Olathe family survives Boston Marathon attack

Boston Police look at blown out windows at the scene of the first explosion on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston Police look at blown out windows at the scene of the first explosion on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images website)

Olathean Tom Kearney and seven members of his family, including his two grandchildren, were sitting in The Forum Restaurant on a sunny afternoon Monday, April 15, two floors above the street overlooking the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Copley Square. Less than an hour earlier they had been down by the barriers to watch his son-in-law, John Kohler, cross the finish line.

And then…

“John said he thought someone was setting off a cannon,” Tom said. “It was like everybody just stopped and looked; people thought somebody was celebrating Patriots’ Day. But in my mind, I was thinking, ‘That doesn’t sound like somebody firing a canon and that this would be the kind of place for somebody to pull some stuff.’

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, that can’t be a bomb.” Continue reading

Olathe runners stunned by marathon blasts

Two explosions went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via website Getty Images)

Two explosions went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via website Getty Images)

Several Olatheans were among the 27,000 runners from more than 90 countries in Boston for the Annual Boston Marathon and were shocked by the two explosions that killed three and injured more than 130.

There were participant Patrick Wackerla along with his wife Jennifer, a student teacher at Mission Trail Middle School, runner and Mission Trail School teacher Stacey Sperry, and 1998 Olathe North High School graduate Matt Gronniger, who now lives in San Francisco.

Read the account of an Olathe family relaxing in a restaurant just above where the explosions took place.

Jennifer Wackerla stood at the 25-mile marker of the race, about a block away from the finish line, and then made her way to the family waiting area after watching Patrick run past.

“He ran a 3:30:00, it was his second time in the Boston Marathon,” she said. “He ran last year in that terrible heat and I was so elated when I saw him; he was so excited and we were on cloud 9, honestly. He did great and I was so excited that I got to see him this year; it’s hard as a spectator to see one runner in a whole bunch of runners.”

After the two found each other in the family area, they went to the nearest train station and went back to their hotel. Continue reading

Olathe news briefs for week of April 15

City Council; Swearing-In Ceremony and Reception

The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session. Regular sessions are broadcast live on OGN (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.

The Council meeting will include a swearing-in ceremony for new councilmember Wes McCoy (Ward 3) and re-elected councilmembers Marge Vogt (Ward 4) and Ron Ryckman (At-large).  A reception will precede the meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall lobby.

Annual Garmin Marathon April 20; Expect Traffic Delays

The annual Garmin Marathon – a marathon, half-marathon and 5K run sponsored by the Olathe Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau – will take place on Saturday morning, April 20. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which attracts runners of all levels and ages from across the country. Approximately 3000 runners are expected to attend this year’s Wizard-of-Oz –themed event right here in Olathe! Continue reading

Explosions at Boston Marathon; two dead, dozens reported injured

Boston Police react to the explosion at the Boston Marathon. Photo from Boston Globe website

Boston Police react to the explosion at the Boston Marathon. Photo from Boston Globe website

According to news reports, two people have been confirmed killed and dozens of people have been seriously injured after two reported explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The Boston Globe cited witnesses who reported hearing two large explosions shortly before 2 p.m. CT. The Associated Press reported at least one of the explosions came near the entrance of the Fairmont Copley Hotel.

ABC News has live stream coverage of the event — click here.

MNU President’s Honors raises record $425,000

The MNU President's Honors event raised $425,000. Photo furnished by Heather Attig

The MNU President’s Honors event raised $425,000. Photo furnished by Heather Attig

Just more than 500 people attended the MidAmerica Nazarene University President’s Honors last Friday night, April 12, and after the final bite of dessert had been taken and the final bid had been accepted, a record total of $425,000 had been raised for student scholarships.

“It was a very good night,” said MNU spokesperson April Hansen, director of development for annual programs. “Going into the event, we had raised more than $315,000 in sponsorships and ticket sales, so we raised $110,000 that night through the (silent and live) auctions.”

Highlighting the event was the honoring of Dr. Ray and Elaine Cook, Wichita, with MNU’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ray Cook, who died last fall, was a long-time chair for MNU’s Board of Trustees. The Cooks also have been significant donors to the university, Hansen said. MNU’s Cook Center is named in their honor because of their financial support to the university.

After raising $303,000 in last year’s debut event, MNU set a goal to raise $350,00o this year.

Some 90 items were up for bid in the silent auction and some of the high-bid items in the live auction were Some high-end items in the live auction included a signed Thomas Kinkade print valued at $15,000 and a two-day hunting trip at the Flint Hills Lodge, a private hunting club in southeast Kansas.

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