Author: Gardner News

Fire district discusses merger, fee schedules and new truck

Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News The Fire Board of Fire District #1 held their monthly public meeting at the New Century fire station on April 11 and discussed merger of districts, a new tender truck and fee schedules. The board also heard about March training exercises and collaborations with other communities. Fire district merger The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has been asked to consider the pros and cons of merging fire districts. Rob Kirk, FD #1 fire chief, reported that Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) had done site visits to the district fire stations on March 15. After the consultant site visits in the morning, stakeholders came in for a meeting. “Mr. Johnson, Mayor Roberts, Mayor Morrow and Beth Linn attended, and it went very well. Good questions were asked and a lot of good comments were made. I think that they heard loud and clear our desires on whether to merge or not. Mayor Roberts, I thought, did a good job in expressing that,” said Kirk. Kirk said ESCI might come back for a second visit, if needed, and a report was expected by the end of July. Training exercises FD #1 did a training exercise on March 17 at the intermodal, involving removal of a person from a construction site rooftop. “They didn’t know we were coming. We showed up there, and...

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New cost estimate for ‘Justice Center’ – $13.5 million

Chris Morrow, mayor (far right), and Adraina Holopirek, recreation supervisor (far left), were joined by Gardner youth to proclaim April as “Autism Awareness Month” in the city of Gardner at the city council meeting on April 17. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News The April 17 Gardner city council meeting covered many topics, including new estimates for a justice center facility, fees for the fire department, trails replacement bids, employee insurance plans, a poorly functioning bathroom at the municipal airport and more. Full council attended a 6 p.m. work session prior to the...

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BOE names principals

Principals for Nike and Sunflower elementaries have been selected. USD 231 board members approved the hires of Bruce Haber to serve as principal for Nike Elementary and Jason Jones to serve as principal for Sunflower Elementary.  Haber will be assuming the role of current principal, Lisa Thompson, who has taken a position in Blue Valley School District. Jones will be assuming the role of current principal, Debbie Tann, who will be retiring at the end of the school year. Haber has been the elementary principal at White Church Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas School District since 2007. Prior to White Church Elementary, he was assistant principal at Whittier Elementary and teacher at Frank Rushton Elementary, both in the KCK district. Haber is also an adjunct professor at Baker University where he teaches courses related to classroom improvement and school personnel issues. Haber holds a School Leadership Administrative Licensure from Baker University, a master’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies in Education from Webster University, and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Wayne State College. Jason Jones is currently serving the Lawrence School District as a Library Media Specialist. Jones has extensive experience in the elementary level as an elementary principal and teacher in the Seaman, Lawrence and Emporia school districts. Jones spent time with the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center as a Learning Services Facilitator and Multi-Tier System of Supports...

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Edgerton council considers CERT; 2016 audit, who owns the museum

Members of the Southwest Johnson County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) posed for a photo with Edgerton city council at the council meeting on April 13. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz Rick Poppitz Special to The Gardner News The Edgerton city council met on April 13 to consider donating to Johnson County CERT, clarification of Edgerton museum ownership, and heard the city’s 2016 audit report. Johnson County CERT The council heard a presentation for the Southwest Johnson County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Aaron Winkler, FD #1 captain and Justin DeLong, Southwest Johnson County CERT president, teamed to give...

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Intermodal building nears completion

NorthPoint Development  has substantially completed Inland Port VIII (IP8), a 777,222 square-foot state-of-the-art industrial space being built on a speculative basis at Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC). LPKC is a 1,700-acre master-planned distribution and warehouse development anchored by BNSF Railway’s newest intermodal facility in Edgerton, Kan., just southwest of downtown Kansas City, Mo. The new building, located at 30900 W. 185th Street, can accommodate manufacturing, warehouse and distribution tenants of varying size. IP8’s close proximity to the entrance of BNSF’s intermodal facility gives its future tenant convenient access to international and domestic container service, along with the benefits of heavy-haul corridors and a Foreign Trade Zone. IP8 will feature 36-foot clear height and consist of 77 dock-high loading bays, four drive-in docks and an expandable parking lot with the potential for nearly 400 spaces. “We are pleased that NorthPoint continues to deliver an aggressive speculative building program,” said Donald Roberts, Edgerton mayor. “Speculative building construction continues to drive a high level of interest for companies to locate to Edgerton.  Having available spec space is attractive for those who need to quickly enter the market — bringing with them new jobs and additional growth opportunities for businesses in our community.” The addition of IP8 will bring the available speculative space at LPKC to more than 1.4 million square feet. When the building is complete at the end of 2017, there...

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Melton’s censure motion costs city more than $3,000 in legal fees

The censure proposal increased Gardner’s legal expenses at least $3143, or about 15 hours of legal expenses if calculated at $205 per hour. These billable hours, according to the invoice, are directly tied to the proposed censure of Chris Morrow, mayor, by Rich Melton, council member, last February. Melton introduced the censure motion Feb. 6, saying Morrow “chronically and blatantly misrepresented facts.” The censure was apparently dropped Feb. 23 after considerable legal wrangling regarding process and variations of Roberts Rules. Eventually both Morrow and Steve Shute, council president, recused themselves as they are both running for mayor. The Gardner...

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Lady Blazers softball team sweeps Miege

Placing its offense in high gear, the Lady Blazers softball team swept its doubleheader at Miege last week. The Blazers won the opener 13-0 in five innings and in game two 13-2 in five innings. Abby Cox was the winning pitcher in game one recording six strikeouts. She helped her own cause with three singles and reaching base four times. Other top hitters included Ashlyn Anderson who went 2-2 with a grand slam and Mykah Andregg who went 3-4. Mikala Galvin also hit a home run in the game. In game two, freshman Lauren Lundy pitched her first complete varsity game in a 13-2 win. Offensively, Galvin went 4-6 with three homeruns in the doubleheader. Anderson finished the doubleheader going 5-5 with a grand slam and Cox reached base all eight plate...

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OUR VIEW: Audit, review of city attorney billing a good idea

A councilman’s proposal for hiring an in house attorney may have merit. A suggestion by Rich Melton, councilmember, on the need for an in-house Gardner city attorney might have merit, although auditing requirements on the firm’s time might be a good first step. At the April 3 council meeting, Melton voiced concern regarding attorney bills from McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, of which Ryan Denk, city attorney, is a senior partner. Steve Shute, council president, echoed that it may be time for Gardner to consider hiring an on-staff attorney due to the city’s growth. A recent monthly attorney bill was $34,000, Melton said. Gardner is charged $205 per hour for Denk, with lesser fees for associates and legal assistants. The Gardner News requested attorney bills for the first quarter of 2017, and itemized invoices received to date, were reviewed; it appears there are many demands on the firm’s time. Some of the billable hours are for routine items: reviewing the Gardner Land Development Code, reviewing franchise agreements, assisting in preparation and attending city council meetings, responding to department directors’ requests, reviewing ongoing litigation and responding to city council members or members of the public. However, a recent spate of controversy involving a proposed censure motion, and the council’s decision to become involved in employee evaluations, has added significantly to the city’s legal costs. A review of one invoice indicates...

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Bond and beyond, 50 years of 007

Joan Dorsey Contributing columnist I have been very fortunate to be able to do some interesting things in my life. I have been to several countries, Germany, France and Switzerland. Lived abroad for a year. Traveled to Mexico and visited the pyramids there. I also was able to spend many summer evenings at Starlight Theatre seeing some wonderful actors and actresses in all sorts of plays. I have also been able to enjoy the Kansas City Symphony on several occasions. Several years there were season tickets to Pop series concerts. The Pop series is basically what I would call modern music vs. classical. It is not so formal and usually fun and entertaining. My brother had acquired tickets for the Bond and Beyond concert, 50 years of 007 music. He planned to go, and my sister and I were to be treated to some fine music. Well as it was, he was unable to go so my nephew and his son escorted us to Kaufman Center for the Arts. If you haven’t been to the beautiful music hall yet, it is well, . . . beautiful. I don’t remember what this facility cost, but it is a work of art in itself. If you like people-watching, concerts are the place to go. Pops series concerts are a little less formal. From people in downtown work attire, to women in...

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Blazers fall to Mill Valley

The Blazer baseball team fell 1-5 with an 8-2 home loss to Mill Valley last week. Despite the loss, Chris Davidson and Conner Boyt both doubled in the game. Nolan Quiring and Davidson scored runs for the Blazers. Zach Bass took the pitching loss for the...

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West leads Blazer effort

Senior Sam West posted a perfect 3-0 record in number one singles leading the Blazers in their quadrangular meet with Blue Valley West, Shawnee Mission South and St. James Academy last week. Besides West, Matt Long had an 0-2 record in number two singles. In number two doubles, sophomores Carson Williams and Holden Bennett went 1-3, losing a close tie...

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Gardner Elementary receives Challenge Award

The Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force has named 76 schools in 33 Kansas public school districts, including Gardner Edgerton school district’s Gardner Elementary, as a recipient of the 2016 Challenge Award. “I am extremely proud of our students and the exceptional work that is done by our staff members to receive this award,” said Jason Watkins, Gardner Elementary principal. “This recognition truly exemplifies that we have some of the best staff in the state of Kansas when it comes to recognizing and meeting the needs of our students.” The award recognizes Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Since its inception in 2002, more than 1,500 awards have been presented to schools across the state. Gardner Elementary was recognized for achievement in third grade reading. The Confidence in Public Education Task Force is a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to strengthen confidence in Kansas public education and to increase awareness of the positive aspects of public education in the state. The Task Force was created in 1981. Members of the Task Force include American Association of University Women; Kansas PTA; Kansas Association of School Boards; Kansas National Education Association; Kansas State Board of Education; Kansas State High School Activities Association; Kansas Partners in Education; League of Women Voters – Kansas; and United School Administrators...

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Tovkach leads Blazer golf charge

Senior Trystan Tovkach carded a first place 77 to lead the Blazer golf effort at the seven team Paola Invitational last week. Besides Tovkach, junior Trevor Hilliker shot a personal record 88- good enough for eighth place- Garrett Glover came in with a 111, Hunter Skeens, 105, and Coby Heathman, 110. “The greens at Paola Country Club are probably the fastest and toughest we will see all year,” said Coach Chris Lutz. “The kids performed well and just continue to improve.” This week, the Blazers return to Loch Lloyd for second round EKL...

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Lady Broncos lose soccer in OT

The Lady Broncos soccer squad pushed Desoto to the brink before bowing 1-0 in overtime. “It was a well played game by both teams,” said Spring Hill Coach Joe Smith. “I was proud of the effort.” Despite the loss, Spring Hill goalie Emery Mounce had a student performance and Mallory Smith controlled the midfield for the Broncos. Desoto improved to 6-0-1 with the win while Spring Hill is now...

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OUR VIEW: Congrats Gardner You! graduates

Congratulations to the most recent graduates of Gardner You! It takes commitment to devote time to learning about city government, but recent graduates of Gardner You! had that dedication. This was the third session of Gardner You, and information from each of seven different city departments and a tour of city facilities was included in the class. Gardner You! has been a successful program, and former graduates now serve Gardner on the planning commission, ADA advisory committee, city council, citizens police advisory committee, economic development advisory committee, and streets, sidewalks and storm water advisory committee. Thank you graduates from taking time away from your “regular” life – families, jobs and recreation – to participate in local...

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Gardner You!

Photo courtesy of City of Gardner The 2017 Gardner You! Citizens Academy graduation was held last week. Participants completed a series of six evening sessions and a facilities tour to learn more about Gardner’s city government and its services. Pictured are back row (l to r): Thomas Hensley, Ryan Petrik, Michael Worth, Mayor Chris Morrow and Mark Tank. Front row (l to r): Randy Gregorcyk, Shirley Harley, Kacy Dale and Laura Peterson. Not pictured; Bret...

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Blazer JV golf team wins first place honors at home invitational

Blazer JV golf team took first place in its home Invitational at Prairie Highlands course last week. Each golfer recorded a personal record on the 9 hole event. Submitted photo Playing their best golf of the season, the Blazers JV team took first place honors in its Home Invitational last week at Prairie Highlands course. Cayden Simmons led the way outdueling 33 golfers with a first place score of 44. All nine Blazers recorded personal record scores. Besides Simmons, Zach Salazar carded a 47, Blake Nichols, 50, Hunter Fesenmeyer, 53, Parker Guffy, 53. Not placing but competing for the...

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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Recently, I was contacted by a real estate agent that represents a large well known real estate company. This lady wanted to know if we would be interested in selling our property and listing it with her. We had a long conversation, and she told me something about the Edgerton elementary school that was not good and I could not believe what she said. I wanted to find out the facts so I went to the school in Edgerton and was able to talk to the principal, Mrs. Woolery about what I had been told. I could tell by the look on her face that she was disappointed. Here is what she told me. Edgerton elementary is a Title 1 school and approximately one half of the students receive free or assisted lunches. Despite that fact, Edgerton elementary consistently scores above the state and district averages on all state assessments. It also was the only school in the district to receive the Governors Achievement Award in the 2015-2016 school year,and has received this award nine times. I want to congratulate each and every student and faculty member on all of those accomplishments. Needless to say, if we ever decide to put our property on the market it will not be the lady I talked to or the company she represents. Richard L. Gall Edgerton,...

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Mustangs run well in home triangular meet

The Wheatridge Middle School Mustang track teams turned in an impressive performance at their home triangular meet with Baldwin and Spring Hill last week. For the seventh grade girls, Kiersten Markos took first in both the discus and shot put with throws of 70’2 1/2” and 32’4,” respectively. Second place finishers were Emma Brooks (pole vault and 800 meters), Jillian Velasquez (200 meters) and Zoey Edwards (1600 meters). Third place awards went to Tynce Leggett (200 meters), Velasques (100 meters). For the seventh grade boys, Jake McClure took first in the 1600 meters and hurdles. Second place finishers were the 1600 relay team and Alek Stevanov in the 100 meters. For the eighth grade girls, the 400 relay team took gold. Ashlyn Bell took second in the 1600 meters and Mallory Boden was third in the same event. In eighth grade boys competition, Ethan Reynolds took second in the high jump and Jude Graham took second in the 400 meters. Third places went to Christian Gomez in the 1600 meters, Blaine Leon in the 800 meters, Ethan Reynolds in the 200 meters and Hudson Clements in the long...

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