With an abortion change in the Aug. 2 ballot and hot primaries for statewide office, Johnson County has seen its pre-primary voter count surge by more than 23,000 since 2020. Independents and Democrats made the biggest gains.
“We are pleased that so many people are interested in exercising their right to vote,” Johnson County Elections Commissioner Fred Sherman said in a statement before the election.
▪ Democrats: 140,562, down from 130,245 two years ago.
▪ Republicans: 186,532, compared to 186,285 in 2020.
▪ Libertarians: 5,756, down from 5,121 two years ago.
▪ Unconnected: 123,437, up from 111,310.
The total number of registered voters this year was 456,287, up from 432,961 in 2020. Voters who failed to register for the primaries in time can do so ahead of November’s general election.
The new Westwood view opens
A new building — in a new location — awaits Westwood View elementary school students as they begin the 2022-2023 school year this month. It is the first new school to be completed with funds raised from a $264 million bond issue approved by Shawnee Mission District voters in 2021.
Four more new schools are in the works.
Westwood View’s new address is 4935 Belinder Ave. in Westwood, formerly the location of Entercom’s radio studios. In a press release, the district lists several features of the new building:
▪ Flexible learning spaces.
▪ Technology integrated throughout the building.
▪ A soccer field, walking paths and universally inclusive playground equipment.
▪ Classrooms and outdoor dining areas.
▪ Security and protection installed to district standards.
▪ LEED certification for “green” design.
An arched entrance commemorates the first Westwood View School, built in 1928. According to a story published by the City of Westwood, this school was known as Westwood View School No. 93 and then as Building No. 101 known after various school districts were merged into the Shawnee Mission School District in the 1960s. This building was replaced in 1969.
“The original building had an arch, and that theme was incorporated into the new design by the architects,” district spokesman David Smith said via email. “It also reflects the design of many homes throughout the Westwood community.”
At the southwest corner of the property stands a memorial with a concrete medallion inscribed WV, which was salvaged from the original school and later placed into a cliff face in a nearby park.
“The City of Westwood informed the school district and the architects of the location of the medallion and offered to incorporate it into the new building,” Smith said. “The base of the new marquee turned out to be a great location for it.”
The next new school to open in early 2023 is John Diemer Elementary, followed by a new Pawnee Elementary next summer.
A groundbreaking for a new Rushton Elementary is scheduled for January, and Tomahawk Elementary will be replaced thereafter.
Olathe blood donation
The Olathe Indian Creek Library is hosting a blood drive on August 8th.
Appointments can be made at the library, 16100 W. 135th St., from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at RedCrossBlood.org. Look for the sponsor code “Olathelibrary”.
Mural wanted for downtown Shawnee
On behalf of the Rotary Club of Shawnee, the City of Shawnee is seeking artists to replace a mural on Johnson Drive and Nieman Road.
The budget for the project is $4,000 and submissions are due August 19th. The mural is due to be completed by September 16.
“This mural will become a landmark and focal point in Shawnee as we expand our public art presence,” the city said in a release. “We want community members to take photos here, smile as they drive by, and feel the impact of a bright, fun, representative mural in our downtown area.”
Submissions should be directed to Lauren Grashoff at email@example.com. Visit cityofshawnee.org for more details.
Lenexa’s Ryan Brethour and Spring Hill’s Kylie Rogers were crowned Mr. and Miss 4-H at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension 4-H Fashion Revue held July 27 in Gardner.
Overland Park’s Fran Schrotberger was named Miss 4-H Runner Up. All three winners were 16 years old.
The awards recognize 4-H members for their contribution to Johnson County 4-H youth development in the areas of leadership, citizenship and participation. Applicants must make a five-minute public presentation in support of 4-H to a panel of judges, followed by panel questions. A 250-word essay was also required.
King Louie and Other History, on display
Remember the old King Louie bowling alley and the ice castle in Overland Park?
That history is highlighted in one of two new exhibits at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, now located in the renovated King Louie Building at 8788 Metcalf Ave.
The bowling alley opened as King Louie West in February 1959, and the ice rink was added in 1964. The building closed in 2009, and the Johnson County government later purchased the property to house the Johnson County Museum and arts activities.
The exhibition, called King Louie, is scheduled to run for five years or more.
The other exhibition, which will continue through the end of the year in conjunction with the museum’s 55th anniversary, looks at how and why the museum collects the objects it collects. Almost 70 items from his collection are graphically represented on the exhibition wall, with access to details on each one.
Both exhibits are located in the Creative Commons area of the center, entry to which is free.
Olathe Student excels in Braille
Emrie Wisner, a fourth grade student at Mahaffie Elementary School, took third place in the third and fourth graders class at the 2022 Braille Challenge finals.
The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind held in North America for blind or partially sighted students. Participants are tested on basic Braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs.
The county accepts the first opioid payment
Johnson County has received its first distribution of funds totaling $113,560 from the national opioid treaty, which includes the drug industry.
“We expect these funds to be used for projects and activities that prevent or reduce, treat or mitigate the effects of substance abuse,” Assistant District Manager Maury Thompson said in a news release.
In December, the county completed the Kansas Opioid Memorandum of Understanding, following a separate lawsuit against the industry for perpetuating the opioid epidemic. Officials believe the agreement offers the best chance to maximize settlement funds, which could net the county more than $3 million over the next 18 years.
Disposal of hazardous waste
Anyone living in Johnson County can—without an appointment—donate unwanted paint, used motor oil, cleaning supplies and other hazardous household waste at a monthly event hosted by Olathe.
The drive-thru events are held on the second Saturday of each month from 8am to 2pm at 1420 S. Robinson Drive. The next one is August 13th.
To see what items are accepted, visit olatheks.org/government/utilities, click Recycling, and then click Household Hazardous Waste and HHW Events.