Author: Gardner News

Home sales slowed in Kansas in June

Gene Meyer Kansas Reporter TOPEKA — Home sales in Kansas slowed in June, just as they did in the rest of the nation, Realtors report. The winding down of national home buyers’ tax credit programs in April contributed to the slower sales, industry executives said. Kansas home sales totaled 3,359 units in June, barely changed from 3,355 a month earlier and up 1 percent from the 3,327 units sold in May, 2009, the Kansas Association of Realtors said Friday. Home prices also improved modestly from year earlier levels, to a statewide average $169,402 from $168,313 last year, the Topeka association reported. “The last of the tax credit-induced sales are working through the system, so we expect to see less activity through the rest of the summer,” said Brian Jones, a Pittsburg Realtor and state association president. “The good news is that overall, for the state of Kansas, the sales for June 2010 were higher than in 2009, even with the expiration of the credit,” Jones said. Broadly comparable U.S. sales of existing homes fell 5.1 percent from month earlier levels, to a seasonally adjusted 5.37 million units during June, but remained 9.8 percent higher than in May, 2009, the National Assocation of Realtors reported separately. National sales are likely to continue to ebb this summer as sales that were made, but not closed before the homebuyer’s credits expired, continue to...

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PRESS RELEASE: County spending analysis identifies millions in potential savings

Press release from the Kansas Policy Institute WICHITA – A new study, “Kansas County Budget Analysis – In Search of Efficient Government,” from Kansas Policy Institute compares 2009 per-resident spending across all 105 counties and creates a benchmarking tool for county officials and Kansas citizens.  The findings suggest hundreds of millions of dollars in potential savings from improved efficiency and transparency.  The full study can be found here, with complete data set here. “Benchmarking is standard practice in the business world,” said study author and KPI president Dave Trabert.  “From the corner grocery store to the largest manufacturer, employers do their very best to know how much it costs their competitors to build a widget, deliver a service, or conduct back office support.  Governments also need to know what their competitors charge.” The study groups counties by population to provide similar-sized comparisons and spending is broken out into nine categories, including general government, law enforcement, court services and emergency services.  Stevens County budgeted $5,415.66 per-resident for the highest while Wyandotte spent the least per-resident at $449.52; median spending per-resident was $1,262.61.  Some additional noteworthy findings; * Johnson County spent $4.42 per-resident on County Commissioners, or nearly three times the $1.50 spent by Sedgwick County; * The high total spender among counties with less than 5,000 residents was four times greater than the low spender; * The high law enforcement...

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News briefs: Edgerton mayor seeks Planning Commission appointee

Edgerton mayor seeks Planning Commission appointee From the Edgerton Insights blog: Mayor Roberts is seeking citizens who are interested in serving the City of Edgerton as a member of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission currently meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at City Hall. The Commission is charged with reviewing development and rezoning proposals and recommending policies that concern the City’s growth and development. The Planning Commission is currently undertaking an update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which helps guide future development within the City. Duties of the Planning Commission include: To make or cause to be made, or to update annually, a Comprehensive Plan for the Edgerton Planning Area; to propose and recommend all revisions and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to the Governing Body. To give notice of and conduct all public hearings pertaining to matters of zoning, planning, and subdivision. To recommend all actions, after hearing, concerning zoning text and map amendments, and conditional uses for consideration to the Governing Body. To review for final approval or disapproval all required site plans and preliminary and final plats. To add conditions to subdivision plats and zoning map amendments when, in the opinion of a majority of Planning Commissioners, such conditions are essential to the preservation of property values, the public health, safety and welfare, and the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of...

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OPINION: BP CEO's buyout nothing short of obscene

It’s a story we’ve heard too many times before. BP CEO Tony Hayward agreed earlier this week to step down as the company’s top executive as BP found a temporary fix to the deluge of oil that has slicked the Gulf Coast. While it may be seen as a good PR move for the embattled oil giant – an American businessman will replace Hayward this fall – any optimism is overshadowed by the price tag on Hayward’s departure: $1.6 million, or a year’s salary. Obviously, this is nothing short of obscene on several levels. The most obvious, of course, is related to the economy. In an age when the common breadwinners in American households are lucky only to keep their jobs, let alone get even the smallest merit pay increase, Hayward is basically being rewarded for failing to address one of the largest domestic missteps since the U.S. government’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The payout to Hayward – BP’s biggest embarrassment of the day — is a slap in the face to decent, hard-working Americans who do their jobs and do them well, even amid an uncertain economic climate. What’s more, according to a report from CNN, is that BP itself sustained a second-quarter net loss of $17.2 billion. Even more angering is the fact that while Hayward is not expected to face jail time, some...

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‘Blazer 9U team wins area baseball tournament

The Gardner ‘Blazer 9U baseball team finished its summer season by winning the Olathe Youth Baseball League tournament. After losing the first game of a double-elimination tourney, they battled back through the loser’s bracket winning the next five games to earn the title of “Tournament Champions.” Their bats carried them through as the squad out-scored opponents 64-30. “It was an exciting way to end the season,” Coach Bill O’Connor said. “The boys were playing the best they had all summer during the tournament which was great to see!” The coaches want to also thank the call up players who helped due to injuries and...

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OPINION: 4-H builds character for those kids involved

Around this same time last year, I was writing a column about how, as a self-proclaimed “city boy,” I knew very little about what goes into the work of 4-H’ers and their experiences in raising and showing livestock and other animals at the Johnson County Fair. Although I learned a lot from last year’s fair and its young talent, I continue to find myself amazed at the dedication and energy these youths bring to the fairgrounds and the arena. I definitely think kids and teens of this generation could learn a lesson from 4-H’ers. Being involved in 4-H not only gives you something to focus on as a hobby or even potential career – it also allows you to become involved in community service and giving back to the city that you call home. It’s a lesson today’s kids could stand to learn. Everywhere I go, it seems, children are mindlessly texting their friends, or playing a PSP while ignoring the world around them. I would hate to let my childhood pass me by as I became a slave to technology and all of its proverbial bells and whistles. I’d rather find something to keep me busy, to keep me genuinely interested, to keep me caring about – well, something. When I was younger, that something was Boy Scouts. I remember how excited I’d get when my troop went...

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Edgerton council approves new city logo

Corbin H. Crable chcrable@gardnernews.com The city of Edgerton has a new logo for its banners, letterhead, business cards – and, eventually, a city flag. The Edgerton City Council approved a design by local resident Matt Todd at its July 22 regular meeting. Todd’s design was one of several submitted to the Edgerton Recreation and Cultural Arts Committee in the late spring. The committee voted to recommend Todd’s logo, and the city council approved it, pending small design changes. The logo prominently features the historic Bank of Knowledge building and its high, arched windows, with a tree to the right...

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Ward is Kansas Girls Coach of Year

Gardner Edgerton High School track coach Larry Ward was selected Girls Coach of the Year by the Kansas Coaches Association. Ward’s team won the 5A girls track title by a 40-point margin versus runner-up Shawnee Heights of Topeka. The Kansas Coaches Association recognizes outstanding work done by track and field...

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Gardner man launches Internet radio station

Corbin H. Crable chcrable@gardnernews.com One Gardner man’s dream of a radio station that would cater to a variety of musical tastes became a reality on Friday morning with the launch of WUCA Radio. Charlie Wyatt started the radio station, which can be found online at www.wucaradio.com, in late spring, and it went live during a press conference Friday morning at the Gardner branch of the Johnson County Public Library. The station plays a mixture of rap, heavy metal, rock, soft rock and country, all with a Christian focus. WUCA Radio also will feature talk shows and news programs, said...

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The risks of hot weather on your dog – Community Contributor

The Risks of Hot Weather on Your Dog Dr. Eileen Mertz B.S.,D.V.M – Community Contributor, Gardner News This is the time of the year when dogs are at high risk for suffering from the effects of heat.  At Gardner Animal Hospital, we have seen several dogs that have suffered from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, so please be careful when you let your pets outside. The old saying, “I am sweating like a dog”, is inaccurate at best when used to describe prolific sweating in humans.  Dogs do not sweat.  They have no sweat glands in their skin.  Dogs...

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Tax credit could help small businesses

Rachel Whitten Kansas Reporter TOPEKA, Kan. – Backers and critics of a tax credit designed to help small businesses provide health coverage for their employees are debating its effectiveness after the release of a new report. Consumer health organization Families USA and small business advocacy group Small Business Majority say a large portion of small businesses in Kansas would benefit from the health tax credit next year under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in March. According to their new report, about 90 percent of small businesses in Kansas will be eligible for the tax credit, which will reimburse health care costs up to 35 percent, according to a new report issued by the. But a lobbyist organization for small businesses—National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)—says the tax credit is not the saving grace for small businesses the Families USA report claims. NFIB said the Families USA report only takes in two of the four criteria mandated by law to receive the credit. The Affordable Care Act requires the small business employ less than 25 people, with an average wage of less than $50,000. The small business must also offer health insurance in the first place and pay for at least half of the costs, two criteria that NFIB points out was left off in the report research. The maximum credit this...

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Council considers 4.5 mill rate increase

Corbin H. Crable chcrable@gardnernews.com Gardner City Council members will mull a lower mill increase for 2011 but would still have to face yet another increase for 2012. Council members, at a July 26 special work session, discussed the possibility of lowering the proposed mill increase from 6.5 to 4.5. However, with a 6.5 increase, city staff still predict a 2-mill increase in 2012; similarly, with a 4.5 mill increase for next year, the expected increase for 2012 would rise to 3 mills. In both scenarios, the city would then project mill rate decreases in 2014 and 2017 to help offset the increases for 2011 and 2012. In addition to both possibilities, City Administrator Stewart Fairburn said he would bring before the council a budget that includes the possibility of a 5.5 mill increase. Gardner residents will have the chance to sound off on these budget options at a public hearing to take place Aug. 2. The council then will vote on the 2011 budget on Aug. 16. The finalized budget must be submitted to the state by the end of August. Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta warned the council that if it decided to approve a 4.5 mill increase, it would only further delay the $15 to $18 million in capital improvement projects the city has designated as “necessary,” and said that voting for a lower mill increase only would...

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Clyde Shellhammer

Clyde Shellhammer, 85, of Overland Park, Kan. passes away July 12, 2010 at his home. Clyde was born Jun 9, 1925 in Kansas City, Mo. to Wendell and Mary (Erbert) Shellhammer. On June 12, 1965 he married Agnes Hadle at the Sacred heart Parish in Gardner. He was a postal clerk for the US Postal Service in Shawnee Mission, Kan. for 23 years, retiring in 1985. Clyde was a member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, Shawnee historical Society and a life member of the Bukovina Society of the Americas. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Agnes. Mass of Christian Burial was held July 16, 2010 at the Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church.  Burial was in the Olathe Memorial cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Crossroads Hospice, 9237 Ward Parkway, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64114.  Online condolences may be expresses at www.amosfamily.com.  Arrangements by The Amos Family Chapel of Shawnee,...

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University update

HAYS, Kan. — Two Spring Hill students have accepted scholarships to Fort Hays State University for the 2010-2011 academic year Shane Squire, a 2010 Spring Hill High School graduate, accepted a $500 Academic Opportunity Award in the College of Business and Leadership. Squire, son of Mark and Cindy Squire, Spring Hill, plans to major in finance. Robert Sturm III, a 2010 Spring Hill High School graduate, accepted an $800 Hays City Silver Academic Award. Sturm, son of Laura Sturm, Spring Hill, and the late Robert Sturm, plans to major in sports medicine or criminal...

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SH’s Bontrager signs with Ottawa

Ottawa University’s baseball program has announced the signing of Ryan Bontrager to a letter of intent for the 2010-2011 school year. He is from Spring Hill, Kan. and is a transfer from Neosho County Community College. Bontrager attended Spring Hill High School. Bontrager, an outfielder, earned two letters in baseball for the Panthers of Neosho County CC. He was an honorable mention All-Jayhawk East selection. At Spring Hill High School Bontrager was a four year letterwinner for the Broncos and was a two-time first team all-league selection. “Ryan will add experience to our team and raise the level of outfield play while also contributing to the team’s offense in the middle of the lineup,” said OU head coach Joe Reed. “He has great baseball instincts and awareness, runs well, has a strong arm, and handles the bat really well. Ryan is a tough competitor and wants to win. He will be a great addition to our successful program and will look to help us continue to rise in success. We are excited to have Ryan join our squad.” Bontrager is the son of Laron and Carmen Bontrager and plans to major in exercise...

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A Letter from Belly Fat – Community Contributor

Get Fit Gardner Cory Adams, Community Contributor – Gardner Fitness Guru Letter from your Belly Fat. Hey there this is a letter from you BFF, Belly Fat. I Wanted to Thank You! Its been a great run this summer so far and now I am preparing for Winter. We sat around a lot and ate some great food this summer, thanks. The reason I am writing you is because, well, I have been talking with Thunder Thighs, Butt Fat and Back Fat and we are thinking about hanging around again this next year. I know we discussed leaving for good but we changed our minds. So if its OK with you we are going to stay? Can you do me a favor though and avoid that awesome Legacy Fitness Boot Camp program I keep hearing you talk about? Word around town is that the people in that program are buying new clothes, getting lots of confidence and losing tons of body fat. Lets not get crazy we have such a good thing going. The last time you worked out really hard and stuck to it you just about got rid of me. My feelings were really hurt. It was like a torch was lit under your butt. Butt Fat was burning up…..literally. You were so much more happy, confident and energized. You really had me scared with all that...

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People in your neighborhood: Lesta Bell Feldkamp

Lesta moved to the Kansas City metro area in 1984, and has resided in historic Overland Park since 1994.  She is the Activity Coordinator for Medicalodges of Gardner and has been employed with them for the past 10 years.  While with Medicalodges she has held many positions including Social Services Designee, Admissions, Activity Director, Certified Nursing Aide, Volunteer Coordinator, and had filled in as Certified Nursing Aide.  After this many years in a community this well-knit it feels like a member of “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name. She has two Beagles; Peter and Minerva otherwise known as Pete & Minnie. Favorite movie of all time:  Crossing Delancy with Amy Irving. Favorite singer/music genre:  I used to play saxophone for many years and was a member of the Kansas State University Marching Band from 1976 to 1981, so my favorite kind of music would have to be Jazz. Dream job:  My dream job is to work in the health care industry providing activities and transportation in a mini bus for the residents to get out and be an active part of the community. Motto you live your life by:  Make life better for those who cannot make it better...

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Brief

More than 200 students will attend the 27th Annual Kansas Masonic All-State High School Marching Band Camp at Pittsburgh State University. The five-day camp will be from July 27 to 31. Featured at the camp are the best high school musicians from across the state. Instruction will be given by A. Douglas Whitten and his Pitt State band staff in both music and marching. More than 4,400 students have performed in the camp, a project of the Kansas Masonic Foundation, since 1984. Student sponsorships are paid by local Lodges and other affiliated bodies in their communities. Leftover money after expenses is donated to the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute at KU Medical Center in Kansas City. Band camp will end with performances in the Shrine Bowl parade on the morning of July 31, and a pre-game and halftime performance at the Kansas East-West Shrine Bowl football game that evening. Net proceeds from the East-West Shrine Bowl game will be donated to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Participants from Gardner Edgerton High School are Katie Daniels and Ethan...

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Question: I did not receive one of my papers last week. Did you print late?

Answer: No.  Papers are always delivered to the post office prior to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.  We also have them in local stores and vending machines about the same time.  The Gardner News is published twice a week except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and sometimes the Fourth of July.  We have not missed a publication deadline for the past 20 years.  If you do not get your paper, be sure your subscription is not expired by calling us at...

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Edgerton mayor seeks appointees to Planning Commission

From the Edgerton Insights blog: Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts is seeking citizens who are interested in serving the city of Edgerton as a member of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission currently meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at City Hall. The Commission is charged with reviewing development and rezoning proposals and recommending policies that concern the City’s growth and development. The Planning Commission is currently undertaking an update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which helps guide future development within the City. Duties of the Planning Commission include: • To make or cause to be made, or to update annually, a Comprehensive Plan for the Edgerton Planning Area; to propose and recommend all revisions and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to the Governing Body. •To give notice of and conduct all public hearings pertaining to matters of zoning, planning, and subdivision. •To recommend all actions, after hearing, concerning zoning text and map amendments, and conditional uses for consideration to the Governing Body. • To review for final approval or disapproval all required site plans and preliminary and final plats. • To add conditions to subdivision plats and zoning map amendments when, in the opinion of a majority of Planning Commissioners, such conditions are essential to the preservation of property values, the public health, safety and welfare, and the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of property....

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