Johnson County

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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 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.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

If you're looking for a public-service job in law enforcement, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office wants to talk to you.

That's according to Sheriff Calvin Hayden, who says his department is a long way from where they need to be staffed — 50 uniformed deputies short, to be exact.

"That's our huge issue right now," he says. "Recruiting is our No. 1 priority for this year."

Hayden, who took office in January, attributed the deficiency to the increased criticism law enforcers are receiving.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The saying "let's get the hell out of Dodge" exists for a reason. Back in its day, Dodge City, Kansas, was the roughest, toughest town people dared to stop in. Author Tom Clavin, used his obsession with the Wild West to write a book on how the city got its infamous reputation. Also, we speak with the new sheriff of Johnson County, Calvin Hayden, about how he's balancing the safety of his deputies with increasing staffing shortfalls and overtime pay.

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Forget the sad desk lunch. The lunch break is a time to get out and explore new restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for something fast and affordable or luxurious — or something to grab and take to a nearby park (hi, spring!) — KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best lunch spots in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Bonjwing Lee, The Ulterior Epicure:

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

When people started to file into the Kansas Senate chamber on Thursday morning, it was clear the legislation that leadership was pushing was dead.

New, moderate Republican legislators elected in November seemed to take a firm stand: The budget bills on the calendar for debate didn’t raise taxes enough and cut too much from public education.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Co-working is a growing trend for freelancers, small businesses, and startups. It provides a place to work, interact with others and share expenses. But artists, and makers of all kinds, often have specialized needs, when it comes to light, space, or tools. 

Sly James
Alyssa Dinberg / American Public Square

Local officials and law enforcement agencies responded to President Trump’s executive order on immigration this week with a blend of disappointment and commitment to narrowly defined compliance.

Travis Wise / Flickr - CC

Attracting and hanging on to new residents can be a challenge for cities. Today, a November 2016 town hall with urban studies theorist Richard Florida and "suburbanist" Joel Kotkin, on the best of both worlds in the greater KC area.

Courtesy - Johnson County

Thursday's vote by the Johnson County Commission authorizes the spending of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved last November.

The money will be used to demolish the old courthouse in downtown Olathe and replace it with a new nine story building across the street.  It will also subsidize a $20 million coroner's facility at 119th and Ridgeview for autopsies and toxicology exams.

The project is not to exceed $245 million.

Chief Counsel Don Jarrett says construction won't start until the existing courthouse is completely torn down.

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