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Posts for June 2010

UPDATE: Volunteers needed to help with parking on 4th

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 5:37 p.m.

The city's Fourth of July celebration in Riverfest Park is still in need of volunteers to help coordinate parking. Any help would be appreciated, even one hour would be great. Volunteers do not have to sign-up for an entire shift, they may choose any single hour to help out. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Lana McPherson at 913-583-1182.

Farmer's Market to open at Zimmerman's Farm

farmerdarrel June 30, 2010 at 2:44 p.m.

The Farmer's Market opens today at Zimmerman's Kill Creek Farm. It will be open from 4:30 - 7 p.m. Fresh meat, green produce, jellies, and blueberries will be for sale. The Sunflowers are also starting to bloom.

Council meeting to be live-streamed

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 11:15 a.m.

Can't make it to tomorrow night's De Soto City Council meeting? Don't worry, I'll be live-streaming the whole thing. It will be my first attempt at using the equipment with Estuardo gone, but I promise to do my best!

Agenda now available for Thursday's City Council meeting

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.

The De Soto City Council will meet Thursday evening at 7 p.m. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/30/city-council-agenda-6-30-10/

Daily Poll

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 10:48 a.m.

Five Questions: Fireworks Safety

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.

Sunday is the Fourth of July, and in many places that means fireworks. It is illegal in Shawnee and most of Johnson County to discharge fireworks. The Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office offers these fireworks safety tips but cautions only to use them where legal. It is legal to discharge fireworks within De Soto city limits. Q: What should you be aware of when purchasing fireworks?

A: Always purchase high-quality fireworks from a reliable, legitimate source. Bottle rockets and other skyrockets that are mounted on a stick or wire are illegal.

Q: Who should be allowed to shoot fireworks?

A: Adults should always supervise use of fireworks by older children. Anyone using fireworks should always read and follow label instructions. Never give fireworks to children.

Q: What other rules about fireworks are there?

A: Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. Have a “designated shooter.” Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks. Never ignite fireworks indoors. Make sure your outdoor area is safe for fireworks use. Have a source of water handy in case of fire.

Q: What about actually lighting fireworks?

A: Light only one firework at a time. Never point or throw fireworks at a person, building or animal. Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers. Never attempt to relight malfunctioning fireworks. When lighting fireworks, never position any part of your body over them. Never experiment with homemade fireworks. They are dangerous and illegal.

Q: What areas have strict prohibition for shooting off fireworks?

A: It is illegal to shoot fireworks on or under a vehicle, on any public roadway, within 50 feet of a firework stand or where fireworks are stored, and gasoline stations or any place liquid gas — including propane — is stored.

Close call on attempted scam prompts warning from couple

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 9:12 a.m.

http://www.shawneedispatch.com/photos/2010/jun/29/37200/

The early-morning phone caller had a worrisome tone to his voice when he reached Harold Klein at his Shawnee home. “He said “Grandpa?” and I said “Yeah,” and he said, ‘This is Justin; I’m in trouble,’” Klein said.

Klein and his wife, Bernice, received the phone call last week from a man they believed to be their grandson. He said he was in trouble and needed help.

It wasn’t their grandson, but a scam artist.

Luckily, the Kleins’ transfer of nearly $3,000 was stopped before it went through and the Kleins got their money back.

Now, the Kleins hope their story will serve as a cautionary tale for others. They want to warn grandparents — especially those with grandchildren in the military — before they become victims of a scam.

Harold Klein said the call came in at 7:30 a.m. June 22 from someone posing as their grandson, a Marine who is stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Bernice joined Harold on the phone as the caller described how his friends had asked him to go to Canada with him, and while there, they got pulled over by authorities. Drugs were found in the vehicle, and while the man posing as Justin said he didn’t have any drugs on him, he still needed money for bail and legal fees.

“I looked at Harold and said,‘Oh, wow, we’ve never had a grandchild in trouble like this,’” Bernice said.

The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office sent out a notice warning of the “grandchild emergency” scam in January this year. The warning noted the caller would simply say, “It’s me, your favorite grandchild,” and the grandparent often would offer a name of who it could be, so the scammer could take on that identity to ask for emergency funds.

In the Kleins’ case, the caller not only offered a specific name of their grandchild — including his military rank and Justin’s last name, which is not Klein — but also sounded exactly like their grandson, they said.

“He mimicked his voice and everything,” Bernice said, explaining the caller used the same deep voice and lilt in his words as their grandson uses when greeting his grandparents. “Someone had listened to him talking to his wife or something.”

The scammer told the Kleins he needed $2,750 to be sent to his lawyer, John Bean, giving them an address in Madrid, Spain, as well as a telephone number. The caller told the Kleins to go to Hy-Vee to wire the money through Western Union.

“I still had this funny feeling, but I think as a grandparent, you lose your head a little when you hear he’s in trouble,” Bernice said.

The Kleins got the money and went to Hy-Vee, but they found out the store was limited in the amounts it could transfer via Western Union, so they went to Price Chopper, which had a higher limit.

Once the money was sent, the Kleins called Justin to let him know the money was on its way. It was then that they quickly realized the call was a scam. They contacted the Shawnee Police, who were able to stop the money from being transferred through Western Union. The money was returned the same afternoon.

“We lucked out; we got our money back. But it was pure luck with the officer in Shawnee,” Bernice said.

The Kleins said Justin, who works in military intelligence, also notified authorities in Spain through military contacts there.

Given the level of information the scammer had on their grandson, the Kleins wonder if scammers might be targeting military grandparents now, so they hope military families are especially aware of the scam.

One thing Bernice knows — she is holding on to all the documents from that day, including the Western Union receipt, as a reminder to be more cautious.

“It was unreal, that whole day is just unreal,” she said. “… In hindsight, if I’d been using my brain right, I would have turned around and called Justin right away.”

Patrol reminds Kansans of new laws on the books

Laura Herring June 30, 2010 at 9:10 a.m.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is reminding Kansans that several new laws go into effect this week, and two laws that were effective last July with a one-year warning period become enforceable with a citation. Kansas’ new primary seatbelt law has been effective since June 10, and beginning June 30, drivers and passengers can be cited for violation of the law. This law change makes it possible for law enforcement officers to conduct a traffic stop if the driver or front seat passenger is not wearing their seatbelt. A requirement has also been added requiring The Kansas Highway Patrol is reminding Kansans that several new laws go into effect this week, and two laws that were effective last July with a one-year warning period become enforceable with a citation.

Kansas’ new primary seatbelt law has been effective since June 10, and beginning June 30, drivers and passengers can be cited for violation of the law. This law change makes it possible for law enforcement officers to conduct a traffic stop if the driver or front seat passenger is not wearing their seatbelt. A requirement has also been added requiring adult passengers in the rear seats of a vehicle to wear their seatbelts.

A texting ban is another new piece of legislation in Kansas. The ban prohibits a driver from using a wireless device to write, send, or read a written communication while operating a motor vehicle on a public road or highway. This includes text messages, instant messages, and e-mails. The ban is effective July 1.

License plate visibility is addressed by a new law effective July 1. This law prohibits a license plate from being covered in whole, or in part, by any clear or opaque material, or any other plastic-like material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.

Two laws that were effective last July, become enforceable by citation effective July 1. The “Move It Law” mandates that drivers involved in non-injury crashes on interstate, U.S. highways, or any divided or multilane roadways in the state, as long as the vehicles are not transporting hazardous materials, move vehicles out of the lane of traffic if it is safe to do so. This law is intended to keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic and away from oncoming vehicles. If vehicles can be driven, they should be moved to a safer location such as a shoulder or the nearest exit to exchange information or to contact law enforcement.

The warning period for the “Right Lane Law” also expires after June 30. The Right Lane Law prohibits vehicles on highways outside the corporate limits of any city, divided into two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction, from being operated in the far left lane, except when:

  • overtaking and passing another vehicle;
  • preparing to make a proper left turn;
  • otherwise directed by traffic-control devices; or
  • otherwise required by other provisions of law (e.g. stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles).

Parking volunteers needed for Fourth of July festivities

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 3:14 p.m.

City officials are in need of help from the community to organize parking cars at Riverfest Park for the Fourth of July celebration on Sunday. Volunteers are needed to cover two shifts: the early shift from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the late shift from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., or until all cars have vacated the park. Safety vests will be provided for all volunteers.

Any time you could spare to help with parking would be greatly appreciated and would help many people to enjoy the festivities. If you are interested in helping out, contact City Clerk Lana McPherson at (913) 583-1182, ext. 110.

Wizards Stadium construction to cause traffic delays

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 2:38 p.m.

Beginning on Tuesday, June 29 through mid-August, a pilot car operation, including one semitrailer transporting one oversized beam per load and several pilot cars, will travel north on I-35 from Ottawa in Franklin County to westbound I-435 in Johnson County, north to their final destination at the new Wizards Stadium, which is currently under construction on the Kansas Speedway grounds in Wyandotte County. This is a pilot car operation which includes several pilot cars as well as one oversized semitrailer. The pilot car procession leaves Ottawa around 8:15 a.m. and arrives at the truck scale weigh station on northbound I-35 around 9:00-9:15 a.m. From there, the procession then moves north to the northbound I-35 to westbound I-435 ramp (Exit 222B). Once at the ramp, the pilot crew must manually maneuver the semitrailer through the ramp which takes approximately 2-5 minutes creating very minor traffic delays. The procession then merges onto westbound I-435 and heads north. Then at approximately 10:00 a.m. the procession reaches their final destination for delivery of the beam to the Wizards Stadium construction site located on the grounds of the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

Crews are scheduled to deliver one beam per day, daily Monday through Friday, weather permitting. There are a total of 21 beams to be delivered. Drivers are asked to be patient and take it slow when travelling near the vehicle procession.

The completed delivery date for all beams is mid-August 2010, weather permitting.

Local fireworks stands get started

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 2:03 p.m.

With the Fourth of July coming up this weekend, fireworks stands are popping up. De Soto has three stands open for business until Sunday.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... The De Soto High School football team is operating a stand on Commerce Drive between McDonald's and Gulley's Carpets. The team's stand is being operated by members of the teams and their parents and the proceeds will go to new equipment for the football program, benefiting youth football, as well as the junior varsity and varsity teams. Hours of operation for the team's stand are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday, when it will close around dusk.

The VFW Post No. 6654 is operating a stand in the parking lot of the VFW building at 33725 W. 84th St. Their stand is operated by VFW members and 100 percent of the proceeds stay with the VFW, going toward general building up-keep, scholarship funds and other financial needs. Their hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday.

The Lancaster family is operating a Garrett Family Fireworks stand next to Sonic at 34425 W. 91st St. Their hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday.

Engagement: Llamas-Taylor

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.

L.D. and Kristi Lawrence along with Jeff and Vandi Hodgson announce the engagement of their children, Kristl Llamas and J. Taylor, all of Lawrence.

The future bride is a 2001 graduate of Free State High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Washburn University in 2006 and is a fifth-grade teacher in the De Soto school district. The future groom is also the son of the late Joseph Taylor, Sr. He is a 2003 graduate of FSHS, and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Kansas University in 2008. He is a landscaper and will pursue a paramedic's degree this fall. The couple plan a July 10, 2010, wedding at First United Methodist Church in Lawrence.

Deputies to Enforce Fireworks Violations

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.

Johnson County Deputies will be enforcing the fireworks ban in rural Johnson County during this years Independence Day weekend celebrations.
According to county regulations, fireworks including sparklers are illegal without a permit in all unincorporated areas of Johnson County. Persons caught using or selling fireworks will be subject to fines from $25 up to $100. For more information on regulations for fireworks, visit http://cmo.jocogov.org/permits/article3.htm

Johnson County plans energy expo

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.

Johnson County is planning its first-ever Energy Expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, July 29, in the county’s Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry Street, in downtown Olathe. The theme of the 2010 event is “Save Energy, Save Money, Save the Planet.” Sponsored by the Johnson County Planning Department, the Energy Expo will provide Johnson County home and building owners with one-stop access to the latest information about the energy saving products, technologies, and incentives available from contractors, manufacturers, government agencies, lenders, and utility providers.

The public event will feature an exposition-style trade show and more than 30 educational seminars designed to provide residential and non-residential building owners the knowledge necessary to make informed energy saving choices. Although the target audience will be residents of Johnson County, the Energy Expo will be open to the general public with no charge for admission. Booth space will be made available for up to 35 vendors with products or services designed to lower energy consumption or increase the thermal efficiency of the building envelope. Booths will be provided to vendors at no cost, provided the vendor agrees to provide quality, consumer oriented continuing education, germane to the Energy Expo theme, during the event. Additionally, instructors will provide education on topics designed to help attendees utilize the latest products, programs, and technologies to develop, then implement customized energy saving strategies, based on a better understanding of modern building science.

Planning staff will work in partnership with utility companies, banks, and other government entities which have received, or anticipate receiving, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus money targeted for the activities promoted during the Energy Expo. The Johnson County Housing, Weatherization, and small repair programs will be an integral part of the event as well as the Johnson County Sustainability Committee.

Vendors considering participation and citizens seeking more information about the Johnson County Energy Expo should call Sean Reid at (913) 715-2236 or Jerry Mallory, at (913) 715-2211 at the Johnson County Planning Department located in Suite 3500 of the Johnson County Administration Building.

More information is available through the Energy Expo website at http://contractorlicensing.jocogov.org/general/energy_expo.htm

Heat-related animal calls on the rise

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 9:29 a.m.

Northeast Kansas finally gets a break from the sweltering temperatures, but it’s little relief for our four-legged friends. Humane society officials said the hot weather can turn dangerous for animals in a matter of minutes.

“I think the number one thing for people to remember is that they can’t sweat, they’re wearing fur and they can’t be outside in this heat,” Lawrence Humane Society Executive Director Midge Grinstead said.

Animal cruelty calls are up for the month of June. With nearly 60 calls, Grinstead said the calls for neglect and cruelty are approaching a record, and she said the majority of those calls have been either for pets left outside when the heat index was soaring above the 100 degree mark or for pets left in vehicles, where Grinstead has seen temperatures reach upwards of 125 degrees.

In fact, just last week, animal control officers seized a bird and two kittens from a hot car in the parking lot of a South Lawrence shopping center. Grinstead said the tropical bird was somewhat used to the heat, but the kittens were in severe distress and had to be taken to a local vet.

“I did a deal once where I dressed in a fur coat and sat in a car on an 85 degree day, and I lasted maybe a total of ten minutes,” Grinstead said. “And I can sweat, so I could cool myself down. An animal can’t do that. They’re breathing in the hot air, trying to cool themselves down and accelerating the overheating.”

Lawrence city ordinance prohibits leaving your pet in an unattended car anytime the temperature outside is above 80 degrees, but Grinstead said it can be just as dangerous to exercise outdoors with your pet in the heat of the day, or leave your dog in your yard without appropriate shelter or water.

“Keep your animal at home,” Grinstead said. “That’s the bottom line. If you love your pet, leave them at home.”

Coloring contest to encourage children to think about air quality

Laura Herring June 29, 2010 at 9:04 a.m.

The Mid-America Regional Council Air Quality Program will hold a coloring contest from July 1 to Aug. 31 to encourage area children to think about air quality. The contest is open to children age 12 and under from Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri, and Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. All entries must be postmarked or dropped off by Aug. 31. Entries will be judged on neatness, color choice and creativity. Entries must have a parent or guardian signature in order to be judged.

Entry forms can be picked up and dropped off at eight Kansas City Public Library locations: Plaza, Central, Trails West, Sugar Creek, Northeast, Southeast, Ruiz and Waldo. Select summer camps and recreational facilities across the region are also participating. The entry form is available online at www.marc.org/airQ. Entry forms can also be mailed to or dropped off at the Mid-America Regional Council, ATTN: Air Quality Program Coloring Contest, 600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, Mo., 64105.

Entries will be split into four age categories: 3 and under, 4–6, 7–9 and 10–12. Prizes include a $50 gift certificate to the Crayola Café, a kite and passes to Science City ($50 value). The winners will be announced in September, and the winning entries will be posted on the MARC website.

For more information or to download the entry form, visit www.marc.org/airQ.

Neighbors

Laura Herring June 28, 2010 at 5:16 p.m.

The De Soto Methodist Church pastor, Jerry Vaughn, gave his final message to the congregation on Sunday, June 27, at the 10 a.m. worship service. Vaughn has been the pastor at the church for the past six years. There was a farewell, potluck luncheon afterwards with many, many tears shed. The new pastor, Jan, will fill the pulpit and administer to all now. The new office hours for the church are changing to 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The De Soto Methodist Church Annual Church Picnic will be held on July 11 at Kill Creek Park. They will have hamburgers, hot dogs, lemonade, tea, water and place settings provided. Please bring a side dish to share. They will start serving at 5:30 p.m. and hope you will attend.

A thank-you to Lawrence Allen from the UMW for the quilt blocks made by Sally, his late wife. The UMW is giving him a pillow made from the blocks that were used to make a quilt on display in the Narthex.

The De Soto Methodist Church's Vacation Bible School for children ages four through twelve will be held July 12 through July 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. If you'd like to have dinner it will cost $1.50 and will be served from 6-6:30 p.m. The group will meet in the sanctuary each day. For more information call the church at 583-1359.

The needs of the De Soto Community Center this week are: white rice, canned tomatoes and potatoes, mushroom soups, cleaning products and paper goods. Next week we will need peanut butter and jelly, as well as baby diapers.

Sympathy goes to the family of Zola Stephans in her passing. the VFW served the family a luncheon. Also sympathy goes to Billie Boyd in the passing of her brother in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I had a call this week from a former resident, Elaine Harden Boyd. She lives in Texas now, closer to her brother. She said she was feeling good now, she had had a fall the last time I talked to her. She wanted to know about different people in De Soto. I told her to catch her up on things here and she couldn't believe we still didn't have a grocery store. She says she misses the weekly Explorer.

The annual fireworks and De Soto Days Celebration are coming up at Riverfest Park and volunteers are needed to help with parking and setting up at the park. The city employees are quite busy in their different jobs.

The Kill Creek Bridge over Highway 10 is finished and now the road to 83rd street is being resurfaced.

We had more problems this week. First was my two sweepers were not picking up as they should so Jerry took them to a repair shot. He said the cost of a repair was almost the price of another one, so he decided to work on mine. He said the repair parts were not that much. Then I went to make a meatloaf and blueberry muffins and went to turn on my oven and it didn't. We've tried several times and the top burners will lite but no oven. So I am waiting on the repair company to come this week to fix it. I hope I don't have to buy a new stove as well. To top it all off I have washer problems again too!

Debbie and Hayden did get the yard mowed and trimmed on Sunday as their schedules this week were busy ones. I still wish someone would put in my garden.

Those having birthdays this week are: Jodi Hitchcock; Rocky Mason; Nancy Lafferty; Jost Peter; Charlotte Whim; Jordan Riffel; David King; Rex Templin; Brian and Kyle Payne; Norma Knox; Katie Beck; Nicole Yarbrough; Rick Walker and Abigail Yarbrough.

My son Jerry and his wife Linda wen tot Salem, Missouri this weekend to attend Linda's family reunion. They had many in attendance.

The Nalley family plans to have a reunion at Jerry's in Overland Park on July 3 (next Saturday). We have a potluck dinner and a grab bag game as well. Each has a number and they can choose to draw a gift or take one from someone else. We're having aunts and uncles from Colorado and Springfield, Mo., and of course my five kids and their families.

The De Soto Baptist church had the priviledge of having the pulpit filled on Sunday by Rev. Karl Beesley because Rev. Richard Copeland was on vacation. He had a great sermon and received some applause. He also brought laughs in the children's message. Jeff Hodges was worship leader, Jean Epperson did the joys and concerns and led the prayer.

The sick I know are: Jeff Coatney with more skin cancer being biopsied; Herb Woods in the medical center and given five units of blood; Freda Anderson is having some health problems, she was unable to attend Bible study. Other joys and concerns are: Jean Epperson's niece needs prayers; my leg is somewhat better but they want me to lay down with it elevated still, Debbie and Hayden put on my special hose each day; R.B. Jones' 13 year-old granddaughter will have surgery this week; Jo and Anita Woywod became grandparents this week.

Daily Poll

Laura Herring June 28, 2010 at 11:48 a.m.

Artists and audience share musical experience

Laura Herring June 28, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.

Musician Jason Jones (left) performs at Saturday's Night on the Kaw music festival in Riverfest Park.

Musician Jason Jones (left) performs at Saturday's Night on the Kaw music festival in Riverfest Park.

A concert is more than just listening to music; it’s a one-of-a-kind experience to interact with the musician and to share an appreciation for music with others. The Night on the Kaw was a wonderful show of musical interaction.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... From the artists signing autographs and making jokes with the audience to the crowd singing along, the evening was one of music love and enjoyment. The first act — Matt Snook, Nate Dean and Craig Kew — warmed the crowd up for Jason Jones and Tracy Lawrence with jokes about the weather and personal renditions of some classic rock songs. “Are you staying cool out there?” Snook asked to a crowd that answered with a resounding “No!” “Me neither!” replied Snook as he started a song off his new album. Jason Jones built a great rapport with the audience as well, including De Soto in song lyrics and snapping a photo of the crowd with his smart phone (to be shared on his Twitter page, @jonesville). Jones’ performance was also the score for the lucky few who got to meet Tracy Lawrence. Only 40 attendees, mostly event organizers, had special “Meet and Greet” passes, which allowed them to shake hands with and get their picture taken with the headlining star. Lawrence’s performance was a combination of well-known hits and new music from his soon-to-be-released album, both exciting and pleasing fans. “We came to see a great show and that’s what we got,” attendee Christy Kennedy said, It was an amazing night.” http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

Heat didn't hinder Night on the Kaw

Laura Herring June 28, 2010 at 10:23 a.m.

Despite a heat index approaching 105 degrees F., the Night on the Kaw music festival had the highest turn out yet. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... “We know we had easily over 2,000 people here, I’d guess it’s closer to 2,500,” said Sara Ritter, the director of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce and the organizer of the festival. Corporate sponsor Great American Bank and the Chamber sponsored a large tent for VIP attendees of the festival. VIPs included sponsors and their guests, members of the chamber and other city and community leaders. The refreshment table operated by the Chamber of Commerce nearly sold out of all refreshments. “We did fabulous; this is great for the Chamber and great for the community. I think everyone had a great time,” Chamber member Cindee Johannsen said. Others didn’t even need the tent to hide out from the heat. “I love this heat, I’m originally from New Hampshire where it doesn’t get like this so I think it’s great,” attendee Tina Hinds of Eudora said.

Kill Creek Road resurfacing to begin today

Laura Herring June 28, 2010 at 9:42 a.m.

Look for six to eight weeks of traffic delays beginning today on Kill Creek Road. A resurfacing project is slated to begin today on Kill Creek Road from Kansas Highway 10 north to 83rd Street in De Soto. Work will take place daily between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Beginning at 7 a.m., both northbound and southbound Kill Creek Road will be reduced to one total lane of traffic. Flaggers will direct traffic during the daytime hours of operation throughout the project duration. Kill Creek Road will reopen to all traffic each day at 5 p.m. Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes, if possible. Advance message boards will alert drivers to the lane closures.

Updated daily lane closure information for this resurfacing project can be viewed online at: http://www.ksdot.org/kcmetro/laneclose.asp.

The resurfacing project, Kansas Department of Transportation officials say, will smooth the road and fill cracks that can shorten pavement life. Workers will mill away the top two inches of pavement then apply a two-inch asphalt overlay that uses some of the material recycled from the milling process. New pavement markings will also be applied to the resurfaced roadway.

APAC-Kansas is the primary contractor on the project with a total contract cost of $426,351. This project is being funded in part by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The scheduled completion date for the project is early August 2010.

UPDATE: I-35 ramp to westbound I-435 to close for resurfacing

Laura Herring June 28, 2010 at 8:25 a.m.

Weather permitting, on Thursday/Friday, July 1-2, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day, the northbound Interstate 35 to westbound Interstate 435 ramp will be closed for resurfacing work. Advance message boards will alert drivers to the ramp closure. No marked detours will be provided. Suggested detour: Take northbound I-35 to the 95th Street exit, then west on 95th Street to southbound I-35, then southbound I-35 back to westbound I-435. Drivers should allow for extra travel time and/or use alternate routes during the ramp closure.

Free State’s farm dinner features all-local menu

Estuardo Garcia June 27, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/27/194226/

By Estuardo Garcia

Chef Rick Martin thinks there is a huge disconnect between people and their food, but he’s been working on a way to change that.

For more than two years, Martin, who works at Free State Brewing Company, 636 Mass. in Lawrence, has wanted to plan an event that would show people where their food comes from and have them meet the people who grow it.

He got that opportunity Saturday night as the restaurant conducted the inaugural Beer Dinner on the Farm at Prairie Star Farm in De Soto.

“This makes the ultimate connection,” Martin said. “Eating the local food on the farm where it was grown with the people who grew it. I think that makes a very powerful connection.”

The farm was chosen because it already provides fresh vegetables to the restaurant.

Around 50 people from the area came out to Prairie Star farms to enjoy the locally grown fare.

One long table outside next to the farmhouse was set out to seat the guests who paid $68 for the event.

On the menu for that evening were five courses, each specially paired with a Free State brew. The first course was mole rillettes made with Berkshire pork, micro cilantro and lemongrass oil. It was paired with a Wheat Thresher IPA. The second course was a true garden salad made with eggs from Hilltop Farms in Perry, pork belly, Landeria cheese, garden gatherings and a beet vinaigrette. It was paired with a lemongrass Hefeweizen made with lemongrass grown at Prairie Star Farm.

The third course was a meggyleves — a cold soup — made with tart cherries, creme fraiche and cracked pepper. It was paired with Raspberry Old Stormy, which also used the farm’s raspberries.

The fourth course consisted of braised lamb from Sweetlove Farm in Jefferson County, along with roasted baby vegetables, potato gratin in a stock reduction and paired with the Ad Astra Ale.

And for dessert was a raspberry chocolate trifle from Sleepy Jean’s chocolates and caramel mousse. It was paired with a new and specially brewed Storm Cloud Stout.

Bart Hall, who runs Prairie Star Farms with his wife, Margit Hall, said he enjoyed the event because it allowed him to see, talk and eat a meal with the people who eat his food.

He said that makes what he does worth the effort.

“The privilege of working on the land is part of our profit,” Hall said.

Phil Holman-Herbert, who owns Sweetlove Farm with his wife, Sally Holman-Herbert, and who was on hand for the dinner, agrees.

“I get to share the food directly to people,” Holman-Herbert said. “I get to see their faces and shake their hands and talk with them. I want to forge that relationship that goes from our soil through our animals, through our coolers and freezer, to the mouths of the people that want to eat it. It’s a unique bond that is not as common as it once was.”

While this was the first farm dinner, Martin hopes it won’t be the last.

He is currently looking at other locations to have another farm dinner in the future and hopes to have one at the Sweetlove Farm soon.

“I want this to be a very sustainable idea,” Martin said. “This isn’t just one-and-done. This is designed to be mobile, and that’s my goal.”

More information on the next farm dinner will be made available through Free State’s newsletter.

Complimentary delivery of Journal-World this weekend.

Laura Herring June 26, 2010 at 10:53 a.m.

The FCB is sponsoring the delivery of the Sunday edition of the Lawrence Journal-World to every household in De Soto tomorrow. Enjoy your paper and if you get the chance, stop in the bank and say "thanks!"

New heat advisory in effect

Laura Herring June 26, 2010 at 10:51 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued another heat advisory for Johnson County in effect until 7 p.m. tonight. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s, with heat indexes between 105-108 degrees. Because of the extreme temperatures, unopened bottled water will be allowed at tonight's Night on the Kaw festivities.

Fireworks fundraiser for football next week

Laura Herring June 25, 2010 at 10:49 a.m.

The De Soto High School football team will be having a fireworks stand on Tuesday, June 29, to raise money for the team. The stand will be on Commerce Drive, next to McDonald's, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

Varsity football team stays in shape

Laura Herring June 25, 2010 at 10:45 a.m.

The De Soto High School varsity football team is staying in shape this summer with their summer weight program.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... Students on the team, ranging from sophomores to seniors, meet four mornings a week to work on weight training and strength and conditioning. One hour is spent on each type of workout.

Photo of the Day

Laura Herring June 25, 2010 at 10:42 a.m.

Jim Davis of De Soto pulls potatoes out of his garden Friday morning, June 25. Davis, a retiree, started his garden this year as a hobby. "It gives me something to do and I like having the fresh vegetables," Davis said. Davis also grows beans, corn, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers in his garden and shares the produce with friends and neighbors.

Jim Davis of De Soto pulls potatoes out of his garden Friday morning, June 25. Davis, a retiree, started his garden this year as a hobby. "It gives me something to do and I like having the fresh vegetables," Davis said. Davis also grows beans, corn, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers in his garden and shares the produce with friends and neighbors.

Youth Friends receive Rotarian donation

Laura Herring June 25, 2010 at 10:39 a.m.

The De Soto Rotary Club presented a check to Alvie Cater for the Youth Friends program at the USD 232 schools. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

Kris Johnson presented the check for $657.71 on behalf of the Rotary Club. Due to budget constraints, the district does not currently employ a full-time coordinator for the program, but Cater stated the check would "go a long way" towards funding a part-time coordinator for the program. For more information on the Youth Friends program, visit their website at www.youthfriends.org

Rotary Club learns about eye health

Laura Herring June 25, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.

The De Soto Rotary Club met Friday morning at the De Soto United Methodist Church to hear a presentation on eye health from Dr. Trent Henderson. Henderson spoke to the group about cataracts and cataract surgery and macular degeneration. In his talk, he outlined the causes and symptoms of both conditions and explained the most common treatments for both. At the end of his presentation, Henderson answered questions from the group, ranging from risk factors for the conditions and the future of eye-glasses frames.

Sheriff's office works open cases

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 4:05 p.m.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Department is investigating two open cases of theft. A mail theft was reported on the 8300 block on Center Drive. There are no suspects in this case at this time. The theft of a weed eater was reported on the 34100 block of W 87th St., this case has no suspects as well.

World Cup watch parties to continue

Estuardo Garcia June 24, 2010 at 12:52 p.m.

The Kansas City Wizards, the Kansas City Power and Light District and the Kansas City/USA Host City Bid Committee will continue to play host to watch parties for the 2010 World Cup at KC Live! in the Power and Light District.

Watch parties take place daily during scheduled game times, and the next United States watch party will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday when the United States plays Ghana in the round of 16. The USA advanced with a 1-0 victory against Algeria on Wednesday on a goal by Landon Donovan in the first minute of stoppage time.

Uruguay takes on South Korea at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the venue will be open for that game as well.

For a full schedule of watch party times and information, go to kcwizards.com.

Johnson County schedules public hearings on changes to solid waste regulations

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.

OLATHE, KS (Johnson County Square) – Johnson County Government is working in partnership with the cities to implement the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan which calls for specific measures to reduce the amount of waste destined for landfills. Johnson County has updated the Code of Regulations for Solid Waste Management and it is available for public comment. The Board of County Commissioners has scheduled two public hearings on the regulations for July 29: one beginning at 2 p.m. and the other beginning at 7 p.m. Both hearings will take place in the Board’s Hearing Room located on the third floor of the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, in downtown Olathe. Both hearings will be broadcast live on the county’s website at www.jocogov.org and on Comcast Channel 7 in Olathe and on AT&T Channel 99.

The proposed regulations will update solid waste facility permitting and operating requirements to ensure that the county’s regulatory requirements are parallel with state requirements. The waste reduction measures are intended to respond to rapidly shrinking regional landfill space, to promote a more sustainable waste management approach in Johnson County, to increase the county’s recycling rate of 23 percent to at least meet the national average of 34 percent, and to reduce solid waste destined for landfills by at least 17 percent.

“Implementing the proposed changes to the Code will help to improve our environment, encourage more recycling, and enhance our quality of life as we continue transforming Johnson County into a greener, greater community of choice for all our residents. In doing so, we prove that being more sustainable isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing,” Chairman Annabeth Surbaugh said.

“Residents are encouraged to attend the public hearing on July 29 to learn more about the Code and give their input about the proposed changes. As always, we welcome their comments.”

The proposed changes to the Code will require all residential trash haulers operating in the county to provide specified minimum solid waste services to their residential customers to divert more recyclable and compostable materials away from landfills to beneficial reuse. The county regulations will also ensure residents have access to similar solid waste services regardless of where they live in the county. These key services include the following:

  • Effective January 1, 2012, waste haulers cannot pick up yard waste from county residents unless the yard waste is destined for composting or mulching.
  • Effective January 1, 2012, transfer stations and landfills located in the county cannot accept yard waste for disposal.
  • Effective January 1, 2012, waste haulers must provide unlimited curbside recycling to their residential customers as part of the base service and cannot charge a separate recycling fee.
  • Effective January 1, 2012, waste haulers must offer residential customers a volume based rate structure (Pay as You Throw) that charges more for larger volumes of trash collected.
  • Effective upon Code adoption, the county will have updated authority to enforce key state environmental requirements at solid waste facilities such as landfills and transfer stations.

The Board of County Commissioners also is accepting comments about the proposed regulatory changes in writing or through its website. Letters to the Board should be addressed to: Board of County Commissioners Attention: Clerk of the Board 111 South Cherry Street, Suite 3300 Olathe, KS 66061-3441 The Board’s email address is: bocc-commissioners@jocogov.org

Health officials continue to push H1N1 vaccinations

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 11:30 a.m.

The Johnson County Health Department continues to offer free H1N1 vaccine during its normal immunization clinic hours. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/2009/oct/20/32628/ “Vaccination against H1N1 is still important,” said Lougene Marsh, Johnson County Health Department director. “We are encouraging anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to get one this summer. It’s not too late to protect yourself and those around you.”

Health officials say most Americans remain susceptible to H1N1 flu. Of the 309 million residents of the United States, about 60 million were infected during the past year and 75 million got the vaccine (some of whom may also have been infected). That leaves at least 174 million, or 56 percent of the population, still vulnerable.

Vaccines are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and no appointment is necessary.

Johnson County Health Department clinic are at 6000 Lamar Ave. in Mission and 11875 S. Sunset Drive in Olathe. Hours of operation are:

  • 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday,
  • 8:30 a.m. – noon Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. the first
    Monday of the month (Olathe clinic
    only)
  • 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. the first
    and third Tuesday of the month
    (Olathe clinic only)
  • 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of the month (Mission only).

Forum covers education concerns

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.

By Ashlee Kieler

Education is at the forefront of issues on many candidates and elected officials minds this year. With elections only months away, those vying for legislative seats and those already holding seats got a lesson in the issues during a Kansas Association of School Board presentation, “Student Achievement in Tough Economic Times.”

The meeting, June 15 at Shawnee Mission West High School, highlighted public school mandates, funding, and achievement goals. The meeting was one of 18 that will be presented throughout the state.

Mark Tallman, assistant executive director of KASB, presented a slideshow to about 25 local and regional officials, including many Shawnee Mission USD 512 Board of Education members and local state representatives and candidates.

Tallman pointed out the diversity in growth, enrollment and wealth in many districts across the state.

The highest enrollment for a district in the state sits at 44,288 students, where as the smallest district has 72.5 students.

The highest district in size covers 900 square miles, where as the lowest covers 8 square miles.

Tallman also pointed out funding differences between districts. A 1-mill property tax levy in the top district can raise $576 per pupil, where as the lowest district can only raise $17 per pupil with 1 mill. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

Gene Johnson, Shawnee Mission USD 512 superintendent, said he got a lot out of the meeting.

“One of the great things Mark did for people was going through the average per-pupil state funding and how those funds are spent,” he said.

The total statewide budget per pupil for the 2008-09 school year averaged $12,554.

The largest contributors were $4,433 from the state’s base aid per pupil, $2,027 in restricted weightings and $2,026 from local option budgets. Other contributions came from federal aid, capital outlay, KPERS and bond and interest.

After discussing how schools are funded, Tallman broke down how those funds were spent. The biggest chunk, $6,436, goes toward instruction salaries. $2,061 is spent on capital costs and bond payments. Another $1,017 goes to operations and maintenance.

“A third of the funds are what the state provides for regular education – base state aid per pupil,” Tallman said. “The most money is earmarked for certain programs like special education.”

The meeting also touched on the federal No Child Left Behind requirements. In Kansas, assessments and reading have met requirements each year since the act was put in place. However, Tallman said the requirements, which are ratcheted up annually, are moving at a faster pace than the actually scores in Kansas.

Tallman said that to go from the current school finance situation, boards of education and lawmakers needed to look at achievement, local control and making sure adequate resources were provided.

“I know school finance is a complicated issue…if you’re a freshman legislator and you’re trying to learn everything, it’s tough,” Johnson said about how the meeting could help with understanding school finance. “Mark did a really good job of giving a historical context of where we’ve been and where we’re headed in Kansas.”

Advance tickets still available for Night on the Kaw

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 11:17 a.m.

Tickets are still available for the reduced, advance price of $10 for the Night on the Kaw Country Music Festival, Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are available for purchase at the De Soto Chamber of Commerce office, De Soto City Hall and local banks. Tickets will also be available at the gate for $15 and parking will be $5.

Patrons may bring in unopened bottles of water due to the heat. Vendors will also be setup selling refreshments.

Entertainment includes Matt Snook, Jason Jones and headliner Tracy Lawrence.

Obituary: Zola D. Stephan

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.

Services for Zola D. Stephan, 71, De Soto, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 26, at De Soto Cemetery. Mrs. Stephan was born August 12, 1938, in De Soto, the daughter of Herbert and Agnes Linden.

She worked as a secretary at De Soto Elementary School and was a member of the De Soto Ladies Auxiliary. She married Lawrence Stephan on July 16, 1960, and he survives of the home.

Other survivors include daughter Michelle, and husband Lyle Green, of the home; son, Charles Stephan and wife Rita, Jefferson City, Mo.; four brothers, Bob, Jack, Charles and Delbert; two sisters, Pat and Jo Ann; four grandchildren; and many nephews and nieces.

Mrs. Stephan was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Keith Stephan; a grandson, Zachery Stephan; and five brothers and sisters.

The family suggests memorials to the charity of your choice.

Teen Artist and Writer in Residence Will demonstrate creativity At Johnson County Library

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 9:53 a.m.

The Johnson County Library will host Lauren Chance as teen artist-in-residence and Ayah Abdul Rauf as teen writer-in-residence during July. Lauren Chance will be editing digital photography during the month of July on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park, KS. (July 1, 8, 22 & 29). Visit with Lauren while she works creatively with her photos. She will also present photography workshops for middle school students. For more information on Lauren, visit www.jocoteenscene.org/teenartist2010.

Ayah Abdul Rauf will write and collage in her current journal each Thursday in July from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Central Resource Library. Teens may drop in and visit with Ayah and check out her collection of over 100 journals. For more information on Ayah, visit www.jocoteenscene.org/teenwriter2010.

During the month of July, Teen Writer-in-Residence, Ayah Abdul Rauf, will lead “My Imaginary Muse”, a workshop for creative middle school students at both Central Resource Library and the Shawnee Neighborhood Library, which will include journaling, art creations and creative writing. Ages 11-13; space is limited. To register call (913) 495-2490 and specify workshop location.

A public reception for the two will be held on Saturday, July 24 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the library.

Neighbors

Laura Herring June 24, 2010 at 9:47 a.m.

The De Soto United Methodist Women have scheduled a "work day" for next Saturday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall to make Bierocks for their food booth at De Soto Days on July 10. I hope I get to have one of them, I've never tasted them and I hear so much praise of them. They're always gone quickly. If you've never baked one you should join them, I can't with my condition but I'm willing to buy one. The De Soto Baptist Church had its Vacation Bible School "High Seas" program on Sunday, June 20, during the worship hour. Karen Wall led the presentations. We had three children march in with the American flag and the Christian flag and the Bible, the VBS children and the congregation gave the pledges. A group gave a presentation in a song they'd learned and four children took the offering with myself giving the blessing. Karen led the pre-school children on the stage through songs and memory verses. The memory verses stressed that God's Word is true, comforting, surprising, life-changing and is for everyone. We had a good attendance and wonderful workers and helpers in all classes. They are to send the blankets and coloring books to overseas children. We will make a cash donation to our mission in Oklahoma. Rev. Richard Copeland in his ship captain's uniform and Ross Stone did dramas every day to emphasize the Bible story for that day. We had excellent crafts and refreshments and videos and Bible stories and games. Thanks to all who made this week memorable.

The De Soto Baptist Church recognized the fathers in attendance Sunday. They had many there with the VBS program. They also had a reception for them on the front lawn at the church after worship services and they had them shake hands with everyone leaving. They served punch and cookies to them and anyone else that wanted some.

The decorations for this theme of High Seas Expedition on the stage of the sanctuary was outstanding. We've offered some of it to any church to use . Danny Lane is quite an artist and dressed each day to the theme. Also, the cooks provided food according to the daily menu needs, Mary Jo McDaniels was in charge of crafts. The spider the last day caught my attention.

Karl and Barbara Beasley's daughter had a baby boy, he weighed five lbs., eight oz., making them grandparents. Karl is a retired minister but he will be filling the pulpit next Sunday, June 27, for Rev. Copeland, who will be on vacation.

Jeff Coatney has a leg infection and needs our prayers. His sister's husband Bob has sinus cancer too.

The adult Sunday School Class at the Baptist Church has grown and Jeff Coatney is teacher and prints out the lessons each week and opens the class up to share concerns and joys each week. Birdie shared today that her daughter is expecting a baby.

I've got to lay down with my leg elevated several hours a day. I go to the doctor again tomorrow.

Those having birthdays this week are: Wayne Loglise; June Davison; Lisa Schmucker; Ron Hooper; Adam Wilcox; Linda Lane; Sondra Martinez; Joe Kessler and my granddaughter in Illinois, Karla Modelski.

Those having anniversaries are: Mike and Tammy Mikinski; Mary and Bill Plummer; Nick and Diane Taylor; John and Sharon Zoellner; Doug and Audrey Tiedman; Curt and Amy Culver; Bruce and Nicole Yarbrough; Mike and Bonnie Montgall and Jim and Katharine Ingalls. The list was longer than usual on these two items. June is the month of blushing brides!

The De Soto Community Food Pantry needs Hamburger or Tuna Helper, canned beans, sugar, cereal and crackers, cleaning supplies and paper products. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and baby supplies are also needed.

Those on the sick list are: Sally Beck, who had surgery this past week and was able to attend worship services Sunday; Carrie Shilling; Wilma Mann's granddaughter; Billie Boyd, who was back in Sunday School and worship services after her illness of several weeks. The families of Kirk Johnson and John Zvirgzin need our prayers. I too, am in need of prayers for my left leg and foot. The swelling hasn't left and it is still broken out in the area. The prescription cream I've been putting on has helped. I go back to the doctor this week. I'm trying to keep in elevated and also doing the exercises the physical therapist has ordered.

My friends and former neighbors, Roger and Hazel Verrill, came to see me this week and brought me delicious salmon cakes. I didn't share them either!

Sympathy goes to the Zola Stephan family in the wake of her passing away. She was a dear friend for many years. Larry and Michelle and family have our love.

Sympathy goes to the family of John Weaver as well.

County parks department to offer movie-making class for youths

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 3:17 p.m.

The basics of digital video design and production will be covered during a program offered in early July by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This beginning and interactive program is called Movie Makers and is for youngsters ages 10 to 17. Participants will learn concepts that will help them become an effective director of digital video projects. Students will also learn how to create their own music video.

This program will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday through Friday beginning July 6, at the Shawnee Civic Centre, 13817 Johnson Drive. The cost for four three-hour sessions is $155 per person for county residents or $171 for nonresidents.

For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359 or visit jcprd.com.

Blood drive scheduled at Shawnee Fire Station 71

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.

Organizers of a blood drive next week are asking people to honor the memory of Shawnee firefighter John Glaser with your life-saving donation.

The drive will be from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, at Fire Station 71, 6535 Quivira Road, Shawnee.

All registered donors will receive a free Battle for Blood T-shirt.

To register for the blood drive, contact Michaelle Gall, donor recruitment representative, at (816) 968-4459.

NWS issues severe thunderstorm watch No. 397

Estuardo Garcia June 23, 2010 at 3:11 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Johnson and surrounding counties until 10 p.m.

Storms were expected to develop in Kansas about 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, with severe wind and hail being the primary threats.

"The cold front that is initiating these storms is to our north in Jefferson County," Matt Elwell, 6 New Chief Meteorologist, said. "Expect to see these storms develop quickly along that front. Once that front has passed the area, our severe weather chances will drop significantly with slightly cooler and drier air moving in behind."

Check desotoexplorer.com for updates.

Green efforts paying off for school district

Estuardo Garcia June 23, 2010 at 1:44 p.m.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/2010/may/11/36248/

By Ashlee Kieler

The De Soto USD 232 have saved some green by going green.

The district has undertaken green initiatives that have proven to cut costs.

From October 2009 to March 2010, De Soto has saved nearly $69,000 in energy costs, district officials said.

“We’ve monitored all of our electricity usage for each building during that time,” said Alvie Cater, the district’s director of administrative services and community relations. “We were encouraging employees to do simple things like turn off computer monitors when not in use, unplug items that aren’t in use like coffee pots, cell phone chargers. Our mantra is every penny adds up.”

The district compared its energy costs to the same time period in the 2008-2009 school year and determined there was a $69,000 savings.

“And that’s with more square footage because Starside and Clear Creek Elementary schools have more classrooms this year,” Cater said.

All of the buildings in USD 232 run on computer-controlled temperature systems, so that teachers and students don’t tamper with room temperatures.

“Each year, the school district really tries to develop a good estimate of what we think our utility costs are going to be,” Cater said. “We are under budget on those utilities at this time. At the end of the year that puts more money available to cover the $2 million shortfall we have in state funding.”

Kansas Department of Commerce sees economic hope

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 12:51 p.m.

Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Dept. of Commerce Steve Kelly joined the Economic Development Committee Wednesday to discuss the economic status of the community. Kelly updated the committee on the improvements in the Kansas state economy during the current fiscal year and stated, "we've had a slower [economic] recovery than we would have hoped but we have bottomed out and are starting to climb." According to Kelly, the 2009 fiscal year, which runs from July-June, saw the biggest recruitment of new businesses since the economic downturn and that so far the 2010 fiscal year has surpassed that. Kelly attributed this growth in part to Kansas' reputation for keeping promises to businesses.

Economic Development Committee discusses future plans

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 12:39 p.m.

The Economic Development Committee met Wednesday morning to discuss many items, including its strategic plan for future growth. Committee member Deborah Kholer presented the main points of the three-year plan, which has been in development since the start of the year.

  • Better market the existing commercial buildings in the De Soto area that are available for incoming businesses.
  • Retain and help expand current businesses.
  • Identify key relationships, such as with school districts, for businesses in the community.

Join the 4th of July fun at Riverfest Park!

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 12:05 p.m.

Don't forget to come to Riverfest Park for your Independence Day fun! Food starts at 6 p.m., the Prairie Wine band goes on at 7 p.m. and the fireworks start at 9:45 p.m. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

Johnson County Residents Invited to Join National Discussion on Debt At the Central Resource Library

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.

Overland Park, KS – Johnson County Library is one of 18 Town Meeting sites for an unprecedented national discussion on the national debt. A diverse group of local leaders called for Johnson County area residents to participate in the national discussion AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy, on Saturday, June 26th.from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park, KS. The nonpartisan process will bring together Americans here and across the country to meet in person and online to learn about the issues involved, weigh the options and develop recommendations for leaders in Washington. Each Town Hall site will be linked together by satellite and the Internet for the national discussion. Participants at the town meeting sites will be joined by smaller conversation sites organized by volunteers in other communities across the country.

Registration for the national discussion at Johnson County Lilbrary is now open at this site. Visit www.jocolibrary.org/americaspeaks to join the discussion and to learn more.

More information can be found on the online hub for Our Budget, Our Economy, USABudgetDiscussion.org, including videos, reports on the budget and economy, blog posts, site registration and much more. The site also provides a platform to share ideas at the national and local levels through links to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.

Bagworms are back: The time to treat is now

Laura Herring June 23, 2010 at 11:53 a.m.

Olathe, Kan. — A few years ago a call came into the office from a woman in distress about foliage on a tree that had disappeared overnight. It had been eaten by a large brown worm in some sort of web-like bag hanging from the branch. “How did this insect develop so quickly?” she wanted to know. The insect she was describing was the bagworm, one of the most commonly recognized tree and shrub pests. Bagworms are out in full force this year munching their way through many landscape plants. Bagworms are caterpillars that form a silken bag that are up to 2 inches in length.

Although their damage seems to materialize quickly, the fact is, bagworms are easy to spot if one is paying close attention to the plant. Bagworm problems start out small, but given a couple years to spread, can clean the foliage from a juniper in a matter of days. In fact, from one over-wintered bag close to a thousand new bagworms can hatch and start to feed.

Bagworms feed on a number of different plants in the landscape, but most commonly they can be found on junipers, arborvitae, spruce and pine. They will even feed on deciduous plants like roses, hydrangea, oak and perennials. As they feed they grow in size becoming more destructive, more noticeable and harder to control.

Bagworms over-winter in the egg stage in bags attached to the plant. The eggs hatch in late May or early June which makes this the ideal time to eradicate them. Soon after hatching a worm about the size of a pencil lead starts eating the foliage. As the worm grows it spins a silken bag around its body, camouflaged with bits and pieces of the host foliage. They grow quickly, spinning a larger bag until mid to late summer. The bag is thick, about 2 to 3 inches in length. At that point the bagworms mate, eggs are laid and the whole process is ready to start over for next year.

Bagworm populations build up to damaging levels very quickly, as each bag of eggs can produce more than one thousand hungry little worms. Control of bagworms is best done just after they hatch in the late spring or very early summer. Just about any insecticide will kill the worms while they are small and the silken bag not highly formed.

Control after hatching is ideal due to the fact that bagworms are small and no measurable damage has occurred to the plants. There are a number of insecticides that are effective on bagworms during this time of year. Products to apply include bifenthrin, carbaryl or Sevin, cyfluthrin or Malathion. An organic product called Bacillus thuringiensis is also effective.

Proper coverage is important for good control. The bagworms can be feeding toward the outside or even work their way into the interior branches of the plant. Apply a thorough covering of the spray mixture to soak the small developing bags for best results.

As the bags become larger control is more difficult. The larger the bag becomes the less effective the control. By late summer chemical applications are worthless. A mature bag will repel the chemicals making them useless. By the arrival of fall the only control method is to hand pick and remove the developing bags.

Do not be caught by surprise late in the season when the damage is done. Take a few minutes now and walk through the landscape inspecting the plants closely for the signs of bagworms. This will help head off big problems and save you time and money in the long run.

Obituary: Shirley K. Lawrence

Laura Herring June 22, 2010 at 11:37 a.m.

Services for Shirley K. Lawrence, 63, Basehor, were Saturday, June 19, at Bonner Springs United Methodist Church. Burial was in Bonner Springs Cemetery. Mrs. Lawrence died Tuesday, June 15, 2010, at her home.

She was born June 2, 1947, in Bonner Springs, the daughter of Walter and Nellie Langford (Williams).

Mrs. Lawrence was a homemaker and was preceded in death by her husband Dan McAfee. In 1996, she married Donald Lawrence, and he survives of the home.

Other survivors include three sons, Kenny McAfee, Lawrence, Randy McAfee, Shawnee, and Chad Lawrence, De Soto; three daughters, Deanna McAfee, Edwardsville, Monica Lemmons, Lawrence, and Tonya Shorten, De Soto; three brothers, Roy Langford, Denver, Bill Langford, Bonner Springs, and Ray Langford, Edgerton; three sisters, Thelma Burgoon, Topeka, Velma Langford, Joplin, Mo., and Doris Wilson, Basehor; 16 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

The family suggests memorials to Bonner Springs United Methodist Church, sent in care of the funeral home, P.O. Box 993, Tonganoxie, KS 66086.

Online condolences can be left at quisenberryfh.com.

Open case in theft of lawn mower

Laura Herring June 22, 2010 at 11:18 a.m.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Department took a theft report for a stolen lawn mower in the 33900 Block of Lexington Ave. on Saturday, June 19. The mower was taken from the garage of an uninhabited home. A side door to the garage was pried open, adding "destruction of property" to the report. The lawn mower was valued at more than $1,000 and was the only item stolen. There are no suspects at this time. If you have any information regarding this case you may contact the Johnson County Sheriff's Department.

Heat advisory in effect for Johnson County

Laura Herring June 22, 2010 at 10:52 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Johnson County in effect until Wednesday at 7 p.m. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s with heat indexes ranging from 105-108 degrees. Heat-related illnesses are likely to occur in these conditions; it is best to drink plenty of fluids, stay indoors in air-conditioning and to stay out of the sun. Children and older adults should be monitored especially closely.

Daily Poll

Laura Herring June 22, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.

Despite budget woes, students in Kansas show improvement

Laura Herring June 22, 2010 at 8:25 a.m.

By George Diepenbrock

Kansas public schools have made progress in helping students at all achievement levels improve assessment scores in recent years, a Kansas Association of School Boards lobbyist said Monday during a Lawrence forum. “The concern is that’s going to be very difficult and very costly and extremely difficult to do if we continue to face budget cuts at the state level,” said Mark Tallman, the KASB’s assistant executive director for advocacy.

Tallman gave a one-hour public presentation about state education issues at Lawrence school district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. Several Lawrence school board members and state legislative candidates attended.

Education funding has been a hot topic in the state for the past decade as a 2004 Kansas Supreme Court decision declared the state’s school finance formula unconstitutional and mandated increased funding, especially for at-risk students.

The national recession caused revenue to dry up, and state officials cut nearly $1 billion from the budget, forcing cuts to schools and other state services.

The state still faced another $500 million shortfall this year, but a bipartisan coalition in the Legislature passed some budget maneuvers and voted for a state sales tax increase to keep school districts from having to cut deeper.

Much of Tallman’s presentation was aimed at critics who suggest Kansas school districts operate inefficiently. He presented slides that said Kansas spent less per pupil than all the other states ranked in the top 10 on six education achievement measures.

He also said overall proficiency growth among students either equaled or exceeded the real increase in funding.

Frank Harwood, the Lawrence district’s chief operations officer, said Kansas districts have shown improvement when expected to do more in recent years. He cited the state’s improvements on average composite ACT test scores, growing from 21.6 in 2000 to 21.9 in 2009, which outpaced growth in the region among Big 12-area states and the national average.

“The average number of students taking the ACT has gone up,” Harwood said. “More and more students are taking it and they’re doing better. We are focusing on students that are getting prepared to go to college.”

The KASB is conducting similar forums across the state this summer.

Tax votes prompt primary challenges

Estuardo Garcia June 21, 2010 at 11:42 a.m.

By Scott Rothschild

Topeka — Republicans in the Kansas House who voted for a tax increase during the recent legislative session are facing primary election challenges at a much greater rate than Republican House members who voted against the tax increase.

“Some individuals have concluded we aren’t Republican enough,” said Rep. Charles Roth, R-Salina, who voted for the tax increase and has drawn two opponents in the Aug. 3 GOP primary.

Roth’s opponents are Ronald Young and Neil Jednoralski. In an interview, Young said if he had been in the Legislature, he would have voted against the temporary 1-cent increase in the sales tax rate, which takes effect July 1.

“I’m tired of our taxes being raised without having any choice about it,” said Young, who is a chiropractor.

He said he has been active in the tea party movement and received “good support” to run from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the tax increase and vowed to try to defeat lawmakers who voted for it. He said Jeff Glendening, who is vice president of public affairs for the chamber, helped him get his paperwork in order to run, but Young emphasized that the chamber hadn’t flat-out endorsed him.

Glendening confirmed he met and spoke with Young about running against Roth. “We are certainly recruiting candidates in districts where we thought we could replace” lawmakers who voted for more taxes, he said.

But Roth, the incumbent, said most of the people he has talked to have agreed with his decision to support the state sales tax. It was a tough decision, he said, but one that was necessary to prevent further damage to schools, public safety and the social services safety net after six rounds of earlier budget cuts.

The tax increase was approved in the House in May on a 64-61 vote.

Twenty-one Republicans voted for the increase. Of those, 18 are seeking re-election. Of the 18, 10 — more than half — have drawn primary opponents.

Meanwhile, 55 Republicans voted against the tax bill. Of those, 52 are seeking re-election, and only 10 — less than a fifth — have a primary opponent.

But the Republicans who voted for the tax increase say they aren’t sure whether their primary contests represent an organized effort to install no-tax discipline throughout the GOP.

“We won’t know until we see the candidate contribution lists,” Roth said. Campaign finance reports to the state are due July 26.

Rep. Don Hill, R-Emporia, said his primary opposition probably stems from a combination of his vote for the tax increase plus a general anti-incumbent mood in the political world.

“I’ve had two Republican primaries before, so when you’re in the middle of the road sometimes you get attention from both sides of the street,” Hill said.

His Republican opponent, Daniel Buller, just received his master’s degree in history at Emporia State University.

“He didn’t vote the Republican way,” Buller said of Hill. But Buller described himself as a reluctant candidate, saying he would rather be putting up hay at his family’s ranch and looking for a job. Running for office, he said, “has taken me out of my comfort zone. But I’ll give it my all.”

The longest day: Residents make the most of solstice sunshine

Estuardo Garcia June 21, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/18/193845/

By Mark Fagan

OK, sun. You’ve got 14 hours, 54 minutes and 45 seconds to do your business before breaking for the night.

With the Earth tilted toward you at its optimal angle, this official first day of summer is certain to illuminate us with your most extended appearance of the year: one second longer than yesterday, and three seconds more than tomorrow.

And while your lengthy stay will be inevitable and even inescapable, the effects of these 53,685 seconds of sunlight will mean different things to different people.

So here are three stories of people whose enjoyment, comfort and even livelihood will be very much affected by the extra time afforded to them today by you, a star born 4.6 billion years ago. June 21 first day of summer, longest of year

Time to swim

http://www2.ljworld.com/videos/2010/jun/20/31240/

Each day Claudine Wroten opens her back door at 8 a.m. sharp, the sun already illuminating the sky and slowly peeling back the shadow cast across her pool by a dense line of trees.

By the time the sun ducks back behind her home on North Michigan Street, she will have cajoled, encouraged, dipped, turned and otherwise taught dozens of area children both how to swim and enjoy swimming.

What they can’t possibly learn: How much Wroten is looking forward to the first day of summer and — by definition — the day with the longest-lasting sunlight of the year.

“I can’t wait,” she says, her bright white teeth offering plenty of contrast to her dark tan skin. “I just wish we had more of them.”

Such days are perfect for her business, Claudine’s Private Swimming, now 15 years old. Children walk down the limestone path to the backyard, then learn their material before getting to the reward: a Dum Dum sucker from a poolside bowl.

More sunlight means more summer, more time to swim, more room on the schedule for lessons. She typically goes from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a break in the afternoon.

That’s why today’s arrival is somewhat bittersweet. The first day of the summer may be the longest, but that also means the days now will get shorter and shorter.

“I wish we didn’t go downhill from here,” she says. Angie Zeller, left, hopes today is a sunny day so her five children can play outside. Jumping recently on their trampoline are, from left, Drew Zeller, 13; Hayden Ponzer, 11; Karsen Ponzer, 6; Tucker Ponzer, 8; and Josh Zeller, 9.

Time to chase

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/18/193844/

Angie Zoller knows what more daytime means.

More driving. More playing. More jumping.

More everything.

“It’s all a blur,” she says.

That’s because Zoller doesn’t have the day all to herself. She’s a mother of five, keeping track of Karsen and Tucker and Hayden and Josh and Drew, ages 6 to 13.

They pass at the time at church, where Zoller volunteers. And they also find themselves going to the store, or a pool, or onto the trampoline in their backyard, or anywhere else where activity can be found and enjoyed by all.

Zoller’s main hope for the longest day of the year is the same one she has most every day during the summer.

“Nice weather,” she says. “Then we can be outside, so hopefully they’ll go to bed early — or somewhat early.”

She doesn’t expect today’s relatively late sunset, approaching 9 p.m., to affect the kids all that much. If they’re tired, they’ll sleep.

The sun will be long gone before her own eyelids close, another fun-filled day done.

“Early-to-bed for me is midnight,” she says. “Then I’m usually back up at 6:30.” Chicken farmer Margaret Clark stretches a tarp over a portable pen after feeding and watering her chickens on the Clark Family Farm. Clark says that on the longest day of the year, the chickens are awake longer and therefore feed longer and reach a higher weight for market. In back is Clark’s daughter Ellie Clark, 15.

Time to work

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/18/193854/

Margaret Clark and 1,000 chickens live a few miles southwest of Lawrence.

Only one of them isn’t putting on weight.

“In the summer,” Clark says, “I don’t eat as much, because it’s so hot.”

Good thing the warm weather, lasting sunlight and extended days prompt the opposite reaction for the more temporary residents out on the Clark Family Farm, which has been selling pasture-raised chicken meat to discerning locals for a dozen years now.

Today’s extended daylight will afford Clark’s fowl more time for clucking, pecking and — most importantly — consuming feed than during any other day of the year.

“For me it’s the same as the day before and the day after. It’s not that much different,” Clark says, with the matter-of-fact demeanor of an agriculture veteran. “But those chickens — they’re awake longer, so they’re eating more. As they get hungry through that daylight time, they eat.”

Consider this: During late spring and early summer, each pen of 100 chickens gets 10 gallons of feed per day. And after eight weeks — the time it takes to reach market weight — each chicken tips the scales at 4.5 pounds.

“This time of year everything’s rolling along nicely,” she says.

But in the fall, when daylight dawns an hour later and departs an hour earlier, the chickens eat less — and that means weigh less — during their eight weeks on the farm.

“Then they may be just three-and-a-half pounds,” she says. “It’s significant.”

40 years ago: Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant cuts back its workforce

Estuardo Garcia June 21, 2010 at 11:33 a.m.

The Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant announced that it was cutting back on its work force by 147 employees. Lt. Col. Joseph Mallia told the Lawrence Journal-World that the plant was not producing as much rocket propellant fuel as previously, as the need for it in Vietnam appeared to be declining.

Easy green: Fast summer projects will make your home more energy-efficient — and save you money, too

Estuardo Garcia June 21, 2010 at 11:31 a.m.

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/21/193301/

By Sarah Henning

The green and lush days of summer are here.

And Robin Gingerich and husband Tom Mersmann are enjoying the heat from the confines of their North Lawrence home — a place that has yet to use its air conditioner in 2010 despite quite a few sweltering days.

“I’m not a person who likes to be uncomfortable,” Gingerich says. “So, when we first started talking about trying to save energy, which is important to us for a lot of reasons — environmental and financial — I was like, ‘Well, I can’t give up air conditioning.’”

They didn’t kill the air conditioner, but rather they decided to take small measures to make sure it wasn’t such a taxing proposition to stay cool. Little changes like putting up awnings and using an exhaust fan have helped the couple cut their energy usage 25 percent since they first began making improvements a few years ago. Doug and Shirley Hitt of Lecompton have made similar easy changes and cut their energy consumption by a third over the past four years.

“We did intentionally record our kilowatt hour usage over four years and then did some things — just the most simple of things — to see what effect they had,” says Doug Hitt, who says he added CFLs, turned down his water heater, put down the shades and installed a programmable thermostat. “I feel like we didn’t do anything that cost us a lot of money. ... But maybe what people could take away from that is that little things really mean a lot.”

So, why not take advantage of a warm weekend or two to change some of those aforementioned little things? What you do to your abode this summer might make it so green that it pays off for dozens of summers to come.

Here are some of the easiest green summer projects as suggested by Eileen Horn, the city and county’s sustainability coordinator; Linda Cottin, owner of Cottin’s Hardware, 1832 Mass.; Rich Wenzel of the Lawrence Sustainability Network’s Energy Interest Group; and Asa Collier, owner, Blue Sky Wind, Solar and Home, 920 Mass.

• Fill in the gaps. Check your windows, doors and exterior walls for cracks and fill them with caulk. You can also add weather stripping or add storm windows and doors.

• Redecorate. Spend a day repainting a room with low- or no-volatile organic compound (VOC) paint, which create a better indoor air quality. Add a dimmer switch, swap out your old bulbs for CFLs and add thermal-lined drapes to eliminate drafts.

• Plant a tree. Planting trees near your home can keep it cooler in the summer and still allow the sun to help heat your home in the winter. Cottin says this is a great way to keep your house cool and help the environment, while adding to your home’s curb appeal.

• Add a clothes line. An efficient and cheap way to get clean clothes is to invest in a clothes line. They cost less than $100, says Cottin.

• Got fans? Use them! Using fans when you are home, rather than letting the air conditioner kick on, is a big energy saver. Just having air moving through a room can cool off a person significantly, say homeowners Mersmann, Gingerich and Hitt.

• Drain and filter. Drain your hot water heater once a month to keep build up from making it inefficient, says Wenzel. Also, change your furnace filter every three months to improve its efficiency.

• Insulate, insulate, insulate. Spend time insulating your copper water pipes, your hot water heater and even your garage door. Similarly, check your level of insulation in your attic and find out if you have insulation in your walls. Also, Horn notes that Aug. 1 is the day weatherization grants become open to area residents — if you qualify, you could get help paying for insulation, as well as storm doors and windows.

• Attic airflow counts. It’s not just how insulated your attic is, it’s how cool it is as well, especially this time of year. Collier says adding solar-powered attic venting can lower the temperature in your attic 50 to 60 degrees — making things much easier on your air conditioner.

• Find time for timers. Add a timer to your hot water heater and look into installing a programmable thermostat that you can set to keep you from wasting energy when you’re not at home or happen to be sleeping.

• Capture the rain. Hooking up a 50-gallon rain barrel can cost about $100, but the savings in water can be huge — and handy. Mersmann says adding rain barrels has helped him both save water and keep his vegetable garden going during dry spells.

• Got more time? Do the research on things you can't do yourself. Spend an afternoon checking on blown-in insulation, energy-efficient appliances and green solutions like tankless or solar water heaters. Also, check into the tax advantages of new windows, doors and insulation. You can go to www.energystar.gov for more information. Also, for more ideas on what you can do to green your home, contact Wenzel and the Lawrence Sustainability Network’s Energy Interest Group at 917-9344 or e-mail altairfour@hotmail.com.

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/21/193303/ http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/21/193302/

USD 232 activity fees explained

Estuardo Garcia June 21, 2010 at 11:06 a.m.

Have a question about the new activity fees for next year?

Well the De Soto School District might have an answer for you. The district has put up some information on its website regarding the new fees.

Click here to find out more.

NWS issues severe thunderstorm watch No. 354

Estuardo Garcia June 19, 2010 at 9:29 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Johnson and all surrounding counties, in effect until 3 a.m. Sunday.

New restaurant is a family affair

Laura Herring June 19, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

Oalis Mexican Restaurant gives new meaning to to the term family restaurant.

Owned by Martin and Maria Juarez, the staff for the grand opening was all family. Martin and Maria ran the kitchen, son, Martin Jr., greeted and seated customers, oldest daughter Brenda operated the cash register, while younger daughters Diana and Veronica waited tables. The Juarez's nieces also waited tables.

For the past five or six years, the Juarez family has served food at the De Soto Days Festival and has catered various functions around town. After being asked again and again if they had a restaurant or had ever thought about opening a restaurant, the family was finally able to. Preparations started in January of this year.

"We've been working on it for a while and when my parents finally had the money all saved this year they decided this year was our year, 2010," daughter Brenda Juarez said. "Today's opening has been even more than we expected too."

Community members turned out in droves to support the local business, despite the heavy rain during the lunch rush.

"I think the restaurant is a great contribution to the city and I sincerely hope [the Juarezes] will do well," said Lana McPherson, De Soto city clerk, who stopped in for some food.

Mary Hanson and other customers deemed the food delicious and authentic.

"My tamales were wonderful, they were just like my mother used to make when I was a child," Hanson said.

"I loved it, my food was wonderful," Julie Hanson said. "I'm so glad a restaurant opened in town, I feel like we've all been chomping at the bit waiting for it."

Despite the busy, somewhat harried atmosphere and the deluge outside, both family and customers had a wonderful time.

"We will definitely be back," Alesa Miller said.

NWS issues severe thunderstorm warning

Estuardo Garcia June 19, 2010 at 12:31 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Johnson Count until 1 p.m.

NWS Doppler Radar indicated a line of thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 70 mph.

Along with damaging winds, this storm may produce nickel-sized hail.

The NWS warns residents to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of your home or business.

New Mexican restaurant opens its doors

Estuardo Garcia June 19, 2010 at 9:59 a.m.

Don't know what to do for lunch or dinner today?

Why don't you come down to Martin Juarez's new restaurant on 83rd and Wea streets.

They city has allowed them to block part of Wea Street from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. as part of their grand opening.

Laura Herring, De Soto Explorer's new journo will also be there. So stop by and say hello. She'll be the one with the camera around her neck.

NWS issues severe thunderstorm watch No. 350

Estuardo Garcia June 19, 2010 at 9:53 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Johnson and all surrounding counties, in effect until 4 p.m. Saturday.

A watch means conditions are favorable for the development of storms with damaging winds, hail, or the possibility of tornados. According to the national weather service, there is a moderate risk of damaging winds and large to very large hail, and a low risk of tornadic activity associated with these storms.

Hail to 2.5" in diameter as well as wind gusts to 70 mph have been reported with a storm system moving east-southeast from central Nebraska.

Obituary: John R. Weaver

Estuardo Garcia June 19, 2010 at 9:50 a.m.

Funeral services for John R. Weaver, 66, De Soto, will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday at Cedar Crest Memorial Chapel, 32665 Lexington Ave., De Soto.

Mr. Weaver died Sunday, June 13, 2010.

Friends may call from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. before services Monday at the chapel.

Daily Poll

Estuardo Garcia June 18, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.

JOCO radio

Estuardo Garcia June 18, 2010 at noon

Catch this week's live airing of the Johnson County Radio Network at 2 p.m. at blogtalkradio.com. Today's topic is what kind of an impact technology has on emergency response.

Don't forget you can talk with them live by calling (646) 929-2383.

Calling all DHS band alumni

Estuardo Garcia June 18, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

The De Soto High School band, which started the year marching in the De Soto Days Festival Parade, is preparing for a March trip to Chicago. Band members are in the stretch drive of their fundraising for the trip.

The De Soto High School band, which started the year marching in the De Soto Days Festival Parade, is preparing for a March trip to Chicago. Band members are in the stretch drive of their fundraising for the trip.

Once again the De Soto High School band will participate in this year's De Soto Days parade despite its earlier date.

Daniel Freeman, DHS band director, said "participation in the parade is an important tradition and great event for the DHS Bands and it’s a great way to reach out to the community that supports the band so well."

Freeman said this year's parade band will be made up of current DHS band students and alumni. Because the parade moved to the summer, Freeman had a more difficult time assembling the 120 band members needed for for the performance.

That is why he has cordially invited all DHS band alumni to join the parade band.

"Forming a band made up of available alumni and current band members will be a great way to maintain the band’s tradition of participating in the parade and an excellent opportunity to unite the DHS band family in a unique and enjoyable setting," Freeman said.

All current and alumni members of the band are invited to perform, and can register through the De Soto School District's website.

Freeman said participants should read the information on that page and then sign up for the band.

If you have any questions please contact freeman at djfreeman@usd232.org, or 913-667-6250, x 6034.

Sheriff's Tip-A-Cop fundraiser starts Saturday

Estuardo Garcia June 18, 2010 at 11:15 a.m.

Olathe– In a role change, deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will be asking for tips of a different kind. On Saturday deputies and military personnel will be asking for tips to raise money for the Special Olympics instead of tips to catch a bad guy in the Tip-A-Cop fundraiser.

From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Texas Roadhouse, 11973 South Strang Line Rd., Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies will dawn aprons and assist servers. In return tips or donations received by the deputies for their wait service will be donated for local Special Olympians.

Special Olympians will be on hand during this event and there will also be a drawing for a special Royals gift basket including four tickets to a game.

When good dogs do bad things

Estuardo Garcia June 18, 2010 at 1:01 a.m.

More than a month after Millie the black lab bit a 12-year-old De Soto girl, the De Soto City Council has decided the dog deserves a second chance. During Thursday night's regular city council meeting, the council was in unanimous agreement to allow Scott and Linda Hadley to keep the dog as long as they followed certain conditions.

Councilmember Ron McDaniel stated "kids gotta have a dog."

"We don’t really know what happened," McDaniel said ."We do know that the dog did bite the child, but we don’t know what caused it. I think it’s (the owner's) fault that they weren't watching the dog with the children, but he said that is something that they are going to take care of down the road."

The incident occurred sometime after 7 p.m. on May 8. The report from the Johnson County's Sheriff's Office stated that Haley Lewerke was playing with the Hadley's children in the back yard of the Hadley's home when Millie bit Haley in the right forearm and the hip.

The report stated that the arm bite required two stitches while the hip bite only left a bruise.

The Hadleys did not have the paperwork to verify that Millie was up-to-date on all of her vaccines, so the dog was taken to a vet for observation.

The reporting officer said Millie had a good demeanor at home, but was growling and snarling at him at the vet's office.

City code defines that a dangerous animal is one that has a "disposition or propensity to attack or bite any person or animal without provocation." And it defines a vicious dog as one that "without provocation, attacks or bites, or has attacked or bitten a human being or domestic animal."

Patrick Reavy, the city's attorney, gave the council three different options. Either direct the Hadleys to remove the dog, cite the Hadleys for keeping a dangerous dog and letting the court determine if the dog does pose a danger to anyone or allow the Hadleys to keep the dog under conditions set forth by the council.

The council went with the latter.

Under the provisions, Millie must be under control by an adult when she is near children. She must also go to obedience school, have limited access to non-family members and the Hadleys must install a fence to keep Millie on their property while restricting people's access to the dog.

Councilmember Mitra Templin said that she has grown up with dogs her whole life and she believes this will be an isolated incident and because of that, Millie will probably not pose a future problem.

“This is a little different situation from some previous situations that have come before the council where we’ve dealt with dogs that have had a history of dangerous behavior," Templin said. "I think this is a different situation than that, but I think it is going to require (the Hadleys) to be extremely careful with your dog because she now has a history.”

De Soto City Council meeting

Estuardo Garcia June 17, 2010 at 7:20 p.m.

In other business...

The De Soto City Council:

• Unanimously voted in favor of approving a fireworks sales permit for the De Soto High School football team and waiver of the accompanying fees.

• Unanimously voted in favor of approving the fireworks sales permit for Garrett’s Worldwide Entertainment L.L.C.

• Unanimously voted in favor of approving a fireworks sales permit to the De Soto VFW and waiver of the accompanying fees.

• Unanimously approved the temporary use permit for the city’s July 4 celebration at Riverfest Park.

• Unanimously approved a resolution to allow Daniel Schneider and Kenneth Sims to hunt deer with a bow and arrow at 9295 Cedar Creek Rd., and 30835 W 83rd St.

• Unanimously accepted the bid from Blacktop Paving in the amount of $66,819.50 for the 2010 Wyandotte Street mill and overlay CARS project. The CARS program is estimated to pay $33,409.75. The project will include resurfacing Wyandotte Street from the Kansas River Bridge to 83rd St.

Webcam chat at Ustream

De Soto area spared by severe weather

Laura Herring June 17, 2010 at 1:42 p.m.

The Northwest Consolidated Fire District has not received any calls related to damage by the severe weather over the past several days. Operations Chief Mark Billquist states "we've been very lucky."

Neighbors

Laura Herring June 17, 2010 at 1:25 p.m.

The De Soto Methodist Church is having a retirement/farewell luncheon in honor of Pastor Jerry and his wife Jan on June 27th. It is a potluck luncheon that will follow the worship services. They ask that members bring their favorite dishes to share. The De Soto Methodist Church is having their annual church picnic at Kill Creek Park on July 11th. They will be serving at 5:30 p.m. with the new minister. They will have hamburgers, hot dogs, lemonade, tea and water. Please bring a side dish.

The Methodist Church Reading Circle met on June 15th and discussed the book “Stones into Schools.” The Agape Circle met June 17th at 7:00 p.m. in the church parlor. They will not meet again until September.

The De Soto Baptist Church is having their pirate-themed Vacation Bible School from June 14th to June 18th. They plan to have preschool classes with Vickie Hallmark in charge with helpers. Other teachers are Kara Kowalik as 1st Mate and Jennifer Weese as Buccaneer leader and Allison West as Sailors leaders. We will be in session from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Rev. Copeland, Ross Stone and Karen Wall will be in charge with Singing and Play Splash games by Doug Opdyke , Bible Stories by Mary Gayle Kramer, goodies to eat by Paula Jones and crafts by Mary Jo McDaniels and the cinema by Julie Riffels. I hope we have a very wonderful High Seas Expedition and a great week for Bible stories and singing and play. We are very thankful for the many volunteers and are hoping the weather is great. The sanctuary is decorated like a ship.

The rains have come and have caused flooding and much damage to many areas, also many deaths. It has also caused cancellation of many ballgames, including my dear great-grandson Hayden’s. They are planning on going to Springfield, Mo. for a four-day tournament this week. We did call my sister-in-law, Emma Lou Nelson, who lives there. Maybe she could go see the team play.

My past week was not planned like I spent it. After the boot-wearing for almost three months I ended up in the ER at Olathe Medical Center with an infection in the left leg and foot after the boot was taken off. It was very red and broken out so I went to my doctor Monday and he took one look and said the infection was going to cause me to lose my leg because I had just taken pills, not medication in the vein. So now I have four days of wearing compression stockings that are knee high. It’s better but not well. I have to elevate it more.

My son Carlin from Illinois came to help me put my new socks on and to doctor my leg. He also took Debbie and me out to dinner after church. He did get to see several of his old classmates at the all-school reunion at the VFW on Saturday. Clausie Smith and he played ball together at Ottawa University.

Those having birthdays this week that I know are: Toni Tilsh; Jo St. Peters’ husband; Ryan Lange; Sophia Templin; Sherry Bowlin; McKenzie King; Pam Plummer; Nathanial Schotanus; June Davison; Zachary Yarbrough; Cole Towner; Will Smalley; James Ingalls and my grandson Marty Nalley in Oklahoma.

Those having anniversaries are: Wes and Julie Rains; Tim and Stephanie Slitor; Dan and Annette Tucker; Mike and Tammy Mikinski; Jeff and Richelle Hodges; Fred and Paula Jones and my daughter Debbie and her husband Paul Chandler.

The needs of the De Soto Community Center this week are any kind of cereal, crackers, cleaning supplies, canned beans, toothpaste and toothbrushes, paper goods, such as towels and tissues and hamburger or tuna helper.

My friend of many years Ruth Motzkus at Sharon Lanes nursing home calls me two or three times a week. I always ask her to pray for me. She has her brother Larry and her sister Sherry in Texas and Clausie Smith, the mayor of Bonner Springs, in her prayers.

Thos on the sick list I know are: Zola Stephan, who is in Intensive Care in Olathe Medical Center with liver and lung problems; Sally Beck is having surgery this week; Leroy Wycoff is in the hospital with lung cancer; Debbie Lindenkeiker has cancer, she is Boots Linden’s daughter; Jeff Coatiney is having several tests, his wife Sharon had a birthday and they did go out to eat; Chester Robbins’ sister-in-law passed away.

Sympathy to the family of Eli Stewart. The visitation is Tuesday.

James Alfred Pingleton, who has been in the military services, is to come home soon and the family hopes it is for good!

Fourteen children learned to play chimes this week with Mary Etta Copeland and Tammi Reeves as their teachers.

Photo of the Day

Laura Herring June 17, 2010 at 12:22 p.m.

A toad the size of a softball greeted me when I left the De Soto library yesterday afternoon. I snapped this photo with my phone before making my phone call.

A toad the size of a softball greeted me when I left the De Soto library yesterday afternoon. I snapped this photo with my phone before making my phone call.

Honor roll students named for De Soto High School

Laura Herring June 17, 2010 at 11:46 a.m.

De Soto High School named 120 students grades 9-12 to the A Honor Roll. 9th Grade: Kathleen Allman, Connor Berg, Megan Brashears, Rhiannon Caldwell, Emily Campbell, Erika Carrillo, Amanda DeBrabander, Shelby Deghand, Lars Erickson, Alexis Essary, Katherine Gehrt, Halie Hansen, Ramsey Heer, Kori Henderson, Julie Hopkins, Makena Jarboe, Michelle Keleher, Jessica Knaack, Laura Krska, Joshua Lahr, Diana Marquez, Elizabeth Mayer, Megan McCulloch, Landon Moore, Magdaline Oberle, Amanda Payne, Taylor Phongsavath, Maria Pileski, Alexander Pruss, Taylor Saucerman, Kimberli Simpson, Katherine Sosna, Ryan Stallbaumer, Sydney Stanton, Christian Sweeney, Sophia Templin, Katelyn Turner, Paige Williams, Sidney Zvirgzdins.

10th Grade: Hayden Abbott, Zachary Atchison, Gregory Baird, Gabriela Becerra, TJ Crow, Lauren Darter, Danielle Dowdy, Kasey Dunlap, James Endres, Brianna Fairbanks, Philip Kaul, Grace Kim, Katherine Krska, Rebecca Maasen, Renee Reichard, Parker Riley, Tessa Scott, Parker Seaman, Anna Smades, Madison Steele, Hannah Stevens, Carla Valenzuela, Derek Wedel, Daniel Williams, John Williams ,Madison Wolfe.

11th Grade: Kevin Brashears, Hayley Brown, Adrian Clarkson, Alyssa Cooke, Logan DeGraeve, Ryan Endres, Larissa Erickson, Kayla Frazier, Jonathan Hastings, Gregory Henning, Hannah Jokisch, Aubrey King, Larry Marquez, Katelyn McKeirnan, Donald Parr III, Shelbi Petty, Elizabeth Reichenberger, Jordan Riffel, Cora Schimke, Hilary Schmidt, Jacob Schneider, Ryan Scott, Joseph Seidl, Jessica Spencer, Lindsie Stenzel, Zachary Stephens, Thomas Strauser, Ryan Thies, Dalton Thompson, Emma Tinsley, Octavio Villa JR, Brett Williams, Parker Williams.

12th Grade: Cassandra Ahrens, Tami Crow, Jessica Dailey, Suzie Gulley, Rachel Hanson, Brett Hevel, Sam Israel, Kayla Kopp, Corina Kronenberg, Clare Krska, Joseph Kuhn, Nancy Marquez, Andrew Mechler, Kimberly Patton, Sierra Phinney, Andy Rhodes, Becca Roberts, Jordan Slater, Paul Stallbaumer, Lizbeth Valenzuela, Sophia Young, Jamie Zvirgzdins.

De Soto High School students named to A & B honor roll

Laura Herring June 17, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.

One hundred and seventy-eight students grades 9-12 were named to the A & B honor roll for De Soto High School. 9th Grade: Caitlin Beary, Emerson Beery, Amy Bilger, Kayla Bliss, Jessica Bratton, Lisa Calderon, Emily Churchwell, Sarah Churchwell, Corbin Clark, Olivia Cline, Whitney Duncan, Cheyenne England, Allison Flinn, Zachary Frieling, Alyssa Fulling, Morgan Giefer, Zachary Griffiths, Emily Hall, Stephanie Hinchey, Nicholas Hoffine, Brent Johnson, Hunter Klamm, Trent Krause, Lauryn Leininger, Isaac Lueth, Lauren Mabe, Alec Mackay, Leanna McClintock, William McDaniel, Kalyn Meseke, Laura Meyers, Elise Miller, Samantha Mills, James Newton, Chad Ollendick, Joshua Pasley, Shummer Roddick, Diego Sanchez, Micah Sanders, Jacob Scott, Mandi Shriver, Kathleen Singleton, Allison Stanley, Miranda Stone, Nicholas Taulbee, Zackary Umholtz, Jesus Villa, Emma West, Jordan Whitaker, Christian Zwahlen.

10th Grade: Tiffany Adkins, Viviana Amparan, Julie Anderson, Savannah Armendariz, William Bauer, Molly Brandenburg, Joseph Buery, Drew Buffkin, Erin Cahoone, Stephanie Chappell, Richard Clancy, Sarah Clark, Anna Cline, Nathaniel Drake, Christopher Faddis II, Brandon Garrett, Aaron Garza, Alixandria Gates, Katie Hammond, Riley Harding, Jaxon Hargrove, Brandy Heater, Anna Henning, Kayla Ingalls, Austin Ingram, Heidi Katt, Ian Kelly, John King, Jordan Kline, Darrin McGraw, Owen Moore, Cameron Pfannenstiel, Jonah Prescott, Garret Price, Brady Rendzia, Paul Rieke, Brianna Rodgers, Crissy Ryun, Robert Satterwhite, Breanna Shepherd, Austin Showen, Cody Vukas, Cassandra Zoller.

11th Grade: Brittnei Belk, Sarah Bell, Emily Bilger, Nicholas Billings, William Burford III, Alexandria Bussell, Michelle Carrillo, William Caudle, Bridget Chavez, Derrick Creason, Karla Flores, Scarlett Gerow, Ashley Gorman, Katelynn Gorman, Jacob Grooms, Clinton Hale, Christopher Henning, Samuel Hill, Courtney Hiskett, Keith Hoover, Danielle Jennings, Victoria Kerr, Joshua Knaack, Breanna Labrum, Lance Leichtle, JoAnn Lobner, Justin Lynn, Derrick Mathern, Kyle McCulloch, Cody McMoran, Aaron Nutterfield, Bailey Peak, Lauren Ramsey, Kyndel Reeves, Megan Robinson, Mallory Roellchen, Shelbie Todd, Hanna Tramel, Brandon Vukas.

12th Grade: Britainee Baker, Alec Barowka, David Bedford, Tyler Berg, Emily Boerckel, Clint Brooks, Matt Buehler, John Buery, Tyler Buffkin, Jordin Burford, Benjamin Burgweger, Logan Clark, Alexander Crall, Katherine Diaz , Joseph Dvorak, Trevor Elmer, Kelsey Fisher, Madison Frehe, Sabrina Giersch, Duncan Henderson, Alex Henning, Austin Hinchey, Stephanie Hopkins, Marisa Jarboe, Michael Just, David Karnitz, Katherine Leir, Angela Longman-McCabe, Sharon Lucas, TJ Martin, Tamara McFarland, Julia Morais, Joe O'Neill, Ry Patton, Taylor Pelkey, Simone Pfeifer, Brandan Philbrook, Michael Pierce, Sammy Seibolt, Eric Seymour, Jason Sherman, Brendan Showen, Dalton Tenney, Fabian Wiechert, Lori Wilkerson, Emily Zahner.

Kobach takes floor at scheduled candidate forum

Laura Herring June 17, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.

Wednesday evening was supposed to be a time for candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Kansas secretary of state to voice their stances and ask young Johnson County Republicans for their vote. However, two of the three candidates, J.R. Claeys and Elizabeth Ensley, were unable to attend, giving Kris Kobach the floor.

The forum, sponsored by Johnson County Young Republicans, took place at Barley’s Brewhaus in Shawnee.

Voting regulations came to the forefront of Kobach’s decision to run for secretary of state, he said. “Certain groups (such as ACORN) … are pushing for lighter voter laws. In my view that is breaking down the laws,” he said.

Kobach said one way to ensure fair elections is to implement a photo identification requirement to ensure citizens vote only once and illegal aliens are not voting.

“If we do we will create a model that other states can use,” he said. “Each illegitimate vote negates a citizen’s vote. If we pass a photo ID law, which Brownback will sign, the ACLU will sue. I’ve already drafted a law, but we need to be able to defend it. If I’m lucky enough to be elected Kansas secretary of state, I’ll defend it.”

Kobach did address possible negative issues of a photo ID law, such as elderly voters obtaining an ID. “Nursing homes have vans that can take residents to vote,” he said. “They could take them out twice to get an identification card and to vote. Another option is to bring the polls to them.”

Driver’s license numbers or voters’ signatures could be used to verify absentee ballots, Kobach said.

On national health care, Kobach said one of the votes in the U.S. Senate that were cast in favor of the reform bill was from a contested seat, that of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

“There is a great deal of debate on whether that was a fair election,” he said. “There is a significant possibility that a vote on ‘Obamacare’ was passed by a stolen seat.”

Overland Park resident Rich Hall said he agreed with many of Kobach’s ideas.

“I like the rationale behind his use of identification,” he said. “He was good at articulating his stance and made people more aware of issues.”

Kobach also spoke about his work on Arizona’s recent immigration law. “I have done a lot of litigating in immigration law. I’m currently on a legal team representing Arizona’s governor in a lawsuit by the ACLU,” he said.

“There are a number of states, like Kansas, who will consider similar laws in 2011,” he said.

The smear campaign on the issue will undoubtedly continue, Kobach said.

“All they are left with is the argument that these people are racist,” he said. “The argument is wearing thin.”

Flash Flood warning in effect

Laura Herring June 16, 2010 at 5:49 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood warning for Johnson County. Runoff from excessive rainfall will cause flash flooding in the following areas: De Soto, Shawnee and Lenexa.

The NWS also states that a severe thunderstorm warning is still in effect for the area until 6 p.m. These storms are capable of producing hail up to nickle size.

NWS issues severe thunderstorm warning

Estuardo Garcia June 16, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Johnson and Leavenworth counties until 5:45 p.m.

NWS Doppler Radar indicated a line of thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 mph moving east from Oskaloosa at 20 mph and heading to Tonganoxie, De Soto, Basehor, Linwood, Reno, Jarbalo, Clearview City and Fairmount.

Along with damaging winds, this storm may produce nickel-sized hail, deadly lighting and heavy rains.

The NWS warns residents to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of your home or business.

They also advise that heavy rains may cause flash flooding. Motorists are advised to avoid areas where water covers the road.

Johnson County under flood advisory

Estuardo Garcia June 16, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Johnson and surrounding counties until 8:30 p.m.

The NWS Doppler radar has indicated a thunderstorm capable of producing 1 to 2 inches of rain per hour is heading east to the advisory area.

The heavy rain could cause flooding in small streams and low water crossings.

Statehouse Live: Kobach in middle of another illegal immigration showdown

Laura Herring June 16, 2010 at 3:07 p.m.

Topeka — Kris Kobach, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, is in the middle of another battle over a controversial immigration measure. Kobach, an attorney, has crafted a proposed illegal immigration ordinance for the city of Fremont, Neb. that will be voted on Monday. He also has been hired to represent Fremont residents who sought the vote, according to news reports.

Fremont is a community of about 25,000 people outside of Omaha. It has seen an influx of Hispanic workers at meatpacking plants.

Kobach has worked on illegal immigration laws in a number of cities and states, including the recently approved Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona that has sparked protests nationwide.

The issue before Fremont voters on Monday is an ordinance that would ban the hiring of illegal immigrants and renting to illegal immigrants. Under the proposal, renters would have to get a license from the city and afterward city officials would be required to check a database to see if renters were in the country legally.

The ordinance also would require employers to check the federal E-Verify system to see if their workers were in the country legally.

Kobach, a former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, has made illegal immigration an issue in his campaign for secretary of state. He faces Elizabeth Ensley and J.R. Claeys in the GOP primary.

Wildcats still earning recognition

Estuardo Garcia June 16, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/2010/apr/15/35711/

Sissy Wible, head coach of the De Soto High softball team has been named coach of the year by the Lawrence Journal-World.

Katie Williams has also was named to the Lawrence Journal-World all-area first team.

Williams pitched her way to a 13-3 record this season, striking out 118 batters while walking just 14 and posting an earned-run average of 0.89. At the plate, she batted .403 with a slugging percentage of .779. She scored 21 runs and finished with 12 doubles, four triples and three home runs for an 18-5 De Soto team.

Photo of the Day

Laura Herring June 16, 2010 at 2:34 p.m.

Jerry Francis gets his hair cut by new De Soto barber Harry Patterson. Francis has been getting his hair cut at Snow's Barber Shop in downtown De Soto since he moved to De Soto in 1995. Patterson is new to town. Be sure to check back next week for a more in-depth interview with Patterson.

Jerry Francis gets his hair cut by new De Soto barber Harry Patterson. Francis has been getting his hair cut at Snow's Barber Shop in downtown De Soto since he moved to De Soto in 1995. Patterson is new to town. Be sure to check back next week for a more in-depth interview with Patterson.

‘Glaserfest’ pays tribute to fallen firefighter

Estuardo Garcia June 16, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.

If anyone could be fittingly described as a hero, it was Shawnee firefighter John Glaser.

It’s something that his brother, Mike Glaser, said has sunk in for his family in the weeks since John died while searching a burning home to ensure its residents weren’t trapped inside.

“The word ‘hero’ gets thrown around so much these days,” Mike said. “But if anything helps in this whole situation as far as our family, it is to know what a hero he was and how the community regards him as such.”

Mike hopes to pay tribute to the hero John was, as well as thank his fellow hero firefighters, with an event this weekend. “Glaserfest” will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the restaurants and bars that make up Martini Corner, 400 E. 31st St., in Kansas City, Mo.

Mike said he decided he wanted to create the event about a week after his brother’s death.

“I started thinking about getting something together to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death,” he said.

On hiatus from his job in California, Mike has spent the last two and a half weeks organizing Glaserfest, which will include live bands, a silent auction and other activities for a $10 cover charge, with proceeds benefiting both the John Glaser Memorial Fund and Kansas City-based S.A.F.E., the Surviving Spouse And Family Endowment Fund.

Mike worked in the Martini Corner district in college, so he contacted his friends there to start putting together an event. With the awareness of his brother so widespread, they have quickly organized bands and vendors, even gaining permission for street closures on short notice.

The event permit process that normally takes two months was streamlined thanks to the support of those in the community, and generous donations for the silent auction came flooding in, including a Garmin GPS unit and even tickets for a Los Angeles screening of a blockbuster movie next summer.

Mike sees the event as serving two purposes: to celebrate his brother and honor firefighters in general.

Though John’s absence is still surreal for the Glaser family — Mike said he almost expects John to show up at the many events that have been held in his honor — sharing who John was has been cathartic.

“When people get together that knew John, they kind of talk about him in such a great light,” he said. “The more I can get people out to learn about John, the better off everybody will be.”

He said he also understands now how important it is to recognize someone for their heroism while they are alive.

“None of us noticed that; we weren’t that acute to it until the dust settled,” Mike said. “He was just my brother that happened to be a firefighter, happened to be a Marine, happened to have this desire to serve his community.”

Which is why Mike hopes firefighters will attend the event and wear their fire shirts so they can be recognized.

“I would like every single firefighter that’s not on shift to come out — have them come out to just thank them, because if it wasn’t my brother, it could have been someone else,” Mike said. “They put their life on the line every day, and people may not take that for granted, exactly, but they just don’t think about it.

“…I’m not going to be able to tell every person about John, but I can at least get people out to thank their firefighters.”

Facebook users can find more information about Glaserfest on its event page.

Segale announces he will run for county chairman

Estuardo Garcia June 16, 2010 at 12:13 p.m.

John Segale, former Shawnee City Council member and former Johnson County commissioner, is joining the race for chairman of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners.

“I am proud to announce my candidacy for county commission chairman because I know our community can be better,” Segale said in a release.

Segale served as a commissioner for District 2, which covers Shawnee, Lenexa and Lake Quivira, from 2005-2009, when he lost his bid for re-election to former Shawnee mayor Jim Allen. Segale will face three other candidates in an August primary, incumbent Annabeth Surbaugh as well as Ed Eilert, current District 4 county commissioner and former Overland Park mayor, and John Toplikar, former District 6 county Ccommissioner and a former state legislator.

Segale said the county and city governments needed to coordinate better.

“We need a new county chair who has demonstrated the ability to understand the big picture and to bring the talents of our elected city and county representatives together to define and build a better future that we can afford,” he said.

Segale suggested that county commissioner salaries should be reduced by 50 percent to reflect their “citizen legislator” status and save more than $200,000 annually. He also said he would like to see county commission meetings scheduled in the evening so they would be easier for working residents to attend, and he would like to work with city governments to be more efficient and reduce duplication of services.

Obituary: Margaret Ann Anderson

Estuardo Garcia June 16, 2010 at 11:49 a.m.

Funeral Mass for Margaret Ann Anderson, 60, Shawnee, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 19, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Burial will be in Monticello Union Cemetery in Shawnee. Mrs. Anderson died Tuesday, June 15, 2010, at the Anderson family home.

She was born Nov. 27, 1949, in Kansas City, Kan., the daughter of Tom and Mary (Dold) Anderson.

Mrs. Anderson was a 1967 graduate of DeSoto High School. She had worked for more than 40 years at Farmers Insurance and was a lifelong member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Margaret was a fan of NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Survivors include her five siblings, Tom (Gerogina) Anderson Jr., Crystal River, Fla., Linda (Darrell) Prock, Gardner, Jean (Cecil) Hayden, Tonganoxie, Mary (Clif) Armstrong, De Soto, and Carol Anderson, of the home; many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends; and her beloved dogs Jack and Harley.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Alden-Harrington Funeral Home, Bonner Springs. The family suggests memorials to Kansas City Hospice, sent in care of the funeral home, 214 Oak St., Bonner Springs, KS 66012.

KU coaches laud Big 12’s survival

Laura Herring June 16, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.

http://www2.ljworld.com/videos/2010/jun/15/31172/

Kansas University baseball coach Ritch Price was in Phoenix when he heard the reports last Thursday that the Big 12 might be dissolving. “It was like somebody stabbed me all weekend,” Price said. “I told my secretary Marcia (Bagby) that it absolutely ruined my weekend. I went from one field to the next.

“Every time I got into the car, listened to talk radio for an hour — that’s Arizona State, Pac-10 country — and when you’re a Kansas Jayhawk, and you have the pride that I have, it was really hard to deal with.”

It’s why, like many KU coaches, Price was overjoyed at the news Monday that the Big 12 was, in fact, staying together as a 10-team league.

“The kids came here to play in the Big 12, and I came here to coach in the Big 12,” Price said. “I’m not a Mountain West fan, so I’m thrilled I get to finish my career in the Big 12.”

On Tuesday, many other KU coaches expressed satisfaction that their teams would remain in the same conference.

KU volleyball coach Ray Bechard said he couldn’t imagine not playing Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Missouri each year.

“We lose some friends from Colorado and Nebraska,” Bechard said, “but at the same time, some of the consequences from the league falling apart would have been pretty devastating for a lot of folks involved.”

For Price and Bechard, the travel schedules of a move to a different conference would have been grueling.

Price was especially worried about the rumors that potentially had KU shifting to the Pac-10.

“I’m a Californian. When I read that stuff about the Pac-10 ... I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Pullman, Wash., but that might be on the farthest part of America. You’d miss school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to play something like that,” Price said. “Obviously, the best scenario for us travel-wise was remain in the Big 12. That was the best for student-athlete welfare.”

The 2011 season also might start a somewhat awkward relationship with Nebraska — one of the two schools, along with Colorado, that will be leaving the Big 12.

Bechard would still like to play NU because of proximity and also because of recruiting benefits.

Price said NU would make for a good non-conference opponent for midweek games, but he also indicated that scheduling the Huskers might be out of the coaches’ jurisdictions.

“It will all depend on (KU athletic director) Lew (Perkins),” Price said. “Lew made a comment when Missouri was talking about going to the Big Ten (that) if they left, we weren’t going to play them.

“I work for Lew Perkins. Whatever he tells me we’re going to do, we’re going to do.”

KU football coach Turner Gill and women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson had other reasons to be in favor of the new Big 12.

The new conference schedule in football will mean that KU will play more games in Texas, which has been a rich recruiting ground for the Jayhawks.

“It is a great opportunity for people in Texas to see their son,” Gill said, “and not have to travel a whole lot.”

Henrickson, meanwhile, will still have the benefit of KU playing in what is widely considered the best women’s basketball conference in the nation.

“As we move forward, we are all confident that the Big 12 conference will continue to become even better,” Henrickson said.

Price said he’s just glad that he doesn’t have to worry any more about the potential fate of the Big 12.

“That might be the most bizarre week in the history of the NCAA,” Price said. “I’m just glad it worked out great for KU, because we’re too great of a university and we’ve got too great of an athletic program to be on the outside looking in.”

— 6Sports reporter Andrew Baker contributed to this report.

http://www2.ljworld.com/videos/2010/jun/15/31171/

Garage sales abound in Eudora

Laura Herring June 16, 2010 at 11:25 a.m.

Eudora residents will be unloading treasures from their basements, attics and closets this weekend in the yearly citywide garage sale. Rain or shine, the sale will start around 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Bonnie Neis, coordinator of the sale, said she has 23 registered participants and is hoping for around 30. Participants pay a $12 registration fee that will be donated to the local food pantry. In previous years, sale registrations raised $300 for the pantry.

MVHS graduate signs on for college basketball

Laura Herring June 16, 2010 at 11:06 a.m.

The prospect of Austin Muckenthaler playing college basketball didn’t look great after his junior season at Mill Valley High School. Fortunately for Muckenthaler, he didn’t close the book on his dream at that point. One year later, the 2010 MVHS graduate finds himself preparing the head to Bethel College in North Newton to play basketball for the Threshers.

Muckenthaler spent his senior season as an everyday starter and was one of the Jaguars’ top scorers and rebounders, and MVHS coach Justin Bogart said it’s a credit to Muckenthaler that his dream of playing in college is a reality.

“He’s a kid that you wanted to see be successful because he came to our camp for so many years and he’s been in our program for four years,” Bogart said. “He didn’t really blossom until his senior year, and it was nice to see that his persistence paid off and he stuck with it. He could have been frustrated when he didn’t play much as a junior, but he came back and got after it his senior year, and look what happened. He stuck with it, kept his nose to the grindstone and got himself a scholarship.”

Muckenthaler will play for head coach Mark Yoder and assistant Alonzo Jamison. Prior to his move to Bethel, Jamison worked as an assistant coach on Bogart’s staff at Mill Valley.

“I knew he had Austin on his mind when he went down there a few years ago that this was a kid who could be a good fit in their program,” Bogart said of the connection to Jamison.

Muckenthaler showcased himself as a versatile player as a senior. He emerged as an electrifying perimeter scorer as he posted a pair of games where he buried seven 3-pointers. More than just a scorer, he also had games with 17 and 15 rebounds, respectively.

“He’s got some length, and as a coach you like those long-armed guys,” Bogart said. “(As a freshman) I think his role as a player will be situational where the coach says ‘get in there and get some rebounds, and don’t turn the ball over.’ I think that’s what he can anticipate early. At the same time, he can shoot it a little bit so they won’t want him to have his head down when he gets there. I think his coaches will want him to take charge early, not be tentative and go out and show what he can do.”

Flash flood warning

Estuardo Garcia June 15, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood warning for Johnson County until 6:30 p.m.

A NWS employee reported slow moving storms have been dumping as much as 2 inches of rain per hour.

Areas that will experience flooding include: De Soto, Edgerton, Fairway, Gardner, Lake Quivira, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Olathe, Overland Park and Prairie Village.

Photo of the Day

Laura Herring June 15, 2010 at 1:42 p.m.

A view of the swollen Kansas River from the Kansas River bridge in De Soto. The recent heavy rainfall has caused the river to rise 13.15 ft., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The flood stage for this area of the Kansas River is 26 ft.

A view of the swollen Kansas River from the Kansas River bridge in De Soto. The recent heavy rainfall has caused the river to rise 13.15 ft., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The flood stage for this area of the Kansas River is 26 ft.

Board gives new learning coaches better job assurance

Estuardo Garcia June 15, 2010 at 12:55 p.m.

At least two new learning coaches in the district will be given assurances that if the learning coach is canceled, they will be have a job in the district. The De Soto School Board unanimously voted to amend the learning coach contract to include a clause that states “Should the learning coach program be discontinued through board acting, the district will attempt to place those learning coaches, who have had satisfactory evaluations, into an open teaching position within the district.” The clause also states that if the learning coach is not licensed, or does not meet the qualifications of any open position, their contract could not be renewed.

Superintendent Ron Wimmer said the reason for the change in the contract was to give assurances to applicants, which could help bring in better talent to the district.

Board member Bill Fletcher said he didn’t want to change the contract until the board had reviewed and changed the learning coach program and wanted to extend it to all current learning coaches, and not new hires.

Board president Tim Blankenship didn’t think there was any big difference in the contract because thought the board would try do to the same thing anyway without the clause.

Board passes new food guildlines despite dissenter

Estuardo Garcia June 15, 2010 at 12:54 p.m.

Gabby Philbrook, wellness coordinator for the De Soto School District, came to discuss the Fun Fit Food guidelines for the district. She said the district would not be recommending that teachers have foods like candy, cupcakes and chips during seasonal or birthday parties, but instead opt for healthy grains, fruits and vegetables or dairy products such as yogurt or non-fat milk.

She also wanted to encourage parents and teachers to think of alternatives to food for rewards.

Board member Randy Johnson said he was offended that it was even on the agenda.

“If parents are not there to tell them what is right and what its wrong, it certainly is not our job,” Johnson said. “We have so many issues we don’t have time to spending on lunch programs and snacks.”

Board member Janine Gracy disagreed and said it if parents weren’t there to teach their kids about nutrition it was up to the schools. She said that in the long run, better education about nutrition could help reduce obesity and reduce healthcare costs for everyone.

The board passed the new guidelines with a vote of 6-1 with Johnson casting the dissenting vote.

Tax increases in effect July 1st

Laura Herring June 15, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.

New increases in sales tax will go into effect on July 1. The increase total for the city of De Soto will be 9.275 percent, due to a 1 percent tax increase for the State of Kansas. The current breakdown for this 9.275 percent is – City of De Soto: 1.75 percent, Johnson County: 1.225 percent and the State of Kansas: 6.3 percent.

To view information on surrounding area tax rates, download the Sales & Use Tax Jurisdiction Code Booklet. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/15/kansas-sales-use-tax-jurisdiction-code-booklet/

Daily Poll

Laura Herring June 15, 2010 at 10:48 a.m.

Class of 1970's 40th Reunion

Laura Herring June 15, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.

De Soto High School Class of 1970. Standing in the back row: Lee Curtis, Larry Frakes, Guinn Curtis, Howard Swaim, Joe Webb, Mary Barth Canny, Connie Fitzhugh Sims, Nancy Davison Steele, Alan Hines, Tom Green, and Mike Zahner. Middle row:  Sue Tripkos Young, Peggy Shultz Likins, Jennie Albertin Matlock, JoAnn Howe, Linda Crawshaw Crawford, Colleen Flinn Darnell, Gayla Coker Hougham, Jane Zaring Twidwell, and Doug Andrick.
First row: Tim Maniez, Senior Class President, Evelyn Arnold Bourland, Linda Werst Lane, Lana Pingleton McPherson, Glenda Istes Bull, Phyllis Bergstrom Neeland, and Harry Shultz. The first row also contained the class of 1970 committee.

De Soto High School Class of 1970. Standing in the back row: Lee Curtis, Larry Frakes, Guinn Curtis, Howard Swaim, Joe Webb, Mary Barth Canny, Connie Fitzhugh Sims, Nancy Davison Steele, Alan Hines, Tom Green, and Mike Zahner. Middle row: Sue Tripkos Young, Peggy Shultz Likins, Jennie Albertin Matlock, JoAnn Howe, Linda Crawshaw Crawford, Colleen Flinn Darnell, Gayla Coker Hougham, Jane Zaring Twidwell, and Doug Andrick. First row: Tim Maniez, Senior Class President, Evelyn Arnold Bourland, Linda Werst Lane, Lana Pingleton McPherson, Glenda Istes Bull, Phyllis Bergstrom Neeland, and Harry Shultz. The first row also contained the class of 1970 committee. by Linda Lane

The De Soto High School graduating class of 1970 gathered Saturday, June 12th for its 40th reunion. Class member Linda Lane created a photo slideshow of memories from the event. You can see the slideshow by following this link. http://bit.ly/aZSaxB

There's no news like good news

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 11:36 p.m.

Alvie Cater, spokesman for De Soto USD 232, wanted to take a trip back down memory lane Monday night at the De Soto Board of Education meeting.

He presented the board with a list of highlights from the past school year. Adequate yearly progress

Early results indicate all schools and student subgroups achieved Adequate Yearly Progress in both Reading and Math for 2010. While the results are still preliminary, the data is very positive and will be finalized in the fall.

Advanced placement scholars

Six students at De Soto High School and three students at Mill Valley High School were named Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams. About 18 percent of the 1.6 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to earn an AP Scholar Award.

Riverview teacher named finalist for Kansas teacher of the year

Rose Nemchik, a special education teacher at Riverview Elementary was named a state finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year.

Power of the pen project – prairie ridge elementary

Third grade students in Ms. Brandi Leggett’s class launched a letter writing project that resulted in 31 responses from celebrities, coaches, elected leaders and other officials. Students received letters, photographs, and other items from famous individuals like John Travolta, George Lucas, and JK Rowling. They also had in-class visits from K-State Football Coach Bill Snyder, K-State Basketball Coach Frank Martin, and Kansas City Wizards Soccer Player Jimmy Conrad – just to name a few. The teacher, Brandi Leggett, received the 2010 Crystal Apple Award from FOX 4 NEWS because of her Power of the Pen project.

Standard of excellence award

All schools within the district earned the coveted 2009 Kansas Standard of Excellence in either Math or Reading, or both subject areas, on state assessments. To receive the Standard of Excellence designation, a certain percentage of students must score Exemplary (highest academic level) on state assessments and only a small percentage of students scoring at the lowest level.

Student artwork selected for permanent display

Eleven students received an outstanding honor on October 12, 2009, from the Board of Education. Their artwork was selected to be on permanent display at the Board of Education building. Art teachers from each school select work each year from among their students to become part of the permanent collection.

Clear Creek teacher featured in Kansas City Star

Jamiee Beugelsdijk, fourth grade teacher at Clear Creek Elementary, was featured in the Kansas City Star describing how she landed her teaching job in the school district.

Military band performed at Mill Creek Middle School

The 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas Army National Guard performed a free concert at Mill Creek Middle School. The band played a variety of winter music selections, patriotic music, and military marches. The National Guard band is comprised of citizen soldiers from Kansas and Oklahoma.

District receives health grant

Kansas Coordinated School Health awarded USD 232 a grant in the amount of $6,500 for three years. The organization issuing the grant works to bring school personnel, parents, community members and community resources together to address policies and programs that focus on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco prevention and other topics that impact the health and wellness of all children. The grant program is designed to assist schools and school districts in making progress toward exemplary wellness policies.

School counselors received training to help prevent bullying

All counselors in the school district attended three days of training in the fall of 2009 as part of the Bully Safe USA program. The program is designed to give counselors resources and training to help educate students and teachers about bullying issues.

Lexington Trails teacher received Kansas Horizon Award

Tara Wycoff was named a 2010 Kansas Horizon Award winner by the Kansas State Department of Education. The program identifies and recognizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. The mission of the award is to recognize exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding. Wycoff teaches Engineering Applications, Geometry, and Algebra.

Starside students use worms to learn

Starside Elementary purchased plastic bins full of composting worms that feed on cafeteria waste, banana peels, paper towels and leaves. Students in grades three through five learn about the worms and the composting process through hands-on lessons and projects. The school was able to purchase the worms, along with biodegradable lunch trays and larger recycling bins, after receiving a $4,500 Kansas Green Grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education partnership.

Mize Elementary students donate shoes for Haiti

The Mize fourth grade students and their families, along with a class of first grade students, donated nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes to help people in Haiti. The donation program is part of Soles4Souls, which has distributed more than four million pairs of shoes to people in 125 countries.

Mill Valley student named National Merit Finalist

The National Merit Scholarship Program named Jeffrey F. Wilson of Mill Valley High School a finalist in the 2010 National Merit competition. Wilson, who graduated in May, is among the brightest high school students in the country, being one of only 15,000 National Merit finalists.

DHS music student competed at national level

Katie McKeirnan, who just finished her junior year at De Soto High School, competed in the Music Teacher's National Association (MTNA) woodwind solo competitions as a clarinetist. Qualifying for the national contest places Katie among the most talented high school musicians in the country.

District launches honors archeology and artifacts course

The newly created Honors Archeology and Artifacts course, taught by Museum Connections instructor Keil Hileman, began in the spring semester. And the course already has a waiting list for students. Sixteen students from MVHS and 16 students from DHS attended the class on alternating days for one hour and 35 minutes, the typical block schedule. Honors Archeology and Artifacts is described as an entry-level course for academically advanced students seeking an unusual history and research opportunity. It is largely about the methods of archaeological research, practice, observations and interpretations and how artifacts are collected from around the world.

Two educators named district teachers of the year

Two outstanding teachers received the highest honor in the school district by being named Teachers of the Year. It is an annual award for one elementary and one secondary teacher. Holly Schreiber represents the elementary level. She teaches 4th grade at Mize Elementary and will transfer to Belmont Elementary next school year. The secondary representative is Jeff Wieland. He teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History and Consumer Economics at Mill Valley High School.

Mill Valley journalism teacher named state’s best

Kathy Hill Habiger, the journalism adviser for Mill Valley High School, has won a prestigious journalism teaching award for 2010. Habiger is this year's recipient of the Jackie Engel Award, sponsored by the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press. The award was created to honor the best high school journalism teacher in Kansas.

High school students compete at Kansas Junior Academy of Science

Seven students from De Soto High School presented their Honors Biology research projects to judges at the Kansas Junior Academy of Science state meeting at Wichita State University. In order to qualify for the state presentations, the students had to receive a rating of Superior at District Level meetings.

Jaguars capture Kansas 5A state title

The journalism program at Mill Valley High School captured its second consecutive 5A state title on Saturday, May 1, 2010, at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association contest. Judges critiqued and ranked 1,150 entries to tally the winners. More than 940 students from 109 schools competed in the annual contest.

Starside Elementary earns gold award for green efforts

To recognize new and ongoing efforts by Johnson County businesses to "go green," the Johnson County Solid Waste Management Committee selected Starside Elementary as Gold Award recipient. The school is noted for its success with student directed efforts helping the school recycle 28.61 tons from August 2008 through November 2009. The school also uses biodegradable lunch trays and has worm composters for cafeteria waste.

Wrestling coach named 5A coach of the year

Travis Keal of Mill Valley High School was named the 2010 Kansas Class 5A Coach of Year by the Kansas Wrestling Officials Association. He received the prestigious award during a special ceremony at the 5A & 6A state wrestling championship in Wichita.

Middle school academic team competes in international competition

The Knowledge Master team representing Monticello Trails Middle School competed in the in the worldwide Knowledge Master Open on April 21. The team of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students competed online for nearly three hours straight and placed fifth in the state of Kansas and internationally in the top 1/6 of all teams.

District employees save $69,000 in electricity costs

Every penny counts. That was the message delivered to employees in October 2009 when the district launched its energy savings campaign. Electricity comprises 80 percent of the district's total utility expenses. For a six month period from October 2009 through March 2010 staff members were encouraged to turn off anything powered by electricity when not being used; lights, computers and computer monitors, power strips, coffee pots, etc. Employees helped save a combined 768,251 kWh during the energy challenge period, compared to the same time one year ago. At today's Westar rates, the kWh savings amount to approximately $69,000.

Mize Elementary music teacher named educator of the year

Linda McPherson, music teacher at Mize Elementary, was named 2010 Educator of the Year by Rotary International District 5710.

Years of service/retirement

The Board of Education recognized 24 employees for years of service and/or retirement. Employees received awards for 20, 25, 30, and 35 years of service. Thirteen employees were honored for their retirement from education.

Inspiration award winners

Following Convocation in August 2009, the district created the Inspiration Award to recognize employees For Inspiring Others and Finding Inspiration Each Day. Throughout the year, employees were honored for their commitment to the school district and to others. Fourteen employees received the Inspiration Award during the 2009-10 school year.

District employees receive life-saving training

The school district provided 24 employees the opportunity to receive certified training in CPR, Choking, and the operation of an AED, or automated external defibrillator. The training took place June 3, 2010, and is part of the district’s continuous improvement process and its commitment to the health and safety of students and staff. The district will offer similar training sessions to a wider group of employees.

Bond issue construction projects – under budget

The district is nearing completion of its seventh elementary school located at 5805 Belmont Drive in Shawnee. The school will have a capacity of 650 students with 78,000 square feet. Expansion of Mill Valley High School is expected to finish on time and be ready for students in August 2010. When work is complete at Mill Valley, the school will have doubled its capacity since it opened ten years ago. Phase one construction is also underway at De Soto High School adding eight classrooms for students. All projects are part of a bond issue approved by voters in November 2008. According to recent estimates, the projects are nearly $9 million under budget.

De Soto School District meeting

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 5:49 p.m.

Board actions. • Unanimously approved: the minutes for the May 21 special meeting; the minutes for the May 24 regular meeting; payment of bills; transfer of funds; personnel recommendations made on June 8; personnel recommendations made on June 14, final resolution to non-renew administrative contract; USD 232 family medical leave plan and procedures; contract for services between Partners in Behavioral Milestones, Inc./Milestoes Academy and the district; the donation of miscellaneous office supplies and materials valued at $500 from Darla and Craig Haines Mills to be used at Horizon Elementary School; an agreement with the city of Lenexa for a school resource officer to serve at MIll Creek Middle School; change order No. 2 on the De Soto High School construction in the amount of $7,859; change order No. 8 on the Belmont Elementary project in the amount of $13,816; approved change order No. 10 on the Mill valley High School additions in the amount of $19,137; the low bid from KC Bin for the removal of 60 existing single-bay athletic lockers and replacing them with 60 double-tier frames in the mount of $24,596.

• The district’s new superintendent-elect, Doug Sumner, made a visit to the meeting along with his wife, Monica, and his two sons, Cade and Blake.

“I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be back here,” Sumner said. “Six years ago I left a job that I loved dearly. I left a district that was so very good to me and was responsible for my development as a leader. To be able to come back and serve at this capacity is beyond my expectations.”

He told the board that he couldn’t wait to start working with Ron Wimmer beginning in August.

• Scheduled an organizational meeting for July 12; budget meeting July 26 and budget hearing and adoption on Aug. 16.

• Unanimously approved the purchase of refurbished computers from Computer Dealers Inc., for Belmont Elementary and Expansion for Mill Valley High School in the amount of $121,169.

• Unanimously approved the purchase of weight training equipment for Mill Valley High School from Hammer Strength in the amount of $64,567.55.

• Directed staff to ask for bids on the installation of surveillance camera equipment in all of the schools in the district. The board has been offered a special deal on surveillance camera's from Panasonic, but it does not want to go ahead with the purchase of the cameras until it knows how much the installation will cost.

• Ken Larsen, USD 232 director of finance, updated the board on its budget cuts. He said that they have been able to reduce the schools expenditures by almost $1.9 million “without having layoffs.” “I think we’ve accomplished what we’ve needed for the current year,” he said.

• Met in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss a matter affecting a student.

• Met in executive session for 20 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel.

Live video by Ustream

De Soto Chamber of Commerce release monthly newsletter

Laura Herring June 14, 2010 at 12:44 p.m.

The De Soto Chamber of Commerce released its June newsletter. The document contains articles from members of the chamber, a city report and a column from the director of the chamber. To read the newsletter in full, download it from our website. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/14/de-soto-chamber-commerce-newsletter/

De Soto City Council meeting agenda for June 17

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:42 a.m.

De Soto City Council: 7 p.m., June 17, City Hall, 32905 W. 84th St.

Roll Call by Mayor David Anderson and Pledge of Allegiance. Proclamation by Mayor Anderson proclaiming June as business appreciation month.

HEARING: Consider evidence on whether dog located at 8593 Primrose should be removed from city.

Consent agenda items will be acted upon by one motion unless a council member requests an item be removed for discussion and separate action.

Consent Agenda:

a. Approve Minutes of the Council Meeting of June 3rd, 2010. b. Approve Pay Ordinance No. 643.

Call to Public:

“Members of the public are welcome to use this time to comment about any matter relating to City business not listed on this Agenda. The comments that are discussed under Call to Public may or may not be acted upon by the Council during this meeting. There is a four-minute time limit. Please stand and wait to be recognized by the Mayor. You must state your name and address.”

Old Business:

New Business:

a. Consider the 2010 Fireworks Sales Permits:

i. De Soto High Wildcat Football Program (Waiver of Fees Requested)

ii. VFW (Waiver of Fees Requested)

iii. Garrett’s Worldwide Enterprises, LLC

b. Consider recommended policy language from the right-of-way maintenance and preservation committee

c. Consider bids for the 2010 Wyandotte Street Mill & Overlay CARS Project

d. Consider a Temporary Use Permit for City’s 4th of July Celebration at Riverfest Park

e. Consider Application to Use Bow and Arrow to Hunt Deer at 9295 Cedar Creek Road

f. Consider Application to Use Bow and Arrow to Hunt Deer at 30835 West 83rd Street

g. Determine whether Dog at 8593 Primrose Should be Removed from City

Executive Session:

Advisory Reports:

a. City Administrator

b. City Attorney

c. City Engineer

d. City Planner

e. City Clerk

Council & Mayor Comments

Adjournment

USD 232 Board of Education agenda June 14

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:34 a.m.

De Soto's USD 232 Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 14 in the District's Administrative Building, 35200 W. 91st Street, De Soto.

Download the agenda and additional documents here.

I. MEETING OPENING.

a. Call to Order.

b. Pledge of Allegiance.

II. CONSENT AGENDA. These items represent matters which the Board may approve without detailed discussion. Any item on the Consent Agenda may be removed for separate discussion as an Action Item upon request by the Superintendent or any board member. The Board has received supporting information on all items prior to action on the Consent Agenda.

a. Adopt agenda.

b. Approve minutes of May 21 special meeting.

c. Approve minutes of May 24 regular meeting.

d. Approve payment of bills.

e. Approve transfer of funds (if appropriate).

f. Approve personnel recommendations made on June 8, 2010.

g. Approve personnel recommendations made on June 14, 2010.

h. Approve revised Learning Coach Basic Contract.

i. Approve final Resolution to non-renew administrative contract.

j. Approve USD 232 Family Medical Leave Plan & Procedures.

k. Approve Contract for Services between Partners in Behavioral Milestones, Inc./Milestones Academy and the De Soto School District for a student to receive extended year services.

l. Declare list of Media Center materials and Math manipulatives as surplus.

m. Accept donation of miscellaneous office supplies and materials valued at $500.00 to Horizon Elementary School from Craig and Darla Haines Mills.

n. Approve Agreement with the City of Lenexa for a School Resource Officer to serve Mill Creek Middle School during the 2009-10 school year.

o. Approve Change Order No. 2 on the De Soto High School: Arts & Commons Addition project (Phase 1) in the amount of $7,859.00.

p. Approve Change Order No. 8 on the Belmont Elementary project in the amount of $13,816.00.

q. Approve Change Order No. 10 on the Mill Valley High School Additions & Renovations project in the amount of $19,137.00.

r. Approve low bid from KC Bin for removal of 60 existing single bay athletic lockers and replacing them with 60 double tier frames, totaling 120 lockers, in the varsity locker room and adding 50 lockers in the junior varsity/visitor’s locker room at the De Soto High School Field House in the amount of $24,596.00.

III. GOOD NEWS.

a. Introduction of Dr. Doug Sumner.

IV. PATRON INPUT.

V. ACTION ITEMS.

a. USD 232 Fun Fit Food Guidelines. [Gabby Philbrook & Julie Johnson]

b. Schedule July Organizational Meeting. [Dr. Ron Wimmer]

c. Purchase of Refurbished Computers for Belmont Elementary & Expansion for Mill Valley High School. [Jeff Mildner]

d. Mill Valley High School Weight Training Equipment. [Steve Deghand]

e. Video Surveillance Project. [Alvie Cater & Adam Reed]

f. Belmont Elementary Access Path Design. [Dr. Ron Wimmer]

VI. DISCUSSION ITEMS.

a. KASB Question & Answer Session. [Tim Blankenship]

b. July/August Budget Presentation, Hearing & Adoption Schedule. [Dr. Ron Wimmer]

c. Budget Reduction Update. [Ken Larsen]

d. Mill Valley Parking Lot Expansion. [Dr. Ron Wimmer]

e. School Highlights for 2009-2010. [Dr. Ron Wimmer & Alvie Cater]

f. Board of Education Annual Review Process. [Dr. Ron Wimmer]

g. Continuous Improvement. [Tim Blankenship]

VII. WRITTEN REPORTS.

a. July 2010 Board Calendar.

b. RFP for automotive repair/inspection shops.

VIII. EXECUTIVE SESSION.

a. Matter Affecting a Student.

b. Non-Elected Personnel.

IX. ADJOURNMENT.

New JCPRD boxing program to be based in Shawnee

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:24 a.m.

A new boxing team for youth is being organized by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District beginning in late June in Shawnee.

The Boxing Amateur Competitive program is for ages 10 and up. The team will condition participants for competition while emphasizing fundamentals including stances, basic punches, footwork and everything necessary to prepare for sparring.

This program will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday beginning June 22 at Punch Boxing +Fitness, 5435 Roberts St. The cost for 12 60-minute sessions is $150 for Johnson County residents or $165 for nonresidents.

Call (913) 441-1070 or visit punchboxingandfitness.com for more information. To register online and for updated program listings, visit jcprd.com.

NAACP to hold annual youth convention in Kansas City

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:22 a.m.

The NAACP Youth and College Division will hold their annual convention in Kansas City from July 11-15.

Thousands of young people representing 600 youth councils, high school chapters and college chapters will attend the event, which coincides with the NAACP's 101st Annual Convention.

The convention will highlight a new civil rights agenda that builds on the past and embraces the unique struggles and aspirations of today's youth, a press release from the NAACP stated.

Members will vote and discuss legislation pertinent to the division, attend workshops and youth advisory meetings. Topics will range from civic engagement, voter registration and mastering social networking.

Youth Units, Advisors and State Youth & College Divisions will also be recognized during the convention with the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Youth Freedom Awards, awarded to those who have displayed exemplary youth activism in the civil rights arena, dedication, and commitment to the mission and vision of the NAACP.

Phone scammers target metro residents

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:21 a.m.

A telephone scam promising residents cash or merchandise is being reported in the metro area. Four Overland Park residents have called police to report having received telephone calls stating they had won a car, the lottery, or large sum of money. All the resident had to do, Overland Park Police reported, was to send money to claim their winnings.

The scammers, the police said, requested money to be sent via Western Union or UPS to location such as Chicago, Houston or Florida. None of the Overland Park residents fell for the scam. No money was sent.

Each of the four scam targets said the caller spoke with a heavy accent, possibly a Middle Eastern accent.

Any Shawnee residents who receive similar calls should call the Shawnee Police Department, (913) 631-2155.

Johnson County Library a Google ‘favorite place’

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:19 a.m.

Johnson County Library is now listed as a "Google Favorite Place"

Johnson County Library is now listed as a "Google Favorite Place"

The Johnson County Library has been announced as one of the most popular local businesses/organizations on Google, as measured by how many times people found the library’s listing, jocolibrary.org, and clicked on it for more information between Dec. 1, 2009, and Feb. 28, 2010.

As a “Favorite Place on Google,” Johnson County Library is one of less than 250,000 businesses or organizations in the U.S. to receive this recognition. That’s less than 1 percent of all U.S. businesses and organizations.

Kasey Riley, library communications manager, said in a release that being a “favorite place” is indicative of how valued the library is as a resource for the Johnson County community.

In honor of this achievement, Google Headquarters is issuing a window decal that shows customers the library is a “Favorite Place on Google.” The decal sticker includes a special bar code – known as a QR code – that potential library users may scan with cameras on their smart phones. When they scan the code, users will pull up a mobile version of the Place Page for the library, where they can read reviews, find promotions, add the library’s Web site as a “personal favorite,” and more.

Cyclists rest in Eudora during eight-day ride across Kansas

Estuardo Garcia June 14, 2010 at 10:16 a.m.

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State bike ride stops in Eudora by Janet Reid

By Aleese Kopf

More than 800 cyclists pedaled into Eudora on Friday night to enjoy one last rest before their 492-mile ride concludes.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/2010/jun/12/37041/

The riders are participants in the 36th annual Biking Across Kansas bicycle tour that encompasses an eight-day ride across the state of Kansas. The tour began at the Kansas-Colorado line just west of Goodland and ends at the Missouri River in Leavenworth.

The majority of the 868 cyclists are from Kansas, but nearly 200 riders from 30 other states are making the tour. The group of cyclists includes all skill levels, including nearly 350 new riders.

Bill Smith, a seven-year veteran of the event from Wichita, said the ride is great not only for the exercise but for the people he meets and the places he sees as well.

“It’s a good way to really see Kansas,” Smith said. “You ride slow and you see the countryside as well as learn about the towns and some of the interesting things that have happened in Kansas.”

To help welcome Smith and the other riders ranging in age from 10 to 88, the Eudora Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Summer in the Park event at Eudora Middle School. The family-friendly evening featured free live music and children’s activities, as well as food vendors.

Kristi Carmichael, a massage therapist from Michigan, spent the evening working out all the kinks and aches that accompany the long journey. Carmichael and three other massage therapists worked from about 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the ride, massaging anywhere from 40 to 60 people. She said they enjoy coming to Kansas and are always surprised by how nice everyone is.

“It’s very profitable for us, but we love the excuse for a road trip,” Carmichael said.

Today, riders will complete the weeklong event. For Smith, it will be a bittersweet finish.

“I’ll miss all these friends and spending time with the people, but I’m ready to get off that old seat — it’s starting to hurt a little,” Smith said.

Pain or no pain, Smith said he’s done it seven times and would do it again.

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect

Laura Herring June 13, 2010 at 9:28 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issues a severe thunderstorm watch for Johnson County in effect until 3 a.m. Monday. A flood warning and a hazardous weather outlook have also been issued, lasting through Monday afternoon.

Flood Advisory in effect for Johnson County

Laura Herring June 12, 2010 at 10:50 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Advisory for Johnson County, in effect until 4:00 p.m.

De Soto High School reunion to take place Saturday

Laura Herring June 11, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

The De Soto High School All-School reunion dinner and dance will take place Saturday evening at the De Soto VFW, 33725 W 84th St.

For more details on the all-school reunion, contact Ron and Kay McDaniel at (913) 585-1902. The class of 1970 will have its 40th class reunion lunch at noon on the same day at the De Soto Community Center.

For details on the class of 1970 reunion lunch, contact Tim Maniez at (913) 583-3609 or Lana McPherson at (913) 585-1827.

Shopping for bargains

Laura Herring June 11, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.

Sara Miller of Eudora checks the size of a pair of shorts for her son Andrew at Denise Porras' garage sale in De Soto on Friday afternoon. Miller returned to the garage sale a second time, "This morning I just bought my son shorts for the summer but everything was such a great deal I came back to stock up on bigger clothes for the winter."

Sara Miller of Eudora checks the size of a pair of shorts for her son Andrew at Denise Porras' garage sale in De Soto on Friday afternoon. Miller returned to the garage sale a second time, "This morning I just bought my son shorts for the summer but everything was such a great deal I came back to stock up on bigger clothes for the winter."

Illusionist makes magic at Summer Reading program

Laura Herring June 11, 2010 at 12:48 p.m.

Illusionist Kevin Horner visited the De Soto branch of the Johnson County Public Library for its summer reading program on Friday.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... Horner used magic tricks and puppets to encourage reading in children and involved children in the performance as assistants. Friday's event had 36 children and 13 adults in attendance, the largest number library employee Robyn Myers has seen at the De Soto branch. The summer reading program kicked off on May 24 and will run every Friday until Aug. 7.

Sign-up now for summer programs through the department of Parks & Recreation

Laura Herring June 11, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.

Many summer programs through the department of Parks & Recreation are now accepting registration forms. See the attached forms for more information. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/09/summer-basketball-camp/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/summer-soccer-camp/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/summer-dance-camp/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/summer-senior-fitness/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/water-aerobics/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/sumemr-tennis-camp/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/summer-archery-camp/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/summer-fitness-bootcamp/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/... http://www.desotoexplorer.com/documents/2010/jun/11/morning-water-aerobics/ http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

Summer pool memberships available

Laura Herring June 11, 2010 at 11:49 a.m.

The De Soto Aquatic Center would like to remind everyone that summer passes to the pool may still be purchased at the De Soto City Hall, 32905 W. 84th St. City Hall is open from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

De Soto Youth Ministries to have fundraisers in conjunction with De Soto Days

Laura Herring June 10, 2010 at 1:50 p.m.

De Soto Youth Ministries is sponsoring a pancake breakfast and 5/10 K walk/run to benefit area youths. Both events will be Saturday, July 10.

De Soto Youth Ministries Fundraisers

De Soto Youth Ministries Fundraisers

Johnson County youths win honors at Spring Swine Show

Laura Herring June 10, 2010 at 1:39 p.m.

The Johnson County Kansas State University Research and Extension 4-H Spring Swine Show was May 29 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Gardner. Two Johnson County girls received the championship honors. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

Overall Reserve Grand Champion, Tonya Slyter of Spring Hill, Kan. and judge Nick Shelton

Overall Reserve Grand Champion, Tonya Slyter of Spring Hill, Kan. and judge Nick Shelton

De Soto resident receives academic honor

Laura Herring June 10, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.

De Soto resident Stacy Carter received the prestigious honor of being inducted into the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa at Kansas University on May 15. Carter is the daughter of Bill and Cathy Carter of De Soto. She received the honor from Kansas University, where she is studying Psychology.

June Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

Laura Herring June 10, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.

The De Soto Chamber of Commerce had its monthly luncheon on Thursday, June 10, at Lexington Trails Middle School. The school cafeteria filled up quickly as members of the chamber arrived and began chatting with one another about De Soto and their stakes in the community. Chamber president Kris Johnson gave a brief report and informed those in attendance that De Soto has received an increased bond rating. De Soto is now rated A+. Alvie Cater, director of community relations for USD 232, gave the schools' report. Due to budget constraints, 23 staff positions were eliminated, most of these were from retirement and none were classroom teachers, according to Cater. Cater also said that Phase I of the construction on De Soto High School will be adding eight new classrooms to the building and construction will be stopped after that.

Other items on the agenda included updates on upcoming events, namely the 4th of July fireworks in Riverfest Park, the De Soto Days festival and the Sunflower Artfest. Alesa Miller shared with the chamber the new commercial for De Soto Days that will be airing soon.

State Sen. Julia Lynn closed out the meeting with an update on the recently completed Senate session.

A new face for De Soto

Estuardo Garcia June 10, 2010 at 10:55 a.m.

Dear De Soto residents, I have some good news and some bad news.

I will tell you about the bad news first. I am going back to school this fall and will be leaving the community in August. I really love taking photos and I am going to pursue a career and a degree in photography of some kind. I have really enjoyed my time in De Soto and I have enjoyed getting to meet all of you. I have really high hopes for desotoexplorer.com.

Now for the good news. For the next two months Laura Herring will be working with me as we continue building the site. She will be taking over for me when I leave. She did graduate from Mizzou, so please — all of you Jayhawk fans — go easy on her. She will do a great job. So without further ado, let me introduce Laura Herring. http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/...

My name is Laura Herring and I am a new journo for www.desotoexplorer.com.

I am a recent graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and I now proudly hold a degree in photojournalism. I spent the last year and a half at The Columbia Missourian, working as a staff reporter, staff photographer and photo editor.

Despite being a born and raised Missourian, I'm excited about my move to Kansas and the opportunity to get to know the De Soto community. I grew up in the small, rural town of Butler, Mo., located about an hour south of Kansas City, Mo. My family has been farming in west-central Missouri for more than 100 years, and I grew up raising many types of livestock and crops.

I became interested in photography during my preteen years and decided to channel that into journalism in high school and never looked back. I am also a self-declared Francophile and hold a minor in French. I spent the summer of 2009 studying in Paris and exploring other parts of Europe. I had a wonderful time there, but I'm happy that this new position in De Soto will put me closer to my family in Missouri, especially my three nieces and my nephew.

Photo of the day: June 9

Laura Herring June 9, 2010 at noon

Frank Thompson (left) and Jerry Haverhill, both members of KC Car Guys, admire the detailing on the door of a classic Ford at Dean Weller's auto garage. Thompson, who owns a Jeep dealership in Overland Park, had read about Weller's shop in the past and was excited to see it for himself.

Frank Thompson (left) and Jerry Haverhill, both members of KC Car Guys, admire the detailing on the door of a classic Ford at Dean Weller's auto garage. Thompson, who owns a Jeep dealership in Overland Park, had read about Weller's shop in the past and was excited to see it for himself.

Daily Poll

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.

Democratic team set: Tom Holland names lieutenant governor running mate state Sen. Kelly Kultala

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.

By Scott Rothschild

Topeka — Democratic candidate for governor Tom Holland announced Wednesday that he has picked state Sen. Kelly Kultala as his lieutenant governor running mate.

Kelly Kultala

Kelly Kultala

Kultala is from Kansas City, Kan. and is in her first term in the Senate. She is the ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Local Government committees and also serves on the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Holland, of Baldwin City, and Kultala planned campaign events in Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita.

Holland said he picked Kultala because of "her record of bipartisanship, commitment to creating jobs and protecting public schools."

They planned to file for office at the secretary of state's office in Topeka.Thursday is the last day to file for the Aug. 3 party primaries.

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback is the leading Republican candidate for governor. Brownback and his running mate, state Sen. Jeff Colyer, filed for the GOP primary last week.

In 2008, Kultala, with backing from then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, defeated state Sen. Mark Gilstrap in the Democratic Party primary. Gilstrap is now a Republican.

Fido’s first aid: A 101 on warm-weather dangers to your pet

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/jun/07/192726/

By Terry Rombeck

A ball flies through the air. Fido runs through the grass after it.

Fido grabs the ball, whips around and falls. He’s torn his CCL — the dog equivalent of an ACL tear in a human.

“We run into the same problems with dogs being weekend warriors as we do,” says Robin Michael, a veterinarian with Clinton Parkway Animal Hospital, 4340 Clinton Parkway.

As the weather gets warmer and dogs and cats spend more time outdoors, it’s important to know the warning signs and treatment of common injuries and ailments of your pets.

We asked Michael and Susan Nelson, clinical assistant professor at the Veterinary Medicine Hospital at Kansas State University, for their first-aid tips for pets. They say it’s especially important to keep an eye on your pets this time of year to keep them healthy.

Exercise and conditioning

If you’ve been a little lax on your workout routine over the winter and early spring, well, so has your dog.

“The big thing we see in the spring is dogs going out with their owner to run for the first time and getting overheated,” Michael says.

It takes your dog the same amount of ramping up to be in top condition to run those five miles you have on your workout goals.

Keep an eye on your dog, Michael says. If it is lagging behind or panting excessively, find some water and shade for it to cool down. Short-nosed dogs, such as boxers and bulldogs, are especially susceptible to overheating.

“A lot of dogs don’t know when to stop,” Nelson says. “You have to be proactive for them.”

Pad wear

Just like overall conditioning weakens over the winter, so do the calluses on the pads of dogs’ paws.

Nelson suggests running on grass for a while, if possible, and then transitioning to cement. She says gravel is especially hard on dogs’ paws.

And especially be careful during hot weather this summer.

“Think about how your feet feel on a hot summer day at the pool,” she says.

Wounds

More time outside means more chance for cuts and other wounds for both cats and dogs.

Nelson says clipping the hair around a minor wound, then using a mild soap (such as Ivory or a baby shampoo) on the wound is a good first step.

Michael suggests trying to cover the wound with a bandage, if possible.

“The biggest problem with a cut or scrape is they want to lick it to death,” she says. “That makes it worse. People misunderstand the licking as it’s cleaning it. But it’s not healing that way. It takes longer and has a chance to get infected.”

Though most veterinarians would prefer to treat wounds without sutures, Michael says bad lacerations should be at least examined by a vet.

Bites

“We tend to see more cat fights this time of the year,” Nelson says. “It’s nice out. They’re carousing a little more.”

She says bites are best viewed by a veterinarian, just to be on the safe side.

“Bite wounds make us worried a little more,” she says. “They can do more muscle damage.”

And, of course, a bite wound could mean the potential for rabies, which the vet can test for and treat. And Nelson suggests taking your pet in to a veterinarian after a snake bite no matter what.

Doggie paddling

If you want to take your dog to the local pond, river or lake to swim, Nelson suggests having it vaccinated for bacterial infections, especially leptospirosis.

Swimming dogs may develop diarrhea, which may be a natural occurrence. But bacterial infections are more severe and long-term, and they can be fatal.

Nelson also warns that swims in the local reservoir can lead to fishing hooks caught in your dog’s lip or skin.

G.I. Fido

A new season of plants means a buffet of new things to eat for your pets.

Though a small amount of grass can help a dog vomit and relieve gastrointestinal illness, in general, you should help your pets avoid eating plants.

Some mushrooms can be poisonous to pets, Michael says, so avoiding all of them is best. Lilies are generally poisonous to cats.

Also, there’s a new enemy on the pet-GI front: cocoa mulch, which is gaining popularity. For the same reason chocolate is poisonous to dogs, the mulch is bad for them, too.

“It smells great,” Michael says. “They’ll go and eat until they’re full.”

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ debuts at Theatre in the Park

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 8:40 a.m.

By Ashlee Kieler

The musical numbers are big, but the hair is even bigger in Theatre in the Park’s summer debut of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

And one person to thank is Shawnee resident Jessica Alcorn, who is working on the show’s aesthetics, while participating as a soul singer.

“This show is going to be my favorite for hair because it’s like a rock star,” she said of the summer theater’s first production. “I’m having a blast with this show.”

Alcorn, who is currently a student at Paul Mitchell Beauty School in Overland Park, has participated in Theatre in the Park shows since 2000.

“I’ve been part of over 13 shows, either with parts or doing hair,” she said. “I’ve been going to the shows since I was little, and one year my mom said we should audition and I got a part in ‘Evita.’”

While Alcorn loves her time on the stage, it’s backstage where she’s most comfortable.

“I love both equally and am passionate about both,” she said. “With my future I’ll be doing hair. I don’t want to be in a salon, I want to get involved with a theater company and be a hair and makeup artist.”

Recently, Alcorn got her first taste of what it’s like to work on Broadway shows. She shadowed the hair and makeup artist for “Spring Awakening” in St. Louis for a week.

“I got to learn under him, and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

While Alcorn won’t be finished with school until September, she’s been sending out her portfolio to agents and theater companies.

This summer Alcorn will use her passion during “Jesus Christ Superstar,” then again during Theater in the Park’s production of “Cinderella.”

“When I do people’s hair it’s so cool to see,” she said. “You look to everyone on stage and it’s like ‘I did that.’ It helps develop their character.”

Monday began tech week for “Jesus Chris Superstar,” and Alcorn was ready to put her styles to the test.

“I’ll get there an hour early to start doing hair and makeup, then get myself ready,” she said.

Alcorn said the Theater in the Park version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” has been coming together nicely in rehearsals.

“Every show is like peeling an onion one piece at a time,” she said. “Some nights we pull back a lot and others we put some back on. It’s really a process and it’s neat to see how it goes. You get past the first week and it just glides.”

Alcorn described Theatre in the Park’s rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar” as modern.

“It’s a very modern portrayal, we all dress like rock stars,” she said. “It’s a situation in 2010 terms. It’s really flashy, and I think everyone will enjoy it.”

The rock opera begins at 8:30 p.m. June 11-13 and June 17-20 at Shawnee Mission Park, 771- Renner Road. Box office opens at 6:30 p.m., while gates open at 7:30 p.m.

Five Questions: Election outlook

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 8:20 a.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs, shown here being sworn into office earlier this year, will conduct an open house in Topeka on Thursday, and at noon that day, he’ll gavel an end to this year’s candidate filing period.

Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs, shown here being sworn into office earlier this year, will conduct an open house in Topeka on Thursday, and at noon that day, he’ll gavel an end to this year’s candidate filing period.

Q: What offices are up for election this year in Kansas?

A: In 2010, individuals will be elected or retained for the following offices: one U.S. senator; all four U.S. representatives; governor/lieutenant governor; secretary of state; attorney general; state treasurer; commissioner of insurance; all 125 state representatives; State Board of Education (Positions 1, 3, 5, 7, 9); district magistrate judges (16 retained, two elected); four Kansas Supreme Court justices (Positions 1, 2, 3, 5); eight Kansas Court of Appeals judges; district court judges (40 retained, 29 elected)

Q: When is the deadline for candidates to file?

A: Democrat or Republican candidates who wish to appear on the August 3rd primary ballot must file for office by noon on Thursday.

Q: If someone is interested in running, how do they file?

A: In order to file for office, individuals must complete the necessary paperwork and submit a fee or petition. Candidates for national or state office must file with the Secretary of State’s Office while candidates for local office file with their county election office.

Q: What about the details, costs, necessary paperwork, etc., for filing? Is it online?

A: More information about filing is available at: kssos.org/elections/10elec/elections_filing_2010.pdf

Q: Is the Secretary of State’s Office doing anything special to mark the filing deadline?

A: Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs will host an open house on Thursday, June 10, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Memorial Hall (120 SW Topeka Ave., Topeka) to conclude the candidate filing period. At the noon deadline, Secretary Biggs will strike the gavel and declare the filing period closed.

Archive for Friday, June 4, 2010 Political signs not allowed on highway right of way

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.

It’s a sign of the season — campaigning to support your favorite political candidate. However, if your plans involve placing a political sign, the Kansas Department of Transportation reminds people to make sure the sign is not located on highway right of way.

By law, all right of way on state highways is to be used exclusively for public highway purposes. Only regulatory, guide signs and warning signs are allowed on the state highway system. KDOT has jurisdiction over all interstate, Kansas and U.S. routes on the state’s 9,600-mile system.

The public should be aware that all political campaign signs or billboards are prohibited on the state right of way.

When KDOT maintenance crews find political or business advertising on state right of way, the signs will be removed immediately without notice. All such signs will then be taken to the closest KDOT subarea office where they can be picked up by the owner with the agreement they will not be placed on state right of way again. All political campaign signs not picked up will be disposed of after the election.

Political campaign advertising is allowed on private property bordering state right of way. However, people erecting signs on private property must first obtain permission from the property owner.

Police catch west Shawnee vandals

Estuardo Garcia June 9, 2010 at 8:16 a.m.

Shawnee police announced Thursday they have found and charged four boys, ages 13 and 14, in vandalism cases that totaled more than $60,000 in damage. The vandalism occurred between Dec. 24, 2009, and Feb. 21 of this year, including damage to houses under construction in the Grey Oaks subdivision and at Prairie Ridge Elementary, Monticello Trails Middle and Mill Valley High schools, just a few blocks away. Shawnee Police Capt. Bill Hisle said several tips came into the police department about the damage, and detectives with the department’s investigative unit were able to find the four suspects.

Hisle said three of the boys are Shawnee residents and one is a Lee’s Summit, Mo., resident. They are being charged with criminal damage to property; their names have not been released because they are juveniles.

The damage included the following:

• Extensive damage to hardwood floors, carpet, kitchen cabinets and paint, estimated at $13,500 in late December at a home in the 22600 block of 57th Street.

• Extensive damage to carpet, lighting/electrical system and paint, estimated at $3,000 in late December at a home in the 22600 block of 56th St.

• Extensive damage to hardwood floors, carpet, drywall, doors, lighting, glass and paint, estimated at $40,950, in January at a home in the 22500 block of 58th Street.

• Window screens cut and a security card reader destroyed at Prairie Ridge Elementary in February.

• Recycling bin set on fire at Monticello Trails in February.

• Track and field area damaged at Mill Valley in February.

Photo of the Day: June 8th

Laura Herring June 8, 2010 at 6:28 p.m.

Kylee Cronin (center), age 14 reads the synopsis on the back of a book at the De Soto branch of the Johnson Co. Public Library while her friend Kenna Hall, age 13, reads over her shoulder. The girls visited the library Tuesday afternoon.

Kylee Cronin (center), age 14 reads the synopsis on the back of a book at the De Soto branch of the Johnson Co. Public Library while her friend Kenna Hall, age 13, reads over her shoulder. The girls visited the library Tuesday afternoon.

Neighbors

Laura Herring June 8, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.

  • The De Soto Methodist Church's confirmation class' service project, which began on May 2nd, was a success. Each child was assigned a "food type" to collect for the De Soto Multi-Service Center. Money was also collected for the Center.
  • The De Soto Methodist Church had five youth from the congregation confirmed on Sunday, June 6th during the 10:00 am worship service. After the service there was a potluck brunch in the Fellowship Hall to celebrate the milestone.
  • The De Soto Methodist Church Youth Group met on Wednesday, June 2nd at 7:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall.
  • The Rotary Club was served breakfast on Friday at 7:00 am.
  • A private party was held at noon on Saturday, June 5th.
  • The Relay for Life in the De Soto Community was held Friday, June 5th at the De Soto School District Stadium. A group stayed for 12 consecutive hours, taking up the Fight for the Cure. Each team had at least on member walking around the track during the entire 12-hour period. The event was open to anyone who wished to support with a candle in honor or memory of loved ones. I myself always donate for relatives and friends.
  • On Monday, May 31st, the De Soto Baptist Church held a memorial service for Josh Childers. Many attended and he was honored with many testimonies. He caulked my windows and took care of the brush burning hell.
  • The Willow Springs F.C.E. went to Hellsede Village for their monthly birthday party, held in their dining room. Five ladies and one gentleman had May birthdays, but we had all the ones who wanted to come and be with us. They were given cookies, angel-food cake and punch for refreshments and we all sang "Happy BIrthday." The ladies received Avon hand cream and the gentleman lip balm. We also donated prizes for their Bingo games.
  • My son, Edwin, sent me a picture of his granddaughter, Lisa, at her piano recital. His daughter, Paige, has 97 5th graders in her class at school. They are performing this week as well. My great-grandson Hayden, who lives in De Soto, was awarded a Certificate of Honor at the District Baseball Recognition, held at the high school last week. He also received a certificate from his Sophomore team. All of the D.H.S. classes received recognition and certificates from coaches. My son Jerry and I went to southern Missouri to the cemeteries on Thursday, June 4th. The weather was nice. We were able to find all the gravesides except those of one aunt and uncle at a Baptist church cemetery. I think the tombstone was old and had broken off and been discarded. We visited 10 cemeteries and 32 graves.
  • Those with birthdays in the beginning of June are: Reta Jenks; Lou Guntert; Pastor Jerry Vaughn; Jessie Payne; Dennis Casey; Junelle Woolery; Coen Towner; Cassandra Miller; Leroy Davis; Nancy Lindbloom and these great-grandchildren of mine: Thomas Nalley; Brian Modelski of Illinois and Lisa Nalley of Texas.
  • Those with anniversaries in the beginning of June are: Dean and Karen Wall; Dennis and Diana Zwahlen and Walter and Mary Jo McDaniel.
  • The current needs of the De Soto Community Multi-Service Center are: mushroom soup; canned tomatoes; sugar; white rice; canned chicken or tuna; cleaning supplies; paper products; baby diapers; toothpaste and toothbrushes. Always donations inside the center, please do not leave outside the door or on the walk. Call ahead to Jodi at 583-1152.
  • New members of the Baptist Church Karl and Barbara Beasley announced the birth of their grandson to their daughter Sarah. Karl was a minister at Linwood for several years.
  • The Baptist Church had a potluck dinner at noon on Sunday, June 6th, for the Zuirqzdins family. There was also a welcome for Chris Marziale, who was the speaker at the worship service.
  • Those on the sick list are: Shirley Brunner, who is still confined to her home. Now she is scheduled to go back in the hospital to have the foot and leg problems taken care of. The Baptist Sunday School class shared concerns and there were many unspoken requests. Mary Jo McDaniel is in the Olathe Medical Hospital. Word was received that Clausie Smith of the newspaper is in Providence Hospital after two strokes, the first occurred on last Tuesday and the second on last Thursday. He cannot move his right side and has slurred speech. They plan to move him to St. Luke's South.
  • My left foot is doing better but is still now well. My daughter Debbie and great-grandson Hayden are doctoring it with medication and bandages and I'm keeping it elevated. The swelling has decreased and the three open places are not as red. I'm on antibiotics now and I currently take 38 pills each day. The doctor wants to see me once the prescription is finished.
  • Sympathy goes out to the families of Virgil Dabbs and Joshua Childers.

County under severe thunderstorm warning, tornado watch

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 4:36 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Johnson County until 5:15 p.m. The NWS states that this line of thunderstorms is capable of producing quarter-sized hail and winds in excess of 60 mph.

The county is also under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. The NWS said tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms "although not immediately likely."

They suggest if a tornado is spotted to quickly move to the basement or small interior room of a sturdy structure.

Additionally, a the service has issued a flash flood warning for the county until 10:30 p.m.

Proposed county budget has no increases for taxpayers

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 3:49 p.m.

OLATHE– The proposed 2011 Budget for Johnson County Government holds the line on the county’s property taxes for another year. The county’s proposed budget for next year totals $796.8 million, with expenditures estimated at $648.6 million and reserves set at $148.2 million to the funding of 33 departments and five agencies that comprise county government.

The proposed 2011 Budget was drafted without an increase in the county’s current taxing levy at 23.213 mills, which traditionally has been the lowest mill levy among 105 counties in Kansas.

One mill is equal to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

The spending proposal for next year was unveiled during two afternoon Committee of the Whole sessions of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners by representatives from the County Manager's Office and the Budget and Financial Planning Department. The afternoon sessions began Wednesday, June 2, and ended Thursday, June 3.

Preparation of the proposed budget under the direction of County Manager Hannes Zacharias, has been under development over the past four months.

“Paradoxically, the budget is the largest in Johnson County Government’s history and yet contains the greatest level of staff, monetary, and service reductions ever brought forward. It reflects the growing demand for services (averaging 25 percent in some areas) and the community’s desire to keep tax rates at current levels,” Zacharias advised the Board in his annual budget message.

“As directed by the County Commission, this budget places the organization on a trajectory over the next five years to align the organization’s expenditures with expected revenues. This can only be achieved by reducing the size of the organization, which this budget reflects.”

The proposed budget was crafted with a rightsizing of county government in its five-year plan and by a balancing act of $15.7 million in expenditure reductions, eliminating 159 full-time vacant equivalent employee (FTE) positions through attrition with no employee layoffs, and providing the best possible services at the least amount of cost.

Highlights of proposed budget included:

• Maximum number of FTEs at 4,013.66. That’s a decrease of 159.63 FTEs from the FY 2010 Budget.

• A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totaling $94.0 million, a slight decrease from FY 2010, including:

• $55.6 million for wastewater projects;

• $12.9 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program. In past years, the program traditionally received $15.4 million in funding;

• $1.9 million for the county’s Bridge, Road, and Culvert Program. In past years, the program was funded at $2.3 million;

• $10.7 million for the county’s Stormwater Management Program;

• $5 million for bus replacement by the Transit Department; and,

• $2.8 million for land acquisition and capital improvements by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

• A wastewater rate increase of approximately $1.14 per month for the median user. That’s an overall increase of 5.4 percent over FY 2010. The FY 2011 Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) charge of $134 per EDU and connection fees for new structures set at $3,258 per EDU remain unchanged.

• A modest 1.5 percent salary merit increase in 2011 for county employees. That is half of the rate in previous years.

Property tax collections in 2011 are estimated to be $166.5 million, representing about 27 percent of the budget’s revenue sources. That is a decrease of $9.9 million from 2010. Charges for services are placed at $165.3 million, accounting for about 25.5 percent of the county’s anticipated 2011 revenues.

The county anticipates a projected 5.61 percent decrease in the FY 2011 assessed valuation and a decline of 4.09 percent in the FY 2012 assessed valuation.

The amount of county tax (23.213 mills) on an average $244,000 residential property will be approximately $651, or approximately $54.25 per month, in 2011. The estimated county tax on an average $1,337,812 commercial property will be approximately $7,764. In 2010, the estimated tax on an average $249,000 residential property was $667 and $8,802 on an average $1,523,238 commercial property. Both average properties reflect decreased valuations in 2011.

The estimated amount generated by one mill of property tax was placed at $7.34 million in 2011. That is a decrease of $440,000 from 2010.

“The FY 2011 Proposed Budget reflects a prudent and realistic approach with an emphasis on maintaining existing services and capital assets. Overall, the proposed budget maintains the quality of life for Johnson County residents by staving off dramatic service reductions,” Zacharias said in his concluding message.

“Balancing the FY 2011 Budget was possible through the efforts and strategies began in December 2008. Each year, the decisions involved in the budget become increasingly more difficult and complex, as the organization manages the economic challenges that lie ahead.”

The Board of County Commissioners now will review the budget proposal and meet with county departments and agencies in a series of work sessions from June 10-24.

The board is scheduled to finalize the county’s 2011 budget on July 8 for legal publication. Following legal publication, the county cannot, by law, increase the amount of the budgeted expenditures, but can decrease the amount of the operating budget or taxing level in final approval by the Board.

The public hearing on the new county budget will occur at 7 p.m. July 26, in the Board’s Hearing Room located on the third floor of the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 South Cherry St., in downtown Olathe.

The Board is scheduled to adopt the budget resolution during its business session on Thursday, August 12, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Hearing Room. According to state statute, the county’s new budget must be approved and filed with the County Clerk by August 25.

Details about the 2011 Proposed Budget and budget process are available at the website: http://countybudget.jocogov.org.

Former resident returns to serve county

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.

OLATHE – Penny Postoak Ferguson began her duties on Monday, as the new assistant county manager for Johnson County government.

She comes to the county from San Antonio, Texas where she had served as assistant city manager for almost four years. Prior to that, she worked for the City of Overland Park for four years, serving as a deputy city manager and assistant city manager overseeing operations.

“It’s exciting," Ferguson said. " I look forward to serving Johnson County Government and the citizens of Johnson County. It’s great to be back in Johnson County to again work, live, and raise my family.”

She fills a 10-month vacancy created by the promotion on August 27, 2009, of former Assistant County Manager Bernice Duletski to serve as the new deputy county manager.

Duletski had served as assistant county manager since January 2005.

Ferguson was one of more than 170 applicants for the Johnson County position and among five top finalists interviewed for the job.

Her career includes serving as core manager and executive director of budget and research for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, and assistant city manager for the city of Hays, Kansas, from 1997 to 2000.

A native of Lawrence, Ferguson attended Haskell Indian Nations University and is a member of the Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kansas University in 1992 and a master’s degree in public administration from KU in 1994.

She and her husband, Dwight, have a 5-month-old daughter, Peyton. They live in Olathe.

De Soto Rotary Club helping to sponsor youth leadership academy

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 3:22 p.m.

LAWRENCE — About 80 high school students from across eastern Kansas are attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy this week at Kansas University.

The KU sessions are sponsored by Rotary District 5710 business and professional service clubs in eastern Kansas with support from KU Memorial Unions. The program is being presented by Union Programs staff. KU student leaders are serving as facilitators.

“RYLA provides us a great opportunity to have potential students on the KU campus while also enhancing the leadership development of our college students,” said J.J. O’Toole-Curran, director of Union Programs.

Local Rotary clubs select and sponsor Kansas high school students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors this fall and who have demonstrated leadership in their local communities to attend the academy. The attendees participate in challenging group discussions, inspirational addresses, leadership training and social activities designed to enhance personal development, leadership skills and good citizenship.

Students moved in to Hashinger Residence Hall on June 6 for their five-day stay at KU. They took part in a series of team-building activities at the Adams Campus Outdoor Education Center. Later, facilitators worked with them on a case-study exercise about ethical decision-making.

Attendees will perform community service June 8 at the Rotary Arboretum, 5100 W. 27th St., Lawrence. Plans include assisting with the dedication of the new arboretum sign, planting new flowers and shade trees and refurbishing park equipment. That afternoon, Olathe Rotarian Michael Ashcraft will lead students through a community service summit program to aimed at identifying specific service needs in their respective communities.

Barbara Ballard, associate director for outreach at KU’s Dole Institute of Politics, will speak June 9 at the Dole Institute on the topic of civic engagement. Rueben Perez, director of KU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center, will present a program on cultural diversity that afternoon at the Big 12 Room in the Kansas Union.

John Vandewalle, Overland Park, incoming governor for Rotary District 5710, will make concluding remarks at a graduation ceremony for attendees and their parents June 10 at Hashinger Hall.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Academy was officially adopted by Rotary International in 1971 and is one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service. Each year, thousands of young people take part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy worldwide.

Participating and sponsoring Rotary Clubs, all in Kansas, are listed alphabetically, by club name: Atchison, Baldwin City, Blue Rapids, Bonner Springs, De Soto, Emporia, Gardner, Howard, Johnson County, Junction City, Kansas City, Lawrence, Lawrence Jayhawk, Leavenworth, Leawood, Lenexa, Manhattan, Manhattan Konza, Olathe, Oskaloosa, Overbrook, Overland Park South, Paola, Shawnee, Shawnee Mission, Spring Hill, Topeka Downtown, Topeka North, Topeka South, Valley Falls and Village West.

County agencies venture into digital radio

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 2:45 p.m.

By Estuardo Garcia

If you’re having trouble finding something good to listen to on your iPod or at your desk at work on Friday afternoons, the Johnson County Emergency Management and Homeland Security department has an audible treat for you. On Fridays Adam Crowe, the department’s assistant director, and his co-host, Tom Erickson, Johnson County Sheriff's Office spokesman, take to the digital airwaves with a podcast focusing on public safety.

“We do have to make sure that people are aware of what local government and public safety is doing and some of that is trying to be original and fresh and bringing the message to them in a different way,” Crowe said about the podcast.

Their topics for their half-hour podcasts have included: the benefits of public safety, severe weather preparedness, social media and public safety, and what is emergency management.

Erickson thinks call-in podcasts help build a better relationship with the community beyond what can be done with social networking, which he said can be a little impersonal at times. Because people can call-in, he said they can start having a conversation with people in the county.

“This is a way to add one more dimension to the messages we are giving them,” Erickson said.

Currently, users will have to call (646) 929-2383 to talk to the hosts, but Crowe said if enough people start listening they could get a premium package, which includes a toll-free number.

He also said once the show picks up, they will start to include more people into their conversation beyond the sheriff’s and emergency management departments to highlight their jobs and accomplishments.

“We are proud of the fact of what Johnson County does and without exception every discipline is on the front edge of what they do in the Midwest, if not in the country,” Crowe said.

Their next podcast, entitled “building a safe community: personal family prevention,”’ will be broadcast live at 2 p.m., June 11 at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jocoprepared. If you don’t catch it live, the podcast and archived podcasts can also be found at that website.

Daily Poll

Laura Herring June 8, 2010 at 11:06 a.m.

Thank-you from Cardiff Family

Laura Herring June 8, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.

We would like to thank our family and friends for their thoughtfulness at the time of our loss.
The visits, phone calls, cards, flowers, food and prayers are appreciated by every member of our family. Our thanks and appreciation to Reverend Copeland for the service and spiritual support and to the women and men of the De Soto Baptist Church who prepared and served the dinner. A special thank you to the VFW, your kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated.

May God Bless You All,

The Family of David Cardiff

Obituary: Gary L. Hooper

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 10:08 a.m.

1956 - 2010

Graveside services for Gary L. Hooper, 53, Clarksville, Ark., will be at 11 a.m. Friday, June 11, at Pleasant View Cemetery in Shawnee.

Mr. Hooper died Thursday, June 3, 2010, in Clarksville.

He was born Nov. 17, 1956, the son of James E. and Sarah Katharine Hooper. Survivors include his mother, Sarah Katharine Hooper, De Soto; a sister, Suzanna K. Hooper, Fayetteville, Ark.; a brother, Ronald (Terri) Hooper, Lenexa; and friends and staff of Birch Tree Community.

Amos Family Chapel of Shawnee is handling arrangements. Online condolences can be made at amosfamily.com.

Updates

Estuardo Garcia June 8, 2010 at 10 a.m.

Sorry folks. I've been having trouble accessing the Internet with the company's Verizon Wireless USB card. It's all fixed now so we should be getting things back to normal.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Estuardo Garcia June 7, 2010 at noon

Getting ready for a relay

Estuardo Garcia June 4, 2010 at 6 p.m.

Area moms take a family approach to autism support

Estuardo Garcia June 4, 2010 at 4 p.m.

By Estuardo Garcia

For the first two years of his life, Isaac Dority wouldn’t look people in the eye. Rebecca Dority, Isaac’s mother, said his speech was minimal, too. Isaac would only repeat the last thing he heard. She and her husband, Patrick Dority, just thought he was a quiet child, but after a friend from their preschool told them Isaac wasn’t acting like the rest of the kids and wasn’t playing with toys like the other kids, the two parents went to the Kansas University Medical Center to find out what could be wrong.

“I kind of thought it could be autism, but I didn’t know how bad it was,” Rebecca said. “After a half a day of being observed, the doctors pulled us into a room and handed us a box of Kleenex and told us, ‘Your son has autism.’

“I can’t describe when you are given that diagnoses and how that affects your whole world,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every 110 has an autism-spectrum disorder. And behind most of those children is a family that will have to learn how to live with this disorder in the family. That’s where the Eudora Autism Community Education and Support Society comes in.

Earlier this year, a group of mothers with autistic children, including Dority, gathered together at the Pyramid Place Early Education Center in Eudora, 1904 Elm St., to form a family support group for children with autism.

“Our goal really is to educate parents and give them tools so they can help their children,” Dority said. “We want them to learn about early intervention and to find the best therapy that will work for their child.”

Dority said this group is different from other autism support meetings where a lot of information is given to parents, but there is nobody there to help them make sense of it all.

“We are like a little family,” she said. “We just want to love them and be there for them. It’s not your typical support group where you come, you find out your information and nobody talks to each other. That’s not true with us; we want to reach out to people. If they have a question about a particular behavior I can say, ‘I remember when Isaac was like that,’ and then I can give them some suggestions.”

Every second Tuesday of the month, the group’s founders, Dority, Christine Zimmer, Jacqui Folks and Stacey Watts, bring in families from the area to discuss things they have learned as parents of autistic children and where they can bring in speakers to help families learn more about the disorder.

Dority said that families have come from De Soto, Eudora, Baldwin City and Lawrence to the meetings. The whole family is invited. Patrick Dority, Paul Zimmerman, Mike Folks and Terry Watts, join their spouses and their other children at these meetings.

Folks said it was important for the group to include the siblings of autistic children in the conversation of treatment and that they want to start a special group just for them.

The group also wants to extend the understanding of autism beyond just the families with autistic children.

“To make it a perfect unit, you have to have support from your family and from your educators,” Folks said. "You have to have a relationship with your school and a relationship with your community if you want these kids to be understood and safe. Then, hopefully, one day they’ll be accepted and included into the community. That is our goal and that has been our passion. “

Even daycare is provided.

“We know it’s hard to find daycare for special needs kids so we say ‘bring them with you,’” Folks said. “Daycare will be offered to the parents so they can listen to the speakers.”

“You learn about life and you learn about yourself,” Folks said. “When Ethan was first diagnosed I didn’t know that I had it in me to learn everything I need to know and to start over. But you become a stronger, better person because of this child. While some people may view it as a burden, I view it as the greatest blessing in my life.”

More information about the group can be found on their website at www.eudoraaces.org. Their next meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 9 at the Pyramid Place Early Education Center in Eudora.

Dear De Soto:

Estuardo Garcia June 4, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.

The loss of the red barn and windmill May 12, 2010, to tornadic winds has brought about significant changes to Kill Creek Farm, and the lives of the Zimmerman Family. The outpouring of letters, e-mail and phone calls from the individuals that have attended activities at the barn all express the community’s loss and offers to help with cleanup and rebuilding was almost overwhelming. I cannot fully express my gratitude to all those who worked with the cleanup in so many ways ranging from picking tree branches from the area to removing complete upturned trees. We thank those who brought water to the workers and sandwiches.

Sorting through the debris and deciding what to salvage and what to burn was similar to the restoration of the barn in 2000; only in reverse.

The De Soto construction contractors that have donated days of work with their heavy equipment illustrate the giving spirit of so many members of our community when there is a need.

There has been more than a question as to if a similar type barn will be built on the site; it has been more of when will it happen. Though there have been more than six old barns offered as replacements, I am leaning toward a barn made of new materials consisting of large post and beam construction. If financing can become available it is desirable to add a 12’ x 58’ lean-to addition on the west to accommodate a handicap restroom and small kitchen cleanup area. It would be made of wood and be painted red with white trim, of course!

Max Atwell and I will be out of town this coming week to participate in the National Barn Alliance in Atchison and Doniphan County, Kansas.

Best regards,

Darrel Zimmerman

Daily Poll

Estuardo Garcia June 4, 2010 at 12:49 a.m.

Council takes a new look at possible highway sign

Estuardo Garcia June 4, 2010 at 12:34 a.m.

The proposed sign will be approximately 30 feet long and 7 feet tall. The sign will have two clear polycarbonate layers to match the city's logo.

The proposed sign will be approximately 30 feet long and 7 feet tall. The sign will have two clear polycarbonate layers to match the city's logo.

After more than three years of waiting, the city is another step closer to getting a bigger presence on Kansas Highway 10. During Thursday night’s regular meeting, the De Soto City Council listened to an update from Doug Pickert, owner of Indigo Design, Inc., about a proposed new highway sign.

Pickert said the new sign will be about 30 feet long and 7 feet tall and incorporate colored plastic panels that wrap around the stone sign to create a 3D effect that would match the city’s logo.

“The waves will actually move past each other as you travel down the road,” Pickert said. “That gives it a three-dimensional quality and draws a lot of attention to the effect of that logo.”

The clear polycarbonate panels could also create a cool effect at night if the city installed LED lights in them.

“It was just such a wow factor to think of those wavy lines lit up like that,” said Councilmember Mitra Templin, who also served on the sign committee. “Depending on where you were from the sign, it would change as your viewing angle changes.”

Mike Brungardt, city engineer, said the city has had $80,000 for the sign in the budget for three years.

He said that early estimates put the sign at more than $80,000, but they will know if they will be under or over as they get closer to finalizing the project.

The committee has chosen to put the sign just east of the Lexington Avenue exit on the north side of K-10.

Pickert said there was a hill just southeast of the Super 8 Hotel, which would give the sign the best visibility, and is within Kansas Department of Transportation right of way.

Brungardt said KDOT officials have given their blessing to use the land for the sign.

Brungardt added that in the next week or so he and city crews would put up a temporary, actual-sized mockup of the sign on the location to get council, staff, sign committee and residents to give input on its location and its size.

This angle shows both the east and west-bound views and what the layers of polycarbonate will look like from above. Doug Pickert, who helped design the signs said the layers of plastic will give the sign a 3D look.

This angle shows both the east and west-bound views and what the layers of polycarbonate will look like from above. Doug Pickert, who helped design the signs said the layers of plastic will give the sign a 3D look.


View Signs in a larger map

Pool time

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 6:55 p.m.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/2010/jun/03/36906/

Is there a better way to cool down in De Soto than taking a dip in the aquatic center?

I-435 will be narrowed to one lane over the Kansas River this weekend

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 6:28 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has announced that northbound Interstate 435 lanes will be reduced this weekend over the Kansas River.

Weather permitting, at 6 p.m. Friday, June 4, northbound I-435 will be reduced to one lane at the bridge over the Kansas River in Wyandotte County for bridge repair work. The lane closure will reopen to all traffic at noon Saturday, June 5. This work is to facilitate the repair of the expansion joints on both ends of the bridge.

Drivers should expect minor delays and are advised to use alternate routes if possible. Project work is scheduled to be completed on Saturday, June 5, weather permitting.

Six announces attorney general candidacy

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.

http://www.desotoexplorer.com/photos/2010/jun/03/36874/

By Caroline Boyer

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said in the last three years, he has turned the attorney general’s office around.

“We cannot go back to the days when politics guided the office,” he said. “The attorney general must set the standard for fairness, good judgment and above all, independence.”

Six said this was why he announced Thursday that he is officially a candidate for the office, to which he was appointed in 2008 to replace Paul Morrison. Six made the announcement at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, the first of five stops scheduled Thursday and Friday around the state.

In his statement, Six recounted the ways he has rebuilt the office, referring to former Attorneys General Phill Kline and Paul Morrison.

“Years of scandal, both personal and political, had weakened the trust Kansans must have in their top law enforcement officer,” he said. “When I walked in the door, I made it clear: things were going to be different. The attorney general’s office would focus on the right priorities again.”

He listed his office’s priorities as keeping Kansans safe from violent predators and sex offenders, especially those dealing in child pornography, protecting consumers and prosecuting fraud and waste in government.

He said he has launched child pornography investigations for the first time out of the attorney general’s office; built up the office’s consumer fraud division, increasing consumer protection recoveries by more than 800 percent from 2006 numbers; and increased prosecution of those defrauding the state’s Medicaid system, recovering $17 million last year, compared to less than $1 million a few years ago.

Because he was appointed to the position, this will be Six’s first statewide campaign, but he said he was up to the challenge.

“After working almost three years, building the office, creating record I’ve just described, we are invested in continuing to make sure these programs don’t go back to the way things were done before,” he said. “So it is a lot of hard work, but we feel like the record we’re running on is worth protecting and that we are making a difference for Kansans, and we are invested in taking this all the way.”

When asked about his thoughts on illegal immigration, Six pointed to investigations like Operation Imposter in Jackson County that have arrested those, including illegal immigrants, who were stealing Kansans’ social security numbers. However, he said he didn’t have any comments on laws such as those in Arizona that more aggressively check for illegal immigrations.

“We are not allowing any criminal activity relating to things like identity theft, which a lot of illegal immigrants engage in, to go unchecked,” he said. “It’s a top priority for us. Of course at the end of the day, we are an office with 120 people in it and Kansas is a big state. We’re going to have to have a lot of federal help with this issue, and it’s primarily a federal responsibility.”

Six's full statement can be read below:

"Almost three years ago, I accepted the challenge of serving as attorney general because I saw an office in crisis. Years of scandal, both personal and political, had weakened the trust Kansans must have in their top law enforcement officer. When I walked in the door, I made it clear: things were going to be different. The attorney general’s office would focus on the right priorities again — keeping Kansans safe from violent predators and sex offenders, especially those dealing in child pornography; cracking down on unscrupulous scam artists who target consumers and go after seniors; and prosecuting fraud and waste in government.

Working together, we have turned the attorney general’s office around. We cannot go back to the days when politics guided the office. The attorney general must set the standard for fairness, good judgment and above all, independence. Today I’m asking you to support me, to support the team I’ve assembled, and to support the work we have done. Today, I’m not making cheap or easy political promises about what I might do as attorney general; I’m standing on my record of real results benefiting all Kansans. Today, with an independent approach and a dedication to making all Kansans safer and more secure, I announce that I am officially a candidate for attorney general of Kansas.

As your attorney general, I’ve demonstrated that the office can be independent, justice can be fair and an attorney general with the right priorities can be aggressive in protecting Kansans. I’m running because I believe in public service, I believe in protecting Kansans and I believe that an independent attorney general can make a real difference in Kansans’ lives.

Child pornography is one of the most terrible crimes we deal with, and yet too many of these offenders believe they can hide in the shadows. That may have been true before, but under my watch we are shining a light on these criminals and bringing them to justice. I have investigators tracking down on criminals trading and viewing child porn. Every time one of these horrible images is produced, distributed or viewed, the crime against that child is repeated. In addition I’ve increased safety for all of our kids on the Internet by removing registered sex offenders from internet sites where kids congregate.

Safety on the Internet also expands to protecting our families’ private information. I created investigations like Operation Imposter in Jackson County and arrested those, including illegal immigrants, who were stealing Kansans’ social security numbers. In addition, I’ve introduced new tools like our identity theft repair kit, which helps Kansans who’ve been the victims of this crime. Kansans should know that on my watch, our full efforts are directed to investigating, arresting and prosecuting illegal immigrants who steal Kansans’ identities and violate the law.

Just a few years ago, the consumer division in the attorney general’s office was almost completely dismantled by political agendas. It was handling few cases, and consumer fraud was unchecked. As attorney general, I’ve focused on swift complaint resolution, making sure every complaint is addressed and going after those who prey on consumers. I had a simple message: if you break the law so you can make the sale, it is you that will pay the price. As a result, consumer protection recoveries increased by over 800 percent from 2006, and this year we will recover more than ever before. Our work does not just protect Kansans; it protects Kansas businesses. For every crooked business that is scamming its customers, there are dozens of honest business owners who just want to compete on a level playing field. I’ve made sure the consumer division is both pro-consumer and pro-business.

I know that Kansans are sick and tired of waste and fraud in government, and while many politicians talk about stopping fraud and debate about a new board or commission, I have gone after drug companies and medical providers who are defrauding Kansas taxpayers and recovered more money than any attorney general in our state’s history. Taxpayers give millions of dollars a year to provide healthcare for our neediest citizens, and yet only a few years ago, less than a million dollars was recovered from criminals defrauding Kansas. That level of effort was totally unacceptable. So last year, my office cracked down and recovered $17 million stolen from the Medicaid program, and this year, we will recover millions more. That is a record for any attorney general, and it is just the beginning. That again is not a promise to do something about crime abuse, it is not a meaningless piece of legislation, it is $17 million for the Kansas Medicaid program that otherwise would have gone uncollected.

I’m running for attorney general on a record of real results, not empty promises, I’m running because I have proven this office can make a difference in Kansans’ lives, and I’m running for attorney general to continue to build on the record of achievement and integrity I have established."

Beatles tribute band concert to kick off Old Shawnee Days 2010

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.

Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band, plays at 7 p.m. Thursday at Old Shawnee Days.

Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band, plays at 7 p.m. Thursday at Old Shawnee Days.

A British invasion is expected tonight when Old Shawnee Days 2010 gets under way. Still, the annual, unofficial-kickoff-to-summer festival hopes to get by with a little help from its friends.

Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band, will rock the main stage on the grounds of Shawnee Town in a free concert beginning at 7 p.m. The Fab Four look-alikes will perform from a catalog of Beatles standards, including “Help,” “Hard Days Night,” “Let It Be” and “Lucy in the Sky.”

Tonight also is “all-you-can-ride” wristband night. For $20, youngsters can purchase a wristband good for unlimited carnival rides from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Only the carnival, main stage concert and food booths will be in operation tonight, with the festival kicking into high gear on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

The Dispatch will provide updates on this weekend’s Old Shawnee Days activities on Shawneedispatch.com, facebook.com/theshawneedispatch and Twitter (#OSDays).

De Soto City Council meeting

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 2:28 p.m.

I'm going to try using a new Web cam to broadcast tonight's city council meeting.

I will also be using the built-in mic in my computer to capture the sound. Hopefully this will be an improvement compared to using my phone.

Please give me feedback on the video and audio quality so we can make improvements as needed.

Don't forget that you will be able to chat live with me during the meeting so I can try to make some adjustments during the meeting.

Lexington Trails Middle School Honor Roll

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 10:05 a.m.

Fourth quarter honor roll

Principal's Honor Roll

8th Grade

Shyanne Baxter, Kelsey Bernhart, Cara Brashears, Michael Buffkin, Rebekah Burgweger, Katelyn Bussell, Crystal Carrillo, Hunter Collier, Alexandra Deghand, Madeline Field, Mitchell Gehrt, Rachael Giersch, Kathryn Glover, Elaina Grantham, Kaytlyn Green, Kathleen Harding, Colleen Henning, Samantha Hurst, Erin Kaul, Moriah Lail, Mackenzie Lancaster, Callie Lane, Mackenzie Mathern, Shelby Philbrook, Elaine Price, Breanna Putman, Nelson Reeves, Morgan Riley, Drew Schmucker, Jennifer Schneider, Dustin Seibolt, Olivia Strauser, Emma Stucki, Clare VanDusen, Kaelin Walsh, Eric Williams, Mackenzie Williams, Benjamin Zoller

7th Grade

Kate Barger, Monica Becerra, Carena Bledsoe, William Cross, Joselin DeLeon, Bethany Drake, Kenna Hall, Adara Handley, Emily Herrington, Gabriela Juarez, Phoebe Lingenfelter, Tara Logan, Tanner McDaniel-Post, Jessi McEndree, Kelista McGraw, Hunter Miller, Bret Opfer, Rachel Parrish, Shannon Pelkey, Taylor Peterson, Tessa Phongsavath, Chari Pierce, Graycee Reeves, Jessica Robbinson, Margarita Sanchez, Kassidy Seaba, Erick Sherman, Katie Simpson, Gabrielle Stephens, Morgan Stonestreet, Jacob Sweatt, Francisco Valenzuela, Jacob Wickey, Adam Wilcox, Meredith Wolfe, Bryce Zimmerman,

6th Grade

Morgan Darter, Kailey Drennon, Halle Easley, Allison Eaton, Joshua Forshey, Lyndsey Fowks, Amber Fulling, Travis Hodge, Mackenzie Kennedy, David Knaack, Josue Lorenzo, Robert Mayes, Natalie McCracken, Luis Murillo, Alexandria Pasquale, Rhett Pierce, Nathan Roberts, Jared Schneider, Samuel Seidl, Christian Selk, Lukas Sprowls, Jaycie Thaemert, Olivia Young, Alex Zoller, Lucas Zoller

A/B Honor Roll

8th Grade

Ethaniel Aubrey-Mitchell, Naouel Azzouz, Trevor Bell, Caroline Burkard, Griselda Carrillo, Briana Chicoine, Audrie Clarke, Kate Contreras, Zachary David, Simon Elwell, Kassidy Forshey, Montana Frehe, Nicole Garland, Ramon Gildo, Makell Hadley, Elizabeth Henderson, Madison Kerr, Alexandra Knauss, Teddy Koehler, Melissa Lambert, Erica Mann, John Mayes, Charlie Mayfield, Matthew McCoy, Elaina McEndree, Curtis Parrish, Nicholas Patterson, Benjamin Patton, Elaina Penninger, Bailey Rendzia, Ashton Riffel, Austin Rodgers, Nicole Rodgers, Connor Schimke, Nicholas Schmidt, Keyri Serrano, Kyara Serrano, Maxwell Simonian, Bailey Steele, Jacob Stephens, Breigh Van Lerberg, Diego Villa, Dillon Williams

7th Grade

Ethan Burch, Stephanie Carrillo, Tristan Carroll, Chandler Carter, Ciaann Chance, Jacob Chappell, Alexis Chenoweth, Cory Conley, Kylee Cronin, Yoselin Flores, Kendall Freeman, Aubrey Heer, Will Herrington, Samantha Hill, Brittani Jenson, Jason Johnson, Justin Johnson, Michael Kopecky, Jacob Lueth, Rachel Mashburn, Garrett McClaskey, Mikayla McCoy, Victoria McMoran, Joshua Miller, Stephen Mitchell, Abby Oberle, Valerie Portillo, David Poulain, Austin Pruitt, Elliott Pruss, Skylar Pryor, Willie Reed, Sarah Salvini, Melinda Sanchez, Elyssa Schmitz, Jacob Schnieders, Noah Searls, Kimberly Servos, Justin Slater, Tracey Stewart, Adam Thies, Bailey Thomasson, Samantha Titus, Ricardo Valencia, Leigh Van Lerberg, Caesar Villa, Haley Woltkamp, Molly Zahner

6th Grade

Crystal Albarran, Miles Arnold, Elizabeth Bunselmeyer, Taylor Cannon, Lissette Carlos, Kaylan Carney, Jackson Craven, Karley Cronin, Charles Drake, Jedidiah Garrison, Elisabel Gildo, Emma Goldsby, Hannah Hart, Treavor Harvey, Derek Hodge, James Hughes, Ravenne King, Shyann King, Jack Knauss, Tristan Kuritz, Julia Lail, Cammren Lowe, Javier Marquez, Corey McCarthy, Mikenzie McCoy, Jocelyn Melgoza, Rachel Moore, Michael Moose, Ryleigh Olson, Makayla Ray, Samuel Robinson, Jante Ruiall, Rolf Schmitz, Karlee Selleck, Matthew Stephens, Matthew Stewart, Sarah Strouse, Rex Templin, Lauren Titus, Grace VanDusen, Tristan Warner, Megan Wilkerson, Diamond Wills, Zachary Woodward, Lauren Wright, Samantha Zvirgzdins

Daily Poll

Estuardo Garcia June 3, 2010 at 9:20 a.m.

Thomas the Tank Engine is hot ticket

Estuardo Garcia June 2, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.

Up to 20,000 people are expected to visit Baldwin City during the next two weekends during appearances by Thomas the Tank Engine. “I think last year we had between 16,000 and 17,000 people ride the train,” said Linda Ballinger, event co-chair. “Right now we’re a little bit ahead with ticket sales. I think the economy is keeping people close to home.”

Thomas the Tank Engine has been coming to Baldwin City for the last nine summers. The engine is a life-sized replica of the character from PBS. The 25-minute ride costs $18 for anyone over 2 years of age. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com.

While Thomas is the main event every year, there are plenty of other activities for youngsters in the Midland Depot area. The first ride starts at 9 a.m. Friday, and rides will be available this Saturday and Sunday, as well as June 11-13. A total of 54 rides are scheduled during the six days.

People are encouraged to park at Baldwin High School and take a shuttle bus to the depot.

USD 232 boasts two Kindest Kansas Citian finalists

Estuardo Garcia June 2, 2010 at 10:21 a.m.

Youth Friends Kelsie Schuman and Hannah Darling celebrate after Hannah nominated Kelsie as a Kindest Kansas Citian in Synergy Service’s annual essay contest.

Youth Friends Kelsie Schuman and Hannah Darling celebrate after Hannah nominated Kelsie as a Kindest Kansas Citian in Synergy Service’s annual essay contest.

By Ashlee Kieler

Hannah Darling knows what it’s like to have kind people in her life.

“Kelsie Schuman signed up with the Youth Friends program this year,” Hannah wrote in her essay for the Kindest Kansas Citian contest, in which Kelsie was a finalist. “But there is no way she could have known how much she would influence my life.”

Hannah, a Clear Creek Elementary fourth-grader, is like most 9-year-olds.

She loves to sing, dance and do gymnastics. She has lots of friends. Her favorite subjects are science and writing.

But when she goes home after school, her life is a little different. She is unable to live with her parents, so she lives with her aunt and uncle, Cindy and Wes Seglem, and their two sons, Brody and Quinn.

At the beginning of the school year Hannah was assigned a Youth Friend, Kelsie, a Mill Valley High School junior.

The duo meet every week to play games, talk and share stories about their lives.

“She’s really nice and supportive,” Hannah said. “She helped me through rough patches. She gives me really good advice.”

In her essay Hannah wrote about how excited she was to have a Youth Friend.

“I was excited to meet Kelsie. I was not disappointed,” she wrote. “Kelsie is amazing. She made me feel at ease right away and became a very good friend to me.”

Hannah decided to nominate Kelsie for the Kindest Kansas Citian after her counselor talked about the program.

The Kindest Kansas Citian, sponsored by Synergy Services, honors those in the Kansas City community that have demonstrated kindness. The essay contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Hannah thought it was a nice way to recognize Kelsie.

“I hadn’t done an activity like this before,” she said.

Kelsie wasn’t the only one from De Soto USD 232 to be a Kindest Kansas Citian finalist.

Elizabeth Joseph from Horizon Elementary nominated counselor Kim Gasiorowski for the honor.

Elizabeth, a third-grader, wrote about Gasiorowski’s ability to put students at ease and listen to their concerns.

“She makes me feel safe in the classroom like nothing can harm me,” Elizabeth wrote. “Mrs. Gasiorowski left an impact on me to always be kind, considerate and to remember the character traits.”

Gasiorowski was surprised to learn she was being nominated by a student.

“I invited all the students, kindergarten to fifth grade, to nominate an adult for the award,” she said. “It was very touching to sponsor the contest and then be nominated in that contest.”

Gasiorowski said the nomination meant a lot to her.

“To have a student think of me when that wasn’t my intention is very touching. I was especially impressed by Elizabeth’s essay because sometimes you don’t know how you are impacting the student’s lives when teaching in the classroom. Her essay showed me how much of an impact I made on her.”

In her essay, Elizabeth shared that she hopes to one day be as good of a counselor as Gasiorowski.

On May 15, Kelsie and Gasiorowski, along with 18 other finalists were honored at the Intercontinental Hotel during the Kindest Kansas Citian ceremony.

At the dinner, students shared brief readings from their essays while standing on stage with their Kindest Kansas Citian.

“It was special to share with Kelsie,” Hannah said of the night. “She taught me compassion for others and I hope to be a youth friend one day.”

On stage Hannah read how much Kelsie means to her.

“When I told my Aunt Cindy about Kelsie, she said it reminded her of Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote that says ‘Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.’ I am not old enough to have many footprints but Kelsie sure has left some pretty big footprints on my heart. Either she has very big feet or she is a very good friend.”

Scuba diving lessons added parks schedule

Estuardo Garcia June 2, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.

By Caroline Boyer

This summer, Shawnee will allow residents to explore the depths of one of its pools as training to explore some more exotic locales in the future.

Among the usual swimming lessons, flippa ball and aquacise programs, Shawnee Parks and Recreation this year will offer scuba diving lessons on two different nights at the Soetaert Aquatic Center, starting this month.

Sean Keenan, aquatics recreation specialist, said the lessons are something the city has wanted to offer for some time.

“I think a lot of people will like it in Johnson County; I think it’ll be awesome,” Keenan said. “There’s a trend in aquatics now where people have been providing additional services like this. We thought that maybe that was a service that we were neglecting, so maybe having it at our facility, having it available to our residents was going to be beneficial.”

The city has teamed with the Merriam-based firm The Dive Shop, which normally provides lessons at its own indoor pool, to teach the courses.

“Normally, when you get scuba certified, you’re getting certified indoors, in an enclosure,” Keenan said. “So I think this, the sort of open-air aspect, will make it a little bit more of a realistic experience.”

Participants can pick either the Monday or the Wednesday classes, which each run from 6 to 9 p.m. and last six weeks. Monday classes begin June 14, while the Wednesday classes begin June 16.

Those completing the course will receive NAUI scuba certification. The class will involve book work as well as work in the water. An area in the Soetaert pool’s deep end will be sectioned off during the class, which means other swimmers won’t have access to a couple of the pool’s diving boards.

The classes are open to anyone aged 10 and up, though participants under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The course costs $225, which includes educational materials and the dive equipment rental, so all that the class participants will need to bring is their swimming suit. If two people take the course together and can share educational materials, the cost for the second person is $195.

Keenan said both classes were still fairly open, but they might not be for long.

“There’s been a ton of interest; people have been asking about it,” he said. “We just started getting slammed with swim lessons and swim teams registrations this week, I think because people have been waiting for school to get out.”

Another new pool offering this year will be diving lessons — the kind of diving that doesn’t require an air tank. Participants will learn fundamental dive skills, from head-first entry from the poolside to the diving board.

Diving classes begin at 11:40 a.m. and last two weeks, Monday through Friday the first week and Monday through Wednesday the second week, with four different sessions available. Cost for an eight-class session is $40.

County's Mill Creek Streamway Park trail receives 'national' designation

Estuardo Garcia June 2, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.

The Gary L. Haller Trail in the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s Mill Creek Streamway Park was recently named as a new National Recreation Trail, the first Johson County trail to receive the designation.

“It’s been a personal goal of mine to pursue this designation for a number of years,” said Bill Maasen, JCPRD superintendent of parks and golf courses. “We think it’s a very, very nationally significant trail because of its length of almost 18 miles and the fact that it goes through three jurisdictions and is managed by a fourth jurisdiction.”

Mill Creek Streamway Park stretches about 17.5 miles, from Olathe to the Kansas River. It passes through Olathe, Lenexa and Shawnee and serves as a model for other communities in the region.

“The timing of this announcement is great because it comes in conjunction with National Trails Day on June 5, and we encourage everyone to utilize this great community resource by getting out on the trails on that day,” Maasen said.

The Haller Trail was among 31 trails in 15 states designated a new National Recreation Trail by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on May 3.

In all, there are more than 1,000 National Recreation Trails totaling more than 12,500 miles located across all 50 states on federal, state, municipal, and privately-owned lands.

Prior to the new additions, there were 14 National Recreation Trails in Kansas, with the nearest being the George O. Lantham Jr. Trail in Lawrence and the Gateway Trail in Fort Leavenworth.

“It gets us on the website for the National Recreation Trails,” said park planner Megan Merryman, who assisted Maasen with the application for the District’s National Recreation Trail designation. “We’ll be listed with every other trail that’s been designated in this state and in the United States. It allows people access to search for recreation trails. Potentially, I think it certainly could make people more aware of this trail and the amenities and what it has to offer.”

“It definitely will put us on the map nationwide and when people are driving through this region, this would be a destination for people to stop and look,” Maasen added. “It could increase visitation.”

The District will be able to use the National Recreation Trail logo to help publicize the Mill Creek Streamway Park and officials anticipate receiving and posting National Recreation Trail signs at each of the eight access points to the Haller Trail.

The District’s official acceptance of the NRT designation is scheduled to take place at the National Trails Symposium set for Nov. 14-17 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Goals of the National Recreation Trail program include providing access for all Americans, healing through active living, connecting communities, helping youths discover nature, encouraging stewardship, promoting partnerships, and inviting tourism.

Daily Poll

Estuardo Garcia June 2, 2010 at 2:30 a.m.

De Soto City Council meeting agenda for June 3

Estuardo Garcia June 1, 2010 at 3:45 p.m.

De Soto City Council: 7 p.m., June 3, De Soto City Hall, 32905 W. 84th St.

Roll Call by Mayor David Anderson and Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda Items will be acted upon by one motion unless a Council member requests an item be removed for discussion and separate action. Consent Agenda

a. Approve Minutes of the Council Meeting of May 20th, 2010.

b. Approve Pay Ordinance No. 642.

Call to Public

“Members of the public are welcome to use this time to comment about any matter relating to City business not listed on this Agenda. The comments that are discussed under Call to Public may or may not be acted upon by the Council during this meeting. There is a four-minute time limit. Please stand and wait to be recognized by the Mayor. You must state your name and address.”

Chamber / EDC Report

Old Business

New Business

a. Consider various permits and requests from the De Soto Days Committee

1) Temporary Use Permit

2) Parade Permit

3) Noise Permit

4) Waiver of TUP application fee

b. Consider Request by Property Owner at 9755 Kill Creek Road to Plant Alfalfa that may exceed 12 inches in height before Being Baled

c. Discussion of proposed design for the new entryway monument sign

d. Discussion of proposed County rezoning at K-10 & Edgerton Road

e. Discussion of Hunt Midwest Quarry SUP renewal by Johnson County

Executive Session

Advisory Reports

a. City Administrator

b. City Attorney

c. City Engineer

d. City Planner

e. City Clerk

Council & Mayor Comments

Adjournment

KU-KSU football game officially moved to Thursday night: Jayhawks, Wildcats to square off Oct. 14

Estuardo Garcia June 1, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.

By Matt Tait

Fans of the annual Sunflower Showdown between the Kansas University and Kansas State University football programs won't have to wait quite as long to see this year's game.

KU officials announced Tuesday that the 108th edition of the Sunflower Showdown, originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16, would be moved to Oct. 14 and would be shown on national television on Fox Sports Net.

Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. in Lawrence.

KU athletic director Lew Perkins said the change would bring great exposure to KU.

“It is exciting for this in-state rivalry to be featured nationally with the television exposure of a Thursday night game on FSN,” Perkins said. “This telecast will showcase the city of Lawrence and our great university.”

The KU-K-State football series is the nation’s fourth-longest uninterrupted series in the country. The two teams have played 98 straight years beginning in 1911. Kansas leads the all-time series 65-37-5, including a 37-15-2 mark in games played in Lawrence.

Kansas had won four of the last five meetings, including three straight before Kansas State defeated the Jayhawks 17-10 in Manhattan last year. KU has won three consecutive matchups in Lawrence, including a 52-21 victory in 2008.

KU coach Turner Gill said he was excited about the schedule change for this year's contest.

“This gives us a chance to show the nation the great support of Kansas football fans,” Gill said. “It also benefits our students since school will be out Thursday and Friday.”

The Thursday game will be the second non-Saturday kickoff for Turner Gill's Jayhawks this fall. KU also will play a non-conference game at Southern Mississippi on Friday, Sept. 17. That game also will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Sam Brownback chooses running mate

Estuardo Garcia June 1, 2010 at 11:52 a.m.

By Scott Rothschild

The Associated Press reports that Sam Brownback has chosen state Sen. Jeff Colyer as his running mate in the Kansas governor's race.

Brownback and his running mate will go on an eight-city, two-day statewide tour starting in Overland Park and stopping in Topeka, Pittsburg, Wichita, Hutchinson, Garden City, Hays and Salina. The appearance in Hays will be at Thomas More Preparatory School-Marian, from which Colyer graduated in 1978.

So far, Brownback faces opposition in the Aug. 3 Republican Party primary from political newcomer Joan Heffington of Derby, whose running mate is Mark Holick, a pastor.

The Democratic candidate who has gotten the endorsement of party leaders is state Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City. Holland hasn’t announced a running mate.

Brownback’s choice of a running mate could provide a sneak peek at what a Brownback administration would be like if he became governor.

Here’s how Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty sees it.

“At this point, Brownback is in a very strong position in the poll matchups with presumed Democratic nominee Tom Holland.

“If this were not the case then there might be strong consideration for him to choose a moderate Republican, since Brownback himself has conservative credentials.

“Electorally, he probably does not have to do that, and is free to make a choice based on other “balancing” factors such as gender, geography and types of experience rather than political ideology,” Beatty said.

Brownback led Holland 58 percent to 27 percent, in a Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 likely voters on May 11. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

DHS at state track

Estuardo Garcia June 1, 2010 at 9:49 a.m.

De Soto High junior sprinter Jordan Riffel leans forward just enough to win a state championship in the 200-meter dash Saturday evening at Cessna Stadium. Riffel beat out runner-up Joe Fisher of Valley Center by two hundredths of a second, giving him a Class 4A championship time of 21.96.

De Soto High junior sprinter Jordan Riffel leans forward just enough to win a state championship in the 200-meter dash Saturday evening at Cessna Stadium. Riffel beat out runner-up Joe Fisher of Valley Center by two hundredths of a second, giving him a Class 4A championship time of 21.96. by Benton Smith

Johnson County inmate dies

Estuardo Garcia June 1, 2010 at 9:39 a.m.

A 27-year-old Shawnee man in jail awaiting trial on charges he assaulted a Shawnee police officer two months ago has died.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said inmate Mark Bradford Roodhouse collapsed and stopped breathing about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The Sheriff’s Office said medical staff at the jail re-established breathing and he was transported to an area hospital, where he died early Friday morning.

Roodhouse was booked into the Johnson County New Century Adult Detention Center on March 26, on two charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer stemming from an incident that day in Shawnee. Roodhouse allegedly pulled a knife on officers after getting into a fight with his father.

Retiring principal to challenge for 39th District House seat

Estuardo Garcia June 1, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

A retiring high school principal who lost a 2008 election for the Kansas House of Representatives is putting his hat in the ring again. Joe Novak, Shawnee, has announced his candidacy for the 39th District House seat. The 39th District covers western Wyandotte County, northwestern Johnson County and eastern Leavenworth, including Bonner and Basehor.

Novak, who is retiring this summer after 10 years as principal of Mill Valley High School in De Soto USD 232, immediately drew a contrast between himself and the likely Republican nominee, incumbent State Rep. Owen Donohoe.

“The 2010 budget crisis hit our community hard,” Novak said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “Fortunately, we were saved from a seventh round of devastating cuts to schools and services, but with no thanks to our current representative. We need someone in Topeka who ranks his constituents above partisan rhetoric and political gain.”

In the 2008 election, Donohoe defeated Novak, 8,061 to 7,657 votes. Donohoe has represented the district since 2007.

Novak has lived in Shawnee for more than 20 years. He spent his professional career in public education, working as a teacher, coach and school administrator for the last 35 years. He holds a bachelor of arts in education, a master of arts in exercise physiology and education from Michigan State University and a doctorate in educational administration from Kansas State University. He also teaches a postgraduate class in finance resource management at Kansas University. In 2000, he published a book, "Maxercising Your Greatest Potential.”

Novak has served as co-chair for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, served on the steering committee for the western Shawnee Bike Safety Rodeo and has served as the treasurer for the Kaw Valley League for the past 19 years. Novak has worked with Oceans of Mercy, Run for Mercy and continues to champion and foster relationships between the community and the schools in western Shawnee. He was the Region VI Executive Board member for the National Association for Student Council. In 2004, Novak took a sabbatical to work as the Education Outreach Director for Freedom's Answer, during which time he worked with15- to 20-year-olds actively engaged in the voting process across the country. He is recipient of an award of excellence from the Kansas Association for Gifted Education. Most recently, Novak was presented the 2010 Outstanding Service Award by the Shawnee Police Department.

He has gained the endorsement of two public officials.

"As a teacher, mentor and administrator, Joe has worked for over three decades to ensure our schools are accountable and that every child has the opportunity to flourish,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson. “Kansans in the 39th District deserve this kind of leadership and commitment in the Legislature."

“I have known Joe for ten years,” said Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyers. “He demonstrates honesty and truthfulness, commitment, and is a caring individual. As mayor and as an educator myself, I have witnessed the positive impact he has had on our community. He will continue these leadership qualities in Topeka and I endorse his candidacy for the House of Representatives.”

Novak and his wife, Dena, have been married for 25 years. They have three grown children: Whitney, Ted and Carly.