The County Manager's Office is responsible to the Board of County Commissioners and the residents of Johnson County for the effective and efficient delivery of programs and services, using sound management and financial principles while emphasizing high ethical values, innovation, and continuous improvement.
Mental Health Center delivers first suicide-alert helper training
April 10, 2019
Johnson County Mental Health Center delivered its first session of safeTALK, a suicide-alert helper training, Tuesday. This training is specifically crafted for individuals who don’t have a professional background in the mental health industry.
“Twenty new people were trained in the helping steps of safeTALK,” said Johnson County Mental Health Center Prevention Coordinator Megan Clark, who facilitated the training. “With trainings like these, we are helping create a suicide safer community.”
The name of the program is an acronym both for the type of program it is and for the tool it delivers. “Safe” stands for Suicide Alertness For Everyone. “TALK” is the acronym for the tool taught in the class: Tell, Ask, Listen and Keep Safe.
“The participants were excited about the material and already brainstorming ways this information could be shared in organizations throughout the county,” Clark explained.
The next safeTALK training will take place from 1 – 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Mission office of Johnson County Mental Health Center, located at 6000 Lamar Ave. The cost is $25, and registration is already filling fast. To register, email Jenni Leaton or call 913-826-1585.
April 7-13, 2019, is National Library Week. Johnson County Library is celebrating by presenting the winners of the annual Friends Bookmark Design Contest. The presentation will be made at the monthly meeting of the Johnson County Library Board of Directors at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 11, at the Central Resource Library.
The annual competition is sponsored by the Friends of Johnson County Library. This year, the contest accepted more than 400 original illustrations in seven age categories from preschool to adult. Accepted media are colored pencil; marker; crayon; gouache; tempera; oil; acrylic; finger-paint; chalk; watercolor; pen-and-ink; on paper only. Designs, drawings and images must be made by hand only, and the original art must be submitted.
Jurors for the event included Friends of Johnson County Library board members and JCL kid’s librarians. The winning illustrations are printed as bookmarks and distributed during the year at the 14 branches of the Johnson County Library and at the three Friends bookstores. More than 6,000 bookmarks will find homes between pages by the end of the year.
“They’re so wonderful,” exclaims Friends president Julie Steiner, of Lenexa, “and I collect a new set every year. They’re a great way to get creative people of all ages interested in our excellent library system.”
Library patrons may begin collecting their new bookmarks Friday, April 12 at their nearest Johnson County Library.
Traffic flow restored on Santa Fe ahead of schedule
April 9, 2019
Ten days ahead of schedule, the stretch of Santa Fe in downtown Olathe between Kansas Avenue and Chestnut Street opened to through traffic at 4 a.m., Monday, April 8. Traffic diversion on that section of road began Feb. 11, to build an underground tunnel as a part of the new courthouse project.
Currently, an underground tunnel runs from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Central Booking Facility (101 N. Kansas Avenue) to the Johnson County Courthouse (100 N. Kansas Avenue). This project creates a branch off the existing tunnel leading to the new courthouse, currently under construction on the northeast corner of Santa Fe and Kansas Avenue. The tunnel is used to securely transport inmates.
Expected to reopen on April 18, the feat was accomplished early despite snow, ice and rain and the crews put in weekends hours, as well, to come in ahead of schedule.
“The project team met with staff from the city of Olathe regularly to discuss progress and next steps. This was a very cooperative effort,” said Dan Wehmueller, project manager. “The contractors did a great job exceeding expectations with plenty of pre-planning, communication and hard work.”
The eight-week construction project was extensive. Following the street closure, crews sawcut the pavement and excavated across the street, north to south at a 45-degree angle from the new building.
After reinforcement and the placement of formwork 347,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured for the foundations, walls and lid. After the 200+ ft tunnel was waterproofed and backfilled crews began on the street repairs. From Kansas to Cherry the street was milled and repaved. The street reopening included repair to the impacted landscaping, brick pavers and curbs.
JoCo childcare providers becoming more "Childcare Prepared"
April 5, 2019
Childcare providers in Johnson County and the families they serve can benefit from a new training and recognition program. “Childcare Prepared” encourages facilities to strengthen emergency plans, provide training for staff and participate in emergency drills and exercises. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) has partnered with Childcare Aware of America (CCAoA) on this program.
Facilities that demonstrate proficiency in the areas of planning, training and exercise will be awarded the designation of being “Childcare Prepared”. They will receive a certificate/plaque, and will be featured in articles or on social media to share their achievements and market the program. Facilities will also be able to share this status with parents as part of their enrollment and retention efforts.
JCDHE partnered with CCAoA on this initiative to advance the preparedness capabilities of child care providers in Johnson County. Currently there are six sites enrolled: three child care centers and three home-based facilities. They’re all at various stages in the program but working towards their designation.
“When we created this program, we wanted to rethink how we engage with our community partners. There is so much preparedness information available to child care facilities, but there isn’t a lot in the way of direction or guidance,” said Steve Maheux, JCDHE Public Health Emergency Program manager. “Building a framework that would help these sites develop an understanding of what it means to be prepared and come up with a plan to move their facility forward was the goal. By focusing efforts on building capabilities and training staff, preparedness becomes more than just a plan on a shelf.”
Healthy Yards Expo promotes green choices and practices
April 5, 2019
The 10th Annual Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo on Saturday, April 6, can help you make greener choices for your yards and homes. This free Earth-friendly home, lawn and garden event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shawnee Civic Centre, located at 13817 Johnson Drive in Shawnee.
The expo highlights many simple and easy environmentally-friendly practices that can be done to achieve a nice yard. Johnson County K-State Research and Extension is teaming with Johnson County Stormwater Management Program and the cities of Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe and Shawnee to present the event.
Local businesses, non-profits, city and county departments (Johnson County Library and Johnson County Health and Environment) will offer seminars and tips that help Johnson County and surrounding area residents.
Of special note, Brian Hanson, radon program coordinator for Kansas State University Engineering Extension, will be a guest speaker at the Healthy Yards Expo, at 10: 45 a.m. to discuss indoor air quality and the dangers of radon. He will also be at the Johnson County Extension booth with Extension agent Denise Dias to answer questions. They will have Do-It-Yourself radon kits available for purchase, as well. This simple, inexpensive test can reveal if a resident needs to take further action to protect their family from the dangers of radon.
According to the most recent data collected by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Kansas State University, the average radon level in Johnson County is 5.3 picocuries per liter(pCi/L) which is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended action level of 4 (pCi/L). EPA recommends fixing your home if your radon level is 4 pCi/L or higher.
Johnson County Radon Stats: (2017)
Maximum reported radon level: 309 pCi/L
Total number of measurements: 34,444
Total measurements 4 pCi/L or greater: 15,506
Total measurements 20 pCi/L or greater: 1,037
Visit the expo’s webpage for details on all the cool and fun things going on that day!
Celebrating volunteers in April
April 3, 2019
April is National Volunteer month, dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the month.
Volunteers matter to Johnson County Government. They provide services/programs to 13 county departments and agencies to benefit residents of all ages. Locally, the county’s 2018 annual report on volunteerism indicated 4,180 volunteers provided 202,258 hours of service. Based on the national standard of a volunteer hour being worth $24.69, the volunteer work has a value of almost $5 million.
Honoring volunteers in April began in 1974 when President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order. April became National Volunteer Month as part of President George H. W. Bush’s 1,000 Points of Light campaign in 1991.
Anyone who wishes to be a part of the Johnson County Government’s volunteer opportunities should visit the “Residents” section of the county’s website. Check out the 2018 annual report (page 27) for a comprehensive list of county departments that have volunteer opportunities as well.