the current fees are being considered at the local school district level,” said Leann Northway, USD 231 public relations officer. The link provided was http://www2.usd231.com/view/5046.pdf Also last week a bill that would create the Kansas Transparency Act was heard by the House Federal and...

Read More

Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. issues executive orders regarding transparency

Kara Fullmer [email protected] Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. issued a set of four executive orders designed to promote openness and transparency in government. The orders make the following changes: • Eliminating the fees for the first 100 pages of documents requested under the Kansas Open Records Act for residents of Kansas. • Requiring employees of the Governor’s Office to use only official e-mail accounts to conduct state business. • Mandating that all Cabinet agencies develop and track performance metrics which measure the most critical functions of their agency, • Creating a centralized website where all open meeting notices of Executive Branch agencies will be posted. “In my travels around the state, I’ve talked to many Kansans, who express their desire for more sunlight on government dealings,” said Governor Colyer in his address to a joint legislative session last week “Transparency is the key to better accountability and accountability is the key to real results.” “These executive orders are a great first step towards increasing transparency and renewing public confidence in their government,” he continued. The Governor additionally praised legislative efforts to improve transparency and expressed a desire to be the most approachable Governor in the Kansas history. The full text of the Executive Orders, numbered 18-05, 18-06, 18-07, and 18-08 can be found at the link below:...

Read More

Courthouse, ‘dark store theory’ Edgerton council topics

Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News The Edgerton city council meeting on Feb. 8 began with an update on county business from the District 6 county commissioner and was followed by consideration of four business agreements and contracts. Brown on courthouse Mike Brown, District 6 county commissioner, spoke to the council at the start of the meeting to give an update on county activity, including courthouse construction, the May opening of Big Bull Creek Park, rural road improvements, and efforts to expand the transit system serving New Century Air Center in Olathe and the Logistics Park Intermodal facility in Edgerton. An artist’s drawing of the new courthouse was shown, and an aerial view of the area showing where parking will be in the surrounding lots. Joking about the size of the new courthouse, Brown said tenants of the buildings to the east would enjoy lower cooling bills in summer because they’ll be in the shadow of the courthouse. Brown on ‘Dark Store’ When Brown had concluded his presentation, Roberts asked him to share what he knows about the “dark store theory.” The dark store theory of property valuation suggests that commercial properties should be appraised and valued the same whether they’re operating or vacant. Up to now property appraisals have value added at operating business locations. Big box stores across the country have been challenging the appraisal method...

Read More

League champs named

It was another great weekend for the Blazers on the mat. The team took third place as a team in the first year in the Sunflower League. Jackson Flowers, Conner Greig and Jensen McDermott all three dominated in the finals to be crowned league champs. Other placers include- Kole Nhingsavath 6th. Kadyn Humphrey 3rd. Brayden Ratcliffe 3rd. AJ Rodriguez 4th (had to forfeit third due to wrestling too many matches). Taven Ewbank 3rd. Caden Rodriguez 6th. Gerald Picado 4th. Next is the Regionals in Lawrence this weekend for a chance to go to...

Read More

BOE hears report on demographics, enrollment updates, boundary study

Madison Elementary students gave a presentation on the monthly Big Huge Math Challenge at the USD 231 Board of Education meeting on Feb 8. Staff photos by Rick Poppitz Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News At the USD 231 Board of Education meeting on Feb. 12, Rob Schwarz, CEO of RSP and Associates, presented updated enrollment projections and reviewed the boundary study process and timeline. For the district overall, a 12 percent increase (750 students) is projected over the next five years. In 2017, the numbers show that 100 residential homes equals 57 students. The charts showed that...

Read More

Residents receive scam calls regarding utility bills

Anyone receiving a call or email requesting immediate payment or utility service will be shut off, there’s a good chance it’s a SCAM, according to Gardner officials. “Some of our residents did receive an unauthorized call stating their utility bill was in delinquent status and needed to be reconciled by making a payment through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer,” said Daneeka Marshall-Oquendo, public information officer. “ We released an immediate statement regarding this erroneous information to help bring awareness to our customers, so they would not fall victim to this scam.” According to the city’s statement: The City of Gardner does not make collection phone calls on residential delinquent utility bills. Fortunately, there are ways to know whether or not power is actually going to be shut off. • Check your account online at www.gardnerkansas.gov. • See if your past payments have been cleared through your bank. • Call the City of Gardner Utility Billing Department directly at 913.856.7535 or go to the office at 120 E Main St., to check the status of your account. Also, contact Utility Billing with any questions before reacting to a received phone call or e-mail. Remember, don’t cave into pressure, and be wary of anyone asking for money immediately. The City of Gardner will never request you pay through a prepaid debit card or wire...

Read More

Bill would require screening for dyslexia

Peyton Kraus KU Statehouse Wire Service Parents and their children gathered in the audience during the House Education Committee meeting Wednesday to hear HB 2602, which would require screening within public schools for dyslexia and related disorders. The families assembled in support of further legislation and state action to specify dyslexia diagnosis, along with specialized education plans within the schools for these students rather than forcing them to find help elsewhere. There are screening procedures in place to test for all reading disabilities, but many testified to the importance of having the ability to differentiate dyslexia from the others. Allison Winters, a speech language pathologist, literacy specialist and step-mother of a student with dyslexia, said the treatment of dyslexia needs to be much different than treatment for other reading disabilities in order to help kids read and write at grade level. The bill would require the State Board of Education to develop a formula for a screening process for schools to implement. Jennifer Knight, owner of Dyslexia Help KC and mother of two children with dyslexia, called for the formula to include testing of phonological awareness, letter knowledge, vocabulary, listening comprehension and family history within the screening process during her testimony. HB 2602 would also require schools to notify parents or guardians if the screening indicates the possibility of dyslexia. Christina Middleton said although there were indications her son...

Read More

Weather Forecast

33° F
Overcast
Overcast

Archives

Categories