Archive for Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in Review 2008

The De Soto Explorer's No. 3 story of 2008 was the Sept. 12 tornado skipped through De Soto, causing damage to 23 different sites. Damage was heaviest in the 84th Street and Rik Mar area.

The De Soto Explorer's No. 3 story of 2008 was the Sept. 12 tornado skipped through De Soto, causing damage to 23 different sites. Damage was heaviest in the 84th Street and Rik Mar area.

December 31, 2008

No. 1 The third time proved to be a charm Tuesday as De Soto School District 232 voters approved a $75 million school bond issue. Unofficial final results from the Johnson County Election Office show the bond issue passed with 55.65 percent of the vote, 8,431 to 6,729. At a gathering at Mill Creek Middle School, supporters of the bond issue and district administrators tentatively declared victory about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday based on the rough numbers gathered from polling places and the advance votes the Johnson County Election Office had just released. With the $75 million bond package, the school district plans to increase capacity at Mill Valley High School from 1,000 to 1,400 students, De Soto High School from 750 to 1,000 students and build a new 600-capacity elementary school in northwest Shawnee. The results are an immense relief for many like Chris Akin, a Shawnee resident and member of the Vote Yes Committee who has worked to promote passage of the past bond issues. “I’m just ecstatic for all kids in our district that the patrons came through and supported their future and education, because schools are the center of our community,” she said. No. 2 De Soto Chamber of Commerce President Dave Moore said he got affirmation of the weekend’s blues and barbecue success while watching the fireworks display at the end of the concert. “I was standing between two musicians from Kelley Hunt’s band,” he said Monday. “They said, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’ Kelley Hunt’s manager Al Berman called me this morning to say it was the best and most enjoyable show they had done all year, and they play everywhere.” Praise was pretty much universal for the job the De Soto Chamber of Commerce did in organizing the first combined blues festival and barbecue contest and for De Soto Riverfest Park. Moore and chamber director Sara Ritter said much of the credit should go to the many volunteers who manned the admission gates, beer garden, T-shirt stand and helped with the barbecue contest. No. 3 Gary Pruitt said it didn't take Friday evening's tornado long to do considerable damage to his home and those of his neighbors. Pruitt, who lives 84th Street between Rik Mar and Corliss Road, said he scrambled to his basement just before the storm hit his home. "It looked out and saw some rotation and decided to head to the basement," he said. "I can't say I saw a funnel, just rotation. I was half way done the stairs to the basement when it hit. In 20 to 30 seconds it was over. Then I went out to check on my neighbors." Cleanup continued in the neighborhood Monday as its residents cleared downed trees from yards and off homes. De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said the city would remove brush downed by the storm and dragged to the street. The city's brush pile at the wastewater plant on West 79th Street was also open to receive trees and limbs downed in the storm, he said. No. 4 After a week of uncertainty, official results released Tuesday by the Johnson County Election Office confirmed Calvin Hayden of De Soto will be the next Johnson County commissioner for the 6th District. The official final results were released after the deposition of about 675 provisional ballots was determined Monday at a county commission canvas of the Nov. 4 election. The official results showed the already tight 6th District contest tightened even more, but the bottom-line result remained the same in the non-partisan contest. Finals numbers show Hayden prevailing in the race to represent De Soto and northwest Johnson County on the commission, 17,952-17,910. No.5 As of Tuesday afternoon, De Soto was 2-for-3 this legislative session with the fate of the third local initiative intertwined with the session's thorniest issue. Already signed into law after being approved by the Legislature was a bill allowing Johnson County and the city of De Soto to establish a riverfront authority to guide the recreational development along the Kansas River near De Soto. And last week, the Legislature approved a measure the city of De Soto, Johnson County and Johnson County Fire District No. 3 requested that will allow the city fire department and the fire district to merge into a new entity. With the passage of the fire service merger and riverfront legislation, the De Soto City Council now has the appointment of board and authority members on its agenda

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