Author: Gardner News

Around Town

Question: When is the election for the school bond issue? Answer: Voters will have their say on the USD 231 bond issue in January 2012.  They won’t, however, be asked to head to the polls. Instead, registered voters will receive a ballot in the mail. To be counted, ballots must be received at the election office no later than Jan. 31, 2012. The  $72.7 million bond issue includes a new elementary school, a middle school, land acquisition, and other district-wide capital improvements and technology...

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Special Olympics provides Motor Skills Program

MISSION — Special Olympics Kansas (SOKS) is encouraging young children ages 3-7, with intellectual disabilities to participate in their Motor Skills Program on Oct. 4. The Workshop will be held at Shawnee Mission Instruction Center, 9700 W 96th St., Overland Park. The program focuses on the basics that are crucial to cognitive development: physical activities that develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and the application of these physical skills. The activities include: balance & jumping, throwing and kicking. The Motor Skills Program is scheduled to meet from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The session is limited to 24 young athletes. Siblings will be welcomed and encouraged to participate. Families will be given a set of the equipment to take home for their personal use as they continue to work with their young athlete. Along with building confidence in young athletes, the program is designed to help families meet other families in their area. Young Athletes is funded in part by a grant from Kansas State Council Knights of Columbus. To RSVP a young athlete, or volunteer to help with the event, contact Terri Price, at (913) 236-9290 or...

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President declares disaster for Kansas

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid has been made available to the State of Kansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by flooding during the period of June 1 to Aug. 1. Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by flooding in Atchison, Doniphan, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Bradley Harris has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.  Harris said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully...

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Community college announces ‘Bill Kurtis: Back Home on the Range’

Bill Kurtis, a nationally acclaimed journalist and a native of southeast Kansas, presents “Bill Kurtis: Back Home on the Range” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, in Yardley Hall of the Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College. A reception will follow in the Carlsen Center lobby. The talk and reception are free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by JCCC’s Kansas Studies Institute and Performing Arts Series. Kurtis will discuss his efforts to return the prairie lands near Sedan, Kan., to their native state, revive Sedan’s economy and establish a company that revises the agribusiness model of feedlot cattle to create healthier beef that is better for the environment, animals and consumers. He will share his personal experiences of attempting to reverse agribusiness norms and be on the forefront of grass-fed cattle ranching. He will also highlight the important lessons he has learned about the business of what we eat. A journalist, producer and author, Kurtis is celebrating 40 years as an award-winning broadcaster. Born in Florida and raised in Independence, Kan., Kurtis graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor of science degree in journalism. He attended Washburn University School of Law, where he was awarded a juris doctor degree. Kurtis began his television career at WIBW-TV (CBS) in Topeka. In 1966, after being recognized for his 24-hour coverage of a devastating tornado,...

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WMS Mustangs remain undefeated

The Wheatridge Middle School Mustang seventh-grade varsity football squad remained perfect at 4-0 with a 20-0 shutout at Spring Hill, Sept. 20. WMS got its offense going with a pair of first half touchdowns by running back Cayden Simmons. Quarterback Griffin Johns tacked on a third-quarter two-yard touchdown run as WMS went up 20-0. “It was a total team effort,” said Coach Radel. “We are starting to come together as a team and play hard.” Action continued Sept. 27 at home versus...

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Third Annual Bike Rodeo

Gardner Edgerton third graders learn about firefighting equipment during the Third Annual Bike Rodeo on Sept. 27 at Sunflower Elementary. In addition to bike safety clinics and helmet fittings, students had an opportunity to explore emergency vehicles from the Gardner Police Department and Johnson County Fire District No. 1. Third graders from all six of the school district’s elementary schools particpated.  The event was sponsored by the Head Strong for Jake Foundation, the University of Kansas Medical Center, and Johnson County Med Act. Each student received a new...

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Obama desperate for a job program

Sheldon Richman Guest Columnist President Obama won’t use the “stimulus” label to describe his nearly half-trillion-dollar jobs bill, but that refusal can’t hide the fact that he has no idea how economies recover from recessions. “Stimulus” is a tainted label because his $800 billion bill in 2009 was a failure. His economic team promised that passing that bill would keep unemployment from exceeding 8 percent. The bill passed, and unemployment climbed to more than 9 percent and has stayed there ever since. With election day only 14 months off, one can readily see Obama’s desperation for a job program. The administration insists things would have been worse without the stimulus bill, but no good theory supports that assertion. Here’s the key: “Stimulus” implies that something enters the economy from outside, like a defibrillator applying an electrical shock to the heart. But any money the government appears to inject into the economy was already in the economy and therefore was just moved around. If the government cuts taxes but keeps spending, no net addition of resources is made. Its borrowing and its new taxes have to come from somewhere. As George Mason University economist Russ Roberts says, government’s stimulus of an economy is equivalent to taking water from the deep end of a pool and pouring it into the shallow end. Did the first stimulus create or save 3.5 million...

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GEHS moves into state’s largest class, 6A

A new era begins at Gardner Edgerton High School. On Sept. 27, the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) released its annual classifications for schools with Gardner Edgerton High School moving into the state’s largest classification of 6A. The 6A classification is comprised of the 32 largest schools in Kansas. This is the first time in the history of Gardner Edgerton High School that its activity and athletic competition groups will be involved in the largest state classification. This move will take place immediately for all activities and athletics at GEHS except for football. The football classification for this year will remain at 5A and then move to 6A next fall. “This is exciting for Gardner Edgerton to continue challenging the students and staff of our high school. We have great kids and a great staff and look forward to the new ventures that 6A will provide,” said Kent Glaser, GEHS athletic director. “With the support of the Gardner and Edgerton communities, USD 231, and the staff of GEHS we are poised to take this step and continue our pursuit of excellence at the highest levels, both in and out of the classroom.” The classification for activities and athletics are released every year and count the students enrolled in grades 9-12. The football classifications are released every two years and are a separate count that involves the enrollments...

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Meetings scheduled for USD 231 bond issue

USD 231 School District is hosting a series of informational meeting on the upcoming school bond issue.  The bond issue will go before the voters on Jan. 31, 2012. Below are dates, times and locations of scheduled meetings open to all Gardner and Edgerton community members: Monday, Oct. 3, Moonlight Elementary, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4, Nike Elementary, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, Pioneer Ridge Middle School, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, Sunflower Elementary, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, Wheatridge Middle School, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, Edgerton Elementary, 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, Gardner Elementary, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, Gardner Edgerton High School, 7 p.m. For more information, contact Leann Northway, director of community relations, (913) 856-2000 or visit the USD 231 website at...

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BOCC approves condemnation for 191st Street

Mark Taylor [email protected] The Johnson County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 29 voted 5-2 to condemn right-of-way along 191st Street between Four Corners and Waverly Roads. The condemnation follows a December 2009 agreement with the city of Edgerton for road improvements to serve the intermodal logistics park, which is slated to open in late 2013. Commissioners were told right-of-way aquisition and utility relocations are necessary for the project. Commissioners Michael Ashcraft and Jason Osterhaus voted against the measure. Staff said they would continue negotiations with the owners of nine tracts of land during the condemnation process. “The property owners, in general, believe they are entitled to significantly more than the appraisals would suggest is just compensation,” Hannes Zacharias, county manager, wrote in a memo to commissioners. “While it is possible that an agreement may still be reached with some of the owners, it appears that a condemnation action is inevitable.” Zacharias added, “All the owners have been notified of the county’s need to move forward with the condemnation process but that we are still receptive to a fair settlement if possible.” He said the condemnation process usually takes six to eight weeks to...

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Planning Commission will address comp update in 2012

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Gardner Planning Commissioners will table further discussions about updating the city’s comprehensive plan until after the new year. “I would hesitate to go too much further without public involvement,” Amy Kynard, city planner, told the planning commission on Tuesday. In August, commissioners discussed incorporating the existing city-adopted plans and studies, including the Main Street Corridor Plan and Park System Master Plan and the U.S. 56 Corridor Management Plan into the comprehensive plan. At that same meeting, they also debated the merits of: • incorporating the city’s new vision, mission and values into the plan; • addressing historic preservation and sustainability in the update; • emphasizing pedestrian connectivity; • considering a business park zoning district or more mixed-use zoning districts; • updating the priority growth map to prioritize growth areas; • adapting annexation boundary agreements with neighboring cities to define Gardner’s planning areas; • redefining land uses on the Community Development Plan Map and Future Land Use Map for undeveloped portions of the community; and • re-examining existing developed areas where planned uses do not match current use or zoning. Commissioners requested $75,000 from the city council in order to hire a consultant to help lead and administer an update to the Comprehensive Plan, but council members declined to release funds for the project in the 2012 budget. Instead, Kynard suggested planning commissioners model their update efforts...

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Politicians used 9-11 to inflate defense spending

Sheldon Richman Guest columnist National security is a scam — an $8 trillion scam. That’s the amount spent since Sept. 11, 2001, on the military, including the Iraq and Afghan wars, and “homeland security,” according to Christopher Hellman of the National Priorities Project. If “veterans benefits, future costs for treating the war-wounded, and interest payments on war-related borrowing” are added, Hellman writes, the cost is much higher: $11 trillion, by the estimate of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Hellman says by his reckoning, the full cost of “security” is $1.2 trillion a year. And yet officials say Americans must not let down their guard. The mildest calls for cuts in the rate of growth in military spending are met with panic by “defense” officials. Considering that all that spending was triggered by a ragtag group of airplane hijackers armed with box cutters on 9/11, something just doesn’t add up. (Locks on flight-deck doors and armed pilots would have averted the attacks.) As Thomas Paine, the soul of the American Revolution, wrote in The Rights of Man about the British empire, “In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.” In America’s case, however,...

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Starling cited for drinking

Bubba Starling, former Gardner Edgerton High School standout and recent Kansas City Royals aquisition, was cited on Sept. 24 in Arizona for underage drinking. Starling was cited along with two other Royals players during a traffic stop. He was a passenger in the vehicle. The driver had not been drinking. None of the players tested above the legal blood alcohol limit. “The players involved, which included Bubba Starling, put themselves in jeopardy by having a drink and not being of legal age,” Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said. “It was not a good decision on their part. We’re disappointed in their actions and we’ll deal with it internally.”. The Royals drafted Starling, a centerfielder, in June. In August, he signed a deal with the Royals worth about $7.5 million over three years. At the time Moore called Starling “one of the best athletes to play the game of baseball in many years.” The $7.5 million deal is said to be the largest the Royals have ever spent on a single draft pick. Starling is currently participating in the Instructional League in...

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Edgerton, SH rely on store accounts

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Purchasing cards are used sparingly in Spring Hill, according to finance director Melanie Landis. The cards look like credit or debit cards but function differently. Designed for use by government entities, the cards can be used to make purchases anywhere credit cards are accepted. Like a credit card, purchases made with the cards can be rejected. Like debit cards, purchases don’t accrue interest. They’re paid off each month and carry monthly limits. Only department heads and a few supervisors have purchasing cards in Spring Hill. “We truly don’t use ours all of the time,” Landis said. “For traveling we have to, and in order to avoid someone having to use their personal cards.” Typically, Landis said the cards are used for purchases that must be made out of town. For basic purchases, city officials use local store accounts. But, that can’t always be done. For example, if the pool needs a specific part, there isn’t a store in Spring Hill that sells pool equipment. In Edgerton, most city purchases are also made using store accounts. None of the city’s staff has a purchasing card, but two employees, Mike Mabrey, city superintendent, and Beth Linn, city administrator, have credit cards. Linn said the pair use credit cards rather than purchasing cards, because Metcalf Bank, the city’s bank of choice, doesn’t offer a purchasing card program. The use...

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Poker run scheduled to thank fundraisers

Danedri Thompson [email protected] Reece Good didn’t get to attend a handful of events held in his honor in 2006, but he’d like to thank the people who did. He’ll do so next weekend with Riding with Reece, a 100-mile ride and poker run set to start and conclude in Gardner. “It’s just hard to thank everybody,” Good said. “You just can’t do it.” While hundreds of people rallied to raise funds for his medical bills and to keep his Ultra Craft Customs shop in business, Reece was in a medically induced coma recovering from a bullet to the brain. Things were going well for the quiet custom motorcycle builder in 2006.  Reece’s Ultra Craft Custom choppers had been featured in several magazines and his creations were to be featured on a television show. So it was a mix of business and pleasure that took the Gardner Edgerton High School alum to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the annual motorcycle rally that year. After spending six days in Sturgis, Reece and two friends were on their way home when they stopped at a convenience store within 30 miles of Reece’s Gardner home. The threesome pulled out of the store located on Kansas Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. and were merging onto Interstate 635 when a dark-colored sedan pulled up beside the truck pulling Reece’s trailer. Reece was asleep in the passenger...

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Marriage vows should last through illness

John A. Sparks Guest columnist Recently, Pat Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a wife with Alzheimer’s disease is justifiable. His statement came in response to a viewer’s question, and one would hope that it constituted a shoot-from-the-hip response that Robertson now knows was badly misfired. According to the news story on the incident, Robertson’s apparent rationale was that one only vows to remain married until “death do us part,” and a late-stage Alzheimer’s spouse is effectively dead since the afflicted one cannot recognize her mate nor communicate effectively with him. As Robertson bluntly put it: “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again but make sure she has custodial care and somebody to look after her.” Cruel may be exactly the right word for the spousal response advocated by Robertson. And it is also unbiblical. The Scriptures make absolutely clear that the Triune God views Christian marriage as inviolable. Christ speaks pointedly on the subject, saying that when a man and a woman have been joined together by God Almighty, no mere man should put this union “asunder.” Those very phrases are found in most marriage ceremonies regardless of denomination. The message is unmistakable: Marriage is an estate that is to be a permanent arrangement. Christ himself...

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$25,000 for utility assistance

Mark Taylor [email protected] The Johnson County Board of Commissioners voted Sept. 22 to reallocate $25,000 in personnel funding to the county’s Utility Assistance Program. The Utility Assistance Program provides emergency utility bill assistance for low income households. The personnel funds are being transferred from the Human Services Department’s budget. The Utility Assistance Pogram is funded by the county, 15 cities, the Wastewater Department, Water District No. 6, and various faith-based and non-profit agencies. The county spends $176,000 per year in base funding for the program. “Demand for the program has increased by 65 percent over this time last year,” Deborah Collins, human services director, wrote in a memo to county commissioners.  “By mid-August, nearly $142,000 of county funding has been spent, leaving an available balance in the county’s Utility Assistance Fund of just over $46,000.  At the current usage rate, it is estimated that the fund will be entirely depleted sometime in October.” Collins said the reallocation would allow the Utility Assistance Program to serve about 250 households at $100...

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School board to consider refinancing existing bonds

Mark Taylor [email protected] The Gardner School Board is considering refinancing two series of bonds for a net savings of about $1.5 million. Eric Hansen, business director, told the board on Sept. 26 that the district’s finance committee met last week to discuss the potential refinancing of bonds from the 2004-A and 2005-A series. The net savings is estimated to be $929,649 for the 2004 bonds ($1.29 million) and $576,927 for the 2005 bonds ($1.276 million). “We still have some hefty savings opportunities with the bonds that we have remaining on the books,” Hansen told the board. Hansen said the main difference between the two bonds is their call dates. The 2004 bonds are callable on Oct. 1, 2112, and the 2005 bonds are callable on Oct. 1, 2014. Another consideration is the current state of interest rates. Hansen said the Federal Reserve recently enacted a plan to shift a substantial amount of its investments from short-term to longer term securities in the interest of driving down long term interest rates. “In the event this plan is successful, this will only enhance our opportunities for improved savings on the 2005-A bonds as we are still three years from the call date on those bonds,” Hansen said. The finance committee decided to move forward with a recommendation to the school board to refinance the 2004 bonds. The committee is also recommending...

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On The Road with Albert Rukwaro

Just off I-10 in Texas,  Woman Hollering Creek is a near-dry stream richer in legend than water. Passing Woman Hollering Creek in the early morning hours hauling a load of paper from South Carolina to San Antonio, the name broke the monontony of a 12-hour run. Inquiring at a truck stop over ham and eggs that morning, locals told me the name referred to a Southwestern/Mexican legend about an unmarried woman “with child” who drowns her baby after the father runs off and leaves her. Immediately regretting the decision, the woman screams and cries – and haunts the creek until this day. Woman Hollering Creek empties into Martinez Creek just northeast of St. Hedwig in Texas. A journalist from Kenya, Albert Rukwaro worked at The Gardner News from 2000-2004 as a reporter before leaving to become an over-the-road truck driver.  He occasionally sends updates of his adventures on the road. On The Road Albert Rukwaro Border Checkpoints Border checkpoints in Texas often look like toll booths, staffed by border patrol and dogs.  The guards look like soldiers; and there is a real show of force where they are visible to citizens. The checkpoints are usually within 20 or 30 miles of the border, and everyone must stop and show identification papers. But no more than four miles down the road,  Hispanics come running out of the bushes.  In groups...

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Engagement

Kathi and Michal Flynn, Gardner, would like to announce the engagement of their daughter Sara Nicole Flynn, Olathe, to Andrew Jon Heinicke, Olathe, son of Ron and Patty Heinicke, Olathe. The future bride is the granddaughter of Ray Casey, Mission, Kan., the late Mary Casey, the late William Flynn II and the late Elizabeth Flynn. The bride groom is the grandson of Kenny Buntemeyer, Lincoln, Neb., Eleanor Henicke, Seward, Neb., the late Luda Buntemeyer and the late Gary Heinicke. The future bride received her bachelor of  arts and master of xcience at the University of Kansas.  She is currently employed as an early childhood disabilities teacher with the Gardner Edgerton School District. The future groom received a bachelor of arts at the University of Kansas, master of science at Emporia State University and specialist in education at Emporia State University.  He is currently employed as a school psychologist with the Olathe School District. The couple plans to wed Feb. 25, 2012 at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City,...

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