Author: Gardner News

Pitcher Means selected in Major League Baseball draft

Gardner-Edgerton High School left-handed pitcher John Means recently became the second Blazer to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft. He was picked in the 46th round of the draft by the Atlanta Braves. It was the first time ever that two Blazers have been selected in the same draft. Means is the third player ever to be drafted out of GEHS. Means signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Ft. Scott Community College and has until Aug. 16 to decide to go with the Braves or attend Ft....

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Movie in the Park planned for Gardner, Spring Hill

Amy Cunningham [email protected] Families in both Gardner and Spring Hill should be able to enjoy a night out together without the worry of expense as each town hosts a Movie in the Park night this weekend. Gardner Parks and Recreation will host its first ever Movie in the Park event this Friday, July 15, at Cornerstone Park at 215 N. Center Street. The group will present Yogi Bear staring Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake. Adriana Holopirek, recreation supervisor for Gardner Parks and Recreation said the night was put together to offer the community a free outdoor activity. “It’s a free movie that we’re doing for anyone in the community to come and enjoy a movie under the stars. Just something fun to get families out,” she explained. Community members are invited to set up at 7:30 on the lawn of the ampitheatre at Celebration Park. Attendees are encouraged bring lawn chairs and blankets to set on during the film. Families are allowed to bring their own snacks and drinks or they may choose to purchase them from the concession stand on site. The movie will begin around 9 p.m., after dusk. The city plans to host a second Movie in the Park night sometime in September. Spring Hill will host its fifth annual Movie in the Park night Saturday, July 16 at City Park located on Washington Street between...

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School board unveils $72.8 million bond issue package

Mark Taylor [email protected] Patrons of the Gardner Edgerton School District may be asked to vote on a $72.790 million bond issue early next year. Superintendent Bill Gilhaus gave school board members a sneak preview of the bond package, which proposes new schools and various district wide upgrades. Gilhaus said the work is needed to accommodate a student population that continues to grow by 6 percent per year and is pushing several schools beyond maximum capacity. “We continue to gain additional students (despite the lagging economy),” Gilhaus told the board. The proposed Jan. 31 bond issue mail-in ballot includes: • A new elementary school ($18.348 million) to absorb growth south of Main Street. The district’s seventh elementary school would have a capacity for 500 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Construction would begin in Spring, 2012, and the school would open in Fall, 2013. • A new middle school ($30.192 million) to relieve current growth at Wheatridge Middle School and future growth at Pioneer Ridge Middle School.  The district’s third middle school would have a capacity for 800 students in fifth to eighth grade. Construction would begin in Spring, 2012, and the school would open in Fall, 2014. • Land acquisition ($2.066 million) to accommodate the new elementary and middle schools, and expansion of athletic fields at Gardner Edgerton High School. The district on July 11 authorized a $1.429 million...

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Public Record

Marriage licenses issued Jeffrey Lawrence Ansell, 33, Shawnee and Jessica Lynn Moore, 34, Shawnee Scott Bryan Appell, 26, Olathe and Kelly Lynn Kramer, 26, Olathe Everett Alexander Barnett, 62, Olathe and Deborah Elaine French, 59, Olathe Todd Alan Bechtold, 31, Gardner and Molly Colleen Mcguire, 27, Gardner Robert Alan Blocher, 26, Overland Park and Mikaela Linda Hansen, 26, Overland Park Joseph Patrick Cavanaugh, 46, Overland Park and Janelle Marie Rohr, 34, Overland Park Troy Justin Collins, 32, Overland Park and Cathrine Halvorsen, 28, Moss, Kyle Lawrence Harter, 26, Olathe and Felicia Nicole Davidson, 26, Olathe Gerald Edlywne Hernandez, 31, Lenexa and Lised Cleotilde Torres, 23, Lenexa Andrew Jay Hoffman, 32, Juneau, AK and Jessica Ann Reighard, 25, Juneau, AK Paul Ryan Holst, 25, Gardner and Tiana Alexandra Moore, 22, Gardner James Ray Jarrett, Jr., 40, Shawnee and Tracy Marie Heidtke, 32, Shawnee Britlan Michael Kamstra, 29, Leawood and Ashley Nicole Taylor, 28, Leawood Glen An Ko, 31, Overland Park and Sungyeon Kim, 28, Lenexa Anupum Narendra Luhar, 30, Overland Park and Jacqueline Brie Miller, 30, Overland Park Britt Jacob Nelson, 25, Olathe and Stephanie Renee Denniston, 25, Olathe Kristopher Mills Pacinelli, 25, Benbrook, TX and Heather Christine Wise, 25, Benbrook, TX James Todd Sharp, 35, Olathe and Megan Renee Taylor, 24, Olathe Eugene Kelly Sirabella, 31, Shawnee and Amber Michelle Jennings, 27, Shawnee Jacob Ryan Valentine, 25, Lenexa and...

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Activist reveals how 1 act of community service can spark thousands more

Don’t tell Lisa Sellman that one person can’t make a difference. She knows better. Sellman, a community activist and lifelong volunteer, recently learned how one act of kindness can set off a chain reaction that can span the globe. “It just started out with me asking a regional pet food company for a donation of dog food for Red Lake Rosie’s in Minnesota,” said Sellman, a professional dog trainer and owner of a pet care business. “I called Solid Gold Northland, and one of the marketing managers there advised me that they were trying to increase the number of people who ‘liked’ them on Facebook, and that if I could get 40 new Facebook members to click on their ‘like’ button, they’d give me $200 worth of pet food.” So Sellman, who currently volunteers for six different community groups, sent a message out to all her Facebook friends inviting them to Solid Gold Northland’s fan page on Facebook. Somehow, the invite made it to the Facebook page of The Patrick Miracle, a page devoted to the story of a 2-year-old pit bull found by a janitor in a dumpster. Their Facebook page has charted over 109,000 “like” clicks from users. When the founders of the page posted Sellman’s invite, Solid Gold Northland received more than 2,000 new fans from all over the world in the course of about 48...

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Volunteers needed for 10th annual Prairie Punisher

The 10th Annual Danisco Prairie Punisher Duathlon and 5K will be held on Saturday, July 23 at Celebration Park. The Gardner Parks and Recreation Department is looking for event volunteers from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. All volunteers will receive an event shirtand breakfast items for donating their time. Persons interested in volunteering are asked to e-mail their name, email address, and phone number to [email protected] An email will be sent out to all volunteers the week of the event with information and location...

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KS Farmers Union to host talks on 2012 Farm Bill

McPHERSON—Kansas Farmers Union will be hosting Farm Bill sessions in Courtland and Seneca on July 21. Speakers at the event include National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and Kansas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director Adrian Polansky. The two will be at Anteaques in Courtland for breakfast at 8 a.m. and Windmill Inn in Seneca for lunch at noon to talk with producers about the 2012 Farm Bill. Meals will be provided at each event at no cost to attendees, thanks to the following sponsors: Swedish American State Bank, Farmers Union Insurance Agent Tom Clark in Courtland, Tom Giessel of Larned, Nemaha County Co-op and Bruna Implement. “The odds are the farther out we go to discuss the 2012 Farm Bill, the more cuts we can anticipate,” KFU President Donn Teske said. “Also, with it being an election year, I’m sure it will influence the Farm Bill, I’m just not sure how.” Johnson will give a presentation that outlines general information about farm bills, NFU’s successes in the 2008 farm bill, current hurdles for the 2012 farm bill, organizational priorities, policy options and how to take action. “During this time of budget concerns and federal deficits, waiting until 2013 to complete the next farm bill would likely negatively impact the baseline needed to write a bill that would effectively deliver the programs under its jurisdiction,” Johnson said. Polansky will remark...

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Council to seek additional bids for roof work at treatment plant

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Although staff recommended city council members approve a $32,650 contract with Ameristar Roofing to replace the roof at the Hillsdale Water Treatment Plant, council member Chris Morrow requested the item be removed from the consent agenda for discussion. Staff solicited quotes from three contractors to replace the roof, which received hail damage in May. Only Ameristar Roofing responded to the request. The city’s insurance policy will cover all but $10,000 for the replacement, but Morrow said he’d like to see staff follow the city purchasing policy and get three bids. “Typically our policy is we’ll go out for sealed bids,” Public Works Director David Greene said. “Unfortunately, we can’t force them to give us bids.” Morrow said there are 119 roofing contractors in the Kansas City metro area, according to Internet searches, and he would like staff to call more than three of them. Four of five council members agreed — council member Dennis Pugh opposed getting more bids. The roofing contract was one of three items scheduled for the consent agenda, which is typically comprised of items considered routine and approved with one motion. However, all three items on the agenda were discussed during a July 5 council meeting. Council member Larry Fotovich requested that the minutes from the last meeting be amended to include his request that the council vote on a pit bull...

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Local 4-H members receive Jo Co fair expereince

Olivia Rogers Club reporter 4-H’ers from two different clubs attended a goat project meeting at the home of Rhonda Carter.  Carter’s daughter Suzanna shared skills she had learned from her days showing dairy goats in 4-H. Attendees Anna Hester, Zoe Nason, Olivia, Liza, and Ben Rogers learned about the differences between meat goats and dairy goats, and how dairy goats are shown and judged at the fair. Afterward, Suzanna Carter acted as judge to allow the attendees to experience what it is like to show a dairy goat at the fair. Carter is a wonderful example of the connection to our community that makes 4-H such a great experience for young people.  By giving of her time and knowledge, Rhonda Carter provides an opportunity for city kids to learn about livestock and what life is like on a...

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Supreme Court: Taxpayer funding isn’t a Constitutional right

By Matthew Vadum Guest Columnist America’s long-suffering taxpayers scored a resounding victory as the Supreme Court told one of the nation’s foremost tax-eating groups to take a hike. The high court denied an appeal last week by the radical left-wing gangster group ACORN, ruling in effect that Congress was entitled to cut off federal taxpayer funding for the group, which routinely perpetrates voter fraud and encourages welfare recipients to buy houses they have no hope of paying for. ACORN still matters because reports of its demise have been exaggerated. Although the national ACORN organization filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on election day last year, ACORN is restructuring itself in time to help re-elect its former employee, President Obama, next year. ACORN’s voter-mobilization arm, Project Vote, is conducting business as usual out of ACORN’s D.C. offices. The ACORN network has taken in an astounding $79 million in federal funding, and those are only the grants I could find in the U.S. government’s antiquated databases. The $79 million figure is $26 million more than the $53 million figure previously taken as gospel. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of a circuit court that had found that the funding cutoff enacted in 2009 was not a “bill of attainder” forbidden by the Constitution. Legal scholar Hans A. von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation...

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Utility board holds rates steady for third year

Amy Cunningham [email protected] With a unanimous vote Gardner Electric Utility Board members approved a 2012 budget that will see energy rates remain steady for the third year in a row. “I want to emphasize that the budget does not include an increase in electric rates,” electric utility director Bill Krawczyk told the board. According to Krawczyk, the budget would be presented at the city council meeting the following evening. He told the group that, without their approval, he would hold off on presenting a budget to council. Krawczyk and Brandon McCollum, Gardner Energy distribution supervisor, laid out some of the goals that utility hopes to achieve in 2012, including: improving the system load factor, purchasing selected Kansas City Power and Light customers who live within the city of Gardner, completing system upgrades such as replacing defective poles and replacing cable in Parma and Conestoga. Gardner Energy plans to complete as many of these improvements as possible without the use of contractors. “We’ve been spending money the last couple of years and buying equipment so that we can use our employees to (complete the work) instead of using contractors,” stated Krawczyk. Currently the utility employs 16.3 employees. Krawczyk explained to board members that .3 employees represent a summer intern that works for the utility. The proposed budget shows funds for adding an additional intern as well as an electrical engineer...

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Incentive Package lures Mars Chocolate to Topeka

Topeka – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback applauded two state agencies for their work that helped convince Mars Chocolate North America to select Topeka as the site of a $250 million manufacturing plant. The Kansas Departments of Transportation (KDOT) and Commerce (KDOC) will provide nearly $6 million in infrastructure improvements that will help make it possible for Mars to successfully do business at Kanza Fire Commerce Park on the south edge of Topeka. “My administration’s top priorities are to grow the economy and create jobs.  I want to commend KDOT Secretary Deb Miller, KDOC Secretary Pat George and their teams for their efforts to help bring Mars Chocolate to Kansas – especially during the last few months when it became clear Topeka was one of the final sites the company was considering.  They carefully considered which economic development tools their agencies could use to close the deal and then presented the best incentives the state could offer to help bring this manufacturing plant to Topeka,” Brownback said. The Kansas Departments of Transportation (KDOT) and Commerce (KDOC) will provide approximately $6 million in infrastructure improvements that will help make it possible for Mars to successfully do business at Kanza Fire Commerce Park on the south edge of Topeka. KDOT has committed $4.1 million to help fund road construction and improvements to the rail infrastructure that will service the facility. The funding...

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Bridal exhibit features 1926 Lehman wedding dress

Mica Marriott [email protected] Karl Lehman says that when he and his wife Dorothy moved to Gardner in 1953, they believed Gardner was a “growing area about 25 miles southwest of Kansas City on good highways and a double track Santa Fe Railway.” Karl and Dorothy were from Wathena, Kan., both the children of farmers. They were smitten with each other in high school, graduating from Wathena in 1923. Karl began working as a teller at the Farmers Bank in Wathena shortly after high school and married Dorothy at the age of 21 on June 9, 1926. The two honeymooned in Colorado, and upon returning to Kansas they purchased controlling stock in the Farmers Bank of Meriden, Kan.  Karl survived the hardships of the Great Depression in a business which took a direct blow from the infamous “Black Tuesday.” Dorothy and Karl had two sons, Don and Dana Lehman, who have since made their homes in Gardner, raising their own families in the community. Dorothy and Karl were 47 years old when they came to Gardner in 1953. The two originally planned to move to Colorado Springs to purchase a real-estate and insurance business, though Karl’s business skills lead him to Gardner while helping an Oskaloosa Massey-Harris business with liquidation and finding a new Massey-Harris business getting ready to open in Gardner and needing stock. After getting acquainted with the...

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Flag poles considered potential ‘weapons’

By Martin Hawver Guest Columnist strange thing happened outside the Statehouse a week ago. A few protesters, who had registered their intention to hold a public forum on the south steps of the Statehouse and who had been provided a state podium and loudspeaker system, were told they couldn’t bring flags on flagpoles onto the Statehouse grounds. The group was the Kansas Equality Coalition, supporters of equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered people.  Not really a rowdy crowd. The protesters had some U.S. and Kansas flags and that colorful diversity flag, which is essentially a rainbow of colors with no writing on it. Now, the official explanation from the authorities was that the flagpoles could become weapons, and the state doesn’t allow weapons and things that can become weapons on the Statehouse grounds. Well, that sounds fair enough. But the Equality Coalition is the first group in recent memory—and this isn’t just rabble, it even has a registered lobbyist—to be told to take flags off of the flagpoles because of the possibility that they might hurt someone. Oh…the rally was to make fun of Gov. Sam Brownback for his plans to attend a national American Family Association convention in Houston in August. The Equality Coalition members say the AFA is anti-gay, and they don’t much care for the governor of their state going to the convention where...

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Morning Glory 4-H

Olivia Rogers Club reporter Morning Glory 4-H Club held a Day Camp for its members on June 27.  There was something for everyone. Attendees made cards for the nursing home, searched for bugs on an insect hunt, enjoyed outdoor recreational games, stamped leather bracelets, and learned about a soy bean farm by planting seeds and getting up close and personal with an 8-foot soy bean plant. Each year Morning Glory Day Camp is organized by the Junior Leaders who are older members of the club. The Junior Leaders plan out all of the activities for the Day Camp and then invite the younger club members to attend. This gives Junior Leaders an opportunity to practice community service and leadership skills. The Day Camp ran from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and included a taco dinner. Afterward, the monthly Morning Glory meeting was...

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In sparse job market, parents urged to encourage teens to volunteer

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Teens who expected to land a summer job are coming up empty-handed. “The jobs, which often involved the service sector at restaurants, recreational sites and resorts, aren’t there,” said Elaine Johannes, K-State Research and Extension youth development specialist, who cited an April, 2011 research report from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, Boston, Mass. It reported that teens’ summer employment rate has dropped from 45 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2010. While the economy, unemployment and shrinking job opportunities for adults factor into lost employment opportunities for youth, Johannes urged parents and teens to work together to create opportunities for teens to grow with – or without – a paycheck. “The financial loss is real, yet the jobs also provided opportunities for teens to grow in personal responsibility and develop into more capable young adults,” she said. With that said, Johannes encouraged parents to help their teen explore volunteer opportunities that will allow him or her to build skills that support personal growth and development. Building skills now also should help teens and young adults become more employable once the economy recovers and the job market opens up, she said. Volunteer opportunities will vary with a teen’s age and the size of the community in which he or she resides, said Johannes, who offered tips for parents in helping teens make...

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Public sector jobs out pace private

We’re not fans of career politicians. After a few terms in office, many officials seem to be more in tune with administrative staff, lobbyists, public unions and other professional politicians as opposed to their constituents. That said we were pleasantly surprised that Gov. Sam Brownback, who served about 15 years in the Senate, recognized that public sector jobs have outpaced the private sector in the last 10 years. “We can’t keep moving forward as a state with a growing government and a shrinking private sector,” Gov. Brownback said. “That’s not sustainable,” he says in a Kansas Department of Commerce press release. Amen. When the few support the many, the economy wobbles like an upside down pyramid. Gov. Brownback also announced that more than 3,000 private sector jobs have been created in Kansas this year, according to the KDOC. A list of jobs was handed out at a news conference, but what was apparently left unsaid is specific information as to wage, benefits or what tax incentives were given to create these jobs. A job isn’t a job, isn’t a job, isn’t a job. Does it pay a livable wage? Are any benefits included? Is it full-time or part-time? Why do we have to abate taxes to “lure” jobs to Kansas. If taxes are too high for large business; they’re too high for everyone. And while public sector associations, consultants...

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SH School Board reviews plans for Prairie Creek expansion

Mark Taylor [email protected] Spring Hill School Board members got a preliminary look at construction plans for Prairie Creek Elementary School on July 5. Plans to expand the school to a capacity of 528 students in the fall of 2012 were included in a $39 million bond issue that voters approved last month for maintenance, school additions, new facilities and technology upgrades. The work includes the addition of 19,944 square feet of new space and 7,541 square feet of remodeled space to the existing 52,000 square foot facility. Andy Anderson, consultant for the DLR Group, told board members the work will mirror existing Prairie Creek classroom space and expand the school to four classrooms per grade level in K-5. The school currently has three, four-classroom grade level pods at the front of the building. Proposed are three additional, four-classroom pods at the back of the building, including storage, restrooms and discovery areas. “These pods will mimic the pods in front,” Anderson said. “…All three of these pods are going to look the same as the existing pods. It will look like it was part of the original building.” The plans also include remodeling work on the teacher’s lounge, additional seating for the gymnasium, and a portable thrust stage for the auditorium. Closed circuit television monitoring is proposed for the vestibule in the school’s front main entrance. Twenty additional parking spaces...

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USD 231 forgoes pay increases for teachers in 2011-12 contract

Mark Taylor [email protected] The Gardner Edgerton School District and Teachers Association have reached a contract agreement that includes no pay raise for teachers in 2011-12. Certified, classified and administrative staff will forego salary increases this year, and there will be no advancement for experience level on the salary schedule. The district’s salary range for teachers will be $38,610 (for a first year teacher with a bachelor’s degree) to $69,325 (for a teacher with 29 years experience and a doctoral degree). “Unfortunately, with the continued restrictions in state aid, we were not able to provide (pay) increases even given the incredible track record of academic achievements through the efforts of the entire staff,” said Ron Ragan, who negotiated on behalf of the school board. “It was disappointing to the entire board that we were not in a position to award those who truly deserved to be awarded.” Thane Nonamaker, chief negotiator for the teachers, said, “Under the current economic situation (the contract) is probably the best we could ask for. “Obviously everyone would have liked to have a pay raise, but the funding is just not available to do that right now.” Negotiations started in early April and wrapped up the week before Memorial Day. Nonamaker said 94 percent of teachers association members voted in favor of the contract. The new contract also includes three days of bereavement leave for...

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Gardner council hears citizens’ budget concerns

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Although she didn’t attend the meeting, Theresa Hall, Gardner quickly learned about a June 20 council meeting that dissolved into an argument. “Good news travels fast in Gardner,” she told council members during an open comment segment of the July 5 council meeting. “But Gardner is still a small town and bad news travels even faster.” A discussion about employee health benefits and an employee taking offense to the debate lead to the heated exchange. During the argument, Mayor Dave Drovetta loudly announced, “That’s bull—.” Hall said healthcare is not a sacred cow. “You need to act like adults,” she told council. “…That meeting should not have devolved. This is not your petty little kingdom. You get the privilege to govern this town, and I don’t appreciate the nonsense that’s been going on.” She also said she’s appalled that taxpayer money is being used for extravagant health plans for city employees. She and her husband pay 100 percent of the cost of their own health plans, she explained. “When I see you guys increased what you’re paying for employees’ healthcare last year, that makes me furious,” she said. Hall was one of a handful of residents with a variety of concerns who addressed council members at the July 5 meeting. Don Cooper, Gardner, told council that code enforcement in his neighborhood is a problem. “It’s a...

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