New Johnson County building certified LEED Platinum

Submitted by Gerald Hay
Johnson County Government PIO

Johnson County’s Youth and Family Services Center in west Olathe has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

It is the first building in Johnson County and in the Kansas City Metropolitan Region to achieve the Platinum rating and, according to the project architects’ review of LEED awards to date, it appears to be the first juvenile detention center in the nation and the world to be certified LEED Platinum.

The announcement of the LEED Platinum rating was made Thursday, March 29, by County Manager Hannes Zacharias during the weekly business session of the Board of County Commissioners. Continue reading

Experiencing chicken fried steak heaven

I was shocked! My taste buds were exploding as I savored every delicious bite.

“Is this heaven?” I asked the waitress.

“No,” she said and smiled. “This is Scranton, Kan.”

Last Monday, March 26, former deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. John Blair, asked me to join him and some of his friends for a ROMEO (Retired Old Motorcyclists Eating Out) ride to Scranton to eat at The Branding Iron, a combination cafe and bar that share the kitchen facilities. ROMEO began in Kansas and as its website indicates, it is a rather loosely knit organization with no elected officers or dues. It’s composed of local groups of friends that once a week select a place where they can ride and eat lunch at a restaurant. All information is exchanged via emails. Continue reading

Learning about ‘Rock Chalk’

If it had been the Kansas State University mens basketball team that qualified for the NCAA’s Final Four against Ohio State in New Orleans Saturday night, I would shed my KU crimson red and blue to wear “some” purple and cheer for them. If it had been Missouri in years past, I would have even worn some black and gold — but it wouldn’t have been this year since MU fled the Big 12.

But this Saturday, I don’t have to worry about any of that because it’s my University of Kansas Jayhawks, winners of three national championships, playing in their 14th Final Four. Continue reading

Investigative reporting will reveal the truth in Topeka

There is a scene in the movie “All The President’s Men” where actor Dustin Hoffman, portraying then Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, is on the phone talking to a lady at the the White House Library.

The movie, also starring Robert Redford as fellow Post reporter and now associate editor Bob Woodward, is Hollywood’s version of the two investigating the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters office in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., which eventually revealed a high-level cover-up by the Nixon administration and led to several convictions White House staffers and Nixon’s resignation on Aug. 9, 1974. Continue reading

When elected officials tinker, results usually are disappointing

There has been a lot of debate and even some political arm-twisting going on in Topeka focusing on Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax reform plan, which the House basically supported. After first rejecting the House version and after Brownback flexed his political muscle with several GOP moderates, the Senate reversed itself Wednesday, March 21, and passed legislation that could lead to a compromise with the House.

History tells us that when politicians tinker with legislation designed to reform anything, especially tax laws, well, the outcome usually isn’t favorable to the working class or senior citizens and others who are on fixed incomes.

Brownback’s plan would make permanent the recently hiked state sales tax of 6.3 percent, would reduce individual income taxes, eliminate income taxes for small businesses and eliminate a host of tax breaks such as those for charitable contributions and mortgage interest all designed, he says, to create a better business climate in Kansas to create jobs and stimulate the state’s economy. Continue reading

Just one trout, but always a lot of fun


Sunday night dinner at Bennett Spring, Mo., included the 14-inch trout Chuck Kurtz caught along with the 12-incher caught by angling buddy Pete Oppermann.

“Let’s go to Bennett!”

The weather was supposed to be decent and, well, fishing and motorcycle buddy Pete Oppermann, Olathe, didn’t have to ask me twice. So about 6 on a Saturday night, he and I headed down to the Trout Shack at Bennett Spring State Park, Mo., with thoughts of landing our trout limit.

“It’s going to be a good trip,” I told him. “I checked the website and they are hitting on just about anything black and yellow, especially maribou.”

And that color combination has always — ALWAYS — been good for me in catching trout. Continue reading

Tired of springing forward and falling back

I’m declaring myself as the ruler in the Kingdom of Time and my first decree is to do away with the “Springing Forward” and the “Fall Back.”

Once, there might have been a good reason —  maybe even a few good reasons — to jab a person’s biological clock every few months by moving time forward one hour in the spring and then setting it back an hour in the fall.

I’m told that Daylight Saving Time (there’s no “s” on Saving) was invented by Benjamin Franklin so farmers, and there were many back in his day, could take full advantage of the sunlight to work in the fields. I’ve also been told that DST was used during World War II as a way to save energy. My mom told me, and I’m sure she wouldn’t lie, that DST was initiated so there wold be sunlight in the morning for youngsters standing on the corner waiting on school buses to pick them up. Continue reading

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