Posts tagged with De Soto

Law enforcement calls: Aug. 27-Sept. 1

Johnson County Sheriff's deputies responded to the following calls in De Soto in the last week:

  • Sunday, Aug. 28 at 1:13 a.m.: a theft report from the 32500 block of Lexington Avenue.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 12:23 a.m.: a non-injury accident in the 31700 block of W. 91st Street.
  • Thursday, Sept. 1 at 5:23 p.m.: a report of destruction of property in the 33200 block of W. 83rd Street.
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Community service day postponed due to funds

The De Soto Scout House.

The De Soto Scout House. by Laura Herring

Organizers of the first-ever Hands on De Soto Community Service Day sent out a press release this week postponing the event due to a lack of funds and date conflicts with many of the interested volunteer groups.

The event, originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24, is now being planned for sometime in the spring of 2012, according to the release sent out by organizers Jan Justice, of the De Soto Methodist church, and Steve Chick, De Soto Building Inspector. A specific date will be set later this fall.

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Brush dump to have week day hours for storm damage removal

De Soto brush dump, located at 35415 W. 79th St., will be open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. every day this week.

The dump, which is typically open only on the first and third Saturday of the month, will be open the extra hours to help citizens dispose of damage from the severe storms late last week.

While the city asks that residents of De Soto take responsibility for as much of their personal property as possible by hauling brush away themselves or hiring a private contractor, the street department will haul away brush for those who don't have the means to haul away their own debris under the following conditions as work schedules allow:

  • all limbs and branches must be cut to a size one person can lift; and

  • all brush to be hauled away must be stacked at the curb-

For information on local haul-away contractors or to request city assistance with brush removal, contact City Hall at (913) 583-1182. This service is only available through Friday, Aug. 26.

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City extending brush dump hours in light of storm damage

Strong storms overnight split this tree in the DeMeadows subdivision in De Soto on Aug. 18. Photo submitted by Kim Frieling.

Strong storms overnight split this tree in the DeMeadows subdivision in De Soto on Aug. 18. Photo submitted by Kim Frieling.

City officials have decided to extend this weekend's regular brush dump hours due to last night's storm damage. The dump, which is typically only open the first and third Saturday of the month from 8 a.m.-noon, will be open today from now until 3:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. It is located at 35415 W. 79th St.

City street crews will also be doing what they can to help private citizens with haul-away needs. Street Department Superintendent Ron Creason will be making a sweep of the town, picking up any roadside brush that has been cut down to what one person can move.

"We can't make any guarantees about how much we can haul away from private property but we'll try to help as much as we can," said City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle. "We do ask that everyone who can take as much responsibility as possible for their personal property."

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Overland Park woman hurt in one-vehicle crash Tuesday night on K-10

A 27-year-old Overland Park woman was injured Tuesday night after she was ejected from a vehicle near De Soto on Kansas Highway 10, a Johnson County Sheriff’s spokesman said.

Pamela Sherrell who was headed west at 9 p.m. near the Kill Creek Road exit drifted off the highway onto the outside shoulder, when she over-corrected and lost control of her vehicle, Master Deputy Tom Erickson said. The vehicle went into the median and struck a guardrail.

Erickson said Sherrell was then thrown from the vehicle. First responders found her at the scene underneath the vehicle, but her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, he said.

She was taken to an area hospital by ground ambulance. Sheriff’s officers are still investigating the cause of the crash, Erickson said Wednesday morning. No other vehicle were involved.

By George Diepenbrock

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Property owners hope to work with city to improve downtown

"A downtown area is the life-blood of the community in a small town."

That's how Travis Hicks, President and CEO of Great American Bank in downtown De Soto and the force behind the Downtown Revitalization Committee feels.

This feeling is why Hicks went before the De Soto City Council at the beginning of the year to request a committee be formed to look at ways to improve the roughly two-block stretch of 83rd Street, from Peoria Street to Shawnee Street.

"There are some improvements that should be made to the entire area and I think it's worth investing in if De Soto wants to attract new businesses to downtown," Hicks said.

The committee, which includes city councilmen John Krudwig, himself a downtown property owner, and Ron McDaniel, along with City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle and City Engineer Mike Brungardt, has been using an old downton improvement plan as a basic guideline for what they'd like to see happen.

"Looking at the original proposal for downtown it's obvious we can't do anything to that extent," Hicks said. "It includes some major landscaping and whatnot that is just too expensive right now, but we do feel that the lighting changes and sidewalk improvements are necessary and reasonable."

The original plan called for implementing the improvements in three phases for a total cost of just under $1.5 million. Hicks and the committee are now looking at basic improvements to the curbs and lighting downtown and making the sidewalks ADA compliant.

"If I were to give a very rough estimate of this scaled back plan, I'd say it'd be about a third of the cost, around $500K," Hicks said.

While the numbers may still be a bit vague, Hicks is already looking into funding options. He has spent the past few weeks contacting the 21 owners of property downtown to gage their interest in the improvements and possibly assisting with the cost of the project.

"Everyone I've talked to so far, about a third of the owners, are interested in getting something done downtown but they also feel that the city should pay for the majority of things."

The city council will be meeting tomorrow night to formally adopt the city's 2012 budget after a public hearing. At this time no money has been earmarked for downtown improvements.

Hicks plans to appear before the council once he has completed his survey of the downtown owners regarding their willingness to chip in for repairs.

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Pioneer 4-H builds family atmosphere around sheep

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Pioneer 4-H build family around sheep by Laura Herring

Every summer the kids in De Soto's Pioneer 4-H club spend countless hours battling the heat and the endless drone of sheep bleating in the name of showmanship.

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New captain in charge of Johnson County Sheriff's Department's Patrol Division

Johnson County Sheriff's Captain Shaine Pennington

Johnson County Sheriff's Captain Shaine Pennington

There's a new captain in town, sheriff's captain that is. Newly promoted Captain Shaine Pennington recently took over as Patrol Division Commander for the Johnson County Sheriff's Department, replacing Capt. Doug Baker, who was transferred to Investigations.

Pennington, who joined the sheriff's department in 1995, has previously served in Investigations and with the K-9 unit. He also spent nine years as a patrol officer, which brought him to De Soto quite a bit. In addition to commanding the Patrol Division, Pennington will continue to command the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT), the county's equivalent of a SWAT team.

While he has made a good career for himself with the sheriff's department, Pennington never planned on working in law enforcement. With degrees in biology and criminal justice from Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri), he had planned on a career a bit more wild, so to speak.

"I'd always thought I'd be a game warden out west somewhere but then a friend talked me into applying [with the sheriff's department] and I've enjoyed it all," he said.

Along the way in his career in law enforcement, Pennington discovered that the part he enjoyed most, beyond the satisfaction of putting criminals behind bars, is working with people.

"What I really liked when I worked as a patrol officer was interacting with the community and meeting people," he said. "De Soto in particular was a great place to work then, everyone was very friendly."

Pennington, who was born in Wyoming and grew up in Excelsior Springs, Mo. and now resides in Olathe with his wife and son, says he also has social ties to De Soto, through friends and colleagues, making it a special place to work.

"In a lot of ways, De Soto is almost more like a town I'm from than a town I work in and that makes work even better."

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City's proposes five percent reduction in 2012 budget

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle is a cautious man when it comes to the city's finances. When he speaks of making five-year forecasts of city funds and maintaining the city's cash balance, he often uses the phrase "in the worst-case scenario" to describe how he comes about his numbers. This cautious nature is paying off for De Soto.

The proposed 2012 city budget of $7,517,316, which will likely be approved after a public hearing at the Aug. 18 meeting, shows a five percent reduction from the $7,848,699 2011 budget and does not include a mill levy increase.

Guilfoyle attributs the majority of the budget reduction to the city's efforts to reduce capital improvement projects.

"We're trying to be very cautious with our improvement projects and really only do the very basic ones, sort of the meat and potatoes of needed improvements," Guilfoyle said.

Necessary improvements boil down to street maintenance and a few water projects, according to Guilfoyle.

"We don't want to do anything that we can't pay for in cash," he said.

It is Guilfoyle's tendency to plan for the worst that has made him comfortable enough to present the option to keep the mill levy flat at 20.1 mills for 2012 based on higher than usual cash balances at the end of recent years.

"A budget is basically saying how much money [the city] expects to bring in and how much we expect to spend," Guilfoyle said. "We always allow for the worst-case spending possible and hope that doesn't happen, the last few years it hasn't and we're in a good spot."

2009 left De Soto with the highest year-end cash balance in the city's history with $709K left over. That increased in 2010 and Guilfoyle expects to be in that neighborhood at the end of 2011.

"Having a good cash balance helps the city in two ways," he said. "The obvious one is it provides the city with a safety net should any unexpected emergencies occur and it helps us prevent the rollar coaster effect on our property tax rate."

Guilfoyle also warns that while the 2012 budget proposal doesn't call for a property tax increase he expects one to be needed for the next couple years.

"Our cash balance now is great but we don't want to rely on it too much because then we would be in trouble and taxes would go up by a lot all at once instead of a little over time."

One place Guilfoyle doesn't see an increase coming is in the water rate. The water fund has been stabilizing in recent years, even turing a profit for the first time in 2010.

The city is also seeing a reduction in the law enforcement budget. According to Guilfoyle, the contract between the city and the Johnson County Sheriff's Department for police coverage is $30,300 or 7.3 percent less than last year. This is due to a decrease in criminal activity and the amount of time deputies have needed to spend in De Soto in the past year he said.

The public is invited to speak regarding the budget at a public hearing before the regular city council meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18.

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Quarterly newsletters for city and school district now available

The summer newsletters from the City of De Soto and the De Soto USD 232 are now available for download. In the newsletters are updates on the city's water projects currently underway and the school district's accomplishments during the 2010-2011 academic year. The city's newsletter may be downloaded here and the school district's is available here.

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