Johnson County

Andrea Ramsey / Andrea Ramsey For Congress

Retired lawyer and former community health nonprofit executive Andrea Ramsey announced Friday that she is dropping out of the race for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District.

Ramsey is one of several Democrats challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

As always during this season, Kansas City musicians are booked for holiday gatherings.

"Christmas is the busiest time of year. We all have a million gigs," says Johnny Hamil, an area bass player and teacher (among his efforts to promote his instrument, Hamil lures esteemed bass players from around the world to town for his annual Kansas City Bass Workshop).

TheNaska / Flickr -- CC

Meet a soon-to-be-NASA engineer from Missouri who raps about math.

Plus: what are the smells of KC, both past and present? We explore the rich tapestry of Kansas City scents, good and bad, and how they affect our experience of a place.

Guests:

Johnson County, Kansas

The longtime manager of the biggest county in Kansas was ousted Thursday by a 4-3 vote of the Johnson County Commission. Hannes Zacharias has been county manager since 2009 and had been in county management since 2001.

“As I stated prior to and following the vote, I do not agree with the decision and believe it is not the correct action for our county commission to take," Commission Chair Ed Eilert said in a statement. "This vote does not reflect in any negative way on the moral, ethical or professional character of Mr. Zacharias, as I and others stated as the vote was taken."

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City International Airport is broadening its horizons, hosting a community design meeting for the new terminal in Johnson County after all and stepping up efforts to attract international air service.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County Community College just received the biggest financial gift in its history and plans to use the money to expand its technical education.

JCCC says it received a $10 million donation from the Overland Park-based Sunderland Foundation. It's part of a $102 million project that will add two buildings to campus.

City of Overland Park

Carl Gerlach was facing his first opponent in eight years for re-election as Overland Park, Kansas, mayor. In the end, he easily brushed aside challenger Charlotte O'Hara. 

Gerlach grabbed 63 percent of the vote. O'Hara got 37 percent.

The incumbent ran on the economic success of Overland Park during his time in office, including the revitalization of downtown and adding 23,000 jobs.

O'Hara tried to paint Gerlach and the city as too cozy with developers by granting millions of dollars in tax incentives.

courtesy of the artist

The Johnson County, Kansas, Board of County Commissioners this week voted to reduce funding for proposed public art projects and for the county's public art program itself. 

In addition to public art programs in six cities, Johnson County has a One Percent for Art Program, established in 2006 to include art in major building projects.

Arts advocates, including Kansas Representative Jerry Stogsdill of Prairie Village, asked the commission to continue support for the program. 

Patrick Doheny / Flickr -- CC

At many metro parks, you'll see players from around the world playing cricket. We take a closer look at the growing culture of the sport in Kansas City.

Then: a recent article in Time Magazine stated that kids' sports is a $15 billion dollar industry. With the rise of club teams, is the way that kids play sports good for them? Or is it a sacrifice — not only for them, but for the whole family?

Guests:

Orlin Wagner / Associated Press

Last week the state lost again at the Kansas Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled that Kansas is underfunding its public schools, with repercussions for academically struggling children across the state — and especially for students and taxpayers who live in resource-poor school districts. 

In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs met up on the tennis court to see whether women could cut it in sports. Inspired by Battle of the Sexes, we take a look at how their legendary match influenced feminism and women in sports today.

Plus: a teacher at Shawnee Mission East wrote a song that addresses sexual assault ... and invited his students to collaborate on it. Hear the story behind his song, "Fallen Roses."

 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Less than two months since its opening, Lenexa’s City Center development is already transforming the way that city’s residents interact with their government, and changing how the metro thinks about the Kansas suburb.

The project, just one in a set of sprawling properties centered around 87th Street and Renner Boulevard, is the culmination of 20 years of work to make real a long-standing community vision for a new downtown.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In a live broadcast from the Public Market in Lenexa's new City Center, we talk with officials about the 20-year odyssey to make real their community's vision for a new town square. Also, the vendors behind Frannie Franks Coffee Cakes and Red Kitchen Tamales share their start-up stories and explain why they've set up shop in the new development.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

While many eyes remain on recovery and damage assessment in Texas and Louisiana in the literal wake of Hurricane Harvey, some residents of the Kansas  City metro — who've seen unusual amounts of rainfall and dangerous flooding this summer — are growing more concerned about the possibility of unprecedented floods.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

While communities across the country deal with dramatic increases in illegal opioid use, statistics in Johnson County suggest rates of death and addiction closer to home are relatively more stable.

Court filings involving opioid offenses have remained relatively flat in recent years, and illegal use has decreased for hydrocodone and oxycodone, two of the most popular opiates, according to a report from public health and crime experts presented to the Johnson County Commission in June. Heroin use remains steady.

Despite those encouraging numbers, local officials are wary.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

Just because court filings suggest illegal opioid use is down in Kansas' wealthiest county doesn't mean its residents are unaffected by rising usage nationwide. Today, we'll find out what opiate use looks like in Johnson County. Then, we learn what exactly makes sports fandom such a big deal in Kansas City, whether it's for the Chiefs, the Royals or Sporting KC.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

When you walk into the new Olathe West High School, it doesn't at all feel like a high school. It could be on a college campus — or even the campus of Microsoft or Google.

There's an atrium when you walk in, along with a large commons area — and even a part of the library where students and teachers can congregate.

Kansas Local Primary Election August 2017 Results

Aug 2, 2017
Keith Ivey / Flickr-CC

Below are the unofficial results from Tuesday's municipal elections on the Kansas side of the metro area. 

JOHNSON COUNTY

SHAWNEE MISSION SCHOOL BOARD AT LARGE 6

Heather Ousley
Votes: 7,510
Percent: 42%

Mandi Serrone Hunter
Votes: 3,666
Percent: 21%

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Update Aug. 4 5:38 p.m.

Mandi Hunter's lead over at-large incumbent Cindy Neighbor more than doubled Friday afternoon, from seven votes to 18 votes. 

The Johnson County Election updated the primary night vote totals after counting additional mail in ballots post marked by 7:00 Tuesday night and received in the office Friday.

The votes, including provisional ballots, will be canvassed Monday morning.

If Hunter's lead holds she will face Heather Ousley in the general election.

Original story starts here.

Ralph Lauer / The Cliburn

Recent claims from elected officials and investigations into Russian election meddling have some wondering about the security of their vote. Today, we find out what the Kansas City, Missouri, and Johnson County Kansas election boards are doing to protect electronic, paper and absentee ballots.

Orlin Wagner / Associated Press

If you weren’t paying really close attention to the oral arguments in the Gannon v. Kansas school funding case before the Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday, you probably missed a little question from Justice Dan Biles about a provision of the new school funding formula that exclusively benefits two Johnson County districts.

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Former relief pitcher Jeff Montgomery saved more games for the Royals than any other player to step on the mound. Today, we talk with the slinger-turned-broadcaster about his experiences with the boys in blue.

A photographer discusses her new book about homelessness in Johnson County, and a comics artist shares his thoughts on the trials and tribulations of the creative process.

Plus: an encore presentation our award-winning piece about a man who learns how to hear again after years of deafness.

Guests:

SFS Architecture

The doors of the old King Louie West Lanes bowling alley and ice skating rink have been closed to the public since 2009. On Saturday, the iconic building will reopen, this time as the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

Steve Kraske / KCUR 89.3

The former King Louie West Lanes facility in Overland Park, Kansas, has seen a dramatic change. The building is now the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.  

With space for theater, dance and the visual arts — as well as being the new home for the Johnson County Museum — the Center is a multipurpose destination for the community.  

Today, we talk with county officials about the years-long project and what visitors can expect — just in time for the grand opening on Saturday.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

There are two college tuition stories in Kansas right now.

The first is a good news story. Johnson County Community College says it will hold the line on tuition. The JCCC Board of Trustees voted last month to maintain the current cost for students. A credit hour is $93 for Johnson County residents and $110 for all other Kansas residents.

“JCCC is a place where every student has the opportunity for success.  By not raising tuition, that opportunity for success is now more achievable for more students,” president Joe Sopcich said in a statement.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The Shawnee Mission School District Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday night to name Dr. Kenny Southwick as interim superintendent for Shawnee Mission schools.

Jim Hinson, who has headed the district for the past four years, unexpectedly announced his retirement last week. His last day is June 30.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Just because Kansas had an election a few months ago doesn’t mean people aren’t already thinking about 2018 legislative campaigns.

Grassroots organizations in Johnson County are multiplying and starting to plot how they will elect more moderate Republicans and Democrats to the Kansas Legislature.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

It’s been 30 years since metropolitan Kansas City’s beltway, Interstate 435, was completed, and its important role as a route for economic development has been a tale of two states.

In southern Johnson County, where the first leg of I-435 opened between I-35 and Metcalf Avenue in 1965, smart planning by local and state leaders has made the I-435 corridor that area’s bustling main street.

County Health Rankings

The two counties at the bottom of Kansas’ health rankings this year share a great deal: high rates of poverty and smoking, and difficulty accessing providers.

But the latest rankings suggest the counties might be starting to diverge on one important factor: how likely their residents are to die prematurely.

Residents of Labette County in southeast Kansas took the unenviable title of Kansas’ least-healthy people from Wyandotte County in the 2017 County Health Rankings released Wednesday.

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