Wyatt Edmisten broke away for a second quarter touchdown against SM North that helped seal the Lancers 9-0 start to the season.On Friday morning, no SM East football team had ever started the season 9-0. On Friday morning, no Sunflower League team had ever scored a combined 455 points in the regular season and district play. After SM East’s 62-12 win over SM North Friday night, the 2014 Lancers had achieved both feats.Friday’s dominating performance wrapped up a perfect 3-0 record in district play and earned the Lancers the top seed in the Eastern half of the state 6A playoff bracket. Sunflower League rival Olathe North, also 9-0, is the second seed in the East; last year’s state winner, Derby, is the top seed in the West. The Lancers will face the eight seed, Sunflower League rival Lawrence, next Friday at SM North District stadium. SM East head coach Dustin Delaney left his starters in until early in the fourth quarter, longer than he might have normally given his team’s sizable lead in the second half. But, Delaney said, the early blowouts against Harmon and Wyandotte had prevented his starters from getting late-game experience to draw on as they head into the playoffs.“It was good to get those game reps in,” he said. “We needed to get a little rhythm. Our guys hadn’t been sore in games, and we needed to feel what it was like to play tired. We needed to feel what it’s like to play four quarters, because it’s going to take four quarters to win in the playoffs.”SM North kept the game interesting in the first half, with Sunflower League-leading passer Will Schneider hitting favorite target Nick Perez for a 57-yard touchdown in the first quarter to cut the Lancers’ lead to 14-6. Another long pass set up the Indians’ second score of the night, a rush from back Terrick Bell that made it 21-12.But SM East’s defense began to wear down SM North’s line, and by the second half Schneider was having a difficult time operating in the pocket and finding open receivers. With the Indians’ potent pass offense stymied, SM North couldn’t produce any additional scoring opportunities.“Tonight’s obviously disappointing because we got behind and we weren’t able to get back in it like before,” said SM North head coach Ben Bartlett after the game. “We do have another game left, and not a lot of teams can say that and those guys earned it by winning the past two weeks. You never know what’s going to happen, if you go out an execute like you’re capable of. And we have yet to fully play football like we’re capable of.”SM East’s offense moved freely from its first snap, and save for a couple of sloppy plays that resulted in turnovers, looked to be in excellent shape to face playoff competition. Gunnar Englund found Sky Tate on the Lancers’ first drive for the night’s opening score. Tate would catch another touchdown pass to open up scoring in the second half. Running back Wyatt Edmisten had another standout performance as well, with three touchdown runs. Sam Huffman, Mike Bamford and Alec Dean each scored once for the Lancers, and Englund had a touchdown on a keeper in addition to his passing scores.“We’ve had a lot of different kids score all year,” Delaney said of the team’s scoring record. “It’s really a team effort — we haven’t had one kid that’s been shining over the others.”Delaney said Lawrence should prove a solid competitor in the opening week of the playoffs. With the Sunflower League’s leading rusher in J.D. Woods and a junior outside linebacker named Price Morgan who has already attracted a good deal of interest from D1 college programs, the Lions feature elite talent. That talent hasn’t translated into consistent success for the 5-4 Lions this year, but they showed Friday that their offense has plenty of pop when it’s working well. Lawrence handily defeated Olathe East 66-28 to earn its spot on the state bracket.“They’ve got great athletes and they’re big,” Delaney told his team after the game.SM North will face Olathe North in its opening game of the playoffs. That game will be next Friday at the Olathe District Activity Center. Kyle Ball jumped to try to block a pass from SM North’s Will Schneider.SM North coach Ben Bartlett consulted with quarterback Will Schneider in the first half.SM East’s offense wrapped up the record for most points scored by a Sunflower League team in the regular season.SM North’s marching band and drill team put on a riveting halftime show with a military theme.The night ended with the SM North marching band’s annual “Light Show.”
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Prairie Village has relatively few marked bike routes compared to surrounding communities in Kansas City, Mo., Leawood, and Overland Park.The city of Overland Park’s vote last month to create 165 miles of new bike lanes over the next several years was welcome news to bikeability advocates throughout the metro area. But it also prompted concern from some that northeast Johnson County’s relative dearth of such infrastructure will become all the more pronounced as Overland Park builds out its bike lane network.Prairie Village City Councilor Eric Mikkelson brought up the issue at a recent city council meeting, and says Overland Park’s action should spur Prairie Village to take a serious look at building out its own bike system. He says it’s time for the city to finally take action to fulfilling a goal that was clearly laid out in the Village Vision plan adopted in 2009.“Our residents identified this as their priority in the Village Vision and Parks Master Plans years ago, and many on today’s council were elected based on promises to fulfill those plans,” Mikkelson said. “The Governing Body should resist collective ‘analysis paralysis’ when specific opportunities are presented to make our City significantly more bikeable and walkable.”Mikkelson noted that a current map of the metro area’s bike system paints an unflattering picture of Prairie Village, which is surrounded by cities with many more dedicated bike lanes and marked bike routes.Eric Rogers, the executive director of BikeWalkKC, said it would be important to the bikeability of the entire metro region for different cities and communities to have connecting routes.“Creating bike routes within each community is of course critical for giving residents more options for getting around,” he said. “As many communities in the region make progress, the connections between communities are increasingly important. Connectivity allows for seamless travel between and across communities.”The reconfiguration of Mission Road from 71st Street to 75th Street could present an early, if relatively minor, chance to make headway on the bikeability front in Prairie Village — though Public Works Director Keith Bredehoeft told the council earlier this week that he was concerned moving the project to 2016 might hinder efforts to fully assess the possibilities for bike infrastructure on the stretch.Still, Mikkelson is likely to push his council peers to prioritize bike and pedestrians projects in the coming years. It’s a matter of keeping the city attractive to families, he said.“This disconnect limits recreation and transportation options for our residents,” said Mikkelson. “Investing more in safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure would make our City more attractive to the young professionals and families who tend to value it when choosing where to live.”
The district hopes to break ground on the new Trailwood Elementary this fall while students attend class in the existing building.A group of Trailwood Elementary parents are raising concerns that the Shawnee Mission School District’s accelerated timeline to rebuild the school at the same time it is undertaking the rebuilding of four other district elementaries may lead to a less-than-optimal outcome.Parents who have been following the rebuilding process say they don’t feel the community has been given adequate opportunities to give input on the project, and that many of those who have tried to raise concerns or give suggestions have been ignored.“People in general feel like no one is listening to them about their concerns,” said Trailwood mom Christine Pai. “The project feels like its rushed. And maybe that’s why they don’t want to listen to anybody and hear what we have to say.”While the district has held three meetings for all school parents on the project — Superintendent Jim Hinson met with the PTA on two occasions, and the district’s design team met with the PTA in late May — some of the parents complained that the meetings weren’t well publicized, and that they were held during daytime hours when many parents couldn’t attend.“People have found it very frustrating,” said Jessica Nance, who has two children at the school. “A lot of people haven’t had a chance to see the plans yet.”But Dr. Kenny Southwick, the deputy superintendent overseeing the elementary rebuild projects, said the district is still in the design development phase, and that the district is open to input and working to be responsive. After parents raised concerns to the design team, the district held a meeting with a group of five parents to get their specific feedback. Southwick said a follow up meeting with that group will be scheduled in the next few days to show what changes the district has made to their plan as a result of parent input.Among the concerns the parents have brought to the district’s attention are the configuration of the entrances, with some building access along 95th Street instead of the quieter, more residential Rosewood. Additionally, parents say that the proposed design they’ve seen doesn’t take advantage of opportunities for expanded green space and play areas.Southwick said the district has been taking parent input into consideration as it maps out its site plan.“The design that has been laid out for Trailwood, given the limitations of the site, is believed to be the best design with respect to the entrance, the academic flow of the building, as well as safety and security,” he said. “These factors have been considered and will be a part of the administration’s management plan for the building.”But parents like Nance say there’s a sense that the accelerated nature of the project — the district plans to break ground on the new school in the fall while students continue attending class in the existing building — seems to be hampering the district’s ability to take parental input into consideration.“I’m sure they’ll build a very lovely school, but they’ll miss some opportunities,” Vance said. “With a little extra effort, they could make a really great school.”An early design concept the district presented at a community meeting.
Smoothie King signs are up at its new location.Smoothie King takes out license. The Smoothie King that is planning to open in mid- October along Johnson Drive has taken out its business license with the city. Smoothie King will be opening in the former Blockbuster building. The menu features a long list of smoothies and other items.Two SM East students are Jostens finalists. Kelsey Cox and Laine Duckworth, both students at SM East, are finalists in the 2016 Jostens Adobe Design Contest. Only 10 students from high schools across the country qualified as finalists in the contest.CFD2 August calls near 200. The Consolidated Fire District No. 2 August report shows 193 calls for service from fire and rescue and 230 medical calls. The department also logged 1,115 training hours. The department responded to several water rescue calls during the storm in late August.Mission Coffee with a Cop Sept. 16. The next date for the Mission Police Department to hold Coffee with a Cop will be at 8 a.m. Sept. 16 at Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop on Johnson Drive.Northeast Johnson County morning roundup is brought to you by Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop on Johnson Drive. For updates on the latest blends and specialty drinks available, follow them on Facebook.
Shawnee Mission Health sets new record for most babies delivered at a metro hospital. Shawnee Mission Health’s Birth Center welcomed a record 5,092 babies in 2016, breaking last year’s record of 5,000. Shawnee Mission delivers more babies than any other hospital in the Kansas City metro. Among the deliveries in 2016 were 2,489 boys, 2,603 girls and 96 sets of multiples. Of interest, August — 40 weeks after the Royals won the 2015 World Series — saw the highest delivery count of any month at 465.Johnson County Library Foundation receives grant from Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced an $87,000 gift to the Johnson County Library Foundation to support the library’s youth literacy and K-12 academic programs. The grant funding will be used throughout 2017 in four programs: 6 by 6 Ready to Read; Latino children literacy programs; Homework Help/Tutor.com; and Summer Reading.
Deb Zila has represented the SM South area on the Shawnee Mission Board of Education since 2007. CBIZ, a district contractor, hired her daughter for an on-site job with the district last year.We’ve gotten a handful of questions from readers about the status of the Kansas Open Records Act requests we submitted last month seeking communications regarding the hiring of Board of Education member Deb Zila’s daughter Mallory for an in-district job with CBIZ, the district’s health insurance broker.As a reminder, those requests sought the following:All electronic mail records on district administration servers referencing Mallory Zila sent or received between April 1, 2016 and August 30, 2016All electronic mail correspondence between Deb Zila and Jim Hinson from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016Copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent or received by Deb Zila between the dates Feb. 1, 2016 and Aug. 15, 2016 that include the word “Mallory”Copies of all text messages sent between Jim Hinson and Deb Zila from 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 7 through noon Monday, March 13.Copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent by members of the Board of Education between 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 and 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 13.As we wrote last month, pursuant to Kansas law, the district requested pre-payment before proceeding with efforts to pull the email records for the requests above. Before we decided whether or not to pay the fees of more than $1,000, we wanted to know more about the district’s policies on which channels are used for correspondence regarding district business, and what kinds of electronic mail records the district keeps on its servers and for how long.We learned that:1.) There are no laws that compel a school district to keep correspondence on file for any specific amount of time. “There are no state or federal laws that apply directly to school districts that dictate which email or other communications we save,” wrote a district spokesperson. “In accordance with the Kansas general records retention schedule – which is not applicable to school districts – but which we use as a guideline (K.S.A. 45-404(b)) – any email or correspondence reflecting decisions regarding Board policy should be and are preserved.”2.) There is no written policy in effect mandating that board members and administrators use their official district email accounts to conduct district business.Because an administrator’s personal email account would not be searchable without that person’s consent and there is no guarantee that anyone would preserve all correspondence on a personal account, we had no way to know whether the documents we would receive through the open records act requests would provide a full account of the correspondence we sought.We also had questions about whether the time estimates the district provided for staff time needed to comply with the requests were reasonable. To address those concerns, we asked whether we would be permitted to have an observer on site while the work to pull the emails was under way to confirm that it would take as long as the estimates suggested. We were told that “due to confidentiality/privacy concerns” the district could not grant that request.Given the above, we chose only to make a pre-payment for the request that sought the board of education’s emails in the week following our publication of the story on Mallory Zila’s hiring. The district has informed us it will deliver those records by April 28.In an unrelated matter, we also put in a KORA request seeking administrator contracts for the current school year and for the final year of Superintendent Gene Johnson’s tenure with the district. The district initially indicated it would take eight hours to pull those files and that they would charge us $10 an hour for the work. We received word a few days after making the pre-payment for the documents that it had taken just three hours, and the district cut the price by $50. We’re currently analyzing those documents, and will be publishing a story on what we find in the coming days.
Overland Park is among the cities to expand bike routes in recent years.By Roxie HammillLenexa has begun a process to ensure its streets are more accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders and the handicapped. The city will begin looking for a consultant this month to begin a “complete streets” study that city staff hopes to have finished by the end of 2018.The aim of the study is to promote street design and signage to make things safer for all travelers. The study will look at such things as street light timing, transit stops, roundabouts and bike lanes.The city has made some improvements on streets the past few years, concentrating on roundabouts and other traffic-slowing design as well as traffic signal timing and more wheelchair-accessible curb cuts. But city council members have been under pressure from a group of bicyclists in recent months to improve bike infrastructure.The group iBike Lenexa has pressed for bike lanes and share-the-road signage that the city now lacks. Some have questioned why they city has not already adopted a complete streets plan.Council members got an introduction to “complete streets” last June and decided to take steps to do a study this year.“Complete Streets” is a national initiative. Eleven governments in the Kansas City area have adopted it, with the most recent being Kansas City, Mo. last year. In Kansas, the cities of Overland Park, Roeland Park, Leawood, Kansas City, Kan., and Johnson County (for unincorporated areas) have complete streets plans, according to the website of BikeWalkKC, and advocacy group.“I think there’s a misconception that just because we have to date not formally adopted a complete streets policy we are somehow opposed to complete streets,” Lenexa Community Development Director Beccy Yocham told a city council committee meeting Tuesday. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.The study will ultimately show specific locations where things could be improved, such as links between sidewalks and trails and better bus stops.Having the study “clarifies the city’s position” on inclusiveness, Yocham said. “It makes it clear to the community we are embracing these concepts.”A complete streets policy also could open more doors for related grants, she said. The city is pursuing a $64,500 grant through the Mid-America Regional Council for a bike-sharing program for fiscal year 2019. If successful, Lenexa would have 25 BCycle Smart bikes at five locations. A MARC committee recommended approval of that grant this week, but final approval is still pending.Council members hearing Yocham’s presentation were generally supportive. “I very much like it,” said City Council member Joe Karlin. He suggested an advisory committee to include street users and developers for input.
This year’s graduation ceremonies will feature changes at some schools.With the consensus of a group made up of the district’s high school principals, the Shawnee Mission graduation ceremonies taking place this week will have a slightly different flavor for some schools — though not ever member of the board of education likes the changes.SM North representative Sara Goodburn said she was concerned about changing a tradition that spans decades.[pullquote]Shawnee Mission’s 2018 Graduations• SM East Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. on May 15 at SM North• SM South Graduation, 8 p.m. on May 15 at SM South • Horizons Graduation, 6:30 p.m. on May 16 at Horizons High School• SM North Graduation, 7 p.m. on May 16 at SM North• SM West Graduation, 7 p.m. on May 17 at SM South• SM Northwest Graduation, 7 p.m. on May 17 at SM North.[/pullquote]The group was asked to take a look at how graduation ceremonies were conducted at each school and determine whether there were certain processes that should be uniform across the five traditional high schools as well as Horizons.Their recommendations were that:Building principals be the ones to hand each graduate his or her diploma. This is a change at some of the high schools, where the board of education member representing the area has handed out diplomas in the past.The board member elected to represent each traditional high school’s feeder area will be the one to read the statement certifying that all of the requirements for graduation have been met.The elementary and middle school principals for the high school feeder area will be invited to attend the graduation ceremony.At last week’s meeting, board of education president Brad Stratton said the move to convene the group of high school principals to discuss uniformity of graduation procedure came in response to inquiries from district families. He noted that multiple inquiries had come from SM East families who wondered whether outgoing principal John McKinney would be able to hand out their graduates’ diplomas.SM North area representative Sara Goodburn expressed concerns with the changes, noting that the tradition of having a member of the board hand out diplomas to SM North graduates stretched back nearly a century.“From time [immemorial] the board of education have been the ones to hand out the graduation certificates,” Goodburn said. “I mean, North is about ready to celebrate 100 years. In 2022 it will be 100 year. And I think it’s been just about all that time that board of education members have been the ones giving those diplomas out.”But SM Northwest representative Patty Mach countered that she thought it was important to give principals a moment to connect with students on stage.“I think it’s time, I know, standing up there for 10 years now, the students, for the most part, have no idea who I am,” Mach said. “I think it’s about the students. It’s not about the board of education. I think it would be a lot easier for the students to have a familiar face handing them their diplomas.”
The Prairie Village city council on Monday will consider adoption of a memorandum of understanding with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and the Johnson County Library on fielding a joint market study on a possible new community center campus in the city.Prairie Village leaders have been in discussions with YMCA and library officials for months on the possibility of a collaborative project that could bring a new fitness/community center and library branch together on the same site. A staff memo accompanying the item on Monday’s city council agenda notes the timeliness of the discussions given the infrastructure needs facing both the YMCA and the library in the city.“Currently the YMCA and the Johnson County Library have facilities in Prairie Village. Both have immediate infrastructure needs that could be solved by combining efforts with the City of Prairie Village to reconstruct new facilities in the proximity of Harmon Park,” wrote Public Works Director Keith Bredehoeft. “This possibility could ensure these facilities remain in Prairie Village and also allow for significantly improved services for the residents of Prairie Village.”Under the terms of the MOU that will be put before the council Monday, the city would allocate as much as $20,000 from its parks funding to hire a consultant to carry out a high level market study, gauging the feasibility of the project, including what amenities are missing in the area and what amenities residents are looking for, as well as how much such a facility might cost and what fees or taxes residents would be willing to bear. The Johnson County Library would contribute as much as $20,000 to the study as well. The YMCA would contribute as much as $10,000.Officials have been quick to point to the study as the most preliminary step in consideration of a joint project.“The Market Sustainability Study is the first step and if all three parties determine the data obtained from the survey is positive only then will there be additional agreements for the Community Engagement Evaluation and the Project Design Study,” Bredehoeft wrote.