Johnson County

Beyond Our Borders
12:52 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Kansas Stereotypes Turn Quickly To The Suburbs In Kansas City

Suburban life has become synonymous with parts of Johnson and Wyandotte counties in recent Kansas City history.
Credit / Flickr--CC

Do you use the word, Kansas, as shorthand for the suburbs?

Our daily talk show Central Standard explored that question Wednesday.

There’s some truth to the perception that the Kansas side of the metropolitan area is way more suburban than the “real city” in the Show-Me-State, said Bill Coldiron.

Coldiron, of Overland Park, Kan., is a member of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., where KCUR held a community forum last week as part of our Beyond Our Borders series.  

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Arts & Culture
4:04 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

Library's MakerSpace: More Sewing, Recording, 3-D Printing To Come

An example of 3-D printing created in the MakerSpace at the Johnson County Central Resource Library.
Credit courtesy: Johnson County Library

The Johnson County Library Foundation recently announced a $70,360 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The funds will boost the scope of the MakerSpace at the Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park, Kan. 

The MakerSpace opened in 2013. It’s where you can learn to sew, record music, or print something in 3-D.

Kate McNair, teen services coordinating librarian, says demand for the MakerSpace, with its tools and technology, exceeds capacity. 

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Election 2014
3:25 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Recall Sought For Kansas Judge Who Allowed Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty
Credit Johnson County District Court

The Johnson County, Kan., judge who approved the issuing of marriage licenses for same-sex couples is now the subject of a recall.

Bruce Baumgardner, a physiology professor at Johnson County Community College, on Friday announced that he is trying to oust Johnson County Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty by urging people to vote against him in the November election, according to the Kansas City Star.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:22 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Johnson County Names DeWeese As Mental Health Director

Johnson County announced Thursday that it has hired a new director for its mental health center.

The new hire is Tim DeWeese, a longtime staff member of the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

For nearly the past two years, DeWeese has served as director of clinical services, overseeing the largest operating division of the center. He has also served the center as director of community support services and as a crisis case-management team leader.

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Up To Date
7:14 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Q & A: Johnson County Commission Chair Candidates

Candidates for Chair of the Johnson Co., Kansas Board of Commissioners (left to right): Ed Eilert, Patricia Lightner, Ed Peterson.

The three candidates running for Johnson County Commission Chair in Tuesday's primary election appeared on Up To Date Friday. In a forum led by guest host Brian Ellison and covering taxes, growth, and the county’s purchase of the King Louie Bowling Alley, candidates Ed Eilert, Ed Peterson and Patricia Lightner fielded questions from listeners.

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Up To Date
12:17 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Panel Forum: Candidates For Johnson County, Kansas Commission Chair

Up to Date's Brian Ellison with (clockwise from left) Ed Peterson, Ed Eilert and Patricia Lightner.
Credit Hannah Copeland / KCUR

Next week voters will cast their votes for Chair of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners— the highest elected office in the county. They’ll narrow the field from three candidates down to the two who will be on the November ballot. All three joined Friday's Up to Date for a candidate forum, their last before Tuesday’s election.


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Up To Date
5:07 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Baby Boomers Hold The Highest Rate Of Suicide, Especially in Kansas

Trends in Suicide Rates* Among Persons Ages 25–64 Years, Both Sexes, by Age Group, United States, 1991–2009
Credit Centers for Disease Control

There are 76 million Americans who were born between the mid-40s and the mid-60s. The Baby Boomers have much of the wealth, much of the power, much of the responsibility in our nation today. But, they also now have the highest suicide rate among all age groups. Guest host Brian Ellison talks with Kansas City Star reporter Rick Montgomery about this alarming statistic and how the rate in Kansas has skyrocketed in the last few years.

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12:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Johnson County Ranked One Of The 'Easiest' Places To Live In U.S.

This map from The New York Times ranks counties based on quality of life indicators such as median household income and obesity rate.
Credit The Upshot / The New York Times

Johnson County, Kan., is one of the easiest places to live in the United States, according to a new study by The New York Times

The New York Times ranked counties based on six criteria: education, unemployment rate, median household income, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity rate.

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2:46 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Johnson County Demonstrates Sharp Uptick In Suburban Poverty

Poverty in suburban Johnson County doesn't look like it does in urban Kansas City, Kan., or rural parts of the state. 

And that makes it harder to address a growing problem in a part of the metro seen as affluent, says County Manager Hannes Zacharias.

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Johnson County
8:01 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Johnson County Commissioners Plan Small Property Tax Rate Hike

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners has announced that it plans to raise property taxes in the 2015 budget. But, if the increase is implemented, it will be far from staggering.

Board of Commissioners chairman Ed Eilert says the recommended increase likely won’t mean a large burden for homeowners. Under the recommended increase revealed Wednesday, owners of properties valued at $249,000 would pay about $2 more per month. The increase would cover an anticipated $45 million budget shortfall over five years.

Up to Date
9:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

How Organizations Are Engaging Our Community

Up To Date host Steve Kraske, left, leads a discussion with members of the 49/63 neighborhood during a March community listening session at Rockhurst University.
Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Every government, non-profit or business has to find some way to gauge what a community needs or wants from them. But how do you figure it out?

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about what community engagement means to a local government official and a director of community engagement at a non-profit. We also take a look at how they talk with community members and how the information they get helps shape their organizations’ budgets, programs and other critical functions.

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4:01 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Tell KCUR: What Do You Say To Kids After A Community Tragedy?

Tell KCUR: What do you say to kids after a community tragedy? Tweet your answer with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit KCUR

Sunday’s shootings at Jewish centers in Johnson County raise a lot of questions for law enforcement and the victims’ families.  

But as the news continues to pick up more local, national and even international attention,  the shootings may prompt questions from little ones.

We want to know how you’re explaining the recent shootings to them.

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8:15 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Johnson County Salvation Army Opens New Homeless Shelter

Credit Photo Credit Creative Commons

The Salvation Army of Johnson County has expanded and improved its facilities for the homeless. Their existing shelter is 60-years-old and does not meet the needs of the county, which is the fastest growing county in Kansas.

The chapter's Major Mark Martsolf says the county wanted to provide a more dignified environment while the growing number of homeless families are trying to get back on their feet. He says the new Olathe facility will upgrade broken amenities and fixtures, as well as add square footage.

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8:00 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Tuberculosis Confirmed In Johnson County

State and local health officials have confirmed a case of tuberculosis in Johnson County, Kan. A patient who was treated at Overland Park Regional Medical Center last September has an active case of the airborne disease.

Officials say spread of the disease requires very close contact with an infected person, so it’s highly unlikely that it has spread to anyone else. Health officials have identified about 100 people who need to be tested for TB, as a precaution.

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Business & Tech
9:50 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Intermodal Shipping Hub Opens In Johnson County

BNSF Railway officially opens a huge new freight handling center in southern Johnson County, Kan. Thursday. The intermodal freight yard in Edgerton will be the largest in the region.

Kansas City is a major shipping hub. It’s the second largest rail hub, as measured by number of train cars, and by some measures, the third largest trucking center in the country. 

All that freight flowing in and out of the Kansas City-area creates jobs for drivers, warehouse workers and others. Increasingly it comes in by train, and gets distributed from Johnson County by truck.  

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Up to Date
4:00 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Looking Back At The Sunflower Ammunition Plant

The Sunflower Ammunition Plant is the focus of a new exhibit at the Johnson County Museum.
Credit Thomas Long/Flickr-CC

The Midwest is generally a calm place, but a new museum exhibit in Johnson County is recalling a place that was potentially explosive.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk about the history and development of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. A former plant manager and the top government official both join us today to give an inside look at what it was like to work there.


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3:59 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Johnson County Chairman Reports Thriving Economy

“The state of our county is good.” That was the message on Tuesday from  Johnson County Chairman Ed Eilert, as he bragged about the county’s 4.5 percent unemployment rate and dramatic increase in housing starts.

In his annual State of the County address, Eilert acknowledged it wasn’t easy to keep expenditures in line with revenues last year.  The county consolidated government departments and reduced the work force by the equivalent of more than 430 jobs through early retirement and attrition.

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11:07 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Kansas County Health Rankings Very Similar to Last Year’s

A map showing the distribution of 2013 health outcomes. Counties in white rank highest in heath outcomes and hose in dark green rank the lowest.
Courtesy Kansas Health Institute

According to the latest Kansas County Health Rankings, Johnson and Riley counties have the healthiest residents in Kansas again this year.  Wyandotte County and a cluster of counties in southeast Kansas remain among the least healthy.

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5:44 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Power Outages Reduced From Kansas City Region Snow Storm

Robin Cross KCUR

Kansas City area residents have fought their way out of a second major snowstorm in less than a week. Some areas got upwards of a foot of new snow.

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7:56 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Elections Still On: Hours Extended, Polling Places Changed


Update Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. Due to the weather, polling places have been consolidated in both Wyandotte and Johnson Counties. Find polling places for Wyandotte County here and Johnson County here

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KC Currents
11:47 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Middle Aged White Males Drive Up Suicide Rate In Johnson County

Rennie Shuler-McKinney of Shawnee Mission Medical Center
Shawnee Mission Medical Center

Mention Johnson County, Kansas and locals think wealth, privilege and the pursuit of happiness. But disturbing trends in Johnson County suicide rates challenge us to think beyond this stereotype.

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Election 2012
5:27 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Vratil Crosses Party Line, Endorses Democrat

John Vratil is retiring as vice-president of the Kansas Senate.

Retiring Kansas moderate Republican State Senator John Vratil has crossed party lines to endorse Democrat Mike Delaney in the 11th Kansas Senate District.

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3:20 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Johnson County Elementary School Closed Due To Illness

Rosehill Elementary School, in Lenexa, Kan. is closed after numerous people went home Wednesday because of a mystery illness.

A suburban Kansas City elementary school will remain closed until Monday due to an as-yet-undetermined gastro-intestinal illness.

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5:07 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Fire Threat Heightened By Heat Trend, Holiday

Johnson County, KS Sheriff Frank Denning to meet with fire chiefs in days before July 4th to plot fire threat remedies.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

With high heat and low humidity, Kansas City metro area communities in two states are more fire conscious than ever in summertime. The imminent splurge of fireworks adds to the threats.

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Visual Arts
5:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Kinetic Sculpture Mimics Movement Of Construction Equipment

"Adaptation" at the Public Works complex in west Olathe, Kan.
Courtesy of the artist

Johnson County launched its one percent for art program in 2007. This means that one percent of the budget of a new major capital project is set aside for public art.

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8:30 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Top Of The Morning News: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Johnson County public works moves into two new, green buildings.  Kansas City police try to curb texting while driving.    It’s a daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

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2:03 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Johnson County Public Works Adds Two Green Buildings To Its Fleet

Public officials, past and present, lined up for the ribbon cutting.
Laura Spencer KCUR

A year ago this month, Johnson County, Kan. officials broke ground on an environmentally friendly $11.5 million public works complex in west Olathe. The new buildings were dedicated on Wednesday at a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

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11:13 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Johnson County Works To Contain Whooping Cough Outbreak

Pamphlets about whooping cough, on display inside Johnson County's vaccine clinic in Olathe.
Elana Gordon KCUR

Johnson County, Kansas is in the midst of a whooping cough outbreak. It's not as bad as in Washington State, where they’ve declared an epidemic of the disease.  But health workers and schools in the region have been taking extra steps to get a handle on the disease.

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11:59 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Waiting At The DMV Now A Full-Time Job

Everyone loves waiting at the DMV, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Right now the wait times at the Johnson County, Kan. offices in Mission and Olathe are 5 hours 4 minutes and 5 hours 15 minutes, respectively.

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Up to Date
1:38 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Steve Rose: A Changing Johnson County

Is the relationship between Johnson County and Kansas City, Missouri as tense as the one between Jayhawks and Tigers?  Is "Lexus Land" still an appropriate nickname for Johnson County?

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