County urges residents and businesses to register with NotifyJoCo.org

When law enforcement officials put Boston into a lockdown last week when searching for the second marathon bombing suspect, residents were notified by a procedure similar to what the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department put into place last month.

Notify JoCo is a program in which citizens of Johnson County can voluntarily register various contact information so they can be notified in cases of emergency and some non-emergency events (festivals and park closings for example) that take place. When there is an event requiring a message to be sent, authorized county and city officials will identify the affected areas and send out the message through NotifyJoCo via phone, e-mail or text message. The system has the ability to send out a minimum of 100,000 notifications per hour, allowing NotifyJoCo to reach citizens immediately in emergency situations.

“It’s a mass notification system that we can send out to residents in the county or to residents in a specific jurisdiction,” said Tom Erickson, Master Deputy and PIO for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. “We can even narrow it down to a specific area within a jurisdiction.” Continue reading

Garmin Marathon a go; special finish line for Boston marathoners

A video route of the 10th Annual Garmin Marathon through Olathe.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Local runners that participated in the April 15 Boston Marathon but were unable to go through the finish line because of the two bombs that exploded will be able to “finish” the race at the Garmin Marathon Saturday, April 20, by running the final seven-tenths of a mile during a special finish-line ceremony. The ceremony is expected to take place around noon.)

The 10th Annual Garmin Marathon, which is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and is co-sponsored by the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled to begin at 7 Saturday morning, April 20, and Arley Arkenberg, Lawrence, who plans to run the half marathon is not worried.

“I’m not scared,” she said, “and I’m typically scared of everything. I think we’ll be fine. And I’ll be the first in line for my Grange Pup come September (during the Johnson County Old Settlers Celebration).” Continue reading

Security in check for Garmin Marathon; for all county events

Olathean Tom Kearney was impressed with the security measures in place for the Boston Marathon this past Monday, April 15. He praised their efforts even after two bombs exploded just below the restaurant overlooking the finishing line where he and his family, including his two young grandchildren, had just settled in to eat lunch.

Yet even with all that security, someone was able to sneak in not two, but four homemade bombs. Two that didn’t detonate were found underneath the grandstands.

This weekend, more than 3,000 runners plus countless other spectators are expected to take part in Saturday morning’s (April 20) Garmin Marathon that will wind its way just more than 26 miles in and around Olathe. Continue reading

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

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.

Remember the First Amendment; eat mor chikin!

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-fil-A

There’s something more concerning to me about the whole Chick-fil-A fiasco than simply being for or against same-sex marriage.

Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy recently created a controversial firestorm when he said on a radio talk show that, “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.” Continue reading

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