Johnson County | KCUR

Johnson County

Nicolas Telep / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 10:28 a.m. to include a statement by the Johnson County Election Office and updated at 1:58 p.m. to include comments from the election machines' vendor.  

For the second time in two years, election night tabulation problems in Johnson County led to delays in voting results, leaving the outcomes of key races in limbo.

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By working with neighboring school districts and community health partners, Olathe Superintendent John Allison thinks Johnson County might actually be able to change the conversation on teen suicide.

“Each of the Johnson County school districts has taken a little different approach,” Allison says. “I think that’s been key to our conversation that started last spring, is to learn from each other to try to see what’s worked and at the same time to blend our limited resources to best support each other.”

Nicholas Telep / KCUR 89.3

The line to enter Johnson County’s newest public library stretched out the door and around the building Sunday, shortly after the official ribbon-cutting.

The Monticello branch of the Johnson County Public Library in western Shawnee, Kansas, cost $18.1 million and is home to more than 100,000 books and other materials as well as study rooms, computers and public art installations. It’s the library's first new branch in two decades, and it’s been in the works for almost that long.

Courtesy Photo / KCATA

Johnson County commissioners voted Thursday to expand paratransit bus service to all disabled and elderly Johnson County residents.

Previously, the service was limited to residents living within the boundaries of 47th and 159th Streets and K-7 Highway and State Line Road.

Johnson County spokesman Joshua Powers says Johnson County's rapid growth requires better service for everyone, but those dependent on public transit in particular.

Anne Kniggendorf

What does your grandfather’s house have in common with the Johnson County library? A workshop.

“I’m not saying this is your grandad’s basement — it’s kind of your grandad’s basement on steroids,” Johnson County Library Director Sean Casserley said during a recent event to rededicate the Black & Veatch MakerSpace. The Overland Park-based engineering firm renewed a $90,000, three-year grant to the library system in July.

Johnson County Poised To Expand Mental Health Services

Jul 31, 2018
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County’s proposed $1.1 billion budget for 2019 includes a $3 million increase in spending on mental health services.

The money would fund six additional workers at the Johnson County Mental Health Center, including three new case managers who would work with both children and adults.

At a hearing Monday night, the only public input consisted of two suggestions to further lower the tax rate. The board is already planning to lower the mill levy rate in 2019 because property values have increased.

A piece of funnel cake, dusted in powdered sugar.
Jamiesrabbits / Flickr - CC

Summer in Kansas City means braving the heat and humidity for the metro's many outdoor festivals, where snack offerings are so plentiful and varied that we asked our food critics for guidance on navigating the options.

"Sometimes in those festivals, you can get foods that you can't find in any restaurant in Kansas City. It's a real treat," said Charles Ferruzza.

FILE PHOTO/KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, is responding to a letter demanding he take action to end the Trump administration's policy of breaking up immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nearly 60 elected officials from Johnson and Wyandotte Counties have called on Yoder to prevent immigrant children seeking asylum in the U.S. with their families from being separated from their parents at the border. Yoder is chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

headshot of Rep Kevin Yoder
yoder.house.gov

Johnson County leaders have sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, demanding he act to prevent families seeking asylum from being separated at the border.

About 50 Republican and Democratic state lawmakers as well as city and county officials signed the letter to Yoder, who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee.

The letter says the Department of Homeland Security is harming children by taking them from their parents.

Google Earth

New guidelines will make it harder to build big homes on small lots in Prairie Village as the Johnson County suburb tries to get ahead of the “teardown” trend that’s pitted newcomers against residents who like the charm of older houses.

The city is trying to find the balance between encouraging development and maintaining its classic look, Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer told Up To Date’s Steve Kraske Wednesday. In the last five years, 126 older homes – mostly ranch and Cape Cod-style – have been torn down to make way for new construction.

More Sites In Kansas Offering Free Meals To Kids This Summer

Jun 12, 2018
photo of Elizabeth Quinn
Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Michael Kraft likes to joke that he’s under pressure to come to the summer lunch program at Johnson County Library, Central Resource.

Last year, his kids won a prize — a bag full of goodies like stickers, markers and notepads — for eating the most lunches during their summer lunch program.

His two girls have their sights set on winning again. He takes his children about three to four times a week. Today’s menu was a cheese stick with marinara sauce, wheat crackers, applesauce and milk. Kids could also get an apple.

Sophia Tulp / KCUR 89.3

Mental health advocates are urging parents to watch for suicide warning signs as school lets out for summer.

“The first thing that we have to do is be okay and comfortable with even saying the word suicide,” said Kevin McGuire, co-chair of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition told the crowd gathered Tuesday for a panel discussion on mental health.

Kris Kobach / Twitter

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is drawing national scrutiny after he appeared in the Old Shawnee Days parade in Johnson County on Saturday riding in a Jeep with a large machine gun replica mounted on it.

In a tweet after the parade, Kobach called the vehicle a “souped-up Jeep,” and posed with it. The gun appeared to be a .50 caliber machine gun. Kobach said the firearm was a replica.

FEMA

A handful of Johnson County's 197 sirens designed to warn residents of a tornado didn’t go off in South Johnson County, where an EF-1 tornado touched down the night of May 2.

“There were some sirens that we found out didn’t activate when they were supposed to and we’re running that down right now,” says Trent Pittman, Johnson County's assistant director of Community Preparedness.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

As Johnson County District Court Judge Charles Droege told 52-year-old Adam Purinton on Friday that he likely "won't leave prison alive," the convicted murderer briefly lowered his head.

Purinton was sentenced to life in prison for the February 2017 murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla at an Olathe, Kansas, bar. He received an additional 28-year sentence for the attempted murders of Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot.

He still faces federal hate crime charges that could mean the death penalty. A hearing in that case is set for later this month.

Karen Almond / KC Rep/Facebook

In his new play, Nathan Louis Jackson draws on his own life to tackle the issue of gun violence.

Brother Toad” tells the story of two men who are related but going down different paths.

“Each path ends with the decision of ‘how do I protect myself and the ones I love?’” Jackson told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Segment 1: A new play about gun violence in Kansas.

Nathan Louis Jackson's new play, "Brother Toad," is set in Wyandotte County and Johnson County. It's about two men who are going down different paths when it comes to protecting their families. Hear more about the play and about Jackson's changing views on guns.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The resignation of Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp over a sex scandal has, rather unexpectedly, brought to light an issue in the office—a severe lack of diversity.

The office Sharp inherited in 2009 and left two weeks ago is overwhelmingly white and male.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The mother of the Blue Valley Northwest student fatally shot by police in January is suing the Overland Park Police Department and the officer who killed her son.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, Sheila Albers alleges that the officer, identified as Clayton Jenison, acted "recklessly and deliberately" when he shot and killed her 17-year-old son, John Albers, as he was backing out of the garage of their home.

Johnson County Parks and Recreation District

This Saturday, Antioch Park in Johnson County, Kansas, will reopen its western-themed playground named "Dodge Town."

Complete with a general store, smithy and jail, the township looks less like a playground and more like a Hollywood film set, albeit in miniature.

Scott Wilson, a longtime Kansas City resident and writer, has just one word for how he remembers playing in Dodge Town: escape.

Segment 1: Memories of the wild west are kept alive in Johnson County park.

For many kids who grew up near Antioch Park, 'Dodge Town' has been a place to relive the wild west. As the playground prepares to re-open after being remodeled, we take a nostalgic look back.

  • Scott Wilson, writer and editor

Segment 2, beginning at 11:51: Mary Shelley's classic novel celebrates bicentennial anniversary.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Non-profit connects underserved Kansas City neighborhoods to fresh produce.

Food deserts are a big problem for many communities in the metro, but the remedy isn't always to build big grocery stores. Today, we talked with the founder of Kanbe's Markets to learn about his unique approach to connecting communities with fresh, healthy food.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Missouri call for convention of states to amend U.S. Constitution for term limits working its way through legislature.

While Missouri state lawmakers can't be re-elected indefinitely, those elected to serve at the national level don't have such limits, and sometimes hold a seat for decades. Today, we talked about what it would take to get this changed in Washington.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

While other big counties in Kansas have already bought new voting machines that create a paper trail, Johnson County has yet to upgrade their machines despite having the money to do so.

In 2016, the Johnson County Commission approved $13 million to replace the county’s 15-year-old voting machines.

Matt Kleinmann / Community Health Council of Wyandotte County

New county health rankings once again show Wyandotte County as one of the least healthy counties in Kansas. The good news: It’s no longer the worst.

Segment 1: A local dance troupe performs an original piece based on people's experience with cancer.

The Owen/Cox Dance Group has collaborated with Gilda's Club Kansas City and will perform a piece about how people's lives are impacted by cancer. We talk to the choreographer, and we hear from patients, survivors and caregivers.

Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission Board of Education hired Michael Fulton to be the district's next superintendent for $250,000 a year, but the other details of his contract have been finalized.

Fulton will receive $1,000 a month car allowance "for the purpose of offsetting all necessary operating expenses for travel required to perform duties" in the Kansas City area. In addition, the district will also provide a yearly $24,000 tax-sheltered annuity.

Fulton will get 31 vacation days a year in addition to all days off students and staff get.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County Commissioners on Thursday morning committed $300,000 to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for expanded bus service to south Johnson County.

The additional routes will cater to the fast-growing labor market at Logistics Park KC, a massive transportation and distribution hub in Edgerton, Kansas, and to the New Century Air Center in Olathe.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

In recognition of Kansas Day, today's show is all about the Sunflower State. We start things out with a poem about the town of El Dorado (and the way we pronounce it.) Then, learn about the person Johnson County was named after, Reverend Thomas Johnson.

Also, the story of Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee prophet who dreamed of uniting the Native American tribes into a single government.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

We know that the flu outbreak around Kansas City is bad, and it's keeping doctors, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics hopping.

But local firefighters and paramedics are also carrying more of the load.

“I could say it’s probably increasing our call volume by 25 to 30 calls a day,” says Kansas City Fire Department Deputy Chief Tom Collins.

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