Olathe News Briefs

This Edition of E-News - November 29, 2010
• WinterFest and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Friday
• City Employees Help to Make a Difference for Those in Need
• Olathe Students Help Brighten Snow Removal

City Council Agenda

The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, December 7th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session meeting. Regular session meetings are broadcast live on Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and the City’s website. The meeting agenda will be available on the City’s website at http://www.olatheks.org/ on Friday, December 3rd.


WinterFest and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Set for December 3
November 29, 2010

Olathe WinterFest is scheduled on Friday, December 3 in the R.R. Osborne Plaza at Olathe City Hall. It will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event highlight is the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting. Music groups from Olathe high schools and elementary schools will perform along with groups from MidAmerica Nazarene University, the Olathe Civic Orchestra and Band and the Trails West Barber Shop singers. Food and warm beverages will be available for purchase.

In addition to food and music, a number of family and children’s activities are planned. Santa will take time out of his busy pre-holiday schedule to make a visit and sit for pictures with children.

As part of the festivities, representatives from the thirteen beneficiaries of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund will be introduced and proceeds from the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be presented to the Christmas Tree Fund.

WinterFest is sponsored by the Olathe Noon Optimist Club, the City of Olathe, HyVee and a number of other event partners.


United Way Drive Nets Coats, Coats, Scarves and Gloves
November 29, 2010

During this year’s City of Olathe annual United Way charity drive, City employees focused on a new way to make a difference. As a result, some 140 winter coats were collected and donated for families in need. In addition, scarves, gloves and hats were collected, also totaling 140 items. The clothing was donated to Olathe Catholic Charities and the Center of Grace.


Snow Plows Get Added Artwork
November 29, 2010

When winter snowstorms hit, Olathe snow plows are often a welcome sight working 24/7 to clear over 1,200 lane miles of snow. That site became a bit cheerier recently as art students from Olathe Northwest and Olathe South High Schools, added artwork to two of the plows’ blades. With a theme of “patriotism”, the plows also have a strong flavor from the respective high schools, and residents living near the schools can expect to see the artwork on display when clearing snow.

In the coming weeks, students from Olathe North and Olathe East will be painting plows showing their school spirit as well.

Media note: Times and location for future painting will be provided when scheduling is finalized. Photographs of the completed plows are available upon request.


This Edition of E-News - November 22, 2010
Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
• Olathe One of Nation’s Highest Ranked Digital Cities
• New City Utility Bills Starting in February, 2011
• Girl Scouts Beautify Orr Family Memorial
• Olathe Police Department Shares Safety Tips
• Frying a Turkey...Take Care

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, December 7th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session meeting. Regular session meetings are broadcast live on Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and the City’s website. The meeting agenda will be available on the City’s website at http://www.olatheks.org/ on Friday, December 3rd.


Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
Released November 22, 2010

City of Olathe offices will be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no trash and recycling curbside collection on Thanksgiving Day. Customers whose trash and recycling is collected on Thursday and Friday will be delayed one day. The transfer station and composting facility will be closed on Thursday, but open regular hours Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving. For more information, visit http://www.olatheks.org/OMS.


Olathe is a Top Digital City
Released November 22, 2010

The Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program announced that Olathe, Kansas has been recognized as the nation’s second ranked “digital city” for mid-sized cities. The ranking recognizes local governments that optimize technology to work more efficiently and provide better services. The Digital Cities Survey is open to all cities in America with a population of 30,000 or more.

Olathe’s use of technology includes using new media to reach residents, performance measurement of technology investment, new property management systems, automated water meters, providing key information for measures and budgets for the public to easily access, automated calling and notification system, and cost savings by outsourcing some technology functions.

According to City Manager Michael Wilkes, technology plays an important role in Olathe’s success. He said, “Given today’s economic situation and the amount of cuts we have made, it is critical that we continue to find ways to do things better and more efficiently to continue meeting or exceeding our residents’ high expectations, and using technology central to that success.”

The 2010 Digital Cities Survey was underwritten by AT&T; Cisco; EMC; Hyland Software, developers of OnBase; McAfee; and Microsoft. All companies are proud partners of city governments across America.

Winners will be honored at a special awards ceremony in Denver, Colorado on December 2nd.

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.


New City Utility Bills Starting Next Year
Released November 22, 2010

Beginning in February, City of Olathe residents will see a change in their water and sewer bills. Currently, each customer receives an envelope containing twelve return envelopes in late January and receives a post card bill each month. In 2011, residents will receive a one page bill and return envelope each month.

The City is making the change for several reasons. First and foremost, the new process will be outsourced, resulting in cost savings. The new bills will also include more information about customer accounts such as water usage that could not be included on the postcards. In addition, the new bills will have space to remind residents about the City’s e-billing option that saves time and expense. And, the new bills will be in envelopes, so private information like account balances will be concealed.


Girl Scout Project
Released November 22, 2010

On Saturday, November 20, Girl Scout Troop #665 planted about 200 daffodil bulbs at the Orr Family memorial at Haven Park. Troop leader Brenda Epperson contacted the Olathe Parks and Recreation Department for a volunteer project for the girls. This project was a perfect match for this troop because most of the girls live in the neighborhood surrounding the park and knew of the tragic fire that claimed the lives of five Orr family members. The Orr Family and Olathe Fire Department wants to remind everyone to check your home’s smoke alarms on a regular basis.


Reminder from Olathe Police Department
Released November 22, 2010

This time of year is when many of us will be busy shopping and running errands to be ready for the holidays. During these festive times, the Olathe Police Department wants you to remember some crime prevention tips that can help keep your holidays happy and safe:

• Know your surroundings. Keep an eye on the people in front and behind you. Look for suspicious persons or situations when you are in any area.
• Try to shop with a friend or relative. There is safety in numbers.
• Remember where you parked your car. While this may sound elementary, many shopping areas are spread out over large spaces. Being unable to locate a car can cause you undue confusion and stress that may present you as a better target to a criminal.
• Park your vehicle in a well-lit area. Store cell phones, GPS or other valuables out of sight.
• Lock your vehicle doors and shut your windows.
• Don’t advertise your belongings:

o Carry your purse close to your body. Don't swing it loosely.
o Don't display large amounts of cash.
o Take only what you may need.
o Don’t have too many things in your pockets or purse.

• Walk with confidence.
• Avoid talking to strangers.
• Try not to carry too many packages. Place all packages out of sight in your vehicle, preferably in the trunk.
• Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand.
• Don’t approach your car if anyone (even a female) is standing close
• Trust your instincts.

o If something tells you to be cautious, trust your gut.

o Don’t force yourself to be in situations where you don’t feel comfortable.

o If you see anything suspicious or if something just doesn't feel right, leave immediately and contact security or the police.

The Olathe Police Department wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!


 

Turkey Day the Safe Way
Released November 22, 2010

Since the Pilgrims and Wampanoag celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621 it has been a time for family and friends to gather and rejoice. But, it is also a time to remember safety as Thanksgiving Day home fires cause more property damage and claim more lives than home fires on any other day. The increase is troubling as it applies mostly to cooking fires in family homes.

Deep fried turkeys have become a popular Thanksgiving treat; however, propane turkey fryers also create safety concerns. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) lists concerns such as:

• When the turkey is placed in the hot oil, oil may spill onto the burner, creating a fire.
• The units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby.
• Most units do not have automatic thermostat controls, so oil may heat until it catches fire.
• The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.

In addition, NFPA urges only the use of cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.


Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Christmas Open House
Released November 22, 2010

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop’s Christmas Open House is scheduled at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, December 4. Admission is free to this holiday event.

Visitors can decorate a graham cracker gingerbread house ($3 each), make an ornament and ride the stagecoach (weather and grounds permitting; $2 each for ages 3 and up). Father Christmas will be on the historic grounds in the morning and Santa will be in the Heritage Center to hear children’s Christmas wishes from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Santa’s photographer will be on-hand to take photos of visitors with Santa ($4 each).

Entertainment in the Heritage Center will include music by the Shady Grove String Band and Christmas stories. Visitors can visit Mrs. Mahaffie’s kitchen to see what’s cooking and help-out with some winter farm chores. Plus, find those unique gifts and stocking stuffers, including new farm and animal related toys in the gift shop.

The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm is open year-round 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Activities vary seasonally. The site will be closed for the Christmas holiday December 23 thru 28 and for New Year’s December 31 thru January 2. Details are available at http://www.olatheks.org/mahaffie/about or by calling (913) 971-5111.


This Edition of E-News - November 15, 2010:
• Mayor’s Christmas Tree Planting Slated for November 16
• Winter Fest and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Set for December 3
• Olathe Pool Season a Success
• Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session meeting. Regular session meetings are broadcast live on Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and on the City’s website. The meeting’s complete agenda is available on the City’s website at www.OlatheKs.org.


Mayor’s Christmas Tree Planting Slated for November 16
Released November 15, 2010
A new tree signifies new hope for local charities and the individuals and families assisted through the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree has long been a fixture in the R.R. Osborne Plaza outside Olathe City Hall, but disease claimed the tree earlier this year and it was cut down in the summer. A new tree is scheduled to be planted this week to coincide with the annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund campaign.

A brief tree planting ceremony is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 16. The 18-foot blue spruce tree comes to Olathe from the state of Washington. The ceremony is expected to include members of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund Board as well as representatives from local agencies supported by the fund.

For many years, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund has helped meet the most critical needs of Olathe children and families. Since its inception, over $185,000 has benefited local charities in the Olathe community. Thirteen agencies will receive 2010 fund support. The 2010 campaign goal is $65,000. Lights on the Mayor’s Christmas Tree are turned on at the City’s annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, scheduled for Friday, December 3 in the R.R. Osborne Plaza at Olathe City Hall. For more information or to donate visit http://www.olatheks.org/News/MayorsChristmasTree.


WinterFest and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Set for December 3
Released November 15, 2010
Olathe WinterFest is scheduled on Friday, December 3 in the R.R. Osborne Plaza at Olathe City Hall. It will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event highlight is the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting. Music groups from Olathe high schools and elementary schools will perform, along with groups from MidAmerica Nazarene University, the Olathe Civic Orchestra and Band and the Trails West Barber Shop singers. Food and warm beverages will be available for purchase.

In addition to food and music, a number of family and children’s activities are planned. Santa will take time out of his busy pre-holiday schedule to make a visit and sit for pictures with kids.

As part of the festivities, representatives from the thirteen beneficiaries of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund will be introduced, and proceeds from the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be presented to the Christmas Tree Fund.

WinterFest is sponsored by the Olathe Noon Optimist Club, the City of Olathe, HyVee and a number of other event partners.


Olathe Pool Season a Success
Released November 15, 2010
The opening of Black Bob Bay in Olathe translated into a boost in pool memberships, attendance, and overall pool revenue for the 2010 pool season. Swimming pool revenue nearly doubled from 2009 to 2010.

In 2010, City pools generated $750,546 in total revenue, compared to $411,917 just one year prior. Pool attendance jumped 66% and membership sales increased by 39%.

According to Recreation Superintendent Brad Clay, the 2010 pool season was significant from a budgetary standpoint. The outdoor pools have historically finished in the red. “The additional revenue will translate into enhancements for Parks and Recreation projects that we haven’t historically been able to support within our budget,” Clay said.

Park Sales Tax funded the aquatic park, which features a lazy river, an enclosed water slide, a water playground and other water features. In addition to Black Bob Bay, the City of Olathe operates three other outdoor aquatic facilities. For more information, visit http://www.olatheks.org/ParksRec/Programs/Aquatics.


Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
Released November 15, 2010
City of Olathe offices will be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no trash and recycling curbside collection on Thanksgiving Day. Customers whose trash and recycling is collected on Thursday and Friday will be delayed one day. The transfer station and composting facility will be closed on Thursday, but open regular hours Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving. For more information, visit http://www.olatheks.org/OMS.


This Edition of E-News - Novmeber 8, 2010:
• City Offices Closed November 11, Trash NOT Impacted
• City Prepares for Snow as Winter Approaches
• Updated Growth and Development Information Available
• Olathe Public Library Book Sale November 13
• Mahaffie Announces Holiday Schedule

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will meet Tuesday, November 9, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a study session meeting. To see the complete agenda for this meeting, visit the City’s website at www.OlatheKs.org.


Veterans Day Schedule
Released November 8, 2010
City of Olathe offices will be closed on Thursday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day. Trash collection will NOT be impacted.


City Prepares for Snow as Winter Approaches
Released November 8, 2010
The City of Olathe is rolling out a revised approach to snow removal this winter, adjusting operations to more efficiently use salt and sand as well as other City resources.

Revised plans call for a greater emphasis on plowing during daylight hours to take advantage of sunlight’s impact on snow melting materials and to offset overall costs. To aid with this effort, residents and visitors are encouraged to park vehicles in drives during the day when there is a snowfall.

The City uses a three-level approach in responding to snowfall, depending on the amount of accumulation.

Level One is initiated as snow moves into the area. This level focuses on clearing and maintaining arterial and collector routes and applying “spot-treatment” to critical sections of routes like bridges, intersections, hills and curves. Spot-treatment enables streets to be covered in less time and ensures safer road conditions. Once critical routes are cleared, treatment moves to business and commercial areas. Street maintenance crews work two 12-hour shifts as conditions require.

Level Two response has been modified from previous years, activating when snow reaches a depth of two inches with more expected. Residential drivers begin their plowing operations, moving directly into residential streets and cul-de-sacs. Critical routes maintain priority and crews continue to work two 12-hour shifts as conditions require.

Level Three is activated when snow reaches a depth of eight inches with additional accumulation expected. During Level Three operations, all qualified city employee operators and equipment will be used in the rotating 12-hour shift schedule. This effort will continue around the clock as long as the snow emergency exists.

According to Street Maintenance Supervisor Danny Turner, the snow removal approach is designed to improve safety and enhance mobility for emergency responders and travelers. “Safety of our residents is always our number one priority,“ Turner said. “We ask that Olathe residents ensure vehicles are parked in drives and that sidewalks are cleared in front of residences to support our efforts to maintain safe travel routes.”

For more information and helpful snow removal tips, visit http://www.olatheks.org/PublicWorks/Streets/Snow. During severe weather, find alerts and information on the City’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/CityofOlatheKS, or by following the City on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/OlatheGovNews.


Stay Up-To-Date on Olathe’s Growth
Released November 8, 2010
Olathe has been one of America’s fastest growing cities for nearly a decade. Stay informed about where that growth is happening, along with Olathe’s demographic trends, at the Development Services page on the City’s website and see the latest “City of Olathe Demographics and Development Report”. In addition, the report and updates can be sent by email to those who choose to subscribe on the web page.


Friends of the Olathe Public Library Book Sale November 13
Released November 8, 2010
Just in time for holiday shopping - the “Thank Goodness for Books” Book Sale from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., November 13 at the Indian Creek Branch Library,12990 S. Black Bob Road in Olathe.

Choose from a variety of genres such as mystery, romance, fiction, children’s, horror, western, sports, how-to and much more. All materials are sorted by category. Collectible Little Golden Books are featured at this sale – buy one, get one free. Browse the signed books, cookbooks for holiday baking as well as holiday books, videos, DVDs and CDs. Also included in this sale is a large selection of craft and quilting books.

The doors to the sale will close from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. to prepare for the “Five-Bucks-A-Bag” Sale. Beginning at 1:00 p.m., purchase a plastic bag at the door for $5 and fill with materials. Buy two bags, get one free. Checks or cash are accepted. The sale will close early if material is sold out or selection is low. Due to space limitations, strollers and book carts are not allowed in the sale. For more information, call OPL’s Community Relations Coordinator Rita Patterson at 913-971-6879.


Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Closed for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Holidays
Released November 8, 2010
The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop, 1200 Kansas City Rd., will be closed Thursday, November 11 for the Veterans Day Holiday. The site will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday Thursday, November 25 through Tuesday, November 30.

The site is open year-round 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Activities vary seasonally. Details are available at www.mahaffie.org or by calling (913) 971-5111.


 This Edition of E-News - November 1, 2010:
• Partnership Leads to Increased Fire Protection at Historic Mahaffie House
• Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Beginning Winter Season Programming
• City Volunteer Reception November 8
• Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will meet Tuesday, November 2, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session. Regular sessions are broadcast live on OGTN (Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and on the City’s website). To see the complete agenda for this meeting, visit the City’s website at www.OlatheKs.org.


Partnership Leads to Increased Fire Protection at Historic Mahaffie House
Released November 1, 2010
An idea from the Olathe Fire Department, a nod of support from Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Site Manager Tim Talbott, and a generous grant from the Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund came together and now helps protect the historic Mahaffie house, its visitors and staff with new safety features.

A grant award of $48,500 from the Fund supported installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire sprinklers save lives and reduce property loss in the event of fire.

Unlike what is often portrayed in a Hollywood movie, each fire sprinkler works independently. Olathe Fire Division Chief and Fire Marshals Association of Kansas President Brad Henson said, “Each sprinkler protects an area below and it simply activates when heated by fire. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate and spray water directly on the fire.”

The grant helped further protect the property by updating the house’s fire alarm system, adding a layer of fire resistant foam to the attic and installing a new lightning rod system. “We were excited to add these critical safety features to one of Johnson County’s most significant homes while maintaining the structure’s historic features,” Henson said.

Mahaffie Site Manager Tim Talbott noted the significance of preserving and protecting the historic Mahaffie site. “The Mahaffie home is a local as well as national icon, representing Johnson County’s heritage and identity in the history of America’s westward expansion. The Mahaffie farmhouse is the only intact stagecoach stop left on the Santa Fe Trail that is preserved as a museum for the public. The loss of the home would be devastating,” Talbott said.

According to Talbott, the sprinkler system ensures another layer of protection for the Mahaffie site. “As we continue to build the living history program and bring the home and farm to life, the new sprinkler system will ensure the house is protected to the best of our ability. The sprinkler system is one of many projects enabled by the Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund Grant Review Board and the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, and the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site is indebted to them for their ongoing support, Talbott said.

Recent projects include restoration of the dining hall and kitchen in the farmhouse, construction of the Heritage Center, restoration of the original Mahaffie barn, and exhibits for the Heritage Center.

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners established the fund in 1991. For more information, visit www.jocogov.org/heritagefund/default.htm. To learn about the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm, including its winter season programming, visit www.mahaffie.org.


Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Beginning Winter Season Programming
Released November 1, 2010
During the month of November, the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm, 1200 Kansas City Rd., will begin winter season programming. The site is open year-round from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. November through December 12 the historic house will be open Saturdays and Sundays only. Weekday visitors can tour the grounds as well as the Heritage Center exhibit. The historic house will not be open weekdays. Beginning the week of December 12 the house will be closed until April. The Heritage Center exhibit will remain open throughout the winter.

Mahaffie will host a Christmas Open House from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 4. Visitors can celebrate Christmas the 1860s way with a visit with Father Christmas or Santa Claus, decorate a gingerbread house, ride the stagecoach, see the farm animals and tour the historic house and grounds.

Several other special events will be held during the winter months. Visit the Mahaffie website, www.mahaffie.org or visit Mahaffie on Facebook for information. You can also sign-up to receive e-mail updates at www.mahaffie.org.


City Volunteer Reception November 8
Released November 1, 2010
The annual City of Olathe Volunteer Appreciation Reception is scheduled for Monday, November 8 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Ball Conference Center, 21350 W. 153rd Street in Olathe. All City volunteers, including board and committee members, are invited to attend. Mayor Michael Copeland will issue remarks at the event, which includes food and door prizes.

The City of Olathe values its volunteer base. Over the past three years, City volunteers have donated 52,000 hours of service. In 2009, the City saw a nine percent increase in volunteer hours. The City currently works with over 1100 individual volunteers and 200 group volunteers. The annual reception is just one way the City of Olathe recognizes the commitment of its exceptional volunteers.


Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries
Released November 1, 2010
The Olathe Fire Department reminds you to not only change your clocks on November 7, but also change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Only working smoke detectors save lives, and it is critical that batteries are continually replaced and tested.