Olathe News Briefs

This Edition of E-News - November 28, 2011:
• WinterFest and Mayor’s Tree Lighting This Friday, December 2
• Mahaffie Holiday Open House and Tea Events
• Olathe Police Department Shares Holiday Safe Shopping Tips

City Council
Released November 28, 2011
The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, December 6, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session. 


WinterFest and Mayor’s Tree Lighting This Friday, December 2
Released November 28, 2011
It’s time to kick off the holiday season at the annual Olathe WinterFest, Friday, December 2 in the R.R. Osborne Plaza at Olathe City Hall.  The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is highlighted by the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting.  The main stage will feature the arrival of Santa Claus, music groups from Olathe schools and a variety of local talent.  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.  Radio Disney AM 1190, sponsored by Peoples Bank, will be “rockin’ WinterFest” from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with games, activities and prize giveaways. In addition, local soccer company Challenger Sports will be on site with mascot Lenny the Lion who will hand out a number of soccer items.   And of course, 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 fourteen 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.

For a complete list of WinterFest activities, visit www.OlatheKS.org/ParksRec/Winterfest.


Make Holiday Memories at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop with Open House and Holiday Tea Events
Released November 28, 2011
Start your Christmas season with a visit to Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop’s Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Admission is free to this holiday event. 

Visitors can decorate a graham cracker gingerbread house ($3 each), make Christmas crafts, and ride the stagecoach (weather and grounds permitting; $2 each, 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 available to take photos of visitors with Santa ($4 each).

Entertainment in the Heritage Center will include music by the Shady Grove String Band from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The performance includes audience participation for all ages. The Shawnee Victorian Carolers will sing Christmas Carols from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Don’t forget to stop by Mrs. Mahaffie’s kitchen to see what’s cooking and assist with some winter farm chores.  Plus, find those unique gifts and stocking stuffers, including new farm and animal related toys in the site gift shop.

New this year, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop will host a holiday tea on Sunday, December 4.  Sessions will be held at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  Children ages 5 and up and their families are invited to enjoy tea and refreshments, make an ornament and take a carriage ride (weather and ground conditions permitting). Admission is $5 per participant.  To register, call 913-971-5111 with the number in your party.

The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm 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.  Activities vary seasonally.  Details, including a schedule of winter events, are available at www.mahaffie.org or by calling (913) 971-5111.


Olathe Police Department Shares Holiday Safe Shopping Tips
Released November 28, 2011
This time of year is when many of us will be busy shopping and running errands to prepare for the holidays. During these festive times, the Olathe Police Department suggests the following crime prevention tips to 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:
    • Carry your purse close to your body. Don't swing it loosely.
    • Don't display large amounts of cash.
    • Take only what you may need.
    • 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.
    • If something tells you to be cautious, trust your gut.
    • Don’t force yourself to be in situations where you don’t feel comfortable.
    • 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!


This Edition of E-News - November 21, 2011:
• Thanksgiving Holiday Schedules – City Offices and Olathe Public Library
• City Prepares for Snow as Winter Approaches
• WinterFest and Mayor’s Tree Lighting Set for December 2
• City of Olathe and GBA Recognized for South Cedar Creek Sewer Improvements

City Council
Released November 21, 2011
The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, December 5, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session. 


Thanksgiving Holiday Schedules – City Offices and Olathe Public Library
Released November 21, 2011
City of Olathe offices will be closed on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 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 will be serviced on Friday and Friday customers will be serviced on Saturday.  The Transfer Station and Composting Facility will be closed on Thursday, but open regular hours Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving.  For more information, visit the Environmental Services page on the City’s website.

The Olathe Public Library and the Indian Creek Branch Library will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23 and remain closed Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25.


Are You Ready for Snow?
Released November 21, 2011
The City of Olathe averages an annual snowfall of approximately 20 inches. The severity of winter storms determines the methods used by the City to clear streets of snow and ice.  Visit Snow Removal Information for specific details regarding the City’s snow removal process.

Snow Removal Improvements for 2011-2012 Season The City of Olathe is responsible for snow removal on 1,237 lane miles of roadway and 1461 cul-de-sacs. The City follows guidelines to provide the most effective snow removal operation possible. Last year, the City unveiled an interactive Snow Plow map so residents and visitors could track snow removal progress based on the GPS locations of the City’s snow plows.  The interactive map will be available only during snow events.

Olathe works to keep 60 vehicles removing snow during the day shift and 44 operating during the nightshift. Crews work 12-hour shifts throughout a winter storm in order to provide 24-hour winter coverage. Scouting vehicles continually monitor all city streets to direct crews to dangerous areas. Crews are also in direct contact with police dispatchers who can direct them to additional areas needing treatment in a winter storm.

The snow removal process for the  2011-12 snow season is designed to maintain road safety during winter storm events and allows for less material (sand/salt) use. The snow plowing approach runs more trucks during the day, utilizing the natural advantage of the sun.  As a result, Olathe residents are asked to park their vehicles in drives and clear sidewalks in front of their property.

The City has three response levels that vary with each snow event based on the amount of snow on the ground:
Level One - This effort is to clear and maintain the arterial and collector routes. Once arterial streets are controlled, treatment extends to business and commercial roads. Plowing operations begin when two inches or more of snow is expected. 
Level Two - Residential drivers begin their plowing operations with smaller trucks (pickups and SUVs). These vehicles start snow removal operations on the residential streets and cul-de-sacs. They continue until all streets are cleared and treated.  
Level Three - Snow reaches a depth of eight inches with additional accumulation expected.  At this time all qualified City employee operators are used in snow removal efforts on a rotating 12 hour basis.

This response plan supports Olathe’s commitment to the safety of motorists and pedestrians, emergency response needs, and economic interests.


WinterFest and Mayor’s Tree Lighting Set for December 2
Released November 21, 2011
It’s time to kick off the holiday season at the annual Olathe WinterFest, Friday, December 2 in the R.R. Osborne Plaza at Olathe City Hall.  The events runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is highlighted by the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting.  The main stage will feature the arrival of Santa Claus, music groups from Olathe schools and a variety of local talent.  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.


City of Olathe and GBA Recognized for South Cedar Creek Sewer Improvements
Released November 21, 2011
The City of Olathe and GBA Architects and Engineers have been selected to receive the City Public Improvement Award in the “50,000 and above” population category from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Kansas for the South Cedar Creek Sewer Improvements project.

The South Cedar Creek Sewer Improvements have earned recognition for their benefits to the community, providing sewer service to developing areas that will support the BNSF Railroad’s Intermodal Development in southwest Johnson County while protecting and enhancing the environment. 

“GBA designed new gravity sewer, force main, and a submersible pumping station that is not only functional, but also sustainable and funded by a special sanitary sewer benefit district,” said Rebecca Bilderback, P.E., City of Olathe. “GBA and the City collaborated early in the design phase of the project to ensure that goals were accomplished and stakeholders’ expectations were met.”  Plans by the City and Johnson County to develop a recreational trail following the stream that is adjacent to the improvement project were among the considerations in the planning, design, and construction of the project.  

According to GBA Vice President and Principal Bill Carter, P.E., the establishment of the special benefit district resulted in one of the most significant benefits to citizens of Olathe. “Since the capital costs for the project are being paid for by the benefit district, citizens of Olathe will receive the long-term benefits of additional property tax income without incurring capital debt,” he said.

Equally important to the citizens of Olathe is the environmentally sound method by which the project was planned, designed, and constructed.  GBA and the City of Olathe will accept the award at the Kansas Association of City/County Management’s Annual Conference in Topeka on December 1, 2011.


This Edition of E-News - November 14, 2011:
• City of Olathe Recognized for Cutting Health Care Expenses
• Dine Out for Kids on November 16
• Mahaffie Open House and Holiday Tea
• Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
• Olathe Named Top Digital City

City Council
Released November 14, 2011
The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, November 15, 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.


City of Olathe Recognized for Cutting Health Care Expenses
Released November 14, 2011
The City of Olathe was awarded a 2011 ImpacT Award from the Kansas City Business Journal for leveraging technology to support its comprehensive health care program.  The award, presented Friday, November 11 at the annual ImpacT Awards luncheon, recognizes companies in the Kansas City area that have made valuable contributions to their internal operations, efficiency and financial performance through the use of new or existing technology. 

Olathe Works Well, the City’s health and wellness program, has saved the organization $1.8 million in health care costs by bringing health care, wellness services, and disease management on site to Olathe employees and spouses. The ImpacT award specifically recognized Olathe’s use of technology that allows vendor partners to share data and remain compliant with federal privacy laws for medical data security.  


Dine Out for Kids on November 16
Released November 14, 2011
On Wednesday, November 16, eat out for a great cause.  The “Dining Out for Kids” event helps children and families in need who benefit from the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund charities.  Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., a number of Olathe restaurants will donate 10 percent or more of their dinner proceeds to the Olathe Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.  Participating restaurants include Backyard Burger, Bolillo Fresh Mex, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, Dodge City Distillery, Downtown Diner, Firehouse Subs, Golden Corral, Jose Pepper’s, Pizza Hut, Ruby Tuesday, Salty Iguana, Sheridan’s and Texas Roadhouse.  For more information, visit www.OlatheKS.org/News/MayorsChristmasTree.


Make Holiday Memories at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop with Open House and Holiday Tea Events
Released November 14, 2011
Start your Christmas season with a visit to Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop’s Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Admission is free to this holiday event. 

Visitors can decorate a graham cracker gingerbread house ($3 each), make Christmas crafts, and ride the stagecoach (weather and grounds permitting; $2 each, 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 available to take photos of visitors with Santa ($4 each).

Entertainment in the Heritage Center will include music by the Shady Grove String Band from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The performance includes audience participation for all ages. The Shawnee Victorian Carolers will sing Christmas Carols from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Don’t forget to stop by Mrs. Mahaffie’s kitchen to see what’s cooking and assist with some winter farm chores.  Plus, find those unique gifts and stocking stuffers, including new farm and animal related toys in the site gift shop.

New this year, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop will host a holiday tea on Sunday, December 4.  Sessions will be held at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  Children ages 5 and up and their families are invited to enjoy tea and refreshments, make an ornament and take a carriage ride (weather and ground conditions permitting). Admission is $5 per participant.  To register, call 913-971-5111 with the number in your party.

The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm 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.  Activities vary seasonally.  Details, including a schedule of winter events, are available at www.mahaffie.org or by calling (913) 971-5111.


Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule
Released November 14, 2011
City of Olathe offices will be closed on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 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 will be serviced on Friday and Friday customers will be serviced on Saturday.  The transfer station and composting facility will be closed on Thursday, but open regular hours Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving.  For more information, visit www.olatheks.org/OMS.


Olathe Named  Top Digital City
Released November 14, 2011
The City of Olathe is America’s top-ranked digital city government (125,000 - 249,000 population) according to the 11th annual “Digital Cities Survey.”  Part of e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program, the annual survey focuses on results achieved by cities, via the use of technology, in operating efficiencies and realizing strategic objectives despite current fiscal constraints.

Olathe was recognized for a number of cost-saving and citizen engagement projects ranging from the use of social media to hosting cross-jurisdictional 911 dispatch services in partnership with Johnson County Government. 

“Fewer resources do not have to translate into lower service levels,” said Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland referring to the budgetary and staffing cuts Olathe has incurred over the last several years.  He said, “We are committed to doing things better each and every day, no matter the challenges.  Leveraging technology has created great success in reducing operational costs, increasing efficiencies and taking innovative approaches to run our core business.”  Copeland concluded, “We are honored to be recognized as the top 2011 Digital City…it speaks to our approach to finding solutions rather than excuses.”

In the 125,000 to 249,000 population classification, Olathe ranked ahead of cities including:  Winston-Salem, NC; Salt Lake City, UT; Alexandria, VA; and Hollywood, FL.

Other top-ranked cities by population classification include Honolulu, Hawaii (250,000 or more), Roseville, California (75,000 to 124,999), and Eden Prairie, Minnesota (30,000 to 74,999).

Winners were honored at a special awards ceremony concurrent with the National League of Cities annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona on November 11.


This Edition of E-News - November 7, 2011:
• City Offices Close November 11, Trash NOT Impacted
• Nationwide EAS Test November 9
• Housing Services Office to Relocate Beginning November 8
• Johnson County Veterans Day Observance Includes Parade in Olathe
• Dine Out for Kids on November 16
• Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Transitions to Winter Programming

City Council
The Olathe City Council will next meet Tuesday, November 15, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session. 


Veterans Day Schedule
Released November 7, 2011
City of Olathe offices, including Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop, will close on Friday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day.  Trash and recycling collection will NOT be impacted. 


It’s Only a Test
Released November 7, 2011
On November 9 at 1:00 p.m. CST, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and broadcasters across the country will issue the first nationwide Emergency Alert System Test via television and radio stations.  The Emergency Alert System is frequently used and tested at the local level.  To date, it has never been tested at the national level.  The test is anticipated to last 30 seconds during which the public will hear an audio message indicating “This is a test.”  However, the image and the text/crawl at the top of the television screen may not be the same for all viewers.  When the Emergency Alert System test is over, regular programming will resume.  The public is encouraged to visit the FCC website for more information.  Remember….it’s only a test.


Housing Services Office to Relocate Beginning November 8
Released November 7, 2011
The Olathe Housing Services Division, formerly located at 201 N. Cherry Street, will relocate to 200 W. Santa Fe beginning November 8.  The division will open for business at the new location on Wednesday, November 9. The telephone number remains 913-971-6260.  The Housing Services Division is responsible for programs including Taxi Coupon, Housing Authority, Housing Rehabilitation, Community Development Block Grant and Human Relations. 

The move is anticipated to improve efficiency and save money as part of a larger City organizational effort.  For more information about Housing Services, visit www.olatheks.org/HT/HousingServices.


Johnson County Veterans Day Observance Includes Parade in Olathe
Released November 7, 2011
Johnson County’s 25th Veterans Day Observance Anniversary will spill out into the streets of downtown Olathe on Friday, November 11. The ceremony salutes all veterans, past and present. The public event will celebrate the silver anniversary of the county-sponsored Veterans Day observance and honor the 7-158th Aviation Regiment at the New Century Air Center near Gardner. The unit lost three soldiers – Specialist Spencer Duncan, a 2008 Olathe South High School graduate; Specialist Alexander Bennett, Overland Park; and Chief Warrant Officer Brian Nichols, Kansas City – on August 6 when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing 23 Americans and seven Afghanistan servicemen.

The 2011 observance, sponsored by Johnson County Government, the City of Olathe, Earl Collier American Legion Post 153 in Olathe, and other local veteran organizations will include the county’s first Veterans Day Parade. The parade will start at approximately 10:00 a.m. near the corner of Kansas Avenue and Chestnut Street, traveling south on Kansas Avenue, turning east on Dennis Avenue, and ending at Veterans Memorial Park, located at the corner of Dennis Avenue and Harrison Street, for the Veterans Day program beginning at 11:00 a.m. For more information about the 2011 Veterans Day event, visit the Johnson County website at www.jocogov.org.


Dine Out for Kids on November 16
Released November 7, 2011
On Wednesday, November 16, eat out for a great cause.  The “Dining Out for Kids” event helps children and families in need who benefit from the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund charities.  Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., a number of Olathe restaurants will donate 10 percent or more of their dinner proceeds to the Olathe Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.  Participating restaurants include Backyard Burger, Bolillo Fresh Mex, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, Dodge City Distillery, Downtown Diner, Firehouse Subs, Golden Corral, Jose Pepper’s, Pizza Hut, Ruby Tuesday, Salty Iguana, Sheridan’s and Texas Roadhouse.  For more information, visit www.OlatheKS.org/News/MayorsChristmasTree.


Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Transitions to Winter Programming
Released November 7, 2011
With the start of November, the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm, 1200 Kansas City Rd., Olathe, began its 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 March visitors can explore the indoor Heritage Center exhibit and tour the historic grounds.  The historic house will be closed until April. 

The historic home will be open and stagecoach rides and living history activities will be offered during several special winter events including the Christmas Open House and two Winter on the Farm Saturdays.  Visit the Mahaffie website, www.mahaffie.org, or Mahaffie on Facebook for information. 

Mahaffie will host its annual Christmas Open House from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 3.  Visitors can visit with Father Christmas and Santa Claus, decorate a gingerbread house, ride the stagecoach, see the farm animals and tour the historic house and grounds as they “celebrate Christmas the 1860s way”.  For more information and to sign-up to receive Mahaffie Newsletter email updates, visit www.mahaffie.org